25th Division (United Kingdom)

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25th Division
Active September 1914 – 1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Infantry
Engagements World War I

The 25th Division of the British Army was raised for Kitchener's Third New Army (K3) during September 1914. It served on the Western Front for most of the First World War. The component units were assembled around Salisbury and moved to Aldershot in May 1915 to complete their training. The division was formed by Major-General Francis Ventris and crossed to France on 25–30 September 1915 under the command of Major-General Beauchamp Doran.[1]

The division originally comprised the 74th, 75th and 76th Infantry Brigades, but the 76th Brigade was posted away on 15 October 1915 and replaced by the 7th Infantry Brigade.[1]

In June 1916 Major-General E G T Bainbridge took command and the Division went on to fight at the Battle of the Somme, at the Battle of Messines, at the Battle of Passchendaele, in the German offensive of March/April 1918 and at the Battle of Aisne.[2]

The 25th was uniquely unlucky during the 1918 German Spring Offensives. It was on the northern flank defences during Operation Michael in March 1918 and was moved north to refit. There it lost more men in the Battle of the Lys attacks in April. Moved south to another quiet area, it was attacked for a third time in the Third Battle of the Aisne.

After suffering severe casualties in June 1918, it underwent a major refit and reorganisation, with infantry from divisions then serving in Italy. The reformed division moving back to France in September 1918. This Division played a major role in the final few weeks of the war its most noted success was the Capture of the village of Beaurevoir on the 5/6th of October 1918.

The division was demobilised by the end of March 1919, having suffered 48,300 casualties during the war.

Order of Battle[edit]

The following units served in the division.[3]

74th Brigade

During reconstruction in mid 1918

(the last three battalions joined from the brigades of 23rd Division serving in Italy)[5]

  • 74th Trench Mortar Battery
75th Brigade
  • 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left October 1915)
  • 11th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left June 1918)
  • 8th Battalion, Border Regiment (left June 1918)
  • 8th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (disbanded February 1918)
  • 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (joined October 1915, left June 1918)
  • 75th Machine Gun Company (joined on 15 March 1916, moved into 25 MG Battalion March 1918)
  • 75th Trench Mortar Battery (formed June 1916)

During reconstruction in mid 1918

  • 1/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (joined May 1918, left July 1918)
  • 17th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) (joined June 1918)
  • 11th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment (joined June 1918)
  • 6th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment) (joined June 1918)
  • 13th Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment) (joined June 1918)

(On 9 September 1918, the Brigade was renumbered as 236th Brigade and was placed under orders for service in North Russia. It left the 25th Division at this point.)

A new 75th Brigade was formed in September 1918

(these battalions joined from the brigades of 48th (South Midland) Division serving in Italy)[7]

  • 75th Trench Mortar Battery
76th Brigade

(left to join 3rd Division on 15 October 1915)

7th Brigade

(joined from the 3rd division in exchange for the 76th Brigade on 18 October 1915)

  • 10th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left as a cadre July 1918)
  • 3rd Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (left November 1917)
  • 2nd Battalion, Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (left to join 75th Brigade a week after Brigade joined Division)
  • 8th Battalion, Loyal North Lancahire Regiment (disbanded February 1918)
  • 1st Battalion, Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) (left June 1918)
  • 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (left to join the 74th Brigade a week after the brigade joined the division)
  • 4th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment (joined October 1917, left June 1918)
  • 7th Machine Gun Company (joined January 1916, moved into 25 MG battalion March 1918)
  • 7th Trench Mortar Battery (formed July 1916)

During reconstruction in mid 1918

(except for the 13th East Surreys, which joined from the 39th Division, these battalions joined from the brigades of 7th Division serving in Italy)[9]

  • 7th Trench Mortar Battery
Pioneers
  • 13th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (joined September 1914, left October 1914)
  • 13th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) (joined October 1914, left February 1915)
  • 8th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (joined November 1914, left March 1915)
  • 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers (joined as Divisional pioneer battalion February 1915, left June 1918)
  • 8th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment (joined as a cadre June 1918)
  • 11th Battalion, Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (joined as a cadre June 1918, became Divisional pioneer battalion October 1918)
Machine Gunners
  • 195th Machine Gun Company (joined December 1916 moved into 25 MG Bn March 1918)
  • 25th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (created March 1918, left July 1918, rejoined October 1918)
  • 100th (Warwickshire and South Nottinghamshire Yeomanry) Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (joined October 1918, left October 1918)[10]
Divisional Artillery

The Divisional artillery remained in France when the rest of the Division returned to England to re-fit in June 1918. It took part in the Second Battle of Bapaume, the Battle of Epehy and the Battle of the Saint-Quentin Canal, then rejoined the 25th Division on 4 October 1918.

  • CX Brigade, RFA (between 26 May and 4 June 1918, attached to 8th Division)
  • CXI Brigade, RFA (broken up 27 November 1916)
  • CXII Brigade, RFA (between 26 May and 21 June 1918, attached to 21st Division)
  • CXIII (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA (left 14 February 1917)
  • 25th Heavy Battery, RGA (raised with the Division but moved independently to France)
  • W.25 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA (joined July 1916, broken up March 1918)
  • X.25 Medium Mortar Battery (joined April 1916)
  • Y.25 Medium Mortar Battery (joined April 1916)
  • Z.25 Medium Mortar Battery (joined April 1916, broken up in March 1918, distributed to X.25 and Y.25 batteries)
Royal Engineers
  • 93rd, 94th Field Companies (left February 1915)
  • 106th Field Company (joined January 1915)
  • 105th Field Company (joined February 1915)
  • 130th Field Company (joined May 1915)
Royal Army Medical Corps
  • 75th, 76th, 77th Field Ambulance
  • 42nd Sanitary Section (left 18 April 1917)
Division Troops
  • Regimental HQ and B Squadron, Lothians and Border Horse (joined summer 1915, left May 1916)
  • 25th Divisional Ammunition Column
  • 25th Divisional Signals Company
  • 25th Divisional Train
    • 198th-201st Companies ASC
  • 37th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC
  • 225th Divisional Employment Company (joined 21 May 1917)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kincaid-Smith 1920, p. 2.
  2. ^ Kincaid-Smith 1920, pp. 9–390.
  3. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 25th Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Middlesex Regiment". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 23rd Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Gloucestershire Regiment". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 48th (South Midland) Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  8. ^ Baker, Chris. "The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 7th Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  10. ^ BEF GHQ 1918, p. 104

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]