The Guards Division

History

This Division has the unusual distinction of being formed in France in August 1915. The various Guards units that had been with other divisions were withdrawn to be brought together to create this fine formation. It remained on the Western Front throughout the rest of the war and was engaged in the operations listed below.

1915

  • The Battle of Loos (from 26 September)

1916

  • The Battles of the Somme 1916
    - The Battle of Flers-Courcelette
    - The Battle of Morval

The Guards Divisional Canteen for wounded at Guillemont, September 1916. Note the banner bearing the Guards Divisional Sign. The notice on the board read: "For Wounded: Tea, Cake etc. Free at any hour". Imperial War Museum image Q4242.

1917

  • German retreat to the Hindenburg Line (14 Mar - 5 Apr)
  • The Third Battles of Ypres
    - Battle of Pilkem (31 Jul - 2 Aug)
    - The Battle of the Menin Road (20 - 25 Sep)
    - The Battle of Poelcapelle (9 Oct)
    - The First Battle of Passchendaele (12 Oct)
  • The Battle of Cambrai (20 Nov - 3 Dec)
Gouzeaucourt

The Guards advanced towards the camera on this road to Gouzeaucourt in their recapture of the village during the Battle of Cambrai, 1917.

1918

The division was forced to restructure in February 1918 (in which the infantry brigades were reduced from four battalions down to three).

  • The First Battles of the Somme, 1918
    - The Battle of St Quentin (21-23 Mar)
    - The Battle of Bapaume (24-25 Mar)
    - The First Battle of Arras 1918 (28 Mar)
  • The Second Battles of the Somme 1918
    - The Battle of Albert (21-23 Aug)
    - The Second Battle of Bapaume (31 Aug - 3 Sept)
  • The Battles of the Hindenburg Line
    - The Battle of Havrincourt (12 Sep)
    - The Battle of the Canal du Nord (27 Sep - 1 Oct)
    - The Battle of Cambrai 1918 (8-9 Oct)
  • The pursuit to the Selle (9-12 Oct)
  • The Battle of the Selle (17-25 Oct)
  • The Battle of the Sambre (4 Nov)

The division, which was in and around Maubeuge at the Armistice, was joined by the 4th (Guards) Brigade from 31st Division on 17 November 1918. The Guards Division was then ordered to the Rhine and crossed the German frontier on 11 December. Battalions began to return to England on 20 February 1919 and the final moves of the Division were completed by 29 April 1919.

Order of battle

Divisional headquarters

 

Headquarters

under whose command came the Infantry Brigades and the other divisional troops listed below


1st Guards Brigade

Joined as complete 4th (Guards) Brigade from 2nd Division on 20 August 1915 and renumbered two days later.

2nd Bn, the Grenadier Guards

 

2nd Bn, the Coldstream Guards

 

3rd Bn, the Coldstream Guards

left 8 February 1918

1st Bn, the Irish Guards

 

1st Guards Brigade Machine Gun Company

Formed by 19 September 1915. Left to move into 4th Bn Guards MG Regiment 1 March 1918

1st Guards Trench Mortar Battery

Formed in France by 18 May 1916


2nd Guards Brigade

 

3rd Bn, the Grenadier Guards

Joined 19 August 1915

1st Bn, the Coldstream Guards

Joined 25 August 1915

1st Bn, the Scots Guards

Joined 25 August 1915

2nd Bn, the Irish Guards

Joined 17 August 1915, left 8 February 1918

2nd Guards Brigade Machine Gun Company

Formed by 19 September 1915. Left to move into 4th Bn Guards MG Regiment 1 March 1918

2nd Guards Trench Mortar Battery

Formed in France in April 1916


3rd Guards Brigade

 

1st Bn, the Grenadier Guards

Joined 4 August 1915

4th Bn, the Grenadier Guards

Joined 19 August 1915, left 18 February 1918

2nd Bn, the Scots Guards

Joined 9 August 1915

1st Bn, the Welsh Guards

Joined 20 August 1915

3rd Guards Machine Gun Company

Formed by 19 September 1915, left to move into 4th Bn Guards MG Regiment 1 March 1918

3rd Guards Trench Mortar Battery

Formed in France 24 March 1916


Divisional Troops

 

4th Bn, the Coldstream Guards

Joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion 15 August 1915

4th (Foot Guards) Bn, the Guards Machine Gun Regiment

Joined 27 March 1917 as 4th Guards MG Company, became Bn 1 March 1918 when joined by 1st, 2nd and 3rd Guards MG Companies

Guards Divisional Employment Company

Formed by 30 June 1917

Guards Divisional Train

A unit of the Army Service Corps made up of 11, 124, 168, 436 Companies, joined 24 August 1915

46th Mobile Veterinary Section

Joined 17 August 1915

Guards Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop

Joined from England 23 August 1915, transferred to Divisional Train 9 April 1916


Divisional Mounted Troops

 

The Household Cavalry Divisional Squadron

Joined 5 August 1915, broken up 20 June 1916


Divisional Royal Artillery

 

LXI (Howitzer) Brigade RFA

Joined 24 August 1915, broken up 14 November 1916

LXXIV Brigade RFA

Joined 30 August 1915

LXXV Brigade RFA

Joined 4 September 1915

LXXVI Brigade RFA

Joined 4 September 1915,left 19 January 1917

Guards Divisional Ammunition Column RFA

Joined 3 September 1915, from 16th (Irish) Division. The four Brigade Ammunition Columns amalgamated into the DAC on 13 May 1916.

V.Gds Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA

Formed in May 1916, left 8 February 1918

X.Gds, Y.Gds and Z.Gds Medium Mortar Batteries RFA

Formed March 1916; on 8 February 1918, Z was broken up and the other batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each


Divisional Royal Engineers

 

55th Field Company

Joined September 1915

75th Field Company

Joined August 1915

76th Field Company

Joined August 1915

Guards Divisional Signal Company

Joined August 1915 from 16th (Irish) Division


Divisional Royal Army Medical Corps

 

3rd Field Ambulance

Joined 25 August 1915

4th Field Ambulance

Joined 19 August 1915

9th Field Ambulance

Joined 19 August 1915

45th Sanitary Section

Joined August 1915, transferred to XVII Corps on 9 April 1917


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