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Remembered Today:

12th Battalion Middlesex Regiment


Bob Chandler
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I've been doing some research on the local War Memorial and a 'mystery man' has turned up, Pte W Jones 12th Btn Middlesex Regt late of Wickham nr Newbury Berks, KIA age 26, he is not named on the memorial but appears with photo in the 'Berkshire at War' publication, I have been through the CWGC site & checked the 954 W Jones's listed there without any luck, could anyone give me any general info about this Btn which might help with the search e.g. were they a service Btn etc? Many thanks Charles

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Hello Charles!

I couldn't find a W. Jones who fits your description in my bound copy of "Soldiers Died in the Great War" for the Middlesex Regt. The only W. Jones in the 12th Battalion is G/1207 William Charles Jones, killed in action on the 8th January 1916. He is listed as having been born in Chelsea. Some details about the 12th Battalion's war service are listed on the main site (the long long trail), here: http://www.1914-1918.net/msex.htm

Hope this helps a bit,

All the best,

Tony

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The 12th Middlesex were a New Army Service battalion. Part of 54th Brigade, 18th Division. Formed in September 1914 as part of K2.

Trained at Colchester and Codford.

Went to France on 26 & 27 July 1915. Into the line at Fricourt-Mametz on the Somme from August to February 1916. Then to Carnoy sector, from where they were in Brigade Reserve for the attack against Pommiers Redoubt near Montauban on 1st July 1916.

2 Companies joined 6th Northants at at Trones Wood on 14th July 1916. Into reserve at Armientieres August 1916, then assault battalion at Thiepval, again with 11th RF, on 26th September 1916.

In support at Boom Ravine to 6th Nhts & 11 RF on 17th February 1917.

Assault battalion with 7th Bedfordshires at Cherisy on 3rd May 1917.

Moved to Ypres in July 1917, and in Brigade Reserve for the offensive on 31st July 1917.

The battalion was disbanded in February 1918 when the 54th Brigade was reduced from 4 to 3 Battalions.

I have a copy of the Brigade history if you need more details (as you can see I have researched the first half of their war more than the second!)

Steve.

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  • 4 months later...

I am looking foir detailed information regarding the two support companys in the attack on Miraumont 17/2/17. My gt uncle Pvt John Rose G/42267 died on that day, and I am trying to find as much as i can before taking my family out there in April this year. 25x 12bn Middlesex are buried at Regina Trench Cemetary who died ont he 17/2/17, so I am assuming they came from the two companies that were allocated to the 11 R Fusiliers and 6th Northants. I understand reading from other threads that heavy casualties were experienced prior to zero hour and that that a sergeant lead a company and a pvt lead a platoon for much of the day due to officer casualties.

From the service number is it possible to trace when John enlisted and where etc etc. I am going to the National Archives over the enxt week or so, so any tips on how to get round that place would be greatly welcomed!

Thanks

Anthony

Capt (R.Signals) retd

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You will want the war diary in WO95/2044. I was looking at it yesterday but have only copied July 1916 (I was looking at the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment in the same box but wanted to look at the Trones Wood entries in the 12th Middlesex Diary)

D Company of the 12th Middlesex provided mopping up parties at Boom Ravine and were probably affected the bombardment. A Company came up in Reserve. I think "D" company supported the 6th Northamptonshires whilst "B" company definitely supported the 11th Royal Fusiliers.

The sergeant in command of a company was G/3396 Sgt. George Rowe (DCM in London Gazette 17-4-1917 "G/3396 L./,Sjt. G. Rowe, Midd'x R. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took command of his company, led them to their objective, and continued in command until relieved by an officer two days later. He has previously done fine work") whilst the private was G/2466 Private Arthur Humphries who took command of a platoon (DCM in same Gazette "G/2466 L./Cpl. A. Humphries, Midd'x R. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He took command of his platoon, reorganised the men, and consolidated his position. He displayed marked courage and initiative under difficult conditions, his example being invaluable at a critical time.")

If you send me a PM and let me know your e-mail address (below my name and picture I can send you some more information, though it won't have the detail you want.)

The War Diary as I saw seem pretty detailed, including Casualty lists (at least for 1916), so I would certainly recommend getting an look at it.

Steve.

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I am looking foir detailed information regarding the two support companys in the attack on Miraumont 17/2/17. My gt uncle Pvt John Rose G/42267 died on that day, and I am trying to find as much as i can before taking my family out there in April this year. 25x 12bn Middlesex are buried at Regina Trench Cemetary who died ont he 17/2/17, so I am assuming they came from the two companies that were allocated to the 11 R Fusiliers and 6th Northants. I understand reading from other threads that heavy casualties were experienced prior to zero hour and that that a sergeant lead a company and a pvt lead a platoon for much of the day due to officer casualties.

From the service number is it possible to trace when John enlisted and where etc etc. I am going to the National Archives over the enxt week or so, so any tips on how to get round that place would be greatly welcomed!

