Ox and Bucks LI

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by wet_blobby, Mar 19, 2009.

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  1. My Grandfather was in the Oxs and Bucks during the second world war. I unfortunately never got to much out of him in the way of stories, he did however mention landing on sword beach on D-Day.

    I have done some research and find this a strange claim as the 1st battalion OBLI was part of the 53rd welsh Div and didn't land until later in June. He was a tradesman (VM) and was involved in the waterproofing of vehicles for D-day so am wondering if he may have been detached and joined his unit later.

    Unfortunately using google doesn't really get me anywhere as the net is dominated by the more famous Ox and Bucks at Pegasus bridge. I think the 1st battalion Buckingham Regt was the Sword beach "brick" for D-day, would they have inter changed personnel?

    Can anyone suggest a good website I could look at to gain some further info?
  2. Try PMing StickyBomb - he knows a fair bit about them
  3. If your grandfather went through this lot I am not surprised he kept silent.

    1st Battalion The Buckinghamshire Battalion was part of the 6th Beach Group, landing on D-Day on 6 June 1944 as part of the beach group that organised the units on the landing beaches. The 1st Ox & Bucks landed later that month as part of the 71st Infantry Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division. On 25 June Operation Epsom began that was intended to take the town of Caen -- a vital objective for the British that proved to be a formidable town to capture -- and failed in its intention of capturing Caen though, however, it did divert significant numbers of Germans away from the Americans. The Germans counter-attacked and the Ox & Bucks moved to positions around the Odon where it suffered from heavy German artillery barrages. The Allies launched further attempts to capture Caen, and the first Allied troops entered it on 9 July; by then, much of it had been destroyed. Fighting around Caen continued for much of the month, with the Battalion sustaining significant casualties. In August the Battalion took part in an advance towards Falaise, known as Operation Totalize, that saw the Allies reach and capture it. The Falaise Pocket was eventually closed, encircling two German armies, one of which was effectively destroyed by the Allies. The victory of the Falaise Pocket signified the end of the battle for Normandy. The 1st Ox & Bucks then took part in the advance east, eventually entering Belgium in early September.

    On 17 September the invasion of the Netherlands began, known as Operation Market Garden in a combined land and airborne operation. The Battalion took part in the ground operation that was intended to cross through three bridges taken by airborne troops and into Germany, that would end at the furthest captured bridge at Arnhem -- taken by 1st Airborne -- though the operation ended in failure by 25 September. The 1st Ox & Bucks subsequently took part in operations around the Lower Maas that took place between October and November. On 16 December 1944 the Germans launched their last-gasp major offensive of the war in the Ardennes that became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The 1st Ox & Bucks, along with the rest of its division, was rushed to Belgium shortly afterwards to assist in the defence where it experienced awful weather conditions, some of the worst Belgium had seen in years. The Allies launched a counter-attack in early January and the German offensive was defeated later that month, by which time the 53rd Welsh Division had been relieved and returned to Holland soon afterwards in preparation for the invasion of Germany.

    In February the Battalion was involved in the Allied invasion of the German Rhineland, including taking part in the Battle of the Reichswald, where it saw extensive involvement. The Battalion crossed the Rhine in late March and advanced east, seeing action at, among others, Ibbenburen in April where they saw heavy fighting against determined German defenders though, in spite of this, the British succeeded in capturing the town, and the 1st Ox & Bucks eventually reached the city of Hamburg -- captured on 3 May by British forces -- where they remained until the end of the war.
  4. He did say Caen was a waste of time, nothing but rubble. He also mentioned "proffing" all the signallers D10 lying around so he could rig up some electric lights and also an ammo dump getting bombed.

    Thanks for the info albi.
  5. My best mate's Dad was in the Ox and Bucks in North West Europe. They were part of the group that liberated Bergen-Belsen. In a glass cabinet at his house were some schnapps glasses and decanters from the SS Officers Mess.

    After this experience, or after VE Day anyway, they were posted en-masse to Wales to "decompress", where my mates Dad met his wife, a nurse.

    If he was part of this, no wonder he didn't say a right lot. My pals Dad was quite chatty, mainly about the exploits of the USAAF, who seemed to like his Bn as they frequently bombed it.

    Hope this helps!
  6. Cheers Tich.

    wet_blobby, there is often some confusion between the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and The 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. The former were a regular battalion and the latter a TA battalion.

    The 1st Bucks Battalion (there were two during WW2 but the 2nd did not leave the UK) fought during the Battle of France in 1940 and made an epic stand at Hazebrouck on 27 May which held off a German armoured division for two days thus helping to keep the Dunkirk pocket open. A German radio broadcast was intercepted after the action which said "...the defenders of Hazebrouck not only delayed the advance but resisted in a manner truly worthy of the highest traditions of the British Army."

