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Home   The 12RF Welcome Page that sets out an introduction to the website - the who's, why's, and how's. Also the place where significant updates are advised.
The 12RF Roll The 12RF Roll 1914-1918 Lists all 2,852 12RF officers and men with click-throughs to the detail from each man's records and images. Includes details of the man's WW1 service - and fate.
  12RF Personnel Research List of the men where we have images of service and other records. Where the file contains more than images in the public domain, the papers are not made public on this website until we have consulted with, and have the agreement of, the family or connection of the 12RF soldier.
12RFs Long, Long Trail The 12RF Long, Long Trail Summarises 12RF's movements along the Western Front, with dates, distances travelled, how they travelled/marched, activities in the location, length of stay - and contemporary images of most locations.
  The 12RF Long, Long Trail Map Graphically displays 12RF's frequent movements on a map. They are seldom in one place for more than a few days - follow the numbered arrows, and you follow 12RF's journey in the correct chronological order.
Blighty 1914 Outbreak of War A very brief summary of the sequence of events that led inevitably to WW1 - events that would change the world forever.
  The Call to Arms It's the 4th August, war has broken out, and with weeks Harry Fleming has volunteered to fight - along with tens of thousands of others who formed a part of Kitchener's New Army.
  The Royal Fusiliers A short history of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) from when the Regiment was formed in 1685 through to 1914 - with a list of the Regiment's Battle Honours.
Mobilisation 1915 The Order of Battle 1914-1918 The Order of Battle (ORBAT) of the British Army, placing 12RF's position in context with higher formations - with a soldier's view of his immediate hierarchy.
  12RF Train for War There are no official records setting out details of 12RF's training for war but, from soldiers' diaries and other sources we have been able to track the key dates from the Battalion being taken to Hounslow through to mobilisation - with images of their bases.
  Saturday 21st August 1915 It is now (the Medal Menu is in chronological order) 21 August 1915 and 12RF are ordered to mobilise. The war Diary is opened and the first entry made - with daily entries through to the eve of their departure from Pirbright for Folkestone to catch a channel steamer for France.
  Roll Call September 1915 A list of the 937 men who made up the 12RF Roll in September 1915 - a sub-set of the 12RF Roll with the same detail and images, and details of each man's fate.
  Embarkation September 1915 1st September 1915 and 12RF are paraded before marching to the station to entrain for Folkestone where they embark on the SS The Queen, a channel steamer that was to meet it's own destiny just a few months later. 12RF disembark in Boulogne in the early hours - with images of the steamer and of Boulogne.
  12RF Arrive in France 12RF's first three weeks in France as they travel south then north-east towards Loos - where, after a 3-day forced march, they are thrown into their first battle.
Battle of Loos 1915 Outline of the Battle An outline of this battle - with an annotated image I took from the Double Crassier across the battlefield.
  12RF Itinerary to War Due to some politicking at the highest level, the battle began to go wrong even before it had started - 12RF were urgently called into action and their 3-day forced march to the trenches is described in their words via the War Diary.
  12RF in Battle at Loos War Diary extracts and images graphically describe 12RF in action at the Battle of Loss. In 2 days they lose two CO's, one posted to Brigade, the second killed when leading his men into battle within 24 hours of having taken command of his Battalion - over 260 men killed, wounded or missing.
  Loos - Some Reflections Some reflections, images of casualties and of places ... and some poetry about 12RF at Loos, written by a 12RF man who was there.
Ypres Area Trenches 1915 From France to Belgium Tracks 12RF's journey from France to Belgium - from the War Diary, with contemporary images of the towns and villages they pass through.
  Voormezeele Trenches The War Diary sets out how the next five weeks are spent alternating between manning the Voormezeele trenches, and time in camp at a hamlet called St Hubertushoek - over the coming year or so, 12RF would get to know the area, and the trenches, very well.
  Christmas 1915 in Rest Area At last a month away from the trenches, a few weeks of respite, of rest and recuperation, and time for training - but it does not last ...
Ypres Area Trenches 1916 Ouderdom, H Trenches ... back to the trenches. This time near Ouderdoum, with the same pattern of a few days manning the trenches, and a few days back at camp.
  Sanctuary Wood Trenches 12RF's first operations in and around Sanctuary Wood. The War Diary describes their activities - including a record of the inevitable casualties.
  Hill 63, Trenches 132-135 Never in one place long, 12RF march to the trenches that protect the strategically important Hill 63 near Poperingue.
