- Middlesex Regiment during the Great War -
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Those known to have served with
during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Abbey Charles. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.12th Oct 1918)
- Ackroyd Herbert. Pte. 23rd Btn. C Coy (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Allen Harry. L/Sgt. 16th (Public Achools) Btn. (d.1st July 1916)
- Allistone A. B.W.. Lt. 6th Btn.
- Andre Frederick William. 2nd Lt. 8th Battalion (Territorial) (d.16th Aug 1917)
- Andrews John W.. Pte. 23rd Btn. (d.22nd Sep 1917)
- Anscombe George. Pte. 23rd Btn. (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Anthony George. Pte. 15th Battalion (d.2nd Nov 1918)
- Archer Robert. Pte. 23rd Btn. (d.7th Jun 1917)
- Ashwell Percy Frederick. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.2nd Jan 1915)
- Bailey Robert. Pte. 20th Btn. (d.26th Nov 1917)
- Bainton Herbert Sidney. 2nd Lt. 28th Btn. (d.16th Feb 1918)
- Ball Joseph. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.12th Jan 1915)
- Ball William Henry. Pte. (d.27th Aug 1918)
- Ballard Thomas. Pte. 23rd Btn. (d.1st October 1918)
- Bane Thomas Gilbert. Pte.
- Barker Charles. Pte. (d.10th Dec 1917)
- Barlow George Edward. Pte. 11th Battalion (d.4th Nov 1915)
- Barton Cyril Frederick. Pte.
- Bearryman Thomas Edward. Cpl. 19th Btn.
- Beer Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.11th Jun 1917)
- Bell John Peter. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.19th Sep 1918)
- Beverstein Abraham. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.20th March 1916)
- Bish Harold. Pte. 1/19th Btn. (d.22nd Aug 1917)
- Bodimeade Joseph John. Pte. 13th Battalion
- Bond Thomas Henry. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.23rd Aug 1914)
- Border Richard Henry. Cpl. 19th Btn. (d.26th March 1918)
- Bowker Archibald Edgar Baron. Capt. 7th Btn.
- Bowman Frederick John. Cpl. 17th Btn.
- Brennan Henry Joseph. Pte. 20th Battalion (d.11th May 1918)
- Brien Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.10th Jun 1917)
- Broom Richard Edwin. Cpl. 2nd Btn.
- Brown Patrick Joseph. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.7th Apr 1917)
- Brown Thomas Henry. Pte. 1/4th Btn (d.11th Oct 1918)
- Brunton Edward Benjamin Durnford. 2nd Lt. 17th Battalion (Football) (d.13th November 1916)
- Bullock Rees Morris. 2nd Lt. 7th Btn, F Coy
- Burley James. Pte. 3rd Battalion (d.2nd May 1915 )
- Butler Arthur William.
- Cain Thomas. Pte. 1/8th Btn. (d.9th Oct 1916)
- Cain William Lucas. Cpl. 18th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1916)
- Campbell Francis Augustus. Sgt. 21st (Islington) Btn.
- Carter George William. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.1st July 1915)
- Carter Henry. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.26th Apr 1916)
- Charman George Albert. Sgt.
- Chase Archibald. Cpl. 2nd Btn.
- Cheeseman William. Lt.
- Clark John Benjamin. Pte. 12th Btn.
- Clarke James Francis. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.11th Nov 1918)
- Cleverley Arthur John. Cpl.
- Cokley John. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.23rd Aug 1914)
- Connell James. L/Sgt. 2nd Batalion (d.31st July 1917)
- Cooke Frederic Arthur. Pte. 5th Btn (d.9th Sept 1916)
- Cope Richard Ernest. Pte. 17th (Football) Btn
- Cox Walter Thomas. Pte. (d.15th July 1916)
- Coxon George. Pte. 1/8th Btn. (d.16th Sep 1916)
- Cross William Albert. Sjt. 21st Btn. (d.25th Jan 1918)
- Culverhouse Charles. Pte. 2nd/10th Btn. (d.12th Mar 1918)
- Currie George Francis. Pte.
- Cushion Henry Walter. Pte.
- Dawton Arthur Edward. Sgt. 2nd Btn. (d.1st Jul 1916)
- Day Alfred John. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.10th Feb 1915)
- Deadman Alfred Joseph. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.1st Aug 1916)
- Deamer John. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.2nd July 1916)
- Dwyer Denis William. L/Cpl. 4th Btn. (d.13th Oct 1915)
- Eades Cyril Edgar. Sgt. 11th Btn.
- East Jack. Sjt. 2nd/10th Btn. (d.11th Feb 1918)
- Evans William Joseph. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.22nd April 1915)
- Ferris Ernest Dervereux. 10th Battalion
- Fielder Alfred John. Pte. 3rd Battalion (d.15th Feb 1915)
- Filbey John Francis. Pte. 2/10th Battalion (d.27th Dec 1917)
- Firth Alfred Edward. Pte 1st. Bn (d.19th April 1918)
- Fitzjohn Bertram George. Pte. 11th Btn.
- Flack Herbert James. Pte. 27th Coy.
- Fleming Charles Frederick. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.26th Aug 1916)
- Fosbrook Thomas Arthur. L/Cpl. 2nd Battalion
- Foster John. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.25th Sep 1915)
- Garland William Henry. Private 16th Battalion (d.1st July 1916)
- Gentleman H. A.. Pte.
