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

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

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Private John Cummings

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John Cummings, a Private, 2nd/4th Battalion, Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, served on the Western Front. He was captured in 1918 and held as a POW (Prisoner of War) at Cassel and Langensalza.

From The Kaiser’s Battle, by Martin Middlebrook, Pen & Sword Military, 2007 (First published 1976).

“I am not educated, having left school at thirteen, and am now nearly seventy-eight. I should like to give some of my own thoughts as an ordinary infantryman of that war. Youngsters like me , after a few months of action, soon became tough and hard and very quick minded, not professional, but good fighters. We put up a good show to stop the German counter-attack at Cambrai on the morning of December 1st 1917 and would have done our best on 21 March if the morning had been clear. However,as we got battle hardened, things were ether ‘cushy’, if all went well, or, if not, we said ‘san fairy an‘. That is as near as I can get with the spelling but we meant, ‘What the hell does it matter’. And when we were in a German Prison camp, the verdict passed on the 21 March fighting was that it was ‘all a proper balls-up’  (Private J. Cummings , 2/4th Oxford & Bucks Light infantry)”

Private George Measey

“George the fourth son to die, was a private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxford & Buckinghamshire light Infantry, he ended up as a wounded prisoner of war at the Hotel Berthad at Chateau Loes in Switzerland and died of illness on 5 October 1918 and was buried at the Vevey St Martin Cemetery in Switzerland.” Name: MEASEY Initials: G Nationality: United Kingdom Rank: Private Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn. Date of Death: 05/10/1918 Service No: 202146 Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead Grave/Memorial Reference: 47. Cemetery: VEVEY (ST. MARTIN’S) CEMETERY

“During World War village (Oakley) boys went to war and 23 gave their lives for their country, included in this number were four brothers named Measey. Charles, Frank, George and Thomas were the sons of Joseph and Martha Measey [ née Gladdy ] of The Royal Oak. Thomas the first to be killed was a private in the[ 101st ] Machine Gun Corps, he died on 20 January 1917 aged 33 and was buried at the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery at Armentieres in France. Charles was a private in the [ 146th ] Machine Gun Corps and was killed on 11 November 1917 and was buried at the Aeroplane Cemetery in Belgium. Frank was a corporal in the 7th Battalion of the Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, he was killed in action on 22 June 1918 and was buried at the Karasouli Military Cemetery in Greece.”

Second Lieutenant John Crawford Cunningham

Born in 1894, John Crawford Cunningham was originally with the Bedford Yeomanry and was commissioned from a Private with the army No. of 905 into the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire  Light Infantry. At the time of Enghien Redoubt stand in March 1918 he was a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2/4th Battalion Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.

Lieutenant J C Cunningham was the last officer in charge of Enghien Redoubt on 21st March 1918.

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

Early in March some reinforcements from the 6th Oxfords, who had been disbanded, arrived; they numbered two hundred. Among the new officers who joined were Foreshew, Rowbotham, and Cunningham. Foreshew received command of C Company, whose commander Matthews went to England for a six months’rest. To Hobbs also, our worthy quartermaster, it was necessary to bid a reluctant farewell. His successor, Murray, a very able officer from the 4th Gloucesters, arrived in time to check the table of stores before the opening of the great offensive.

At 12 noon, after several patrols had failed to find out whether the enemy had captured Holnon, the Colonel himself went out to see all that was happening. He did not return, and shortly afterwards Headquarters were surrounded by the enemy, who had made ground on either flank. Nevertheless till 4.30 p.m. Cunningham, the officer left in command, held out most manfully.

5th From The Story of the 2/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment 1914-1918, A. F. Barnes, M.C.

These redoubts in the forward zone – held by the 5th Gordons, 4th Oxfords and 8th Worcesters fought with splendid gallantry throughout the day and were still holding out at 4.10pm when the buried cable – which had up to this hour remained intact, ceases to operate. The last message received was from Lieut. Cunningham 4th Oxford and Bucks who was then the senior officer commanding in Enghien Redoubt, asking permission for the garrison to try and cut their way out. This permission was granted and also by Corps Instructions to the other redoubts at the same time. Except for a few odd men that came in during the night , none returned from the Battalion fighting in the forward zone.

 

He became a POW, and is listed on the Holzminden Internee List (Sept 1917 – Dec 1918).

UK, British Officer Prisoners of War, 1914-1918
Name: J C Cunningham
Rank: 2/Lt.
Regiment: 4th Battalion. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Lig
Date Missing: 21 Mar 1918
Repatriation Date: 14 Dec 1918
Record Number: 2910
Section: Western Theatre of Operations.

 

John Crawford Cunningham

He died 27th August 1964.

Gefangenenlager Werben

A close up of the Werben Camp.

A close up of the Werben Camp.

James Walton was a prisoner of war at this camp late 1918. It was situated between Berlin and Dresden.

James Walton was a prisoner of war at this camp late 1918. It was situated between Berlin and Dresden.

James Walton. POW 1918.

James Walton POW 1918.

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