Private 94982 Isaac Buckingham

 Buckingham Isaac 96 442x600

Died Home on Tuesday, 25th November 1919, age 25.
Buried in Grave C. "C." 83. at Tipton Cemetery, Staffordshire, United Kingdom.

Royal Defence Corps.
Formerly 14798 1st Bn. Royal Berks Regiment.

Son of Mrs E. Buckingham, of 103, Horseley Heath, Tipton.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: West Bromwich, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 26th January 1916.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because his grave was found in Tipton Cemetery.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/395338/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
10 Court 4 House, Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Isaac Buckingham (36, Labourer Galvaniser, born Tipton), his wife Elizabeth (35, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Isaac (6, born Tipton), Clara (5, born Tipton), and Florrie (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
103 Horseley Heath, Tipton, Staffs.
Mrs Elizabeth Buckingham (44, Widow, born Tipton), and her 4 surviving children of 9: Isaac (16, Iron Caster, born Tipton), Clara (15, born Tipton), Florrie (11, School, born Tipton), and Maud (9, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

Isaac attested with the Royal Berkshire Regiment on the 7th September 1914 at West Bromwich, he was aged 20 and an Apprentice Moulder. He was 5 feet 6 inches tall with a 35-inch chest, and weighed 120 pounds. His complexion was sallow, he had dark brown hair and brown eyes, and was Church of England. After training with the 7th and 9th Battalions he landed in France on 26th January 1916, and was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Berkshires.

Isaac would have seen significant fighting with the 1st Royal Berks, as they were involved in the Battles of the Somme, Ancre, Arras, and Cambrai. Just a few weeks before the German Spring Offensive in March 1918, Isaac was one of 300 men from the 1st Royal Berks who became casualties of a German gas attack on 12th March 1918. Isaac arrived back in the UK on 23rd March 1918 and was transferred to the Depot Battalion. He was not to return to his unit in France, but was transferred to the 259th Protection Company of the Royal Defence Corps on 7th November 1918.

In April 1919 Isaac was sentenced to 3 days Field Punishment No 2 for insubordination, refusing to obey orders, and quitting camp, when he was ordered to parade for transfer from Castle Bromwich to York. It seems that he was anticipating his 'de-mob' and did not want a transfer, and indeed he was de-mobilised and transferred to the Reserves (Class 'Z') on 28th May 1919.

A letter from the Ministry of Pensions dated June 1919 awarded Isaac a pension of 5 shillings and 6 pence per week for a period of 52 weeks due to his 20% disablement from 'Gas Effects'. Isaac died just 5 months later on 25th November 1919 from pneumonia, probably as a result of the 'Gas Effects' he suffered in March 1918. He is buried in Tipton Cemetery.

Isaac's mother, Mrs Elizabeth Buckingham, was awarded a Dependant's Pension of 10/0d (10 shillings) per week, effective from 1st January 1920.

Action resulting in his death

At the start of 1918 1st Battalion Royal Berkshires was serving in the trenches at La Vacquerie, south-west of Cambrai, where they followed the typical rotation of frontline duty, support and reserve. February was enlivened by some aggressive patrolling in No Man's Land with the aim of taking a German prisoner. There were strong rumours of a forthcoming enemy offensive and intelligence was needed on the strength and disposition of German forces.

In March the Battalion suffered many casualties from poison gas attacks as the War Diary shows:
Tuesday 12th March 1918 France, Front line LA VACQUERIE, RIGHT.
The effects of the gas bombardment began to be manifest during this and subsequent days. Casualties were heaviest in 'B' and 'D' Companies (in SUPPORT) - the troops in the front line posts suffering comparatively slightly. Our total casualties from the gas were eventually found to be 11 officers and 257 Other Ranks wounded. The bulk of these casualties were not serious and few would have been evacuated to England had it not been necessary to clear the hospitals for the reception of wounded in subsequent fighting.

One of the gas casualties from 12th March was Isaac Buckingham who was returned to the UK for hospital treatment. He was later transferred to the Labour Corps, de-mobilised in April 1919, but died in November 1919 and is buried in Tipton Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings