The 3rd Cavalry Division in 1914-1918

The history of the 3rd Cavalry Division

The Division was formed at Windmill Hill Camp at Ludgershall in early September 1914. It left there on 5 October and began to embark next day at Southampton. After some sailing delay due to suspected submarine activity in the English Channel, it arrived at Ostende on 8 October and proceeded to Bruges as part of IV Corps. The Division then remained on the Western Front in France and Flanders, taking part in the following engagements:

1914
The Antwerp operations (9 - 10 October)
The Battle of Langemarck (21 - 24 October)*
The Battle of Gheluvelt (29 - 31 October)*
The Battle of Nonne Bosschen (11 November)
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of Ypres 1914 ("First Ypres")

1915
Winter Operations 1914-15
The Battle of Frezenburg Ridge (11 - 13 May, a phase of the Battles of Ypres 1915) ("Second Ypres")
The Battle of Loos (26 - 28 September)

1916
No major engagements

1917
The First Battle of the Scarpe (9 - 12 April, a phase of the Arras Offensive)
The attack on Monchy le Preux (10 -11 April, a phase of the Arras Offensive)

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 5 April)

Note: between 22 and 25 March 1918 the Division provided the 3rd Dismounted Division, organised into three dismounted brigades. It also provided a mounted detachment under "Harman's Detachment" and then "Reynolds's Force" between 23 and 29 March.

The actions at the Somme crossings (24 - 25 March, a phase of the of the First Battles of the Somme)
The Battle of the Avre (4 - 5 April, a phase of the of the First Battles of the Somme)
The Battle of Amiens (8 - 11 August)
The Battle of Cambrai 1918 (8 - 9 October, a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line)
The Pursuit to the Selle (9 - 12 October)
The Final Advance in Flanders (9 - 11 November)

By 11 November the advance units of the Division had reached the line of the River Dender at Leuze and Lessines.

The Division was selected to advance into Germany as an advance screen for Second Army and form part of the Occupation Force. The move began on 17 November; Waterloo was reached four days later. Transport and supply difficulties caused a change of plan and the Division remained in Belgium throughout the winter. The Division ceased to exist at midnight 31 March / 1 April 1919.

The order of battle of the 3rd Cavalry Division

6th Cavalry Brigade began to form on 19 September 1914
1st Royal Dragoons  
10th Hussars left for 8th Cav Bde 20 November 1914, rejoined from 8th Cav Bde 12 March 1918
3rd Dragoon Guards joined 4 November 1914
1/1st North Somerset Yeomanry joined 13 November 1914, left for 8th Cav Bde 13 March 1918
C Battery, RHA joined 19 October 1914
6th Signal Troop RE  
6th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 29 February 1916
   
7th Cavalry Brigade formed on 1 September 1914
1st Life Guards left 10 March 1918
2nd Life Guards left 10 March 1918
Royal Horse Guards left for 8th Cav Bde 21 November 1914
1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry joined 12 November 1914, left for 8th Cav Bde 7 November 1917
K Battery, RHA joined 1 October 1914
7th Signal Troop RE  
7th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 29 February 1916, broken up 14 April 1918
7th Dragoon Guards joined 10 March 1918
6th Inniskilling Dragoons joined 10 March 1918
17th Lancers joined 10 March 1918
   
8th Cavalry Brigade formed 20 November 1914, left 14 March 1918
Royal Horse Guards joined from 7th Cav Bde 21 November 1914, rejoined 7th Cav Bde 7 November 1917
10th Hussars joined from 6th Cav Bde 20 November 1914, rejoined 6th Cav Bde 12 March 1918
1/1st Essex Yeomanry joined 11 December 1914
G Battery, RHA joined 25 November 1914, left for 5th Cavalry Division 13 March 1918
8th Signal Troop RE  
8th Cavalry Bde Machine Gun Squadron MGC formed 29 February 1916, left for 7th Cav Bde 11 March 1918
1/1st Leicestershire Yeomanry joined from 7th Cav Bde 7 November 1917
   
Canadian Cavalry Brigade attached between 10 April and 17 June 1916, joined 13 March 1918
Royal Canadian Dragoons  
Lord Strathcona's Horse  
Fort Garry Horse  
Royal Canadian Horse Artillery Brigade  
Cavalry Cavalry Machine Gun Squadron  
Canadian Signal Troop RE  
   
Divisional Artillery  
XV Brigade, RHA and XV Brigade Ammunition Column, RHA formed 1 October 1914 and retitled as IV Brigade in May 1915
   
Royal Engineers  
3rd Field Squadron joined 19 October 1914
3rd Signal Squadron formed 12 September 1914
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
6th Cavalry Field Ambulance formed 14 September 1914
7th Cavalry Field Ambulance formed 3 October 1914
20th Cavalry Field Ambulance joined ?, left 23 December 1914
8th Cavalry Field Ambulance joined 23 December 1914, left 14 March 1918
7th Canadian Field Ambulance joined 13 March 1918
No 12 Sanitary Section joined 9 January 1915
   
Royal Army Veterinary Corps  
13th Mobile Veterinary Section  
14th Mobile Veterinary Section  
20th Mobile Veterinary Section joined 9 March 1915, left 14 March 1918
'A' Canadian Veterinary Section joined 13 March 1918
   
Other Divisional Troops  
7th Motor Machine Gun Battery MGC joined 30 March 1916, left 18 July 1917
3rd Cavalry Divisional HQ ASC 81 (Horsed Transport) Company, formed 14 September 1914
3rd Cavalry Divisional Auxiliary (Horse) ASC 576 (Horsed Transport) Company, formed 23 September 1915
3rd Cavalry Divisional Supply Column ASC 73 and 414 (Mechanical Transport) Companies, formed 4 and 16 September 1914 respectively. 73 absorbed 414 on 10 October 1916.
773rd Divisional Employment Company formed 16 September 1917
3rd Cavalry Division Field Ambulance Workshop joined 14 May 1915, absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 1 April 1916