Regiments and Corps

The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)

Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) rest in a ditch as their officers consult a map, April 1918

Origins

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.

Other ranks’ cap badge, The Middlesex Regiment, c1914

Heliographers of 2nd Battalion The Middlesex Regiment, c1900

World War One

The regiment's four regular battalions all served on the Western Front. The 3rd Battalion also deployed to Salonika in 1915. The regiment also raised 16 Territorial, 18 New Army and four works battalions during the conflict, serving in most of the wars major theatres.

The 16th Middlesex Regiment near Hawthorn Ridge, July 1916

Soldiers of the Middlesex Regiment move up during the Battle of St Quentin, March 1918

Quiz

What sport were two of the Middlesex Regiment's 'Pals Battalions' of the First World War associated with? 

Football
Rugby
Cricket
Did you know?

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.

Post-war

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.

Regimental Sergeant Major Leonard Drinkwater painting the Middlesex badge in the Khyber Pass, 1925

Soldiers of the Middlesex Regiment with a Vickers Machine Gun, Italy, 1944

World War Two

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.

Troops of the Middlesex examine a North Korean machine gun captured during their advance from the Pusan bridgehead, 1950

Soldiers of The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) with a Ferret Scout Car in the Troodos mountains, 1957

Legacy

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.

In 1966 the regiment merged with The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment, The Royal Sussex Regiment and The Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment to form The Queen's Regiment.

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