  Dranoutre, Trenches C4-D4 South to the trenches at Dranoutre. A week in the trenches and a week in billets - time to de-lice ... and more training (12RF was a highly professional battalion).
  Locre, Trenches E2-F5 Another move - to trenches further to the west at Locre (now known as Loker), but the Battalion still has its casualties killed and wounded from the shelling but also as 12RF carries out raids on the enemy positions.
Battle of The Somme 1916 Outline of The Battle A very brief outline of the battle - a battle during which the British Army sustained 400,000 casualties.
  12RFs Itinerary to The Somme The War Diary describes 12RF's journey from Belgium to France where they arrive in July 1916 and immediately start training before taking part in the battle which had been raging for a month.
  Delville Wood and Guillemont Describes the action between 16th and 18th August 1916 when 12RF were involved in the fighting around Delville Wood and Guillemont.
  12RF Attack Delville Wood Between the 1st and 3rd September 1916 12RF were again in action at Delville Wood. It was a frustrating fight and 12RF took 114 casualties - details of the operations are set out.
Vimy Area 1916 Cauchy, Bruay, Estree Cauchee 12RF leave the Somme to march north and back to the Loos area where they are in billets in Bussus where they immediately start training for their next action.
  Cabaret Rouge Trenches Cabaret Rouge, an evocative name and a special place to visit. From their trenches they would be able to see Notre Dame de Lorette to the north, their main front to towards Lens and Loos in the east, and the Vimy Ridge to the south.
  Carency Sub-Sector Trenches Continuing the daily account of their movements and activities. In the trenches at, at Carency further south near Souchez. Images of the villages. Then back to Villers-au-Bois and Estrée Cauchie, know to Tommy as Extra Cushy!
Loos Trenches 1916 14bis Sub-Sector Trenches Recounts 12RF's four months in the trenches and rear reserve areas north and west of Lens and Loos. From these trenches, named after the pithead near Loos, they attack the German front line on Hill 70. A daring and very successful raid is described. But there are casualties - images and maps of the area and of an officer who lost his life (and earned the military Cross).
  Raid on Hill 70 Trenches 12RF mount a raid on the German Trenches in front of their stronghold on Hill 70 near Loos.
  Behind the Loos Front Line Images of the villages and the mining areas where 12RF spent time when not manning those Loos trenches - evocative, contemporary photographs.
Battle of Arras 1917 Angres Sector Trenches It's now March 1917 and the Battle of Arras is about to start - as is the attack on the Vimy Ridge. 12RF are in the Angres Sector trenches, but spend time in billets and camp.
  12RF Advance Through Lievin Engaged in the opening phase of the Battle of Arras, one attack through Lievin and against strong German front line opposition was too successful and 12RF had to be called back! Images of the area.
  Images of 12RF 23rd April 1917 On their way back to Belgium and before leaving Bethune area in France, 12RF paused at a village called Ecquedecques. There, they celebrated the Royal Fusiliers Regimental Day on the 23rd April, St George's Day. Photographs of 12RF officers and men were taken - rare images of the Battalion.
  Boyeffles to Bethune Records 12RF's departure from the Loos/Lens area at the end of April 1917 and their return to Belgium where they arrive a month later. War Diary daily entries and images of the locations. This stage is from Boyeffles (Marqueffles Farm) to Bethune.
  Bethune to Belgium Records 12RF's departure from the Loos/Lens area at the end of April 1917 and their return to Belgium where they arrive a month later. War Diary daily entries and images of the locations. This last stage in the journey from France to Belgium is from Bethune to Heksken.
Battle of Messines 1917 Outline of the Battle An overview of one of the most successful battles of WW1.
  12RF and the Dammstrasse Describes the success and the tragedy when 12RF are called through to the Dammstrasse (the track that led up the gentle slope to White Chateau that was held the enemy). Another CO will die, as would the Adjutant and the Battalion Medical Officer. Images, maps illustrate the operations, and photographs of 12RF officers and men in the captured trenches on the Messines Ridge - some taken just hours before some of the officers in one image would lose their lives.
  Attack on Battle Wood Despite the tragedy of the Dammstrasse area, 12RF continued to fight. On the 11th June they were ordered to attack Battle Wood - which they did, but lives were lost. With maps and images of some of the officers who were killed in action.
