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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Middlesex Regiment


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Hi I'm new to this would be greatful for any help!

I'm researching my Nana's family and two of her Uncles died in the War.

Frank Crosby was in the Middlesex Regiment:1/8th (T.F.) Battalion I know he was in the Territorial Army and died 26 Apr 1916.

His brother Maurice Crosby was in the same regiment but the 11th Battalion and he died29 Jul 1916.

I've looked at their records on Ancestry but just wanted to get a bit more info about the regiment and their battalions and poss where they were/what they were doing when they died.

Thanks for any help or advice!

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Welcome to the forum Jolu. A good starting point would be the 'Long, Long Trail' (you should be able to see a link to the site in the menu bar at the top of the page), but this link Click will give you a start on the 1/8th & 11th Bns movements during the war.


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Not sure if you have seen them but here is the photo of Maurice's grave, who is buried in

Serre Road Cemetery No.1, France and Frank's name on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium.



Also Frank's medals: the 1915 star ribbon was mounted the wrong way round I still have to change it.


And the back of his 1915 star:




P.S. we are related by marriage on your nan's sisters side

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Oh wow thank you so much for that Simon! I hadn't seen the pics of the grave or Frank's Name on the memorial so that was wonderful to see and his medals!!

I can't wait to show my Mum!

And how amazing that we are realted...Am about to try and send you a private message!

Thanks, Gemma (Jolu)

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I believe that you need 5 posts to send a Private message. It will hopefully work now!


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Love it.

This forum rocks.



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  • 3 weeks later...

I am new to this forum and would much appreciate some pointers. I have recently discovered a notebook of my Grandfather who served in the 1/8 Middlesex regiment. It covers his embarkation to France on 8th March 1915 to 12th September 1915 when the diary just stops. He survived the war. I am having some difficulty interpreting his pencil written writing. He refers to coal boxes which I understand to be shells that gave off plumes of black smoke. He also refers to "jacksons" and "vitial shells" and "stink shells". I am not sure that I have interpreted these correctly and wonder if anyone can help me please.

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I think Jackson refers to somthing being black. Slang from a well known persons name of the time.

I'm not sure about the Jackson reference...

The RFA (and I suppose others) referred to "Jack Johnsons," which basically meant any shells that created large volumes of black smoke when they exploded. They were apparently named after Jack Johnson, an Afro-American boxer and Heavyweight Champion of the World from 1908 to 1915.


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Many thanks for the information about Jacksons. The notes I have refer to some officers and place names that I am having difficulty in identifying because of the writing, probably some bad spelling and the fact that some place names have changed. Is there any advice please where I may find a map that would help and a list of the officers in the 1 /8 Middlesex at that time (March to September 1915 around Ypres) ? I think that I would probably need to go to the National Archives to see the Regiment's diary for that period. Once again thank you.

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You're welcome. I also had a couple of great uncles in the Middlesex Regiment (3rd & 13th Battalions) but unfortunately neither survived the war, both being killed near Ypres in 1915 and 1917.

The National Archives at Kew does hold the War Diary of the 1/8 Middlesex Regiment but it only begins at February 1916, when the battalion was a part of 167 Infantry Brigade. Here is the link: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=-2243958&CATLN=7&Highlight=%2C1%2C8%2CBATTALION%2CMIDDLESEX%2CREGIMENT&accessmethod=0

Before that there does not appear to be any war diary for the battalion, in which case you may also think about looking at the various Infantry Brigade Headquarters war diaries. The 1/8 Middlesex seemed to move around quite a bit between infantry brigades in 1915 but according to The Long Long Trail from March to August 1915 they were a part of 85 Infantry Brigade, from August to October they were a part of 25 Infantry Brigade and from October 1915 to February 1916 they were with 70 Infantry Brigade. They became a part of 167 Infantry Brigade in February 1916 and remained with this Brigade for the rest of the war, so these war diaries may also be of some use:

85 Infantry Brigade: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=5636612&CATLN=6&Highlight=%2C85%2CINFANTRY%2CBRIGADE&accessmethod=0

25 Infantry Brigade: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/searchresults.asp?SearchInit=0&txtsearchterm=25+Infantry+Brigade&txtfirstdate=1915&txtlastdate=1915&txtrestriction=WO&hdnsorttype=Reference&image1.x=33&image1.y=9&image1=GO

70 Infantry Brigade: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/displaycataloguedetails.asp?CATID=5636519&CATLN=6&Highlight=%2C70%2CINFANTRY%2CBRIGADE&accessmethod=0

167 Infantry Brigade: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/searchresults.asp?SearchInit=0&txtsearchterm=167+Infantry+Brigade&txtfirstdate=1916&txtlastdate=1919&txtrestriction=WO&hdnsorttype=Reference&image1.x=40&image1.y=12&image1=GO

Ordering war diaries at the National Archives is currently a bit tricky as they are undergoing a massive digitisation programme, so it may be worth checking to make sure that they are actually available before travelling to Kew.

The National Archives also have copies of the Army List, in which case it may be worth trying to look up your officers in these periodicals.

Good luck,


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