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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

19th Battalion Middlesex Regiment

Guest a1off

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I'm researching my Great Grandfather, Pte Albert George Sun Drain, G/34043, who was transferred to the 19th Battalion on 17.11.1917, the date on which he appears to have left England for the last time.

I have a copy of the remains of his service record which shows that he was put on a train in Italy on 3.3.1918 and brought to France. He died on 24.3.1918 in what I presume must have been the chaos of Operation Michael. His death was not actually recorded on the Casualty Form until 9.4.1918 when I understand our side had regained control of the situation and the German attack had dissipated in looting.

He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial (which my Mum and I visited this week - his first relatives ever to do so) so I presume he was positioned close to Arras.

Could anyone tell me anything which will help me pinpoint more closely where and how he may have died? I am going to look at the Battalion Diary (if I can get hold of it) at the NA at the weekend.

Is anyone else researching 19th Middlesex? If so, I'm very happy to share the info I have.

He also appears to have been in the:

- 3rd or 4th Essex Regiment from 2.9.1914 to 23.3.1916

- 5th Middlesex from 19.10.1916 to 31.10.1916

- 4th Middlesex from 1.11.1916 to 18.11.1916

- 17th Middlesex from 19.11.1916 to around August 1917

- 5th Middlesex from August 1917 (approx) to 16.11.1917.

Is it likely he moved around like this? Could anyone fill me in on where he might have been during these times? I know the 5th Middlesex were at home throughout the war and his periods in England coincide with his time in 5th Middlesex.



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Did you look in the Long Long Trail at top left of this page ? If not,see:


this gives you all the Middx regiments postings to Brigades and Divisions,which will lead you on to battles etc.

From a short study it seems that your subject would have been around Arras on 24 March 1918,as this was in the first period of the last German Offensive of the war (Kaiserschlacht) ,when they thought they could break through the Allied Line and sweep northward and in behind our troops to cut them off from supply lines.

Best wishes


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  • 3 months later...

Hello Steven F

During November 1917, the 41st Division was sent as urgent reinforcements to northern Italy, to hold a defensive line on the river Piave. The 19th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment worked on the defences at Nervesa, but the crisis soon passed and they saw little action. Meanwhile, enemy forces were massing in France, so they were hurried back to the Western Front by train early in March 1918.

The Pioneers then had to be deployed as Infantrymen during the chaos that followed a major German breakthrough at St Quentin. The 19th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment took over a defensive position at Beugnatre during the night of 23rd March 1918 and was attacked at about 6pm on 24th March. Despite causing serious enemy casualties, the Pioneers were forced to withdraw to Biefvillers. It would appear that your relative must have fallen during this engagement.

I hope this helps,


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  • 5 years later...
Guest droughton

I would like to know how John Ellison died in Italy on 26th November 1917.

He was in the 19th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment.

He lied about his age to join up but never lasted too long by the look of it.

His real name was Droughton.

Any information of what went on at this time would be gratefully received. Thanks.

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