54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division

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54th (East Anglian) Division
18th Infantry Division UK badge.jpg
54th Infantry Division badge
Active First World War
1908 - 1919?
Country United Kingdom
Branch Territorial Force
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements Battle of Gallipoli
First Battle of Gaza
Battle of Mughar Ridge
Battle of Jerusalem (1917)
Action of Tell 'Asur
Battle of Megiddo (1918)'s Battle of Arara

The 54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division was a Territorial Army infantry division of the British Army. During the Great War the division fought at Gallipoli and in the Middle East. During the Second World War it was a home service division and did not see any combat service abroad.

Unit History[edit]

First World War[edit]

The division landed at Suvla on 10 August in the Gallipoli Campaign, as a part of IX Corps under Lieutenant-General Stopford. It was moved to the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under General Murray in late 1916 and garrisoned the southern part of the Suez Canal.

Then in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign, during the First Battle of Gaza, on 26 March 1917, the 161st Brigade and divisional artillery were in reserve while the 53rd (Welsh) Division carried out the main attack. These reserves were committed as the battle progressed resulting in the British gaining a foothold in the Turkish defences but the British commander called off the attack as night fell. In the Second Battle of Gaza, the 1/4th and 1/5th Battalions of the Norfolk Regiment sustained 75 per cent casualties (about 1,200 men).[1] It took part in the successful Third Battle of Gaza as part of XXI Corps led by General Bulfin, and by the end of 1917 General Allenby's forces had taken Jerusalem.

In September 1918 the division took part in the Battle of Megiddo.

Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War the 54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division remained in the United Kingdom as a local defence formation until it was disbanded and broken up on 14 December 1943. Its component units would take part in the Normandy Campaign as support units.

Formation in World War I[edit]

The First World War division comprised three infantry brigades:

161st (Essex) Brigade 
162nd (East Midland) Brigade 
163rd (Norfolk and Suffolk) Brigade 

Formation in World War II[edit]

This is the formation of the division shortly after the outbreak of war in 1939:

161st Infantry Brigade 
  • 1/4th Battalion, Essex Regiment
  • 1/5th Battalion, Essex Regiment
  • 2/5th Battalion, Essex Regiment
162nd Infantry Brigade
163rd Infantry Brigade
  • 2/4th Battalion, Essex Regiment
  • 5th (Hackney) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
  • 7th (Stoke Newington) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment

Divisional Troops



  • Brigadier-General John H. Campbell: August 1908-October 1910
  • Major-General the Hon. Julian H.G. Byng: October 1910-October 1912
  • Major-General Charles V. F. Townshend: October 1912-June 1913
  • Major-General Francis S. Inglefield: June 1913-April 1916
  • Major-General Sir Steuart W. Hare: April 1916-July 1923
  • Major-General John Duncan: July 1923-February 1927
  • Major-General Sir Torquhil G. Matheson: February 1927-September 1930
  • Major-General Francis J. Marshall: September 1930-September 1934
  • Major-General Russell M. Luckcock: September 1934-September 1938
  • Major-General John H.T. Priestman: September 1938-February 1941
  • Major-General Evelyn H. Barker: February 1941-April 1943
  • Major-General Charles B. Wainwright: April-May 1943
  • Major-General Colin B. Callender: May-December 1943
  • Major-General Cyril E.N. Lomax: 1946-March 1948
  • Major-General Maurice S. Chilton: March 1948-February 1950
  • Major-General Charles E.A. Firth: April 1950-May 1951
  • Major-General Leslie K. Lockhart: May 1951-December 1952
  • Major-General Roger H. Bower: December 1952-May 1955
  • Major-General Reginald P. Harding: May 1955-June 1958
  • Major-General Dennis E.B. Talbot: June 1958-March 1961

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eastern Daily Press, "Sunday" section May 5, 2007

External links[edit]