The 26th Division in 1914-1918

The history of 26th Division

This Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener's Third New Army, K3. The units began to to assemble in the Salisbury Plain area from September 1914. Khaki uniform and equipment were not made available until February-April 1915 and in the meantime eveything was improvised.

Embarkation for France began in September 1915 and the concentration of units at Guignemicourt (west of Amiens) was completed before the end of the month. However, the Division was not destined to remain on the Western Front, because in November 1915 it moved to Salonika where it then remained.

On 2 November, the Division concentrated at Flesselles and moved to Salonika via embarkation at Marseilles. On 26 December 1915, units began to move from Lembet to Happy Valley Camp and all units were in place there by 8 February 1916. The 26th Division remained in the Salonika theatre for the rest of the war, taking part in the following operations:

1916
10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill

1917
24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917: the Battles of Doiran

1918
The Division lost a number of units in mid 1918; they were transferred to France
18-19 September 1918: the Battle of Doiran
22-30 September 1918: the Pursuit to the Strumica Valley.

Forward units crossed the Serbian-Bulgarian boundary on 25 September 1918. Hostilities with Bulgaria ceased two days later. The Division advanced towards Adrianople (as the war with Turkey was still underway) but this also soon ceased. 26th Division successively became part of the Army of the Danube and then of the Occupation of Bulgaria. Demobilisation began in February 1919, with Italian troops arriving to replace the dwindling British presence. By 10 May 1919, the Division ceased to exist..

The 26th Division had suffered casualties of 8,022 killed, wounded and missing during the war but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases rife in the Salonika theatre.

The order of battle of the 26th Division

77th Brigade  
8th Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers  
11th Bn, the Cameronians  
10th Bn, the Black Watch left 30 June 1918
12th Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders  
77th Machine Gun Company joined 24 July 1916
77th SAA Section Ammunition Column joined 27 July 1916
77th Trench Mortar Battery joined 3 November 1916
   
78th Brigade  
9th Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment left 4 July 1918
11th Bn, the Worcestershire Regiment  
7th Bn, the Ox & Bucks. Light Infantry  
7th Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment  
78th Machine Gun Company joined 22 July 1916
78th SAA Section Ammunition Column joined 27 July 1916
78th Trench Mortar Battery joined 12 November 1916
   
79th Brigade  
10th Bn, the Devonshire Regiment  
8th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry  
12th Bn, the Hampshire Regiment  
7th Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment left 16 June 1918
79th Machine Gun Company joined 15 July 1916
79th SAA Section Ammunition Column joined 27 July 1916
79th Trench Mortar Battery joined 3 November 1916
   
Divisional Troops  
10th Bn, the Gloucestershire Regiment left August 1915
8th Bn, the Ox & Bucks. Light Infantry became Divisional Pioneer Battalion in February 1915
8th Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment left August 1915
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
A Sqn, the Lothians & Border Horse Yeomanry joined 30 July 1915, left 29 November 1916
26th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps formed 4 January 1915, left 16 December 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
CXIV Brigade, RFA  
CXV Brigade, RFA  
CXVI Brigade, RFA  
CXVII Brigade, RFA left 9 August 1917 for 74th (Yeomanry) Division
26th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA transferred to XII Corps Ammunition Column, 22 January 1917. 22nd Division retained the Brigade Ammunition Columns
131st Heavy Battery, RGA raised with the Division in January 1915 but moved to France joining XXIII Heavy Artillery Brigade on 12 March 1916
LVII Brigade, RFA joined September 1917
XXXI Brigade, RFA briefly attached 17 June to 24 August 1917
IV Highland Mountain Brigade, RGA briefly attached in August 1918
   
Royal Engineers  
95th Field Company left 29 January 1915 for 16th (Irish) Division
96th Field Company left 1 February 1915 for 20th (Light) Division
107th Field Company joined 30 January 1915 from 35th Division
108th Field Company joined 30 January 1915 from 35th Division
131st Field Company joined 25 April 1915
26th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
78th Field Ambulance joined 25 August 1915
79th Field Ambulance joined 25 August 1915
80th Field Ambulance joined 25 August 1915
43rd Sanitary Section  
   
Other Divisional Troops  
26th Divisional Train ASC 202, 203, 204 and 205 Companies ASC joined in November and December 1914 but remained when the Division moved to Salonika, becoming the 32nd Divisional Train. 112, 113, 114 and 115 Coys ASC then transferred from 11th (Northern) Division. On 22 January 1916, the Train was on board the "Norseman" when it was torpedoed in the Gulk of Salonika but all personnel were saved, although 600 mules lost their lives. In October 1916 the Train was reorganised into "Pack and Wheel Echelons"; in July 1917 it was further reorganised, to suit local conditions
38th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
817th Divisional Employment Company formed October 1917
26th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop joined June 1915 but remained in France

There is no published history of the Division.