The 8th Division in 1914-1918

The history of 8th Division

SymbolThe 8th Division was formed in England during October 1914 by the bringing together of regular army units which had been stationed at various points around the British Empire. The Division moved to France in November 1914, a badly-needed reinforcement to the BEF. It remained on the Western Front throughout the rest of the war, taking part in the following actions:

1915
The Battle of Neuve Chapelle
The Battle of Aubers
The action of Bois Grenier (a diversionary attack coinciding with the Battle of Loos)

1916
The Battle of Albert (the first phase of the Battles of the Somme 1916)

1917
The German retreat to the Hindenburg Line
The Battle of Pilkem+
The Battle of Langemarck+
The battles marked + are phases of the Third Battle of Ypres

1918
The Battle of St Quentin**
The actions at the Somme crossings**
The Battle of Rosieres**
The actions of Villers-Bretonneux**
The battles marked ** are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of the Aisne 1918
The Battle of the Scarpe***
The battle marked *** is a phase of the Second Battles of Arras 1918
The Final Advance in Artois in which the Division captured Douai

The order of battle of the 8th Division

23rd Infantry Brigade
2nd Bn, the Devonshire Regiment  
2nd Bn, the West Yorkshire Regt  
2nd Bn, the Scottish Rifles left February 1918
2nd Bn, the Middlesex Regt  
1/6th Bn, the Scottish Rifles joined March 1915, left June 1915
1/7th Bn, the Middlesex Regt joined March 1915, left February 1916
23rd Machine Gun Company formed 15 January 1916
left to move into 8th MG Battalion 20 January 1918
23rd Trench Mortar Battery formed January 1916
   
24th Infantry Brigade Brigade transferred to 23rd Division in exchange for 70th Brigade on 18 October 1915. Returned to 8th Division on 15 July 1916.
1st Bn, the Worcestershire Regt  
2nd Bn, the East Lancashire Regt left February 1918
1st Bn, the Sherwood Foresters  
2nd Bn, the Northamptonshire Regt  
1/5th Bn, the Black Watch joined November 1914, left while Bde was with 24th Division
1/4th Bn, the Cameron Highlanders joined February 1915, left April 1915
24th Machine Gun Company formed 19 January 1916
left to move into 8th MG Battalion 20 January 1918
24th Trench Mortar Battery formed January 1916
   
25th Infantry Brigade
2nd Bn, the Lincolnshire Regt left February 1918
2nd Bn, the Royal Berkshire Regt  
1st Bn, the Royal Irish Rifles left February 1918
2nd Bn, the Rifle Brigade  
1/13th Bn, the London Regt joined November 1914, left May 1915
1/1st Bn, the London Regt joined May 1915, left February 1916
1/8th Bn, the Middlesex Regt joined August 1915, left October 1915
2nd Bn, the East Lancashire Regt joined February 1918
25th Brigade Machine Gun Company formed 10 January 1916
left to move into 8th MG Battalion 20 January 1918
25th Trench Mortar Battery formed February 1916
   
70th Infantry Brigade Brigade transferred from 23rd Division in exchange for 24th Brigade on 18 October 1915. Returned to 23rd Division on 17 July 1916.
11th Bn, the Sherwood Foresters  
8th Bn, the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry  
8th Bn, the York & Lancaster Regt  
9th Bn, the York & Lancaster Regt  
1/8th Bn, the Middlesex Regt joined October 1915, left February 1916
70th Machine Gun Company joined 5 March 1916
70th Trench Mortar Battery formed January 1916
   
Divisional Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
1/5th Bn, the Black Watch joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion October 1915, left January 1916
22nd Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion 2 July 1916
1/7th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined 20 June 1918, absorbed 22nd DLI and replaced it as Pioneer Bn 3 July 1918
218th Company, the Machine Gun Corps joined 23 March 1917
left to move into 8th MG Battalion 20 January 1918
No 8 Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps formed 20 January 1918
8th Divisional Train ASC 42, 84, 85 and 87 Companies
15th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC  
211th Divisional Employment Company joined May 1917
8th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop joined 20 October 1914, transferred to Divisional Train 9 April 1916
   
Divisional Mounted Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
1/1st Northamptonshire Yeomanry left April 1915
C Sqn, the 1/1st Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry joined April 1915, left 13 May 1916
8th Company, Army Cyclist Corps left 12 May 1916
   
Divisional Artillery  
V Brigade, RHA left January 1917
XXXIII Brigade, RFA  
XLV Brigade, RFA  
CXXVIII (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA joined August 1915, left May 1916
8th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA  
No 7 Mountain Battery RGA attached 13 to 24 December 1914
No 5 Mountain Battery RGA attached 3 to 26 March 1915
U.8 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA formed 5 June 1916, disbanded 8 August 1916
W.8 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA formed May 1916, left February 1918
X.8, Y.8 and Z.8 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA joined May 1916; on 3 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
   
Royal Engineers  
2nd Field Company  
15th Field Company  
1st (Home Counties) Field Company joined February 1915, later renamed 490th Field Company RE
8th Divisional Signals Company  
   
Royal Army Medical Corps  
24th (1st Wessex) Field Ambulance  
25th (2nd Wessex) Field Ambulance  
26th (3rd Wessex) Field Ambulance  
14th Sanitary Section joined 9 January 1915, left 16 April 1917