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Remembered Today:

23rd Battalion Middlesex Regt.


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I believe this regiment transfered to France in May 1916 but I'm trying to learn details of it's movements and possible engagements over the next 2-3 months.

How do I go about doing that...?

Also, this Battalion was has also been described as being the (2nd Football). Can anyone confirm this..?

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Hi Ken,

the 23rd Bn. were indeed known as the 2nd Football, the 17th Bn. being known as the 1st Football. Both battalions were raised in London by the Rt. Hon. W Joynson-Hicks MP the 23rd Bn being raised on 29th June 1915.

The battalion moved to Cranleigh during July and to Aldershot during November where they became part of 123rd Brigade of the 41st Division. The whole division moved to France between the 1st - 6th May 1916 and 2 days later was concentrated between Hazebrouck and Bailleul.

The following is taken from Westlake's (Battalions on the Somme)

23rd (Service) Battalion, (2nd Football). 123rd Brigade, 41st Division:

Arrived Longpre from Armentieres sector (23/8) and from there marched to Gorenflos. Entrained at Longpre for Mericourt (6/9) and from there to Meaulte. to camp south of Fricourt (9/9), front line north of Delville Wood (10/9), Montauban (12/9), front line (14/9). In reserve at start of advance towards Flers (15/9) - later moved forward from Carlton and Savoy Trenches, up Flers Road and occupied Hog's Head north of Flers Wood. Withdrew to positions east of Flers at nightfall and held under heavy bombardment until ordered back to Switch Trench during evening (16/9). Casualties - 195. To Carlton Trench (17/9), Becordel (18/9), positions between Pommiers Redoubt and Montauban (27/9), Flers Avenue Trench (28/9), trenches west of Gueudecourt (30/9). Assisted New Zealand Forces during attack towards Eaucourt l'Abbaye (1/10). Withdrew at night to Montauban. To Mametz Wood (3/10), reserve positions at Carlton Trench (8/10), front line north-cast of Eaucourt l'Abbaye (9/10), Mametz Wood (11/10), Dernancourt (13/10). Entrained at Edgehill for Oisemont (17/10) - arrived (18/10) and marched to Merelessart. Entrained at Pont-Remy for Godewaersvelde (19/10).

The Battalion War Diary for May 1916 - October 1917 is available at the National Archives under WO 95/2639

Hope this helps,

cheers, Jon

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