Page 227 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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                                                                                                                                                                     The unveiling of the memorial plinth at the Old Cowley Barracks site
Unite Students and Oxford Brooks University have developed the Parade Green Campus in Cowley with study bedrooms for 867 students of the university. This impressive new building occupies the former site of Cowley Barracks, which from 1876-1958 was the Regimental Depot of the Oxfordshire & Bucking- hamshire Light Infantry (43rd & 52nd).
This new development has made it possible to build a memorial to the Regiment at the entrance to the University Campus.
Also, on the front of the plinth are three plaques with the names of members of the Regiment awarded the Victoria Cross, CSM Edward Brooks VC and L/Cpl Alfred Wilcox VC, who received their awards in WWI, and Lieutenant John Rayburn VC awarded in WWII.
The afternoon programme of the 15th August 2019 began with the Regimental Assembly Call sounded by the two buglers. This was followed with presentations by distinguished former officers of the regiment. The opening address was given by the senior officer on parade, General Sir Robert Pascoe KCB MBE.
Brigadier Robin Draper CVO OBE told the story of the regiment from its founding in the mid eighteenth century, its role in the Peninsular War, of Waterloo and the action of the 52nd in the closing moments of the battle. He also talked of the regiment’s record in the two World Wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 and the post war founding of its successor regiments, The Royal Green Jackets and The Rifles.
The new memorial was then unveiled by General Sir Robert Pascoe together with senior representa- tives of Oxford Brookes University, Unite Students and Reg Charles, a veteran of WWII who landed in Normandy in June 1944 and served in France, The Netherlands and Germany.
Captain Robert Drummond Hay then gave the following Remembrance for the Fallen in battle: “This day we remember all those who served in the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry since 1741; those who passed through their basic training on this site and in particular the 5,878 soldiers of the Regiment who gave their lives in the First World War and the 1408 in the Second, as well as those who fell in other conflicts and with its successor regiments, The Royal Green Jackets and The Rifles”. A wreath was then laid by Reg Charles
Roy Bailey then gave us a light hearted, but very faithful recollection of his time as a National Service
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Recruit during basic training at Cowley Barracks in the 1950s. He later served as a Corporal with the Regiment in BAOR and in the Cyprus Emergency.
The last of many of the bugle calls of the afternoon sounded by Bugle Major Philip King of Oxfordshire (Rifles) Battalion Army Cadet Force, and Rifleman James Howard of the Waterloo Band & Bugles, was appropriately “No More Parades”.
In addition to the main memorial there is a small plaque on the outer wall, the original boundary wall of the former barracks, with a short history of the Regiment and its Depot.
Although founded in 1741 and Oxfordshire’s County Regiment for over 140 years, there are few memorials in the City of Oxford to mark our Regiment’s long history. Many veterans now in old age will therefore welcome these new memorials, now on the site where they once served, and knew so well in their youth.
Brian Cox
   The new memorial is in the form of an altar shaped plinth displaying the following inscription:
43rd Cowley Barracks 52nd
This site was the regimental depot of The Oxfordshire and Buckingham- shire Light Infantry from 1876 to 1958. The regiment was formed in 1741. It fought in many theatres of war and its 47 battle honours include Quebec 1759, Corunna 1809, Waterloo 1815, Nonne Boschen 1914, The Somme 1916 and Pegasus Bridge in Normandy 1944. It raised 17 battalions in WWI 1914-18 and 10 in WWII 1939-45. The plaque is dedicated to the memory of those who gave their lives in service from 1741 and the 5,878 of its soldiers who fell in WWI and 1,408 in WWII many of whom trained at these barracks. Post WWII some 5000 national servicemen also completed their recruit training here. In 1966 the regiment was amalga- mated into “The Royal Green Jackets” and in 2007 became “The Rifles”.
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