The 44th (Home Counties) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 44th (Home Counties) Division

The Home Counties Division was a formation of the Territorial Force. It was formed as a result of the reforms of the army carried out in 1908 under the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane and was one of 14 Divisions of the peacetime TF. All units were mobilised for full time war service on 5 August 1914.

Early in September 1914 two battalions which had already reached the required proportion of men agreeing to overseas service (1/7th and 1/8th Middlesex Regiment) were detached and sent to Gibraltar in order to relieve units of the regular army that were needed for France.

On 22 September 1914 the government of India agreed to send 32 British and 20 Indian regular army battalions to Europe in exchange for 43 TF battalions. Lord Kitchener proposed to send the Home Counties Division. The entire Division was to go, with the exception of the staffs of the infantry brigades, the ammunition columns of the artillery brigades, the Royal Engineers, Royal Army Medical Corps and the Divisional Transport and Supply Column ASC. All units that were going to India assembled at Southampton and sailed on 30 October. They all went to Bombay, landing between 1 and 3 December.

The Brecknockshire Battalion of the South Wales Borderers was detached and embarked at Bombay on 9 December for Aden, where it arrived seven days later.

On arrival, the units reverted to peacetime service conditions but remained embodied for full time duty. Units moved out to garrison Kamptee, Mhow, Jullundur, Mooltan, Ferozepore, Jubbulpore, Lucknow, Cawnpore, Fyzabad, Mhow, Jhansi, Dinapore and Fort William. Two units went to Burma, being stationed at Rangoon and Myanmo. One of these, the 1/4th King's Shropshire Light Infantry, also sent a detachment to the Andaman Islands.

1915

The 1/4th King's Shropshire Light Infantry in Rangoon was ordered on 21 January to disarm a native infantry battalion of the local garrison which was threatening mutiny. Soon after, another mutiny at Singapore caused more than half the battalion to be sent there and the 2/4th Border Regiment, which arrived in April, was ent to reinforce Rangoon.

In August the Brecknockshire Battalion returned form Aden, where it was replaced by 1/4th Buffs.

Large numbers of units were sent to Mesopotamia; they were replaced by Second Line and Garrison units coming out from England. These units, while taking over the roles, were not placed under Divisional command. This process, along with rotation of units going to Aden, continued through 1916, 1917 and 1918.

1919

Some units were retained in India for the Third Afghan War (1/4th Bn, the Queen's, 1/4th and 2/4th Bns, the Border Regiment and 1/4th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment). This aside, units were gradually reduced to cadres and sailed for England. The Home Counties Division was reformed in England in 1920.

The order of battle of the 44th (Home Counties) Division

131st (Surrey) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Queen's  
1/5th Bn, the Queen's left December 1915 (Mesopotamia)
1/5th Bn, the East Surrey Regiment left December 1917 (Mesopotamia)
1/6th Bn, the East Surrey Regiment served in Aden 7 February 1917 to 8 January 1918
   
132nd (Middlesex) Brigade  
1/7th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment left September 1914
1/8th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment left September 1914
1/9th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment left November 1917 (Mesopotamia)
1/10th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment left September 1917 (Palestine)
1/4th Bn, the Border Regiment joined October 1914
1/4th Bn, the King's Shropshire Light Infantry) joined October 1914, served in Rangoon, Singapore and Hong Kong 91915/1916), Ceylon (April-May 1917) then left Division and went via South Africa to France
1/1st Brecknockshire Battalion, the South Wales Borderers joined October 1914, served in Aden 16 December 1914 - 5 August 1915
2/4th Bn, the Border Regiment joined March 1915
   
133rd (Kent) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Buffs served in Aden 4 August 1915 to 28 January 1916
1/5th Bn, the Buffs left December 1915 (Mesopotamia)
1/4th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment left January 1916 (Mesopotamia)
1/5th Bn, the Royal West Kent Regiment left December 1917 (Mesopotamia)
   
Divisional Artillery  
CCXX (I Home Counties) Brigade, RFA left December 1915 for service in Mesopotamia but returned to India July 1916; left again October 1917 (Mesopotamia)
CCXXI (Howitzer) (II Home Counties) Brigade, RFA left October 1917 (Mesopotamia)
III Home Counties (Cinque Ports) Brigade, RFA left May 1916 (Mesopotamia) (did not have title CCXXII until later)
IV Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA left for 27th Division December 1914
Home Counties (Kent) Heavy Battery, RGA did not go to India; to France December 1915
   
Royal Engineers  
I Home Counties Field Company left for 8th Division in France February 1915
II Home Counties Field Company left for 5th Division in France February 1915
Home Counties Divisional Signals Company left for 28th Division January 1915
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st Home Counties Field Ambulance left for 27th Division November 1914 (retitled 81st FA)
2nd Home Counties Field Ambulance left for 27th Division November 1914 (retitled 82nd FA)
3rd Home Counties Field Ambulance left for 27th Division November 1914 (retitled 83rd FA)
   
Other Divisional Troops  
Home Counties Divisional Transport and Supply Column ASC left for 27th Division November 1914 (

There is no memorial or published history of this Division.