- Gill James Henry. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.8th Jul 1916 )
- Gittens Francis Owen. Pte. 16th Bn (d.1st Jul 1916)
- Gladwin Robert Harold. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.30th Sep 1915)
- Godfrey William. L/Cpl. 23rd Btn. (d.10th Aug 1917)
- Goodyer Thomas. Sgt. 12th Btn
- Gorbey Thomas Joseph. WO2. 13th Btn.
- Gray George Edward. L/Cpl. 13th Btn (d.27th July 1916)
- Gray Walter Joseph. Pte. 4th Battalion, A Company (d.31st July 1917)
- Gregory Henry. L/Cpl 13th Btn. (d.1st August 1916)
- Hackett Anthony. Pte. 23rd Btn.
- Hallowes Rupert Price. 2nd Lt. 4th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1915)
- Hammond Walter. A/Capt. 23rd Btn.
- Hancock Ernest. 1st/8th Battallion (d.23rd Apr 1915)
- Hankey John. Pte. 26th Btn. (d.1918)
- Hargreaves Alfred Charles Henry. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.23rd Aug 1914)
- Harragan Thomas James. Pte.
- Harrison Albert Edward. Pte. 25th Battalion
- Hart James. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.28 April 1917)
- Hatten Arthur Horace. Cpl. 2nd Btn.
- Hayes James Alfred. L/Cpl. 16th Battalion (d.2 February 1917)
- Heath Eustace Nelson. Pte. 16th Btn. (d.10th Jan 1916)
- Hepburn Robert. Pte.
- Hill Benjamin. Pte. 1/8th Btn. (d.7th Dec 1916)
- Hillard James Frederick. Pte. 17th Btn.
- Hodge Thomas John. Pte.
- Hodgson Arthur Alexander. L/Cpl. (d.8th June 1917)
- Horsman William James. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn. Ãƒ?Ã?Â A Coy. (d.31st July 1917)
- Howe William Frederick. Cpl. 17th Btn. (d.3rd June 1917)
- Hoy Henry Frederick. Pte. (d.1919)
- Hudspith Walter Leonard. Lt. 1st Regiment (d.7th November 1918)
- Humphrey Ernest. Pte. 26th Btn.
- Hunt Alfred John. Cpl. 4th Battalionn (d.21st Oct 1914)
- Hunt Frederick. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.2nd July 1915)
- Jackson W.. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.9th March 1915)
- Jarvis Horace. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.10th June 1917)
- Jeffryes William Percy. Pte. 21st (Service) Battalion
- Jenkins Charles Robert. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.27th Feb 1917)
- Jenkins John. Pte. 20th Btn. (d.20th Sep 1916)
- Jones Henry Thomas. Pte. (d.13th Nov 1916)
- Jones Henry Thomas. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.13th Nov 1916)
- Jones Leonard Levi. Pte. 20th (Shoreditch) Btn.
- Jones Reginald. Pte. (d.4th October 1917)
- Joyce Arthur George. Pte. 3rd Battalion (d.15th Feb 1915)
- Joyce Henry Thomas. Pte. 20th Btn. (d.29th July 1916)
- Kent Edward Charles. Sgt. 18th Battalion (d.24th Mar 1918)
- Keorvers Jacob Hugo. Pte.
- King George. Pte. 13th Battalion
- Lane William James. Pte. 2nd Btn.
- Langley Alfred. L/Cpl. 8th Btn. (d.14th May 1915)
- Langley Thomas Frederick. 8th Battalion
- Larwood Ernest. Sgt. 25th Batallion (d.8th Sept 1918)
- Lovejoy Charles Frederick. Cpl. (d.25-28th August 1918)
- Lovell William. Sgt. 2nd Battalion (d.25th Mar 1918)
- Makeham Ernest Charles. Pte. (d.11th Oct 1918)
- Manton William Frederick. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.14th Jul 1916 )
- Maudslay George Cecil. 2nd Lt. 2nd Volunteer Battalion
- McReady-Diarmid Allastair Malcolm Cluny. A/Capt. 17th Battalion (d.1st Dec 1917)
- McReady-Diarmid Allastair Malcolm Cluny. Capt. 4th Btn. att. 17th Btn (d.1st Dec 1917)
- Melsom Harold. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.5th Jul 1916)
- Mendes Maurice. Sgt. 1/9th Btn.
- Millard Charles Arthur. Pte. 23rd Btn. (d.29th Jul 1918)
- Miller Benjamin Robertson. Sgt. 2nd Btn. (d.23rd Oct 1916)
- Miller Edwin John. (d.Nov 1917)
- Miller Horace Philip. (d.Jul 1918)
- Miller Horace Philip. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.20th Jul 1918)
- Mills Frederick Jesse Coster. Pte. 54th (East Anglian) Coy (d.30th Oct 1918)
- Mitchell Albert. Pte. 1st Btn. (d.19th Apr 1918)
- Moore Ralph Edgar. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.13th Feb 1915)
- Morgan John Noble. Pte. 17th (1st Football) Btn.
- Murray William. Cpl. 13th Btn. (d.31st Aug 1916)
- Newman William Herbert. Pte. 1/8th Battalion (d.19th Oct 1915)
- Norman Arthur Robert. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.18th Aug 1916)
- Norris Henry John Walter Horace. Pte. 16th Battalion (d.11th August 1917)
- Norton John Henry. Pte. 11th Battalion (d.15th Nov 1916)
- Owen Harry. Pte. 17th Btn
- Painter Herbert George. CSM. 16th Btn. (d.1st Jul 1916)
- Palmer Charles William. Pte. 1st Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (d.24th April 1917)
- Palmer Robert. Pte. 17th Btn. (d.13th Nov 1916)
- Parker Walter Harry. Cpl. 2nd Btn.
