The 50th (Northumbrian) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 50th (Northumbrian) Division

Divisional Signals Company cardThe Northumbrian 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 their allotted positions on the Tyne defences by mid August 1914.

1915

In early April the Division was warned that it would go on overseas service and entrainment began on 16 April. By 23 April the Division had concentrated in the area of Steenvoorde. It had arrived just as the German army had attacked at nearby Ypres, using poison gas for the first time, and was rushed into the battle. The Division then remained in France and Flanders and took part in the following engagements:

The Battle of St Julien=
The Battle of Frezenburg Ridge=
The Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge=
= the battles marked = are phases of the Second Battles of Ypres

1916

The Battle of Flers-Courcelette*
The Battle of Morval*
The Battle of the Transloy Ridges*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

1917

The First Battle of the Scarpe~
The Capture of Wancourt Ridge~
The Second Battle of the Scarpe~
~the battles marked ~ are phases of the Arras Offensive
The Second Battle of Passchendaele**
** the battle marked ** is a phase of the Third Battles of the Ypres

1918

The Battle of St Quentin***
The Actions at the Somme Crossings***
The Battle of Rosieres***
*** the battles marked *** are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Estaires^
The Battle of Hazebrouck^
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the Battles of the Lys

The Battle of the Aisne

The Division had now taken part in the three great battles against the German offensives of 1918. It had suffered heavy casualties and was exhausted. A decision was taken to rebuild the Division. The original infantry units left and others arrived to take their place. It was not until October that the Division was once again considered to take the field.

The Battle of the St Quentin Canal#
The Battle of the Beaurevoir Line#
The Battle of Cambrai 1918#
# the battles marked # are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
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 Solre le Chateau on 11 November 1918. The demobilisation of the Division began December and the service of the Division came to an end on 19 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 50th (Northumbrian) Division

149th (Northumbrian) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/5th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/6th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/7th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers left 10 February 1918
1/5th Bn, the Border Regiment joined May 1915, left for 151st Bde December 1915
149th Machine Gun Company formed 6 February 1916, moved to 50th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
149th Trench Mortar Battery formed 18 June 1916
3rd Bn, the Royal Fusiliers joined 15 July 1918
13th Bn, the Black Watch joined 15 July 1918
2nd Bn, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers joined 15 July 1918
   
150th (York & Durham) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the East Yorkshire Regiment reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/4th Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/5th Bn, the Yorkshire Regiment reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/5th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry left for 151st Bde 12 February 1918
150th Machine Gun Company formed 1 February 1916, moved to 50th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
150th Trench Mortar Battery formed 18 June 1916
2nd Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers joined 16 July 1918
7th Bn, the Wiltshire Regiment joined 15 July 1918
2nd Bn, the Royal Munster Fusiliers joined 15 July 1918
   
151st (Durham Light Infantry) Brigade  
1/6th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/7th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry left to become Pioneer Bn 16 November 1915
1/8th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
1/9th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry left 12 February 1918
1/5th Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Rgt joined 11 June 1915, left 21 December 1915
1/5th Bn, the Border Regiment joined from 149th Bde December 1915, left 12 February 1918
151st Machine Gun Company formed 6 February 1916, moved to 50th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
151st Trench Mortar Battery formed 18 June 1916
1/5th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined from 150th Bde 12 February 1918, reduced to cadre and left 15 July 1918
6th Bn, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers joined 16 July 1918
1st Bn, the King's Own Yorkshire LI joined 15 July 1918
4th Bn, the King's Royal Rifle Corps joined 16 July 1918
   
Divisional Troops  
1/7th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 16 November 1915, left 20 June 1918
245th Machine Gun Company joined 30 July 1917, moved to 50th Bn MGC 1 March 1918
50th Battalion MGC formed 1 March 1918
5th Bn, the Royal Irish Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 14 July 1918
A number of units joined the Division on a temporary basis during the reorganisation in mid 1918: 8th Border Regiment, 4th South Staffordshire Regiment and 9th Loyal North Lancashire. All had left by August 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
RHQ and A Sqn, the 1/1st Yorkshire Hussars left 10 May 1916
Northumbrian Divisional Cyclist Company left 20 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
From 1 August 1918, the Divisional Artillery served variously under the command of 18th, 58th, 47th, 3rd Australian and 11th Divisions, and did not return to 50th Division until 20 October 1918
CCL (I Northumbrian) Brigade, RFA  
CCLI (II Northumbrian) Brigade, RFA  
CCLII (III Northumbrian) Brigade, RFA broken up 20 January 1917
CCLIII (IV Nthbrn) (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA broken up 16 November 1916
Northumbrian (North Riding) Heavy Battery, RGA a Battery of four 4.7-inch guns which left the Division to join XIII Brigade HA on 16 May 1915
50th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
V.50 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA joined Jul y 1916, left for V/VIII Corps on 11 February 1918
X.50, Y.50 and Z.50 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA formed 5 March 1916 from former 23, 29 and 31 TMB's; by 1 March 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have six 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
446th (1st Northumbrian) Field Company left December 1914, rejoined June 1915
447th (2nd Northumbrian) Field Company  
7th Field Company joined June 1915
50th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st Northumbrian Field Ambulance  
2nd Northumbrian Field Ambulance left December 1914
3rd Northumbrian Field Ambulance  
2/2nd Northumbrian Field Ambulance joined April 1915
50th Sanitary Section left for Fourth Army 3 April 1917
   
Other Divisional Troops  
50th Divisional Train ASC retitled from the Northumbrian Divisional Transport and Supply Column, and the units also retitled as 467, 468, 469 and 470 Companies ASC
1st Northumbrian Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
50th Divisional Ambulance Workshop absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 3 April 1916
244th Divisional Employment Company joined 9 June 1917

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