1790 – 52nd – Present at the assault of Paulighautcherry (India).
1917 – 2nd Bn OXF & BUCKS LI – LE PREOL.
Lt T W C Foreshew to the Central Training School Etaples for Duty.
1917–1/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion – DAMBRE CAMP B27d
3 Platoon commanders sent by lorry to a place close to ST OMER to witness demonstration of method of capturing concrete MG emplacements.
CAPT G E W BOWYER, now Staff Captain 184 Inf Bde, visited Battn.
Ration Strength 16 Officers 527 OR
1917 – 2/4th Bn Oxf & Bucks LI and 2/1st Bucks Bn, Oxf & Bucks LI heavily engaged in fighting before Ypres (Third Ypres).
2/1st Bucks Bn Lost 11 Officers and 338 men.
2/4th Bn Lost 8 Officers and 144 men.
1917 – 2/1st Bucks Bn, Oxf & Bucks LI – POMMERN CASTLE SECTOR.
AUGUST 22, the day for which the whole Battalion has waited and trained incessantly, the day of attack. It is unnecessary to repeat the scheme, for the copy of Battalion orders attached is clear enough for the dullest brain.
The assembly for attack was one of the most difficult propositions to be contended with, but, well before time, everyone was in position, knowing exactly what he had to do and not a soul but was confident that the Battalion would do it’s utmost and succeed.
Zero is fixed for 4.45 a.m. Dead silence – then, punctual to the second, there is a terrific roar, heard for miles back, and our barrage is down. Slowly the waves advance under this protective wall of smoke and flame. The sky is lit up with lights of all colours and descriptions, the Huns appeal for help; then his barrage descends, too late to be of use, for it is well behind the advancing troops.
Obeying their orders, the waves push on, disregarding the enemy’s formidable strong points and block houses, which are left to be dealt with parties of moppers-up especially detailed for the purpose.
The facts from this point onwards necessarily become somewhat confused. But this much is certain; that the parties of moppers-up, hopelessly depleted by casualties from machine-gun and rifle-fire, and owing to the stubborn resistance met with (the Hun fought well when protected with concrete), were unable to fulfil the task allotted to them, and with the exception of SOMME and AISNE, the Hun remained in possession of these points of vantage. The former of these two was taken by 2/Lt. ST. LEDGER of the R. BERKS. with 3 men the sole remaining representative of his platoon and in it they captured 3 M.G’s. and slew 14 Bosche. The later was retaken almost immediately by the enemy.
On our left and right respectively the Hun had remained in possession of POND FM and GALLIPOLI. Glancing at the map, you will see in what a precarious position were our advancing waves; fired on from front, flanks and rear, all means of communication denied them. Yet they pushed on, and some, at any rate, are known to have reached their objective. Meanwhile a company of 2/5 GLOSTERS under 2/Lt. JOHNSTON was brought up and, together with the few remaining men available, quickly consolidated a line of shell-holes for the defence of SOMME FM. and the remainder of the front (the attached map shows the position of this line), for we were determined to hold what we knew we had won at all costs
The enemy counter attacked at least three times, but the artillery dealt with these so successfully that the only one we were aware of at the time consisted of a few Huns advancing, or rather diving from shell-hole to shell-hole, at about 1 a.m. in the 23rd; this attack was easily repulsed by machine and rifle fire.
Exactly to what extent those that remained of the men who had reached their objective helped to beat of these counter attacks is not, and probably never will be, known, but certain it is that they hung on and hung on, sacrificing themselves for the more lucky. To realise the feelings of those who were anxiously awaiting news, you must picture for yourself the situation. It is the afternoon of the 22nd, all four companies have almost entirely disappeared, no messages received, no signals sent, the only news scant and necessarily unreliable, being gleaned from those wounded early in the attack.
The enemy snipers had a busy day, not sparing stretcher bearers or the wounded crawling in; such is their idea of warfare and culture. This undoubtedly accounts for the absence of any runners returning with news to headquarters.
Meanwhile the Battalion on our immediate left had taken, lost and retaken POND FM. and by evening this was firmly in our hands. This considerably relieved the pressure on our left and we were able, after attacking the gun-pits with a party under 2/Lt. BUTTERFIELD (who had returned about 9 p.m. 23rd) and finding them unoccupied, to straighten out the line (see map attached). It was a disappointment finding these gun-pits unoccupied, but it was a blessing in disguise, as the party found several of our wounded, amongst then 2/Lt GIBSON, and we had received the welcome news that we were to be relieved that night by the 2/7 WORCESTERS, and were able to hand over a straight and strong line, which boded ill for further enemy counter attacks.
The relief was uneventful; enemy shelling had been and was at the time almost entirely confined to the valley of R. STEENBEEK, which he had peppered almost continuously with 5.9’s.