- Pearce Henry John. A/Sgt. 4th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1915)
- Perren Percy. L/Cpl. (d.1st July 1916)
- Perrin Alfred C. Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.14th Mar 1915)
- Pettitt Louis. Cpl. 13 Btn. (d.20 July 1918)
- Pidgeon William Henry. Pte. 20th Battalion (d.9-12th April 1918)
- Plant Lawrence. Pte. 7th Btn (d.28th Aug 1918)
- Plaskitt Albert. Pte.
- Porter William James. Pte. 2nd. Btn. (d.18th Aug 1917)
- Potts Edward. Pte. 17th (1st Football) Battalion
- Pritty George Edward. L/Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.4th January 1915)
- Purser Joseph. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.18th May 1915)
- Purser Joseph. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.18th Jan 1915)
- Purves Thomas Warren. 2nd Lt. 23rd Btn. (d.7th June 1917)
- Randall Edward John. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.30th Sep 1915)
- Ray Harry. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.26th Mar 1918)
- Rowland John Henry. Pte. 1st Btn.
- Russell Thomas. Pte. 19th Btn.
- Ryde Edward George. Sgt. 2nd Btn. D coy. 15 platoon. (d.10th Mar 1915)
- Ryde Edward George. Sgt. 2nd Btn. (d.10th Mar 1915)
- Ryder Robert Edward. 12th Btn.
- Salisbury Alfred Henry. Pte. 17th Battalion (d.13th Nov 1916)
- Sandell Charles . Pte. 13th. Btn. (d.31st. Aug 1916)
- Savage Henry. 17th (Football) Btn.
- Scotton William. Pte. 4th Btn. (d.3rd Feb 1915)
- Seaborne Alfred Willoughby. Pte. 19th Btn. (d.9th July 1916 )
- Sharpe James Reuben. Pte. 4th Battalion (d.11th Jun 1916)
- Sheffield F.. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.12th Jan 1915)
- Sheldon John Leonard. L/Cpl. 17th (1st Football) Battalion (d.17th Feb 1915)
- Shine James. Chaplain. att. 21st Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.21st April 1918)
- Siddalls George Henry. Pte. 7th Btn. (d.28th Aug 1918)
- Simpson William John Sydney. Lt. 8th Btn.
- Skelton William Alfred. Pte. 21st Battalion (d.22nd Feb 1917)
- Skilleter Arthur Andrew. Pte. 4th Btn.
- Skinner John. Pte. 11th Battalion (d.15th Feb 1916)
- Smith George Frederick. L/Cpl. 12th Btn. (d.17th Feb 1917)
- Snell Henry John. 2nd Lt. 23rd Btn.
- Southgate Sidney. Pte. 24th (2nd Sportsman's) Btn. (d.4th Sep 1917)
- Spencer George William. L/Cpl 13th Btn.
- Springett William John. Pte.
- Steele Harold. Pte. 3rd Btn. (d.15th Feb 1915)
- Stevenson David. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.18th Jul 1918)
- Sussex William. Sgt. 17th Btn. (d.2nd Dec 1917)
- Sutch Frederick George. Pte. 20th Bn (d.13th April 1917)
- Tedder William Charles. L/Cpl. 11th Battalion (d.23rd Apr 1917)
- Theobald William David. Pte. 26th (3rd Public Works Pioneers) Btn.
- Thomas Edward James.
- Thomas George. Pte. 23rd Btn.
- Thorpe Charles. Cpl. 13th Btn. (d.3rd Aug 1917)
- Tompkins Wesley. Cpl. 2nd Btn. (d.20th Sep 1917)
- Toyer William John. Sjt. 23rd Btn.
- Traylor John. Pte. 26th Btn.
- Trendle Sidney. Pte. 1st Battalion (d.18th July 1918)
- Tull Walter. 2nd Lt. 23rd Btn. (d.25th Mar 1918)
- Upex Dick. Cpl. 17th (Footballers) Battalion
- Utting Christopher E. Pte. 2nd Battalion (d.28th Feb 1917)
- Valentine Reginald. L/Cpl. 13th Btn. (d.3rd Aug 1917)
- Vie Francis George. Pte. 3rd Battalion (d.4th June 1915)
- Vie Francis George. Pte. 8th Btn. (d.7th June 1915)
- Waller Charles. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.25 August 1917)
- Warren Ernest. Cpl. 18th Btn.
- Warren Ernest. Cpl. 18th Btn.
- Welch Frederick John. L/Cpl. 6th Battalion
- Welsh James Bell. Pte. 13th Battalion (d.18th August 1916)
- West Albert William. Pte. 11th Btn. (d.26th Feb 1917)
- Westley Edward Harold. Sjt. 8th Btn.
- Whisson William Henry. 2nd Lt. 1st/7th Battalion (d.6th May 1917)
- Wilding Thomas. Pte. 13th Btn. (d.5th Apr 1917)
- Wiles William George. S/Sjt. 3rd Battalion
- Wilkinson Alfred Henry. Pte. 12th Btn. (d.26th Sep 1916)
- Winch Henry George. Pte.
- Winch Henry George. Pte.
