the blasts, the fallout, the sickness and the diar[y]hoea

On This Day

Despite the glaring lack of interest in the idea I am going to continue anyway! Today is Wednesday the 16th May and is Middlesex Day here in good old Blighty.

Middlesex is the name of a historical but now defunct county though it still exists in name on some postal addresses despite being absorbed by greater London. It’s name means ‘Middle Saxons’.

So why is today a day to commemorate a non-existent English county? It starts in the Peninsular War in 1811 when a combined British, Spanish and Portugese force under Sir William Beresford was dispatched by Wellington to capture the fortress at Badajoz.

Beresford took a position a short distance from Badajoz at a place called Albuera. The French forces were under the command of Marshall Soult. On this day in 1811 battle was joined and many men on both sides were killed.

The 29th Regiment of foot, 48th Regiment of foot and the 57th Regiment of foot held their ground despite suffering heavy losses when the French attack fell upon their position. Early in the battle Colonel William Inglis of the 57th (West Middlesex) was injured with grapeshot to the lung. He refused to retire to the safety of the rear and instead remained with the colours in front of his men and as the fighting grew even more bloody could be heard to call “Die hard the 57th! Die hard!” The men responded and the casualties of the 57th were 420 out of the 570 men in the ranks and 20 out of the 30 officers. Their courage thus earned the regiment their immortal nickname “the Die-Hards” and the sole right of wearing the battle honour “Albuhera” on their colours and caps.

The Die-Hards of West Middlesex were merged with the 77th Regiment (East Middlesex ) to form the The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) in 1881. December 31st 1966 saw The Middlesex Regiment amalgamated with three other regiments to form The Queen’s Regiment later to be subject to a merger itself in 1992 to form part of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment.

And so, despite the 57th having been merged with other regiments and now remaining in name only, just as the county they were named for does, the 16th of May has become Middlesex Day. It marks not only the courage displayed by the 57th Regiment of Foot – the Die-Hards of West Middlesex, but also serves to commemorate the historic county itself.


3 Responses to “On This Day”

  1. I think that notes from Somerset are not quite what so were hoping for, hopefully someone from abroad will comment soon


  2. You sound very knowledgeable about history!! 🙂

  3. I’m grateful for notes from anywhere Hojo 🙂

    And I do sound knowledgeable… but I must thank Wikipedia and other web based resources for that Nutty, nice of you to say though 🙂

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