47th (1/2nd London) Division

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For the equivalent formation in World War II, see 47th (London) Infantry Division.
British 47th (1/2nd London) Division
British 47th (2nd London) Division insignia.png
Active World War I
1908 – June 1919
Country United Kingdom
Branch Territorial Force
Type Infantry
Engagements Second Battle of Ypres 1915
Battle of the Somme 1916
Battle of Arras 1917
Third Battle of Ypres 1917

The British 47th (1/2nd London) Division was a first-line Territorial Force division. Originally called the "2nd London Division" it was designated the 47th Division in 1915 and referred to as the "1/2nd London Division" after the raising of the second-line 60th (2/2nd London) Division. The division was sent to France in March 1915, one of the first Territorial divisions to enter the fighting, and served on the Western Front for the duration of the First World War.

In 1916 the division was part of Wilson's IV Corps. Wilson was not impressed by Charles Barter, GOC 47th division, and at the end of March 1916 he and Monro (GOC First Army) discussed getting rid of him, but could not come up with a reason for doing so; Barter survived until he was relieved during the Battle of the Somme.[1]

47th Division conducted effective mining operations against Vimy Ridge on 3 May and 15 May 1916, but a German attack on the evening of Sunday 21 May moved forward 800 yards, capturing 1,000 yards of the British front line, and the Division performed badly during a counterattack on 23 May. The Division conducted a carefully planned single battalion raid on the night of 27–8 June, claiming to have killed 300–600 Germans for only 13 British casualties.[2]

In the final stages of the war the division's GSO1 (effectively chief of staff) was acting Lieutenant-Colonel Bernard Montgomery, then in his very early thirties and later a leading British commander in the Second World War.

The division fought in the Battle of Aubers Ridge, the Battle of Festubert, the Battle of Loos, the 1 July 1916 Battle of the Somme (1916), including the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the capture of High Wood. After mid-1916 battles included the Battle of Le Transloy, the Battle of Messines, and the Battle of Cambrai (1917).

During the Second World War, the division was once again raised. Initially as the 2nd London Division, but was redesignated in November 1940 as the 47th (London) Infantry Division.


140th (4th London) Brigade 

Up until February 1918 the brigade comprised the following battalions:

From February 1918, the brigade comprised the following battalions:

  • 1/15th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment
  • 1/17th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (from 141 Bde)
  • 1/21st (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (from 142 Bde)
141st (5th London) Brigade 
142nd (6th London) Brigade 
  • 1/21st (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (to 140 Bde February 1918)
  • 1/22nd (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment
  • 1/23rd (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment
  • 1/24th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jeffery 2006, pp. 156–8
  2. ^ Jeffery 2006, pp. 161–4, 168–70

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]