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Unit History: Middlesex Regiment

Middlesex Regiment The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) was officially formed in 1881 when the 57th West Middlesex and the 77th East Middlesex Regiments of Foot were amalgamated as part of the Childers Reforms. However, the Regiment can trace its history back 126 years prior to this date.

The 57th was first raised in 1755 and initially numbered the 59th but rose to the 57th Regiment of Foot in 1756 when the 50th and 51st were disbanded. The Regiment served during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) until its surrendered at Yorktown. It came by its nickname the “Die-hards” during the Peninsular War. On 16th May 1811 at the Battle of Albuera, Commander Colonel Inglis had his horse shot from under him and was severely wounded. As he lay on the ground, he called to his soldiers to: “Die Hard, 57th Die Hard!” In 1824 the Regiment embarked at Chatham to convey convicts to Australia and remained there until 1831 when it moved to India for 15 years. It then went on to serve during the Crimean War (1854-56) and the Indian Mutiny (1857-59), then moving to New Zealand in 1860 for 7 years. After a period of 6 years on garrison duty in Ireland and Britain it moved to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and then took part in the Zulu War of 1879. In 1782 all British Regiments without Royal titles were awarded county titles in order to aid recruitment from those areas, the 57th was given the West Middlesex association to become 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot.

The 77th was first formed in 1787 as the ‘77th (Hindoostan) Regiment of Foot’ by the East India Company during heighten tensions between France and Britain in India. However the tensions had passed once the Regiment was raised and the Company refused to pay for it, so it passed to the British Army. The Regiment was deployed to India in 1788 and remained there for 19 years serving in the Mahratta and Mysore Wars fighting at the storming of Seringapatam 1799. In 1807 the county designation of East Middlesex was awarded, becoming the 77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot. To commemorate its Indian service the Regiment was granted permission to bear the motto and plumes of the Prince of Wales and returned to Europe to serve in the unsuccessful Walcheren Campaign and the Peninsular War including the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo and the First Siege of Badajoz and the Battle of Bayonne. The Regiment had another period of garrison duties in various areas including Jamaica, Malta Nova Scotia and England until 1854 when it went to serve in the Crimean War fighting at the Battles of Sevastopol, Balaklava, The Alma, and Inkerman. In 1858 the Regiment was deployed to India to suppress the Indian Rebellion and were awarded the title of ‘Duke of Cambridge’s Own’ in 1876 becoming the ‘77th (East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot (The Duke of Cambridge’s Own)’.

In 1881 the 57th and 77th Regiments were amalgamated to form The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) as part of the Childers Reforms. The Childers Reform restructured the British army infantry regiments into a network of multi-battalion regiments each having two regular and two militia battalions. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve in the Boer War (1899-1902) and two World Wars.

In 1921, the Regimental title was reversed to The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own). In 1966 it was further merged with the Royal Surrey Regiment, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) and the Sussex Regiment to form the Queen’s Regiment. In 1991 The Queen’s Regiment was amalgamated with the Royal Hampshire Regiment to form the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and is the most senior English line infantry Regiment.

Middlesex Regiment during WW1

Since 1815 the balance of power in Europe had been maintained by a series of treaties. In 1888 Wilhelm II was crowned ‘German Emperor and King of Prussia’ and moved from a policy of maintaining the status quo to a more aggressive position. He did not renew a treaty with Russia, aligned Germany with the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire and started to build a Navy rivalling that of Britain. These actions greatly concerned Germany’s neighbours, who quickly forged new treaties and alliances in the event of war. On 28th June 1914 Franz Ferdinand the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by the Bosnian-Serb nationalist group Young Bosnia who wanted pan-Serbian independence. Franz Joseph's the Austro-Hungarian Emperor (with the backing of Germany) responded aggressively, presenting Serbia with an intentionally unacceptable ultimatum, to provoke Serbia into war. Serbia agreed to 8 of the 10 terms and on the 28th July 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia, producing a cascade effect across Europe. Russia bound by treaty to Serbia declared war with Austro-Hungary, Germany declared war with Russia and France declared war with Germany. Germany’s army crossed into neutral Belgium in order to reach Paris, forcing Britain to declare war with Germany (due to the Treaty of London (1839) whereby Britain agreed to defend Belgium in the event of invasion). By the 4th August 1914 Britain and much of Europe were pulled into a war which would last 1,566 days, cost 8,528,831 lives and 28,938,073 casualties or missing on both sides.

In the First World War, The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) formed a total of 49 Battalions this was mainly due to a surplus of volunteers seeking to enlist. The Regiment received a total of 81 battle honours,5 Victoria Crosses and lost approximately 12,270 casualties during the course of the war.

Middlesex Regiment during WW1

Battalions of the Middlesex Regiment during WW1

The 1st Battalion,
04.08.1914 Stationed at Woolwich, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel B. E. Ward.
11.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre as Lines of Communication Troops in preparation for the Expeditionary Force.
22.08.1914 Joined the 19th Infantry Brigade forming at Valenciennes under the command of Major-General L. G. Drummond.
12.10.1914 The 19th Infantry Brigade transferred to the 6th Division. Were involved in action at Hooge.
31.05.1915 Transferred to the 27th Division, to add valuable experience to the ranks of the New Army Divisions.
19.08.1915 Transferred to the 2nd Division to replace the 4th (Guards) Brigade. Were involved in action at The Battle of Loos.
25.11.1915 Transferred to the 98th Brigade, 33rd Division Battalion. Involved in action Battles of the Somme, Third Battles of Ypres, Battles of the Lys, Battles of the Hindenburg Line, Final Advance in Picardy
11.11.1918 Ended war in France at Sassegnies, S.W. of Aulnoye.

2nd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Malta
Sept 1914 Returned to England, Hursley Park and joined the 23rd Brigade 8th Division.
07.11.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre. The 8th Division provided badly-needed reinforcement to The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and remained on the Western Front throughout rest of the war, taking part in the following actions:
During 1915; The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier.
During 1916; The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Battles of the Somme 1916).
During 1917; The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Battle of Pilkem, The Battle of Langemarck, The battles marked + are phases of the Third Battle of Ypres.
During 1918; The Battle of St Quentin, The actions at the Somme crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The actions of Villers-Bretonneux, The Battle of the Aisne 1918, The Battle of the Scarpe, The Final Advance in Artois in which the Division captured Douai
11.11.1918 Ended war in Belgium at Douvrain, N.W. of Mons

3rd Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Cawnpore, India (now Kanpur).
Dec. 1914 Returned to England, Winchester and joined the 85th Brigade 28th Division.
19.01.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre and were involved in action in The Second Battle of Ypres and The Battle of Loos.
25.10.1915 Moved from Marseilles, France to Salonika, Greece via Alexandria, Egypt arriving 02.12.1915. Where they were involved in the following actions;
02.10.1916: The occupation of Mazirko
31.10.1916: The capture of Barakli Jum'a
15.05.1917: The capture of Ferdie and Essex Trenches (near Barakli Jum'a)
16.10.1917: The capture of Barakli and Kumli
18-19.09.1918: The Battle of Doiran
22-28.091918: The pursuit to the Strumica valley
30.09.1918 Hostilities with Bulgaria ceased on 30 September moved to Macedonia, north of Lake Doiran were they finished their war.

