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  • Christina Drummond

Private Stanley Henry Scarff, A Coy, 1/5th Suffolk Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Private Stanley Henry Scarff of A Coy, 1/5th Suffolk Regiment, was killed in action at Gallipoli. He had been working as a butcher’s lad at his father’s shop in Hadleigh, one of six children and the eldest son. It is believed that he enlisted in the army in 1912 at the age of sixteen, joining 5th Battalion, Sussex Regiment, and would have been mobilized on the 4th or 5th of August, 1914. Initially territorial units were used for home service only and not required overseas, but as more troops were needed men were asked to volunteer – over 70% did, the battalion became 1st/5th Suffolk Regiment, and on completion of their training they embarked for Gallipoli, arriving at Suvla Bay on 10th August. Two days later they were manning the forward trenches on the Anafarta Plain, ordered forward as part of an operation to clear the snipers before a large operation the following day – they were informed it would be a straightforward advance, but the reality was quite different. They had no artillery support even if they had been able to see the firing points, and lost 178 men plus 11 officers. Sixteen men from Hadleigh were killed, their bodies not recovered for ten years, at which point they could not be identified. It is believed that Private Scarff and the others were buried in an unmarked grave in the Azmak CWG cemetery, located in the area where the Suffolks held the front line. Their names are listed on the Helles Memorial on the Gallipoli peninsular. A Hadleigh physician, Dr. Everitt, was at Gallipoli when Private Scarff was killed and intimated to Private Scarff’s parents that he had died instantly, having been shot through the heart, and his death was witnessed by a relative who was also serving. These words are taken from the local newspaper at the time: “Being a young man possessed of such an intrepid character, one need not wonder that he is now numbered amongst the fallen and the brave, for even in his everyday life at home he had no fears of danger and entered into whole-heartedly into everything he undertook. Being naturally brave and daring, he just possessed those qualifications one expects to find a V.C. hero exhibiting when he secures the coveted cross.” Stanley, from Hadleigh in Suffolk, was 19 years old.

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