The 52nd (Lowland) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 52nd (Lowland) Division

The Lowland 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 Scottish coastal defences by mid August 1914.

Several of the Division's units left in the period November 1914 - March 1915,

1915

On 5 April the Division was warned that it would go on overseas service; on 7 May this was confirmed, with the destination being Gallipoli. The units embarkade at Liverpool and Devonport between 18 May and 8 June. Disaster struck on 22 May when a train carrying the battalion HQ and two Companies of the 1/7th Royal Scots crashed in an accident at Quntinshill near Gretna. 3 officers and 207 men died, 5 officers and 219 were injured. Fewer than 70 men survived this crash unscathed. Two of the field artillery brigades and the heavy battery remained on the Forth defences. The first units landed on Gallipoli (Cape Helles) on 6 June. The Division was then involved in the following moves and engagements:

Gully Ravine (28-29 June)=
Achi Baba Nullah (12-13 July)=
Krithia Nullahs (29 December)=
The evcuation of Helles (7-8 January 1916)=
= the battles marked = are phases of the Gallipoli campaign

1916

The Division moved to Egypt after being evaacuated from Gallipoli and concentrated at Abbassia near Cairo. It subsequently moved to El Kantara and on 2 March took over No 3 Section of the Suez Canal defences.

Dueidar (22 April)*
The Battle of Romani (4-5 August)*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Palestine campaign

1917

The First Battle of Gaza (26-27 March, this Division being in reserve)*
The Second Battle of Gaza (17-19 April)*
The Third Battle of Gaza (1-7 November)*
Wadi el Hesi (8 November)*
Burqa (12 November, 156th Brigade only)*
El Maghar (13 November, 155th Brigade only)*
The capture of Junction Station (14 November)*
The Battle of Nabi Samweil (20 - 24 November)*
The Battle of Jaffa (21-22 December)*, including the passage of the Nahr-el-Auja
* the battles marked * are phases of the Palestine campaign

1918

The Division remained in the line near Arsuf until March 1918. Orders were received on 24 March that the Division would be relieved by the 7th (Meerut) Division and that it would then proceed to France. The Divisional artillery was exchanged with that of the Indian Division and all units sailed from Alexandria between 4 and 11 April. The Division went via Marseilles and concentrated near Abbeville by 23 April. En route the ship Kingstonian, carring IX Brigade RFA, 413 Company RE and a section of the Divisinal Ammunition Column) was torpedoed on 11 April.

On 29 April the Division moved to Aire and took over a sector of front line near Vimy on 6 May. It was withdrawn into reserve on 23 July and eight days later once again went into the line north east of Arras:

The Battle of Albert**
** the battle marked ** is a phase of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of the Scarpe^
The Battle of the Drocourt-Queant Line^
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the Second Battles of Arras 1918

The Battle of the Canal du Nord+
+ the battle marked + is a phase of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The Final Advance in Artois

The Division was in the front line north of the Mons canal and was engaged on clearing Herchies on 11 November 1918. The demobilisation of the Division began in December and the service of the Division came to an end on 31 May when the final cadres left for home. The Division reformed as part of the Territorial Army in April 1920.

The order of battle of the 52nd (Lowland) Division

155th (South Scottish) Brigade  
1/4th Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers  
1/5th Bn, the Royal Scots Fusiliers  
1/4th Bn, the King's Own Scottish Borderers  
1/5th Bn, the King's Own Scottish Borderers left 28 June 1918
155th Machine Gun Company formed 23 March 1916, moved to 52nd Bn MGC 28 April 1918
155th Trench Mortar Battery formed 24 May 1917
   
156th (Scottish Rifles) Brigade  
1/5th Bn, the Cameronians left November 1914
1/6th Bn, the Cameronians left March 1915
1/7th Bn, the Cameronians  
1/8th Bn, the Cameronians left 28 June 1918
1/4th, the Royal Scots joined April 1915
1/7th, the Royal Scots joined April 1915
156th Machine Gun Company formed 16 March 1916, moved to 52nd Bn MGC 28 April 1918
156th Trench Mortar Battery formed 27 June 1917
   