The majority of survivors arrived in camp near GOLDFISH CHATEAU by 5 a.m., dog-tired, but so excited and full of their experiences that the camp resounded with laughter well on into the morning. Should I attempt to relate a half of these exciting experiences and acts of gallantry, we would have to indent for a G.S. wagon to carry the library, so let it suffice to relate a few of the most conspicuous acts during this period of real WAR. Lists of awards and particulars will be included when to hand. It is hard to feel cheerful when so many of our best and dearest companions are lost to us, but we must always and will always, be thankful that, in the General’s own words, the Battalion has been tried and has not been found wanting, remembering especially the share of those who have gone, never again to answer their names in the roll of the Battalion.
The casualties to the Battalion were heavy; the total taken into the line with companies was 13 Officers and 637 O.R’s.
Of these 11 Officers and 338 O.R’s. are reported as casualties as follows: -
Killed 39 men
Wounded 153 men
Missing 146 men.
The figures of those missing both of Officers and man cannot be treated in any way as final as we are at the moment receiving news who have been found wounded. A corrected list, largely altered for the better let us hope, will be enclosed later.
1917 – 2/4th (TF) Bn Oxf & Bucks LI – ST JULIEN (YPRES)
In front line trenches. At 4.45.a.m. the Battn. attacked the German position on a front of 750X the objective being about 900X distant. The 1.5 R. Warwicks. Attacked on left and the 2/1 Bucks on right.
The following Officer’s went into the line H.Q. Lt. Col. WETHERALL, M.C. Capt. R.F. CUTHBERT, 2/Lt. A.J. ROBINSON and 2/Lt. T.A. HILL
A Coy. 2/Lts. COOMBS, TURRELL and WERB (2/Lt. CALLENDER having been killed the previous day).
B Coy. Capt. J.G. STOCKTON. 2/Lts MOBERLY and GRAY.
C Coy. Capt. A.H.BRUCKER, 2/Lts. MATHHEWS, HAWLS and DUNAND.
D Coy. Lt. W.D. SCOTT 2/Lts. GUEST, DAWSON SMITH and GASCOYNE.
The assembly for the advance was on a tape line laid out in advance of our line by 2/Lt. ROBBINSON on the night of 21st, and was carried out without the knowledge of the enemy. Five platoons of R. Berks co-operated with the Battn for mopping up. The disposition of Coy’s. from left to right was A, D, C. in front line with B, in support. The Battn. advanced under an Artillery barrage, and A and D Coy’s. closely followed by 2 platoons of B, reached their objective and consolidated. C Coy. on right with a platoon of B Coy. in support were held up owing to the failure of the mopping up platoons to take POND FARM. Owing to casualties to Senior Officers the front line command was assumed by 2/Lt. Moberly. And with him were 2/Lt. COOMBS, (A Coy) and 2/Lt. GUEST (D Coy.) The 1/5th WARWICKS on left failed to hold their objective, and consequently both flanks of the front line were unprotected, but 2/Lt. Moberly decided to hold on and arrange to provide such protection as was possible. At 4.p.m. with the assistance of 2 platoons of 2/5th Glosters we assaulted and captured POND FARM
Casualties Officers Killed. Capt. J.C. STOCKTON, Lt. W.D. SCOTT.and 2/Lt. GASCOYNE. Wounded. Capt. A.H. BRUCKER, 2/Lt. T.A. HILL, 2/Lt. H.G. TURRELL, 2/Lt. F. DAWSON SMITH and 2/Lt.T.W.P. HAWKES.
O.R. Killed 26. Wounded 74. Missing (probably killed or wounded) 44.
1927 – 2nd Bn Oxf & Bucks LI – (India)- Khaki Field Service Caps ordered to be replaced by all ranks with those of dark Green colour as the former become unserviceable, the small bugle (shoulder bugle size of whitemetal) to be worn with the latter.
1944 – 2nd (AB) Bn Oxf & Bucks LI – HEULAND - Normandy:-
Next morning the adv towards VAUVILLE was continued with the Regt in the lead, 'D' Coy acting as adv guard. About midday a member of the F.F.I. came cycling down the road with the news that the enemy had withdrawn to the other side of the river TOUQUES. The Comd Offr sent fwd two BB patrols to confirm this infm. The Int Offr went fwd into DEAUVILLE and confirmed that the bridge across the river had been blown and that the enemy were holding the East bank in some strength. Lieut Bousfield brought back similar infm about the bridge at TOUQUES 8410. The Regt then received orders to consolidate astride the road at LE PT CASTEL while 1 R.U.R. passed through with the object of trying to get across the river during the night.
1944 – 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion (Normandy):-
Comd Offr visits Airborne Div. No chance of Mortar or Carrier Pl being used. Airborne want to retain the vehs as long as possible. Still no news. Normal routine. LO goes to 1 Corps - no news.