The 30th Division in 1914-1918

The history of 30th Division

On 10 December the War Office authorised the formation of the Fifth New Army. Like the other Kitchener Armies, it comprised six Divisions, in this case numbered 37 to 42. What eventually became 30th Division was originally numbered 37th. In April 1915, the original Fourth New Army was broken up and its units converted for training and draft-finding purposes. When this took place the Fifth New Army became Fourth New Army and its Divisions were renumbered to 30th - 35th: thus what we remember as 30th Division was born.

Divisional symbolAs the Earl of Derby (Lord Stanley) was a driving force behind the raising of many of the units in this Division, when asked he gave permission for his family crest to be used as the Divisional symbol. In fact the symbol used by the Division was a slight variation: the eagle looks down on a swaddled child in the Stanley crest, but here the child is replaced by a cap.

After in most cases commencing training near home, the units were moved to concentrate near Grantham in April 1915. There were severe shortages of arms, ammunition and much equipment - for example there was only one gun carriage available even by mid July and even that was for funerals! It was not until October that the artillery was in a position to commence firing practice, a few weeks after the Division had moved to the area of Larkhill on Salisbury Plain.

On 4 November the Division was inspected by Lord Derby, and entrainment began two days later. The Division sailed to le Havre and Boulogne and all units concentrated near Ailly le Haut Clocher (near Amiens) by 12 November 1915. The 30th Division subsequently remained in France and Flanders and took part in these actions:

1916
The Battle of Albert* including the Division's capture of Montauban and subsequent fighting in Trones Wood
The Battle of the Transloy Ridges*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917
The pursuit of the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Second Battle of the Scarpe**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Arras Offensive 1917
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge, a phase of the Third Battles of Ypres 1917

1918
The Battle of St Quentin^
The actions at the Somme Crossings^
The Battle of Rosieres^
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge^^
The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge^^
The Battle of the Scherpenberg^^
^^ the battles marked ^^ are phases of the Battles of the Lys

The army reorganisation in February 1918 and follwoing the Battles of the Somme and Lys completely changed the face of 30th Division. Largely gone were the original "pals" battalions of Liverpool and Manchester, replaced in part by the London Regiment.

The capture of Neuve Eglise+
The capture of Wulverghem+
+ the battles marked + are phases of the Advance in Flanders
The Battle of Ypres++
The Battle of Courtrai++
++ the battles marked ++ are phases of the Final Advance in Flanders

The Division's advance across Flanders continued after the fighting at Courtrai on 14-19 October. On 9 November, 89th Brigade forced a crossing of the River Scheldt ; by that night elements of the Division were at Renaix. At the time when the Armistice came into effect, 11am on 11 November, the advanced units had reached the line Ghoy - la Livarde, north west of Lessines.

Relieved by 29th Division, the 30th began a series of westwards moves and by 4 December was in billets at Renescure. In early January, units of the Division moved for duty at the Base Ports of Dunkirk, Calais, Boulogne and Etaples. Here, men began to be demobilised. The first unit to have been demobilised down to a cadre left for England in May 1919; others were disbanded in France. The Division ceased to exist on 1 september 1919.

The Great War had cost 30th Division a total of 35182 men killed, wounded or missing.

The order of battle of the 30th Division

89th Brigade  
17th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) left June 1918
18th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) left December 1915, rejoined February 1918, left June 1918
19th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment)  
20th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) disbanded February 1918
2nd Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment joined December 1915, left February 1918
89th Machine Gun Company joined 13 March 1916, moved to 30th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
89th Trench Mortar Battery joined by 16 June 1916
7th Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment cadre joined May 1918, left June 1918
2nd Bn, the South Lancashire Regiment joined June 1918
7/8th Bn, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers joined July 1918
2/17th Bn, the London Regiment joined July 1918
   
90th Brigade  
16th Bn, the Manchester Regiment left as cadre June 1918
17th Bn, the Manchester Regiment left February 1918
18th Bn, the Manchester Regiment disbanded February 1918
19th Bn, the Manchester Regiment left December 1915
2nd Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers joined December 1915
90th Machine Gun Company joined 13 March 1916, moved to 30th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
90th Trench Mortar Battery formed by 16 June 1916
2nd Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment joined February 1918, left May 1918
14th Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders joined April 1918, left June 1918
2/14th Bn, the London Regiment joined July 1918
2/15th Bn, the London Regiment joined July 1918
2/16th Bn, the London Regiment joined July 1918
   
91st Brigade  
Brigade transferred to 7th Division on 20 December 1915 in exchange for 21st Division
20th Bn, the Manchester Regiment  
21st Bn, the Manchester Regiment  
22nd Bn, the Manchester Regiment  
24th Bn, the Manchester Regiment  
   
21st Brigade  
Brigade joined from 7th Division on 20 December 1915 in exchange for 21st Division
2nd Bn, the Bedfordshire Regiment moved to 89th Brigade soon after joining Division
2nd Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment left May 1918
2nd Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers moved to 90th Brigade soon after joining Division
2nd Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment left May 1918
18th Bn, King's (Liverpool Regiment) joined from 89th Brigade in exchange for 2nd Bedfords
19th Bn, Manchester Regiment joined from 90th Brigade in exchange for 2nd RSF
21st Machine Gun Company joined 8 March 1916, moved to 30th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
21st Trench Mortar Battery formed by 5 July 1916
17th Bn, Manchester Regiment joined February 1918, left as cadre June 1918
2/5th Bn, the Lincolnshire Regiment joined May 1918, left June 1918
7th Bn, the Royal Irish Regiment joined July 1918
1/6th Bn, Cheshire Regiment joined July 1918
2/23rd Bn, the London Regiment joined July 1918
   
Divisional Troops  
11th Bn, the South Lancashire Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion May 1915, left as cadre June 1918
7th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters joined as cadre May 1918, left June 1918
13th Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment joined and left as cadre, June 1918
6th Bn, the South Wales Borderers joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion July 1918
226th Machine Gun Company joined 19 July 1917, moved to 30th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
30th Battalion MGC formed 1 March 1918, reduced to cadre 13 May 1918 (540 men moved to 31st Bn), being replaced on 29 June 1918 by "A" Bn, MGC which was then redesignated as 30th Bn
19th Motor Machine Gun Battery joined 10 February 1916, left 6 June 1916
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
D Sqn, the Lancashire Hussars left 10 May 1916
30th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps left 21 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
CXLVIII Brigade, RFA  
CXLIX Brigade, RFA  
CL Brigade, RFA left 2 January 1917
CLI (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 26 August 1916
30th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
11 (Hull) Heavy Battery, RGA joined June 1915, left March 1916
125 Heavy Battery, RGA raised with the Division but moved independently to France on 29 April 1916
V.30 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA joined by 7 October 1916, left by 11 February 1918
X.30, Y.30 and Z.30 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA by 11 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
200th (County Palatine) Field Company  
201st (County Palatine) Field Company  
202nd (County Palatine) Field Company  
30th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
111th Field Ambulance left September 1915
112th Field Ambulance left September 1915
113th Field Ambulance left September 1915
70th Sanitary Section left 2 April 1917
96th Field Ambulance joined November 1915
97th Field Ambulance joined November 1915
98th Field Ambulance joined November 1915
   
Other Divisional Troops  
30th Divisional Train ASC 186, 187, 188 and 189 Companies ASC joined from 22nd Division in France in November 1915
40th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
227th Divisional Employment Company joined 24 May 1917
30th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop merged into Divisional workshops 7 April 1916

Montauban memorial