Formed at Winchester, October
1914, as part of K3 October 1914 : attached to 79th Brigade
along with the 10th Devons, 8th D.C.L.I. and 7th Wiltshire.
To the 26th Division
which moved to France.
First Commander was Colonel
Walker who came from the Indian Army where he commanded
the 20th (Brownlow's) Punjabis. Started off based in Basingstoke,
then Bathwick near Bath, then Sutton Veney near Warminister
leaving Sutton Veney on Sept. 20th with 30 officers and
883 other ranks leaving Southampton for Havre Arrived in
France on 26th Sept. entrained for Longeau where three marches
took them to Gentelles. After 10 days training went to Cachy
on Oct. 8th initiated to trench warfare they suffered no
casualties, returned to Gentelles for further training.
A move to Cardonette on Oct. 21st. Then Chipilly where its
Division was selected to go to Salonica so the 12th marched
back to Beaucourt and spent a week. On the 11th of November
29 Officers and 845 men entrained at Longeau for Marseilles
once there the battalion embarked on the S.S. Canada sailing
for Alexandra on November 15th 1915. Then reaching Macedonia,
Salonica on November 25th after ten days at sea and began
building defenses and training in the hills.
The Battalion was at Lembet
camp most of December then moved forward to take over Langaza
Village on the 20th Dec. acting as an advanced post. This
they repeated a number of times up until June1916. In June
they moved to Dremiglava, Northwest of Langaza. After a
fortnight there they moved to a camp Summerhill. At the
end of May the Germans and Bulgarians advanced into the
Struma valley which forced the hand of the British commander-in-chief,
General Milne into using the tenth division to relieve the
twenty-six which had been placed between Tumba and Aivatli
now moved West and formed the Army reserve . General Sarrail
then announced his intention to go on the offensive and
this lead General Milne's agreeing to taking over the allied
line from the mouth of the Dtruma virtually to Lake Doiran.
The 10th Division advanced to the Struma early in June The
26th remain in the old defence line until the end of July.
The 26th Div. then took up
positions on the left of the 12th Corps front from Kilindir
to just North of Lake Ardzanr. The 12th Hamps were located
at Mihalova, NE. of Lake Ardzan were they spent three weeks
in reserve. They did move forward after a false alarm brought
the reserve battalions forward to cover an attack which
never happened. The 12th Hamps remained encamped in a ravine
near Kalinova were large work parties were found to assist
the Devons and Wiltshires in entrenching. On Sept. 2nd the
12th Hamps moved up to take the line relieving the Wiltshire
at Cademli which was quiet except for artillery exchanges
which inflicted three casualties in eight days two more
being from patrols one fatal (the battalions first loss
in action). September 10th to the 17th found the battalion
in support near Kalinova then back in the front line for
a week doing patrol which penetrated to Goldie's Hill near
Dautli and found it very strongly held. One patrol ran into
trouble losing a number of men. Its next turn in the front
line was from October 2nd to the 9th and again did patrols
gaining some very useful information, then on the night
of October 11th "D" Company raided Goldie's Hill
with "C" Company in support and "A"
and "B" as flank guards. D went forward behind
a barrage and the enemy bolted and one prisoner was taken.
The enemy then started to shell the hill and the 12th retired
suffering one casualty. The 12th Hamps were again in the
front line from Oct. 18th to the 27th in which a patrol
had another encounter around Goldie's Hill.
The 22nd Division took over
the sector and the 26th Div relieved the French nearer the
Lake. The 12th Hamps and the Wiltshires shared the right
trenches on Hampshire ridge with a routine of 8 days in
and 8 days out the enemy shelled a little each day which
caused 6 being killed by the end of the year.
In February one company did
a faint to locate enemy positions so the Devons could raid
Petit Couronne the next day in which the Devons lost 120
men ammunition problems made them retire through the hampshire's
position on Rockley and Silbury Hills which brought artillery
fire to bear on them causing 2 Hampshire casualties. In
the second part of March 1917 the battalion moved back well
behind the lines for special training. After two weeks in
the training camp the Hampshire went in reserve behind the
front line patrols examined the Jumeaux Ravine which an
attack would have to cross. Then after dark on the 23rd
April the 12th Hamps moved up for the Divisions attack its
objective being East of of the Petit Couronne and astride
a wide gully, Wylye Ravine. On the 24th April 8.15 pm the
hampshire started to move forward to the assemble position
when it was caught in an enemy barrage a half hour before
zero hour. This cause the Hampshire to be moving to the
assembly point when our barrage lifted and the enemy opened
up causing heavy casualties the narrow ravine doubling the
effect of the shells, some men of the right company did
manage to get to there objective only to have a barrage
brought to bear on them and to be in enfiladed from there
right. The Hand full of men that made it to the Objective
were either killed or taken prisoner the remnants of the
battalion made it back to the rallied point. The 12th Hampshire
lost 15 officers and 249 men hit, the Devons lost 400 and
the Wiltshire over 300.
The next day saw the battalion
in camp at Piton Rocheux. Drafts of 100 men arrived from
an entrenching battalion but the brigade was unfit for further
activity and was ordered to take over the Independent brigade
frontage on the Krusha Ridge East of Lake Doiran a really
quiet sector. The Hampshire moved first to Sal Grec Avance
were 5 officers and 309 men replenished there ranks and
had to relieve the 2nd East Yorkshire in the left center
of the frontage from Popovo Dere on the left to a point
opposite Caukli. This location provided a large no mans
land and patrols were sent out on a regular bases but the
enemy gave few openings for contact. That June found the
Hampshire with there left on the river and facing Macukovo.
The enemys line was strong but no mans land still invited
patrols, here the Hampshire rotated with the 10th Devons
in holding the line and being in reserve when it was in
a pleasantly sited camp on a hill overlooking the Vardar.
One patrol on June 26th encountered the enemy at Piton I'
Eglise, having three men wounded.
MORE TO COME AT A LATER DATE
France and Flanders.
Did not take part in any
Horseshoe Hill (S.W. of Dojran).
10-18 Apr 1916.
Battle of Dojran. 24-25 Apr
and 8-9 May 1917.
Battle of Dojran. 18-19
Persuit to the Strumica Valley. 22-28 Sep 1918.