157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade  
1/5th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry  
1/6th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry  
1/7th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry  
1/9th Bn, the Highland Light Infantry left November 1914
1/5th Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders joined April 1915, left 28 June 1918
157th Machine Gun Company formed 14 March 1916, moved to 52nd Bn MGC 28 April 1918
157th Trench Mortar Battery formed 11 June 1917
   
Divisional Troops  
5th Bn, the Royal Irish Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 3 April 1918, left 31 May 1918
17th Bn, the Northumberland Fusiliers joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 31 May 1918
211th Machine Gun Company formed by 15 September 1917 in XXI Corps, joined Division 1/4/1918, went into 52nd Bn MGC 28 April 1918
52nd Battalion MGC formed 28 April 1918
The 1st Dismounted Brigade (consisting of the Ayrshire and Lanarkshire regiments of Yeomanry, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Scottish Horse, 1 Signals Coy, 1 MG Coy, 1 Field Ambulance) was also attached to the Division between 8 february 1916 and 28 June 1916 on Suez Canal defences
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
Lowland Divisional Cyclist Company broken up 1 August 1915, reformed in Egypt 27 March 1916, left for XXI Corps 8 December 1917
RHQ and C Sqn, the 1/1st Royal Glasgow Yeomanry joined 10 October 1915, left for XXI Corps Cavalary regiment on 21 August 1917
The Lowland Mounted Brigade (consisting of the Ayrshire and Lanarkshire regiments of Yeomanry) was also attached to the Division between 11 October and 31 December 1915
A troop of the 4th Hussars and a detachment of VIII Corps Cyclist Battalion were attached to the Division between 30 October and 11 November 1918
   
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 52nd Division until 20 October 1918
CCLXI (II Lowland) Brigade, RFA remained in Egypt when Divn went to Gallipoli, left 3 April 1918
CCLXIII (IV Lowland) (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA remained in Egypt when Divn went to Gallipoli, broken up 30 December 1916
CCLXII (III Lowland) Brigade, RFA rejoined 17 March 1916, left 3 April 1918
CCLXIV (V Lowland) Brigade, RFA rejoined 17 March 1916, left 3 April 1918
Lowland (Edinburgh) Heavy Battery, RGA did not sail with the Division; moved independently to France 16 february 1916 and joined XVII HA Bde
52nd Pom-Pom Battery, RFA attached during June 1917
IX Battery, RFA joined 1 April 1918
LVI Battery, RFA joined 1 April 1918
52nd Divisional Ammunition Column RFA remained in Egypt when Divn went to Gallipoli, broken up 17 March 1916, reformed 1 january 1917, excahnged for the DAC of 7th (Meerut) Div on 1 April 1918
X.52, Y.52 and Z.52 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA joined 30 October 1917, all left for 7th (Meerut) Division 3 April 1918, replaced by two batteries (X and Y) from TM School on 8 May 1918
   
Royal Engineers  
1st Lowland Field Company left December 1914
410th (2nd Lowland) Field Company left March 1915, rejoined 24 February 1916
412th (2/1st Lowland) Field Company joined March 1915
413th (2/2nd Lowland) Field Company joined March 1915
52nd Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
1st Lowland Field Ambulance  
2nd Lowland Field Ambulance  
3rd Lowland Field Ambulance  
52nd Sanitary Section left for 10th (Irish) Division October 1915, rejoined October 1917, left for XI Corps 4 May 1918
   
Other Divisional Troops  
52nd Divisional Train ASC retitled from the Lowland Divisional Transport and Supply Column, and the units also retitled as 471, 472, 473 and 474 Companies ASC. Train left to join 10th (Irish) Division October 1915. 217, 218, 219 and 220 Companies ASC joined from 31st Division March 1916.
1st Lowland Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
52nd Divisional Ambulance Workshop joined from 31st Division 21 April 1916, absorbed into Divisional Supply Column June 1917
984th Divisional Employment Company formed in France April 1918

Memorial