The 49th (West Riding) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 49th (West Riding) Division

Divisional symbolThe West Riding 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.

1914

The units of the Division had just departed for annual summer camp 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 South Yorkshire / Lincolnshire area by mid August 1914.

1915

On 31 March the Division was warned that it would go on overseas service and entrainment began on 12 April. Divisional infantry went via Folkestone-Boulogne while all other units went from Southampton to Le Havre. By 19 April the Division had concentrated in the area of Estaires - Merville - Neuf Berquin. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

The Battle of Aubers Ridge (9 May)
The defence against the first Phosgene attack (19 December)

1916

The Battle of Albert*
The Battle of Bazentin Ridge*
The Battle of Pozieres Ridge*
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917

Operations on the Flanders Coast (Hush)
The Battle of Poelcapelle**
** the battle marked ** is a phase of the Third Battles of the Ypres

1918

The Battle of Estaires^
The Battle of Messines^
The Battle of Bailleul^ in which the Division defended Neuve Eglise
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 pursuit to the Selle
The Battle of the Selle+
The Battle of Valenciennes+
+ the battles marked + are phases of the Final Advance in Picardy

The Division had been relieved and was resting at Douai on 11 November 1918. The demobilisation of the Division began in early 1919 and the service of the Division came to an end on 30 March when the final cadres left for England. The Division reformed as part of the Territorial Army in April 1920.

The order of battle of the 49th (West Riding) Division

146th (West Riding) Brigade  
1/5th Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment  
1/6th Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment  
1/7th Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment  
1/8th Bn, the West Yorkshire Regiment left January 1918
146th Machine Gun Company formed 27 January 1916, moved to 49th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
146th Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
   
147th (2nd West Riding) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Duke of Wellington's  
1/5th Bn, the Duke of Wellington's left January 1918
1/6th Bn, the Duke of Wellington's  
1/7th Bn, the Duke of Wellington's  
147th Machine Gun Company formed 26 January 1916, moved to 49th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
147th Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
   
148th (3rd West Riding) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the King's Own Yorkshire LI  
1/5th Bn, the King's Own Yorkshire LI left February 1918
1/4th Bn, the York & Lancaster Regiment  
1/5th Bn, the York & Lancaster Regiment  
148th Machine Gun Company formed 6 February 1916, moved to 49th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
148th Trench Mortar Battery formed 12 June 1916
   
Divisional Troops  
1/3rd Bn, the Monmouthshire Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn April 1915, left August 1916
19th Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn August 1916
199th Machine Gun Company joined 19 December 1916, left 29 October 1917
254th Machine Gun Company joined 26 Nov 1917, moved to 49th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
49th Battalion MGC formed 1 March 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
C Sqn, the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars left 8 May 1916
F Sqn, the North Irish Horse briefley between April and June 1916
West Riding Divisional Cyclist Company left 26 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
CCXLV (I West Riding) Brigade, RFA  
CCXLVI (II West Riding) Brigade, RFA  
CCXLVII (III West Riding) Brigade, RFA broken up 28 February 1917
CCXLVIII (IV W. R.) (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 18 October 1916
West Riding Heavy Battery, RGA a Battery of four 4.7-inch guns which left the Division to join VIII Brigade, II Group HA on 24 April 1915; returned to Division 13 May 1915, and finally left on 28 June 1915, rejoining VIII Brigade
49th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
W.49, V.49 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA formed by 17 May 1916; V absorbed W by 7 June 1917; left for X Corps on 7 February 1918
X.49, Y.49 and Z.49 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA formed by 4 April 1916 from former 34, 37 and 48 TMB's; by 9 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have six 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
1st West Riding Field Company left for 29th Division 6 February 1915, later retitled 455th
456th (2nd West Riding) Field Company  
458th (2/1st West Riding) Field Company joined June 1915
57th Field Company joined July 1915
49th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st West Riding Field Ambulance  
2nd West Riding Ambulance  
3rd West Riding Field Ambulance  
49th Sanitary Section left for XI Corps 2 April 1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
49th Divisional Train ASC retitled from the West Riding Divisional Transport and Supply Column, and the units also retitled as 463, 464, 465 and 466 Companies ASC
1st West Riding Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
49th Divisional Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 4 April 1916
243rd Divisional Employment Company joined 16 June 1917

Memorial