3rd Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own Middlesex Regiment Centrepiece


Middlesex Regiment Centrepiece

3rd Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own Middlesex Regiment Centrepiece

This magnificent silver centrepiece was inherited from the 3rd Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own Middlesex Regiment. In 1921, the Regiment’s title was reversed to become The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own). It displays four statuettes depicting soldiers in different military uniforms, which relate to theatres in which the battalion served. They are flanked by two seated figures of Britannia. The battle honours awarded to the Regiment are scrolled around the base. It is London made and hallmarked 1913/14. The battalion returned from Cawnpore, India to Winchester in UK in November 1914 and may have taken possession of it then. The battalion was in existence for only 22 years and on disbandment in 1922, the centrepiece became part of the Middlesex Regiment Depot collection at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill. When the Depot closed in 1961, it became the property of the 1st Battalion The Middlesex Regiment and then the 4th Battalion The Queen’s Regiment (Middlesex) in 1966. On disbandment of the 4th Battalion in 1970, 17 officers and 250 NCOs and men from 4 QUEENS, with their Colours and much of their property, including this centrepiece, amalgamated with 1QUEENS at Hobbs Barracks, Lingfield.
The 3rd Battalion The Duke of Cambridge’s Own Middlesex Regiment was raised to meet the increased Army commitments arising from the South African War. Two new battalions of the line were added to the Regiment in February 1900, the 3rd and 4th Battalions. In consequence, the Militia Battalions were then renumbered as the 5th and 6th Militia Battalions. The first commanding officer of the new 3rd Battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Vernon Bellers, who had served with the 57th in the Zulu War in 1879.
The 3rd Battalion was stationed at Woolwich till 1902, when it went to South Africa. In 1906 it went to Hong Kong, and thence to Singapore in 1908. In 1911 it moved to Cawnpore, in northern India, where it was stationed when WW1 broke out. The commanding officers were: Lieutenant Colonels EV Bellers, 1900-4; W Scott-Moncrieff, 1904-8, killed in action in 1915; RFB Glover DSO, 1908-12, also commanded 12th Battalion in WW1; EWR Stephenson, 1912-23/04/1915 killed in action; GH Neale, 24/04/1915 to 28/09/1915 killed in action; W Miller DSO, 1915-1918, GA Bridgman, 1919-1922, also commanded 4th Battalion in WW1.

The Battalion came home from India at the end of November 1914, but did not embark for Le Havre as part of the 28th Division till 18th January 1915. It was involved in action in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of Loos. During the fighting before Ypres on 23rd April 1915, Colonel Stephenson was killed, calling out to his men as he fell: " Die hard, boys ! Die hard ! "The battalion suffered terrible casualties; “by the time dusk began to fall, A and C Companies of the 3rd Middlesex had practically ceased to exist”.
In 1915, the battalion moved to Salonika in Greece. It was involved in a number of actions against Bulgaria, which ceased on 30th September 1918. The battalion moved to Macedonia, north of Lake Doiran where it finished its war. It then moved to Constantinople.

The final operational posting for the 3rd Battalion was at the end of May 1921. It had just returned to the Rhine from strike-duty at home, when it was suddenly despatched with the British Upper Silesian Force to restore order in that distant border of Germany, where civil war between the Germans and the Poles was already in progress. A detailed account can be found in Die-Hard Journal Volume 1, No 1 at:
(http://queensregimentalassociation.org/pdfs/volume-1/vol-1-no-1.pdf) page 7.
In 1922, the 3rd and 4th Battalions were disbanded, as were the 5th and 6th Militia Battalions. The Colours of the 3rd and 4th Battalions were placed in the Council Chamber of the Middlesex County Guildhall, Westminster. Mahogany cases were made for them. The Great War battle honours had not yet been approved by the King. When these were settled, the new battle honours were to be embroidered and the Colours placed in their last resting place. The majority of their silver was deposited at the Regimental Depot at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill. In 1924 the Die-Hards journal records that eighty battle honours were granted to The Middlesex Regiment for the Great War, believed to be the record for any regiment in the Army. The cost in life was 12,694 killed. The Colours of the four battalions now hang in the Middlesex Regiment Chapel in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Additional references:

The Story of The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford
https://archive.org/stream/storyofdukeofcam00king/storyofdukeofcam00king_djvu.tx t
The Die-Hards in the Great War by Everard Wyrall
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b742713&view=1up&seq=137 Volume 1, 1914-16
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b742714&view=1up&seq=412 Volume 2, 1916-18
List of Middlesex Regiment Units in WW1
http://queensregimentalassociation.org/pdfs/volume-15/vol-15-2.pdf pages 93-4