1st Bucks Bn, OBLI - question for the anoraks.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by RP578, Nov 8, 2010.

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  1. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    I know this particular battalion already has as many mentions on this site as the SAS, but trawling through them all I can't find the answer I'm looking for. Although the 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion was one of the Territorial Force Battalions of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, they continued to wear their own capbadge and collar dogs (see pics below) during the Great War. What shoulder titles did they wear though? I see the "Bucks T" sleeve flash, but did they have a brass title set too?

    Also, when did start to wear the OBLI capbadge? I realise that 1st Bucks Bn in WW2 also. Did they wear the bugle at Dunkirk? Pretty esoteric stuff I know, but am trying to put something together in a hurry and the usual sources are taking their respective times. Cheers!

    OBLI7551.jpg thumb_OBLI7398.jpg
     
  2. I have a picture of Major B K Heyworth in a book called Hazebrouck 1940 taken just before he deployed to France and he is not wearing the cap badge you have posted above. His CWGC headstone in France has the same cap badge to.
     
  3. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Drew, what capbadge was Maj Heyworth wearing? He was definitely on strength with the Bucks Bn, OBLI.
     
  4. Any more info about this? Im a Bucks lad so I find this quite interesting. I have got a few pics of a plaque in Aylesbury that I only saw in January
     
  5. Found them:
     

    Attached Files:

  6. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Coxy,

    A brief summary: The Bucks Battalion was one of the Territorial battalions of the Oxf & Bucks Light Infantry (OBLI), the other being the 4th (TA) Bn, OBLI which was from Oxfordshire. Unlike the rest of the OBLI, the Bucks Bn was a Rifle regiment, i.e. black buttons and green patrol dress etc. They also kept their own capbadge (see pics in the first post).

    It wasn't till 1947 that the Bucks Bn merged into the 4th (TA) Bn, OBLI. Twenty-years after that it became a Rifle battalion once more as the Oxford Coy of 4th (V) Bn, Royal Green Jackets. Where in Aylesbury were those pics taken?
     
  7. What was the reason they were allowed to keep their own cap badge, as they were a Rifle regiment? Was the Oxford battalion wearing the OBLI cap badge at that time?

    The pics were taken in market square next to the door of the court. In 17 years I had never seen the plaque there before! I will try and get a few more pics this week and I will stick them in here.
     
  8. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer


    Like a lot of Territorial units, its existence pre-dated the formation of the Territorial Force in 1908. It was originally a 'Volunteer' unit (as distinct from Militia or Yeomanry) and was assigned as a Territorial battalion to the OBLI when all the various reserve components were harmonised under the TF. As with other such TF units it kept its own uniform and title. Other Green Jacket examples would be the Queens Westminster Rifles and Civil Service Service Rifles which were part of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps; and the Tower Hamlet Rifles and London Rifle Brigade, which were part of the Rifle Brigade.

    The 4th (TA) Bn OBLI did indeed wear the OBLI capbadge. Can you post a picture of the building itself? I used to go to Aylesbury a fair bit and wonder if I'll recognise it.
     
  9. RP , it is the building opposite the clock tower behind the lions..
     

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  10. RP, can't help with exact dates and I'm sure a badgeheed will be along shortly, but you might be interested in these:

    1stBucks.jpg
    Dodgy pic, but the scroll says "1st Volunteer Battalion" and the reverse bears the stamp "J R Gaunt, London". Found on eBay. I have never seen one in contemporary photographs so I have absolutely no idea of the provenance.

    1stBucksST.jpg
    This should answer your question about shoulder titles. The set in your picture look inter-war or WW2.

    4OBLI.jpg
    ...and this is what the 4th (TF) Bn OBLI wore in the Great War. I think the ones in your second pic are Regular Army.


    As far as cap badges go, I seem to remember reading in one of the OBLI Chronicles that the TA Bns did not change their OBLI capbadges for the Green Jacket Brigade immediately and may even have retained them until the RGJ came along.

    Oh, and the Bucks Bns (there were two) became RA in 1947. They didn't rejoin the Regiment until 1958 which is why the Coy you belong to is the only unbroken 'golden thread' connecting the Rifles with the OBLI (as well as having both of the VCs won under the OBLI cap badge)...but you knew that really because you've read Col Scott's book. ;-)
     
  11. I will take many photos when I go into town later, I will try and get all the names if possible as it lists men by rank/ name/ company. Very interesting in my opinion as there are a few names that I recognise.
     
  12. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Cheers Bonio! How many times did we bimble around that clock-tower, and I for one never noticed those names.


