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

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

Archive for the tag “2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment”

1916, July 6th – MARCHED TO BE IN SUPPORT AT CROIX BARBEE

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

On the 6th July Captain Scott was instructing some men of D Company in bombing, when a bomb burst prematurely, killing Private Lord, severely wounding Captain Scott and Corporal North, and slightly wounding Lieut. Loewe and Private Williams. At 3 p.m. that afternoon the Battalion was suddenly ordered to march to Croix Barbee, where they relieved the 1st Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regiment and remained in reserve.

DIED OF WOUNDS JULY 7th 1916

5448 Private Charles Montague Lord

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

1916-07-06

Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Location France, La Gorgue

Entry Route march 8 miles. 1 man fell out. At 3pm Bn received orders to move as soon possible to CROIX BARBEE (M.26.c.8.3) and await orders. Marched out at 4.20pm arrived at 6pm. Ordered to relieve 1/1 CAMBRIDGESHIRE Regt in LEFT Sub-Section of FERME DU BOIS Sector (Ref: Trench Map S.10.d.2.7. to S.5.c.5.6 1/2). “B” Coy on Right, “C” Coy in Centre, “A” Coy on Left, “D” Coy in reserve. Three Platoons of “D” Coy in LANSDOWNE POST (S.4.a.1.1)). HQ and 1 platoon of “D” Coy at S.4.b.6.0. 2/1 BUCKS in Sub-Section on our Right, 2/7 ROYAL WARWICKS in Sub-Section on our left. 2/4 OXFORD AND BUCKS LI in support at CROIX BARBEE – 2/5 GLOSTERS in support of 2/1 BUCKS at REICHBOURG ST VAAST. Bde HQ at 8 MAISONS (R.30.c.5.8).

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1916, JULY 4th – RELIEVED BY THE 2/4th GLOCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT

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

The Battalion was relieved on the 4th July by the 2/4th Gloster Regiment, and went into billets at Riez Bailleul for rest.

KILLED IN ACTION JULY 4th 1916

5648 Private Walter Taplin

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

1917, AUGUST 23rd – DEFYING A GERMAN COUNTER ATTACK AT POND FARM

Attack Aug 22 1917

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

In front-line trenches at St. Julien. At dawn the enemy rushed and captured Pond Farm, but at 8 a.m., assisted by three platoons of the 2/6th Glosters, we recaptured it. Afterwards the enemy made some local counter-attacks; which were repulsed with heavy loss. In these two days we took about 80 prisoners. Casualties today : 2nd Lieuts Webb and Gray and 3 men killed, 29 wounded.

KILLED IN ACTION AUGUST 23rd 1917

2nd Lieutenant Webb

2nd Lieutenant Gray

202109 Private Frederick Berry

24436 Private Thomas John Owen (Formerly 2891, R.F.A.)

32853 Private Thomas William Richards

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

At night the Battalion was relieved by the 2/6th Glosters, and marched to camp near Ypres (Goldfish Chateau). During the night of August 23/24 the Battalion was relieved, when those whom death in battle had not claimed nor wounds despatched to hospital marched back through Ypres to the old camp at Goldfish Château.

1917, AUGUST 22nd – CAPTURE OF POND FARM

Attack Aug 22 1917

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 following night Companies assembled for the attack. Neither the starting place nor the objectives for this are easily described by reference to surrounding villages. The nearest was St. Julien. The operation orders for the attack of August 22 assigned as objective to the Oxfords a road running across the Hanebeck and referred to as the Winnipeg-Kansas Cross Road. The 48th Division on the left and the 15th on the right were to co-operate with the 184th Brigade in the attack.

Shortly before 5 the bombardment started. In the advance behind the creeping barrage put down by our guns, of which an enormous concentration was present on the front, C, D and A Companies (from right to left) provided the first waves, while B Company followed to support the flanks. The Berks came afterwards as ‘moppers up.’ Half-an-hour after the advance started D, B and A Companies were digging-in 150 yards west of the Winnipeg-Kansas Cross Road. The losses of these companies in going over had not been heavy, but, as so often happens, casualties occurred directly the objective had been duly reached. In the case of C Company, on the right, but little progress had been made. Pond Farm, a concrete stronghold, to capture which a few nights previously an unsuccessful sally had been made, had proved too serious an obstacle. Not till the following night was it reduced, and during the whole of August 22 it remained a troublesome feature in the situation.

