STEPHEN Berridge, a volunteer at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, has been transcribing the war diary of the 2nd Battalion of the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry.

Here, troop movements and activities over the Christmas period in 1914 are revealed.

December 22/23, 1914 – Bailleul to La Couture – 14 Miles The whole Brigade was moved in motor buses starting about midnight and going round by Hazebrouck and Merville. Several buses took wrong roads and others broke down temporarily, so that it was nearly midday on the 23rd before we were in our billets at La Couture.

  • December 23, 1914 – La Couture 9th Reinforcement of 70 men arrived.
  • December 24, 1914 – La Couture In billets.
  • December 25, 1914 – La Couture In billets.
  • December 26, 1914 – La Couture In billets. Captain G Blewitt and Lieutenant J C Warner (Special Reserve) Joined for Duty.
  • December 27, 1914 – Into trenches In the evening went into trenches near Richebourg L’Avoue, relieving the 1st Battalion 39th Garhwal Rifles. Three companies in trenches, one company in Reserve in billets with Regimental Headquarters.
  • December 28, 1914 – Richebourg L’Avoue Very quiet. Casualties caused by a short shell from our own artillery. Casualties: Killed = 1, Wounded = 1.
  • December 29, 1914 – Into Richebourg St Vaast Relieved in the evening by the 9th Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders) and went into billets at Richebourg St Vaast. Captain C Fitzgerald (Special Reserve) Joined for Duty. Casualties: Wounded = 1.
  • December 30, 1914 – Richebourg St Vaast s December 31, 1914 – Richebourg St Vaast Relieved the 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry in trenches near Richebourg L’Avoue immediately to the right of the trenches previously occupied. Brigadier General AA Chichester took over command of the 5th Infantry Brigade vice Brigadier General R C B Haking promoted Major General.
  • Total casualties from beginning of the war up to 31st December 1914:
  • Officers: killed, 12; wounded, 18; missing 0
  • Other ranks: killed, 135; wounded, 445, missing 21
  • Admitted to hospital sick:
  • August 14-31, 91; September, 135; October, 55; November, 53; December, 125' Total, 459