  Hill 60 Area Trenches Immediately across the railway line from Battle Wood is Hill 60 which is exactly that - a hill 60 metres high, on the west side of the railway line that, when the path for the track was dug out, provided the spoil that became Hill 60. 60 metres is a huge tactical advantage and so Hill 60 was strategically vital and many battles were fought there. It is a mass grave and a British Commonwealth War Graves Memorial. 12RF fought in the area in June 1917 - the War Diary records the constant action and enemy shelling.
  Images from the Trenches Photographs taken in June 1917 during the Battle of Messines. They portray the men and the trenches in which they fought.
Third Battle of Ypres 1917 Outline of the Battle An very brief outline of the (in)famous and controversial battle. Having failed to follow through on the success of Messines, the Generals found themselves sending men against machine guns while wading through the deep mud after the rains - 12RF would play their part on the opening day.
  12RF Prepare for the Battle First, though, the Battalion would move to the west to spend a month resting up and training for the forthcoming fight.
  12RF Attack when Battle Begins Describes 12RF's action on the opening day of the Third Battle of Ypres, aka Passchendaele. In part successful, but at a cost of 281 killed, wounded or missing. And the tragedy of Messines happens again when 12RF lose their CO (who took over command when the previous CO was mortally wounded at Messines) and other key Bn HQ officers. Maps and annotated images describe the action - with photographs of some officers who were killed.
  Hill 60-Stirling Castle Trenches 12RF man the Stirling Castle trenches near Hill 60. More daily accounts from the War Diary of 12RF's time at 'Passchendaele' - graphic descriptions of trench routine and of the endless shelling by both sides.
Vadencourt 1917 Outline of Operations An outline of the operations in the area of the Omignon River in the Somme region. This period filled the 'interlude' between Passchendaele that ended in November 1917 and the German Spring Offensive that started on the 21st March 1918. The British Army adopted defensive tactics - but part of the plan included keeping the enemy awake through trench raids.
  Raids along the Omignon After 'Passchendaele' (12RF were not part of the battle when the town of Passchendaele' was attacked for the second time and taken by the Canadians in early November 1917) 12RF were ordered south - back to France and the southern Somme area. They arrived at their main base in Vadencourt in the third week of September 1917. The War Diary records their operations, manning the trenches, and their days of respite close to the front line. 12RF became renowned for their audacious, successful, trench raids along the Omignon - some in daylight.
  The Raid on Square Copse One particular action is described. A daring raid on the German front line, on a position in a small wood - a position bristling with machine guns. The raid was to place bangalore torpedoes under the wire immediately in from of those machine guns. The raid was successful - but one man lost his life ... and as a direct result his family back home lost their home. Maps, images.
  Bernes, Brigade Reserve Describes 12RF's time in Brigade Reserve that started at the beginning of December 1917. The British Army is about to be reorganised and the War Diary describes life before the threat becomes known in January 1918 to be a forthcoming reality for 12RF.
Journey's End 1918 Vraignes - 12RF Disbanded And so to the end of 12RF's own "long, long trail". The War Diary records the disbandment of the Battalion and how the men are transferred to other Royal Fusilier Battalions and to the units such as the Labour Corps where they would continue to fight. By the 13th February the 12th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers was no more. But there the story most definitely does not end ...
  The 12RF Roll at Disbandment Here is listed the names of the 717 officers and men who were still on the Battalion Roll at the end of January, beginning of February 1918 - and details of their eventual fate are recorded.
  The Royal Fusiliers in WW1 A summary of the role of the Royal Fusiliers in WW1. The Royal Fusiliers served with distinction in every theatre of war except one. They won the first two VC's of the war - and they won the last two VC's to be awarded.
The 12RF Roll of Honour The 12RF Roll of Honour The 12RF Roll of Honour where 847 names are recorded with full details of their service, where they buried or remembered - with images of cemeteries and graves.
  List of 12RF Memorial Sites A list of the 195 cemeteries and memorials where 12RF me are buried or remembered with a record of the number of casualties at each memorial. A click-through lists the men and full details of their service - with images. Also a link to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for each Memorial.
  Images of 12RF Graves 360+ images of graves and memorials of 12RF men - the aim is to present an image of every grave and that work continues thanks in great part to The War Graves Photographic Project.
  Images of 12RF Memorial Sites 320+ images of cemeteries and memorials in Europe and the UK where 12RF are remembered. Through our research we have been able to trace men who had died but have known memorial - their names have now been recorded, engraved on a memorial, and they are no longer forgotten.