- Winchcombe John Nelson. Pte. 6th Battalion (d.26th Feb 1917)
- Winchcombe Walter George. Lance Corporal 12th Btn. "B" Coy. (d.14th Jul 1916)
- Worsley Ernest. Pte. 2nd Btn. (d.22nd Oct 1917)
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Pte. Harold Melsom 12th Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.5th Jul 1916)Harold Melsom was born in Castle Combe, Wiltshire, 18th July 1890 and baptised on 7th September 1890, St. Andrew's Parish Church, Castle Combe, Wiltshire. He was killed in action at Mametz Wood, near Albert, Somme, Northern France, Wednesday 5th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme which commenced on 1st July 1916. He had formerly served as 14334 Hussars of the Line (probably 10th Royal Hussars (Princess of Wales Own)). He was unmarried and lived in Bybridge Cottages, Castle Combe, Wiltshire. His father George Melsom, born 1851, died 3rd December 1918 was a Plasterer and Tiler. His mother, Elizabeth Sarah Melsom formerly Tylee, born 1853, Market Lavington, died 10th March 1914. Haolds sblings were: Albert born 1882, died 13th March 1942. Frederick born 1883, Died 22nd May 1943, Vancouver, Canada. Ethel Eliza born 1886, died ?
Harold Melsom is buried at Dantzig Alley C.W.G.C. Cemetery, which is east of Mametz, Somme, Northern France, Dantzig Alley was originally the site of a German trench.
Harold had a friend, Private Reginald Stanley James, also from Castle Combe, who died of wounds on the Somme on 1st July 1916 aged 22. He was the son of Mr. F. and Mrs. E. James of Castle Combe. Reginald is buried at Dive Copse C.W.G.C. Cemetery, which is north of Sailly-le-Sec, Somme, which is 20km east of Amiens, Plot 2, Row A, Grave 15, once the site of a main dressing station commanded by an officer called Dive. The dressing station was located behind the Cross of Sacrifice. Reg enlisted with Harold at Bristol (then in Gloucestershire), his service number in the 10th Hussars is consecutive to Harold's being 14335, so it is very likely they served together in both regiments.
They were both members of the 12th Middlesex (Service) Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) known as 'The Diehards'. The regiment was formed at Mill Hill, London in August 1914. Harold enlisted at Bristol, Gloucestershire. In May 1915 the regiment moved to Codford on Salisbury Plain for training with respect to the imminent move to France (Codford St. Mary and Codford St. Peter are situated just off the A36 between Warminster and Salisbury in Wiltshire).
The 12th Middlesex Regiment subsequently sailed to France landing at Le Havre on 26th July 1915. On the 1st January 1916 under the command of Lt. Col. H. P. Osbourne, the regiment was billeted at Meaulte which is south east of Albert. On the 8th January 1916, the 12th Middlesex Regiment moved forward to the front line taking over the trenches in the D1 sector south of Fricourt (east of Albert). On the 5th March 1916 the battalion moved via Corbie (east of Amiens)and Bray sur Somme (south east of Albert) relieving the 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment in the A1 sector. Lt. Col. Osbourne had been evacuated sick, and his Second in Command, Major M. C. Scarborough took over temporary command of the Regiment. On the 2nd April 1916, Lt. Col. Osbourne returned to the regiment and re-assumed command.
On the the 11th June the Regiment entrained at Mericourt (north east of Amiens) for Picquigny (north west of Amiens) where they trained in specially constructed trenches. They returned to Grove Town, Meaulte on the 26th June 1916. On the 28th June at 08:15 p.m. the 12th Middlesex Regiment moved from Bray sur Somme to Carnoy, taking over the front line trenches north of the village from the 7th Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment. On the night of the 30th June at 10:30 p.m. the Regiment was itself relieved by the 11th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, and the 12th Middlesex returned to dugouts at Carnoy. When the Battle of the Somme commenced on 1st July 1916, the 12th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment was therefore waiting in reserve.
The Commanding Officer at the time of Harold's death was Lt. Colonel Frank Maxwell V.C., C.S.I., D.S.O. (Victoria Cross, Companion of the Order of the Star of India, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order). He had taken over command of the 12th Middlesex Regiment on the 31st May 1916. Lt. Col. Maxwell had won the Victoria Cross at Sanna's Post during the South African Campaign (Boer War) on the 31st March 1900. When Frank Maxwell was appointed Commanding Officer of the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment, his personality exerted a tonic effect upon the morale and fighting qualities of the Battalion. In temperament, and in every other attribute, physical and mental, Lt. Col. Maxwell was fitted for the task assigned to him. There was a steely quality in his personal bravery that seemed accentuated by the almost studied tranquillity of his speech and general manner.
Frank Maxwell was killed by snipers whilst reconnoitring in No Man's Land near Ypres, Belgium on 21st September 1917. At the time of his death he was a Brigadier General in command of the 21st Infantry Brigade of the 9th Division. He was aged 46 and is buried at Ypres Reservoir C.W.G.C. Cemetery, north west of Ypres, Belgium, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 37. A memorial to Brigadier General Frank Maxwell can be seen in St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh. He was the son of Thomas Maxwell M.D. and Violet Sophia Maxwell and the husband of Charlotte Alice Hamilton Maxwell.
The 12th Middlesex Regiment was a volunteer regiment and part of Lord Kitchener's 'New Army'. Volunteers such as Harold received one shilling per day. Conscription was introduced in the U.K. in January 1916, but initially only for batchelors.
The 12th Middlesex Regiment was an infantry regiment and formed part of the 54th Brigade along with the 11th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, 7th Battalion Bedford, and the 6th Battalion Northampton Regiments. The 12th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment was eventually disbanded on the 13th February 1919.
