7th Infantry Division (United Kingdom)

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7th Division
British 7th Infantry Division Insignia.png
Active September 1914 – 1918/19
October 1938 – November 1939
Country United Kingdom
Branch Regular Army
Type Infantry
Size division
Engagements Peninsular War
Battle of Fuentes de Onoro
Battle of Vitoria
Battle of the Pyrenees
Battle of Nivelle
Battle of the Nive
Battle of Orthez
First World War
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Neuve Chapelle
Battle of Aubers Ridge
Battle of Festubert
Battle of Loos
Battle of the Somme (1916)
Third Battle of Ypres
Battle of Vittorio Veneto

The 7th Infantry Division was established by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, for service in the Peninsular War and was active also during the First World War from 1914–1918/19 and also in 1938–1939 in Palestine and Egypt.

Peninsular War[edit]

The 7th Division was formed during the Peninsular War by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and was present at the Battle of Fuentes de Onoro the Battle of Vitoria the Battle of the Pyrenees the Battle of Nivelle the Battle of the Nive and the Battle of Orthez.

Composition during the Peninsular War[edit]

First World War[edit]

The 7th Division was a Regular Army division that was formed by combining battalions returning from outposts in the British Empire at the outbreak of the First World War.[1] The division began moving to France on 6 October 1914. The division fought in most of the major battles on the Western Front through to 1917 before being sent to Italy for the remainder of the war. At the battle of Loos in 1915, the Division's GOC, Major-General Thompson Capper, was killed in action at the height of the fighting. Unlike the first six regular divisions of the B.E.F., a third of whose strength was made up of regular reservists, the 7th Division was composed entirely of serving regulars, which gave rise to its nickname "The Immortal Seventh".

Composition During First World War[edit]

20th Brigade 

The Guards battalions departed in August 1915 when the British Guards Division was formed.

21st Brigade 

The brigade transferred to the 30th Division on December 19, 1915, swapping with the 91st Brigade.

22nd Brigade 
91st Brigade 
  • 2nd Battalion, the Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) (from 22nd Bde. December 1915)
  • 1st Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment (from 22nd Bde. December 1915)
  • 21st (Service) Battalion (6th City), The Manchester Regiment
  • 22nd (Service) Battalion (7th City), The Manchester Regiment
  • 1/4th Battalion, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (from 21st Bde. December 1915 until January 1916)

The brigade joined from the 30th Division in December 1915, swapping with the 21st Brigade. A number of battalions swapped to the brigade from other 7th Division brigades during the transition.

Artillery on formation

Battles During First World War[edit]

Second World War[edit]

Richard O'Connor served as Military Governor of Jerusalem & General Officer Commanding, 7th Infantry Division in Palestine and Egypt from 29 September 1938 – 3 November 1939.[2] When O'Connor was formally appointed on 4 October 1938, the division had not yet been fully formed,[3] but the 19th Infantry Brigade had been earmarked for the new formation.

The Times noted on 19 October 1938 that "There will be enough infantry to give ... two divisions [the other apparently being the 8th Infantry Division]. Already on duty are the 14th, 16th, 17th and 19th Brigades, the brigade from India, and one made up from home and Malta. Soon there will be added units of a mounted brigade."[4]

The Division included the Cairo Brigade, which became the 29th Infantry Brigade on 20 September 1939.

The Division was redesignated the 6th Infantry Division on 3 November 1939.

General Officers Commanding[edit]

Commanders have included:[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The British Army in the Great War: The 7th Division
  2. ^ Keegan, John (ed) (2005). Churchill's Generals. London: Cassell Military. ISBN 0-304-36712-5., p.199
  3. ^ '7th Division Commander,' The Times, p.8, 5 October 1938
  4. ^ '7th Division Staff, The Times, 19 October 1938, p.18
  5. ^ Army Commands