55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
|55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division|
|Active||First World War
November 1914 - January 1919 [reorganized] 1939-45
|Engagements||Battle of the Somme
Third Battle of Ypres
Battle of Cambrai
Battle of Estaires
|Sir William Morgan
Sir Frederick Morgan
The 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division was a British Territorial Force division which served on the Western Front during the First World War. In the Second World War it remained in the United Kingdom.
First World War
The first Victoria Cross won by the reformed division occurred near Arras on the 17 April 1916 when 2nd Lt.E.F.Baxter won the award while on a raid by the 1/8th (Irish) Bn, The King's (Liverpool Regiment). The division moved to the Somme on the 25 July to take part in that battle . The division took part in the Battle of Guillemont and the Battle of Ginchy followed by a short rest period before being thrown back into the Battle of Morval . The 55th Infantry were then moved to the Ypres salient where they remained for up to a year.
After a rest and period of retraining the division took part in the Battle of Estaires in 1918 where the Division successfully fought the "First Defence of Givenchy" under the leadership of Major-General Hugh Jeudwine. It was to become the single most famous action that the Division fought. "It was afterwards publicly stated by an officer of the German General Staff that the stand made by the Division on April 9 and the days which followed marked the final ruination of the supreme German effort of 1918", says the Divisional history. Givenchy was eventually selected as the location of a fine memorial to the Division. By the Armistice the division had reached the Tournai area having advanced fifty miles in eighty days.
Second World War
During the Second World War the division was a 1st Line Territorial Army formation, but many of its units did not see active service outside Britain. One unit that served overseas was the 510th Field Park Company of Royal Engineers that served in North Africa.
Order of battle
From January 1916, the division comprised the following units:
- 1/4th The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)
419 Field Company
422 Field Company
423 Field Company
55th Divisional Signal Company
The 164th (North Lancashire) Brigade joined the 51st (Highland) Division in April 1915 (as the 154th Brigade) and returned to the 55th Division in January 1916.
- Battle of the Somme (1916)
- Third Battle of Ypres
- Battle of Cambrai (1917)
- Battle of Estaires
- 1925 - 1926 Major-General Hugo De Pree
- 1930 - 1932 Major-General James Harrison
- 1932 - 1933 Major-General George Weir
- 1934 - 1935 Major-General James Cooke-Collis
- 1935 - 1938 Major-General Ernest Lewin
- 1938 - 1941 Major-General Vivian Majendie
- 1941 Major-General William Morgan
- 1941 - 1942 Major-General Frederick Morgan
- 1942 - 1943 Major-General Walter Clutterbuck
- List of British divisions in WWI
- British Divisions in World War II
- British Army Order of Battle - September 1939