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

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Archive for the tag “19th March 1918”

1918, MARCH 20th – FORWARD ZONE BETWEEN GRISCOURT AND FAYET

Redoubts 21st March 1918 The Fifth Army in March 1918 Walter Shaw Sparrow

Redoubts 21st March 1918
The Fifth Army in March 1918
Walter Shaw Sparrow

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

During the night of March 20 a raid on the Battalion’s right was carried out near Cepy Farm by the 182nd Brigade. It was successful. German prisoners from three divisions corroborated our suspicion that the great enemy offensive was about to be launched. From headquarters to headquarters throbbed the order to man battle stations.

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)

On the night of the 20th/21st of March a strong raid by the 2/6th Warwicks was made against the enemy trenches east of Fayet. This raid was completely successful, and resulted in the capture of fifteen prisoners and three machine-guns, establishing the fact that the enemy forces opposite our immediate front had been increased by at least two Divisions, and, from prisoner statements, that an attack would be launched on the morning of the 21st.

The Fifth Army in March 1918, by Walter Shaw Sparrow, John Lane Company (1921)

Next evening, at ten o’clock, after our guns had poured in a great many shells, two companies of Warwickshire troops – Shakespeare for ever!—raided the German trenches beyond Fayet, partly to get a few prisoners, and partly to learn how much the foe’s ordinary line troops had been reinforced. Fifteen Germans were captured, and three German regiments, nine battalions, were found on a span of front formerly held by one regiment, or three battalions. More valuable still was the news that in five or six hours Ludendorff would open his attack. This warning was made known at once to all Headquarters, British and French.*

* Ludendorff says, I believe with truth, that on March 18 or 19 two Germans deserted from a trench mortar company and gave information to us of the impending attack.

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1918-03-20
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Ugny
Entry The ADJUTANT – INTELLIGENCE OFFICER and one Officer per Company spent the day in reconnoitring the ground of the Battle Zone Sector and the ground between SPOONER REDOUBT and HOLNON WOOD, being one of the positions to which the Battalion be required to move in the event of an attack. Light Training was carried out by the Battalion.

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1918, MARCH 19th – MOVED INTO THE FORWARD ZONE NEAR FAYET

 

Redoubts 21st March 1918 The Fifth Army in March 1918 Walter Shaw Sparrow

Redoubts 21st March 1918
The Fifth Army in March 1918
Walter Shaw Sparrow

 

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

On the night of 18/19 March the Battalion went into the front line. C Company was on the right, in front of Fayet; B Company, under the command of Wallington, was on the left, just south of Gricourt. A went to Fayet itself and D Company, commanded in Robinson’s absence by Rowbotham, provided the garrison of Enghien Redoubt, which was a quarry near Selency Château; Battalion Headquarters also were at this redoubt.

The Battalion relieved the 2/4th R. Berks in the Forward Zone.

Dispositions: C Company, right front; B, left front; two platoons of A in Sunken Road near the Needle, as counterattack company; two platoons of A (with Company H.Q.) at the Willows (M.28.C.1.5 on Map 62 B.S.W.); D Company and Battalion H.Q. at Enghien Redoubt.

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1918-03-19
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Gricourt-Fayet-St Quentin Wood
Entry The Battalion was relived early in the morning by the 2/4th BN OXFORD and BUCKS LT INF and marched to MARTEVILLE and thence to UGNY, reaching the latter place at about 8am. The remainder of the day was spent in Resting and cleaning.

Forewarned, the German Spring Offensive, 21st March 1918

From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

“During the night of March 20 a raid on the Battalion’s right was carried out near Cepy Farm by the 182nd Brigade. It was successful. German prisoners from three divisions corroborated our suspicion that the great enemy offensive was about to be launched. From headquarters to headquarters throbbed the order to man battle stations.”

The Fifth Army in March, 1918
By W. Shaw Sparrow

“Next evening, at ten o’clock, after our guns had poured in a great many shells, two companies of Warwickshire troops — Shakespeare for ever! — raided the German trenches beyond Fayet, partly to get a few prisoners, and partly to learn how much the foe’s ordinary line troops had been reinforced. Fifteen Germans were captured, and three German regiments, nine battalions, were found on a span of front formerly held by one regiment, or three battalions. More valuable still was the news that in five or six hours Ludendorfi’ would open his attack. This warning was made known at once to all Headquarters, British and French.”

The Story of the 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, 1914-1918
By A. F. Barnes, M.C.

“Speculation had for a long time been rife as to the contemplated German attack. As usual, the incurable optimists said that it would never materialise, but in a raid made by the Royal Warwickshires, prisoners had been captured who stated positively that the barrage would open at 5 a.m. on March 21st and that the attack would be launched at 10.00 a.m. on that day. Even then it was thought that this news might be a piece of false information passed on for the purpose of misleading the Allies. However on the evening of the 20th, a message from Brigade to the effect that a captured German airman had stated that the attack was to commence at dawn was sent out to the companies with instructions to be prepared to move to battle stations immediately on receipt of orders to that effect.”

I also need to check out:
History of the 2/6th Bn The Royal Warwickshire Regt 1914-1919
Cornish brothers, 1929

War Diary: 2nd Wiltshire, Tuesday 19th March 1918, France, Trenches

“Quiet day. Information was received from prisoners captured that the enemy was expected to attack on the night 20/21st inst, and preparations were made accordingly. At 10pm gas was emitted from our front line. No enemy retaliation was forthcoming.”

2nd Lieutenant C. H. Wallington, M.C.

From G. K. Rose, The Story of the 2/4th Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

17th November 1917

“B Company, though they missed the gap through the enemy’s wire, entered the trenches without opposition and captured a machine-gun which was pointing directly at their approach but
never fired. Wallington, the officer in command of the storming party, killed several Germans.”

18th / 19th March 1918

“On the night of 18/19 March the Battalion went into the front line. C Company was on the right, in front of Fayet; B Company, under the command of Wellington, was on the left, just south of
Gricourt.”

UK, British Officer Prisoners of War, 1914-1918  

Name: C H Wallington
Rank: 2/Lt.
Regiment: 4th Battalion. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Lig
Date Missing: 21 Mar 1918
Repatriation Date: 14 Dec 1918
Record Number: 2908
Section: Western Theatre of Operations.

He became a POW and was interned in Holzminden.

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