4th Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Devonport, Plymouth England transferred to 8th Brigade 3rd Division.
14.08.1914 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne, where they were involved in the following actions;
During 1914;
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the Rearguard action of Solesmes, The Battle of Le Cateau, The Battle of the Marne, The Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne heights, The Battles of La Bassee and Messines 1914 , First Battle of Ypres.
14.11.1915 Transferred to the 63rd Brigade, 21st Division. Where they were involved in action on the Western Front.
08.07.1916 The 63rd Brigade transferred to 37th Division. Where they were involved in the following action;
During 1916; The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917; The First Battle of the Scarpe, including the capture of Monchy-le-Preux, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele,
During 1918; The Battle of the Ancre, a phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918, The Battle of the Albert, a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918, The Battle of Havrincourt, The Battle of the Canal du Nord, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Caudry, S.W. of Solesmes. Demobilisation of the 37th Division began on 26.12.1918 and was completed by 25.03.1919.

5th and 6th (Reserve) Battalion
04.08.1914 Stationed at Mill Hill for training.
Aug. 1914 Mobilised and the 5th moved to Rochester and the 6th to Gillingham.
Nov 1915 The 6th moved to Chatham where they remained.
March 1916 The 5th also moved to Chatham.
During 1917 & 1918 The 5th moved to Gillingham. They were also both part of the Thames and Medway Garrison.

1/7th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Hornsea, Middlesex Brigade, Home Counties Division.
5-9.8.1914 Mobilised and moved to Isle of Grain, and then Sittingbourne, Kent.
04.09.1914 Mobilised and moved to Gibraltar, Spain arriving 17.09.1914.
13.02.1915 Returned to England, arrived at Avonmouth then moved to Barnet.
13.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Le Havre.
15.03.1915 Transferred to 23rd Brigade 8th Division. Where they were involved in the following action;
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier (a diversionary attack coinciding with the Battle of Loos).
23.06-02.08.1915 Amalgamated with 1/8th Battalion.
08.02.1916 Transferred to 167th Brigade in 56th Division.
During 1916;
01.07.1916: The diversionary attack at Gommecourt
09.09.1916: The Battle of Ginchy
15-22.09.1916: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette
25-27.09.1916: The Battle of Morval
11.09-09.10.1916: The Battle of the Transloy Ridges
During 1917;
14.03-05.04.1917: The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
09-14.04.1917: The First Battle of the Scarpe
03-04.05.1917: The Third Battle of the Scarpe
16-17.08.1917: The Battle of Langemarck
21.11.1917: The capture of Tadpole Copse
23-28.11.1917: The capture of Bourlon Wood
30.11-02.12.1917: The German counter attacks
During 1918
28.03.1918: The First Battle of Arras
23.08.1918: The Battle of Albert
26-30.08.1918: The Battle of the Scarpe
27.09-01.10.1918: The Battle of the Canal du Nord
08-09.10.1918: The Battle of the Cambrai
09-12.10.1918: The pursuit to the Selle
04.11.1918: The Battle of the Sambre
05-07.11.1918: The passage of the Grand Honelle
11.11.1918 Ended war in France, Le Dessous, Blaregnies, N.E. of Bavai. The Division was employed to repair road and railway in the Harveng area, therefore the final cadres did not leave for home until 18.05.1919.

1/8th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Hounslow, Middlesex Brigade, the Home Counties Division. Moved to Sheerness and then to Sittingbourne.
Sept 1914 Mobilised to Gibraltar leaving Home Counties Division, arrived 17.09.1915.
Feb 1915 Returned to England.
09.03.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre.
11.03.1915 Transferred to 85th Brigade and the 28th Division, where they were involved in action at;
22.04-25.05.1915: The Second Battle of Ypres
21.06.1915: Transferred to the 8th Division
23.6-02.08.1915: Amalgamated with 1/7th Battalion
27.08.1915: Transferred to 25th Brigade, 8th Division
23.10.1915: Transferred to 70th Brigade, 8th Division
Where they were also involved in action at; The Battle of Aubers, The action of Bois Grenier
09.02.1916 Transferred to 167th Brigade, 56th Division where they were involved in the following action;
During 1916;
01.07.1916: The diversionary attack at Gommecourt
09.09.1916: The Battle of Ginchy
15-22.09.1916: The Battle of Flers-Courcelette
25-27.09.1916: The Battle of Morval
11.09-09.10.1916: The Battle of the Transloy Ridges
During 1917;
14.03-05.04.1917: The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
09-14.04.1917: The First Battle of the Scarpe
03-04.05.1917: The Third Battle of the Scarpe
16-17.08.1917: The Battle of Langemarck
21.11.1917: The capture of Tadpole Copse
23-28.11.1917: The capture of Bourlon Wood
30.11-02.12.1917: The German counter attacks
During 1918
28.03.1918: The First Battle of Arras
23.08.1918: The Battle of Albert
26-30.08.1918: The Battle of the Scarpe
27.09-01.10.1918: The Battle of the Canal du Nord
08-09.10.1918: The Battle of the Cambrai
09-12.10.1918: The pursuit to the Selle
04.11.1918: The Battle of the Sambre
05-07.11.1918: The passage of the Grand Honelle
11.11.1918 Ended war in France, Blaregnies, N.E. of Bavai. The Division was employed to repair road and railway in the Harveng area, therefore the final cadres did not leave for home until 18.05.1919.

1/9th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Willesden Green, N.W. Middlesex Brigade, the Home Counties Division. Moved to Minster nr Sheerness and then on to Sittingbourne.
30.10.1914 Mobilised and left Southampton for India.
02.12.1914 Arrived Bombay, the Home Counties Division is broken up.
19.11.1917 Moved to Basra leaving Karachi.
24.11.1917 Transferred to 53rd Brigade of the 18th Indian Division and remained in Mesopotamia, north of Tikrit until the end of the war. They were involved in the following actions;
23-26.10.1918 Battles at Fat-ha Gorge and Little Zab
28-30.10.1918 The Battle of Sharqat

1/10th Battalion Territorial Force
04.08.1914 Stationed at Ravenscourt Park, W. Middlesex Brigade, the Home Counties Division. Moved to Sheerness and then on to Sittingbourne.
30.10.1914 Mobilised and left Southampton for India.
02.12.1914 Arrived Bombay, the Home Counties Division is broken up. Remained in India until the end of the war.

2/7th Battalion Territorial Forces
Sept 1914 Formed at Hornsey.
24.91914 Moved to Barnet
Nov 1914 Moved to Egham and transferred to 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
02.02.1915 Left 67th Division and moved to Gibraltar arrived 07.02.1915.
Aug 1915 Mobilised and moved to Alexandria, Egypt, arrived 31.08.1915. Where they served as part of the Western Frontier Force in order to response to the Senussi Uprising and were involved in action at the Battle of Agagia, and re-captured of lost Egyptian territory.
09.05.1916 Moved to France and arrived at Marseilles 15.06.1916, and quarantined for typhus.
10.06.1916 Moved to Rouen and disbanded on the 15.06.1916. The 3/7th Battalion in England then became the 2/7th Battalion.

