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

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1916, JULY 13th, 1916 – TRENCH MORTAR TIT FOR TAT

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

On 13th July the Berkshire Battalion carried out a raid. During the raid a 5.9 shell went into the hospital dug-out, but luckily did not cause any casualties. Lieut. Brown distinguished himself by his work in recovering the wounded on this occasion. On the night of 12th (/ 13th) July an unfortunate accident happened to D Company. ‘They were occupying a part of the trench peculiarly liable to retaliation by trench-mortars, which was always cleared if our trench-mortars contemplated firing. A trench-mortar was fired without any warning to the officer commanding the Company, and a trench-mortar bomb fired by the enemy caught a whole platoon of D Company and made casualties of the lot.

KILLED IN ACTION JULY 13th, 1916

James Frederick Durham

4250 Private James Durham

3686 Private Herbert Winfield

From the War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Thursday 13th July 1916, France, Croix Barbee.

Cleaning up. Preparation for Raid by party from “A” Coy, consisting of Capt. E P Lucas, Lieut. O V Dowson, 2nd Lieut. J H Skene, 2nd Lieut. G A Brooke, and 100 OR. Operation Orders and Supplementary Orders attached. Owing to casualties in RE party carrying Bangalore Torpedo only 2nd Lieut. J H Skene with a small party were able to get through enemy’s wire. Raiding party returned to our Trenches at 10.50pm (Casualties 1 Officer Killed (Lieut. R V C F Freeth) 3 wounded (Capt. E P Lucas, Lieut. O J Dowson and 2nd Lieut. G A Brooke) 1 missing (2nd Lieut. J H Skene) Other ranks 6K, 14W, 1 Shell shock, 12 missing.

Private Frederick James Durham

Frederick James Durham (known as James) was born in Headington in 1896, the son of George Edward Durham (born in Headington in the first quarter of 1866 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 December 1866) and Mary Ann Henley (born in Melksham, Wiltshire: birth registered in the second quarter of 1865).

James’s parents were married in the King’s Norton district in the second quarter of 1891, and had the following children:

* John William Durham (born in Headington, birth registered second quarter of 1894)
* Ernest George Durham (born in Headington, birth registered second quarter of 1895)
* (Frederick) James Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the Headington District in the third quarter of 1896)
* Ebenezar [sic] Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the fourth quarter of 1900)
* Amy Ella S. Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the fourth quarter of 1901).

James’s father was a bricklayer’s labourer, and the 1901 census shows the family living in Lime Walk. James was then a child of four.

By 1911 the family were living in Western Road (now renamed Holyoake Road). James’s father (45) is described as a builder’s merchant’s porter, and James (14) was described as having “no employment”.

James’s mother Mary Durham died at the age of 50 in the first quarter of 1914 in the Headington Registration District.

In the First World War James Durham served as a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 4250). He was killed in action in France at the age of 22 on 11 November 1916 and is buried in the Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery at La Gorgue. He is listed on the Roll of Honour of All Saints Church, Highfield. James’s older brother John also died in the First World War, on 11 November 1916.

After the War

James’s father, George Edward Durham, is listed at 36 Stapleton Road (“Charlbury Cottage”) from 1926 to 1936. He died at the age of 71 (death registered in the first quarter of 1937 in the Oxford District).”

Name: James Durham
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 13 Jul 1916
Enlistment Location: Headington, Oxon
Rank: Private
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 4250
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theater of War: Aldershot

Name: DURHAM
Initials: J F
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Date of Death: 13/07/1916
Service No: 4250
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. B. 18.
Cemetery: PONT-DU-HEM MILITARY CEMETERY, LA GORGUE

Private John William Durham

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

“John William Durham was born in Headington in 1894, the son of George Edward Durham (born in Headington in the first quarter of 1866 and baptised at St Andrew’s Church on 4 December 1866) and Mary Ann Henley (born in Melksham, Wiltshire: birth registered in the second quarter of 1865).

John’s parents were married in the King’s Norton district in the second quarter of 1891, and had the following children:

* John William Durham (born in Headington, birth registered second quarter of 1894)
* Ernest George Durham (born in Headington, birth registered second quarter of 1895)
* (Frederick) James Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the Headington Registration District in the third quarter of 1896)
* Ebenezar [sic] Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the fourth quarter of 1900)
* Amy Ella S. Durham (born in Headington, birth registered in the fourth quarter of 1901).

John’s father was a bricklayer’s labourer, and the 1901 census shows the family living in Lime Walk. John was then a child of six.

By 1911 the family were living in Western Road (now renamed Holyoake Road). John’s father (45) is described as a builder’s merchant’s porter, and John (17) was now at work as a tobacconist’s porter.

John’s mother Mary Durham died at the age of 50 in the first quarter of 1914 in the Headington Registration District.

In the First World War John William Durham served as a Private in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (Service No. 4288). He died of wounds in France at the age of 23 on 11 October 1916 and is buried in the Merville Communal Cemetery (I. A. 22). He is listed on the Roll of Honour of All Saints Church, Highfield.

John’s younger brother James Durham also died in the First World War, on 13 July 1916.
After the War

John’s father, George Edward Durham, is listed at 36 Stapleton Road (“Charlbury Cottage”) from 1926 to 1936. He died at the age of 71 in the first quarter of 1937 in the Oxford Registration District.

Name: DURHAM, JOHN WILLIAM
Initials: J W
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry
Unit Text: 2nd/4th Bn.
Age: 22
Date of Death: 11/10/1916
Service No: 4288
Additional information: Son of George E. and Mary Durham, of Charlbury Cottage, Stapleton Rd., Headington, Oxford.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: I. A. 22.
Cemetery: MERVILLE COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION

Name: John William Durham
Residence: Oxford
Death Date: 11 Oct 1916
Enlistment Location: Headington, Oxon
Rank: Private
Regiment: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
Battalion: 2/4th Battalion.
Number: 4288
Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
Theater of War: Aldershot

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