Before the line reached could be consolidated or they could act to defeat the enemy’s tactics, our men found themselves the victims of sniping and machine-gun fire from Schuler Farm, which was not taken and to which parties of reinforcements to the enemy now came. More dangerous still was an old gun-pit which lay behind the left flank. The capture of this had been assigned to the 48th Division, but as a measure of abundant caution Colonel Wetherall had detailed a special Berks platoon to tackle it. This platoon, assisted by some Oxfords on the scene, captured the gun-pit and nearly seventy prisoners, but failed to garrison it. A party of the enemy found their way back and were soon firing into our men from behind. During the early stages of consolidation, when personal example and direction were required, John Stockton, Scott, and Gascoyne were all killed by snipers or machine-gun fire. Scott had been hit already in the advance and behaved finely in refusing aid until he had despatched a message to Headquarters. While he was doing so three or four bullets struck him simultaneously and he died.

Throughout the 22nd no actual counter-attack nor organised bombardment by the enemy took place, but much sniping and machine-gun fire continued, making it almost impossible to move about. Our loss in Lewis-gunners was particularly heavy.

Callender, the acting company commander of A Company, had been killed before the attack commenced, and Sergeant-Major Cairns was now the mainstay of that company, whose men were thoroughly mixed up with B. Upon the left the 48th Division had failed to reach Winnipeg, with the result that this flank of A and B Companies was quite in the air. On the Battalion’s right the failure of C Company, in which Brucker had been wounded, to pass Pond Farm left the flank of D Company exposed and unsupported. But the position won was kept. Ground to which the advance had been carried with cost would not be lightly given up. Moberly, Company Sergeant-Major Cairns, and Guest -the latter by volunteering in daylight to run the gauntlet of the German snipers back to Headquarters-greatly distinguished themselves in the task of maintaining this exposed position during the night of August 22 and throughout August 23. Some of our men had to remain in shell-holes unsupported and shot at from several directions for over fifty hours”.

At 4.45 a.m. the Battalion attacked on a front of 750 yards, the objective being about 900 yards distant. On our left were the l/5th R. Warwicks, and the 2/1st Bucks on the right, with five platoons of the R. Berks acting as moppers-up. The assembly, which was carried out unknown to the enemy, was on a tape line, laid down in advance of our line by 2nd Lieut. Robinson the previous night. The disposition of companies from left to right was A, D, C in front line, and B in support. The Battalion advanced under our artillery barrage, and A and D Companies, closely followed by two platoons of B, reached their objective and consolidated. C Company on the right, with a platoon of B in support, were held up owing to the failure of the mopping-up platoon to take Pond Farm. Owing to casualties among senior officers, the front-line command devolved on 2nd Lieut. Moberly, with whom were 2nd Lieut. Coombes (A) and 2nd Lieut. Guest (D). The battalion on our left was unable to hold its objective, and consequently both flanks of the front line were unprotected; but 2nd Lieut. Moberly decided to hold on, and arranged to provide such protection as was possible. At 4 p.m., with the assistance of two platoons of the 2/5th Glosters, we assaulted and captured Pond Farm.

KILLED IN ACTION AUGUST 22nd 1917

Captain J. G. Stockton.

