JOHN WILLIAM GIBBS was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry when he died at sea on board the hospital ship Syria on route to Bombay, on the 20th June 1916, from wounds received and dysentery. He was aged 25 and buried at sea, he is commemorated on the Basra Memorial, for soldiers with no known grave, in modern day Iraq. 

John Gibbs, known as Jack, was born in Broughton in 1892 to Charles and Annie Gibbs. In 1911 he was living in Upper Tadmarton with his parents and sisters Elsie, Gladys and Ethel and brothers Ernest and Frank, and was working as a shepherd. He enlisted into the Oxford & Bucks in Oxford on 8th August 1915 along with his younger brother brother Frank. After training he was sent to Mesopotamia as part of reinforcements for the 1st Battalion.

The 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry, as part of the 6th Poona Division, had moved from India to Mesopotamia in November 1914. The battalion took part in the march towards Kut-al-Amara with the intention of capturing it from the Ottomans. The battle for Kut began on 26th September and raged for a number of days until the Ottomans went into retreat and Kut was captured on 28th September 1915. The battalion then took part in the Battle of Ctesiphon in the effort to capture the capital, Baghdad, which ended in the 6th Poona Division being defeated by the Ottoman forces. The Division subsequently retreated to Kut, reaching it on 3rd December 1915, where it was besieged by the Ottomans, beginning on 7th December, with a garrison of 10,000 Britons and Indians.

The reinforcements including Private John Gibbs, were formed into a provisional 1st Battalion under the 28th Indian Brigade and took part in attempts to relieve the Siege of Kut and Private Gibbs was wounded and evacuated on the Hospital ship Syria.




 HM Hospital Ship Syria 

GEORGE GREEN was serving as a Private (bugler) in the 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry when he was killed in action on the 23rd July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of Pozieres. He was aged 19 and is buried in the British cemetery at Pozieres.

George Green was born in 1897 in Milton, one of 10 children to John and Mary Green. By 1911 the family were living in Upper Tadmarton where his father worked as a labourer. His older brother Walter served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and was seriously wounded at Passchendaele. 

He joined the 4th Territorial Battalion of the Ox and Bucks in September 1914, enlisting in Oxford. The 1/4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry  disembarked at Boulogne on 30th March 1915 under the orders of 145th Brigade, 48th (South Midland) Division. They saw action at the Battle of Albert on 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and fought in The Battle of Bazentin Ridge in which the Division captured Ovillers, a night attack between 14th and 17th July.  

The Battle of Pozieres was a subsidiary attack of the Somme Offensive, and launched on 23rd July 1916, the Battle of Pozieres Ridge on the Albert-Bapaume road saw the Australians and British fight hard for an area that comprised a first rate observation post over the surrounding countryside, as well as the additional benefit of offering an alternative approach to the rear of the Thiepval defences.

HARRY WALTER HATFIELD was serving as a Private in the 1/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he  died of smallpox in the General Field Hospital in Egypt on 2nd June 1919. He was aged 21 and is buried in the British War Memorial Cemetery in Cairo.

Harry Hatfield was born in 1898 in Marston St Lawrence, to parents Harry, and Charlotte. He had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. In 1911 they were living in Lower Tadmarton where his father was a labourer. 

He enlisted into the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in 1915 as a Private, being transferred to the 6th Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry and arriving in France with them on 22nd July 1915. As part of the 20th (Light) Division they saw action in the Battles of the Somme, firstly taking part in the Battle of Delville Wood between 15th July and 3rd September 1916 followed by The Battle of Guillemont, The Battle of Flers-Courcelette and The Battle of Morval. He was slightly injured at the village of Ginchy during the Battle of  Le Transloy on 7th October 1916. He later transferred to 1/7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment and saw action in Mesopotamia. 

Two of his brothers served in the war, James with the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars, whilst Gilbert served with the King's Royal Rifle Corps and was seriously injured at the Battle of Thiepval. 

RICHARD JOSEPH HOWKINS was serving as a Trooper with Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars when he died of his wounds on 22nd August 1918 aged of 20. He is buried at the Commonwealth cemetery at Niederzwehren near the German city of Kassel. 

Richard Howkins was born in 1898 in Lower Tadmarton to parents Thomas and Sophia Howkins. He had three elder brothers Ernest, George and John all of whom served their country. By 1911 the family had moved to Upper Tadmarton, Ernest and George had left home and Richard, at the age of 13 was working as a farm labourer. Oxford.

