The 47th (2nd London) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 47th (2nd London) Division

Divisional symbolThe 2nd London 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.

* Not to be confused. This was a "First Line" TF Division. It has "2nd" in its title simply because there were two in London. The other was the 56th (1st London) Division.

1914

The units of the Division had just arrived for annual summer camp on Salisbury Plain when emergency orders recalled them to the home base. All units were mobilised for full time war service on 5 August 1914 and moved to concentrate in the St Albans area by mid August 1914. In October the Division was warned that it would go on overseas service. Many units were detached from the Division and sent independently to France as sorely-needed reinforcements for the BEF.

1915

Units began to cross to France on 8-9 March. 5th London Brigade was ordered to Cassel, and the rest concentrated near Bethune by 22 March. 5th London Brigade then rejoined. The 2nd London was the second TF Division to arrive complete in France. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

The Battle of Aubers Ridge (9 May)
The Battle of Festubert (15-25 May)
The Battle of Loos (25 september - 1 October)
The subsequent Actions of the Hohenzollern Redoubt (13-19 October)

1916

The German attack at Vimy Ridge (21 May)
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette* in which the Division captured High Wood
The Battle of the Transloy Ridges* in which the Division captured Eaucourt l'Abbaye
The attacks on the Butte de Warlencourt*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917

The Battle of Messines (7 - 13 June)
The Battle of Pilkem Ridge (31 July - 2 August), a phase of the Third Battles of Ypres
Other operations in the Third Battles of Ypres (18 August-2 september and 8 -17 September)
The Cambrai Operations, in which the Division captured Bourlon Wood and fought the German counter attacks

1918
The Battle of St Quentin**
The First Battle of Bapaume**
The Battle of the Ancre**
** 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 operations in Artois^ including the official entry into Lille
^ the battle marked ^ is a phase of the Final Advance in Artois

The forward units of the Division reached Franses-lez-Buissenal / Moustier, north of Leuze, on 10 November 1918. Next day the Division marched back to Tournai and on 26 November moved on to the Bethune area. Not selected to join the Army of Occupation, the demobilisation of the Division began and the first parties moved to England 1-10 January 1919. By 28 March it was down to cadre level. The Division reformed as part of the Territorial Army in April 1920.

The order of battle of the 47th (2nd London) Division

140th (4th London) Brigade  
1/13th Bn, the London Regiment left November 1914
1/14th Bn, the London Regiment left September 1914
1/15th Bn, the London Regiment  
1/16th Bn, the London Regiment left November 1914
1/6th Bn, the London Regiment joined November 1914, left January 1918
1/7th Bn, the London Regiment joined November 1914, left February 1918
1/8th Bn, the London Regiment joined November 1914, left February 1918
140th Machine Gun Company formed 13 Dec 1915, moved to 47th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
140th Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
1/17th Bn, the London Regiment joined from 141st Bde February 1918
1/21st Bn, the London Regiment joined from 142nd Bde February 1918
   
141st (5th London) Brigade  
1/17th Bn, the London Regiment left for 140th Bde February 1918
1/18th Bn, the London Regiment  
1/19th Bn, the London Regiment  
1/20th Bn, the London Regiment  
141st Machine Gun Company formed 12 Dec 1915, moved to 47th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
141st Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
   
142nd (6th London) Brigade  
1/21st Bn, the London Regiment left for 140th Bde February 1918
1/22nd Bn, the London Regiment  
1/23rd Bn, the London Regiment  
1/24th Bn, the London Regiment  
1/3rd Bn, the London Regiment joined November 1915, left February 1916
142nd Machine Gun Company formed 10 Dec 1915, moved to 47th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
142nd Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
   
Divisional Troops  
1/1st Bn, the Honourable Artillery Company joined August 1914, left September 1914
1/28th Bn, the London Regiment joined August 1914, left October 1914
1/4th Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn September 1915
239th Machine Gun Company joined 17 July 1917, left 1 October 1917
255th Machine Gun Company joined 19 November 1917, moved to 47th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
47th Battalion MGC formed 1 March 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
C Sqn, the 1st King Edward's Horse left June 1916
2nd London Divisional Cyclist Company left 1 June 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
The artillery of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division was also attached to the 47th Division between 13 and 25 August 1918, whereupon it was transferred to the 3rd Australian Division
CCXXXV Brigade, RFA  
CCXXXVI Brigade, RFA  
CCXXXVII Brigade, RFA left November 1916
CCXXXVIII (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up January 1917
CCLXXX Brigade, RFA attached 3-26 January 1916
CCLXXXII Brigade, RFA attached 27 January - 19 February 1916
47th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
V.47 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA joined 6 November 1916; left for V Corps 16 February 1918
X.47, Y.47 and Z.47 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA X and Y joined 17 November 1915, originally as No 7 and No 8, and Z was formed in April 1916; on 1 February 1918, X broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each, Z Batt being redesignated X Battery
   
Royal Engineers  
517th (3rd London) Field Company left December 1914, rejoined April 1915
518th (4th London) Field Company  
520th (2/3rd London) Company joined June 1915
47th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
4th London Field Ambulance  
5th London Field Ambulance  
6th London Field Ambulance  
47th Sanitary Section left for Second Army 18 April 1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
47th Divisional Train ASC retitled from the 2nd London Divisional Transport and Supply Column, and the units also retitled as 455, 456, 457 and 458 Companies ASC
2nd London Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
47th Divisional Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 3 April 1916
241st Divisional Employment Company joined May 1917

Memorial