The 1st Cavalry Division in 1914-1918

The history of the 1st Cavalry Division

Divisional symbol

 

 

Part of the original British Expeditionary Force, the Division went to France in August 1914. Originally titled as the Cavalry Division, it was retitled as 1st Cavalry Division on 16 September 1914 when a second division was formed. It remained on the Western Front in France and Flanders throughout the war. The Division took part in most of the major actions where cavalry was used as a mounted mobile force, and also many others where the troops were dismounted and effectively served as infantry, including:

1914
The Battle of Mons (23 August, with subsequent Action of Elouges and Rearguard Action of Solesmes)
The Battle of Le Cateau (26 August, with subsequent Rearguard Affair of Etreux, Affair of Nery and Rearguard Actions of Villers-Cotterets)
The Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Aisne (12 - 15 September and subsequent Actions on the Aisne Heights)
The Battles of Ypres 1914 ("First Ypres")

1915
Winter Operations 1914-15
The Battles of Ypres 1915 ("Second Ypres")

1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette (a phase of the Battles of the Somme 1916)

1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe (9 - 12 April, a phase of the Arras Offensive)
The Tank Attack (20 - 21 November, a phase of the Cambrai Operations)
The capture of Bourlon Wood (24 - 26 November, a phase of the Cambrai Operations)
The German counterattacks (30 November - 3 December, a phase of the Cambrai Operations)

1918
The Battle of St Quentin (21 -23 March, a phase of the of the First Battles of the Somme in which the Division eas engaged until 1 April)

On 24 March 1918 each brigade and the machine gun squadron furinished a regiment to be constituted as a "Dismounted Division". These units returned to 1st Cavalry Division two days later.

The Battle of Bapaume (24 - 25 March, a phase of the of the First Battles of the Somme)
The Battle of Rosieres (26 - 27 March, a phase of the of the First Battles of the Somme)
The Battle of Amiens (8 - 10 August)
The Battle of Albert (21 August, a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918)
The Battle of Cambrai 1918 (8 October, a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line)
The Pursuit to the Selle (9 - 12 October)
The Final Advance in Picardy (17 October - 6 November) and in Artois (7 - 11 November)

The Division was selected to advance into Germany as an advance screen for Second Army and form part of the Occupation Force. The move began on 17 November, and brigades reached the Rhine at Cologne and Bonn on 12 December.

The order of battle of the 1st Cavalry Division

1st Cavalry Brigade  
2nd Dragoon Guards (Queens Bays)  
5th Dragoon Guards  
11th Hussars  
1st Signal Troop RE  
"I" Battery, RHA joined 17 September 1914
1st Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 28 February 1916
2nd Cavalry Brigade  
4th Dragoon Guards  
9th Lancers  
18th Hussars  
2nd Signal Troop RE  
"H" Battery, RHA joined 28 September 1914
2nd Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 28 February 1916
3rd Cavalry Brigade left for 2nd Cavalry Division 13 September 1914
4th Hussars  
5th Royal Irish Lancers  
16th Lancers  
3rd Signal Troop RE  
4th Cavalry Brigade left for 2nd Cavalry Division 14 October 1914
Composite Regiment of Household Cavalry  
6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)  
3rd Hussars  
4th Signal Troop RE  
9th Cavalry Brigade formed 14 April 1915
15th Hussars  
19th Hussars  
1/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry joined 12 June 1915
1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA  
9th Signal Troop RE  
9th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 28 February 1916
Divisional Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars joined 31 October 1914, left for 2nd Cavalry Division 11 November 1914
8th Motor Machine Gun Battery MGC joined 18 March 1916, left 23 October 1917
1st Cavalry Divisional HQ ASC 27 (Horsed Transport) Company
1st Cavalry Divisional Auxiliary (Horse) ASC 574 (Horsed Transport) Company, formed 26 September 1915
1st Cavalry Divisional Supply Column ASC 57 and 58 (Mechanical Transport) Companies. 57 absorbed 58 on 10 October 1916. No 3 (Amm.) Section of this company left for Cavalry Corps Ammunition Park on 11 October 1918
771st Divisional Employment Company formed 16 September 1917
1st Cavalry Division Field Ambulance Workshop joined 14 May 1915, absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 6 April 1916
Divisional Artillery  
  Note above the RHA batteries serving under brigade command
III Brigade "(D" and "E" Batteries), RHA and III Brigade Ammunition Column, RHA left for 2nd Cavalry Division 17 September 1914
VII Brigade ("I" and "L" Batteries), RHA and VII Brigade Ammunition Column, RHA Following very serious losses at Nery on 1 September 1914, "L" Battery was withdrawn from action, returning to the UK to be reformed. It was temporarily replaced by a battery made from various other units and designated Z Battery. L's permanent replacement, "H", joined from VI Brigade in England in late September 1914. "I" Battery left for 1st Cavalry Brigade on 17 September 1914 and "H" Battery left for 2nd Cavalry Brigade on 28 September 1914
Royal Engineers  
1st Field Squadron  
1st Signal Squadron  
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st Cavalry Field Ambulance  
2nd Cavalry Field Ambulance left for 2nd Cavalry Division 13 September 1914
3rd Cavalry Field Ambulance  
4th Cavalry Field Ambulance left for 2nd Cavalry Division 16 October 1914
No 9 Sanitary Section joined 9 January 1915
Royal Army Veterinary Corps  
1st Mobile Veterinary Section  
8th Mobile Veterinary Section left for 2nd Cavalry Division 13 September 1914
9th Mobile Veterinary Section left for 2nd Cavalry Division 13 September 1914
10th Mobile Veterinary Section left for 2nd Cavalry Division 16 October 1914