Lieut. WT. D. Scott. 2nd

Lieut. W. E. Gascoyne

201057 Sergeant Alfred Mobey

202295 Lance Sergeant Albert Barnes

200871 Corporal Albert Margetts

200978 Corporal James William Smith

202440 Lance Corporal Harold William Percival Bolt (Born Sydney Australia)

201270 Lance Corporal Eric George Cheasley

200689 Lance Corporal Frederick Edginton

267405 Lance Corporal William Merrith

201458 Lance Corporal Benjamin Arthur Tyler

201230 Private Harold Bolton

203189 Private Dennis Bush

240310 Private William James Callow

201694 Private Aubrey Castle

14783 Private Albert Thomas Childs

201655 Private William Walter Cox

24484 Private Herbert Charles Date (Formerly 141415 R.F.A.)

202885 Private William Dennis

203867 Private Albert John Drewitt

285020 Private Arthur Henry Drewitt

202393 Private Joseph Eversden

240350 Private James Charles Ferriman

202151 Private Frank Herbert Gardiner

203844 Private William Guess

201358 Private Lewis Heath

266895 Private Edward George Hoare

203475 Private Arthur James Hughes (Formerly 2694, R. Bucks Hussars)

201435 Private Harold Hughes

201864 Private Henry Impey

200931 Private Howard Stanley May

29025 Private George Albert Missen

240409 Private Leve Mitchell

202701 Private George Payne

202768 Private Christopher Piekton

203787 Private William Richard Pitson

22534 Private Jasper Quincey Plumb

204409 Private Ernest William Rolfe

202554 Private Harold Rolph

202661 Private George Roper

201967 Private Ernest John Rose

204413 Private John Elford Soper (Formerly 3457, Berks Yoemanry)

203434 Private Robert John Stratford (Formerly 1794, R. Bucks Hussars)

203535 Private Ernest Walter Sutton (formerly 2777, R. Bucks Hussars)

203811 Private Alfred Fred Taylor

23717 Private Horace White

200270 Herbert Edward Wright

DIED OF WOUNDS AUGUST 22nd 1917

32542 Lance Corporal Arthur Stamper (Formerly 3427, Notts and Derby Regt.)

Wounded: Captain A. H. Brucker. 2nd Lieut. T. A. Hill. 2nd Lieut. H. G. Turrell. 2nd Lieut. F. Dawson-Smith 2nd Lieut. T. W. P. Hawker And 74 other ranks.

Missing: 44 other ranks (3 of whom were afterwards reported to be prisoners, the remainder presumed to have been killed).

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

The attack, in which the Bucks had successfully co-operated on the right of our advance, earned credit for the Brigade and the Battalion. It had been, from a fighting standpoint, a military success. But from the strategical aspect the operations showed by their conclusion that the error had been made of nibbling with weak forces at objectives which could only have been captured and secured by strong. Moreover, the result suggested that the objectives had been made on this occasion for the attack rather than the attack for the objectives. The 184th Brigade had played the part assigned to it completely and with credit, but what had been gained by it with heavy loss was in fact given up by its successors almost at once. Withdrawal from the Kansas trenches became an obvious corollary to the German omission to counter-attack against them. Ground not in dispute ’twas not worth casualties to hold. On the Battalion’s front Pond Farm, a small concrete stronghold, remained the sole fruit of the attack of August 22. It was after the 61st Division had been withdrawn, wasted in stationary war, that what success could be associated with this third battle of Ypres commenced. Judged by its efforts, the 61st was ill paid in results.

TO 1917, AUGUST 23rd

1917, APRIL 6th – GOOD FRIDAY ATTACK EAST OF SOYECOURT

AdvanceStQuentin

The 184th Brigade attacked the enemy’s trenches; 2/5th Glosters on the right, 2/4th Oxford and Bucks on the left. “Zero” hour, midnight. A Company was the attacking company. The enemy wire was found to be uncut; two attempts were made to break through, but without success, and the attacking companies, were consequently forced to withdraw. Casualties. — Lieut. C. J. Barton and 8 men killed; 2nd Lieuts. J. P. Wayte, R. Aitken, A. H. Tilley and 21 men wounded (2nd Lieut. A. H. Tilley afterwards died of his wounds)

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

For April 6–Good Friday, 1917–an attack on a large scale had been arranged. The 59th Division on our left, the Gloucesters and the 182nd Brigade on our right, shared in the operations. The line was to be advanced a mile on both sides of the Omignon. The Battalion’s objective was a line of trenches recently dug by the enemy and running between Le Vergier and the river. To capture them Brown’s company, which hitherto had stayed in reserve at Soyécourt in tolerable accommodation, was selected. B and D Companies were ordered to keep close behind A to support the attack, while C remained to garrison the outpost line.

