BASED ON EXTRACTS FROM CITIZEN SOLDIERS OF BUCKS BY JC SWANN AND THE FIRST BUCKINGHAMSHIRE BATTALION 1914-1919 BY PL WRIGHT
The 48th Division, under Command of Major-General H. N. C. Heath, C.B., of which the 1/1st Bucks Battalion formed part, consisted, as regards Infantry, of three Brigades—the Warwick, the Gloucester and Worcester, and the South Midland. These were later numbered the 143rd, 144th and 145th Infantry Brigades. The 145th Infantry Brigade, Commanded by Brigadier-General W. K. McClintock, was composed of 4 Battalions: the 1/5th Battalion Gloucester Regiment, 1/4th Battalion Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 1/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, and 1/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment.
The order to mobilise was received at Battalion headquarters at Aylesbury at 6.30 p.m. on August 4, 1914. With the exception of the Wolverton Company, whose train was put into a siding owing to some misunderstanding, the whole Battalion was concentrated at Aylesbury before midnight on the 4th/5th. On the evening of the 5th it entrained for Cosham, the Battalion’s war station, where transport was drawn, and three days were spent in digging trenches on the hills overlooking Portsmouth harbour.
Entraining again on August 9, the Battalion journeyed to Swindon, where a week’s hard training was carried out, and after this a succession of moves, partly by rail, but mostly on foot, carried it via Dunstable, Hitchin, Ware, Harlow and Great Dunmow to Chelmsford, where it arrived on August 25. Here, with the exception of a most bitterly cold fortnight in November spent under canvas at Great Totham, where the Battalion was employed digging defences of the East coast, it remained for seven months, training vigorously for it’s dispatch to France.
The eight-company formation, which had been retained up to mobilisation, was at once changed, and the Battalion formed into four companies-- "A," High Wycombe and Marlow, Commanded by Captain L. L. C. Reynolds; "B," Aylesbury and Buckingham, Commanded by Captain L. W. Crouch; "C," Slough and Wolverton, Commanded by Captain G. E. W. Bowyer; "D," Wolverton and High Wycombe, Commanded by Captain E. V. Birchall. In January 1915 Lieut.-Colonel Wethered had to give up the command of the Battalion owing to illness, and was succeeded by Lieut.-Colonel C. P. Doig, Seaforth Highlanders.
On the afternoon of March 30, 1915, the Battalion paraded for the last time on the Chelmsford parade-ground and marched to the station.
Chelmsford turned out en masse and gave the battalion a first-rate send-off. At 5.30 p.m. the train steamed out of Chelmsford Station. The battalion embarked at Folkestone on the night of the 30th March, and landed at Boulogne.
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