Swalcliffe is a village and civil parish about 5 miles west of Banbury in Oxfordshire. The parish is about 2 ¹⁄₂ miles long north–south and about 1 mile east–west.
FIRST WORLD WAR
KENNETH BUIST was serving as a Lieutenant with "B" Company, the 1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) when he was killed in action on 25th January 1915. He was aged 20 and is buried in Cuinchy Communal Cemetery.
He was the son of Colonel Frederick Braid of the Army Service Corps and Marion Buist of Swalcliffe Lea, having been born in Blackheath, Kent. He was educated at Cheltenham College and then attended the Royal Army C College at Sandhurst. He was gazetted as 2nd Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Highlanders in September 1913. He arrived in France with the 2nd Battalion on 15th October 1914. He was transferred to the 1st Battalion and promoted Lieutenant in December 1914. On 25th January he was leading the most forward platoon of his company to recover some trenches from the Germans. He had passed the trench when he was hit by a burst of machine gun fire from a railway embankement and killed instantly.
PERCY GEORGE was serving as a Private, 1/1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company when died of pneumonia on 17th November 1918 . He was aged 27 and is buried in Étaples Military Cemetery.
He was the son of Ellen George born in Swacliffe and living with his grandfather before moving to Chingford Essex, where he lived with his uncle and worked as a railway clerk. He enlisted into the Honourable Artillery Company in February 1916 and was sent to France with the Infantry Battalion on 3rd October 1916. They saw action as part of the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division at the Battle of the Ancre in November 1916, a phase of the Somme Offensive. They remained in the Ancre area and in January 1917 he was wounded in action and invalided home to England. On 15th September 1918 he returned to the Western Front and served in GHQ Division until Armistice. He was taken ill and developed pneumonia, dying in a General Hospital in Étaples.
CHARLES EDWARD LINES was serving as a Private with the 1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of natural causes in the hands of the Turks on 26th July 1916. He was aged 27 and is buried in Basra War Cemetery.
He was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Lines having been born in Sibford Gower before moving to The Green, Swalcliffe.
He joined the Oxford and Bucks in 1910 in Oxford and joined the 1st Battalion in Mesopotamia on 24th February 1915. Under command of 17th Indian Brigade of 6th (Poona) Division 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 26 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. 635 officers and men of the battalion fought in the battle of Ctesiphon and 304 became casualties. 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 Ottomans launched numerous attempts to take Kut, all of which were repulsed by the defenders, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The British tried desperately to relieve Kut, but failed, suffering heavy losses. By 26th April 1916 supplies had dwindled significantly and many of the garrison's defenders were suffering from sickness. The garrison negotiated a cease-fire, allowing the sick and wounded to be transferred to the relieving forces and on 29th April the British-Indian force of 8,000 surrendered to the Turks. Only 71 of all ranks of the 1st Ox and Bucks who had been taken prisoner returned home and Private Lines was one of those who died, probably from disease as a prisoner of the Turks.
ALBERT WILLIAM SCRIMSHAW was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 1st/1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died of his wounds on 1st October 1917, received during the Battle of Polygon Wood. He was aged 32 and is buried in Memdingham Military Cemetery.
He was the son of John and Hannah Scrimshaw of Eastwell, Melton Mowbray. He went into domestic service working as a butler at Malwood Minstead in the New Forest. He married Annie Wass in Belper, Derbyshire in November 1913. He was living in Swacliffe with his wife when he enlisted into the 4th Reserve Battalion, The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in late 1914. He was transferred to the 1/1 Bucks and landed in France with them on 15th May 1915, as part of 145th Brigade in 48th (South Midland) Division. On 1st July 1916 they saw action in the Battle of Albert, the opening phase of the Somme Offensive. They went on to fight at Bazentin Ridge, Pozires Ridge and Ancre in that campaign. In 1917 they occupied Peronne as the Germans made their strategic retreat to the Hindenburg Line. In August 1917 they fought in the Battle of Langemarck , part of the Third Battle of Ypres. During the Battle of Polygon Wood he was shot in the head and died shortly after in a Casualty Cearing Station in Mendinghem.
PERCY REGINALD STRATFORD was serving a Guardsman in the 2nd Battalion, The Grenadier Guards when died of his wounds on 3rd April 1918. He was aged 20 and is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery.
He was the son of George and Mary Ann Stratford of Swalcliffe, and had worked as a farm labourer. He enlisted into the Grenadier Guards in Banbury in October 1916 and joined the 2nd Battalion in France after training. They had faced the German Spring Offensive from March 21st 1918, when the German Army, bouyed with men released from the Eastern Front, attacked across the old Somme battlefields in an attempt to win the war before the arrival of the Americans. He was wounded in action and died at the 4th General Hospital in Etaples.
SECOND WORLD WAR
LESLIE JOHN BARBER was serving as a Lance Corporal with the 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment when he was killed in action on 3rd April 1942 during the retreat through Burma. He was aged 25 and is commemorated on the Rangoon Memorial, having no known grave.
He was the son of Archie John and Ada Agnes Barber of Swalcliffe.