2/8th Battalion Territorial Forces
Sept 1914 Formed at Hampton Court.
Nov 1914 Moved to Staines, Surrey and joined the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
24.91914 Moved to Barnet.
Nov 1914 Moved to Egham and transferred to 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
02.02.1915 Left 67th Division and moved to Gibraltar arrived 07.02.1915.
Aug 1915 Mobilised and moved to Alexandria, Egypt, arrived 31.08.1915. Where they served as part of the Western Frontier Force in order to response to the Senussi Uprising and were involved in action at the Battle of Agagia, and re-captured of lost Egyptian territory.
09.05.1916 Moved to France and arrived at Marseilles 15.06.1916, and quarantined for typhus.
10.06.1916 Moved to Rouen and disbanded on the 15.06.1916. The 3/8th Battalion in England then became the 2/8th Battalion.

2/9th Battalion Territorial Forces
Sept 1914 Formed at Willesden.
Nov 1914 Moved to Staines, Surrey and joined the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
24.91914 Moved to Barnet.
Nov 1914 Moved to Sevenoaks.
July 1916 Moved to Barham, Kent.
Summer 1917 Moved to Patrixbourne, Kent.
Nov 1917 Disbanded in England.

2/10th Battalion Territorial Forces
Sept 1914 Formed at Stamford Brook.
Nov 1914 Moved to Staines, Surrey and joined the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
24.04.1915 Moved to Cambridge and Transferred to Welsh Border Brigade, of the Welsh Division.
May 1915 Moved to Bedford.
13.05.1915 Unit renamed 160th Brigade and the 53rd Division.
18.07.1915 Mobilised for war and moved to Imbros, Turkey from Devonport via Egypt.
09.08.1915 Landed at Sulva Bay, Gallipoli and engaged in action in the Sulva Bay area and were involved in action at the Battle of Scimitar Hill.
Dec 1915 Due to heavy losses from combat and severe weather conditions the Division was evacuated to Egypt, where they saw the following action;
04-05.08.1916: The Battle of Romani
17-19.04.1917: The Second Battle of Gaza
27.10-07.11.1917: The Third Battle of Gaza
31.10.1917: The Capture of Beersheba
03-07.11.1917: The Capture of Tell Khuweilfe
07-09.12.1917: The Capture of Jerusalem
27-30.12.1917: The Defence of Jerusalem
19.081918 Left the 53rd Division and were disbanded at El Kantara.

3/7th Battalion Territorial Forces
Feb 1915 Formed at Hornsey.
Nov 1914 Moved to Staines, Surrey and joined the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Kent.
15.06.1916 Became the 2/7th Battalion at Barham, Kent.
Nov 1917 Disbanded in England.

3/8th Battalion Territorial Forces
Feb 1915 Formed at Hounslow
May 1914 Moved to Staines, Surrey and joined the 201st Brigade of the 67th Division, then later moved to Kent.
15.06.1916 Became the 2/8th Battalion at Bourne Park.
Summer 1917 Moved to Scotland Hill, nr Canterbury.
Oct 1917 Disbanded in Engalnd.

3/9th Battalion Territorial Forces
Mar 1915 Formed at Willesden then moved to Cambridge.
08.04.1916 Became the 9th (Reserve) Battalion
01.09.1916 absorbed into the 7th (Reserve) Battalion at Purfleet, Essex.

3/10th Battalion Territorial Forces
May 1915 Formed and then moved to Kent to join the 201st Brigade in the 67th Division.
July 1916 Moved to Bourne Park, nr Canterbury.
01.06.1917 Left the 67th Division mobilised for war and landed at Havre.
23.06.1917 Transferred to the South African Brigade in the 9th Division, where they were engaged on the Western Front.
02.08.1917 Transferred to 10th Brigade in the 4th Division where they saw they following action;
During 1917
The Battle of Polygon Wood, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle, The First Battle of Passchendaele
20.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

4/7th Battalion Territorial Forces
May 1915 Formed and then moved to Cambridge and then Purfleet, Essex.
08.04.1916 Became the 7th (Reserve) Battalion.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the 8th, 9th and 10th (Reserve) Battalions in the Home Counties Brigade.
Sept 1916 Moved to Tunbridge Wells and remained there until the end of the war.

4/8th and 4/10th Battalion Territorial Forces
May 1915 Formed and moved to Cambridge and then Purfleet, Essex.
08.04.1916 Became the Reserve Battalion.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the 7th (Reserve) Battalion.

11th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Mill Hill as part of the First New Army (K1), then moved to Colchester and joined the 36th Brigade of the 12th Division.
Nov 1914 Moved to Shorncliffe, Kent.
Feb 1915 Moved to Ramillies Barracks, Aldershot.
June 1915 Mobilised for action and landed at Boulogne and were engaged in action on the Western Front including; The Battle of Loos 1915, The Battles of the Somme 1916 and The Arras Offensive 1917.
07.02.1918 Disbanded in France.

12th (Service) Battalion
Aug 1914 Formed at Mill Hill as part of the Second New Army (K2), then moved to Colchester and joined the 54th Brigade of the 18th Division.
May 1915 Moved to Codford, Salisbury Plain.
26.07.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Harve where they were engaged in action on the Western Front;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin Ridge, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Thiepval Ridge, The Battle of the Ancre Heights, The Battle of the Ancre.
During 1917
Operations on the Ancre, The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, First Battle of Passchendaele, The Second Battle of Passchendaele.
13.02.1818 Disbanded in France. The18th Division suffered the loss of 46503 killed, wounded and missing.

13th (Service) Battalion
Sept 1914 Formed at Mill Hill as part of the Third New Army (K3), then moved to South Downs and joined the 73rd Brigade of the 24th Division.
Dec 1914 Moved to Hove, East Sussex.
May 1915 Moved to Shoreham, Kent.
June 1915 Moved to Pirbright, Surrey.
02.09.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne. They were then engaged in action on the Western front including;
During 1915
The Battle of Loos
During 1916
The German gas attack at Wulverghem, The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of Guillemont.
During 1917
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of Langemarck, The Cambrai Operations,
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings, The Battle of Rosieres, The First Battle of the Avre, The Battle of Cambrai 1918, Battles of the Hindenburg Line, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France at Le Louvion, East of Bavai. The 24th Division suffered the loss of 35362 killed, wounded and missing.

14th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Gravesend as a service Battalion in the Fourth New Army (K4), and joined the 93rd Brigade of the original 31st Division.
Jan 1915 Moved to Halling, Kent.
10.04.1915 Renamed the 2nd Reserve Battalion and the 5th Reserve Brigade.
May 1915 Moved to Colchester, Essex.
Oct 1915 Moved to Shoreham, Kent.
01.09.1916 Renamed the 24th Training Reserve Battalion in the 5th Reserve Brigade at Shoreham.

