The 60th (2/2nd London) Division in 1914-1918

The history of 60th (2/2nd London) Division

Divisional symbolOn 31 August 1914 the War Office issued instructions for all units of the Territorial Force to form a reserve unit. The men who had agreed to serve overseas were separated from the rest. Those left as 'home service only' were formed into 'second line' units, which would be this reserve. They were joined by many new recruits from September 1914 onward.

1914

The units of the Division were quickly filled and a partial concentration carried out at White City in October. Early parades and training was done in civilian clothes and with only a bare minimum of available equipment. In December the units of he Division began to move to the Dorking-Reigate area in Surrey.

1915

Drafts of men began to be supplied to the corresponding 'first line' units as early as January 1915. In that month, the first rifles arrived by they were Japanese models and with only 100 rounds of ammunition each. Lord Kitchener inspected the Division at Epsom Downs on 21 January, by which date only one battalion was fully equipped with rifles.

In March 1917, the 47th (2nd London) Division was preparaing to embark for service in France. Many large drafts left 60th Division to bring the 'first line' up to full strength. Later that month the Division moved to St Albans. At the end of May Divisional HQ moved to Bishops Stortford and the units were scattered across Hertfordshire and Essex.

At last, 6300 Lee Enfield rifles were received in November 1915. Modern artillery also began to arrive at the end of the month.

1916

The Division moved to Warminster (Salisbury Plain) training area in late January 1916, with Divisional HQ being set up at Sutton Veny. King George V inspected the Division there on 31 May.

Orders were received on 14 June 1916 to send advance parties to Le Havre 9on 15 June) and Boulogne (18) to prepare for the Division to cross to France. The crossing was completed by 29 June and the Division concentrated in XVII Corps area.

On 1 November the Division received orders to reorganise, preparatory for a move to Salonika. Units entrained at Longpre between 14-25 November and, going via Marseilles and Malta, assembled at Salonika on 25 December 1916. The Division then remained in Salonika and took part in the following engagements:

1917

The Battle of Doiran (24-25 April and 8-9 May)

In June 1917 the Division was once again reorganised in preparation for a move to Egypt for operations in Palestine. It embarked on 12 June and by 4 July had completed concentration at Moascar in the Southern Suez Canal Zone. The Division began to advance to Palestine and by 23 July was at Deir el Balah (8 miles SW of Gaza). The Division then remained in Palestine and took part in the following engagements:

The Third Battle of Gaza (30 October - 7 November), notably in the capture of Beersheba (31 October) and teh capture of the Sheria position (6 November)
The capture of Jerusalem (8-9 December)
The defence of Jerusalem (26-30 December)

1918
The capture of Jericho (19-21 February)
The battle of Tell'Asur (8-12 March)
The first Trans-Jordan raid (as part of Shea's Force, 21 March - 2 April)
The attack on Amman (as part of Chaytor's Column, 27-30 March)
The second Trans-Jordan raid (30 April - 4 May)

Between 26 May and 1 August 1918 the Division was "Indianised"; that is, British units (most of which went to France) were exchanged for units of the Indian Army.

The Battles of Megiddo (specifically the Battle of Sharon, 19-21 S.eptember)

After this the Divisional mounted units were engaged in pursuit of the broken enemy, while the rest of the Division remained on salvage and similar work. Divisional HQ moved to Mulebbis on 24 September and thence to Auja in early October. It moved (after the Armistice) on 3 November to Lydda, then five days later a longer move via Qantara to Alexandria commenced. By 26 November the whole Division was at Alexandria. demobilisation commenced. By 31 May 1919 the Division ceased to exist.

