Tag Archives: Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry

Ronald John McIver Wilson-Theobald

Ronald was born on the 20th September 1898. He was the only child of William and Rosie Wilson-Theobald. His father was a barrister-at-law in Kensington, and his mother was the daughter of Isaac Lotinga, of Sunderland, Co. Durham. He joined Ashburnham in September 1912.

In 1914, Ronald came second in the Under 16s 100 Yards race. He left the school at Easter of the same year, and in 1916, he started at RMC Sandhurst.

He was attached to the 5th Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry as a 2nd Lieutenant, in September 1917, and he went out with them to the western front in November.

He was stationed near St. Quentin, France, when the major German offensive – known as Operation Michael – was launched in the early hours of the 21st of March 1918. His battalion was defending the Somme, where they faced trench mortars, mustard gas, chlorine gas, tear gas, smoke canisters, and heavy artillery bombardment. Ronald was killed in action on that first day of the three-day long Battle of St Quentin.

The following account of that morning is by Winston Churchill, who was there carrying out an inspection as Minister of Munitions:

“And then, exactly as a pianist runs his hands across the keyboard from treble to bass, there rose in less than one minute the most tremendous cannonade I shall ever hear…It swept round us in a wide curve of red leaping flame stretching to the north far along the front of the Third Army, as well as of the Fifth Army on the south, and quite unending in either direction…the enormous explosions of the shells upon our trenches seemed almost to touch each other, with hardly an interval in space or time…The weight and intensity of the bombardment surpassed anything which anyone had ever known before.”

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Marcel Andre Simon

Marcel Andre Simon was a pupil at the Royal Naval College, Osborne from the age of 12. He was born in Sidcup in March 1899, the son of Dr Alfred Leon Simon, a French-born mining engineer, and his wife Kathleen Simon, the daughter of Sir Philip Fysh, a British-born Australian politician and businessman. In January 1914, he joined Westminster and was a pupil in Homeboarders house for until July. On the outbreak of war, then aged just 14, he tried to join the Naval Cadets but was rejected as he was colour blind (it was essential to be able to differentiate between the red and green lights which indicate port and starboard on ships).

Marcel lied about his age so that he could sign up with the Princess Charlotte of Wales’s (Royal Berkshire Regiment) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 19th December,1916. He was later attached to the 2nd Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry and went out to the western front in February 1917. Two months later he was killed during the Battle of Arras on 29th April.  The place where he fell, near Oppy Wood, was recorded but his body was never recovered. It was not until 1998 that a group out metal-detecting found his badges and pips. He was then given a burial with full military honours at Orchard Dump Cemetery in Arleux-en-Gohelle in 2000.

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Cecil Hurst-Brown


Cecil was born in Bayswater, the middle son of William Hurst-Brown, a stockbroker, and his wife Ethel Mary Dredge Newbury Coles.

He was an active sportsman: a double pink whilst at school and then secretary of the University Association Football Club whilst at Christ Church, Oxford. He played cricket whilst at Westminster, gaining a place on the 1st XI and averaging 14.60 and 19.00 in the 1912 and 1913 seasons.


Upon the outbreak of war he left university and joined the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. On 16 December 1914, he was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, which he joined in France on 7th June 1915. He died on 26th September 1915, having been wounded in action the previous day.

His younger brother, 2nd Lieutenant Dudley Hurst-Brown, 129th Battery R.F.A was wounded on 13 June 1915, and died two days later. A family historian said of Cecil’s death that “he was the second of two brothers killed within three months of each other. It sent my wife’s great grandmother [Cecil’s mother, Ethel] insane with grief – she spent the rest of her life in and out of mental hospitals – thus two casualties became three – very sad.”

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