15th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1914 Formed at Gillingham as a service Battalion in the Fourth New Army (K4), and joined the 93rd Brigade of the original 31st Division.
Dec 1914 Moved to Snodland, Kent.
10.04.1915 Renamed the 2nd Reserve Battalion and the 5th Reserve Brigade.
May 1915 Moved to Colchester, Essex.
Oct 1915 Moved to Shoreham, Kent.
01.09.1916 Absorbed into the Territorial Reserve Battalions of the 5th Reserve Brigade.

16th (Reserve) Battalion (Public Schools).
01.09.1914 Formed at St. James St in London by Lieutenant Colonel JJ Mackay, then moved to Kempton Park, Surrey.
Dec 1914 Moved to Warlingham, Surrey.
July 1915 Moved to Clipstone, Nottinghamshire, and joined the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Perham Down, Salisbury Plain.
10.08.1915 War Office takes over Command of Battalion.
17.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
25.02.1916 Transferred to GHQ Troops.
25.04.1916 Transferred to 86th Brigade of the 29th Division where they were involved in various action on the Western front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
During 1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The Third Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Langemarck, The Battle of Broodseinde, The Battle of Poelcapelle.
11.02.1918 Disbanded Belgium near Poperinghe.

16th (Reserve) Battalion (1st Football).
12.12.1914 Formed in London by Rt. Hon. W Joynson Hicks M.P. to White City.
April 1915 Moved to Cranleigh, Surrey.
July 1915 Moved to Clipstone, Nottinghamshire and joined the 100th Brigade of the 33rd Division.
Aug 1915 Moved to Perham Down, Salisbury Plain.
01.09.1915 War Office takes over Command of Battalion.
18.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne.
08.12.1915 Transferred to the 6th Brigade of the 2nd Division where they were involved in action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Delville Wood, The Battle of the Ancre, The battles marked and Operations on the Ancre.
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Battle of Arleux, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, and The Battle of Cambrai.
10.2.1918 Disbanded in France.

16th (Reserve) Battalion (1st Public Works Pioneers).
19.01.1915 Formed in London by Lieutenant Colonel John Ward M.P.
Feb 1915 Moved to Alexandra Palace, London
May 1915 Moved to Rayleigh, Essex.
July 1915 Moved to Clipstone, Nottinghamshire became the Pioneers Battalion and joined the 33rd Division.
01.07.1915 War Office takes over Command of Battalion.
Aug 1915 Moved to Salisbury Plain.
15.11.1915 Mobilised for war and landed at Havre where they were involved in various action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Albert, The Battle of Bazentin, The attacks on High Wood, The capture of Boritska and Dewdrop Trenches.
During 1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe, The Second Battle of the Scarpe, The actions on the Hindenburg Line, Operations on the Flanders coast (Operation Hush), The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, The Battle of Polygon Wood.
During 1918
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Hazebrouck, The Battle of Bailleul, The defence of Neuve Eglise, The First Battle for Kemmel Ridge, The fighting for and recapture of Ridge Wood, The Battle of the Epehy, The Battle of the St Quentin Canal, The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line, The Battle of Cambrai, The pursuit to the Selle, The Battle of the Selle.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in France, Berlaimont, west of Aulnoye.

16th (Reserve) Battalion (2nd Public Works Pioneers).
April 1915 Formed in London by Lieutenant Colonel John Ward M.P.
01.07.1915 War Office takes over Command of Battalion.
Oct 1915Moved to Aldershot became the Pioneer Battalion and joined the 41st Division.
02.05.1916 Mobilised for war and landed at Harvre, where they engaged in action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road, Operations on the Flanders coast
Nov 1917 Moved to Vigasio, Italy and arrived 21.11.1917. Where they were engaged at the front line near the River Piave, north west of Treviso.
08.03.1918 Moved to back to France; Mondicourt. Where they were engaged in action at The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume and The Battle of Arras, The Battles of the Lys and the Final Advance in Flanders, at Courtrai and Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium, Berchem on Scheldt, N.W. of Renaix.

20th (Reserve) Battalion (Shoreditch)
18.05.1915 Formed in Shoreditch, London by the Mayor and the Borough.
July 1915 Transferred to 118th Brigade of the 39th Division.
15.08.1915 War Office takes over Command of Battalion.
Oct 1915 Moved to Aldershot.
Feb 1916 Moved to Witley and Transferred to the 121st Brigade of the 40th Division.
June 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France. Where they engaged in action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of the Ancre
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
06.05.1918 Due to heavy loses the Division was reduced to training cadre
31.05.1918 Transferred to 16th Division.
16.06.1918 transferred to 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division at Boulogne and crossed to Folkestone, Kent and the next day on to Brookwood, Surrey.
20.06.1918 reconstituted and absorbed the 34th Battalion.
05.07.1918 Mobilised for war and landed at Boulogne, where they were again involved in action on the Western Front including;
The Battle of the Soissonais and of the Ourcq, The capture of Baigneux Ridge, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem, The action of Tieghem.
11.11.1918 ended the war in the 43rd Brigade of the 14th Division in Belgium, Warcoing on Scheldt, east of Roubaix.

21st (Reserve) Battalion (Islington)
18.05.1915 Formed in Islington, London by the Mayor and the Borough.
July 1915 Taken over the war office and transferred to the 118th Brigade of the 39th Division.
Oct 1915 Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire.
Feb 1916 Moved to Witley and transferred to the 121st Brigade of the 40th Division.
June 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France where they were involved in action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of the Ancre
During 1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, The capture of Fifteen Ravine, Villers Plouich, Beaucamp and La Vacquerie, The Cambrai Operations.
During 1918
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Estaires, The Battle of Hazebrouck.
05.02.1918 Transferred to the 119th Brigade of the 40th Division.
05.05.1918 Due to heavy loses the Division was reduced to training cadre
03.06.1918 Transferred to the 34th Division
17.06.1918 Transferred to the 39th Division
30.06.1918 Transferred to the 74th Brigade of the 25th Division at Boulogne and crossed to Folkestone, Kent, then moved to Aldershot, Hampshire. Left the 25th Division and moved to Cromer, Norfolk and remained in England until the end of the war.

22nd (Service) Battalion
June 1915 Formed at Mill Hill, London as a bantam Battalion.
Oct 1915Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire and transferred to the 121st Brigade of the 40th Division.
Feb 1916 Moved to Witley, Surrey.
02.04.1916 Disbanded in England.

