Military Wiki
Royal East Middlesex Militia
Active 1778-1881
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Infantry
Role Militia
Size A single battalion
Garrison/HQ Middlesex - various London locations including Burgh House in Hampstead
Engagements Reinforcements to the Peninsular War, Crimean War and Second Boer War
The 3rd Earl of Mansfield

The 1st or Royal East Middlesex Militia was a London-based county Militia regiment of the British Army that was in existence from 1778 to 1881. It was initially titled the East Middlesex Militia,[1] but granted the Royal prefix in 1804.[2]


Like all British county militia units (formed in the 18th and 19th Centuries) the purpose of the unit was to act as a territorially based force of able bodied men to serve in Middlesex and in time of war would report for duty such as defending against invasion by the French. They were not supposed to serve overseas, although the county militias acted as feeder units for officers and recruits to the regular army in times of need.[3]

However in 1878 the unit is recorded (along with other militia and yeomanry regiments) as being allocated to the 3rd Army Corps on mobilisation. In fact in the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Division, based in the Kent area (although listed as quartered in Hampstead).[4]


The unit's standing orders of 1863 record the regimental insignia as being somewhat unusual, in that it did not include standard royal crown, but featured a five-pointed Saxon Crown atop a shield with the arms of the East Saxon Kingdom (i.e. three stylised Seaxes hilted and pommeled),[5] all surrounded with the regiment's title in a garter.[6] This badge (derivative of the County emblem) was worn when in everyday uniform i.e. on Glengarry headgear, which was common across the British Army and not just Scottish units. More formal headgear of 1829-44 featured a Bell-Top Shako plate of a large crowned star mounted with facetted silver eight pointed star bearing a gilt Garter Star with scroll inscribed ""Royal East Middx Militia"" across the tail of the Garter; centrally an enamel silver dome with red translucent Cross of Saint George.

Unit history

The unit can trace its history back to 7 August 1760 as part of the Middlesex Militia. In 1778 it was based in Hampstead and titled the 1st East Middlesex Militia. By royal order the regiment was later designated the Royal East Middlesex Militia on 24th April 1804. By 1855 it was using the formal title of "1st or Royal East Middlesex Regiment of Militia".[7]

The family archives of David William Murray (3rd Earl of Mansfield) confirm his association with the regiment (as its colonel) between 1798 and 1803.[8]

between 1810 & 1855 a Colonel Thomas Wood is recorded as the unit's colonel and its headquarters was in the borough of Hampstead.[9][10][11] In 1855 the unit's strength was put between 600 and 700 men.[12]

In 1862 a Lieutenant Colonel Alcock is recorded in the unit's standing orders as commanding officer and his headquarters remained at Hampstead.[13]

On 1 July 1881 the Royal East Middlesex Militia became embodied in the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) as one of its six associated non-regular battalions (i.e. two militia and four volunteer), all prompted by the Childers Reforms.[14][15]

In 1900 the number of regular Middlesex Regiment battalions was doubled with the formation of a new the 3rd and 4th battalions; and the two militia battalions were renumbered as 5th and 6th battalions of the regiment.[16] By 1908 these militia battalions would become reserve battalions, a reorganisation prompted by the Haldane Reforms. Lieutenant Colonel G E Barker was in command of the 6th Battalion the Middlesex Regiment (which had been the Royal East Middlesex Militia) in 1914 and this unit and the other reserve battalion were based at Mill Hill.[17]

The Middlesex Regiment would be absorbed into multiple county infantry regiment amalgamations throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Battle honours

Like many militia units it sent reinforcements to its associated regiment in the Peninsular War,[18] Crimea and South Africa, but it never deployed as a formed unit overseas.

Regimental museum

The Middlesex Regiment Museum and that of its militia units was located at Bruce Castle; it was closed in 1992 and its artefacts and holdings were then passed to the National Army Museum in Chelsea.[19]

See also

External links


  1. Archives, The National. "The Discovery Service". Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  2. "Standing orders of the 1st or Royal east Middlesex militia" (in English). 1863. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  3. Ann Hudson, Volunteer soldiers in Sussex during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1793-1815, Sussex Archaeological Collections 122, pp. 165-81
  4. "Hart's Army List 1878". Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  5. "Standing orders of the 1st or Royal east Middlesex militia" (in English). 1863. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  6. "Cap Badge of Royal East Middlesex Militia 1874 - 1881 - Intriguing History". 13 January 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  7. "The London Gazette 1855". Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  8. Scotland, National Archives of. "NRAS Register - catalogue record" (in en). Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  9. Urban, Sylvanus (1830). "Gentleman's Magazine, Or Monthly Intelligencer 1830" (in en). Edward Cave. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  10. Services Institute, United (1817). "An Alphabetical List of the Members, with the Rules and Regulations, of the United Service Club" (in en). Clowes. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  11. "(337) - Army lists > Hart's Army Lists > New annual army list > 1843 - British Military lists - National Library of Scotland". 
  12. "Hampstead Heath & War - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***". Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  13. Museum, Burgh House & Hampstead. "Burgh House as Royal East Middlesex Militia Headquarters" (in en). Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  14. "The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge's Own) [UK"]. Archived from the original on 25 December 2005. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  15. "The Queens Association Regimental History". The Queens Regiment. Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  16. "The War – Infantry and Militia battalions". The Times. 19 February 1900. 
  17. "1st Battalion Middlesex Regiment:- Mobilisation and Embarkation of the British Expeditionary Force". Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  18. "Royal military panorama or Officer's companion" (in en). Retrieved 25 September 2018. 
  19. "Tottenham: Manors". A History of the County of Middlesex. Victoria County History. 1976. pp. 324–330. Retrieved 23 March 2009. 

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