The 1881 Army Reforms merged several units to create county regiments. One of these was The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), formed by merging the 57th Regiment and the 77th Regiment, which both had an existing affiliation to Middlesex.
The 57th became the new unit’s 1st Battalion. In Britain at the time of the merger, its first overseas posting in its new form was Gibraltar in 1892. The 77th was in India when the amalgamation occurred, becoming the new regiment’s 2nd Battalion and only returning to Britain in 1898.
Both battalions subsequently undertook garrison duties across the British Empire, including India, Malta and Aden. 2nd Battalion also served during the Boer War (1899-1902).
Two extra regular battalions, the 3rd and 4th, were formed in 1900 and these served on St Helena, in South Africa and Ireland.
What sport were two of the Middlesex Regiment's 'Pals Battalions' of the First World War associated with?
The 17th and 23rd Battalions of the Middlesex were formed in 1914 and 1915 and known as Footballers' Battalions. Players, staff and fans of several clubs, including Clapton Orient (now Leyton Orient) and Tottenham Hotspur, all joined up together.
1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions all spent time occupying Germany early in the post-war period. In 1922 the 3rd and 4th Battalions were disbanded, but the other two battalions then undertook garrison duties in many locations including Egypt, Palestine, Shanghai, India and Singapore.
In 1937 both of the regiment’s regular battalions were converted to machine gun battalions. That year also saw 1st Battalion shift to Hong Kong, where it was captured by the Japanese in December 1941. 1937 also saw the Territorial Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment move from the London Regiment to the Middlesex Regiment.
2nd Battalion was in Britain at the outbreak of World War Two and deployed straight to France with the British Expeditionary Force to provide ‘Corps Troops’ for reinforcing hard-pressed units. It was then evacuated in June 1940 and remained in Britain for four years re-equipping and re-training.
The regiment’s territorial battalions had raised duplicates on the outbreak of war. One of these, 2/8th Battalion, was renamed 1st Battalion in May 1942 to replace the original battalion of that name which had been captured at Hong Kong.
Both the 1st and 2nd Battalions landed in Normandy in June 1944 and fought their way through North West Europe. At the end of the war 2nd Battalion was sent to Palestine, while 1st Battalion stayed behind in Germany.
The two regular battalions were merged in 1948 and converted back into infantry, moving to Hong Kong once again the following year. From there the regiment was deployed to Korea for a year in 1950. It then joined the British occupation forces in Austria and Germany between 1953 and 1962. This was, however, interrupted by a 3-year posting to Cyprus from 1955.