1917, APRIL 7th – FAILED ATTACK AND RELIEF BY THE 2/1st BUCKS
From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)
Before dawn our troops were in their old positions.
In the attack the sergeant-majors of both A and B Companies were hit. Of the officers, Barton, commanding B, and Tilly, of A, were killed. Aitken and Wayte were wounded. Nearly 40 of rank and file were casualties.
The attack had proved a failure, but, as often happened, hopes of success were reluctantly abandoned by the staff. Thus my company was warned that it might have to repeat the attack at dawn. Pending such a fate, I was sent to bivouac in a windswept spinney known as Ponne Copse. It was still snowing. After their week’s exposure I was loth to inform my men of such a destiny.
But a more favourable turn of events was in store. The weather cleared, and at 11 a.m. on the 7th I was allowed to return to my version of Montolu Wood. On the same day the Battalion was relieved by the Bucks and marched back through Soyécourt to Caulaincourt. There we found Bennett, who had come from the Aldershot course to be Second in Command. The château grounds were quieter than before, for our guns had now moved further up towards the line.
On relief by the 2/1st Bucks, the Battalion moved to Caulaincourt, except B Company, who went into close support at Sailor’s Wood.
KILLED IN ACTION APRIL 7th 1917
Lieutenant C. J. Barton
2nd Lieutenant A. H. Tilly
200230 Company Sergeant Major Cecil Amos Witney
200917 Sergeant Bertie Elliott
200401 Lance Corporal William James Pacey
200864 Lance corporal Richard Yeates
203455 Private Donald Carruthers
200924 Private Frederick Jesse Gulliver
203473 Private Edward Harris (Formerly 2768, R. Bucks Hussars)
201263 Private Francis Walter Salcombe