The 12RF War Diary The 12RF War Diary The complete 12RF War Diary in text and images - month by month, day by day. One option provides the full text of the War Diary in a searchable format.
  All Locations from the War Diary Work in progress. Here we have listed all the locations recorded in the 12RF War Diary - Towns and villages, Camps and Dugouts, Trenches and Positions, and Trench Map Grid References. We will add maps and images, both contemporary and recent so that those following 12RF's trail up and down the Western Front will be able to visit the places where 12RF served.
The Old Twelfth The 12RF OCA Images of pages from the Old Comrades Association address book. The men of 12RF created a lasting sense of camaraderie and they never forgot the men they left behind. Nor did they forget the survivors - they funded and maintained a Distress Fund to help ex-12RF men who fell on hard times. The bond between the men was so strong that their Old Comrades Association lasted through to the 1980's.
  RF Chronicles Extracts Images of extracts from the Royal Fusilier's Chronicle recount the gatherings of "The Old Twelfth" (they became known as such at the time of WW2 when another 12th Battalion was formed) - their comradeship, generosity and humanity shines through.
  The 12RF Distress Fund Pages from the Old Comrades Association and Distress Fund.
Soldiers Diaries The Diary of BW Woollard Sgt Woollard's Diary - 28th June 1914 to 2nd March 1918 - is a fascinating and important document. In it he records 12RF's tragic experience at the Battle of Loos - he writes thaa they fought for four days without food or water and 481 12RF men were killed or wounded. He then recounts the losses in Sanctuary Wood in trenches just 30 yards from the enemy front line! Then the Battle of the Somme and Third Ypres. His diary takes us through to 12RF's disbandment in February 1918.
  The POW Diary of BE Holling Cpl Holling's Diary - 20th September 1915 to 9th April 1918 - is not so much a diary, as a report on his experiences as a Prisoner of War. He went to war with 12RF on the 1st September 1915 and just three weeks later he fought in the Battle of Loos where he was captured. This important account is all about his imprisonment. It details the hardships they had to endure. Back in Holland in 1918, he finishes the report with the words "I sincerely pity those poor beggars left behind [in POW camps]."
  The Diary of L Timpson Pte Timpson's Diary - 4th August 1914 to 2nd November 1916 - records how he and his family felt when he volunteered. His father said to him "Do you think you have done right?" Leonard replied "Yes" and his father then said "Then you must take what comes - Good Luck to you." He then records his days in training in the UK before chronicling his service with 12RF until September 1916 when joins the ASC but immediately becomes disillusioned and wished he was back with his chums in 12RF. The diary finishes on an unhappy note as he watches some wounded being loaded onto hospital ships to take them back to Blighty - "What would I give to be one?" He survived the war!
Sound and Film Archives The 12RF Kings Colour In Safe Keeping - A very special Pathe News film of The King's Colour of the 12th Royal Fusiliers laid up in All Souls Church. London, on the 12th February 1925.
  Pte White 12RF - His Memories This recording from the IWM Sound Archive is a remarkable insight into that era of 1914-1918. His voice, the language he uses, the values he expresses, his sense of humour, are so evocative of an era that no longer exists - priceless echoes from 'Another World' that existed before 'The Death of Innocence'.
  Capt SH Firth - His Memories Captain Firth joined up in 1914 and was in 17RF before being commissioned just a few days later into 12RF with whom he served in England until the unit left for France in September 1915. He had to remain to man the base which is not what he wanted to do and so he volunteered to transfer to 26RF so he could to go to the war. He served in France and Belgium until October 1916 when he was wounded. After recovering from his wounds he served in Italy with 26RF. In 1918/19 he was in Germany until the armistice, eventually being posted to Cologne before demob.
Images of Royal Fusiliers Faces from the 12RF Roll Putting faces to the names where we have images of 12RF Officers and Men.
  Images with Names of 12RF Images of 12RF officers and men, some contemporary to WW1, some taken later in their lives. All identified and named.
  Images of Unnamed 12RF These men are known to be 12RF, but have not yet been identified. Can you help ...?
  Unnamed Royal Fusiliers Images that feature Royal Fusiliers. Can you add any information or names ...?
  All Images of Royal Fusiliers List or and/or search all 800+ images containing Royal Fusiliers - named and unnamed 12RF and other Royal Fusiliers.
Image Collection Images of People Images of people, military and civilian, who have a connection with the 12RF story or the background to it, but are not known to be 12RF, but some could be ...