    As has been said, they formed the core infantry battalion of No6 Beach Group under Lt Col Ronald Sale. The battalion suffered many losses as they cleared the beach and organised its defence. One incident your grandfather might have seen was when a lone German aircraft bombed a DUKW loaded with fuel which then set an 800-ton ammunition dump alight. The CO organised a party of pioneers who beat out the fires, rescued vehicles and created a fire break. The CO was hit by a shell splinter after an hour of firefighting. His action meant that vital anti-tank ammunition needed by 3 Div was saved from destruction and he was awarded a George Medal.

    The Beach Group was dissolved on 10 July when all landing operations were switched to Gold and Juno beaches. They were attached to 6th Airborne Div on 30 Jul but, as happened to many beach battalions, they were then broken up to supply drafts to other units. On 12 August, they supplied 3 officers and 150 ORs to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and on 16 August, they supplied 8 officers and 100 ORs to 1st Black Watch. Further drafts were supplied to 1/4th KOYLI and 5th Seaforth Highlanders and by 27 August, the Bn was reduced to cadre strength.
    it received reinforcements at the end of September and became a lines of communication battalion.

    They garrisoned St Jean Barracks in Brussels in October but was converted to one of the new 'T' Forces. the 'T' stood for 'Target' but we would know it as a 'Key Point' today. Their job was to follow behind the advancing armies and seize key installations intact. One of the targets they seized was Lord Haw Haw's radio transmitter at Norden.

    For more info, try contacting the Soldiers of Oxfordshire (www.sofo.org.uk). Hope this helps.
  7. Many thanks lads.
  8. My guess is that he was part of a 'seaborne tail' for 6 Abn Div. 1 Abn certainly had one for Arnhem. I've had a quick flick through Harclerode's 'Go To It' but nothing leapt out. The regimental history and battalion war diary would probably have something about it.

    Having thought laterally: 'Assault Division' (3 (Br) Div's history) refers to 101 Beach Sub-Area (including 1 Bucks in 6 Beach Group) being responsible for the passage of 6 Abn Div troops through Sword 'long after the assault'.

    Hope I'm not leading you up a blind alley...
  9. This is interesting as my dad was Ox and Bucks in Normandy. Unfortunately he is no longer with us and did not speak too much about his experiences. From what I recall he was a staff sergeant attatched to 2nd Army group HQ under Gen Dempsey. Landed Sword beach on D plus 3 or 4 because of bad weather. One of the tasks they were assigned was to find suitable buildings to set up forward HQ's. I have a nice German Cross in Gold which he found in a desk of an ex German HQ. He went all the way to Berlin, met my mum who was also 21st at Bad Oynehausen in 1945. I'll do some research, have some paperwork and stuff he left me.
  10. Stickybomb is 100% correct...my father was in the 1st Bucks Battalion
    You can read/view all about the OBLI including TA battalions at The Museum at Slade Barracks at Oxford....
  11. Confusion? Blimey, I bet those two battalions were subject to no end of Staff mix-ups....

    I once met an elderly American gent who had been on some joint staff or other during Overlord. He said they had to use a Brit "interpreter" as he and his colleagues found many of the British unit titles utterly incomprehensible - especially since many superficially similar units had been re-rolled into different arms (think he was referring to TA Gunners & Yeomanry, and their numerous incarnations...).
  12. Wet Blobby, The Royal Green Jackets museum has a website that may be of assistance, the Ox & Bucks became 1st Green Jackets in 1958.

    Hope it helps.
  13. ...well, you could have done...but unfortunately Barclay Homes flattened it six months ago.

    The OBLI Museum has become part of the Soldiers of Oxfordshire setup which is temporarily based at Caversfield. When they get enough dosh together, there will be a permanent Museum built in Woodstock.

    Oh, and the 1st Bucks Battalion became gunners in 1947 but were reincorporated into the Regiment as part of the 4th (TA) Battalion about ten years later. They live on as E Coy 7 RIFLES.
  14. Did you find out anymore WB?
    My dad was in the REME and prior to D Day was involved in waterproofing vehicles also. He's 84 and his memory is going a bit. He reckons he was in 10 Beach REME. He never landed, but got shipped out to Burma instead and eventually Japan, where he dismantled mini subs.
  15. The first bloke interviewed c1900 on BBC4 was 1 Bucks. According to him, their designated beach was in a bit of a state so his coy was moved to the extreme eastern end of Sword.