The 54th Brigade was part of the 18th (Eastern) Division, New Army, commanded by Major General F. I. (Ivor) Maxse.
The 18th Division Headquarters was at Carnoy, and the Division formed part of XIII Corps. The Officers commanding the XIII Corps were:
General Officer Commanding: Lt. General W. N. Congreve V.C. Brigadier-General General Staff: Brigadier-General W. H. Greenly. Brigadier-General Royal Artillery: Brigadier-General R. St. C. Lecky.
The XIII Corps in turn formed part of the Fourth Army. The Fourth Army Headquarters was at Querrieux Chateau, which is north east of Amiens. The Officers commanding the Fourth Army were;
General Officer Commanding: General Sir Henry Seymour Rawlinson Bt. K.C.B. K.C.V.O. Major-General General Staff: Major-General A. A. Montgomery. Deputy-Adjutant and Quartermaster-General: Major-General H. C. Holman. Major-General Royal Artillery: Major-General C. E. D. Budworth. Chief Engineer: Major-General R. U. H. Buckland. Deputy-Director Signals: Colonel R. G. Earle.
The Commander in Chief of the British Army in France was General (later Field Marshall 1st Earl Haig of Bemersyde) Sir Douglas Haig. His Chief of Staff was Lt. General Sir Launcelot E ('Kigg') Kiggell, and the Major General of the Royal Artillery was Major General J. F. N. Birch. The General Headquarters for the British Expeditionary Force in France was at Montreuil near Etaples/Le Touquet. A statue still stands in the Town Hall Square at Montreuil, of General Haig on horseback, commemorating the fact that his General Headquarters were based in the town throughout the war.
The objective of the 18th Division at the Battle of the Somme which commenced on the 1st July 1916 was to capture a German trench called 'Montauban Alley' which ran to the rear and south of the village of Montauban. The Corps heavy artillery, combined with that of the French Corps on the right, was greatly superior to that of the Germans in this sector, by a ratio of nearly four to one. The course of the artillery barrage laid down that day would practically destroy the German Artillery.
On the 1st july 1916 the Battalion had a strength of 21 officers and 820 other ranks. The Second in Command to Lt. Col. Maxwell was Major M. C. Scarborough. the four Company Commanders were:
- A Company Captain L. H. Methuen
- B Company Captain G. L. Harrisan
- C Company Lieutenant A. E. West
- D Company Captain A. C. Davies
Saturday the 1st July dawned a very hot day. No smoke was laid down to cover the advance of the British Infantry. On the front of the 18th Division, two mines below the enemy's front trench at la Boiselle were fired at 07:27 a.m., while a flame-thrower had been set up to assist the assault on the right. At Zero hour the attacking battalions crossed No Man's Land against some opposition, running up against the main German resistance at their support trench and the castle. Fighting all the way, the infantry of the 18th Division pushed the Germans back trench by trench in a series of battles involving grenades, machine guns and bayonets.
By 08:30 a.m. most of the division's first objectives had been taken, but the enemy was stubbornly resisting in the centre. Nevertheless, an attack on the Pommiers Redoubt was launched, and this was taken after fierce hand-to-hand fighting.
The parties of German troops holding up the centre of the 18th Division's assault were by now becoming aware of the situation on their flanks, which had been well turned. Some began to fall back, some to surrender, but some remained to fight. Trench by trench the British advanced, until by late afternoon contact had been established with the 30th Division, and the whole of the 18th Division objective had been captured.
The day's fighting had cost XIII Corps just over 6000 casualties, but mercifully it was possible to evacuate the wounded speedily. Most of the wounded of the 18th Division were taken back to the village of Carnoy, and the village square was used as a casualty clearing station.
Throughout the first day of battle, the 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment had been kept in dugouts in Carnoy. At 08:30 p.m. Lt. Col. Maxwell moved up to the Battalion Headquarters at Piccadilly in the old British front line. At 12:45 a.m. the Middlesex Regiment moved up into the forming-up trenches. Shortly afterwards crossing No Man's Land to the old German front line.
The Companies took up the following positions: A and B Companies each had two platoons in Bund Trench, and A Company two more platoons in Emden Trench on the right of the Triangle, and B Company had two more platoons in the same trench, but on the left of the Triangle; C company was in Austrian Support Trenches, and D Company in Austrian front line.
The enemy's barrage was still falling, but it was weak and not very accurate. On Companies taking up their positions, they began consolidating. The hostile trenches were much damaged and in places obliterated. Dead Germans were everywhere, and some prisoners taken from dugouts were obviously much shaken and almost incoherent. At this point one officer, 2nd Lieutenant R. H. Hudlestone was killed, two other officers wounded, three other ranks killed, 27 wounded and four missing.
There was little activity on Sunday 2nd July and the British Divisions were able to reorganize and reinforce as well as pushing forward supplies and ammunition.
During the daylight hours of the 2nd July, the 12th Middlesex Regiment remained in the same positions. At 08:30 p.m. the Battalion was ordered to relieve the 11th Royal Fusiliers in the advanced trenches. Companies took up the following postions: A Company in White Trench, B and C Companies in Beetle Alley, and D Company in Maple Trench from the junction of Black Alley to Strong Point No. 5 inclusive. Lt. Col. Maxwell's headquarters were in Black Alley. The relief was completed by about 01:30 a.m. on Monday 3rd July. Casualties that day were one officer and four other ranks wounded. The 12th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment was now south of Caterpillar and Mamtez Woods.