    This one I know! It was actually the forerunner to what would become the Oxford UOTC. 1st (OU) Volunteer Battalion, Oxf LI:



    Roger that on the shoulder titles. Photographs show that the T designation on shoulder titles wasn't as ubiquitous in the later stages of the war and that people seemed to have resorted to the generic regimental.​


    I wonder if the 'caretaker' in Marlow might know. I seem to recall his service dates back to the GJ Bde era.​


    Well ... up to a point Lord Copper. The Bucks Battalions were put in 'suspended animation' in 1946 and the units raised in their locations the following were indeed RA Light Anti Aircraft Batteries. Whilst these new Arty units did carry the title 'Buckinghamshire' in their titles, none as far as I'm aware claimed the name and lineage of the Bucks Battalions. It was, in a way, a foretatste for Aylesbury 50 years later.​


    In contrast, about the same time a couple of horsey outfits; the Queens Own Oxford Hussars and the Royal Bucks Yeomanry, converted to the RA along with their name and colours. Incidentally, they both later converted to R.Signals. 4(TA) Bn, OBLI carried on though and I'm pretty sure they wore the bugle interesting to find out that the Buckinghamshire Battalion did bring back its own capbadge on its resurrection in the late 1950s.

    Ref Scott's book, I've been doing some digging recently on the OBLI and the Bucks Bn in particular, primarily to garner source material for some of my students, but also out of a growing personal interest. Have even been trying to trace old Drill Halls (a surprising number of which have given way to shopping centres) and have unearthed some interesting stuff along the way. The old drill hall in Slough (pre-Wessex Regt days) for instance was donated by a local worthy called James Elliman who stated that if it were to ever stop being a volunteer unit, the building would go to Slough Borough Council who should use it (or profits derived from) for the physical fitness of the local citizens. With the onset of compulsory enrolment into the TA post active-duty as part of National Service, Slough Council claimed what was due and the building was sold off. There's a a multi-storey carpark in that location now, not sure what happened to the money though.​

     
  13. Hmm. While the 'Volunteer' bit sounds plausible, this badge doesn't look like it's from that era. Have you seen it in context? Of course, this could be a cheapo re-strike.

    I think there was a 'remove the T' edict from either the Army or Regimental dress wallahs. It might have been 1918 when a lot of 2nd and 3rd line battalions were collapsed back into the 1st line TF parents. One account I saw years ago records an anti-TA adjutant gleeflully declaring that the officers could remove their 'T's and rejoice in the knowledge that they wouldn't have to suffer the indignity of being marked out as territorials. To a man, the officers continued to wear them on the reverse of either their epaulettes or their tunic pocket flap...can't remember which.

    One of the 2nd Battalion officers recalls an annoying string of insignia changes that happened in 1944/5 so it might have been then.

    Do you mean Booker? If so, possibly.

    Never looked into the legal status of the Bucks in the late 40s so I couldn't tell you, but in my book 'suspended animation' means inactive. Moot point. Happy to be convinced, though.

    I believe that the Royal Grammar School CCF only swapped their Bucks Bn badges for the Rifles cap badge a couple of years ago.​
     
  14. A few more photos of the plaque, I will be visiting the Bucks county museum tomorrow so if anyone wants me to ask any questions please post them here
     

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  15. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer


    Yeah, it does look a little bit on the new side for the era. I'd hazard it's a repro as the only 1st Volunteer Battalion I can find record of is the Oxford University one. Stumbled across this wonderful website The Drill Hall Project> Introduction & Homepage which is a database of all old drill halls at the the time of the Great War, and informs me that 8 Alfred street was Headquarters to 1st (Oxford University) Volunteer Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry. The Soldiers of Oxford site gives me an image of a helmet-plate belonging to the 2nd Volunteer Battalion (which became 4 OBLI):
    2VolBn.jpg

    and a button belong to their 1st Volunteer Bn's predecessor, the Oxfordshire Volunteer Rifles:

    OBLI6086.jpg

    Plus ça change, plus ça même chose. I remember a bunch of mobilised 6 Rifles lads joining us at 2 Rifles back when backbadges were sported on berets by the once-upon-a-time RGBW types. The response to the RSMs request for them to remove the item in keeping with their new battalion's dress policy was met by some of them keeping it on the back of their beret - on the inside.

    Tradition. It takes a day to make and a lifetime to break!

    Had a chat with Capt (Retd.) B this week. He joined in Oxford so couldn't recall what the Bucks lot wore, though he clearly remembered going round to all the battalion's locations on the laying up of the colours/disbandment ceremonies when the Brigade became a Regiment. On that point, it is interesting to note that very often the newly ( 1958 ) formed Brigades often preferred their regiments to sport the Bde capbadge instead of the Regt'l one. Some regiments strongly resisted this (A&SH most notably, but even some pics from their time in the crater show the occasional glengarry with the St. Andrew's Cross of their Bde), but not sure to what extent the GJ Bde pushed the corporate identity thing. Pictures from Winchester Depot circa 1962ish seem to show a the Bde badge being worn. How much of this would have trickled through to the TA is a question mark.
    attachment.jpg


    Yes, I think your right. Moreover they also wore a Bucks Bn styled brassard flash:
    BucksBnCCFa.jpg