Thanks

Anthony

Capt (R.Signals) retd

many thanks for this.. i shall see if i can preoder the files before my arrival. isent you a pm just now

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  • 13 years later...
On 23/09/2005 at 16:11, Stebie9173 said:

The 12th Middlesex were a New Army Service battalion. Part of 54th Brigade, 18th Division. Formed in September 1914 as part of K2.

Trained at Colchester and Codford.

Went to France on 26 & 27 July 1915. Into the line at Fricourt-Mametz on the Somme from August to February 1916. Then to Carnoy sector, from where they were in Brigade Reserve for the attack against Pommiers Redoubt near Montauban on 1st July 1916.

2 Companies joined 6th Northants at at Trones Wood on 14th July 1916. Into reserve at Armientieres August 1916, then assault battalion at Thiepval, again with 11th RF, on 26th September 1916.

In support at Boom Ravine to 6th Nhts & 11 RF on 17th February 1917.

Assault battalion with 7th Bedfordshires at Cherisy on 3rd May 1917.

Moved to Ypres in July 1917, and in Brigade Reserve for the offensive on 31st July 1917.

The battalion was disbanded in February 1918 when the 54th Brigade was reduced from 4 to 3 Battalions.

I have a copy of the Brigade history if you need more details (as you can see I have researched the first half of their war more than the second!)

Steve.

 

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Steve, I found your post on 12th Middlesex via Google while researching Private Ernest 24185  Brown (see separate topic).  Private Brown was awarded a Military Medal (London Gazette 22/2/1918) probably for action late 1917.  Do you have any information about 12th Middlesex actions after July 16th during which he might have been recommended for a decoration?

 

I'm assuming that following the disbandment of the 12th Battalion in February 1918 Private Brown was in one of the Companies that reinforced the 2/2 London Regiment, in which he was later captured.

 

John

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There appear to be only 4 (correction, 3) men of the 12th Middlesex awarded Military Medals in that Gazette edition (22-2-1918 / 23-2-1918):

 

40746 Pte W J Gowen (Walthamstow) - 12th Bn. Registered Paper 68/121/390 schedule 140164

1173 Sgt W H Wheeler (Willesden) - 12th Bn. Registered Paper 68/121/390 schedule 140876

 

34185 Pte E Brown (Witham) - 12th Bn. Registered Paper 68/121/399 schedule 143337

 

12097 Cpl W Long (New Southgate) - 1st Bn. Registered Paper 68/121/399 schedule 143698

 

The fact that there are not 6 awards would suggest that this is not related to the "Six battalion drummers were awarded the Military Medals for gallantry in action during operations 16-18 October 1917" as mentioned in the Ernest Brown topic.

 

Only one MM from 54th Brigade is mentioned in the Houthulst Forest section of the 54th Brigade history.

 

G/51618 Pte. T Wright - 11th Royal Fusiliers: " In the Houthulst Forest sector on the night of November 24th-25th, 191 7, he was accompanying his platoon officer, who was visiting his front line posts, when an enemy patrol was seen approaching. The officer and Private Wright, who were in No Man's Land at the time, allowed the patrol to get close to the post, and then placed themselves between the patrol and the enemy's lines, and called upon the patrol to surrender. " The patrol, consisting of an officer and a corporal, attempted to get away, but were prevented from doing so by Private Wright, who shot the German officer in the thigh, and then knocked down the corporal, who offered considerable resistance, and moreover was a strong opponent, standing at least six feet one inch in height, and strongly built. The two were made prisoners, and valuable documents and other information was obtained from them." 

 

Interestingly this is the next "Schedule number" on from Ernest Brown's i.e. Registered Paper 68/121/399 schedule 143336

 

This suggests that the date of Ernest Brown's MM may be around the same time (though it would certainly be for a different incident, as Wright's M.M. was self contained within the 11th Royal Fusiliers actions).

 

The 12th Middlesex Regiment were in the front line around that time between 25th and 28th November 1917. The war diary mentions no particular incidents.

 

 

The Poelcapelle MMs referenced earlier may have something to do with the DCMs mentioned in the war diary:

 

MC LG 18-1-1918 & 25-4-1918 - T./Capt. Edward John Langford Garstin, Midd'x R. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty {at Poelcapelle on 17-10-1917}. His company had to spend forty-eight hours in the open, within about 150 yards of the enemy, who caused many casualties and disorganised the company. He collected the men quickly and re-established the line under heavy fire with great skill.


DCM LG 4-3-1918 - 40733 Cpl. (A./C.Q.M.S.) D. H. Hughes, Midd'x R. (Cardiff). - For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty {at Poelcapelle on 16-10-1917}. He passed through several barrages while in charge of a party carrying rations to his company, who were in a shell hole position close to the enemy. His party suffered severe casualties, but he kept his men 'together and, in spite of all difficulties and heavy fire, delivered rations to every post. He set a splendid example of determination.

 

DCM LG 4-3-1918 - 850 C.Q.M.S. J. W. Metcalf, Midd'x R. (Acton). • For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty {at Poelcapelle on 16-10-1917}. He passed through several barrages while in charge of a party carrying rations to his company who were in a shell-hole position close to the enemy. His party suffered severe casualties, but he kept his men together, and in spite of all difficulties and heavy fire delivered rations to every post. He set a splendid example of determination.

