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

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1917, APRIL 7th – FAILED ATTACK AND RELIEF BY THE 2/1st BUCKS

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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

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Company Sergeant Major Cecil Amos Witney

Name: WITNEY
Initials: C A
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Company Serjeant Major
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 07/04/1917
Service No: 200230
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. A. 41.
Cemetery: VADENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, MAISSEMY

Name: Cecil Amos Witney
Birth Place: Stokenchurch, Bucks
Residence: Thame, Oxon
Death Date: 7 Apr 1917
Enlistment Location: Stokenchurch, Bucks
Rank: C.S.M.
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 200230
Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Company Sergeant Major 200230, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Killed in action 7th April 1917. Born and resident Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, enlisted Thame. Buried in VADENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, MAISSEMY, Aisne, France. Plot II. Row A. Grave 41.

Please see: The Good Friday Attack of 6th April 1917

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