The 46th (North Midland) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 46th (North Midland) Division

Divisional Christmas Card 1917The North Midland 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.

1914

The units of the Division concentrated in the Luton area by mid August 1914.

1915

King George V inspected the Division on 19 February. Advance parties landed at Boulogne on 23 February and eight days later the units began to arrive. Concentration was completed by 8 March. The North Midland was thus the first TF Division to arrive complete in a theatre of war. The first months were spent in the Ypres salient.

On 12 May 1915 the Division was retitled as the 46th (North Midland) Division and the brigades were also retitled.

The Division then took part in the following engagements:

The German liquid fire attack at Hooge (30-31 July 1915)
The attack at the Hohenzollern Redoubt (13 October 1915)

On 23 December 1915 the Division was ordered to proceed to Egypt, leaving the Divisional Ammunition Column
(for the 55th Division), the Divisional Train (with the 56th Division) and the Mobile Veterinary Section. Most units reached Egypt via Marseilles by 13 January.

1916

After just a few days in Egypt, the move of the Division was countermanded and the units were returned to France, whereupon the DAC, Train and Vets rejoined. The Division remained in France and Flanders for the rest of the war, taking part in the following engagements:

The diversionary attack at Gommecourt (1 July 1916)

1917

Operations on the Ancre (March)
Occupation of the Gommecourt defences (4 March)
The attack on Rettemoy Graben (12 March)
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The attack on Lievin (1 July)
The Battle of Hill 70 (15-25 August)

1918
The Battle of the St Quentin canal, including the passage of the canal at Bellenglise*
The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line*
The Battle of Cambrai*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line 1918
The Battle of the Selle**
The Battle of Sambre**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Final Advance in Picardy


The forward units of the Division were at Sains-du-Nord on 11 November 1918. Not selected to join the Army of Occupation, the Division moved back to Landrecies on 14-15 November. Units moved to the Le Cateau area in early January 1919 and demobilisation began. By June it was down to cadre level. The Division reformed as part of the Territorial Army in April 1920.

The order of battle of the 46th (North Midland) Division

137th (Staffordshire) Brigade  
1/5th Bn, the South Staffordshire Regiment  
1/6th Bn, the South Staffordshire Regiment  
1/5th Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment left January 1918
1/6th Bn, the North Staffordshire Regiment  
4th Bn, the King's (Liverpool Regiment) joined November 1915, left December 1915
1/4th Bn, the Seaforth Highlanders joined and left November 1915
1/4th Bn, the London Regiment joined and left November 1915
137th Machine Gun Company joined 7 March 1916, moved to 46th Bn MGC 28 February 1918
137th Trench Mortar Battery joined 2 March 1916
   
138th (Lincoln & Leicester) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Lincolnshire Regiment left January 1918
1/5th Bn, the Lincolnshire Regiment  
1/4th Bn, the Leicestershire Regiment  
1/5th Bn, the Leicestershire Regiment  
138th Machine Gun Company joined 22 February 1916, moved to 46th Bn MGC 28 Feb 1918
138th Trench Mortar Battery joined 2 March 1916
   
139th (Sherwood Forester) Brigade  
1/5th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters  
1/6th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters  
1/7th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters left January 1918
1/8th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters  
1/4th Bn, the Black Watch joined and left November 1915
1/3rd Bn, the London Regiment joined and left November 1915
139th Machine Gun Company joined 16 February 1916, moved to 46th Bn MGC 26 Feb 1918
139th Trench Mortar Battery joined 9 March 1916
   
Divisional Troops  
1/1st Bn, the Monmouthshire Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn September 1915
178th Machine Gun Company joined 28 March 1917, moved to 46th Bn MGC 28 Feb 1918
46th Battalion MGC formed 28 February 1918
100th Battalion MGC joined 26 September 1918, left 1 October 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
B Sqn, the Yorkshire Hussars left 5 May 1916
North Midland Divisional Cyclist Company left 9 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
CCXXX Brigade, RFA  
CCXXXI Brigade, RFA  
CCXXXII Brigade, RFA left January 1917
CCXXXIII (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up August 1916
North Midland (Staffordshire) Heavy Battery, RGA a battery of four 4.7-inch guns which left for XIII HA Brigade, RGA on 18 April 1915
46th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
V.46 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA joined 20 June 1916; left for I Corps 3 February 1918
X.46, Y.46 and Z.46 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA joined 9-17 March 1916; on 3 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
465th (1st North Midland) Field Company left January 1915, rejoined April 1915
466th (2nd North Midland) Field Company  
468th (2/1st North Midland) Company  
57th (3rd East Lancashire) Field Company joined April 1915, left July 1915
46th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st North Midland Field Ambulance  
2nd North Midland Field Ambulance  
3rd North Midland Field Ambulance  
17th Sanitary Section joined 4 March 1915, left for V Corps 21 March1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
46th Divisional Train ASC retitled from the North Midland Divisional Transport and Supply Column, and the units also retitled as 451, 452, 453 and 454 Companies ASC
1st North Midland Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
46th Divisional Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 6 April 1916
240th Divisional Employment Company joined 25 June 1917

Memorial

Did you know you can download a complete copy of the published history of the 46th Division?
Free of charge, care of the Internet Archive: Breaking the Hindenburg Line Link