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Unit History: Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry The Regiment was officially formed in 1881 when the 43rd and 52nd Regiments of Foot were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms however, the Regiment can trace its history back a further 140 years prior to this date.

The 43rd was first raised in 1741 by as Thomas Fowke's Regiment of Foot. It saw its first actions in North America during the Seven Years War (1754–1763) fighting the French as part of General Wolfe’s force that captured Quebec. In 1751 the Regimental naming system was simplified, instead of naming after the current colonel each Regiment was assigned a ranked number according to the precedence therefore the Regiment became the 43rd Regiment of Foot. It was deployed to the West Indies in 1762 and took part in the capture of Martinique, St. Lucia and Havana.

The 52nd was first raised in 1755 by Colonel Hedworth Lambton as the 54th Regiment of Foot but was re-number as the 52nd in 1757. The 43rd then returned to North America during the American War of Independence (1775-1783) and was joined by the 52nd, fighting at the Battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill the 52nd returned to England but the 43rd continued to fight until the siege and surrender at Yorktown in 1781. In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from that area therefore the Regiments became the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot and 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot. The 52nd served for nine years in India from 1783, fighting during the Second and Third Anglo-Mysore Wars at the Siege of Cannanore, the battle of Seringapatam, Bangalore and Arakere, the assault on Savandroog and assault on Pondicherry.

The 43rd returned to the West Indies during the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and once again captured Martinique and St. Lucia, but were defeated at Guadaloupe in 1794. In 1803 both Regiments was re-trained and re-fitted as a Light Infantry unit and joined the 95th Regiments to form the first Corps of Light Infantry. Light Infantry provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry in order to delay the enemy advance. The 43rd was part of a force which captured the entire Danish Fleet at the Battle of Copenhagen (1807). In 1795 the 52nd were deployed to capture the Dutch colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

During the Peninsular War both Regiments fought at the Battles of Vimiera, Corunna, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajos, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse and Peninsula. Both also took part of the unsuccessful Walcheren Expedition (1809) during the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), where the Regiment suffered greatly from Walcheren fever (thought to be a combination of malaria and typhus). The 52nd returned to the Peninsular to fight at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).

The 52nd was then on garrison duties in Canada from 1823 until 1845 with a brief spell in Barbados in 1842. After a period of 15 years of garrison duties on the home front, the 43rd was once again in action in Canada from 1836 suppressing the Lower Canada Rebellion (1837-1838), when armed rebels tried to establish the independent republics of Quebec and Ontario. In 1851 the 43rd went on to served in South Africa during the Cape Frontier Wars (1811-1858), when the native Xhosa tribes rose in armed rebellion against continuing European rule. Both Regiments went on to serve during the Indian Rebellion of 1857 fighting at the Battle of Delhi. From 1863 the 43rd took part in the New Zealand Land Wars (1845-1872), storming the Gate Pah and the assault on fort Te Ranga.

In 1881 the 52nd and 43rd were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms which restructured the British army infantry Regiments into a network of multi-battalion Regiments of two regular and two militia battalions, to become the Oxfordshire Light Infantry. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve in the Tirah Expedition (1897–1898) on the North-West Frontier and the Second Boer War (1899–1902) fighting at Paardeberg as well as two World Wars.

In 1908 the Regiment was re-titled as the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. In 1958 the Regiment was merged with The Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) and the Kings Royal Rifle Corps to form The Green Jackets Brigade. In 1966 these three Regiments became the three battalions of the Royal Green Jackets and in 2007 were further merged with the Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry and The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry to become The Rifles.

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

The Regiment raised 18 Battalions and was awarded 59 Battle Honours and 2 Victoria Crosses losing 5,880 men during the course of the War.