He enlisted in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars in Oxford. As part of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in the 2nd Cavalry Division they took part in the Battle of Amiens between 8th and 12th August 1918. The battle was the first action in the 100 Days Offensive, Allied forces advanced over 7 miles on the first day, one of the greatest advances of the war. The division  made a cavalry chargebto capture and hold a ridge near the village of Royes. The Oxford Hussars were the leading Regiment on the right of the attack and made good progress until stopped by concentrated machine gun fire. Trooper Howkins was wounded and taken prisoner by the Germans. He died of his wounds in captivity at Ludwigsburg prisoner of war camp, and was originally buried there, being re-interred in 1924. 

FRANCIS EDMUND LANGTON RIDDLE was serving as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry when he was killed in action on the 16th May 1915 during the Battle of Festubert. He was aged 21 and is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial in the Pas-de-Calais region for soldiers with no known grave

Francis Riddle was born on the 10th June 1893 at Tadmarton Rectory the second son of the Reverend Arthur Riddle and his wife Edith. He had an elder brother Arthur a younger brother Gerald and a younger sister Annie. He attended Bloxham School between 1903 and 1911 and was a first rate athlete winning the school sports competition in 1910 and 1911. He was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the special reserve of officers Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry on 1st October 1913 and commissioned into 2nd Battalion on the 1st September 1914. He served as an assistant recruiting officer at Cowley Barracks for two months before embarking for France on the 25th November 1914. Apart from a period of leave in March 1915 he was in and out of the trenches continuously that winter.On the 16th May 1915 he was called in as a replacement officer during the Battle of Festubert, arriving at 0800. The Battle of Festubert was an action in the Artois region of France by the British First Army under General Sir Douglas Haig between 15th May and 25th May 1915. It was part of a larger French offensive to secure the town of Arras. The attack was made against a German salient between Neuve Chapelle and the village of Festubert. The battle was preceded by a 60 hour bombardment by 433 artillery pieces which fired over 100,000 shells. However the bombardment failed to significantly damage the German defences partly as there were no high explosives available and many shells were duds. At 23:30 on the night of the 15th May the front line platoons left their trenches and attacked German positions across no-mans land. The initial advance was completed to the rue du Bois with fairly light casualties and the troops occupied the German front line trenches and dug in. It was at this point the 2nd Battalion Ox and Bucks were sent in to support. After this German resistance stiffened with accurate machine gun and artillery fire. The village of Festubert was eventually captured on 25th May, only 1 kilometer of territory gained at cost of 16,000 casualties including Tadmarton's Francis Riddle.

 

CHARLES SMITH was serving as a Private with 5th (Service) Battalion  The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action at The Battle of Loos on the 25th September 1915 aged 26. His body was never recovered from the battlefield, he is commemorated on the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial.

Charles Smith was born in Tadmarton in 1888 to parents John and Harriet Smith and had 3 brothers and 3 sisters. He worked as a farm labourer. 

He joined the Battalion in France on 7th July 1915. He was posted missing after the Battle of Loos, but later reported as being killed. The Battle of Loos was the largest British offensive mounted on the Western Front in 1915, from 25th September to 14th October. The first British use of poison gas occurred and the battle was the first mass engagement of New Army units, of which the 5th Ox & Bucks was one. The British offensive was part of the attempt by the French to break through the German defences in Artois and Champagne and restore a war of movement. Despite improved methods, more ammunition and better equipment, the Franco-British attacks were contained by the German armies, who took around 26,00 casualties compared to 59,247 on the British and French side. 

There are two brothers with a connection to Tadmarton who are not on the village war memorial:

HARRY SUMMERS was serving as a Private with the 4th Battalion, The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he was killed in action on the 26th March 1917 during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line. He was aged 29 and is buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension, near Peronne.

 WALTER SUMMERS was serving as a Private in 2nd/7th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment when he was killed in action in the 24th March 1918 at the Somme Crossings during the German Spring Offensive. He was aged 24 and is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial for those with no known grave.

The brothers were the sons of Frederick and Caroline Summers, and were born and raised in Adderbury. At the time of enlistment Walter was living In Birmingham, whilst Harry was still in Adderbury. By the time they died Caroline Summers had been widowed and was living at 6, Council Houses in Tadmarton. They are both commemorated on the Adderbury war memorial.  


Did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind?
In some faithful heart is your memory enshrined
And, though you died back in 1916, 
To that loyal heart are you always 19?
Or are you a stranger without even a name, 
Forever enshrined behind some glass pane, 
In an old photograph, torn and tattered and stained, 
And fading to yellow in a brown leather frame?

FROM THE SONG "NO MAN'S LAND" BY KIND PERMISSION OF ERIC BOGLE


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