The order of battle of the 60th (2/2nd London) Division

179th (2/4th London) Brigade  
2/13th Bn, the London Regiment  
2/14th Bn, the London Regiment left 30 May 1918
2/15th Bn, the London Regiment left 30 May 1918
2/16th Bn, the London Regiment left 30 May 1918
179th Machine Gun Company joined 29 June 1916, moved to 60th Bn MGC 14 May 1918
179th Trench Mortar Battery joined 4 July 1916
SAA Section Ammunition Column joined December 1916, left June 1917
3/151st Infantry joined 4 June 1918
2/19th Punjabis joined 23 June 1918
2/127th Baluchis joined 26 June 1918
   
180th (2/5th London) Brigade  
2/17th Bn, the London Regiment left 27 May 1918
2/18th Bn, the London Regiment disbanded 4-7 July 1918
2/19th Bn, the London Regiment  
2/20th Bn, the London Regiment left 27 May 1918
180th Machine Gun Company joined 29 June 1916, moved to 60th Bn MGC 14 May 1918
180th Trench Mortar Battery joined 4 July 1916
SAA Section Ammunition Column joined December 1916, left June 1917
2nd Guides joined 13 July 1918
2/30th Punjabis joined 13 July 1918
1/50th Kumaon Rifles joined 23 July 1918
   
181st (2/6th London) Brigade  
2/21st Bn, the London Regiment disbanded 3 June 1918
2/22nd Bn, the London Regiment  
2/23rd Bn, the London Regiment left 26 May 1918
2/24th Bn, the London Regiment left 26 May 1918
181st Machine Gun Company joined 29 June 1916, moved to 60th Bn MGC 14 May 1918
181st Trench Mortar Battery joined 4 July 1916
SAA Section Ammunition Column joined December 1916, left June 1917
2/97th Infantry joined 26 June 1918
130th Baluchis joined 26 June 1918
2/152nd Infantry joined 30 June 1918
   
Divisional Troops  
1/12th Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regt joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 1 June 1916, left 30 April 1918
2/155th Pioneers joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 28 June 1918, left for 10th Division 19 July 1918
2/107th Infantry joined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 16 September 1918
60th Battalion MGC formed 14 May 1918
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
2/2nd City of London Yeomanry left 24 January 1916
60th Divisional Cyclist Company left 5 September 1916
B Sqn, the 1/1st Hampshire Carabiniers joined 26 April 1916, left 8 July 1916
A Sqn, the Duke of Lancaster's Yeomanry briefly atttached in August 1917
   
Divisional Artillery  
CCC (2/V London) Brigade, RFA broken up 30-31 August 1916
CCCI (2/VI London) Brigade, RFA  
CCCII (2/VII London) Brigade, RFA  
CCCIII (2/VIII London (Howitzer)) Brigade, RFA  
60th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
2/2nd London Heavy Battery RGA left 24 January 1916
1/1st Wessex Heavy Battery RGA joined 7 April 1915, left 24 January 1916
2/1st Wessex Heavy Battery RGA joined April 1915, left 24 January 1916
W.60 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA joined 28 July1916; left December 1916
X.60, Y.60 and Z.60 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA joined 6 July 1916; all disbanded in arrival in Egypt
   
Royal Engineers  
2/3rd London Field Company left and moved independently to France 23 June 1915, joined 47th (2nd London) Division
521st (2/4th London) Field Company  
519th (3/3rd London) Field Company joined by November 1915
522nd (1/6th London) Company joined June 1915, left 18 July 1918
60th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
2/4th London Field Ambulance broken up 30 June - 4 July 1918
2/5th London Field Ambulance broken up 30 June - 4 July 1918
2/6th London Field Ambulance broken up 30 June - 4 July 1918
60th Sanitary Section joined 29 February 1916
121st Combined Field Ambulance joined 29 June 1918
160th Combined London Field Ambulance joined 30 June 1918
179th Combined Field Ambulance joined 1 July 1918
   
Other Divisional Troops  
60th Divisional Train ASC 517, 518, 519 and 520 Companies ASC (while in Salonika the Train was reorganised. These Companies became the Wheeled Echelon. A Pack Echelon, consisting of 861, 862, 863 and 864 Companies, was also formed. The organisation reverted once in Egypt)
2/2nd London Mobile Veterinary Section AVC