The 24th Division in 1914-1918

The history of 24th Division

Divisional symbolThis Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener's Third New Army, K3. The units of the Division began to assemble in the area of Shoreham. Early days were somewhat chaotic, the new volunteers having very few trained officers and NCOs to command them, no organised billets or equipment. It was March 1915 before makeshift drab uniforms arrived and not untul July before rifles were issued.

The Division moved 19-23 June 1915 to Aldershot for final training. Lord Kitchener inspected the Division at Chobham ranges on 19 August and next day it was the turn of King George V. Orders were received on 19 August to move to France and the first units departed one week later.

Concentration was completed in the area between Etaples and St Pol on 4 September. The Division's first experience was truly appalling. Having been in France for only a few days, lengthy forced marches brought it into the reserve for the British assault at Loos. GHQ planning left it too far behind to be a useful reinforcement on the first day, but it was sent into action on 26 September, whereupon it suffered over 4178 casualties for very little gain.

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

1915
The Battle of Loos

1916
The German gas attack at Wulverghem
The Battle of Delville Wood*
The Battle of Guillemont*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
The Battle of Vimy Ridge, a phase of the Arras offensive 1917
The Battle of Messines
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge***
The Battle of Langemarck***
The battles marked *** are phases of the Third Battles of Ypres
The Cambrai Operations (the German counter attack)

1918
The Battle of St Quentin+
The Actions at the Somme Crossings+
The Battle of Rosieres+
The First Battle of the Avre+
The battles marked + are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Cambrai 1918, a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The pursuit to the Selle^
The Battle of the Sambre^, including the passage of the Grand Honelle
The battles marked ^ are phases of the Final Advance in Picardy

When the Armistice came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918 the units of the Division were holding positions 1.5 miles east of the Maubeuge-Mons road. Between 17-19 November they moved back to the area between Denain and Douai and 25-27 November went to the area St Amand-Orchies. On 18 December the Division moved once more, to Tournai. Demobilisation began and by 26 March 1919 only cadres were left. In all the 24th Division had suffered the loss of 35362 killed, wounded and missing.

The order of battle of the 24th Division

71st Brigade
Brigade moved to 6th Division on 11 October 1915 in exchange for 17th Brigade
9th Bn, the Norfolk Regiment  
9th Bn, the Suffolk Regiment  
8th Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment  
11th Bn, the Essex Regiment  
   
72nd Brigade  
8th Bn, the Queen's left February 1918
8th Bn, the Buffs left October 1915
9th Bn, the East Surrey Regiment  
8th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment  
1st Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment joined October 1915
72nd Machine Gun Company joined 14 March 1916
moved into Divisional MG Battalion 5 March 1918
72nd Trench Mortar Battery formed by 19 July 1916
   
73rd Brigade
12th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers left October 1915
9th Bn, the Royal Sussex Regiment  
7th Bn, the Northamptonshire Regiment  
13th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment  
2nd Bn, the Leinster Regiment joined October 1915, left February 1918
73rd Machine Gun Company joined 14 March 1916
moved into Divisional MG Battalion 5 March 1918
73rd Trench Mortar Battery formed by 15 June 1916
   
17th Brigade
18 October 1915 transferred from 6th Division, in exchange for 71st Brigade
1st Bn, the Royal Fusiliers  
12th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers disbanded February 1918
2nd Bn, the Leinster Regiment left October 1915
3rd Bn, the Rifle Brigade  
8th Bn, the Buffs joined October 1915, disbanded February 1918
1/2nd Bn, the London Regiment left 9 February 1916
17th Machine Gun Company formed 17 January 1916
moved into Divisional MG Battalion 5 March 1918
17th Trench Mortar Battery formed by 26 July 1916
8th Bn, the Queen's joined February 1918
   
Divisional Troops  
11th Bn, the Royal Warwickshire Regiment joined before March 1915, left 9 April 1915
13th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined before March 1915, left 9 April 1915
12th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters joined before March 1915, converted to Pioneer Battalion in April 1915
No 3 Motor Machine Gun Battery joined 30 October 1915, left 23 November 1915
191st Machine Gun Company joined 15 December 1916
moved into Divisional MG Battalion 5 March 1918
24th Machine Gun Battalion created 5 March 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
A Sqn, the 1st Royal Glasgow Yeomanry joined 30 June 1915, left 29 April 1916
24th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps formed by 15 February 1915, left 29 April 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
CVI Brigade, RFA  
CVII Brigade, RFA  
CVIII Brigade, RFA left 27 January 1917
CIX (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 3 October 1916
24th Heavy Battery, RGA raised in August 1914 for the Division. Redesignated 130th HB. Left before Division went to France and joined XXXV HA Brigade for service in Egypt. Not same as 24th Heavy Battery, a unit of the pre-war regular army
24th Divisional Ammunition Column  
13th Divisional Ammunition Column joined 3 July 1915, left 6 August 1915
V.24 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA joined 30 July 1916, left February 1918
X.24, Y.24 and Z,24 Medium Trench Mortar Batteries RFA joined by 30 April 1916, Z.24 broken up in February 1918 and X and Y expanded to six guns each
   
Royal Engineers  
91st Field Company left January 1915
92nd Field Company left January 1915
103rd Field Company joined February 1915
104th Field Company joined January 1915
129th Field Company joined March 1915
24th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
72nd Field Ambulance  
73rd Field Ambulance  
74th Field Ambulance  
41st Sanitary Section left 5 April 1917 for First Army
   
Other Divisional Troops  
24th Divisional Train ASC 194, 195, 196 and 197 Companies
36th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC joined 25 June 1915
223rd Divisional Employment Company formed by 30 June 1917
24th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop merged into Divisional Supply Column April 1916

There is no main memorial to the 24th Division but it is well remembered in the village of Verguier, where it fought so valiantly against the German attack on 21 March 1918.

memorial
memorial