XIII Corps spent Monday 3rd July in consolidation. Patrols discovered Bernafay Wood to be still undefended, and at 09:00 p.m. supported by a 20 minute barrage, two battalions of the 9th Scottish Division, New Army, entered and took possession of the wood. Throughout the 3rd July the 12th Middlesex Regiment remained in the same positions, all Companies consolidating the line. In the evening B and C Companies set to work to dig a communication trench between White Trench and Beetle Alley. The enemy shelled both the latter trenches during the day, but his shell fire was weak and not very effective: 2nd Lieutenant Souster and two other ranks were wounded. At night D Company was withdrawn from Maple Trench and took over Strong Points from the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment.
The weather, which had been fine apart from the occasional thunderstorms, broke on Tuesday 4th July. Heavy rain filled the trenches and turned tracks into quagmires. The shell torn ground absorbed the downpour, melting tracts of marshland. The 4th of July passed without incident, but during the evening the dispositions on the Companies were again slightly altered: A Company remained in White Trench, B Company was in Montauban Alley, between Caterpillar Trench, and Pommiers Redoubt, with four strong points in the Caterpillar Trench, one at the junction of Loop Trench and Montauban Alley and one at White Trench. These posts were garrisoned with one Vickers gun and section.
Caterpillar Wood, reported empty by the Royal Flying Corps, was occupied by the 18th Division on the 4th July and the division also recovered five abandoned German field guns while taking possession of a section of enemy trench near the wood. C Company, 12th Middlesex Regiment was in Caterpillar Wood with two sections and one Vickers gun. D Company was in Pommiers Trench with a strong point at the loop. By nightfall troops of the 18th Division had occupied Marlboro Wood, 500 yards beyond Caterpillar Wood. The 12th Middlesex now held part of the 53rd Brigade front as well as the front line of their own Brigade, the 54th.
According to the official regimental history of the 12th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment, 'Diehards in the Great War', a copy of which is available for reading at the Imperial War Museum, Wednesday 5th July, the day Harold Melsom was killed, was a quiet day with little enemy action. Only the occasional enemy shell bursting overhead, though hostile shelling was at times heavy. Patrol work was carried out each night. It is though at present that Harold was killed by an enemy shell or shrapnel. It may be possible to learn more on our visit to the cemetery in France. Often in a book kept at the cemetery, a description is given of how the person died and also can often be found a personal message from the next of kin. Next of kin were also permitted a single line message on the headstone and again it will be interesting to see if this was done.
The Middlesex Regimental museum at New Malden in Surrey was closed in 1992 on the death of the curator (information can be obtained on 0181 949 7605). All artifacts were transferred to the National Army Museum in Chelsea where several showcases are dedicated to the Middlesex Regiment. Other items of interest have been spread throughout the museum.
The Middlesex Regiment was amalgamated in 1966 to form the Queen's Regiment with other home counties regiments. This was also later amalgamated to form The Princess of Wales Royal Regiment based at Howe Barracks, Canterbury, Kent. The Regimental museum is at Dover Castle and a display here includes several items from the Middlesex Regiment. However there are few items of interest.Peter Melsom
Pte. Edward John Randall 4th Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.30th Sep 1915)Edward Randall served with the 4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment during WW1 and died on the 30th September 1915. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium. I'm just trying to bring loose ends together and find out where this picture was taken. My Grandfather is top right of picture.Alan Randall
L/Cpl. Frederick John Welch 6th Battalion Middlesex RegimentMy Dad, Frederick Welch, joined at Mill Hill on the 17/08/14, 2 weeks after the beginning of the War. He was posted to France in May 1915, wounded and sent home 20/11/15. He was then sent out again to France on 14/04/16, wounded on 9/11/16 and sent home, he was later discharged as being unfit for duty. I am unable to find out where he was wounded, perhaps on the Somme. I have the large piece of shrapnel taken out of his left arm, he was left with some limited use in his arm. I was able to put my fingers in the deep wound when I was little.
He was later to become a skilled welder, carpenter and joiner. He never spoke about the War to us and was sometimes disheartened by the behaviour of If anyone has info about the whereabouts of the 6th Battalion during May 15 and November 16, please let me know. My dad's war records seem to be untraceable.Mary Callard
Capt. Allastair Malcolm Cluny McReady-Diarmid VC. 4th Btn. att. 17th Btn Middlesex Regiment (d.1st Dec 1917)Allastair McReady-Diarmid was killed in action on the 1st of December 1917, aged 29, he is commemorated on Panel 9 on The Cambrai Memorial in France. Formerly Arthur Malcolm McReady-Drew he was the son of Herbert L. Drew and Fanny A. Drew (nee McReady), of 71 Goldsmith Avenue, Acton and the husband of Hilda McReady-Diarmid, of Springfield, Dursley, Gloucs. Born at New Southgate, Middlesex.
An extract from The London Gazette, dated 12th March, 1918, records the following:- "For most conspicuous bravery and brilliant leadership. When the enemy penetrated some distance into our position and the situation was extremely critical, Capt. McReady-Diarmid at once led his company forward through a heavy barrage. He immediately engaged the enemy, with such success that he drove them back at least 300 yards, causing numerous casualties and capturing 27 prisoners. The following day the enemy again attacked and drove back another company which had lost all it's officers. This gallant officer at once called for volunteers and attacked. He drove them back again for 300 yards, with heavy casualties. Throughout this attack Capt. McReady-Diarmid led the way himself, and it was absolutely and entirely due to his marvellous throwing of bombs that the ground was regained. His absolute disregard for danger, his cheerfulness and coolness at a most trying time, inspired all who saw him. This most gallant officer was eventually killed by a bomb when the enemy had been driven right back to their original starting point."s flynn
Pte. Albert Edward Harrison 25th Battalion Middlesex RegimentMy grandfather, Albert Edward Harrison, born 1882 in Kent and served in the 25th Middlesex Regiment. We know he went to Hong Kong possibly April 1917 to relieve more hardened soliders from duty. I think it was like a labour regiment that was raised. He then went to Russia during the revolution late 1917 or early 1918. Then returned to England in 1919.
