1st Indian Cavalry Division

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1st Indian Cavalry Division
Active September 1914 – March 1918
Country British India
Allegiance British Crown
Branch British Indian Army
Type Cavalry
Size Division
Part of Indian Cavalry Corps

Western Front in World War I

Battle of Cambrai
Henry Peregrine Leader
Michael Rimington

The 1st Indian Cavalry Division was a division of the British Indian Army formed at the outbreak of World War I. It served on the Western Front, being renamed as 4th Cavalry Division on 26 November 1916.[1] In March 1918, the 4th Cavalry Division was broken up. The British units remained in France and the Indian elements were sent to Egypt to help constitute 1st Mounted Division.[2]


Lt. Gen. Rimington, commander of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division, and later of the Indian Cavalry Corps, riding with Sajjan Singh, the Maharaja of Ratlam, and Sir Partab Singh. Linghem, France, 28 July 1915

The division sailed for France from Bombay on October 16, 1914, under the command of Major General H D Fanshawe. The division was re-designated the 4th Cavalry Division in November 1916. During the war the Division served in the trenches as infantry. Due to the difference in troop levels between infantry and cavalry regiments, each cavalry brigade formed one dismounted cavalry regiment.

The high number of officer casualties suffered early on had an effect on its later performance. British officers that understood the language, customs, and psychology of their men could not be quickly replaced, and the alien environment of the Western Front had some effect on the soldiers.[3] The division served in France and Flanders, held in reserve for the expected breakthrough. It provided dismounted parties for trench duties, but its only battle was the Battle of Cambrai, during the German counterattacks of 30 November – 3 December. In March 1918 it was broken up and the Indian regiments combined in Egypt with the Yeomanry Mounted Division to form the 1st Mounted Division (later 4th Cavalry Division).[4]

Order of battle[edit]

2nd (Sialkot) Cavalry Brigade

3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade (left on 15 September 1915 for 2nd Indian Cavalry Division)

8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade

English and Indian soldiers of the Signal Troop of the Lucknow Cavalry Brigade relaxing in a farmyard at Brigade Headquarters, 28 July 1915

5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade (joined on 15 September 1915 from 2nd Indian Cavalry Division)

I Indian Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery (XVI Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery from 26 November 1916)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Perry 1993, p. 14
  2. ^ Perry 1993, p. 16
  3. ^ Haythornthwaite 1992
  4. ^ "warpath". Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2008. 


  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-351-7. 
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport, Gwent: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X. 
  • Preston, R.M.P. (1921). The Desert Mounted Corps: An Account of the Cavalry Operations in Palestine and Syria 1917–1918. London: Constable & Co. OCLC 3900439. 
  • Sumner, Ian (2001). The Indian Army 1914–1947. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-196-6. 
  • Wavell, Field Marshal Earl (1968) [1933]. "The Palestine Campaigns". In Sheppard, Eric William. A Short History of the British Army (4th ed.). London: Constable & Co. OCLC 35621223. 

External links[edit]