1818 - New Colours presented to the 43rd at Valenciennes (France), by Lady Blakeney
1915 – 2nd Bn Oxf & Bucks LI -IN TRENCHES AT CUINCHY.
Quiet period, though some annoyance from enemy’s trench mortars at times.
26th Reinforcement of 30 men arrived.
1915 – 1/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion – BAYENCOURT & SAILLY
Battalion in bivouac
1916 - Battle of Pozieres (Somme); 1/4th and 1/1st Bucks Bn heavily engaged.
1916 – 1/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion - POZIERES (Somme).
22-23 JULY POZIERES
On the night of the 22nd/23rd July a general attack was delivered by the greater part of the Fourth Army, during which the Australians captured Pozieres The 145th Infantry Brigade attacked on their immediate left, in the following order from right to left: 1/4th Oxfords,, 1/4th Royal Berks, 1/5th Gloucesters, the Bucks Battalion being in reserve in the Mash Valley behind Ovillers.
The Oxfords and Berks gained a footing in their objectives, but sustained very heavy casualties, and were cut off from the Australians by a large stretch of trench which remained in the hands of the enemy.
On their left the attack of the 5th Gloucesters was unsuccessful, which left them in a very perilous position without any communication with the rear.
At about 4 a.m. the Bucks Battalion received orders to attack, and seize at all costs, that portion of the trench against which the attack of the Glosters had been directed previously.
Zero had been fixed for 6.30 a.m., and there were 2 miles of strange trenches to be covered before reaching the jumping-off trench. There was no time to lose. Orders therefore were of necessity scanty, and much had to be left to the initiative of the Company Commanders concerned, who fully justified the confidence reposed in them by the Commanding Officer. The attack was one of very great difficulty owing to the way the trenches ran. The enemy position was a stretch of trench approached by two communication trenches about 400 yards long.
The right-hand one was in good condition and met the enemy’s trench at right angles, the enemy having a bomb stop about fifty yards from the end. The left-hand communicator was badly damaged, and ran at an obtuse angle into the enemy’s line.
“B” and “D” Companies were detailed for the attack—“B” under Captain O. V. Viney on the left, “D” under Captain E. V. Birchall on the right. Both Companies at Zero were to leave their trenches and form inwards on the intervening space—about 200 yards. “A” Company, under Captain N. S. Reid, were to be in support in the right communicator; “C” Company, under Captain P. A. Hall, was to provide the necessary carrying parties after the attack had been launched. Unfortunately “ B Company whilst getting into position came under a barrage of our own heavy guns, which were shooting short, and sustained many casualties, being thus delayed in getting into position.
“D” Company, however, under the splendid leadership of Captain Birchall, carried out their orders to the letter, and by dint of advancing practically in the barrage succeeded in capturing the whole position single-handed. The support Company at once moved up to assist in the work of consolidation and clearing the prisoners, about 150. One of these officers stated that the assault had taken them entirely by surprise as they were waiting for the barrage to lift, before manning the parapet; and declared his opinion that the success of the assault, where two previous ones had failed, was due entirely to the way in which D Company had hugged the barrage.
The result of this action was that touch was immediately established with the isolated troops on the right, enabling bombing operations to be carried out by the 145th Brigade, and a junction with the Australians was effected. Several attempts by the enemy to retake the position were successfully repulsed by the Battalion. It was not till midnight of July 23/24 that he put down a heavy barrage on the captured line, though no attack developed, and at 12 noon the following day the battalion handed over the position intact to the 5th Gloucesters and returned to bivouacs near Albert.
The casualties in this action were:
Died of Wounds 1
The losses of the Battalion during this period were extremely heavy, and many of the finest officers and most valuable N.C.O.’s were killed in the severe fighting.