Oxford’s service of remembrance to commemorate the contribution of the 4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in the Battle of the Somme will be held at the landing of the Town Hall on 1 July at 10.45 am. Attendees must gather at the Town Hall by 10.30am.
The Oxford Branch of the Royal Green Jackets Association in conjunction with Oxford City Council are holding the service, which is open to the public to mark the occasion, where the territorial battalion with headquarters of Oxford suffered many casualties on this day, 100 years ago.
The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan will be joined by The Reverend Canon Brian Mountford MBE, veterans, civic and others wanting to pay tribute before the service. The Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan who will open the service said: “Oxford City Council is proud to welcome this key event and stand with the Royal Green Jacks to honour those who fought in this devastating battle. We commemorate the local contribution and pay tribute to all of those who lost their lives and their families”
Brigadier Robin Draper CVO OBE President of the Oxford Branch of the Royal Green Jackets Association will start with an address, followed by a prayer and a Hymn, during which a Wreath will be laid.
There will be a two minute silence to signal the start of the battle and honour the fall of the local riflemen, as well as many other casualties.
Major (retd) Terry Roper MBE TD from the Royal Green Jackets said: “It is important that the people of Oxford especially, the young, understand the sacrifices the men of the County Regiment made to ensure the freedoms we have today, the bravery, the terrible conditions and the horrendous casualties on both side in this Battle and in the bloodiest of Wars will be remembered here today"
Members of the public, councillors and staff at Oxford City Council are invited to join this service to mark the start of the Somme and honour those who died.
The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
(OBLI), a territorial battalion who were at Summer camp when the war broke out
in August 1914 were recalled and mobilised before being sent to France. In
1915, they saw action at Cassell and then were at the Somme, assaulting the
Quadrilateral (Heidenkorf) on the first day of this battle that went on until
November 1916 and symbolised for many the losses in the I World War.
The Royal Green Jackets who were formed in 1958 from the OBLI, Kings Royal Rifles and the Rifle Brigade carry forward the traditions of their predecessors and will hold a special service in September to remember those who have died, as well as participating in Remembrance Day on 11th November.
Every two months the Royal Green Jackets hold a "Turning of The Pages" ceremony in the Military Chapel in Christ Church Cathedral where along with the Queens Oxfordshire Hussars they read out names from the books of remembrance from the two World Wars.