23rd (Service) Battalion (2nd Football)
29.06.1915 Formed in London by Rt. Hon W Joynson Hicks MP.
July 1915 Moved to Cranleigh, Surrey.
Nov 1915 Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire and transferred to the 123rd Brigade of the 41st Division.
May 1916 Mobilised for war and landed in France, where they were involved in action on the Western Front including;
During 1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, The Battle of the Transloy Ridges.
During 1917
The Battle of Messines, The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge.
Nov 1917 Moved to Italy arrived in Vigasio 21st Nov.
08.03.1918 Returned to France, arriving at Monicourt, where they were again involved in action on the Western Front including;
The Battle of St Quentin, The Battle of Bapaume, The Battle of Arras, The Battles of the Lys, The Advance in Flanders, The Battle of Ypres, The Battle of Courtrai, The action of Ooteghem.
11.11.1918 Ended the war in Belgium near Nederbrakel. The 41st Division suffered the loss of 32,158 men; killed, wounded or missing.

24th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1915 Formed as a Local Reserve Battalion from the Depot Companies of the 16th Battalion at Tring, Hertfordshire.
Dec 1915 Moved to Northampton and transferred to the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
May 1916 Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire.
01.09.1916 Became the 100th Training Reserve battalion in the 23rd Reserve Brigade.

25th (Reserve) Battalion
Oct 1915 Formed as a Local Reserve Battalion from the Depot Companies of the 18th, 19th and 26th Battalions at Tring, Hertfordshire.
Dec 1915 Moved to Northampton and transferred to the 23rd Reserve Brigade.
May 1916 Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire.
01.09.1916 Became the 25th (Garrison) Battalion.

25th (Garrison) Battalion
01.09.1916 Formed at Aldershot, Hampshire from the 25th (Reserve) Battalion.
03.11.1916 Transferred to the 213th Brigade of the 71st Division.
22.12.1916 Moved to Devonport, Plymouth, leaving the 71st Division and embarked for the Far East.
01.04.1917 Arrived in Hong Kong via Singapore.
Aug 1918 The Battalion arrived in Siberia, landing at Vladivostock to assist in the Russian Civil War supporting the White Russian forces against the Bolshevik Red Army.
Sept 1919 Returned to England.

23rd (Service) Battalion (3rd Public Works Pioneers)
09.08.1915 Formed at Alexandra Palace, London by Lieutenant Colonel John Ward MP, then taken over by the war office.
Nov 1915 Moved to Hornchurch, London.
Dec 1915 Moved to Witley, Surrey.
June 1916 Moved to Norfolk and transferred to the 69th Division.
July-Aug 1916 Moved to Flixton Park near Bungay and transferred to 62nd Division. Later moved to Devonport leaving the 62nd Division and embarking for Salonika, Greece.
24.08.1916 arrived at Salonika, Greece, transferred to the Pioneer Battalion in the 27th Division, where they were involved in various actions along the Bulgarian boarder.
30.09.1918 Moved to Macedonia, Izlis west of Kosturino, N.W. of Lake Dorian.

27th and 28th (Reserve) Battalion
Dec 1915 Formed as a Local Reserve Battalion from the Depot Companies of the 17th 23rd 20th and 21st Battalions.
May 1915 Moved to Northampton and transferred to the 23rd Reserve Battalion.
01.09.1916 Moved to Aldershot, Hampshire and became the 101st and 102nd Training Reserve Battalions in the 23rd Brigade.

29th (Works) Battalion
July 1916 Formed at Mill Hill, London.
Mar 1917 Moved to Thetford, Norfolk.
April 1917 Transferred to Labour Corps as the 5th Labour Battalion

30th and 31st (Works) Battalion
July & Sept 1916 Formed at Crawley and Mill Hill, London.
1916 the 30th moved to Reading and remained there.
1917 The 31st moved to Sevenoaks and then to; Reigate, Harpenden and Croydon.

32nd Battalion Territorial Force
01.01.1917 Formed at Gorleston, Norfolk from the 63rd Provisional Battalion of the 225th Brigade. (The 63rd Provisional Battalion was formed in 1915 from Home Service personnel).

33rd (Works) Battalion
Jan 1917 Formed at Mill Hill, London
April 1917 Transferred as the 6th Labour Battalion to the Labour Corps.

1St (Home Service) Garrison Battalion
May 1916 Formed at Mill Hill, London.
Aug 1917 Moved to Chattenden, Kent and became the 16th Battalion Royal Defence Corps.

51st (Graduated) Battalion
This was formerly the 12th Royal West Surrey Battalion then became the 97th Training Reserve Battalion then became the 209th (Graduated) Battalion.
27.10.1917 Moved to Taverham and became the 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the 193rd Brigade in the 64th Division, then moved to Norwich for the winter.
Mar 1918 Moved to Sheringham, Norfolk and then to Taverham, Norfolk and then back to Norwich by Nov 1918

52nd (Graduated) Battalion
This was formerly the 27th Middlesex Battalion then became the 101st Training Reserve Battalion then became the 250th (Graduated) Battalion.
27.10.1917 Moved to Colchester and became the 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the 212st Brigade in the 71st Division.
Feb 1918 71st Division broken up and transferred to 193rd Brigade of the 64th Division. Moved to Taverham, Norfolk and then back to Norwich by Nov 1918

53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion
This was formerly the 28th Middlesex Battalion and then the 102nd Young Soldier Battalion. Became the 53rd Battalion of the 23rd Reserved Brigade at Aldershot.

Forces Reunited Gallery Images Matching Middlesex Regiment

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Memories of Middlesex Regiment

(Memories written by members of Forces Reunited)

Middlesex Regiment Hong Kong in 1949

Written by Alec.Leonard Weeks

First Trip up New terrortries and sleepng under canvas Frog jumping competitions
Moving to beese Stables and army airstrip hearing chinese banging drums etc after we hed finished beating retreat, they thought we were driving spirits out of our camp so they drove them back again
disapointment in all my mates went to Korea but I was to young. Now WASNT I LUCKY
12 months at Battle school. never met a unit like it every regt of the British Army as when you joined Battle School you reverted to you original regt. but it was great fun and a steep learning curve
As a drummer taking over as leading tipper after our leading tipper Ken Harding was demobbed. I was very nervous at first but very proud as well
At Battle School going out with thre Royal Navy target towing for the Royal Artillery.1st shot they destroyed the target. so the young skipper used a mine sweeping float which just left a trail on the seas surface. second shot no mine float and a red faced skipper they had to send to uk for another. well thats what they said after
China Fleet Club Bingo,. great food and white table cloths. about once a month if you were lucky
going to five dragons services club in Kowloon ordering a steak and Kidney pudding and the usual double egg chips tomatoes etc and a green spot orange. it was so big it all came on seperate plates
going ashore from the troopship to all those wonderful countries I had only read about. Egypt Aden Columbo Singapore.a dream and adventure come true for a 17 year old I also got slung in the brig for fighting on the Dunera.
arriving home on the Empire Fowey waking up one morning to find us stopped just off the needles waiting to go up to Southampton Water. after three and a half years.

Middlesex Regiment, Korea in 2010

I was with HQ company in charge of the battalion’s water purification plant. Joe Knight was HQ company storeman

Middlesex Regiment, baor in 1961

Written by raymond hall

january 1961 30 miles east of the pied piper town of hameln, the temprature about minus 9 and about 3 feet of snow my mate and i were making breakfast from our A rations [this box had red salmco0ldon in great] then I suddenly realised today was my birthday, the most important in my life I WAS 21 TODAY and here i was up to my waist in snow eating cold red salmon washed down with coffee made from frozen snow!how could anyone forget that birthday?