What medals he had have disappeared through the family in recent years. All I have is his cap badge. He returned to live back in Kent as a farm labourer and passed away in 1957. We have tried very hard to trace anything that relates to him but his records may have been amongst a major fire of First World War records. Hope there is further information to come to light.Michael Abbott
Pte. Harold Bish 1/19th Btn. London Regiment (d.22nd Aug 1917)Harold Bish is my great uncle, son of Sophia Bish nee Taylor, first wife of my Great Grandad. Sophia moved from Nottingham (after separating from grt grandad) to Shepherds Bush before the war, where Harold worked as an accountants clerk.
He joined the Middlesex Regiment later served with the 1/19th Battalion London Regiment. Unfortunately he never returned from war and Sophia suffered the death of a second son. I would love to trace his medals - Victory and British.Jayne Wilkinson
2nd Lt. Rees Morris Bullock MM. 7th Btn, F Coy Middlesex RegimentRees M. Bullock was born in Holloway North London and was living in Wood Green when he joined the Territorial Force enlisting at Enfield in F Company of the 7th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment. His Regimental number was 2438. He was mobilised on 5th August 1914 and moved to the Battalion Mobilisation station on the Isle of Grain involved in coastal defence. The Battalion sailed to Gibraltar on September 3rd moving back to the UK on the 8th February 1915 where they went in to billets in Barnet. The Battalion then sailed for France on the 12th March 1915.
Rees Bullock must have made steady progress through the ranks to at least Sergeant as he appears to have been commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant on 25th May 1918. His name does not appear on the 7th Bn roll of Officers’ so it must be assumed that he was transferred to another battalion on commissioning.
Cpl Bullock was awarded the Military Medal for Gallantry in the face of the enemy whilst in the line at ‘Hebuterne’ between Arras and Albert from May 4th to May23rd 1916. On the night of May 8th 1916: "Lance Corporal Bullock’s small patrol ran into a hostile patrol twice their size. The German soldiers drew first blood, a grenade wounding Private Ede, but Bullock and the third man returned fire and were able to withdraw taking their wounded colleague with them."
The night of Saturday, 13th May 1916: "B Company of the 1/7th Middlesex were determined to give the ‘Z’ Hedge a thorough going over. The field artillery were asked to shell the hedge at 11 p.m. at which point a patrol led by the intrepid L/Cpl. Bullock was to go and investigate. 11 p.m. came and the sharp crack of 18 pdrs could be heard from behind the village, then the shells whined overhead to explode loudly deep in Gommecourt Park – nearly three hundred yards off target! Hurried phone calls were made to the Divisional Artillery and a new time of midnight set for the bombardment. This time the shells fell smartly into the hedge and, as they did, fourteen men slipped out of the trenches and through the British wire. Five men were sent into the Gommecourt Road to act as a covering party and the rest, led by Bullock, approached the corner of the hedge. Six Germans then appeared and a brief fight ensued resulting in one German soldier being killed. An attempt to recover the body was thwarted when the patrol found three feet of barbed wire on the far side of the hedge and any further action was prevented when they came under fire from more Germans lined up along the stretch of the hedge that ran parallel to the road. Having achieved all they could, Bullock led his men back to the sanctuary of the British lines.
His Commanding Officer Lt Col EJ King commented as follows: “The 7th Middlesex were facing the German 169th Infantry Regiment who had to learn that they could not send out patrols against us with impunity. It was now that Cpl R Bullock made his name as one of the boldest and most enterprising of Patrol Leaders eventually gaining the Military Medal.”
Rees Morris Bullock MM survived the war and died at Chelmsford Essex in 1972 aged 80.Keith Bullock
Pte. Joseph Purser 4th Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.18th May 1915)Private Joseph Purser aged 18 of the 4th Battalion Middlesex Regiment died of his wounds at Chelsea Hospital, he was my Great Uncle.Joseph Purser
Pte. George King 13th Battalion Middlesex RegimentGeorge King served with the 13th Btn. Middlesex Regiment. He enlisted on the 7th of January 1915 in Hammersmith, London and gave his age as 18yrs 7months, but he was born 23.7.1899 in Fulham London, making him only 15yrs old.
He was sent from Acton and arrived in France 17.8.1915, they were attached to the 73rd Brigade. While at the Battle of Loos on the 27.9.1915 near Vermelles, he was gunned down by machine gun fire. He survived but at the loss of his right leg and more wounds to his left thigh.
He was discharged on 15th of November 1916 at Hounslow, he was awarded a silver war badge no.89410 and 3 medals, the 1914/15 star, the War and Victory medals. So at only being 16yrs old he had his leg amputated and saw so much pain and suffering around him, for some one so young.Troy King
Robert Edward Ryder 12th Btn. Middlesex RegtRobert Edward Ryder was from Harefield in Middlesex. Robert was born in December 1895 in Harefield and served with 12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge Own) enlisting in 1914. He won the Victoria Cross for " most conspicuous bravery" at Theipval on September 25th 1916. Robert was just 20 years old when he found himself fighting to take Theipval, with all Officers wounded, dead or down. He single handedly charged a German trench with his lewis gun when, for want of leadership, the attack was flagging. When I discovered that Robert's very young wife had recently died of "consumption" (more likely of asbestosis because she had been working in a local asbestos factory near Harefield), it did make me wonder if Robert just "did not give a damn" since his lovely young Bride had just died so horribly?
