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

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

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Cambrai, 2nd December 1917

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

“On the following morning the enemy delivered a heavy attack upon the village, from which, after severe losses in killed and prisoners, troops of the 182nd Brigade were driven back. To assist them C Company was detached from the Battalion. The trenches our front was now the Hindenburg Line were frozen, there was snow on the ground, and the temporary supremacy of the enemy in guns and sniping produced a toll of casualties. It was an anxious time, but the Battalion was involved in no actual fighting; the German counter-attack, for the time-being, was at an end. ”

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Sunday 2nd December 1917, France, Fins


At about 1am a GSO of the GUARDS DIV came to see Lt Col J H S Dimmer and explained the situation:-

It appeared that the GUARDS DIV had re-captured GOUZEAUCOURT from the enemy. Prisoners had reported that the enemy was going to attack in force this morning. The Battn was to be attached to 2nd GUARDS BDE as counter attack troops.

The Battn was marched to GOUZEAUCOURT at once. The CO was taken by car to this place, and guided to HQ 3rd Gren Gds. Lt Col A THORNE DSO, 3rd Gren Gds, conducted Lt Col J H S Dimmer over area occupied by 2nd GUARDS BDE around GOUZEAUCOURT, and arrangements for disposition of Battn along a railway were made.

Battn was in position by 5.30am.

Operation Orders were issued.

Battn dug itself in.

Forenoon was spent in reconnoitring and entrenching.
Mess Sergt (Sgt BURTON) came up to Battn with food for officers but was killed on his way back to Mess Cart.

Enemy activity was reported.

Reconnoitring patrols were again sent out and a scheme of attack arranged.

Battn was also ordered to be ready to assist SECUNDERABAD Cavalry Brigade if required.

Orders were received to rejoin own Brigade and necessary action taken.
Capt FIELD was sent ahead to obtain information.

Battn marched at midnight.

Cambrai, 1st December 1917

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

“The night of November 30 / December 1 was spent in an open field. It was intensely cold. At 4 a.m. a flank march was made to Fins, where some empty huts were found. Enemy long range shells, aimed at the railway, kept falling in the village. Through Fins at 10 a.m. on December 1 the Guards marched forward to do their famous counter-attack on Gouzeaucourt ; on the afternoon of the same day the Battalion moved up to Metz, whijher Brigade Headquarters had already gone. During the night, which was frosty and moonlight, the Colonel led the Battalion across country to occupy a part of the Hindenburgh Line west of La Vacquerie.”

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire

Saturday 1st December 1917 France, Fins

Battn marched at 3.45am and after a long night march through mud and water reached FINS. Div and Bde HQ had not arrived so again Battn had to shift for itself and got accommodation in some tents and huts and broken down houses.

Cookers had been left going and hot tea was served.

The cold was intense, so much so that even though tired out, men could not sleep. Battn was ordered to equip in fighting order.

Transport was organised into fighting and rear positions, ammunition made up, and arrangements made to dump packs.

Orders to move at short notice were issued, and blankets and kits collected.

These orders were cancelled as Battn was not to move until 10am on 2nd.

Blankets and kits re-issued and all ranks turned in to rest.

At 11.40 Battn was ordered to be ready to move at once.

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