Zero was midnight, but before that snow and sleet were falling heavily. It proved the dirtiest night imaginable. Companies moved in columns across the 1,000 yards of open fields between their old positions and the objective, against which our artillery kept up as severe a fire as possible. That fire was less effective than was hoped. In its advance A Company lost men from our own shells, of which nearly all were seen to be falling very short. The German wire, still the great argument to face in an attack, was found uncut. Although at first inclined to surrender, the enemy soon saw the failure of our men to find a gap. Machine-guns were manned, which swept the ground with a fierce enfilade fire. Brown, Aitken, and Wayte behaved in a most gallant manner, the line was rallied, and a renewed attempt made to storm the trenches. In vain. No troops will stand against machine-gun fire in the open when no object can be achieved. It was idle to repeat the attack or send fresh companies to share the forlorn enterprise.

KILLED IN ACTION APRIL 6th 1917

201177 Lance Sergeant Francis Hugh Silvester Smith

1917, APRIL 4th – FRONT-LINE EAST OF SOYECOURT

Advance St. Quentin

Snowing all day. The front posts were heavily shelled during the morning; 1 killed, 2 wounded.

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

In the early morning of April 4 the 59th Division, which was operating on the Battalion’s left, attacked Le Vergier. Fighting continued till noon, but the village was not taken. The 59th lost heavily. As they formed up for their advance–which was for some 1,000 yards across the open and exposed to view–behind the line the Battalion was holding, considerable enemy fire was brought down upon us and I lost Sergeant Watkins, wounded in the arm, and several other casualties. It snowed nearly all day. In the shallow trenches, which were ill-sited both for drainage and concealment from the enemy, life was miserable. On the next night a battalion of Sherwood Foresters relieved D Company, which returned to its wood, but B and C Companies remained holding the line. John Stockton, who now commanded B, was ill, but refused to leave the trenches and carried on in a most determined manner under shocking weather conditions. A new officer, Allden, in my company also proved his worth about this time. Events of some sort were of hourly occurrence.

The 2/5th Gloucesters held the line on the Battalion’s right, near the Omignon river. One night, after a heavy bombardment with 4.2s, the Germans rushed one of their posts. It had recently been evacuated, and the enemy spent his trouble in vain.

KILLED IN ACTION APRIL 4th 1917

201985 Private George Loveridge (Likely to have been D Company)

DIED OF WOUNDS APRIL 4th 1917

201448 Private Creswick Franklin

Havrincourt Wood, 7th December 1917

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

“On December 7 the 183rd Brigade relieved the Battalion, which moved back to tents in Havrincourt Wood. It was bitter! Shells and aeroplane bombs made the wood dangerous as well as cold.”

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Friday 7th December 1917, France, Trenches R8 West of Railway VILLERS-PLOUICH Area.

Readjustment of 61 Div Front took place.

CO visited line and working parties preparatory to handing over to 2/5 GLOSTERS.

Casualties to date

Killed Wounded Wounded Officers
A 4 15 2 Lieut LEGGETT
B 2 12 JANAWAY
C 6 16
D 9 24

21 67

Cambrai, 3rd December 1917

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Monday 3rd December, 1917, France, Trenches R8 West of Railway VILLERS-PLOUICH Area.

Battn moved into trenches of old British line.

Battn placed under orders of 183 BDE for use as storming or counter attack troops.

Trenches severely shelled.

Enemy attacks in great force taking place all round.

2/5 GLOSTERS ordered to counter attack.

At 1pm dispositions were altered and “C” Coy sent to take up a position facing enemy on E. “D” Coy moved to help “C”.

Battn ordered to occupy CORNER WORK.

184th Brigade, North West of Merville, 28th May 1916

War Diary of 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Sunday 28th May 1916, France, Merville, K21

Battn detrained at BERGUETTE at 3.30pm and 5pm. Marched to billets NW of MERVILLE at K21. Remainder of Brigade 2/4 OXFORD AND BUCKS LI, 2/5 GLOSTER Regt, and 2/1 BUCKS Battn billeted in adjoining areas within 1 mile.

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