Middlesex Regiment, Germany in 1946

Written by Heinz Johannsen

1st Btl. Stayed in Rendsburg 1946/47, than moved to Iserlohn. All nice lads, typical DIE HARDS.

Middlesex Regiment, Cyprus in 1956

Written by Frank Willis

Living in a tented camp at Dhekelia, my first experience of Cyprus as a young man of 18,as I write I can still picture in my mind that camp and many of the other young soldiers of the Middlesex Regiment who spent national Service there
Does anyone else have a memory of the time we spent building another huge tented camp for incoming French and British troops in preparation for the Suez Campaign

Forces Reunited Forum Posts Involving Middlesex Regiment

"AM TRYING TO TRACE THE HISTORY OF MY FATHER, ALBERT SYDNEY GAITT, WHO WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN IN THE 9 MIDDLESEX REGIMENT AND WAS BASED IN NORTH WEST LONDON. HE WAS A RENOWNED AMATEUR BOXER DURUNG THE WAR AND HAVE FOUND SOME DIARY ENTRIES WHERE HE WAS IN ITALY AND THE AUSTRO JUGO BORDER IN MAY/JULY 1945. UDINE 6 MAY 45, AUSTRIAN BORDER 9 MAY 1945, TOURISO 9 MAY 45, KLAGENFURT 19 MAY 45, KARFLACH 20 MAY 45, WOLFENBURG 25 MAY 45, ST MARGERETTEN 14 JUNE 45, WINEBERG AND AUSTRO JUGO BORDER 25 JULY..."
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"I’m trying to find out any information about my Grandfather William Parsons on behlf of my father Victor Cranfield who was his son. William served in the Middlesex Regiment - Dad thinks it was based in Wood Green but is not too sure. He thinks he had something to do with horses but that is absolutely all we have to go on. He was born in 1894 so would have been 20 when we think he must have joined the Regiment for the First World War. Sorry we don’t have nay more information but if anyone..."
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"I believe the Middlesex Regiment have an Old Comrades Assoc, which you should be able to trace through the web search engines. If not, come back to me and I will speak to a pal of mine, whose father is ex-Middx Regt."
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"...request for help: "Dear Sir I am writing on behalf of my nan, Mrs Marjorie Phipps. I am aware that you must be inundated with requests such as this, but I would appreciate your help anyway. She would very much like to contact a member of the Middlesex Regiment. The gentleman’s name is Jeremy Kirby. (The spelling of both christian name and surname will need to be checked.) She knew him in 1940. He was stationed at Blandford Camp. I am afraid these are all the details I have. My nan has..."
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"Hello everyone, Can anyone help me? My grandads 70th birthday is approaching this year and i would like to replace his missing medal. He served in cyprus as part of middlesex regiment during ’57-’58 (ish) He was awarded a general service medal which went missing over the years. I would like to know if it can be replaced with his name and regiment on like the original? Does anyone know? Thanks Leah "
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Battles / Campaigns

Marne (1914) WW1

The 4th Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) were attached to 8th Infantry Brigade 3rd Division and was part of the British Expeditionary Force (John French, serving as the first Commander-in-Chief of the BEF)

The First Battle of the Marne fought between 5 and 12 September 1914 marked the end of the German sweep into France and the beginning of the trench warfare that was to characterise World War One.
It was also one of the first major battles in which reconnaissance planes played a decisive role, by discovering weak points in the German lines and allowing the allies to take advantage of them.

Germany's grand Schlieffen Plan to conquer France entailed a wheeling movement of the northern wing of its armies through central Belgium to enter France near Lille. It would turn west near the English Channel and then south to cut off the French retreat. If the plan succeeded, Germany's armies would simultaneously encircle the French Army from the north and capture Paris.

A French offensive in Lorraine prompted German counter-attacks that threw the French back onto a fortified barrier. Their defence strengthened, they could send troops to reinforce their left flank - a redistribution of strength that would prove vital in the Battle of the Marne. The German northern wing was weakened further by the removal of 11 divisions to fight in Belgium and East Prussia. The German 1st Army, under Kluck, then swung north of Paris, rather than south west, as intended. This required them to pass into the valley of the River Marne across the Paris defences, exposing them to a flank attack and a possible counter-envelopment.

On 3 September, Joffre ordered a halt to the French retreat and three days later his reinforced left flank began a general offensive. Kluck was forced to halt his advance prematurely in order to support his flank: he was still no further up the Marne Valley than Meaux.

On 9 September Bülow learned that the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was advancing into the gap between his 2nd Army and Kluck. He ordered a retreat, obliging Kluck to do the same. The counterattack of the French 5th and 6th Armies and the BEF developed into the First Battle of the Marne, a general counter-attack by the French Army. By 11 September the Germans were in full retreat.

This remarkable change in fortunes was caused partially by the exhaustion of many of the German forces: some had marched more than 240km (150 miles), fighting frequently. The German advance was also hampered by demolished bridges and railways, constricting their supply lines, and they had underestimated the resilience of the French.

The Germans withdrew northward from the Marne and made a firm defensive stand along the Lower Aisne River. Here the benefits of defence over attack became clear as the Germans repelled successive Allied attacks from the shelter of trenches: the First Battle of the Aisne marked the real beginning of trench warfare on the Western Front.

In saving Paris from capture by pushing the Germans back some 72km (45 miles), the First Battle of the Marne was a great strategic victory, as it enabled the French to continue the war. However, the Germans succeeded in capturing a large part of the industrial north east of France, a serious blow. Furthermore, the rest of 1914 bred the geographic and tactical deadlock that would take another three years and countless lives to break.

The Battle of Marne was also one of the first major battles in which reconnaissance planes played a decisive role, by discovering weak points in the German lines and allowing the allies to take advantage of them. The mobility and destructive power of the numerous French 75 batteries engaged in the Battle of the Marne played a key role in slowing down and then halting German progress everywhere.

Over two million men fought in the First Battle of the Marne, of whom more than 500,000 were killed or wounded. French casualties totalled 250,000, 80,000 of them dead, while British casualties were 13,000, 1,700 of them dead. The Germans suffered 220,000 casualties.

Loos (1915) WW1

Battle of Loos - 25th - 30th September

Summary
Compared with the small-scale British efforts of spring 1915, this attack of six Divisions was a mighty offensive indeed - so much so that it was referred to at the time as 'The Big Push'. Taking place on ground not of their choosing and before stocks of ammunition and heavy artillery were sufficient, the opening of the battle was noteworthy for the first use of poison gas by the British Army. However, the Germans hid underground in concrete bunkers and due to wind changing direction gas ended up back into British trenches.

