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Author: Ursula Corcoran

Refugee Week 14-20 June 2021 ‘Gunner Gerin: Refugee and Liberator’ How did a Jewish Polish refugee come to be one of the liberators of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945? A brief mention in a soldier’s war-time diary led Harry Staff, a volunteer researcher with the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, to track down a remarkable story. Gunner Henry Gerin was formerly Henryk Bochynski. Born 1905 in Poland he arrived in…

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VJ Day 63rd (Oxfordshire Yeomanry) Anti-Tank Regiment RA (TA) War In the Far East 251 Banbury Battery Prisoners of War in Thailand In February 1942, Singapore fell and the men of 251 Battery who had been involved in the attempt to defend it became some of the 61,000 prisoners taken by the Japanese. for three and a half years they were prisoners and used as slave labour, made to work…

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VJ DAY 15th August 1945 On the 15th August 1945, Japan finally surrendered to the allies bringing the bitter fighting in the last theatre of the second world war to an end. This day would be known afterwards as “VJ Day” or “Victory over Japan Day”. On this day two units of the county’s infantry regiment were present in theatre:- The 6th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and a…

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The week starting on the 25th. May eighty years ago, was to be a memorable week for the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. On the day that Lord Gort the commander of the British Expeditionary Force made the crucial decision to evacuate his troops through Dunkirk, three battalions of the Regiment were ordered to take up positions on the perimeter of the pocket that was being formed to protect the…

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Having entered Belsen on 15 April 249 Battery were relieved on the 20th of April. From Belsen the battery moved to Celle. Its task in Celle was to establish a camp for newly released Russian Prisoners of War (PoWs) Having been in Celle for just over a week another move was made to Luneberg where the battery would undertake garrison duties in the town. Luneberg would become famous for the…

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At 6.20pm on the 4th May 1945 in a tent on Luneberg Heath in Northern Germany a German delegation signed the instrument of surrender of all German forces in Holland, Denmark and North Western Germany. The surrender was taken by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery commanding the 21st Army Group comprising the British Second Army and the First Canadian Army. The cease fire in the British and Canadian sector was to…

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The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and the Hauraki Regiment 25 April is ANZAC Day in New Zealand. ANZAC Day is the equivalent of Remembrance Day in the UK. ANZAC Day commemorates the landing at dawn of New Zealand troops, along with Australian, British, French and Indian forces, on the Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th of April 1915. This is viewed as the first time New Zealand fought under its…

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Bergen Belsen – The Legacy The liberation of Bergen Belsen began on the 15th of April but the legacy of the camp would remain. The Queens Own Oxfordshire Yeomanry (QOOY) were in the camp between the 15th and  the 20th of April 1945. Some of the men have shared their stories… Contacting families – Arthur Tyler On display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum is a piece of paper with…

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Today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp at Bergen Belsen by units of the British Army including the Queens Own Oxfordshire Hussars (QOOH). Commemoration of the events of the 15th April 1945 ensures that the horrors experienced by those involved, both liberators and liberated are not forgotten and that the lessons of the Holocaust are not lost due to the passage of time. The War…

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Operation Plunder started on 23 March 1945. Operation Plunder was a combined operation of amphibious and airborne assaults by US, British and Canadian troops. 249 Battery crossed the River Rhine on the night of 26 March. Between crossing the Rhine and the middle of April the regiment experienced a lot of ‘toing and froing’. Firstly the regiment came under the command of the 6th Airborne Division. Within days the regiment…

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