OF THE GREAT WAR 1914-1918



27th Division
28th Division
29th Division
Guards Division


27th Division - The division was formed in 1914 from infantry battalions recalled to England from garrison duties within the British Empire. They came from a variety of locations: Canada, China, Hong Kong and India. Units of the division began crossing to France via le Havre in December 1914. The 27th Division took over positions on the Messines Ridge from the tired regular divisions which had fought in First Ypres, and in March 1915 fought at St Eloi. They played a prominent role in Second Ypres, fighting at the Gravenstafel Ridge, St Julien and Frezenberg. In May 1915 they were on the Bellewaarde Ridge

During their period of service in Salonika, the 27th Division took part in the following operations:

30th September - 2nd October 1916    Capture of the Karajakois.
3rd - 4th October 1916                            Capture of Yenikoi.
14th October 1917                                   Capture of Homondos.
1st - 2nd September 1918                      Capture of the Roche Noire Salient.
22nd - 30th September 1918                  Passage of the Vardar, and the Puruits to the Valley.

When the war ended, the division was near Lake Doiran.


There is no published history of this division.




28th Division - Formed at Winchester in December 1914, the units which made up 28th Division were regular army battalions that had been on duty in the various corners of the British Empire. They crossed to France in January 1915 and moved into positions in the Ypres Salient. During Second Ypres in April - May 1915, 28th Division was heavily engaged in the fighting for Gravenstaffel, St Julien, Frezenberg Ridge, and Bellewaarde Ridge. Unlike the 26th and 27th, 28th Division was posted to Northern France and took part in the Battle of Loos, September-October 1915. Here it fought at the Hohenzollern Redoubt and the Cuinchy Brickstacks. In November 1915 the division underwent some changes: several of the battalions were transferred and remained in France, while the rest of the division moved to Salonika where it stayed for the rest of the war.

In Salonika it took part in the following operations:

Occupation of Maziriko: 2nd October 1916
Capture of Bairakle Jom'a: 31st October 1916
Capture of the Ferdie and Essex Trenches: 15th May 1917
Capture of Bairakli and Kumli: 16th October 1917
Battle of Doiran: 18-19th September 1918

When the war ended in Salonika in October 1918 the 28th Division was near Lake Doiran.


Name Unit Location/Date
2/Lt A.J.T.Fleming-Sandes 2nd East Surreys Hohenzollern Redoubt 29.9.15
Pte S.Harvey 1st York & Lancs Big Willie Trench 29.9.15
Pte H.Christian 2nd King's Own Cuinchy 18.10.15


There is no published history of this division.




29th Division - The famous 29th Division was formed between January and March 1915 from regular army battalions who returned to England from duty in the British Empire. It left England for Gallipoli, and took part in the landings at Cape Helles on 25th April 1915. On W Beach the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers achieved immortal glory, winning 'Six VCs before breakfast'. As the fighting moved inland both sides dug in and trench warfare began. The 29th Division was then involved in a number of costly actions around Gully Ravine, Firr Tree Wood and in the fighting for Krithia. Elements of the division served at Suvla Bay in December 1915, and the 'Immortal 29th' as it now became known, remained until the final Evacuation of Helles on 8th January 1916. From here the division spent several months on garrison duty in Egypt before moving to France.

Arriving on the Western Front in April 1916, the 29th Division took over the trenches near the village of Auchonvillers, and here they remained until the Battle of the Somme. On 1st July 1916 they took part in the unsuccessful attack on Hawthorn Ridge and Beaumont Hamel. In doing so they suffered 5,000 casualties, with six battalions losing more then 500 men each. A tour of the Ypres Salient followed, when the division suffered badly from a new type of German gas at Potijze in August 1916. They returned to the Somme in October, and fought at Guedecourt. The winter of 1916/17 was spent in the trenches of Sailly-Saillesel and Rancourt

In April 1917 the 29th Division fought in the Battle of Arras, in particular at Monchy le Preux on 14th April 1917. In the summer of 1917 they moved up to Flanders and fought at Third Ypres: firstly at Langemarck on 16th August, then in the Battle of the Menin Road in September and Broodseinde and Poelcapelle in October. Returning to France the 29th were involved in the Battle of Cambrai on 20th November 1917, following the tanks into action near Masnierès.