His VC is now in the Imperial War Museum. The quote with his medals says quite simply: " I don't know what came over me...normally...I wouldn't hurt a fly".Miriam Bailey
2nd Lt. William Henry Whisson 1st/7th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (d.6th May 1917)Lieutenant William Henry Whisson, of the Middlesex Regiment, who died of wounds on May 6th, was the eldest son of Mr. W. H. Whisson, 25, Arundel Road, Croydon, was born on March 19th, 1896, and was educated at the Whitgift Middle School.
In April, 1913, he joined the London Scottish, and when the war broke out he volunteered for foreign service. He went to France on September 15th, 1914, and was badly wounded in the leg at Messines on October 31st. He resumed duty in May, 1915, and was gazetted Second Lieutenant in August, 1915. He was appointed regimental musketry instructor, and carried on in that capacity until October, 1916, when he was transferred to another battalion and went to the front again on October 24th, 1916. He was made second in command of his company in January, 1917.
During an action in April his commanding officer was hit, and he took over the command, and was so successful that he was recommended for the Military Cross. After being wounded his chaplain (not thinking the wound was so serious) wrote a very reassuring letter, in which he said "May I congratulate you on the very excellent behaviour of your son whilst with the regiment and express the hope that it will not be long before he is with us again." On May 6th he died at the casualty clearing station, at which he had arrived in such a dangerous condition that all efforts to save him were unavailing. Officer friends, writing to Mr. Whisson, tell how, when he was brought in, he insisted on the wounded men who were brought in with him being attended to first, and his old head master (Rev. G. A. Jones) speaks of him, in a note to the Croydon Advertiser, as "one of the finest types of a public school boy". The Mid-Whitgiftian July 1917Mark Gardiner
L/Cpl. Charles Frederick Fleming 12th Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.26th Aug 1916)I discovered the details of this gentleman when researching the family tree of my son in law. Charles Fleming was his Great Great Grandfather. I have yet to find anything more on this chap but I am astounded at the bravery of a 67 year old man fighting for his family and country.
Pte. Arthur Robert Norman 13th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (d.18th Aug 1916)Arthur Norman served with the 13th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment.Paul Norman
Pte. Eustace Nelson Heath 16th Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.10th Jan 1916)Eustace Heath joined up when he was only 16 years old. He went to France with the battalion on 17th of November 1915, and was killed on 10th of January 1916 near Cuinchy when a shell landed on the billet he was in. He was killed before he ever went into action. Eustace Heath is buried in Cambrin Military Cemetery, Calais.Cathryn Corns
2nd Lt. Henry John Snell 23rd Btn. Middlesex RegimentHenry Snell lost an eye on 11th July 1916 at Le Touquet (I believe).Sue Tsirigoti
Pte. Robert Hepburn Middlesex RegimentRobert Hepburn was my Grandmother's brother and therefore my Grand Uncle. He had five brothers and three sisters. He was a potter by trade, living with his mother aged 27 and never married.
He returned from the war with what I believe to be 'Shell Shock'. He lived in Tottenham for a few years moving from place to place. Eventually taken into Napsbury Military Hospital. He did try to escape a couple of times, but was caught by the police and returned. He died in Napsbury in 1951 aged 65. I and my siblings attended his funeral, although not realising at the time as we played in a meadow with an aunt.Vicki Pluckrose
Pte. James Bell Welsh 13th Battalion Middlesex Regiment (d.18th August 1916)James Bell Welsh was 23 when he was killed attacking the village of Guillemont with the 13th Middlesex.Mark Welsh
Pte. John W. Andrews 23rd Btn. Middlesex Regiment (d.22nd Sep 1917)My great grandfather John Andrews was killed in action at the Battle of the Menin Road on 22nd September 1917, whilst serving with 23rd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment.Roy Bate
2nd Lt. Thomas Warren Purves 23rd Btn. Middlesex Rgt. (d.7th June 1917)We are researching all the old boys from our school who died in WWI. We have little information but would like our brave soldiers, of whom Thomas Warren Purves was one, to be remembered.Alison Houghton
Henry Savage 17th (Football) Btn. Middlesex RegimentHenry Savage is my great grand uncle - just discovered tonight. He was in the football battalion.Jo Heartfield
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Die Hard, Aby!: Abraham Bevistein - The Boy Soldier Shot to Encourage the Others
'Die Hard, Aby!' tells Aby's story, rather than that of the historic times through which he lived. If a well known battle rages while Aby sits in a trench several miles away, writing to his mum - we are with Aby. We follow him from the Russian occupied land of his birth, across Europe to his East End home, and then through school days and the events that led to the Great War. One of the first to join, we see him through training and on to duty at the Front. We are with him in the mud of the trenches and share his deprivations through the cold of the winter of 1915. After 10 months in France, we see what led him to leave the Front without authority. We are with Aby again when as a 17-year-old boy he walks to his fate on a cold, March dawn in 1916. Finally we examine the impact his short life had on his times and on ours.More information on:
Die Hard, Aby!: Abraham Bevistein - The Boy Soldier Shot to Encourage the Others
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