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

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1917, APRIL 5th – FRONT-LINE EAST OF SOYECOURT

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

Enemy’s artillery less active; 1 man wounded.

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

On the next night a battalion of Sherwood Foresters relieved D Company, which returned to its wood, but B and C Companies remained holding the line. John Stockton, who now commanded B, was ill, but refused to leave the trenches and carried on in a most determined manner under shocking weather conditions. A new officer, Allden, in my company also proved his worth about this time. Events of some sort were of hourly occurrence. The 2/5th Gloucesters held the line on the Battalion’s right, near the Omignon river. One night, after a heavy bombardment with 4.2s, the Germans

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1917, APRIL 4th – FRONT-LINE EAST OF SOYECOURT

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

 Snowing all day. The front posts were heavily shelled during the morning; 1 killed, 2 wounded.

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

In the early morning of April 4 the 59th Division, which was operating on the Battalion’s left, attacked Le Vergier. Fighting continued till noon, but the village was not taken. The 59th lost heavily. As they formed up for their advance–which was for some 1,000 yards across the open and exposed to view–behind the line the Battalion was holding, considerable enemy fire was brought down upon us and I lost Sergeant Watkins, wounded in the arm, and several other casualties. It snowed nearly all day. In the shallow trenches, which were ill-sited both for drainage and concealment from the enemy, life was miserable. 

Killed in Action 4th April 1917

201985 Private George Loveridge (Likely to have been D Company)

Died of Wounds 4th April 1917

201448 Private Creswick Franklin

1917, APRIL 3rd – RELIEVED 2/1st BUCKS EAST OF SOYECOURT

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

Moved up to the line and relieved the 2/1st Bucks in the sector east of Soyecourt;

D Company in front-line posts;

C in close support;

B at railway embankment at Montolu Wood;

A and Battalion H.Q. at Soyecourt.

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

At midnight, April 3/4, the Battalion relieved the Bucks. B, C, and D Companies shared the new outpost line. Headquarters and A Company went to Soyécourt. The relief, the first of its kind, was difficult. In my own front a small brushwood copse was reputed to contain a sentry post. The ground was dotted with small copses which the darkness made indistinguishable, and no report of this post’s relief was ever made. When dawn was breaking in the sky, Sergeant Watkins, accompanied by the Bucks guides, returned to say that no sentry group nor post in any copse could be found. The most likely copse was then garrisoned and the night’s mystery and labour ceased.

Further advance was evidently in store. The smoke of burning villages still mounted the sky. At night a glow showed where a great fire in St. Quentin was ablaze. The weather now changed for the worse. Hail, rain and snow prevailed alternately. A fierce wind blew. Winter conditions were repeated in the outpost line, where no shelter other than tarpaulins rigged across the shallow trenches existed. Nor was the artillery inactive. As the enemy’s resistance stiffened, shells commenced to fall on fields yet unscarred by trench or shell-hole. Better ammunition seemed to be in use–or was it a month’s holiday from shells that made it seem so?–and more subtlety was shown by German gunners in their choice of targets. Our casualties, though not numerous, proved that the war, in most of its old incidents, had been resumed.

1917, APRIL 1st – TO SAILOR’S WOOD IN SUPPORT OF THE 2/1st BUCKS

Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lieutenant) Surrey Yeomanry passing round a crater on the main Amiens-St.Quentin Road, near Vermand.  21st April 1917.

Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lieutenant)
Surrey Yeomanry passing round a crater on the main Amiens-St.Quentin Road, near Vermand.
21st April 1917.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM FIRST WORLD WAR MAPS COLLECTION" (photographs) Map Vermand. Edition 1A 62C SE2.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM FIRST WORLD WAR MAPS COLLECTION” (photographs)
Map Vermand. Edition 1A 62C SE2.

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

C and D Companies moved to Sailor’s Wood, in close support to the 2/1st Bucks.

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

At 3 a.m. on April 1 C and D Companies were ordered forward to support the Bucks in an attack on the line of single railway which runs northwards from Vermand. The attack gained the ridge east of the railway and no support by us was wanted. Ten prisoners were captured by the Bucks, whose only casualties resulted from our own shells dropping short and an unfortunate mistake of some other troops, who lost direction and, pressing forward, encountered men of their own side. Towards evening the General ordered D Company forward to occupy Montolu Wood. The journey was made at dusk through a blinding storm of hail and rain. The wood to which I went was the wrong one altogether. Nevertheless to my wood my company returned twice later, till tactical recognition was gained for it from the failure of the staff to observe the mistake and my own to disclose it. The wood I went to was some half-mile distant from the proper one, but the same shape, as near the railway, and answering the General’s map-description to a nicety. I like to think of my wood, where I was so rarely found, whither perplexed runners brought orders so late, where I never was relieved, but where my old shelters of tin and brushwood escaped disturbance in my absence.