During the German Spring offensive the 29th Division was heavily engaged in the Battle of the Lys in April 1918, fighting on the Messines Ridge, in the Battle of Hazebroucke and the Battle of Bailleul. They moved up to the Kemmel front, and stayed in Flanders for the rest of the war, taking part in the Allied advance in September-October their last action being the Battle of  Courtrai on 14th-19th October 1918. When the Armistice was signed, the division was out on rest near Courtrai.


Name Unit Location/Date
Capt C.Bromley 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Cpl J.Grimshaw 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Pte W.Keneally 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Sgt A.Richards 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Sgt F.E.Stubbs 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Capt R.R.Willis 1st Lancashire Fus 'Lancashire Landing' 25.4.15
Cpl W.Cosgrove 1st Royal Munster Fus Nr. Sedd el Bahr 26.4.15
Capt G.N.Walford RFA & Staff Nr. Sedd el Bahr 26.4.15
2/Lt G.R.D.Moor 2nd Hampshires Nr Krithia 6.6.15
Lieut H.James 4th Worcesters Nr Gully Ravine 28.6 - 2.7.15
Sgt J.Somers 1st Royal Inniskilling Fus Nr Gully Ravine 18-19.6.15 & 1-2.7.15 
Capt G.O'Sullivan MC 1st Royal Inniskilling Fus Nr Gully Ravine 18-19.6.15 & 1-2.7.15 
Sgt E.Mott 1st Border Regt Nr Le Transloy 27.1.17
Sgt A.White 2nd South Wales Borderers Monchy le Preux 19.5.17
CQMS W.Grimbaldeston 1st K.O.S.B. Nr Wijdendrift (Ypres) 16.8.17
CSM J.Skinner 1st K.O.S.B. Nr Wijdendrift (Ypres) 16.8.17
Sgt J.Ockenden 1st Royal Dublin Fus Nr Langemarck 4.10.17
Pte F.Dancox 4th Worcesters Namur Crossing 9.10.17
Sgt J.Lister 1st Lancashire Fus Olga House 9.10.17
Sgt J.Molyneaux 2nd Royal Fus Conde House 9.10.17
Lt-Col J.Sherwood-Kelly 1st Royal Inniskilling Fus Marcoing 20.11.17
Sgt C.Spackman 1st Border Regt Marcoing 20.11.17
Capt R.Gee MC 2nd Royal Fus Masnierès 30.11.17
Lt-Col J.Forbes-Robertson DSO MC 1st Border Regt Vieux Berquin 10.4.18
Pte M.Moffatt 2nd Leinsters Nr Ledeghem 14.10.18
Sgt J.O'Neill MM 2nd Leinsters Nr Moorsele 14.10.18
Lieut D.McGregor 29th Bn MGC Nr Hoogemolen 22.10.18


Gillon, S. - The Story of the 29th Division (Nelson 1925)


Beauvoir de Lisle - Reminiscences of Sport and War (Eyre & Spottiswoode 1939) [Commanded Div 1915-17]

Creighton, O. Rev. - With the 29th Division in Gallipoli (Longmans 1916)

Farmer, H.M. - The Landing of the 89th Brigade (Sackville Press, no date)


Guards Division - This division was created in July 1915 by bringing together all the Guards regiments then in France and Flanders, including the newly formed Welsh Guards. The division's ancillary troops - Engineers, Medical Corps, Artillery, etc - were taken from their usual parent corps or regiments: the artillery came from the 11th (Northern) and 16th (Irish) Divisions, with the Engineers also coming from 16th Division. However, the exception was the brigade and divisional machine gun companies: rather than being MGC, these became units of the Guards Machine Gun Regiment. It formally became a division in August 1915, when all the units assembled at Lumbres, near St Omer.

