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

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

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1917, MAY 26th – AT DUISANS TRAINING AND JOINED BY ITS NEW COMMANDER, LIEUTENANT-COLONEL H. E. DE R. WETHERALL, D.S.O., MC

WetherallOn the 26th Lieut.-Colonel H. E. de R. Wetherall, M.C. (Gloucestershire Regiment), joined the Battalion on appointment to command.

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

Colonel Bellamy’s successor, H. de R. Wetherall, was a young man whom ability and leadership had already lifted to distinction in his regiment and placed in command of an important military school. From now onwards he is the outstanding figure in the Battalion’s history. In the new Colonel a quick brain was linked with vigorous physique. In spite of his Regular training, Wetherall could appreciate and himself possessed to no small degree the peculiar virtues of the temporary officer, who based his methods on common sense and actual experience in the war rather than servile obedience to red tape and ‘Regulations.’ He had studied during the war as well as before it, with the result that military tradition–his regiment was the Gloucestershire–and his long service in the field combined to fit him for command of our Battalion.

Lieutenant-Colonel, Sir Geoffrey Christie-Miller, D.S.O., M.C.

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

“The Colonel and myself were the next victims, and when the time came for the Battalion to go into the line, it was necessary to send for Christie-Miller, of the Gloucesters, to take command and to make Murray from quartermaster into adjutant.”

There is a full page photograph of Lieutenant-Colonel, Geoffrey C. Christie-Miller in:

Story of the 2/5th Battalion the Gloucester Regiment 1914-1918
ed by A.F.Barnes
ISBN: 9781843427582
Format: 2003 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1930) 192pp with 39 b/w photos and 12 maps.

The following dialog is from the Web site: http://somme1916.6.forumer.com/a/posts.php?topic=14&start=. It has some interesting comments on Geoffrey Christie-Miller.

“London Gazette has showing on Geoffrey Christie Miller.”

“16th March, 1916. The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Captain Geoffrey Christie Miller to be Adjutant, vice Captain (temporary Major) Robert W. Harling.”

“Dated 29th April, 1915. (I Believe this is a missprint for 1916) 16th May, 1916 Oxford and Bucks. L.I. Capt G. Christie-Miller to be temp. Maj. with precedence as from 3. Mar. 1916, but without pay and allowances of that rank prior to 17 May 1916”

“16th June, 1917. TERRITORIAL FORCE INFANTRY Oxford and Bucks. Light Infantry Capt. (temp.) (temp. Maj) G Christie-Miller to be Capt. (temp. Maj.), with precedence as from 5th Aug. 1914. 17th June 1917. Capt. (temp. Maj.) G Christie-Miller relinquishes the temp. rank of Maj. (another missprint ? should read ‘temp. rank of Capt) 17th June 1917.”

“2nd August, 1917. Oxford & Bucks. L.I.- Capt. G. Christie Miller to be actg. Maj. whilst empld. as Maj. on Hd.-Qrs. 17th June 1917.”

“17th June 1918. Gloucestershire Regt.Capt. (actg. Maj.) g. Christie-Miller, M.C., Ox & Bucks. L.I., retains actg. rank of Maj. whilst empld. as 2nd in Command. 8th Apr. 1918.”

“8th March 1919. AWARDED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER. Capt. (A./Lt.-Col.) Geoffrey Christie Miller, M.C., Bucks. Bn., Oxf. & Bucks. L.I., attd. 2/5th Bn. Glouc. R. 15th. July 1919. War Office, 15th July, 1919 The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Territorial Decoration upon the undermentioned Officers of the Territorial Force who have been duly recommended for the same under the terms of the Royal Warrant dated 17th. August, 1908, as modified by the Royal Warrant dated 11th. November, 1918:- Officers of the Territorial Force who are eligible and recommended for the Territorial Decoration. Yeomanry. Bucks. Battalion, Oxford & Bucks. Light Infantry.- Capt. (A./Lieut. Col.) Geoffrey Christie -Miller, D.S.O. , M.C. Citation for The Award of The D.S.O. Capt. (A./Lt.-Col.) Geoffrey Christie- Miller, M.C., Bucks. Bn., Oxf. & Bucks. L.I., T.F., Attd. 2/5th Bn, Glou Reg. On 30th September and 1st October 1918, his battalion was engaged in operations south of Fleurbaix. He reconnoitered the ground beforehand, established his headquarters far foward, and maintained it there for two days under continuous shelling. The sucessful issue of the fighting was due to his personal control and fine example of indifference to danger. He continued to command his battalion after being wounded.”