1917, MARCH 31st – REACHED AND BIVOUACED AT CAULAINCOURT CHATEAU

part of "MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIRST WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION" Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lt)  1917-04-21 German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Ruins of Caulaincourt Chateau on the River Omignon.

part of “MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIRST WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION” Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lt)
1917-04-21
German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line. Ruins of Caulaincourt Chateau on the River Omignon.

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

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

and the next night made bivouacs at Caulaincourt Château, formerly German Corps Headquarters, now wrecked past recognition. Amid the rubbish, whose heaps represented buildings of grace and dignity, the eye caught the half of a gigantic Easter egg. During our stay a German High Velocity gun several times shelled the château grounds. Our own artillery was now getting to work and made the nights lively with noise and flashes.

1917, MARCH 30th – ONWARDS TO TERTRY

By G. K. Rose.

By G. K. Rose.

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

To resume the war. On March 30 the Warwicks entered Soyécourt and shortly afterwards the Bucks relieved their outpost line. We ourselves reached Tertry on the 30th,

1917, APRIL 30th – RELIEF BY 2/4th ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT COMPLETE 1.00 AM

Dug Outs in Attilly (near Holnon),  2 May 1917 Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)  A view along a railway track, which runs through a narrow man-made valley bordered by steep earth banks. British soldiers are gathered along the left bank, with men sitting on the ground amongst equipment and stacked rifles.

Dug Outs in Attilly (near Holnon),
2 May 1917
Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)
A view along a railway track, which runs through a narrow man-made valley bordered by steep earth banks. British soldiers are gathered along the left bank, with men sitting on the ground amongst equipment and stacked rifles.

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

Though chased a little on the way by shells, the Battalion had an easy march to Holnon Wood, in which a pleasant resting place was found. The trees and undergrowth, just bursting into green, presented happy contrast to the dust and danger of Fayet.

In the sandy railway cutting, where the single line turns through the wood to reach Attilly, companies sat during the day and slept secure at night. Transport and cookers were near, and for a spell one was on terms of friendship with the world

War Diary of the 2/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment

1917-04-29

Regiment. 2/4th Royal Berkshire


Location France, Bois d’holnom


Entry [This entry covers 29th/30th April 1917] The Battn relieved the 2/4 OXFORDS in the front line on night 29th/30th, relief complete by 1am 30th.

1917, JUNE 10th – BIVOUACED AT TILLOY

part of "MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIRST WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION"  Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lt)  British troops at a well in Tilloy (Arras Area)  26 May 1917

part of “MINISTRY OF INFORMATION FIRST WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION”
Photograph by: Brooks Ernest (Lt)
British troops at a well in Tilloy (Arras Area)
26 May 1917

On relief, the Battalion marched to bivouacs at Tilloy. One man killed, 2 men wounded.

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 night of our relief was spent in bivouacs near Tilloy. A violent thunderstorm, which was the expected sequel to the fortnight’s intensely warm weather we had been experiencing, drenched our surroundings and gave the hard earth, trampled by summer tracks, a surface slippery as winter mud.

1917, JUNE 23rd – MOVED TO BILLETS AT NOEUX

Noeux Church, 1917 Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)  A view down a village lane towards the tower of Noeux Church, with a few graves in the churchyard before it.

Noeux Church, 1917
Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)
A view down a village lane towards the tower of Noeux Church, with a few graves in the churchyard before it.

Marched to Gouy-en-Artois and entrained. Detrained at Auxi-le-Chateau, and marched to billets at Noeux, where the remainder of the month was spent.

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

At Noeux, near Auxi-le-Château, whither we moved on June 23, the Battalion’s midsummer respite was continued; we were in G.H.Q. reserve.

1917, JUNE 11th – MARCHED TO BILLETS AT BERNAVILLE

Bernaville,  June 21 1917, 10pm Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)  A view along a country lane, with trees and hedges on either side.

Bernaville,
June 21 1917, 10pm
Rose, Geoffrey K (MC)
A view along a country lane, with trees and hedges on either side.

Marched to billets at Berneville and remained there, resting and training, until the 23rd.

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

On June 11 the Battalion was back in billets at Bernaville, a village four miles west of Arras, and it appeared that the Division (of which the 184th Brigade alone had been into the line) had completed its tour in the Arras sector.

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