The 71st Division in 1914-1918

The history of 71st Division

This formation was created during the war. Late in 1916 orders were given for the formation of three additional home-service Divisions; they would have the dual role of carrying out training of men for overseas drafts, plus providing forces for home defence. 71st was one of the three Divisions formed, and was initially established in Hampshire and Surrey. Division HQ was set up at Gostrey House at Farnham but soon moved to nearby Elmer House. The entire Division moved in the first week of March 1917 to Suffolk and Essex, concentrating in the Colchester area. The Division came under command of Southern Army, Home Forces, and was responsible for East Coast defences from Mersey Island to Walton on the Naze. On 21 December 1917 orders were received that the Division should be broken up. Disbandment began in January 1918 and the final elements disappeared on 8 April 1918.

On 1 January 1917 the Provisional units were all retitled, as shown in the Order of Battle below.

A number of non-regimentally-affiliated Graduated Battalions joined in July 1917. They were affiliated and retitled on 27 October 1917.

In October 1917, 214th Brigade was formed into a special brigade for operations at Murmansk in North Russia. It was transferred to 67th Division on 12 February 1918.

The order of battle of the 71st Division

212th Brigade the three battalions comprising this Bde had previously been with 6th Provisional Brigade, which was not under a Division; broken up 7 March 1918
61st Provisional Battalion became 11th Norfolk Regiment, left by 29 October 1917
100th Provisional Battalion became 29th London Regiment, to 226 Mixed Brigade
101st Provisional Battalion became 30th London Regiment, to 226 Mixed Brigade 5 February 1918
249th Graduated Battalion joined by 9 July 1917; became 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment on 27 October 1917, left 19 February 1918
250th Graduated Battalion joined by 9 July 1917; became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment on 27 October 1917, left 26 February 1918
   
213th Brigade broken up 11 March 1918
16th Bn, the Queen's formed at Farnham 11 November 1916, to 214th Bde 12 November 1917
25th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment joined 3 November 1916, left 22 December 1916
66th Provisional Battalion from 6th Provisional Bde; became 16th Essex Regiment; left by 24 December 1917
18th Bn, the Hampshire Regiment formed at Alton 22 December 1916; left by 24 December 1917
252nd Graduated Battalion joined by 9 July 1917; became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Bedfordshire Regiment on 27 October 1917; left by 25 February 1918
253rd Graduated Battalion joined by 17 September 1917; became 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment on 27 October 1917; left by 25 February 1918
52nd (Graduated) Bn, the Queen's joined from 214th Bde 12 November 1917; left by 18 February 1918
   
214th Brigade October 1917, formed into a special brigade for operations at Murmansk in North Russia; left for 67th Division 12 February 1918
2/6th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined 29 November 1916, to 226 Mixed Brigade
2/7th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined 29 November 1916
2/8th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined 29 November 1916, left by 9 July 1917
255th Graduated Battalion joined by 9 July 1917; became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Queen's on 27 October 1917; to 213th Bde 12 November 1917
256th Graduated Battalion joined by 17 September 1917; became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment on 27 October 1917; left by 18 February 1918
XLIX Brigade, RFA formed 22 October 1917
2/1st Warwickshire Yeomanry TF joined 26 October 1917, left with Bde
2/1st Hertfordshire Yeomanry TF joined 26 October 1917, left with Bde
252 Company, MGC joined 9 November 1917, left with Bde
253 Company, MGC joined 9 November 1917, left with Bde
16th Bn, the Queen's joined from 213th Bde 12 November 1917
   
226th Mixed Brigade joined 13 April 1917, left for 67th Division 12 February 1918
2/6th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined from 214th Bde
29th Bn, the London Regiment joined from 212th Bde
30th Bn, the London Regiment joined from 212th Bde 5 February 1918
2/1st London Heavy Battery, RGA  
2/2nd London Heavy Battery, RGA  
   
Divisional Mounted Troops  
71st Divisional Cyclist Company, ACC joined 11 January 1917, disbanded 3 February 1918
C Sqn, 2/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry TF jpoined 6 March 1917
   
Divisional Artillery broken up by 25 February 1918
CCCL Brigade, RFA formed 13 November 1916, disbanded 25 February 1918
CCCLI Brigade, RFA formed 13 November 1916, left 29 January 1918
71st Divisional Ammunition Column RFA joined as 6th Provisional BAC 27 November 1916, disbanded 25 February 1918
   
Royal Engineers  
548th (2/1st Dundee) Field Company joined as a Fortress Company 27 November 1916 and redesignated; left 30 March 1918 for service in North Russia
549th (2/3rd Lancashire) Field Company joined as a Fortress Company 12 December 1916 and redesignated; left 30 March 1918 for service in France
645th (West Lancashire) Field Company joined as 6th Provisional Field Company 14 November 1916, renumbered on 3 February 1917; left for 67th Division 26 October 1917
71st Divisional Signals Company joined as 6th Provisional Signals Section and redesignated; left with 214th Special Brigade
492nd Field Company joined from 67th Division 26 October 1917; left 12 February 1918 for service in North Russia
   
Royal Army Medical Corps the 6th Provisional Field Ambulance joined 4 December 1916 and formed the three FAs for 72nd Division
301st (Welsh) Field Ambulance disbanded by 31 January 1918
302nd (Welsh) Field Ambulance left with 214th Special Brigade
303rd (Welsh) Field Ambulance disbanded by 31 January 1918
104th Sanitary Section  
   
Other Divisional Troops  
71st Divisional Train ASC 821, 822, 823 and 824 Companies ASC. 821 had previously been 6th Provisional Company ASC; the others were new and formed for the Division in December 1916; disbanded by 23 February 1918
56th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC joined 8 January 1917, left 7 March 1918

There is no memorial or published history of 71st Division.