The 14th (Light) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 14th (Light) Division

symbolThe Division came into existence as a result of Army Order No. 324, issued on 21 August 1914, which authorised the formation of the six new Divisions of K1. It was formed of volunteers. At first it was numbered the 8th (Light) Division, but as more regular army units became available to create a Division, they were given precedence and this was renumbered as the 14th (Light) Division. Initially without equipment or arms of any kind, the recruits were judged to be ready by May 1915, although its move to the fighting front was delayed by lack of rifle and artillery ammunition. The 14th (Light) Division served on the Western Front throughout the war. It tookpart in the following engagements:

1915
The Action of Hooge, in which the Division had the misfortune to be the first to be attacked by flamethrower.
The Second Attack on Bellewaarde

1916
The Battle of Delville Wood*
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Third Battle of the Scarpe**
The battles marked ** are phases of the Arras Offensive
The Battle of Langemark***
The First Battle of Passchendaele***
The Second Battle of Passchendaele***
The battles marked *** are phases of the Third Battles of Ypres

1918
The Battle of St Quentin+
The Battle of the Avre+
The battles marked+ are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918

In the above two actions the Division suffered very severe casualties, losing almost 6,000 troops. XLVI and XLVII Brigades RFA lost all their guns. The Division was withdrawn from the line and placed on the construction of a new defensive line in the rear. On 26 April, the infantry battalions were reduced to a training cadre. Various units were temporarily attached before the Division was moved to England for re-establishment on 17 June 1918. The refreshed Division, although still short on numbers, moved back to France and joined Second Army 2-6 July 1918.

The Battle of Ypres 1918 and the final advance in Flanders

1919

On 24 March 1919 the Division ceased to exist, having suffered more than 37,100 casualties during the war.

The order of battle of the 14th (Light) Division

41st Brigade  
7th Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps left February 1918
8th Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps left as a cadre in June 1918
7th Bn, the Rifle Brigade left June 1918
8th Bn, the Rifle Brigade left as a cadre in June 1918
41st Machine Gun Company joined 15 February 1916
left to move into 14th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
41st Trench Mortar Battery joined 2 May 1916
18th Bn, the York & Lancaster Regt joined in England June 1918
29th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined in England June 1918
33rd Bn, the London Regiment joined in England June 1918
   
42nd Brigade  
5th Bn, the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire LI left as a cadre in June 1918
5th Bn, the King's Shropshire Light Infantry disbanded February 1918
9th Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps left as a cadre in June 1918
9th Bn, the Rifle Brigade left as a cadre in June 1918
42nd Machine Gun Company joined 24 February 1916
left to move into 14th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
42nd Trench Mortar Battery joined 15 April 1916
6th Bn, the Wiltshire Regt joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
16th Bn, the Manchester Regt joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
14th Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
   
43rd Brigade  
6th Bn, the Somerset Light Infantry left June 1918
6th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry disbanded February 1918
6th Bn, the Yorkshire Light Infantry disbanded February 1918
10th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry disbanded February 1918
43rd Machine Gun Company formed at Houtkerque 16 February 1916
left to move into 16th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
43rd Trench Mortar Battery joined 24 April 1916
9th Bn, the Cameronians joined February 1918, left April 1918
7th Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps joined February 1918, left as a cadre June 1918
12th Bn, the Suffolk Regt joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
6th Bn, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers briefly attached June 1918
20th Bn, the Middlesex Regt joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
10/11th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry joined as a cadre June 1918 and rebuilt
   
Divisional Troops  
11th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt) became Divisional Pioneer Bn 11 January 1915, left June 1918
8th Bn, the Devonshire Regt left May 1915
15th Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regt joined in England June 1918
6th Bn, the Leinster Regt briefly attached July 1918
8 Motor Machine Gun Battery joined early 1915, left 5 November 1916
249th Machine Gun Company joined 21 July 1917, left 1 October 1917
224th Machine Gun Company joined 17 November 1917
left to move into 14th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
14th Battalion Machine Gun Corps formed 1 March 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
D Sqn, the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry left 11 May 1916
14th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps formed 11 January 1915, left 11 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
XLVI Brigade, RFA  
XLVII Brigade, RFA  
XLVIII Brigade, RFA left 7 January 1917
XLIX (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 6 October 1916
14th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
14th Heavy Battery, RGA formed as 8th (New) Heavy Battery RGA - the most senior Heavy Battery of the New Armies - on 12 October 1914. Designation changed soon after, and joined Division 9 February 1915. Left on 8 June 1915 and joined XVI Heavy Artillery Brigade.
V.14 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA joined 28 July 1916, left 19 January 1918 to join Fifth Army Mortar School
X.14, Y.14 and Z.14 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA formed 11 March 1916; on 3 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
61st Field Company  
62nd Field Company  
89th Field Company joined January 1915
14th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
42nd Field Ambulance  
43rd Field Ambulance  
44th Field Ambulance  
25th Sanitary Section left 1 April 1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
14th Divisional Train ASC 100, 101, 102 and 103 Companies
26th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
215th Divisional Employment Company, Labour Corps joined by 9 June 1917
14th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Train 9 April 1916

Memorial

This page is dedicated to the memory of Gabriel and William Townsend and the other boys of Little Birch in Herefordshire. Gabriel was killed in action in the attack made by 5th KSLI at Bellewaarde on 25 September. His brother William was wounded in the same attack and also again at Delville Wood.
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There is no published history of 14th (Light) Division.