12th (Eastern) Division

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12th (Eastern) Division
British 12th (Eastern) Division Insignia.png
Insignia of the 12th (Eastern) Division
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
EngagementsFirst World War

The 12th (Eastern) Division was an infantry division raised by the British Army during the First World War from men volunteering for Kitchener's New Armies. The division saw service in the trenches of the Western Front from June 1915 to the end of the war.

Formation and First World War[edit]

The memorial to the glory of the 12th British Infantry Division to Epehy.

The 12th (Eastern) Division, was one of the first Kitchener's Army divisions raised from volunteers by Lord Kitchener. It was formed within Eastern Command as a result of Army Order No. 324 of 21 August 1914, as part of the K1 wave of divisions.[1] It fought on the Western Front for the duration of the First World War. One of its most notable actions was the Battle of Épehy where there is a memorial cross to the 12th Division.

In the First World War, the division's insignia was the Ace of Spades, which has since been adopted by the present 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade.

Order of Battle[edit]

35th Brigade

36th Brigade

  • 8th (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) (disbanded February 1918)
  • 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)
  • 7th (Service) Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
  • 11th (Service) Battalion, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) (disbanded February 1918)
  • 5th (Service) Battalion, Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment) (transferred from 35th Brigade February 1918)
  • 36th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 1 February 1916, moved to 12th Battalion, M.G.C. 1 March 1918)
  • 36th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 15 June 1916)

37th Brigade

Divisional Troops

  • 5th (Service) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment (division pioneers)
  • 9 Motor Machine Gun Battery (joined early 1915, left 20 June 1915)
  • 235th Machine Gun Company (joined 16 July 1917, left to move into 12th Battalion M.G. C. 1 March 1918)
  • 12th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (formed 1 March 1918, absorbing the brigade MG companies)
  • Divisional Mounted Troops
  • 12th Divisional Train Army Service Corps
    • 116th, 117th, 118th and 119th Companies
  • 23rd Mobile Veterinary Section Army Veterinary Corps
  • 214th Divisional Employment Company (joined 16 June 1917)

Royal Artillery

  • LXII Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (R.F.A.)
  • LXIII Brigade, R.F.A.
  • LXIV Brigade, R.F.A. (left 6 January 1917)
  • LXV (Howitzer) Brigade, R.F.A. (broken up 30 August 1916)
  • 12th Divisional Ammunition Column R.F.A.
  • 12th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (left 8 June 1915)
  • V.12 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery R.F.A. (joined 31 July 1916, disbanded 12 February 1918)
  • X.12, Y.12 and Z.12 Medium Mortar Batteries R.F.A. (formed 1 July 1916; on 16 February 1918, Z broken up distributed among X and Y batteries)

Royal Engineers[2]

  • 69th Field Company
  • 70th Field Company
  • 87th Field Company (joined January 1915)
  • 12th Divisional Signals Company

Royal Army Medical Corps

  • 36th Field Ambulance
  • 37th Field Ambulance
  • 38th Field Ambulance
  • 23rd Sanitary Section (left 1 April 1917)

General Officer Commanding[edit]

  • Major-General Frederick D.V. Wing February 1915 – 2 October 1915
  • Major-General Arthur B. Scott 1916-1918
  • Major-General H. W. Higginson April 1918

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The British Army in the Great War: The 12th (Eastern) Infantry Division, accessed October 2009 Archived 5 February 2004 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Watson & Rinaldi, p. 29.


  • Middleton Brumwell, P. (2001) [1923]. Scott, A. B. (ed.). History of the 12th (Eastern) Division in the Great War, 1914–1918 (Naval & Military Press ed.). London: Nisbet. ISBN 1-84342-228-X. OCLC 6069610. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  • Ian F.W. Beckett, 'Territorials: A Century of Service,' First Published April 2008 by DRA Printing of 14 Mary Seacole Road, The Millfields, Plymouth PL1 3JY on behalf of TA 100, ISBN 978-0-9557813-1-5.
  • Cliff Lord & Graham Watson, Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920–2001) and its Antecedents, Solihull: Helion, 2003, ISBN 1-874622-92-2.
  • Col L.F. Morling, Sussex Sappers: A History of the Sussex Volunteer and Territorial Army Royal Engineer Units from 1890 to 1967, Seaford: 208th Field Co, RE/Christians–W.J. Offord, 1972.
  • Graham E. Watson & Richard A. Rinaldi, The Corps of Royal Engineers: Organization and Units 1889–2018, Tiger Lily Books, 2018, ISBN 978-171790180-4.

External links[edit]