Service Number: 1834
Date of Birth: 1890
Regiment: Suffolk Regiment
Date of Death: 12 August 1915
Age at death: 25
Cemetery: Helles Memorial
Country: Gallipoli, Turkey
Grave / Reference: Panel 46 & 47
Relatives: Son of George Lambert and husband of Lucy Maria
Address: Father George lived at 147 Angel Street, Hadleigh. Wife, Lucy lived at Wood Lodge, Hintlesham, Ipswich
Robert Lambert's story is one of a double family tragedy. Sadly he and his older brother Alfred, were both killed in action on the same day. Robert was born in Hadleigh in 1890. The 1911 census has him living at home with his parents; George and Emily and his siblings; Alfred (25), Charles (18), William (15) and Fanny (8). At some point before 1915 he married Lucy Maria and had children of his own.
Once mobilised the 1st/5th Suffolks spent a number of months carrying out home service tasks. At that time territorial units were liable for home service only and were not required to deploy overseas. However, when it became apparent that more troops would be needed for overseas service, the men of the battalion were asked to volunteer. After giving this some serious thought, 72% of the men volunteered and the battalion was redesigned 1st/5th Suffolk Regiment. Those who opted to stay on home service duties only, became the 2nd/5th Suffolks.
They arrived and went ashore at Suvla Bay on 10th August 1915 and were quickly moved forward and by midday on the 12th were manning the forward trenches on the Anafarta Plain. At 4pm they were ordered forward as part of a 163 Brigade operation to clear the Plain of snipers in preparation for a much larger Divisional operation that was planned for the following day. The battalion was on the left of the brigade line and 'A' Company made up of Hadleigh men were in the first wave. There was at least 75 Hadleigh men involved and this was a true baptism of fire. They were told it would be a straight forward advance to mop up the odd sniper, but in reality they faced a determined and ruthless enemy. The enemies intimate knowledge of the ground was key. They sniped the Suffolks who could not see the firing points and even if they could, they had no artillery support to combat the snipers. In addition, the Turks made best use of their own artillery which ultimately halted the brigades advance. The Suffolks fell back to a shallow river bed / ditch where they formed the new front line.
On that day, at least 16 men from Hadleigh were killed. Due to the nature of the fighting, their bodies were never recovered from the battlefield until the early 1920s. By then the remains were unrecognisable and could not be identified. The remains were most likely buried in Azmak Commonwealth War Grave Commission cemetery in an unmarked grave. This cemetery is in the area were the Suffolks held the front line. Their names are commemorated on the impressive Helles Memorial which stands on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsular.
In 2002 a new housing estate was built in Hadleigh. A number of the houses on the estate were allocated as military quarters for service personnel serving in the area. During the planning phase for this development it was decided that since the estate would have a military connection, that the street names would be named after local military heroes. Lambert Close was named after the Lambert brothers.
We are not exactly sure when Robert enlisted into the army, but going by his regimental number we think he enlisted just before war was declared. He followed his older brother Alfred into the 1/5th Suffolks. If we assume that he had joined the battalion before war broke out then we know that he would have been mobilised on the night of the 4th/5th August 1914.
The 1st/5th Suffolks completed their training and preparation and were re-equipped for service in the eastern theatre. They embarked along with the rest of 163 Brigade and the 54 Eastern Division at the end of July from Liverpool bound for Gallipoli.
A few days later they were relieved and returned to the reserve trenches where they discovered that the attack had cost them dearly; 11 Officers and 178 Other Ranks were killed, wounded or missing. Although official records suggest that many of the Suffolks went missing on or after the 21st Aug, we now believe that they were actually lost during the advance on the 12th.