  Images of Places Contemporary and more recent images of the locations associated with 12RF's service on the Western Front - including the villages were they billeted, and the fields in which they fought and died.
  Cemeteries and Memorials View images of cemeteries and memorials (those specific to 12RF are contained in The 12RF Roll of Honour section.
  Images of Mines and Pitheads Coal mines (Fosses, Puits) and their pitheads and slag heaps (Crassiers) were used extensively by both sides during the war particularly in the main coal mining area in and around Loos, Lens and Bethune. They provided ready-made strong points and protection both above and below ground. Many images.
Medals and Memorabilia 12RF Medals Photographs of the 12RF medals that we have acquired. Wherever possible, we aim to return these medals to the families of the men who earned them (needless to say, this not a commercial activity). Can you help us?
  12RF Memorial Plaques Images of the 12RF Memorial Plaques we have collected over the years.
  WW1 Memorabilia Images of the memorabilia we have collected over the years - all related in some way to 12RF.
  Bairnsfather Postcards Images of Bairnsfather postcards - the drawings are evocative reminders of how Tommy viewed the war!
Books and Documents Reference Book List The reference books used in building this tribute and which now reside in the 12RF Library.
Echoes from the Front Line A 'Last Post for 'Drummie' Cox When Kitchener made his call to arms in 1914, many men rushed to volunteer. Harry did, and so did another Londoner, John James Cox. And they were both of a similar age - JJ Cox was just one month short of his 40th birthday when he went to the London recruiting office and volunteered to join the Royal Fusiliers. It was the 15th September 1914. Harry and Drummie had one other thing in common - music. We are sure that they would have known each other. This is Drummie's story in words and pictures.
  The Youngest and the Oldest George Burfield enlisted when he was just 14 years old but said that he was 19. When his father asked him to return from the war, he refused because he wanted to stay and fight beside his chums in 12RF. Lt Col Garnons-Williams was the oldest Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer to be killed in action in WW1.
  The MO's Diary This is an extract from the diary of Capt Clive Whittingham RAMC, the medical Officer of the 12th Battalion Royal Fusiliers from the 7th October 1917 until the 9th June 1917 when he died from wounds received earlier that day in the battle of Messines..
  No 1 Company Roll of Honour This is the story of No 1 Company 12RF. A remarkable snapshot in time. It was sent to us by Philip Wilson, the grandson of Captain J V Wilson, the Officer Commanding No 1 Company in December 1916.
  6 Platoon 2 Company Roll Call Another remarkable snapshot in time. Three pieces of notepaper with the names of No 6 Platoon 2 Company 12RF written in pencil - a Roll Call taken some time in December 1916 or perhaps January 1917. The Roll has been annotated - we have now researched each of the men. The Roll Call was submitted by a 6 Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Walter Tebbey.
  Arthur and Annie's Story This is a story about two people. One was a Battle Front casualty - Arthur Stollery who was killed in action while serving with the 12th Royal Fusiliers in France. The other was a Home Front casualty - Arthur's wife Annie. For his death, a tragedy in itself, would have appalling and long-lasting effects on Annie and his family back home. Indeed, some 'ghosts' were only laid to rest 86 years later.
  Alfred and Edith's Story This is the story of one of the 12RF men who left his family to fight for his country leaving a wife and three children at home, was killed in action just a few months later while fighting in the Battle of Passchendaele in August 1917 and, as a direct result of his death, his family were ejected from their home.
  Sgt Cooper MM - A Royal Fusilier This story recounts one man's WW1 journey that would end in tragedy both on the front line and at home. William Cooper was a decorated 12RF Senior Non-Commissioned Officer who had fought his way with distinction and courage up and down the Western Front for nearly three years but, having fought in epic battles such as the Somme, the Messines Ridge and Third Ypres (Passchendaele), was killed in action while fighting in the battle that would lead to the end of the war - a victory that he would not live to see. Furthermore, he was killed in action in France before he had a chance to see his son for the first time.
  Remembering Passchendaele I made this brief, and always inadequate, tribute to Harry and 12RF on the day of the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Passchendaele, 31st July 2017. Here is what I wrote when introducing the video to friends and family …
  Harry - The Old Man When I heard a song "The Old Man" by The Fureys and Davey Arthur, it prompted poignant memories of my dad, Harry Fleming 12RF. So I added some images from his WW1 service to make a short video.