The British broke German trenches in the first attacks, capturing the town of Loos. Walking straight across fields in full view of the enemy and often through clouds of gas left British troops severely depleted this combined with supply issues meant the Germans were able to push them back to their starting positions. Casualties and losses for the British are thought to be about 50,000

The Battle of Loos was part of Marshal Joffre's campaign in Artois that was designed to push back the Germans in a two-pronged offensive. Hence why on September 25th the British 1st Army commanded by Douglas Haig attacked German positions at Loos.


1915 had not been a particularly successful year for the Allies. There had been no decisive advance on the Western Front where trench warfare remained dominant. The Allies were also still reeling from the disaster at Gallipoli and the Germans were inflicting continuing major damage on the Russian Army on the Eastern Front. Joffre, pictured above, wanted to launch a joint British-French attack on the Germans in Artois, the success of which would do a great deal to boost the morale of the Allies with the ultimate goal of delivering a decisive blow against the Germans. One prong of Joffre's attack would be carried out solely by the French with an attack on the Germans in Champagne. A joint British-French attack in Artois involved the British attacking just north of Lens at Loos with the French 10th Army attacking the German south of Lens.

When Haig toured the region to the north of Lens he found that the land was flat and open to German machine gun fire. He feared heavy losses. He relayed his fears of major casualties to Joffre but the French Marshal was not prepared to change his plans. Kitchener told Haig that co-operation was essential, though he did recognise that the British might experience heavy losses.

With such pressure put on him, Haig had to come up with a plan for the attack at Loos. He decided to attack in a very narrow frontage so that the British could concentrate their fire to its maximum extent against German machine guns. Haig's plan was simple - concentrated British artillery fire and pinpoint infantry fire would give the advancing British troops sufficient cover.

However, in the lead up to the attack, another weapon became available to Haig - poison gas. He realised that such a weapon would neutralise the German machine gunners. As a result he decided to widen the attack front as he was convinced that he had a weapon that would be devastating.

However, Haig faced one major problem - he was ordered to co-ordinate his attack with that of the French. He was told that he could only attack on September 25th and no earlier. He decided to build a degree of flexibility into his plan. In fact, Haig came up with two plans for the attack at Loos. If the weather was good (i.e. the wind was blowing in the right direction) he would order an attack on a wide front using gas across the whole front. His second plan was to attack on the 25th on a narrow front if the weather was not good and gas could not be used. A follow-up attack on the wider front with poison gas would occur in the immediate days after the 25th if the weather permitted.

With such flexibility built into his attack, Haig was confident of success. British forces attacked the Germans early on September 25th. The French attacked over five hours later.

An artillery attack on the German lines had started on September 21st and 250,000 shells were fired at the German positions. On the 24th Haig was given the news that the predicted weather for the 25th was favourable and he ordered that poison gas would be used. Weather reports very early on the 25th indicated that the weather was "changeable" and Haig was advised to release the gas as soon as was possible. At 05.15 Haig ordered the release of chlorine. However, from the front line reports came back that the wind was too calm for the gas to be released. Those in the front lines got the order back that gas was to be used.

At 05.50 gas was released from pressurised cylinders. The release of chlorine gas occurred on and off over a 40 minute period. The infantry attack started at 06.30.

In some places the attack was very successful - the 15th Division got into Loos and took the town after night time street fighting. However, in some areas, lack of communication caused problems. At the La Bassée Canal, the officer in charge of releasing the chlorine failed to do so as he did not believe that the conditions were right. He only turned on the pressurised gas cylinders when he was ordered to do so - and poisoned 2,632 of his own men - with seven fatalities.

The British had a tolerably good first day but failed to follow up their successes.

To succeed, the British had to send in reserve divisions to consolidate the work done by those who had fought in the initial assault. The divisions held in reserve (the 21st and 24th and commanded by Sir John French) comprised of raw recruits who had only arrived in France in September. The two divisions were held too far away from Loos to have any impact. Simply to get to the battle zone, they had to march miles - 50 miles in four days. Haig had assumed that the 2 reserve divisions would move up to the front as soon as the infantry had started their attack at 06.30. This did not happen. They arrived too late to have any impact on the success of the British on Day 1. They were also extremely tired from their marching - even Haig called them "poor fellows". Haig blamed Sir John French for the delay in their arrival.

What is certain is that when the reserves got to the front at Loos, their inexperience meant that they could not cope with the German counter-attack and the British, having gone from near success, narrowly avoided a retreat only as a result of the arrival of the Guards Division. Between September 26th and September 28th, the British lost many men to German machine gun fire as they attacked German positions around Loos without the aid of artillery support.

The battle effectively ended on September 28th. The British suffered 50,000 casualties while the Germans lost about 25,000 men.

The Battle of Loos - 25th September-30th September 1915. Middlesex involvement

When dawn broke on the morning of 25th it seemed as if the elements had again conspired to make the attack abortive, for heavy rain fell and the wind, what there was of it, shifted almost continually; it was a bad day for the projection of gas. Indeed, one Brigade of the 2nd Division (6th) notified Divisional Headquarters that the wind was unfavourable, but was ordered to proceed with the projection. So, at 5.50 a.m., the cylinders were opened and great clouds of asphyxiating gas were projected into the air, whilst the smoke candles were lighted. But instead of the gas floating across No Man's Land and settling down over the German trenches, it hung lifeless in the air or blew back upon the British trenches from which it had been projected, in many places with disastrous effects.

The left Battalion (the Highlanders) of the 19th Brigade fared worse than the right-the Middlesex-for the ground in front of the former was much cut up by craters, and in these the gas hung about with exasperating stillness.

Across No Man's Land the Germans could be seen donning gas masks and using sprays-in order to dispel the gas-whilst all along their parapets, at intervals of about 20-30 yards, they lighted fires for the same purpose, and by their activities they appeared quite unaffected by the noxious fumes. For forty minutes the gas projection lasted and then, at 6.30 a.m., the signal was given for the assault.

"A", "B" and "C" Companies of the 1st Middlesex, awaiting the order to go forward, at once began their advance; "D" Company was in reserve. But the men had not gone more than a few yards ere a storm of rifle and machine-gun bullets tore their ranks to shreds and No Man's Land was soon littered with killed and wounded. Undeterred by the gas fumes the Germans stood up in their trenches, in many places upon the parapets, and poured a deadly accurate fire upon the advancing British troops. Fierce resistance take place but all up and down the line. Unable to make further progress, the Middlesex men laid down. By this time the German trenches, which when the advance began had been lightly held, were packed with men and the volume of fire increased. With orders to reinforce the three forward companies, "D" Company now "went over the top," only to share a similar fate and survivors lay close to the ground with a rain of bullets pouring overhead. The Battalion Diary records the action in the following and all too brief words: "At 5.50 a.m. a gas attack was opened on the German trenches for 40 minutes. This was not, however, very successful, and did not have much effect. At 6.30 the Battalion attacked with three Companies in the front line and one Company ("D") in reserve. The Battalion was all flung into the line, but failed to get further forward than 100 yards and were then hung up. Gunners again shelled the hostile line, but no further advance was made. At 12 noon the Battalion was ordered to withdraw into Brigade Reserve, having lost very heavily in both officers and men. A large proportion of N.C.Os. were casualties."