1st Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ahmednagar as part of the 17th Brigade of the 6th (Poona) Division.
07.11.1914 Deployed to Mesopotamia.
29.04.1916 Captured at Kut al Amara.
Jan 1916 A Provisional Battalion formed from reinforcements at Wadi as part of the 28th Brigade of the 7th Indian Division.
June 1916 Deployed to defend the Lines of Communication.
06.07.1916 Provisional Battalion became the 1st Battalion
19.10.1917 Transferred to the 50th Brigade of the 15th Indian Division.
31.10.1918 Ended the war at Hit N.W. of Baghdad, Mesopotamia.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Aldershot as part f the 5th Brigade of the 2nd Division.
14.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne, First Battle of Ypres.
1915
Winter Operations 1914-15, The Battle of Festubert, The Battle of Loos.
1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre, Operations on the Ancre.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Cambrai.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The First Battle of Arras 1918, The Battle of Albert, The Second Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war at Villers Pol, France.

3rd (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Oxford and then moved to Portsmouth.
Oct 1917 Moved to Dover until the end of the war.

1/4th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Oxford as part of the South Midland Brigade of the South Midland Division and then moved to Writtle near Chelmsford.
30.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
May 1915 The formation became the 145th Brigade of the 48th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
Nov 1917 Deployed to Italy to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster at Caporetto.
1918
The Division held the front line sector at the Montello and then moved west, to the Asiago sector and then engaged in fighting on the Asiago Plateau, The Battle of the Vittoria Veneto in Val d'Assa.
04.11.1918 Ended the war near Trent, Austria.

1/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Aylesbury as part of the South Midland brigade of the South Midland Division then moved to Writtle near Chelmsford.
30.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
May 1915 The formation became the 145th Brigade of the 48th Division which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Pozieres Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
1917
The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
Nov 1917 Deployed to Italy to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster at Caporetto.
1918
The Division held the front line sector at the Montello and then moved west, to the Asiago sector and then engaged in fighting on the Asiago Plateau, The Battle of the Vittoria Veneto in Val d'Assa.
04.11.1918 Ended the war near Trent, Austria.

2/4th Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Oxford.
Jane 1915 Moved to Northampton and joined the 184th Brigade of the 61st Division and then moved to Chelmsford.
Mar 1916 Moved to Salisbury Plain.
26.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Attack at Fromelles (unsuccessful diversionary tactic during the Battle of the Somme).
1917
The Operations on the Ancre, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemark, The German counter attacks.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bethune, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of Valenciennes.
11.11.1918 Ended the war S.E. of Valenciennes, France.

2/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion Territorial Force
Sept 1914 Formed at Aylesbury.
Jane 1915 Moved to Northampton and joined the 184th Brigade of the 61st Division and then moved to Chelmsford.
Mar 1916 Moved to Salisbury Plain.
26.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1916
The Attack at Fromelles (unsuccessful diversionary tactic during the Battle of the Somme).
1917
The Operations on the Ancre, The German Retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemark, The German counter attacks.
22.02.1918 Disbanded at Germaine with remaining personnel transferred to the 25th Entrenching Battalion.

3/4th & 31st Buckinghamshire Battalion Territorial Force
May & April 1915 Formed at Oxford and Aylesbury and then moved to Weston-super-Mare.
08.04.1916 Became the 4th (Reserve) and 1st Reserve Bucks. Battalions.
01.09.1916 Moved to Ludgershall the 4th absorbed the 1st as part of the south Midland Reserve Brigade territorial Force and then moved to Cheltenham.
Mach 1917 Moved to Catterick and then Seaton Delaval, Northumberland and remained there until the end of the war.

5th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Oxford as part of the First New Army (K1) and then moved to Aldershot to join the 42nd Brigade of the 14th Division and then moved to Cranleigh, Guildford.
Feb 1915 Moved to Salamanca Barracks, Aldershot.
21.05.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne and engaged in various actions on the Western Front including;
1915
The Action of Hooge, part of the first flamethrower attack by the Germans, The Second Attack on Bellewaarde.
1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemark, The First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of the Avre.
27.04.1918 Reduced to cadre at Isbergues near Aire.
16.06.1918 Returned to England as part of the 16th Division;
The Final Advance in Artois.
20.06.1918 Absorbed by the 18th Gloucester’s at Clacton.

