The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry was formed as a consequence of Childers reforms by the amalgamation of the 43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) and the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), forming the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry on 1 July 1881.
In 1908, as part of the Haldane Reforms, the regiment's title was altered to become the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, commonly shortened to the 'Ox and Bucks'.
In 1941 the 2nd Battalion, which had been part of 31st Independent Infantry Brigade, re-roled as an airborne, specifically an Air Landing, unit; joining the 1st Airlanding Brigade, part of the 1st Airborne Division. In 1943 it became part of the 6th Airlanding Brigade in 6th Airborne Division.
As part of Operation Deadstick on 6 June 1944, D Company, 2nd Ox and Bucks, commanded by Major John Howard as well as Royal Engineers and men of the Glider Pilot Regiment (a total of 181 men), landed in six Horsa gliders and captured the vital structure which became known as Pegasus Bridge over the Caen Canal and the bridge over the Orne River which became known as Horsa Bridge. Their capture secured the eastern flank and prevented German armour from reaching the British 3rd Infantry Division that was landing on Sword Beach. The Ox and Bucks platoons holding the bridges were relieved by 7 Para at 03:00hrs.
As the first day of the landings closed, more reinforcements arrived as part of Operation Mallard, plus the rest of the 2nd Ox and Bucks including Pte ‘Darkie*’ Baines (I haven’t been able to find his first name), the only black soldier in 2 Oxf & Bucks LI. He was in ‘D’ Coy and served as a 3 inch Mortar number in the Company’s Mortar Section (handcart).
Pte. Baines was born in Hackney in London in 1923 to Violet Baines and Father unknown.
He was not one of the soldiers selected for the Coup De Main operation on the Cain Canal and Orne River bridges, but he followed on with the remainder of the Battalion and 6th Airlanding Brigade on 6th June 44.
This is a photo of Pte. Baines in 1943 in a ‘D’ Coy photo at Bulford:
This is typical humour of the British tommy:
Wally Parr (also of 2the 2nd Ox & Bucks LI), whilst in Glider #1 on route to Pegasus Bridge, was applying charcoal to his face.
When he had finished, he offered it to the guy next to him.
"Errrrr..... I don't think I'll bother thanks".
Wally had offered the charcoal to Private Baines, the only coloured member of D Company!
I only have two Afro-Caribbean figures and as I didn’t want to use Obama I used this one, the ZC World body and HS. Sadly the HS is nothing like the original gentleman.
I think the helmet is DML. The blue, yellow, red and blue flash on the sides of his helmet indicated that the soldier was Ox & Bucks. I tried painting the flashes on the helmet but made a complete horlicks of them, so I scraped them off and them printed them out on to sticky labels, applied them then sealed them with Dulcoat. I scratch-made the helmet straps, I can see I need to re-shape the chin-cup and tighten the rear straps. I have read that some solders did use a ring cut form inner-tube around their helmet at this time, so I've replicated it using a piece cut from a bike inner-tube.
I made the scrim scarf from bandage and fabric paint. The figure is standing in front of an original British Army scrim, it dates back to at least the 1960's and may be even older.
The Denison is DiD, the brown areas repainted with SoSoft Fabric paint, which I also used to ‘Blanco’ the webbing. I added the Oxford blue cloth slides on his epaulettes, they indicated that the soldier was Ox & Bucks.
The shell-dressing was commonly carried tied to the shoulder as glider-borne troops wore regular army trousers and not the para trousers with the bellows left thigh pocket.
The rifle was re-painted using my Easy 4-step wood process, and I made the web anklets.
*That was his nick-name at the time, 70 years ago. The British Tommy has often given nick-names based on a physical trait - Lofty, Shorty, Lefty, Ginger, etc., so in this way he was no different to many other squaddies. If you have an issue with it please PM me, don't bring it to the thread.
Thanks for looking.