The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) was a line infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1881 until 1966. The regiment was formed, as the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), in 1881 as part of the Childers Reforms when the 57th (West Middlesex) and 77th (East Middlesex) Regiments of Foot were amalgamated with the county's militia and rifle volunteer units.
On 31 December 1966 the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) was amalgamated with the other regiments of the Home Counties Brigade, the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, the Queen's Own Buffs, The Royal Kent Regiment and the Royal Sussex Regiment to form the Queen's Regiment. The latter regiment was, however, short-lived and itself subject to a merger on 9 September 1992 with the Royal Hampshire Regiment to form the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires).
The Middlesex Regiment was one of the principal home counties based regiments with a long tradition. They inherited their nickname, the “Die-hards”, from the 57th Regiment of Foot (West Middlesex), which later became the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. The 57th gained the name during the Peninsular War when, at the Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811 their commander Colonel Inglis had his horse shot from under him, severely wounded and outnumbered by the French he called to his men “Die hard, 57th. Die hard!” "Albuhera" was the principal battle honour on the Middlesex Regiment's colours.
|Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
Cap Badge of the Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
|Size||1-4 Regular battalions
1-2 Militia and Special Reserve
1-7 Territorial and Volunteer battalions
|Garrison/HQ||Hounslow Barracks (1881–1905)
Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill (1905–1966)
|Nickname(s)||The Die Hards|
|Colors||Lemon Yellow Facings|
|Anniversaries||Albuhera Day (16 May).|
The regiment was formed on 1 July 1881 with two regular, two militia and four volunteer battalions:
In 1900 the number of regular battalions was doubled with the formation of a new 3rd and 4th battalion, and the militia battalions were renumbered as 5th and 6th battalions. In 1908, with the formation of the Territorial Force (TF), the 1st and 2nd Volunteer Battalions became the 7th and 8th Battalions, while the 3rd (formerly 4th) Volunteer Battalion transferred to the London Regiment, becoming the 19th Battalion (St Pancras). The 4th Volunteer Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps (formerly the 5th (West Middlesex) Volunteer Rifle Corps), joined the Middlesex Regiment as the 9th Battalion. The 10th Battalion was formed by a nucleus of 300 officers and men from the disbanded 2nd (South Middlesex) Volunteer Rifle Corps. The four TF battalions constituted the Middlesex Brigade in the Home Counties Division. The regiment now had two Reserve and four Territorial battalions.
On formation in 1881 the regimental title was The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment). The regiment inherited the designation "Duke of Cambridge's Own" from the 77th Foot, to which regiment it had been awarded in 1876. The regiment was also permitted to bear the coronet and cypher of Prince George, Duke of Cambridge on its colours and badges. The regiment had earlier been granted the plumes and motto of the Prince of Wales in 1810 for twenty years service in India.
In 1921, in common with many other regiments, the regimental title was effectively reversed to The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own). The Duke was colonel-in-chief of the regiment from 1898 to his death in 1904. Its regimental marches were 'Sir Manley Power' and 'Paddy's Resource' (quick), and 'Caledonian' and 'Garb of old Gaul' (slow).
The 1st and 2nd battalions both saw turns in India during the late 19th century. Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, the 2nd battalion embarked for active service in South Africa in December 1899 and took part in the storming of Alleman's Nek in June 1900.
The 5th and 6th (Militia) battalions were also embodied for active service during the Second Boer War. 760 men of the 5th battalion (formerly the Royal Elthorne Light Infantry) was reported to return home on the SS Assaye in September 1902, after the war had ended. The 6th battalion (formerly the Royal East Middlesex Militia) was embodied in December 1899 (when it was still the 4th Battalion), and 530 officers and men left for service in South Africa in February 1900.
The 3rd Battalion landed at Le Havre aspart of the 85th Brigade in the 28th Division in January 1915 for service on the Western Front before moving to Egypt in October 1915 and to Salonika in December 1915.
The 4th Battalion land at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 8th Brigade in 3rd Division in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. Some 400 men of the 4th Battalion were killed at the Battle of Mons later that month.
At the start of the First World War the four territorial battalions were sent off to their war stations: the 1/7th and 1/8th, who went to France to serve on the Western Front, and the 1/9th and 1/10th, who went to India to relieve regular troops. Late in 1917 the 1/9th Bn was assigned to the 18th Indian Division and served in the Mesopotamian Campaign in 1918. However, there was a surplus of volunteers who had sought to enlist; these men had joined the Territorial Battalions, and although the War Office wanted them to transfer to the Regular Army or the New (Kitchener's Army), the majority elected to remain with the Territorial Battalions which had enlisted them. General Kitchener was not in favour of the Territorials although he and other critics were silenced after the Territorials fought so well with the BEF after Mons. It became obvious that the First Line battalions that had gone overseas would need reinforcements almost at once and the War Office gave permission to raise Second Line Territorial Battalions and in this way the 2/7th and 2/8th were formed for service with the Western Frontier Force and the 2/10th was formed for service in the Gallipoli Campaign. A Third Line battalion, the 3/10th, also landed at Le Havre for service on the Western Front.
Additional war-formed "service" battalions were the 11th to 34th and 51st to 53rd. Two of these Battalions (17th and 23rd) were recruited from fooballers and were known as the Football Battalions. In October 1966 the regiment paid a then record sum of £900 for the Victoria Cross awarded to Private Robert Edward Ryder, of the 12th (Service) Battalion, for bravery during the Battle of the Somme.
In the early 1920s the 3rd and 4th battalions were disbanded, leaving two regular battalions. The 7th and 8th territorial battalions continued in existence, while the 9th was converted to a searchlight unit, transferring to the Royal Artillery in 1940 as 60th (Middlesex) Searchlight Regiment, and the 10th became a unit of the Royal Signals. In 1916, the Post Office Rifles, the Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment and 19th Battalion, London Regiment (St Pancras) had been attached to the Middlesex Regiment from the territorial London Regiment, but retained their original titles and distinctions. In 1935 the Post Office Rifles and 19th Londons became searchlight regiments, and in 1937 The Kensingtons formally became a territorial battalion of the Middlesex Regiment.
In 1938 the two territorial battalions formed duplicates, thus forming the 1/7th, 2/7th, 1/8th and 2/8th battalions. Before the Second World War the Middlesex Regiment was chosen as one of four other infantry regiments to be converted to a machine gun regiment. The 1/7th Battalion served with the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division.
In 1943, the 1/8th officially became the 8th Battalion as part of the MG Battalion attached to the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division during the Normandy Campaign during which they fought in the Battle for Caen. The 1st Battalion was part of an allied force which held out against overwhelming odds for 17 days during the Battle of Hong Kong before surrendering to the Imperial Japanese Army in December 1941.
The regiment was reduced to a single regular battalion (the 1st) in 1948, and two territorial battalions (the 7th and 8th). The Kensington Regiment amalgamated with the Middlesex Yeomanry to form the 31st (Greater London) Signal Regiment (V).
In 1961 the Territorial Army was reduced in size and a new 5th Battalion was formed by the amalgamation of the 7th and 8th with the 571st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (the successor to the 9th Battalion).
In 1966 the four battalions of the Home Counties Brigade became a "large regiment", the Queen's Regiment. Accordingly, the 1st Battalion was redesignated as 4th Battalion the Queen's Regiment (Middlesex) with the other regular battalions being formed by the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment, Queen's Own Buffs and Royal Sussex Regiment.
The battle honours of the regiment were as follows:
Colonels of the regiment were: