46th (North Midland) Division

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For the equivalent formation in World War II, see 46th Infantry Division (United Kingdom).
North Midland Division
46th (North Midland) Division
Active 1908 – June 1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements Hohenzollern Redoubt
Hill 70
St Quentin Canal

The 46th (North Midland) Division was an infantry division of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force, that saw service in World War I. At the outbreak of the war, the 46th Division was commanded by Major-General Hon. E.J. Montagu-Stuart-Wortley. Originally called the North Midland Division, it was redesignated as the 46th Division in May 1915.[1]


When the Territorial Force was formed in 1908 as a result of the Haldane Reforms, the North Midland Division was created by combining two existing Volunteer Infantry brigades, the Staffordshire Brigade and the North Midland Brigade. The Staffordshire Brigade was composed of battalions of the South Staffordshire Regiment and the Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment). The North Midland Brigade was split into two, one, the Lincoln and Leicester Brigade, composed of battalions of the Lincolnshire and Leicestershire Regiments, the other, the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Brigade, comprising the four TF battalions of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment (later the Sherwood Foresters).[2] Artillery, engineer, medical and other support services for the division either came from the Volunteers of these counties, or were newly raised in the TF.

World War I[edit]

The North Midland Division was sent to France in February 1915 and served on the Western Front for the duration of World War I. On 12 May 1915 the division was numbered 46th (North Midland) Division and the brigades were also numbered. During the Battle of Loos the 46th Division was decimated in an attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 13 October 1915.

It was later involved in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, where in the opening phase as part of VII Corps, the southern-most corps of the Third Army, the Division took part in the diversionary attack at Gommecourt on the first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916, which was a catastrophic failure resulting in heavy losses to its numbers, and the event of which dogged the Division afterwards with a poor reputation until 29 September 1918, when it re-established its name at the St. Quentin Canal where, utilising life-belts and collapsible boats, it crossed the formidable obstacle of the canal and used scaling ladders to surmount the steep gradient of the opposite bank and captured multiple fortified hostile machine gun posts covering that point.

Order of battle[edit]

Brig-Gen J.V. Campbell on Riqueval Bridge addresses men of 137th Brigade after breaking the German's Hindenburg Line defences on 29 September 1918

During World War I the composition of the division was as follows:[1][3][4][5]

137th (Staffordshire) Brigade
138th (Lincoln and Leicester) Brigade
  • 1/4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment (left January 1918)
  • 1/5th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment
  • 1/4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
  • 1/5th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
  • 138th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 22 February 1916, moved to 46th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 28 February 1918)
  • 138th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 2 March 1916)
139th (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) Brigade
  • 1/5th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
  • 1/6th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
  • 1/7th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (left January 1918)
  • 1/8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
  • 1/4th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) (joined and left November 1915)
  • 1/3rd (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (Royal Fusiliers) (joined and left November 1915)
  • 139th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 16 February 1916, moved to 46th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 26 February 1918)
  • 139th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 9 March 1916)
Mounted Troops
  • I North Midland Brigade, RFA (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Lincolnshire Batteries, and I North Midland Brigade Ammunition Column) (numbered CCXXX Bde on 13 May 1916)
  • II North Midland Brigade, RFA (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Staffordshire Batteries, and II North Midland Brigade Ammunition Column) (numbered CCXXXI Bde on 13 May 1916)
  • III North Midland Brigade, RFA (4th, 5th, and 6th Staffordshire Batteries, and III North Midland Brigade Ammunition Column) (numbered CCXXXII Bde on 13 May 1916; left 3 January 1917)
  • IV North Midland (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA (1st and 2nd Derbyshire Batteries, and IV North Midland (H) Brigade Ammunition Column) (numbered CCXXXIII Bde on 13 May 1916; broken up 29 August 1916)
  • North Midland (Staffordshire) Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (until 18 April 1915)
  • 46th Divisional Trench Mortar Brigade, RFA
    • V.46 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery (joined 20 June 1916; absorbed partly by X and Y and partly by I Corps HTM Bty on 3 February 1918)
    • X.46 Medium Trench Mortar Battery (joined 9 March 1916)
    • Y.46 Medium Trench Mortar Battery (formed 17 March 1916)
    • Z.46 Medium Trench Mortar Battery (formed 17 March 1916; absorbed by X and Y on 3 February 1918)
  • North Midland Divisional Ammunition Column, RFA (formed before embarkation, later numbered 46th; absorbed brigade ammunition columns 22 May 1916)
  • North Midland Divisional Engineers (later numbered 46th)
    • 1/1st North Midland Field Company, Royal Engineers (served with 28th Division from 26 December 1914 to 6 April 1915; later numbered 465th Field Company)
    • 1/2nd North Midland Field Company, RE (later numbered 466th Field Company)
    • 57th Field Company, RE (joined from 3rd Division 7 April, left 10 July 1915)
    • 2/1st North Midland Field Company, RE (joined 10 July 1915, later numbered 468th Field Company)
    • North Midland Signal Company, RE (later numbered 46th Signal Company)
Machine Guns
  • 46th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (formed on 28 February 1918)
    • 137th Company, MGC (moved from 137th Brigade)
    • 138th Company, MGC (moved from 138th Brigade)
    • 139th Company, MGC (moved from 139th Brigade)
    • 178th Company, MGC (joined on 28 March 1917)
Medical Services
  • 1st North Midland Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
  • 2nd North Midland Field Ambulance, RAMC
  • 3rd North Midland Field Ambulance, RAMC
  • 17th Sanitary Section (joined 4 March 1915; left 21 March 1917)
  • North Midland) Divisional Ambulance Workshop, Army Service Corps (joined 4 March 1915, later numbered 46th, moved to Divisional Train 6 April 1916)
  • 1st North Midland Mobile Veterinary Section, Army Veterinary Corps
  • North Midland Divisional Train, ASC (later numbered 46th)
    • 451st Horse Transport Company, ASC
    • 452nd HT Company, ASC
    • 453rd HT Company, ASC
    • 454th HT Company, ASC
  • 240th Divisional Employment Company, Labour Corps (formed 25 June 1917)



The Territorial Force was disbanded after the war. It was reformed as the Territorial Army in the 1920s as was the 46th Division. However, the 46th Division was disbanded in 1936, the headquarters being converted into 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division and several of its infantry battalions into AA units.[6] Most of the remainder of 46th Division's units were sent to other divisions, mainly the 49th (West Riding) and the 55th (West Lancashire) infantry divisions. A new 46th (West Riding and North Midland) Infantry Division was formed in October 1939 as a 2nd Line duplicate of 49th (West Riding) Division.[7] A 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division was also raised as a 2nd Line duplicate of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, and contained many units that served with 46th (North Midland) Division.


The following officers commanded the division:

  • Brigadier-General Hugh J. Archdale: April 1908-January 1911
  • Major-General Hubert I. W. Hamilton: January 1911-June 1914
  • Major-General Edward James Montagu-Stuart-Wortley: June 1914-July 1916
  • Major-General William Thwaites: July 1916-September 1918
  • Major-General Gerald F. Boyd: September 1918-June 1919
  • Major-General Sir A. Reginald Hoskins: June 1919-June 1923
  • Major-General Casimir C. van Straubenzee: June 1923-May 1927
  • Major-General Sir Percy O. Hambro: May 1927-May 1931
  • Major-General Oswald C. Borrett: May 1931-December 1932
  • Major-General Maurice G. Taylor: December 1932-April 1934
  • Major-General Sir Hereward Wake, Bt.: April 1934-1937

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Becke, pp. 61–7.
  2. ^ Monthly Army List.
  3. ^ 46th Div at Long, Long Trail.
  4. ^ MacDonald, Appendix 3.
  5. ^ Priestley, Appendices IV & V.
  6. ^ 2 AA Division 1936–38 at British Military History
  7. ^ Joslen, p. 75.


  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.
  • Alan MacDonald, A Lack of Offensive Spirit? The 46th (North Midland) Division at Gommecourt, 1st July 1916, West Wickham: Iona Books, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9558119-0-6.

External links[edit]