 

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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Steve, thanks for your response.  Is it possible that 2 of the six soldiers mentioned in the action of 16 - 18 Oct (Hughes and Metcalf) had their MM upgraded to DCM for "conspicuous gallantry"?  The remaining 4 soldiers (Gowen, Wheeler. Brown, Long) would have been cited for gallantry in "the shell-hole position" at Poelcapelle.  I have no idea why they might be described as drummers - doesn't C.Q.M.S. refer to quartermasters stores?

 

I have not been able to read the war diaries myself (Ancestry directs you to the Northants pages - do you have have a reference to get me to the 12th Middlesex war diaries  via Ancestry?

 

John

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Just search for the 6th Northamptonshire Regiment. They have been listed under each others reference!

 

 

P.S. Update on the drummers in a minute...

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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11RF and 12Mddx worked together. When one left the trenches the other went in.

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I have had a look at the previous Gazette edition dated 25 or 28 January 1918 depending on publication or "street" date (on the basis that I would expect October 1917 M.M.s to be Gazetted in January 1918). This has the following Middlesex Regiment M.M.s (notwithstanding iffy character recognition):

 

290973 Cpl. (L./Sjt.) J. E. Ames, Mdx. R. (Manor Park)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 134846    3/10th Battalion
G/34183 L./Cpl. B. Porter, Mdx. R. (Chadwell Heath)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 134847    3/10th Battalion
292846 Pte. (Cpl.) H. Thomas, Mdx. R. (Hoxton)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 137848    3/10th Battalion
292642 Pte. W. G. Hardiman, Mdx. R. (St. Pancras)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 134849    3/10th Battalion
292488 Cpl. (A./Sjt.) A. J. Sparkes, Mdx. R. (Taunton)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 137307    3/10th Battalion

 

S/7784 Pte. T. Butler, Mdx. R. (Sunderland).    Registered Paper 68/121/364  Schedule No. 117530 1st Battalion

 

18209 Dmr. H. Matthews, Mdx. R. (Lower Clapton, N.E.)    Registered Paper 68/121/377    Schedule No. 136939    12th Battalion
7477 Dmr. A. Harrison, Mdx. R (Peckham).    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 136940    12th Battalion
3095 Pte. F. Brooker, Mdx. R. (Highgate).    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 136941    12th Battalion
238046 Pte. H. J. Simons, Mdx. R. (St. Ives)   Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 136942    12th Battalion
2245 Pte. A. B. Kibble, Mdx. R. (New Cross).    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 136943    12th Battalion
6221 Pte. W. Geary, Mdx. R. (Ringwood)    Registered Paper 68/121/377 Schedule No. 136944    12th Battalion

 

34421 L./C. F. S. Murray, Mdx. R. (Walthamstow).    Registered Paper 68/121/377    Schedule No. 137962    12th Battalion

 

 

The group highlighted in bold (by me) has six men, two of which are listed as drummers. Their schedule numbers are all consecutive. I would guess that this is our group of drummers.

 

Drummers (and other members) of the band were usually stretcher bearers within infantry battalions.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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Steve,thanks for putting me right.  I always get confused and inventive before the likely situation emerges.

 

Assuming the Gazette schedule numbers are broadly chronological:

 - 6 'drummers' MMs and 3 DCMs arising from actions around Poelcapelle 16 - 18 October

 - Private Wright (11th RF) night action 24/25 November

Therefore Private Brown's MM for gallantry probably awarded between 19 Oct and 24 November.  As Johnboy suggests that 12th Middlesex and 11th RF alternated in trenches, Private Brown's action could also have been in Houthulst Forest?  Wikipedia has a long article entitled 'The Action of 22 October 1917' which describes 18th Division successes in Houthuist Forest followed by ongoing attritional warfare.

 

If you think this is plausible and it seems unlikely that we can get more specific details, I will probably proceed with this hypothesis (embellished with might, possibly, maybe).

 

John

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From the evidence we have I don't think we can narrow it down much further than the dates you suggest. Based purely on the Wright M.M. I would be reasonably comfortable dating the M.M. to later in November, either the tour in the trenches from 10 to 15 November 1917 or 25 to 28 November 1917. I don't think the Schedule Numbers were entirely sequential, but based on when the M.M.s were sent up to/received at Corps level. The Registered Paper / Schedule No. elements of M.M.s are new research for me so I am gradually refining my thoughts on them as I go. Others, notably Howard Williamson (colectorsguide on the Forum), have specialised in the M.M. and would certainly know much more.

 

 

Steve.

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Not relevant to your own search but one of the six "Drummers" was 238046 Herbert James (Bert) Simons of St Ives - it looks like he got the M.M. for running messages in the pitch black across No Man's Land during the fighting at Poelcapelle - including falling in a shell hole and having to swim to get out - from the Cambridgeshire newspapers of 2 November 1917. He notes about being able to read about the action in the papers of 21 October 1917. Perhaps the other drummers/band members were doing likewise? Earlier posts on the Forum and elsewhere suggests drummers would be utilised as either stretcher bearers or runners.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173
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