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

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

Archive for the tag “Grandpont”

1916, NOVEMBER 26th – DRENCHED WHILE RELIEVING THE 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT

Trenches Near Grandcourt November and Dececember 1916

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 next night (26th / 27th) the Battalion moved up to relieve the Berks, but was conducted, or conducted itself, along the very communication trench which I had studiously avoided using and which was in a shocking state from water and mud. As the result of the journey, D Company reached the front line practically wet-through to a man, and in a very exhausted condition. A proportion of their impedimenta had become future salvage on the way up, while several men and, I fancy, some officers, had compromised themselves for some hours with the mud, which exacted their gumboots as the price of their future progress. I regret that my own faithful servant, Longford, was as exhausted as anybody and suffered a nasty fall at the very gates of paradise (an hyperbole I use to justify the end of such a mud journey), namely Company Headquarters in Regina, where, like a sort of host, I had been waiting long.

Desire Trench, the name by which the front line was known, was a shallow disconnected trough upholstered in mud and possessing four or five unfinished dug-out shafts. These shafts, as was natural, faced the wrong way, but provided all the front line shelter in this sector. At one end, its left, the trench ran into chalk (as well as some chalk and plenty of mud into it!) and its flank disappeared, by a military conjuring trick, into the air. About 600 yards away the Germans were supposed to be consolidating, which meant that they were feverishly scraping, digging and fitting timbers in their next lot of dug-outs. To get below earth was their first consideration.

Regina dug-out deserves a paragraph to itself. This unsavoury residence housed two platoons of D Company, Company Headquarters, and Stobie, our doctor, with the Regimental Aid Post. In construction the dug-out, which indeed was typical of many, was a corridor with wings opening off, about 40 feet deep and some 30 yards long, with 4 entrances, on each of which stood double sentries day and night. Garbage and all the putrefying matter which had accumulated underfoot during German occupation and which it did not repay to disturb for fear of a worse thing, rendered vile the atmosphere within. Old German socks and shirts, used and half-used beer bottles, sacks of sprouting and rotting onions, vied with mud to cover the floor. A suspicion of other remains was not absent. The four shafts provided a species of ventilation, reminiscent of that encountered in London Tubes, but perpetual smoking, the fumes from the paraffin lamps that did duty for insufficient candles, and our mere breathing more than counterbalanced even the draughts and combined impressions, fit background for post-war nightmares, that time will hardly efface. Regina Trench itself, being on a forward slope and exposed to full view from Loupart Wood, was shelled almost continuously by day and also frequently at night. ‘Out and away,’ ‘In and down’ became mottoes for runners and all who inhabited the dug-out or were obliged to make repeated visits to it. Below, one was immune under 40 feet of chalk, and except when an entrance was hit the 5.9s rained down harmlessly and without comment.

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1916-11-26
Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire
Location France, Trenches
Entry Normal artillery activity on both sides. Casualties 3 OR killed, 2/Lt DANIELLS and 4 OR wounded. Relieved by 2/4 OXFORDS.

Private John Wright Smith

Name: SMITH
Initials: J W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 23/07/1916
Service No: 3619
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. E. 2.
Cemetery: AIRE COMMUNAL CEMETERY

Name: John Wright Smith
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 23 Jul 1916
Enlistment Location: Grandpont, Oxon
Rank: Private
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 3619
Type of Casualty: Died of wounds

Private George Edward (Edwin) Lovell Simpson

Name: SIMPSON, GEORGE EDWIN LOVELL
Initials: G E L
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Age: 20
Date of Death: 19/07/1916
Service No: 4317
Additional information: Son of William Joseph and Elizabeth Simpson, of 30, Marlborough Rd., Grandpont, Oxford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: II. D. 3.
Cemetery: LAVENTIE MILITARY CEMETERY, LA GORGUE

Name: George Edward L. Simpson
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 19 Jul 1916
Enlistment Location: Osney, Oxon
Rank: Private
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 4317
Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Private Stanley John Norgrove

From: First World War in Headington & Marston Roll of Honour of All Saints Church, Highfield

“Stanley John Norgrove was born at 1 Western Road in south Oxford in 1898/9, the son of William James Norgrove (born in Oxford in 1862, birth registered third quarter) and Hannah Rebecca Harper, known as Annie (born in Eynsham, birth registered in the first quarter of 1863). His parents were married at St Aldate’s Church on 10 October 1892 and had the following children:

* William George Norgrove (born at 1 Western Road, Oxford in 1894; died aged 9 months, with funeral at St Aldate’s Church on 19 August 1895)
* Herbert Norgrove (born in Oxford in c.1895)
* Percival Charles Norgrove (born at 1 Western Road, Oxford on 22 October 1897, privately baptised via St Aldate’s Church on 6 November 1897; died aged 17 days, with funeral at St Aldate’s on 9 November 1897)
* Stanley John Norgrove (born at 1 Western Road, Oxford, birth registered in first quarter of 1899).

Stanley’s father was a baker at 1 Western Road, south Oxford. He died at the age of 36 and his funeral was at St Aldate’s Church on 25 May 1899. The 1901 census shows that Stanley’s mother Hannah had taken over the business, and was living over the shop with her two surviving sons, plus a boarder and a servant girl. Stanley was then just two.

In the first quarter of 1902 Stanley’s mother Hannah married her second husband, Frederick Percy, in the Oxford Registration District. Her second marriage only lasted seven years, as Hannah Percy died at the age of 44 in the third quarter of 1909 in the Headington Registration District.

Thus Stanley was orphaned at the age of ten. He did not remain with his stepfather, but came up to Headington to live with his uncle and aunt in Lime Walk: the 1911 census shows him as a twelve-year-old schoolboy living with his mother’s brother, George Harper, who was a market gardener, his wife Esther, and their own three children.

In the First World War Stanley John Norgrove served as a Private first in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars (Service No. 3178) and then in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 203625). He was killed in action in Belgium at the age of 18 on 16 August 1917 and has no known grave. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, and on the Roll of Honour of All Saints Church, Highfield.
After the War

Stanley’s uncle George Harper died at the age of 73 at 47 Lime Walk (now renumbered 85) and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 2 June 1934. His wife Esther died at the age of 74 at 239 Iffley Road and was buried with him on 3 April 1939.”

Name: Stanley John Norgrove
Birth Place: Oxford
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 16 Aug 1917
Enlistment Location: Headington, Oxon
Rank: Private
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 203625
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theater of War: Aldershot
Comments: Formerly 3178, Q.O.O.H.

Name: NORGROVE, STANLEY JOHN
Initials: S J
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Age: 19
Date of Death: 16/08/1917
Service No: 203625
Additional information: Son of the late William James and Annie Norgrove, of Western Rd., Grandpont, Oxford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 96 to 98.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Corporal Albert Margetts

Name: Albert Margetts
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 22 Aug 1917
Enlistment Location: Grandpont, Oxon
Rank: Corporal
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 200871
Type of Casualty: Killed in action

Name: MARGETTS, ALBERT
Initials: A
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Corporal
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Age: 27
Date of Death: 22/08/1917
Service No: 200871
Additional information: Son of D. N. and Emma Margetts, of 122, Marlborough Rd., Grandpont, Oxford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 96 to 98.
Memorial: TYNE COT MEMORIAL

Please see:

The Attack on Pond Farm, 22nd August, 1917

The Attack On Pond Farm and Other Strong Posts, 21st -24th August 1917

Attack on Strongpoints, South East of St. Julian, 22nd August 1917

The Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele)

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: