Captain (temporary Major) Robert Henry Cain (129484)

The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (attached 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment) (1st Airborne Division)
In Holland on 19th September 1944, Major Cain was commanding a rifle company of the South Staffordshire Regiment during the Battle of Arnhem when his company was cut off from the rest of the battalion and during the next six days was closely engaged with enemy tanks, self-propelled guns and infantry. The Germans made repeated attempts to break into the company position by infiltration and had they succeeded in doing so the whole situation of the Airborne troops would have been jeopardized.
     Major Cain, by his outstanding devotion to duty and remarkable powers of leadership, was to a large extent personally responsible for saving a vital sector from falling into the hands of the enemy.
   On 10th September, a Tiger tank approached the area held by this company and Major Cain went out alone to deal with it armed with a Piat. Taking up a position he held his fire until the tank was only 20 yards away when he opened up. The tank immediately halted and turned its guns on him, shooting away a corner of the house near where this officer was lying. Although wounded by machine-gun bullets and falling masonry, Major Cain continued firing until he had scored several direct hits, immobilized the tank and supervised the bringing up of a 75-mm. howitzer which completely destroyed it. Only then would he consent to have his wounds dressed.
   The next morning this officer drove off three more tanks by the fearless use of his Piat, on each occasion leaving cover and taking up position in open ground with
James Joseph Jackman
Lieutenant (temporary Captain) James Joseph Bernart Jackman (69102), The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (Dunlaoghaire, Co. Dublin).
`On 25th November, 1941, at Ed Duda, South East of Tobruk Captain Jackman showed outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty above all praise when he was in command of a Machine Gun Company of The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers in the Tank attack on the Ed Duda ridge. His magnificent bearing was contributory in a large measure to the success of a most difficult and hard fought action. As the tanks reached the crest of the rise they were met by extremely intense fire from a larger number of guns of all descriptions : the fire was so heavy that it was doubtful for a moment whether the Brigade could maintain its hold on the position.
`The tanks having slowed to "hull-down" positions, settled to beat down the enemy fire, during which time Captain Jackman rapidly pushed up the ridge leading his Machine Gun trucks and saw at once that Anti-Tank guns were firing at the flank of the tanks, as well as the rows of batteries which the tanks were engaging on their front.
`He immediately started to get his guns into action as calmly as though he were on manoeuvres, and so secured the right flank. Then standing up in front of his truck, with calm determination he led his trucks across the front between the tanks and the guns—there was no other road—to get them into action on the left flank.
`Most of the tank commanders saw him, and his exemplary devotion to duty regardless of danger not only inspired his own men, but clinched the determination of the tank crews never to relinquish the position which they had gained.
`Throughout he coolly directed the guns to their positions and indicated targets to them and at that time seemed to bear a charmed life, but later he was killed while still inspiring everyone with the greatest confidence by his bearing.'
James Joseph Jackman
Wilfred Wood
 59812 Private Wilfred Wood.

10th Battalion. Northumberland Fusiliers (Stockport).

28 October 1918 Italy

  For most conspicuous bravery and initiative on 28 Oct. 1918, near Casa Van, Italy, when a unit on the right flank having been held up by hostile machine guns and snipers, Private Wood, on his own initiative, worked forward with his Lewis gun, enfiladed the enemy machine-gun nest, and caused 140 enemy to surrender. The advance was continued till a hidden machine gun opened fire at point-blank range. Without a moment's hesitation, Private Wood charged the machine gun, firing his Lewis gun from the hip at the same time. He killed the machine-gun crew, and without further orders pushed on and enfiladed a ditch from which three officers and 160 men subsequently surrendered. The conspicuous valour and initiative of this gallant soldier in the face of intense rifle and machine-gun fire was beyond all praise."

James Johnson
 Second Lieutenant James Johnson

2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Attached to the 36th Battalion)

 14 October 1918

For Most Conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty south west of Wez Macquart, France, on the morning of 14 Oct 1918 during operations by strong patrols, Second Lieutenant Johnson repelled frequent counter-attacks and for six hours, under heavy fire, he held back the enemy. When at length he was ordered to retire he was the last to leave the advanced position carrying a wounded man. Three times subsequently this officer returned and brought in badly wounded men under intense enemy machine-gun fire.

John Scott Youll
Temporary Second Lieutenant John Scott Youll

1st Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Attached to the 11th Battalion)

Italy 15 June 1918

On 15 June 1918 south west of Asiago, Italy, Second Lieutenant Youll was commanding a patrol which came under heavy enemy fire. Sending his men back to safety he remained to watch the situation and then, unable to rejoin his company, he reported to a neighbouring unit where he took command of a party of men from different units, holding his position against enemy attack until a machine-gun opened fire behind him. He rushed and captured the gun, killing most of the team and opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties. He then carried out three separate counterattacks, driving the enemy back each time.
(Killed in Action, River Piave, Italy, on 27 October 1918)

Ernest Sykes

40989 Private Ernest Sykes

27th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (4th Tyneside Irish)

Arras 9 April 1917

For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty when his battalion in attack was held up about 350 yards in advance of our lines by intense fire from front and flank, and suffered heavy casualties.
Private Sykes, despite this heavy fire went forward and brought back four wounded - he made a fifth journey and remained out under conditions which appeared to be certain death, until he had bandaged all those who were too badly wounded to be moved. These gallant actions, performed under incessant machine gun and rifle fire, showed utter contempt of danger.

Thomas Bryan
22040 Lance Corporal Thomas Bryan

25th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers  (2nd Tyneside Irish)

9 April 1917 near Arras, France,

 For conspicuous bravery during an attack. Although wounded this NCO went forward alone with a view to silencing a machine gun which was inflicting much damage. He worked up most skilfully along a communication trench, approached the gun from behind, disabled it and killed two of the team as they were abandoning the gun. As this machine gun had been a serious obstacle in the the advance to the second objective, the results obtained by Lance Corporal Bryan were very far reaching.

Thomas Bryan
22040 Lance Corporal Thomas Bryan

25th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers  (2nd Tyneside Irish)

9 April 1917 near Arras, France,

 For conspicuous bravery during an attack. Although wounded this NCO went forward alone with a view to silencing a machine gun which was inflicting much damage. He worked up most skilfully along a communication trench, approached the gun from behind, disabled it and killed two of the team as they were abandoning the gun. As this machine gun had been a serious obstacle in the the advance to the second objective, the results obtained by Lance Corporal Bryan were very far reaching.

Patrick McHale

Private Patrick McHale

1st Battalion 5th Regiment

On 2 October 1857 at Lucknow, India, Private McHale was the first man at the capture of one of the guns at the Cawnpore Battery. On 22 December he was the first to take possession of one of the guns which had sent several rounds of grape through his company. On every occasion of attack Private McHale was the first to meet the enemy, amongst whom he caused such consternation by the boldness of his attack that those who followed him had little to do. His daring and sustained bravery became a byword among his comrades.
Peter McManus
Private Peter McManus

5th Regiment

  On 26 September 1857 at Lucknow, India, when a party of men was shut up and besieged in a house in the city, Private McManus stayed outside the house until he himself was wounded, and under cover of a pillar kept firing on the sepoys and prevented their rushing the house. He also, in conjunction with another private ( John Ryan) dashed into the street and took a wounded captain out of a dhooly and carried him into the house in spite of heavy fire in which the captain was again wounded.
  After serving through the Mutiny this gallant soldier died of smallpox at Allahabad, in 1859.


Robert Grant
Sergeant Robert Grant

1st Battalion 5th Regiment

ON September 24, 1857, some of the stiffest fighting of the Indian Mutiny took place at the Alumbagh, and during the action Private Deveney was terribly wounded, his leg being shot away.

Grant proceeded under a terrific fire to his friend's assistance, carried him out of range and, with the help of the late Lieutenant Brown and some soldiers, contrived to bring him safely into camp. This gallant soldier's name was originally gazetted on June 19, 1860, as " Ewart," but corrected in the issue of October 12, following.


Medals of the Regiments:
The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers

Northumberland Fusiliers Cap Badge pre 1935Royal Northumberland Fusiliers Cap Badge post 1935
 Other ranks cap badges, as worn WW1 ( left)  and WW2

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 The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
1685 -1968
pre 1881post 1881
5th ( Northumberland Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot The Northumberland Fusiliers. (1st & 2nd Battalions )
Earliest recognised formation: 1685
Nicknames:"Fighting Fifth", "Old and the bold", "Wellington's Bodyguards",  "The Shiners".
Motto:  Quo Fata Vocant  = Whither the Fates call
Regimental Journal:  St. George's Gazette (Published monthly)
WWI:Battle Honours; 67Victoria Crosses; 5Died; 16,000
WWII:    Battle Honours; ??Victoria Crosses; 2Died; ????
Amalgamated:1968, with the Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers, The Royal Fusiliers ( City of London Regiment) and the Lancashire Fusiliers to form the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Peninsula War 1808 - 1814 (1st & 2nd Battalions)

Military General Service Medal 1793 - 1814 clasps:

Total MedalsMax claspsRoleiaVimeraCorunnaTalaveraBusacoFuentes
d' Onor

Battle Honours: Rolica; Vimera; Corunna: Busaco; Ciudad Rodrigo: Badajos: Salamanca: Vittoria: Nivelle: Orthes; Toulouse: Peninsula.

2nd Battalion disbanded at Gosport, 24th June1816.
2nd Battalion authorised to reform at Newcastle 26th October 1857. Up to strength in two months.

India Mutiny 1857  (1st Battalion)

India Mutiny Medal. 1857 -59

Defence of Lucknow


Relief of Lucknow

Battle Honour: Lucknow

VCs: 3;   Grant,    McManus,   McHale


Afghan War 1878  (1st Battalion)

Afghanistan Medal 1878  -1880


Ali Musjid


* 1946 Cpl. T. Miller.

Battle Honour: Afghanistan 1878-80

Titled "The Northumberland Fusiliers" in 1881.

Egypt and the Sudan: Suakin 1885 2nd Battalion- two odd men.

Egypt and Sudan Medal 1882-89


Suakin 1885

numbers :2*

* Original roll not sighted but J. V. Webb's transcription "The Abu Klea Medal Rolls" has a chapter titled "odd men and small detachments at Suakin 1885" included are two 2nd Btn. Northumberland Fusiliers with the Indian Contingent:  538 Sgt. T. McCann and 1728 Sgt W. Hill.


Black Mountain Expeditions 1888 and 1891  (2nd Battalion)

India General Service Medal 1854 - 95


Hazara 1888

Hazara 1891

numbers :? full battalion ?3*

* one in the museum to 925 Private W. Calder


Ashanti Expedition 1895-96  (1st Battalion)

The Ashanti Star 1895-96

numbers :26

Reconquest of the Sudan 1896 - 98 (1st Battalion)

Queen's Sudan Medal 1896 - 98

numbers:? full battalion ?

Khedive's Sudan Medal 1896 - 1908

clasp :.....none....



Battle Honours: Khartoum.


Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902  1st & 2nd Battalions, with a company of the 1st Battalion operating as mounted infantry. (MI).   The 1st, 2nd & 3rd Volunteer Battalions also supplied companies for this conflict.

Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1902, with or without the King's South Africa Medal 1901 - 1902

Common clasps: Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Transvaal, South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902; also:

 1st Btn1st BtnMIMIMIMI


Modder River

Relief of Kimberley





* The mounted infantry arrived too late to be involved in the battle itself.


1899 casualties  (extracted from "The Northumberland Fusiliers" by Walter Wood. Pub; Grant Richards, London. 1901):

 OfficersNCOs + menOfficersNCOs + menOfficersNCOs + men
Belmont212 37  
Graspan   2  
Modder River 13 31  
Stormberg 12 395322
Sanna's Post11 112 
Nooitgedacht 156688333

Below; a more modern take on the casualty figures.

OfficersNCOs and Men
KIA & DOWWoundedMissing / POWKIA & DOWDeath from disease WoundedMissing / POW
1st Battalion October 1899 - end of war
2nd Battalion, November 1899 - end of war

Battle Honours: Modder River; South Africa 1899-1902


Garrison & Guard Duty, ( Boer prisoners of war) Gibraltar and Malta etc., 1899 - 1902  (3rd Battalion only)

Queen's Mediterranean Medal 1899 -1902

3rd Battalion

Mohmand Expedition, North West Frontier 1908 1st Battalion

India General Service Medal 1908

North West Frontier 1908

The Great War 1914 - 1918  (raised 52 battalions; 29 served overseas:- )


Generally awarded the British War Medal & Victory Medal, most men overseas prior to 1/1/1916 also a 1914 or 1914-15 Star.

Battalion →1 2*1/41/51/61/72/7891011121314
date of first overseas service.
 (first theatre red x )
France & Flandersxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Gallipoli       x      
Egypt & Palestine      xx      
Macedonia x            
Italy         xx   
possible ?
1914 or 1914-15 x             
or 1914-15 only xxxxx xxxxxxx
Extracted from : "Soldiers / Officers Died in the Great War" (consider approximate - in addition 110 officers are recorded with 'battalion not shown' )
178672497810328957517 788663420498560499342

* The second battalion was in India when war broke out and returned first to the UK
** The 12th and 13th Battalions merged in 1917.
The National Archives returns 102,722 medal index cards for men with some form of service in the Northumberland Fusiliers.

RegularTerritorial ForceNew ArmiesGarrison.


The Great War 1914 - 1918 


Battalion →1617181920212223242526273612
1st-4th Tyneside Scottish1st-4th Tyneside Irish Garrison
date of first overseas service.
 (first theatre red x )
France & Flandersxxxxxxxxxxxxx  
Malta             x 
India              x
possible ?
1914  or 1914-15                
or 1914-15 onlyxx             
Extracted from : "Soldiers / Officers Died in the Great War" (consider approximate, in addition 110 officers  are recorded with 'battalion not shown' )

† The 24th and 27th Battalions amalgamated 10/8/17 and had an additional 70 deaths as the 24/27th Battalion.

Territorial Force War Medal 1914-19
261 officers and men of the Northumberland Fusiliers also qualified for this medal.


Battle Honours: Mons; Marne 1914; Ypres 1914, 1915, 1917, 1918; St Julien; Somme 1916, 1918; Scarpe 1917, 1918; Selle; Piave; Struma; Suvla. Le Cateau; Retreat from Mons; Aisne 1914, 1918; La Bassée 1914; Messines 1914, 1917, 1918; Armentières 1914; Nonne Bosschen; Gravenstafel; Frezenberg; Bellewaarde; Loos; Albert 1916, 1918; Bazentin; Delville Wood; Pozières; Flers-Courcelette; Morval; Thiepval; Le Transloy; Ancre Heights; Ancre 1916; Arras 1917, 1918; Arleux; Pilckem; Langemarck 1917; Menin Road; Polygon Wood; Broodseinde; Passchendaele; Cambrai 1917, 1918; St Quentin; Bapaume 1918; Rosières; Lys; Estaires; Hazebrouck; Bailleul; Kemmel; Béthune; Scherpenberg; Drocourt Quéant; Hindenburg Line; Epéhy; Canal du Nord; St Quentin Canal; Beaurevoir; Courtrai; Valenciennes; Sambre; France and Flanders 1914-18; Vittorio Veneto; Italy 1917-18; Macedonia 1915-18; Landing at Suvla; Scimitar Hill; Gallipoli 1915; Egypt 1916-17.

VCs, 5; Bryan,   Sykes,   Youll,   Johnson,   Wood.


Mesopotamia & Persia 1919 - 20 (2nd Battalion)

General Service Medal 1918 -62



N.W. Persia

Titled the "Royal Northumberland Fusiliers" in 1935

Jewish / Arab Unrest, Palestine 1936 - 39 (1st & 2nd Battalions)

General Service Medal 1918 -62

 1st Battalion2nd Battalion



WW2 1939 - 1945  six battalions served overseas;


Battalion →1st2nd4th7th8th9th
Theatre ↓      
France and
Belgium 1940.
(Dunkirk )
 xx x
Surrendered: St. Valery 12/6/40
North Africax x   
Far East     x
Surrendered:  Singapore 15/02/42
Sicily / Italyxx    
N.W. Europe  xxx 


 MG BattalionMG BattalionInitially Motor Cyclist Reconnaissance Unit, finally serving as 1st, 2nd and 3rd Independent MG Coys. N.W. EuropeReformed after Dunkirk; MG Battalion NW EuropeReconnaissance Unit, N.W. EuropePOW Labour Burma-Siam Railway  42-45

WW2 Stars common to the Battalion. (excluding 39-45 star )
 Key:   A = Africa,   I = Italy,    F&G = France and Germany   P = Pacific,

 A, I.  I.A, F&G.F&G.F&G.P ?

 Most also entitled to the 1939-45 War Medal and many the Defence Medal

UK Honours and Awards WW2 (Totals, all battalions)Victoria CrossDistinguished Service OrderMilitary CrossDistinguished Conduct MedalMilitary MedalOrder of the British Empire all classes

Battle Honours: Defence of Escaut; Arras Counter-attack; St Orner-La Bassée; Odon; Cagny; Falaise; Nederrijn; North-West Europe 1940, 1944-5; Belhamed; Ruweisat Ridge; Advance on Tripoli; Medenine; North Africa 1940-3; Volturno Crossing; Monte Camino; Garigliano Crossing; Italy 1943-5; Singapore Island. Dunkirk 1940; Caen; Rhineland; Sidi Barrani; Defence of Tobruk; Tobruk 1941; Cauldron; El Alamein; Salerno; Cassino II.

VCs, 2;  Jackman  Cain

Regulars reduced to one battalion (1st), 1948.

Korean War 1950 - 1953 1st Battalion

Queen's Korea Medal

numbers: ? 983 + reinforcements ?


(Attached men included in these figures)
KIA or DOWWoundedPOW
Honours and AwardsDSOBEMMCDCMMMUS Bronze StarUS Air Medal

Battle Honours:  Imjin; Seoul; Kowang-San; Korea 1950-51.


 Canal Zone 1951 - 1954 1st Battalion

General Service Medal 1918 -62


Canal Zone


Mau Mau Rebellion, Kenya. 1953 1st Battalion

Africa General Service Medal 1902 - 56




Aden 1966 - 67 1st Battalion

General Service Medal 1962-


South Arabia



 OfficersSenior NCOsMen
Wounded 2130
The End:
London Gazette, 19th April 1968:
         "By virtue of the provisions of the Royal Warrant dated 5th April, 1968 (published in Army Order 18 of 1968) all officers of the Land Forces belonging to The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (5th), The Royal Warwickshire Fusiliers (6th), The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (7th), and The Lancashire Fusiliers (20th) are transferred to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers with effect from 23rd April, 1968."

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Tyneside Scottish Cap Badge

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The Regimental Museum. (Located in Alnwick Castle Northumberland. ( map )

4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (WW1) includes nominal Roll

Selected Bibliography; The Northumberland Fusiliers / Fifth Foot

Cannon, Richard.Historical Record of the Fifth Regiment of Foot (Cannon's historical records series)W. Clowes, London 1838
Walker H. M.A History of the Northumberland Fusiliers. 1674 - 1902.John Murray, London 1919
Wood, Walter. The Northumberland Fusiliers ( British Regiments in War and Peace series).Grant Richards London 1901
Wood, Denis.The Fifth Fusiliers and its Badges.The Author 1988
Sandilands H. R.The Fifth in the Great War (with separate map volume)G. W. Grigg, Dover. 1938
Wyrall, Everard.The History of the 50th Division.Percy Lund Humphries & Co. Ltd. London 1939.
Buckley F., Captain. (Ed.)War History of the Seventh Northumberland Fusiliers.T.M. Grierson, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (N.D.)
Cooke, C. H. Captain.Historical Records of the 9th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.Newcastle and Gateshead  Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle 1928
Cooke, C. H. Captain.Historical Records of the 16th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.Newcastle and Gateshead  Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle 1923
Shakespear J. Lt-Col.Historical Records of the 18th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Pioneers).Newcastle and Gateshead  Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle 1920
Cooke, C. H. Captain.Historical Records of the 19th (Service) Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (Pioneers).Newcastle and Gateshead  Chamber of Commerce, Newcastle 1920
Shakespear J. Lt-Col.A Record of the 17th and 32nd Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers (N.E.R.) Pioneers.Northumberland Press Ltd., Newcastle 1926
Ternan, T.The Story of the Tyneside Scottish. Northumberland Press, Newcastle 1919
Keating, Joseph.Irish Heroes in the War ( The Tyneside Irish Brigade).Everett & Co. Ltd., London1917
Sheen, John.Tyneside Irish. Pen & Sword Books Ltd 1998
Sheen, John., Stewart, Graham.Tyneside Scottish.Pen & Sword Books Ltd 1999
Barclay, C. N.The History of the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Second World War.W. Clowes Ltd.
Baxter, Paddy. & Masters, John.Fusilier Geordie. (A Fusilier's eye view of the post WW2 period)The Pentland Press, Durham. 1997


General bibliography for this and the other "Regiment" pages on the website

Officers of the Regiment.Unpublished rolls in the care of the National Archives; WO 100/ etc.-
Mullen, A. L. T.The Military General Service Roll 1793 - 1814London Stamp Exchange
Webb, J. V.The Abu Klea Medal Rolls.The Author 1981
Hall, Darrell.The Hall Handbook of the Anglo Boer WarUniversity of Natal Press. Pietermaritzburg. 1999
Palmer , Alexander MThe Boer War Casualty RollMilitary Minded, Perth Aus. 1999
Gaston, PeterThirty-Eight Parallel, The British In Korea.A.D. Hamilton Glasgow 1976
Gaston, PeterKorea 1950 - 1953. Prisoners of War ; The British Army.A. Rowe Ltd. Eastbourne 1976
Farrar-Hockley, AnthonyThe British Part in the Korean War (Official History) two volsHMSO London 1995
Anon.Soldiers Died in the Great War, Part 10: The Northumberland FusiliersHMSO 1921
Haywood, John., Birch, Diana & Bishop, Richard.British Battles and Medals, 7th Ed.Spink 2006
Asplin, K.J.  
Williamson, Howard.The Collectors and Researchers Guide to the Great WarA. Williamson, Harwich. 2003
James E.A. Brigadier OBE TDBritish Regiments 1914-18 (two volumes)? 1969 & 1974
Joslen, H. F. Lieut-Col.Orders of Battle Second World War 1939 - 1945HMSO 1960
Maton, Michael.Honour the Armies. Honours and Awards to the British and Dominion Armies During the Second World War.Token Publishing Ltd., Honiton 2006
  The Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society (various 1973- 2009) 
Kipling A. L, & King H. L. Head-Dress Badges of the British Army (2 Vols)Frederick Muller Ltd., London, 1978 & 1979
Churchill, ColinHistory of the British Army Infantry Collar Badge.Naval & Military Press. Uckfield 2002.
Westlake, Ray.Collecting Metal Shoulder Titles 
Westlake, Ray.The Territorial Battalions.Guild Publishing London 1986
Westlake, Ray.British Regiments at Gallipoli Leo Cooper Yorkshire 1996




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