Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (The 2/4th Battalion)

Research and Resources around the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during WWI

Archive for the category “June 1916”

1916, JUNE 29th – FIRST RAID BY THE 2/4th OXFORDS: BAPTISM OF FIRE

From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose M.C. (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)

That same night (28th / 29th) the Battalion did its first raid, by B Company under Hugh Davenport. The raid was ordered at short notice and was a partial success. If the tangible results were few, B Company was very properly thanked for its bravery on this enterprise, which had to be carried out against uncut wire and unsubdued machine-guns. Zeder, a lieutenant with a South African D.C.M., was mortally wounded on the German wire and taken prisoner. The casualties were numerous. Davenport himself was wounded, but unselfishly refused treatment until his men had been fetched in. It was a night of battle and excitement. To the most hardened troops a barrage directed against crowded breastworks was never pleasant. The Battalion bore itself well and earned recital, albeit with some misdescription, in the English press a few days later.

At zero they all advanced, but the wire was insufficiently cut. Lieut, Stockton, with the right party, under very heavy fire cast both right and left about 50 yards to try to find a gap, but did not succeed in doing so, and brought the right party back. 2nd Lieut. Zeder, in charge of the left party, got up to the wire but could not get through, and this party suffered severely as they came back, 2nd Lieut. Zeder being killed. The supporting party were also held up by uncut wire, and eventually returned to the trenches, having lost 8 killed and about 30 wounded, nearly all of whom were brought in. Sergeant Prentice, Corporal Brereton, and Private Gardner received the Military Medal for their actions during this raid, and the G.O.C. 61st Division wrote that he considered it had been carefully planned and gallantly carried out. The failure of  the raid was due to the uncut wire.

KILLED IN ACTION JUNE 29th 1916

200305 Lance Corporal Albert Norris

2030 Lance Corporal Reginal Leslie Pink

5341 Private Percy Ball

201969 Private George Gladstone Burge

241361 Private Edward Busby

202002 Private Leslie Hine

4694 Private Harry Parker

5349 Private Walter Edward Frank Smith

5325 Private Kaleb A Wyatt

DIED OF WOUNDS JUNE 29th 1916

3554 Lance Sergeant Victor Maurice Elliott

6730 Private Noah Davies Huzzey (Formerly 1336, Welsh Regt.)

1916, JUNE 28th – PREPARING FOR THE FIRST RAID BY THE 2/4th OXFORDS

Extracted From The Regimental Chronicles of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

On the evening of 28/29th the Battalion had to carry out its first raid. Captain Davenport’s Company had been selected. The plan was to enter the enemy’s trenches, and penetrate to his support line if possible. Two parties were to enter the trenches at points about 100 yards apart, and a third party was to act as reserve and rearguard. Considerable hindrance was experienced by two exceptionally dark nights immediately preceding the raid, which made it impossible to ascertain with certainty whether the wire had been properly cut.

 From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose KC (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)

By the end of June an intense feeling of expectancy had developed; activity on both sides reached the highest pitch. The Battalion was not slow in playing its part. One of the early casualties was Lieutenant Moberly, who performed a daring daylight reconnaissance up to the German wire. He was wounded and with great difficulty and only through remarkable pluck regained our lines.

On the morning of the 28th Lieut. K. E. Brown and 2nd Lieut. W. H. Moberley went out each by himself to reconnoitre the gaps in the wire. 2nd Lieut. Moberley was hit by a sniper and lay for 9 hours in a shell-hole before he could get back to our lines just as the raid was going out. Lieut. Brown remained out about 5 hours, and returned with the information that the wire at the left gap appeared to be sufficiently broken. In order to avoid the machine-gun fire with which the enemy always swept the top of the trenches at the hour fixed for zero, the various parties crept out into the No Man’s Land and lay there for an hour.

1916, JUNE 27th – RELIEVED THE 2nd/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT IN THE FRONT LINE

From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose KC (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)

On the 27th they returned to the front line. During this time Major D. M. Rose returned to England sick, and Captain Cuthbert became Adjutant.

Killed in Action 27th June 1916

202946 Lance Corporal William Henry Rimmer, (Formerly 1624, Liverpool Regiment)

From the War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1916-06-27

Regiment.2/4th Royal Berkshire

Location France, Trenches

Entry Quiet morning. Relieved by 2/4 OXFORDS. Complete at 9.30pm. Returned to Billets and Posts at LAVENTIE as before. Lt Col M Wheeler relieved of his Command by Major J H Beer 2/8 R WARWICKS, who assumes command from this day.

