AMATEUR historian Steve Berridge has been transcribing the war diary and regimental chronicle of the 2nd Ox & Bucks Light Infantry.

It’s a massive task and the volunteer at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum is not finished yet.

But he is determined to complete the painstaking task he has started.

Mr Berridge’s devotion to the regiment’s history started after he embarked on research into his great-grandfather, Corporal George Berridge, who served in the 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion during the Battle of the Somme.

Mr Berridge, 51, is a former corporal in the Royal Green Jackets and last month he was one of the volunteers to meet Princess Anne, as she officially opened the museum.

Banbury Cake:

 

Each battalion of the Ox & Bucks kept its own war diary, an official record of the unit’s location, activity and number of casualties.

In last month’s diary extracts, Mr Berridge focused on the Ox & Bucks involvement in the Battle of the Aisne, which cost the British Expeditionary Force about 13,500 men, killed, wounded and missing.

The Second Ox and Bucks were withdrawn from the front on September 22, but would remain in billets at Dhuizel, France, until the end of the month.

In the latest extracts, troops are on the move, heading north for French Flanders, not knowing they were heading for the Belgian town on Ypres and the Ypres Salient.

Mr Berridge added: “After being shelled in the trenches, the troops’ spirits were probably lifted as they were on the move.

“There must have been some apprehension too, but they were not aware of the bloodshed to come.”

DIARY

  • October 1 1914 – Bourg to Cour de Soupir – four miles North West.

Marched at 7.30pm and relieved the Leinster Regiment in the trenches occupied by the Regiment before.

  • October 2 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Took over an additional trench on the right from the Highland Light Infantry who had a long line to cover.

A misty morning and one of our scouts getting too near the German trenches in the mist was shot.

Casualties: 1 man missing (either killed or a wounded prisoner) s October 3, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Some very accurate shelling at one particular part of the right company’s (B Company) trench.

Casualties: 3 killed, 19 wounded.

  • October 4, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Shelling again at the same part of our trenches, now occupied by A Company.

Casualties: 1 killed, 9 wounded.

  • October 5, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Shelling again at the same part of the trenches but the cover had been improved that there were no casualties there.

When the trench was taken over it had been made too wide and did not give enough cover from high explosive shrapnel bursting overhead and throwing back.

Some shrapnel over the farm wounded some men.

Casualties: 6 wounded.

Captain Villiers left to rejoin the Royal Sussex Regiment.

  • October 6, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Very little shelling. About 10pm some rifle fire from the German trenches and a few rounds of shrapnel.

  • October 7 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

A little shelling.

The following officers joined for Duty: Captain E H Kirkpatrick Lieutenant C F Murphy Second Lieutenant C W Titherington Lieutenant M FF R Wingfield (Special Reserve) Second Lieutenant H V Pendavis (Special Reserve) Second Lieutenant L A Filleul (Special Reserve Somerset Light Infantry) Casualties: 1 wounded.

  • October 9, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

A good deal of shelling in the morning, but no casualties.

  •  October 10,1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

No shelling at our trenches.

10 men left to join 2nd Division Cyclists.

  • October 11, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Hardly any shelling.

  • October 12, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

A German scout was killed at night by one of our sentry group.

  • October 13, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir.

Relieved at night by the French 254th Reserve Regiment.

  • October 14, 1914 – La Cour de Soupir to Fismes – 10 ½ miles.

Left at 12.30am and marched via Soupir and St Maud to Vauxcere, arriving at 3.30am and billeting there.

Marched again at 2pm to Fismes and entrained there with 5th Brigade Headquarters, leaving at 6.20pm.

B company had to be left behind to come on with the Worcestershire Regiment, there being no room in the train.