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

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

Archive for the tag “Ablaincourt sector”

1917, FEBRUARY 23rd – RELIEVED THE 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT – ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Ablaincourt Sector

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 afternoon of February 23, we marched up to relieve the Berks. Near Foucaucourt the cookers gave us tea. There also we changed into gumboots. Guides met us at Estrées cross-roads, a trysting place possible only when dusk had fallen, and the lugubrious procession started along a tramway track among whose iron sleepers the men floundered considerably, partly from their precaution of choosing gumboots several sizes too large. On this occasion the usual stoppages and checks were multiplied by a brisk artillery ‘strafe’ upon the front, accompanied by all manner of coloured lights and rockets. The noise soon dying down we were able to continue a bad journey with men frequently becoming stuck and a few lost.

The Battalion relieved the 2/4th R. Berks in the left sub-section of the Ablaincourt sector. Dispositions : A Company on the left, C centre, D right, B in support.

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1917-02-23
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Trenches Deniecourt
Entry Great artillery 7-45pm – 8-30pm. 1 OR killed 1 wounded. Battn relieved by 2/4th OXFORDS.

1917, MARCH 14th – VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES, ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Killed in Action 14th March 1917

202827 Private Harry Victor Gardner, M.M.

Private. TF. 202827 2/4th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry 61st Division. Killed in action 14 March 1917. Aged 22. Son of John Henry & Kate Gardener of Mesea Island, Essex. Born in Hove and enlisted in Swansea. Resident of West Mersea, Essex Mersea Island War Memorial. Commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial

1917, MARCH 13th – VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES, ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Died of Wounds 13th March 1917

203759 Private Alfred William Stanton

1917, MARCH 12th – VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES, ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Died of Wounds 12th March 1917

202839 Private Thomas Edward Jones

From the Port Talbot Historical Society 1914 – 1918 Manuscript

JONES, Private, THOMAS EDWARD 202839 2nd/4th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry
12 March 1917
Son of Joseph & Ellen Jones of 30 Arthur Street, Aberavon
Bray Military Cemetery, France 11 B.1

It looks if he had two brothers that also died during the war.

Private 11977 Joseph Jones
8th Bn. The Welsh Regiment
KIA Chunuk Bair,8th August 1915
Age 23
No known grave,Helles memorial panel 140-144.

Private 202839 Thomas Edward Jones
2nd/4th OBLI
Died of wounds,12th March 1917
Buried Bray military cemetary

Gunner 815049 Leonard Jones
Royal Field Artillery
Home death 4th February 1921
Age 22
Buried Goytre cemetary Port Talbot

1917, MARCH 11th – VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES, ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Killed in Action 11th March 1917

202081 Private Alfred Cecil Crapper

In Memory of Private A. C. CRAPPER

Son of William and Elizabeth A. Crapper, of 1, Brooke’s Cottages, Woodstock Rd., Summertown, Oxford.

Age 26.

Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:II. F. 49.Cemetery: BRAY MILITARY CEMETERY

1917, MARCH 9th – 15th VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES, ABLAINCOURT SECTOR

Ablaincourt Sector

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

The Battalion returned to do another tour in the Ablaincourt sector. The line was again held by A on the left (owing to the former three-company system no proper interchange had been possible) and by B on the right. Davenport went to my old headquarters, which the enemy was now busy trench-mortaring, and held half the front previously held by C, which, with D Company, was now in support. To the usual evils were now added rifle-grenades filled with gas, which caused several casualties in A Company. D Company lost a good man in Lance Corporal Tremellen, who was wounded by a bullet through the legs when leading a ration party ‘across the top,’ and other N.C.O.’s went sick with trench fever. During this tour the energy of Corporal Viggers, of my company, was most remarkable. He did the work of ten.

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

… had one more tour in the line from the 9th to the 15th

1917, MARCH 10th – VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES

Ablaincourt Sector

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

Relief complete by 2am on 10th.

DIED OF WOUNDS MARCH 10th 1917

202095 Private Frank Sandford

1917, MARCH 9th – RELIEVED THE 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT IN THE VALET SUB-SECTION OF DENICOURT TRENCHES

Ablaincourt Sector

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

1917-03-09

Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Location France, Denicourt Trenches

Entry Relieved by 2/4 OXFORDS. Battalion went into Brigade Support. A Coy at Poplar Copse, B Coy BOURGEAT Trench, C Coy BOVENT COPSE, D Coy LETHE Trench. Battn HQ’rs near DENICOURT. Relief complete by 2am on 10th.

1917, FEBRUARY 27th – UNDER ENEMY BOMBARDMENT FOR FOUR HOURS IN ABLAINCOURT TRENCHES

Ablaincourt Sector

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 morning of February 27 German howitzer batteries commenced some heavy shelling on the Battalion sector, especially on the communication trenches passing under the former French titles of B.C.4 and B.C.5. Working parties who were busy digging out mud from those trenches were compelled to desist. At 10 o’clock I heard that Fry, the commander of No. 16 Platoon, had been hit by shrapnel on his way from Company H.Q. to the Sucrerie. To get him to the nearest shelter (C Company H.Q.) was difficult through the mud, and uncomfortable enough with 5.9s coming down close to the trench, but the men, as always, played up splendidly to assist a comrade.

Soon afterwards, the doctor, in answer to a telephonic summons, appeared at my H.Q. On our way to reach Fry we were both knocked down in the trench by a 4.2, which also wounded Corporal Rockall in the shoulder-blade. I regret that Fry, though safely moved from the trenches the same night, had received a mortal wound. In him died a fine example of the platoon officer. He met his wound in the course of a trivial duty which, had I guessed that he would do it under heavy shelling, I should have forbidden him to undertake. His type of bravery, though it wears no decorations, is distinguished, more than all other, by the unwritten admiration of the Infantry.

During that night I had a peculiar and interesting task. It was to report on the condition of all roads leading through our front line across No-Man’s-Land. Mud, battle and frost had so combined to disguise all former roads and tracks, that to decide their whereabouts it was often necessary to follow them forward from behind by means of map and compass. Seen by pale moonlight, these derelict roads, in places pitted with huge craters or flanked by shattered trees, wore a mysterious charm. More eloquent of catastrophe than those thrown down by gale or struck by lightning are trees which shells have hit direct and sent, splintered, in headlong crash from the ranks of an avenue. If wood and earth could speak, what tales the sunken roads of France could find to tell!

The enemy bombarded our trenches for four hours. Casualties.

—  2nd Lieut. A. C. Fry mortally wounded (died next day) and 2 men wounded.

In 1916 Arthur Charles Fry was Fry was well enough to enter an Officers’ Training Battalion, from which he received a commission in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, and went to France on 5 January 1917 as a Second Lieutenant in “D” Company of the 2nd/4th Battalion; a month later he was killed. A fellow officer described him thus:

During the short time he was in the line he did extremely well. His Company Commander told me that it was perfectly extraordinary how quick he took to everything, and he went so far as to say that he was the best Platoon Commander he had had … he was most popular with his Platoon … and an awfully keen soldier…. In the line he was awfully good and brave, did not care a rap for bullet or shell, and was always with his men if there was a bombardment on, walking about amongst them cracking jokes and cheering them on, and the men admired him and thought of him as a little god. It was a chance shell that hit him, and he lay for hours in an Officers’ dug-out before they could take him to the Field Ambulance and then to hospital, where he died on March 1st.

1917, FEBRUARY 26th – IN THE TRENCHES AT ABLAINCOURT

Ablaincourt Sector

Our guns shelled the enemy line, but there was no retaliation.

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