The 2nd Division in 1914-1918

The history of 2nd Division

One of the first British formations to move to France, the 2nd Division remained on the Western Front throughout the war. It took part in most of the major actions, including:

1914
The Battle of Mons and the subsequent retreat, including the the Affair of Landrecies, the Rearguard affair of Le Grand Fayt and the Rearguard actions of Villers-Cotterets
The Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Aisne including participation in the Actions on the Aisne heights
First Battle of Ypres

1915
Winter Operations 1914-15
The Battle of Festubert
The Battle of Loos

1916
The Battle of Delville Wood*
The Battle of the Ancre*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916
Operations on the Ancre

1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Battle of Arleux**
The Second Battle of the Scarpe**
The battles marked ** are phases of the Battles of Arras 1917
The Battle of Cambrai

1918
The Battle of St Quentin***
The Battle of Bapaume***
The First Battle of Arras 1918***
The battles marked *** are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Albert****
The Second Battle of Bapaume****
The battles marked **** are phases of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Havrincourt+
The Battle of the Canal du Nord+
The Battle of Cambrai 1918+
The battles marked + are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Battle of the Selle

The Division was selected to advance into Germany and form part of the Occupation Force.

The order of battle of the 2nd Division

4th (Guards) Brigade On the formation of the Guards Division in August 1915, this Brigade left 2nd Division and on joining Guard Division was retitled as 1st Guards Brigade
2nd Bn, the Grenadier Guards  
2nd Bn, the Coldstream Guards  
3rd Bn, the Coldstream Guards  
1st Bn, the Irish Guards  
1/1st Bn, the Hertfordshire Regiment joined November 1914
5th Brigade  
2nd Bn, the Worcestershire Regt left December 1915
2nd Bn, the Ox & Bucks Light Infantry  
2nd Bn, the Highland Light Infantry  
2nd Bn, the Connaught Rangers left November 1914
1/9th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry joined November 1914, left January 1916
2nd Bn, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers joined January 1915, left July 1915
1st Bn, the Queen's joined July 1915, left December 1915
1/7th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt) joined September 1915, left November 1915
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined December 1915, left February 1918
24th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined December 1915
5th Machine Gun Company formed on 1 January 1916
left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
5th Trench Mortar Battery joined by 11 March 1916
6th Brigade  
1st Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt)  
2nd Bn, the South Staffordshire Regt  
1st Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment left December 1915
1st Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps left December 1915
1/5th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt) joined February 1915, left December 1915
1/7th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt) joined March 1915, left September 1915
17th Bn, the Middlesex Regt (Football) joined 8 December 1915, disbanded February 1918
13th Bn, the Essex Regt (West Ham) joined December 1915, disbanded February 1918
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined February 1918
6th Machine Gun Company formed on 4 January 1916
left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
6th Trench Mortar Battery joined by 18 March 1916
19th Brigade This Brigade joined from 27th Division in order to replace the 4th (Guards) Brigade. It came under divisional command on 19 August 1915 but left to go to 33rd Division on 25 November 1915
2nd Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers  
1st Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)  
1/5th Bn, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)  
1st Bn, the Middlesex Regt  
2nd Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders  
99th Brigade This Brigade arrived from 33rd Division on 25 November 1915
17th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers  
22nd Bn, the Royal Fusiliers  
23rd Bn, the Royal Fusiliers  
24th Bn, the Royal Fusiliers left December 1915
1/5th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regt) joined February 1915, left December 1915
1st Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regiment joined March 1915, left September 1915
1st Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps joined 8 December 1915, disbanded February 1918
99th Machine Gun Company joined on 28 April 1916
left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
99th Trench Mortar Battery joined by 18 March 1916
Divisional Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
10th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (Cornwall Pioneers) joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion June 1916, left July 1917 but returned November 1917
242nd Company, the Machine Gun Corps joined 18 July 1917
left to move into 2nd MG Battalion 4 March 1918
2nd Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps formed 4 March 1918
2nd Divisional Train ASC 8, 11, 28, 31, 35 Companies. 11 left with 4th (Guards) Brigade in August 1915
3rd Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
205th Divisional Employment Company joined 18 May 1917 at which time it was 7th Divisional Employment Company; renamed in June 1917
2nd Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop Unit joined by 4 April 1915, transferred to Divisional Train 9 April 1916
Divisional Mounted Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
B Squadron, the 15th (King's) Hussars left April 1915
B Sqn, South Irish Horse joined May 1915, left May 1916
2nd Company, Army Cyclist Corps left June 1916
Divisional Artillery  
XXXIV Brigade, RFA left January 1917
XXXVI Brigade, RFA  
XLI Brigade, RFA  
XLIV (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA left May 1916
2nd Divisional Ammunition Column  
1st Siege Battery RGA joined February 1915, left April 1915
26th Heavy Battery RGA joined February 1915, left April 1915
35th Heavy Battery RGA left April 1915
No 11 Pom-Pom Section RGA attached 22 September 1914 to 25 January 1915
No 7 Mountain Battery RGA attached 4 February 1915 to 9 December 1915
V.2 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA formed 26 May 1917, left by 3 January 1918
X.2, Y.2 and Z.2 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA joined in April 1916; on 24 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
Royal Engineers  
5th Field Company  
11th Field Company left December 1915
226th Field Company joined December 1915
1st (East Anglian) Field Company joined January 1915, later renamed 483rd Field Company RE
2nd Divisional Signals Company  
Royal Army Medical Corps  
4th Field Ambulance left for Guards Division 19 August 1915
5th Field Ambulance  
6th Field Ambulance  
19th Field Ambulance joined August 1915, left November 1915
100th Field Ambulance joined November 1915
11th Sanitary Section joined by 9 January 1915, left 27 December 1916