1916, JUNE 20th – IN THE RED HOUSE SUB-SECTION OF THE FANQUISSART SECTION

From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose KC (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)

During this period the 2/5 Gloucestershire Regiment made a raid, and the Battalion assisted with rifle-grenades and demonstration.

From the following description and the casualty figures of the 2/5th of June 21st I believe the raid was made on the night of June 20th / 21st.

From The Story of the 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, 1914 – 1918, by A. F. Barnes, M. C., (Gloucester, The Crypt House Press, Limited, 1930)

The other event of note was a raid made by A Company under the command of Capt. Wales. Unfortunately after the raiding party had gone over the top , it was held up by the wire which was found to be insufficiently cut. The party was thus exposed to a ruthless machine-gun fire from the enemy and was eventually compelled to return to its own trenches after having suffered heavy casualties. For the purpose of the raid , an attempt was made by the signalers to establish lamp signal communication between the front line and Battalion Headquarters, but the difference between a dress rehearsal on a quite night and the real thing with Verey Lights and gun flashes abounding, had been miscalculated. The signalers on this occasion included Tom Voyce of Twickenham fame. He cameto the 2/5th from the 1/5th, having been sent back as underage. He tells how he was placed in the “awkward” squad. Many who have tried to circumvent Tom Voyce when he was dashing for the goal line in those long loping strides of his have good reason to know how “awkward” he really was. Many acts of gallantry were performed during the raid and the following awards were made – M.C. to Capt. E. W. Wales, D.C.M. to Pte. L Fletcher, M.M. to Sgt. A. H. Norris and Cpl. C. Driver. The total casualties were 5 other ranks killed, 1 died of wounds, 3 officers wounded, 13 other ranks wounded and 4 missing*. Among the missing was Sgt. Newman of C. Company.

The Killed in Action of the 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment from 21st June 1916 are listed below:

240948 Lance Sergeant Victor Garnet Newman

4589 Lance Corporal William Cambray 5809 Private Henry Barnes

5859 Private William English (Formerly 1687, Northumberland Cyclist Battalion)

4517 Private John Hall

3580 Private Charles William Jackson

5765 Private Joseph Ryan

3345 Private Ernest Skillern

5783 Private Frederick George Yeldham (formerly 2240, 8th Essex Regiment)

* It looks if all those listed as missing, were actually killed in action.

The Died of Wounds of the 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment from 21st June 1916 is listed below:

5807 Private William Young

A side note on Tom Voyce:

Regarded as one of the game’s greatest back row specialists, he began his playing career at the local Gordon League club. The flank forward made 218 appearances for Gloucester in which time he scored 54 tries.

Tom appeared in every match of England’s Grand Slam winning teams of 1921, 1923 and 1924, and also represented the Army and the Barbarians. Tom was captain of Gloucester from 1924-1927 and was a member of the British touring side to South Africa in 1924.

His career was an amazing achievement because of the serious eye defect he sustained whilst serving for the Gloucestershire Regiment in World War I.

Tom Voyce

1916, JUNE 21st – RELIEVED FROM THE RED HOUSE SUB-SECTION OF THE FANQUISSART SECTION BY THE 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT AND WENT IN SUPPORT AT LAVENTIE

June 21st-27th the Battalion was in support at Laventie.

KILLED IN ACTION JUNE 21st 1916

4103 Private Albert Joseph Randall

From the War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1916-06-21
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Trenches
Entry Relieved 2/4 OXFORDS. Complete 9.30pm. Coys in same position as before. Listening Patrols out. Sap started from No 5 Sally Post and PICANTIN AVENUE. Heavy firing in S.

1916, JUNE 15th – RELIEVED THE 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT IN THE RED HOUSE SUB-SECTION OF THE FANQUISSART SECTION

From The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, by Captain G. K. Rose KC (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1920)

From 15th-21st June the Battalion was in the trenches in the Red House Sub-section of the Fanquissart section.

From the War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1916-06-15
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Trenches
Entry Quiet day. Relieved by 2/4 OXFORDS at 11pm and moved back to rest billets in LAVENTIE. 1 Coy holds 2 Platoons in LAVENTIE E POST, 1 Platoon HOUGOUMONT, 1 Platoon DEAD END POST, 1 Platoon in PICANTIN POST. 2 Platoons ready to move at 15 minutes notice.

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