1804 - 52nd - encamped at Shorncliffe.
1870 – 43rd – Information received that Her Majesty the Queen was graciously pleased to approve the words “New Zealand” being borne on the colours of the Regiment for their services 1863-1866.
1919 –1st Bn, OXF & BUCKS LI – NORTH RUSSIA.
Lt. Col. W.M. Dodington C.M.G. took over Command Vaga Column.
Capt. H.E.F. Smyth took over Adjutant Vaga Column.
Lt. R.C. Warren M.C. took over Assistant Adjutant Vaga Column.
2040 - Relieved troops left for BERESNIK By Routine Boat.
1944 - 2nd (Airborne) Bn, Oxf & Bucks LI – HEROUVILETTE (NORMANDY)
A quiet day preparing defences and some shelling in the area of 'A' Coy.
1944 - 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion - NORMANDY
Unloading on the beaches was now approaching its maximum rate, and large quantities of stores were flowing into the four sector stores dumps. These had been established at intervals off the main lateral to the rear of the beaches. All the fields adjoining these dumps bore Achtung—Minen notices and the sappers of the field company, and anyone else who could be spared, were clearing the mines as fast as their many other duties would allow. But mine clearance is a slow process and in the meantime the dumps were becoming dangerously congested; petrol and ammunition were adjoining one another, and the stacks of ammunition were close together. Plans were, however, ready for expansion into the beach maintenance area as proposed originally, and as soon as the strong-point at Lion fell reconnaissance parties left to inspect sites.
The prospects appeared good, a firm but narrow bridgehead had been secured, the weather was fine, the beach installations were established and developing at great speed, air attack was negligible, the beaches were not under fire, the ships forming the gooseberry could be seen settling down satisfactorily in their allotted places, and now it would be possible to establish the beach maintenance area in country, suitable for expansion and served by adequate roads.
At 1200 hrs a single German aircraft chased by Spitfires flew low over the main lateral, which was crowded with traffic, and dropped a bomb. A Dukw carrying petrol was hit and the burning petrol flowed down into an ammunition dump, which began to explode. Stack after stack blew up with deafening reverberations and pieces of shell started to fall all over the beaches. Soon blazing petrol added a huge column of smoke and flame which roared skywards with a mushroom of smoke. The explosions and fires were fully visible to our own troops and the enemy in the line and must have been as disturbing to the former, who saw the ammunition vital for their attacks exploding in their rear, as they must have been gratifying to the latter.
Many ordnance experts hold the opinion that once an ammunition dump catches fire the only thing practicable is to let it burn out and then to start stacking elsewhere. In this case they were strongly of this opinion, as the stacks were placed so close together. But anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with Lieutenant-Colonel Sale knew that such counsels of despair were not good enough for him. Soon after the first explosion had taken place he was in the dump rallying the staff.
The stacks had been covered with camouflage netting, which caught alight easily; the grass was so dry that it burst into flame whenever red-hot fragments of metal landed and the result was that every stack that exploded started up a succession of new fires. Helped by a small band of officers and by a handful of pioneers, the commanding officer started to drag the nets from the stacks, beat out the blazing grass, drive out vehicles which had been abandoned by their drivers, and eventually, as more men were rallied, to demolish the stacks nearest to the seat of the fire so as to create a fire-break.
For nearly an hour the party worked in this blazing inferno until Colonel Sale was hit in the stomach by a piece of flying shell and carried off unconscious to the nearest field dressing station. His place was taken by the second-in-command, Major Carse, and after a further two hours’ hazardous work the seemingly impossible was achieved. The fire burned itself out and half the dump was saved, with the result that when an urgent call for anti-tank ammunition was received that evening from the 3rd British Division the call was answered and the ammunition supplied. But 400 tons of precious ammunition and 60,000 gallons of petrol had been lost.
The loss of the commanding officer was a high price to pay for this achievement, but his work was done. With unflagging enthusiasm he had welded the group into a serviceable formation. On landing he had taken command of 7,000 troops, revised the original plan and laid the foundations for future success. It was with great satisfaction that we learned later that he had been awarded the George Medal for his gallantry. The George Medal also went to Major Pepper and the M.B.E. to Major Carse for their parts in the incident.