The 19th Brigade Diary throws but little further light on the action, though the position of the Brigade at 7.30 a.m. is given thus: "1st Middlesex about 100 yards in front of our front-line trenches; 2nd A. and S. Highlanders being under cover of the German parapet by the wire " (a terrible position). Then a little later the narrative states: "2nd A. and S. Highlanders withdrawn to their original trenches, leaving many men behind, including two complete platoons who reached the German front trenches. 1st Middlesex, trying to get on, are a hundred yards in front. Artillery shell the German front line very heavily. A bombardment under 2nd Divisional orders was arranged to start at 9a.m., after which infantry were to advance. 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers now put out two companies to support the Middlesex, but they were met with fierce opposition and lose heavily. Bombers of 1st Middlesex reach the craters at "D," but are heavily fired on by our own artillery." At 9.45a.m. orders were received at Brigade Headquarters stating that as the attack on the right of the 2nd Division was progressing favourably, no further attack was to be made for the present by the 19th Brigade and the 6th Brigade ( the latter was on the left of the former).

Amongst the appendices to the Diary of the 19th Infantry Brigade, however, are several field messages of special interest to the Middlesex Regiment, and although there are gaps in the story it is possible to follow the course of the Battle from a battalion point of view.

The first message, timed 6.57 a.m., is from Brigade Headquarters to Battalion Headquarters Middlesex and reads: "Any news aaa How far have you advanced aaa Is gas returning you aaa Keep me well informed so that artillery barrage may be altered to suit if you want it." In reply to this message there follow several, one after the other, from the O.C. Middlesex, and they are given in their correct order, though the first was evidently despatched while the Brigade message was on its way to Battalion Headquarters: (i) "6.50 a.m. Much opposition to our front. Please ask guns to shell Les Briques trench." (ii) "7 a.m. Reserve company has got on, but we are being very heavily fired at." (iii) "7.16 a.m. Line held up. Very heavy fire aaa Have " (here the message is overwritten and is unreadable. (iv) "7.20 a.m. Ask guns to shell German front-line trench aaa Railway trench I mean." (v) "7.26 a.m. Don't think gas is affecting us or Germans. They are holding their front-line trench aaa. Our Battalion is all out in area between their front trench and ours aaa 2nd Royal Welch Fusiliers are now up aaa It is essential to now shell hostile front trench." (vi) "7.30 a.m. Reported casualties probably 400, but impossible to tell aaa Have observed an enormous number fall." ( vii) "7.55 a.m. Must shell German first line aaa Our men are all out in front aaa Almost all must be killed or wounded aaa Please shell first line aaa Welch Fusiliers are now advancing." And, at 8 a.m. the Commanding Officer asks for men for the attack on his left: "Is there any news re Argylls and Sutherlands ?"

It is apparent from the last message that no news had reached the Commanding Officer of the Middlesex from his own front line of the situation on his left flank. About 8 a.m., however, Colonel Rowley received the following message from Lieut. A. D. Hill (commanding "C" Company): "Enemy very strong in front with machine-guns and rifles. "C" Company strength only about 30 or 35 men. Impossible to advance on account of machine guns. Mr. Henry and 3 men alone remain out of two platoons. Can we have reinforcements? We are in Square 27B in crater S.E. of road and about 60 yards south Point 79." To which, at 8.12 a.m., Colonel Rowley replied: "Hang on where you are until reinforced." The next message is written on a small muddy and blood-stained piece of paper: "8.30 a.m. "B" Company attack held up 100 yards out of own trench. Major Swainson wounded. "B" Company knocked out, few men stand fast." It is signed "P. Choate, 2nd Lieutenant."

The only other information received by Colonel Rowley from No Man's Land was a second message from Lieut. Choate, timed 10.50 a.m.: "So far as can ascertain "B" Company nearly wiped out. A few men are lying near me 100 yards in front of our front trench to left of wrecked aeroplane and facing Les Briques Farm. I have not enough men to advance further. Can you reinforce or give orders?" There is no reply in the Diaries to this message.

The one bright spot in the attack was an assault from the left flank carried out by the Grenade Reserve platoon, assisted by a platoon of the Reserve Company ("D"). These gallant fellows attacked a large crater (at D) and actually captured it.

At 1.15 p.m. the Battalion- all that was left of it-was ordered into reserve at Siding No. 3 and Braddell Trench. When this movement had been carried out, but a handful of men-84 other ranks-were mustered, though when darkness had fallen over the battlefield on the night of 25th other men, who had been lying out all day in No 2 Man's Land, were able to withdraw. The little party of "D" Company who had hung on to the crater they had captured were also withdrawn. During the day they had actually pushed beyond the crater, but were held up by very thick hostile wire entanglements, and the grenade officer was killed whilst trying to force a way through. A machine gun had also been pushed forward into the crater and did great execution, but the machinegun officer being wounded, the gun had to be withdrawn. Throughout the morning the Battalion stretcher-bearers performed many gallant deeds and worked heroically

Ten officers killed (Captains N. Y. L. Welman, F. V. A. Dyer, L. G. Coward and R. J. Deighton; 2nd Lieuts. C. A. J. Mackinnon, C. Pery, B. U. Hare, A. L. Hill, R. C. Mellish, J. H. Linsell; Lieut. A. W. R. Carless died of wounds on 27th September.) and 7 wounded; 73 other ranks killed, 285 wounded, 66 missing, 7 gassed and 2 suffering from shell concussion-a total of 455-were the casualties suffered by the 1st Middlesex throughout the day.
the Brigadier-General (P. R. Robertson) commanding 28th Brigade wrote in a letter to Colonel Rowley, dated 26th September: "Please convey to all ranks my very high appreciation of the splendid behaviour of all ranks in yesterday's action. They did all that it was possible to do under such circumstances; their conduct was most gallant and fully upheld the fine reputation of the Die-Hards."

26th-30th September

From the 26th to the 30th September the 1st Battalion remained in Brigade Reserve in dug-outs behind the front line, and here for a while it is necessary to leave them and relate what befell the other Battalions of the Regiment on the first day of the Battle.

From the official despatches it is clear that whereas the southern portion of the initial attack from Loos, northwards to the neighbourhood of Fosse 8, had gained ground, north of the latter point to the La Bassée Canal and just beyond it from the Givenchy front, no progress had been made. This was the position about 9.30 a.m., when Sir John French placed the 21st and 24th Divisions at the disposal of the G.O.C. First Army, who ordered them up in support of the attacking troops. Between 1a.m. and 12 p.m. the central brigades of these Divisions filed past Sir John at Béthune and Noeux-les-Mines respectively. At 11.30 a.m. the heads of both divisions were within three miles of the original British front line.

The main operations of the Battle of Loos ended on 8th October but meanwhile subsidiary attacks had been made by the Vth Corps on the Bellewaarde Ridge, east of Ypres, and by the 3rd and Indian Corps north of the La Bassée Canal and along the whole front of the Second Army.
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Active From: 1881 - 1966

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