The division's first action was the Battle of Loos in September-October 1915. In particular the Guards fought at Hill 70 and the Hohenzollern Redoubt: casualties during this period were 74 officers and 2,041 men. During the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 14th-22nd September, at the Battle of Morval 25th-28th September and in the Capture of LesBoeufs on 25th September.

The Guards Division spent the winter of 1916/17 holding the front line on the Somme, but did not fight at Arras in 1917. Instead they moved up to the Ypres Salient and took over the Canal Sector at Boesinghe. During Third Ypres they fought in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge from 31st July - 2nd August when they captured the German positions around Artillery Wood, and returned to Flanders for the Battle of Poelcapelle and Passchendaele in October 1917.

In November-December 1917 the division fought in the Battle of Cambrai, at Gonnelieu, Gouzaucourt and Gauche Wood losing 125 officers and 2,966 men. The winter of 1917/18 was spent on the Arras front around the river Scarpe. When the German Offensive broke on 21st March 1918, Guards division was in training at Arras. They moved up to the front between Boyelles and Henin, and later took up positions in defence of Ervillers. The division the withdrew through Moyenville to Ayette. By 31st March casualties had amounted to 59 officers and 1,080 men - light compared to some divisions. 

In April 1918 the Guards Division took part in the Battle of the Lys and fought at Hazebrouck and the Nieppe forest, latterly alongside the Australians. Although the Germans were held, casualties were very high - one Brigade alone (the 4th Guards) lost 39 officers and 1,244 men from the 12th to 14th April. The Guards Division was subsequently relieved, and after a short rest returned to the Ayette sector. In June 1918 the division went into rest at Bavincourt before taking part in the opening phase of the Allied Offensive in August 1918. During these battles the Guards Division fought at St Leger in August, the Drocourt-Queant Switch Line and the Canal du Nord in September, the Battle of the Selle in October and the Battle of the Sambre in November. The division's last action was at Mauberge on 7th-8th November, where they stayed until the Armistice was signed. The Guards Division was selected to become part of the Army of Occupation in Germany, and remained there until March 1919.


Name Unit Location/Date
L/Sgt O.Brooks 3rd Coldstream Guards Loos 8.10.15
Lt-Col J.V.Campbell DSO 3rd Coldstream Guards Ginchy 15.9.16
L/Sgt F.McNess 1st Scots Guards Ginchy 15.9.16
Sgt R.Bye 1st Welsh Guards Yser Canal 31.7.17
Pte T.Witham 1st Coldstream Guards Yser Canal 31.7.17
L/Sgt J.Moyney 2nd Irish Guards  Broenbeek 12/13.9.17
Pte T.Woodcock 2nd Irish Guards  Broenbeek 12/13.9.17
L/Sgt J.H.Rhodes 3rd Grenadier Guards Houthulst 9.10.17
Sgt J.McAulay DCM  1st Scots Guards Fontaine 27.11.17
A/Capt G.H.T.Paton MC 4th Grenadier Guards Gonnelieu 1.12.17
A/Capt T.T.Pryce MC 4th Grenadier Guards Vieux Berquin 11.4.18
A/Lt Col J.S.P.Vereker DSO MVO MC, Viscount Gort 1st Grenadier Guards Canal Du Nord 27.9.18
A/Capt C.H.Frisby 1st Coldstream Guards Canal Du Nord 27.9.18
L/Cpl T.N.Jackson 1st Coldstream Guards Canal Du Nord 27.9.18
Pte W.E.Holmes 2nd Grenadier Guards Cattenières 9.10.18
L/Sgt H.B.Wood 2nd Scots Guards St Python 13.10.18


Headlam, C. - History of the Guards Division in the Great War 1915-1918 (John Murray 1924)  - 2 Vols.

- This book has recently (2000) been reprinted as one volume by the Naval & Military Press (see LINKS) in their Divisional History series.


Jolliffe, J. - Raymond Asquith: Life & Letters (Collins 1980) [3rd Grenadier Guards]

Macmillan, H. - Winds of Change 1914-1939 (Macmillan 1966)




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