6th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Oxford as part of the Second New Army (K2) and then moved to Aldershot to join the 60th Brigade of the 20th Division.
Mar 1915 Moved to Larkhill, Salisbury Plain.
22.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne after trench familiarisation and training engaged in various actions on the Western front including;
1916
The Battle of Mount Sorrel, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of Morval, The Battle of Le Transloy.
1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Cambrai Operations.
1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres.
15.02.1918 Disbanded at La Clytte and remaining personnel transferred to the 2/4th 5th Battalion and 14th Entrenching Battalions

7th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Oxford as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Codford St. Mary to join the 78th Brigade of the 26th Division.
April 1915 Moved back to Oxford and then on to Fovant and Longbridge Deverill.
21.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
26.11.1915 Embarked for Macedonia from Marseilles arriving at Salonika and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
1918
The Battle of Doiran and the Pursuit to the Strumica Valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war east of Strumica, Macedonia.

8th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers)
Oct 1914 Formed at Oxford as part of the Third New Army (K3) and then moved to Codford St. Mary attached to the 26th Division and then moved back to Oxford.
25.01.1915 Became a Pioneer Battalion of the 26th Division and then moved to Sutton Veny.
19.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre.
25.11.1915 Embarked for Salonika from Marseilles and engaged in various actions against the Bulgarian Army including;
1916
The Battle of Horseshoe Hill.
1917
The Battles of Doiran.
1918
The Battle of Doiran and the Pursuit to the Strumica Valley.
30.09.1918 Ended the war near Strumica, Macedonia.

9th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Portsmouth as a service battalion of the Fourth New Army (K4) as part of the 96th Brigade of the 32nd Division.
10.04.1915 Moved to Wareham and became the 2nd Reserve Battalion and the 96th Brigade became the 8th Reserve Brigade.
01.09.1916 Became the 36th Training Reserve Battalion.

10th Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed in West Mersea from the 83rd Provisional Battalion of the 216th Brigade of the 72nd Division.
Jan 1917 Moved to Bedford and then Ipswich.
21.11.1917 Left the 72nd Division and disbanded.

11th (Garrison) Battalion
31.07.1918 Formed in France from the 2nd Garrison Battalion.

1st Garrison Battalion
Sept 1915 Formed at Portland
Feb 1916 Deployed to India where it remained.

2nd (Garrison) Battalion
July 1916 Formed at Portland and then deployed to France
13.07.1918 Became the 11th (Garrison) Battalion.

Memories of Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, FARELF in 1962

Written by Bullet Jones 1GJ

Brunei
Sarawak
Kuching
Labuan
Blaka Mati

Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, Bulford in 1965

Written by Bullet Jones 1GJ

Bulford- Kiwi Bks.

Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry

"..."the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history," because of the heavy losses. A lack of records has made it difficult to establish who may be buried in the mass graves. But the British regiments involved were the Gloucestershire Regiment, the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, the Worcestershire Regiment, and the Machine Gun Corps. Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said: "By the end of the project in 2010 all the bodies will be permanently laid to..."
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"...1916. The Battle of Fromelles, which took place 19 days after the start of the Somme campaign, saw a total of 7,080 Allied soldiers killed, wounded or captured. Among the British regiments involved was the 2/4th Territorial Army battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. Oxford Archaeology, based at Osney Mead, was awarded the contract by the British and Australian governments. Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said: “We’re pleased to announce that work will start in May..."
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"...the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment) 44th Foot later the Essex Regiment subsequently the Royal Anglian Regiment 51st Light Infantry later the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry subsequently the Light Infantry 52nd Light Infantry later the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry subsequently the Royal Green Jackets 69th Foot later the Welsh Regiment subsequently the Royal Regiment of Wales 71st Highland Light Infantry subsequently the Royal Highland Fusiliers 73rd Highlanders..."
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"I have started a mailing list for Old Comrades of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry so that we can keep in touch by e-mail and exchange news and information. To subscribe, go to: , or contact me at and I will add you to the list. Last edited by Roy Bailey"
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"I have started a mailing list for Old Comrades of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry so that we can keep in touch by e-mail and exchange news and information. To subscribe, go to: , or contact me and I will add you to the list. "
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Active From: 1881 - 1958

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