The 2nd Cavalry Division in 1914-1918

The history of the 2nd Cavalry Division

On 6 September 1914, the 3rd Cavalry Brigade (then under 1st Cavalry Division) and 5th Cavalry Brigade (an independent command) were placed under orders of Brigadier-General Hubert Gough. A week later they were formed into the 2nd Cavalry Division and other units required to make up the divisional structure were added as they arrived. The Division remained on the Western Front in France and Flanders throughout the war. It took part in most of the major actions, including:

1914
The Battle of the Aisne (12 - 15 September)
The Battle of Messines 1914 (12 October - 2 November)
The Battle of Armentieres (13 - 17 October)
The Battle of Gheluvelt (30 - 31 October, a phase of the Battles of Ypres 1914) ("First Ypres")

1915
Winter Operations 1914-15
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10 - 12 March 1915)
The Battle of St Julien (26 April - 3 May, a phase of the Battles of Ypres 1915) ("Second Ypres")
The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge (24 - 25 May, a phase of the Battles of Ypres 1915) ("Second Ypres")

1916
No major engagements

1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe (9 - 11 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 - 28 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 was engaged until 1 April)
The Battle of Hazebrouck (14 - 15 April, a phase of the Battles of the Lys)
The Battle of Amiens (8 - 11 August)
The Battle of Albert (21 - 23 August, a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918)
The Second Battle of Bapaume (31 August - 3 September, a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918)
The Battle of the Canal du Nord^ (27 September - 1 October)
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal^ (29 September - 2 October)
The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line^ (3 - 5 October)
The Battle of Cambrai 1918^ (8 - 9 October)
The battles marked ^ are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Pursuit to the Selle (9 - 12 October)
The Final Advance in Picardy (17 October - 11 November, including the Battle of the Sambre (4 November) and the capture of Mons (11 November))

The Division was selected to advance into Germany as an advance screen for Fourth Army and form part of the Occupation Force. The move began on 17 November, Cinet and Rochefort were reached five days later and the 5th Cavalry Brigade crossed the German border south of St Vith on 1 December. The Division ceased to exist at midnight 31 March / 1 April 1919.

The order of battle of the 2nd Cavalry Division

3rd Cavalry Brigade joined on 13 September 1914
4th Hussars  
5th Royal Irish Lancers  
16th Lancers  
D Battery, RHA joined from III Brigade RHA 17 September 1914
3rd Signal Troop RE  
3rd Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 29 February 1916
   
5th Cavalry Brigade joined on 13 September 1914
2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys)  
12th Lancers  
20th Hussars  
E Battery, RHA joined from III Brigade RHA 17 September 1914
5th Signal Troop RE  
5th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 26 February 1916
   
4th Cavalry Brigade joined from 1st Cavalry Division on 14 October 1914
Composite Regiment of Household Cavalry left 11 November 1914
6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers)  
3rd Hussars  
1st Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars joined 11 November 1914
J Battery, RHA  
4th Signal Troop RE  
4th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 28 February 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
III Brigade, RHA and III Brigade Ammunition Column, RHA joined from 1st Cavalry Division 17 September 1914; D Battery then placed under 3rd Cavalry Brigade and E Battery under 5th Cavalry Brigade. Brigade HQ then broken up and not reformed until March 1916
1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA joined 4 December 1914, left 14 April 1915
   
Royal Engineers  
2nd Field Squadron joined 16 October 1914
2nd Signal Squadron formed about 28 September 1914
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
2nd Cavalry Field Ambulance joined with 3rd Cavalry Brigade
5th Cavalry Field Ambulance joined with 5th Cavalry Brigade
4th Cavalry Field Ambulance joined 16 October 1914
No 4 Sanitary Section joined 12 January 1915, retitled as 4A in December 1915
   
Royal Army Veterinary Corps  
7th Mobile Veterinary Section joined 16 September 1914
8th Mobile Veterinary Section joined with 3rd Cavalry Brigade
9th Mobile Veterinary Section joined 15 October 1914
   
Other Divisional Troops  
1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry joined 14 March 1918, absorbed into regiments of 3rd Cavalry Brigade 4 April 1918
2nd Cavalry Divisional HQ ASC 424 (Horsed Transport) Company, formed 10 October 1914
2nd Cavalry Divisional Auxiliary (Horse) ASC 575 (Horsed Transport) Company, formed 25 September 1915
2nd Cavalry Divisional Supply Column ASC 46 and 413 (Mechanical Transport) Companies. 46 absorbed 413 on 10 October 1916.
772nd Divisional Employment Company formed on 16 September 1917
2nd Cavalry Division Field Ambulance Workshop joined by 26 February 1915, absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 16 April 1916