GOOCH, Nathan

No.17167, Private, Nathan Robert GOOCH
Aged 21

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916

Nathan Robert Gooch was born in Cowlinge (Risbridge Q4-1894 4A-723), son of Ernest Joseph and Matilda May GOOCH (née HOWARD).

1901 census...Aged 6, he was at Deynes House, Cowlinge with his father Ernest J GOOCH [40] non domestic gardener born Wickhambrook; his mother Matilda M [41] born Brinkley; brothers Ernest [16](stockman on farm)born Brinkley, Harry [15] bricklayer, Frank [12](non-domestic gardener), Jack [11], Sam [8], Nathan [6], George [2] and James (6 months) and widowed grandmother Rhoda GOOCH [71] retired beer house keeper born Stradishall. All the children except Ernest were born in Cowlinge

1911 census... Aged 16, a cattleman on farm, he was at Deynes House, Cowlinge with his parents (father now newsagent); brothers Samuel (bricklayer's labourer), George, James and Charles [7] born Cowlinge. Frank, a Lance Corporal in the Army, was at the Union Jack Club, Waterloo Road, London.

The pension card has the family still at Deynes House

His brother Frank was killed as a Royal Marine on HMS Formidable on 1st January 1915 see here

He enlisted in Newmarket in January 1915
The 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment was often referred to as "The Cambridgeshires" despite there being an actual Cambridgeshire Regiment. This was due to the fact that the recruiting facilities at Gibraltar barracks in Bury St.Edmunds were overwhelmed by the number of eager volunteers, and a temporary camp was set up in Cambridge to share the load. This unit, taking it's men mainly from the Fens and having no official title, was quickly nicknamed "The Cambridgeshires".It soon became officially the 11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment. The 11th was one of 2 Suffolk battalions involved in the action on the 1st day of the battle of the Somme, the 8th Battalion was the other, albeit in a support role.

The 11th suffered the heaviest casualties in the 34th Division. Moving out from Becourt Wood at 5 am towards their jumping off point, the giant mine at Lochnagar was exploded at 7:28 (80,000 lbs of ammonal) and two minutes later the attack began. Their line of advance was through the centre of Bailiff Wood. The enemy in La Boiselle were stronger than had been thought and the Suffolks were quickly cut down by machine gun fire. It was effectively all over for them by 8 am. All day wounded lay out looking for a chance to crawl back. Some valiant souls still tried to advance, a pitiful few reaching the German wire.

Of the 188 men of the 11th Suffolks to die on 1st July 1916, 147 have no known grave.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Nathan Gooch is buried in Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, grave 1:B:82

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details