The following is a debate around his MC.

‘Given the vaguaries of the London Gazette Search Engine and the propensity for occasionally misspelling names I poked about among the M.C. citations and found the following citation published on 14th November 1916. Temp. Lt. Gerald Cedar Miller, Oxf. & Bucks. L.I. For conspicous gallantry in action. He fought his machine guns with great courage and skill, rendering most valuable services.I am not saying that this is your man , just that the initials are the same and the last part of the name is the same, as is the regiment.’

Mentioned in dispatches:

“Yesterday I found Christie-Miller’s Medal Index Cards at the Nat’l Archive and there is one that notates a MID (Mentioned in Dispatches) in the LG May 25th 1917. This is from Haig’s dispatch of April 9th. This was a huge list (the LG published it over six supplements) with bunches of Ox and Bucks LI and loads of others. Must have been a big battle. Apparently (from the MIC) he went to France in May 1916. I think the Buckinghamshire Battalion of the Ox and Bucks was in reserve at the Beaumont Hamel and Serre part of the Somme and may have been held back when that attack failed.”

I believe it is the same person below from www.peerage.com

Colonel Sir Geoffry Christie-Miller was born on 15 March 1881. He was the son of Wakefield Christie-Miller.2 He married Kathleen Olive Thorpe, daughter of Venerable J. H. Thorpe, in 1908. He died on 2 April 1969 at age 88.

Colonel Sir Geoffry Christie-Miller was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, England. He graduated from Trinity College, Oxford University, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, with a Master of Arts (M.A.). He fought in the First World War, where he was mentioned in despatches. He was decorated with the award of Military Cross (M.C.). He was decorated with the award of Companion, Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O.) in 1919. He held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (D.L.) of Cheshire. He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of the Bath (K.C.B.) in 1951. He lived at Acton Grange, Nantwich, Cheshire, England.

Story of the 2/5th Battalion the Gloucester Regiment 1914-1918
ed by A.F.Barnes
ISBN: 9781843427582
Format: 2003 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1930) 192pp with 39 b/w photos and 12 maps.

April 23rd 1918
“On April 23rd the Battalion again distinguished itself. At Bacquerolles Farm, and to the south-east of it, the British line formed a re-entrant. The object of the attack was to straighten out the line. One Battalion from each Brigade in the Division was employed, and from the 184th Brigade the 2/5th Glosters was the selected Battalion.

The attack commenced at 4.30 a.m. and, so far as the Glosters were concerned, it was completely successful. The artillery barrage did its work so well that the enemy was badly demoralized before the infantry came to grips. Setting off from a line taped out by Major Christie Miller and Capt. John Hunter, the Glosters gained all their objectives and consolidated, capturing 79 prisoners and 10 machine-guns.”

June 24th
After the death of Lt.-Col. A. B. Lawson., D.S.O., “ The command of the Battalion was temporarily taken over by Major Christie Miller, M.C., an appointment which was confirmed on July 11th.”

30th September / 1st October 1918.
“An hour or two after the completion of these operations the Germans put over a covey of 77’s at short range on the Battalion Headquarters, which was at once vacated for the open country, but not before one had hit a Battalion signaler and a second knocked some teeth out of the Commanding Officer”

October 1918
“On Lt.-Col. Christie Miller, M.C., proceeding to England, the command of the Battalion was taken over by Major R. H. Huntington, D.S.O. Lt.-Col. Christie Miller had been Commanding Officer since the death of Col. Lawson on June 24th. It was no easy task to succeed such a distinguished officer, but a combination of conscientiousness and courage quickly won for him the confidence and respect of all ranks, and the fact that the battalion maintained its standards of efficiency through the trying months during which he controlled it. Testifies to the value of his leadership.”

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