The 18th (Eastern) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 18th (Eastern) Division

This Division was established by the Eastern Command in September 1914, as part of the Army Orders authorising Kitchener's Second New Army, K2. Early days were somewhat chaotic, the new volunteers having very few trained officers and NCOs to command them, no organised billets or equipment. The units of the Division initially concentrated in the Colchester area but moved in May 1915 to Salisbury Plain. King George V inspected the Division on 24 June.

Embarkation for France began on 24 July and units moved to assemble near Flesselles, completing concentration there five days later.

The Division served on the Western Front for the remainder of the war, taking part in many of the significant actions:

1916
The Battle of Albert* in which the Division captured its objectives near Montauban
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge* in which the Division captured Trones Wood
The Battle of Delville Wood*
The Battle of Thiepval Ridge*
The Battle of the Ancre Heights* in which the Division played a part in the capture of the Schwaben Redoubt and in the capture of Regina Trench
The Battle of the Ancre*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
Operations on the Ancre (notably Miraumont and the capture of Irles)
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The Third Battle of the Scarpe, a phase of the Arras offensive
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge***
The Battle of Langemarck***
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 actions of Villers-Brettoneux+
The battles marked + are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Amiens
The Battle of Albert++ in which the Division captured the Tara and Usna hills near La Boisselle and once again captured Trones Wood
The Second Battle of Bapaume++
The battles marked ++ are phases of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Epehy^
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal^
The battles marked ^ are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Battle of the Selle^^
The Battle of the Sambre^^
The battles marked ^^ are phases of the Final Advance in Artois

When the Armistice came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918 the units of the Division were in XIII Corpos Reserve near Le Cateau. Demobilisation began on 10 December 1918 and by 19/20 March 1919 the Division ceased to exist. In all the 18th (Eastern) Division had suffered the loss of 46503 killed, wounded and missing, of whom 13727 died and are listed in the Divisional roll of honour held at St James's Church in Colchester.

The order of battle of the 18th (Eastern) Division

53rd Brigade  
8th Bn, the Norfolk Regiment disbanded February 1918
8th Bn, the Suffolk Regiment disbanded February 1918
10th Bn, the Essex Regiment  
6th Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment disbanded February 1918
53rd Machine Gun Company joined 13 February 1916
left to move into 18th MG Battalion 16 February 1918
53rd Trench Mortar Battery joined by 17 June 1916
8th Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment joined February 1918
7th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment joined February 1918
   
54th Brigade  
10th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers left October 1914
11th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers  
8th Bn, the Royal Sussex Regiment left February 1915
12th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment disbanded February 1918
6th Bn, the Northamptonshire Regiment joined November 1914
7th Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment joined February 1915
54th Machine Gun Company joined 13 February 1916
left to move into 18th MG Battalion 16 February 1918
54th Trench Mortar Battery joined 1 June 1916
2nd Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment joined May 1918
   
55th Brigade  
7th Bn, the Queen's  
7th Bn, the Buffs  
8th Bn, the East Surrey Regiment  
7th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment left February 1918
55th Machine Gun Company joined 13 February 1916
left to move into 18th MG Battalion 16 February 1918
55th Trench Mortar Battery joined 17 June 1916
   
Divisional Troops  
6th Bn, the Northamptonshire Regiment left November 1914
10th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined October 1914, left March 1915
8th Bn, the Royal Sussex Regiment joined as Pioneer Bn February 1915
15th Motor Machine Gun Battery joined 22 July 1915, left 4 May 1916
18th Battalion Machine Gun Corps formed 16 February 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
C Sqn, the Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry joined 15 June 1915, left 10 May 1916
18th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps formed 8 December 1914, left 21 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
LXXXII Brigade, RFA  
LXXXIII Brigade, RFA  
LXXXIV Brigade, RFA left 25 January 1917
LXXXV (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 3 December 1916
18th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
18th Heavy Battery, RGA raised with the Division but moved independently to Egypt in October 1915 and spent most of the war in Salonika
V.18 and W. 18 Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries RFA V Bty formed 28 April 1916; was attached to Fourth Army TM School until 6 May 1916; left for II Corps on 19 February 1918. W Bty formed 21 May 1916, but broken up by 26 November 1916, having by then received no weapons
X.18, Y.18 and Z.18 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA formed by 19 June 1916; by 19 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
79th Field Company  
80th Field Company  
92nd Field Company  
18th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
54th Field Ambulance  
55th Field Ambulance  
56th Field Ambulance  
35th Sanitary Section left 24 March 1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
18th Divisional Train ASC 150, 151, 152 and 153 Companies
30th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
219th Divisional Employment Company joined 3 June 1917
18th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Train 16 April 1916

Memorial