34th Division (United Kingdom)

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34th Division
34th Division sign WW1.svg
Formation patch of the 34th Division.[1]
Active April 1915 – 1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements First World War

The 34th Division was an infantry division of the British Army formed during the First World War in April 1915 as part Kitchener's Army, part of the K4 Army Group. The division landed in France in January 1916 and spent the duration of the war in action on the Western Front.

The division was originally made up of Pals battalions, notably the 10th Lincolns, known as the Grimsby Chums, and two brigades of the Northumberland Fusiliers; the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish. The division's first major action was the attack at La Boisselle on the first day of the Battle of the Somme during which the division suffered heavy casualties and many of the original Pals were killed.

Order of Battle

101st Brigade
  • 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Edinburgh), Royal Scots (left May 1918)
  • 16th (Service) Battalion (2nd Edinburgh), (McCrae's Battalion), Royal Scots (left May 1918)
  • 10th (Service) Battalion (Grimsby Chums), Lincolnshire Regiment (transferred to 103rd Brigade February 1918)
  • 11th (Service) Battalion, The Suffolk Regiment (left May 1918)
  • 101st Machine Gun Company (joined 27 April 1916, moved to 34th Battalion Machine Gun Corps (M.G.C.) 26 February 1918)
  • 101st Trench Mortar Battery (joined 18 February 1916, broken up 16 May 1918)

After reorganisation in July 1918:

102nd (Tyneside Scottish) Brigade 

After reorganisation in July 1918:

  • 1/1st Battalion, Herefordshire Regiment (joined June 1918)
  • 1/4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (joined July 1918)
  • 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (joined July 1918)
  • 102nd Trench Mortar Battery (reformed 10 July 1918)
103rd (Tyneside Irish) Brigade 
  • 24th (Service) Battalion, (1st Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (merged with 27th Battalion to form 24/27th Battalion N.F. on 10 August 1917, disbanded February 1918)
  • 25th (Service) Battalion, (2nd Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (left February 1918)
  • 26th (Service) Battalion, (3rd Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (disbanded February 1918)
  • 27th (Service) Battalion,(4th Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (merged with 27th Battalion to form 24/27th Battalion N.F. on 10 August 1917)
  • 9th (Service) Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers (joined August 1917, left 26 May 1918)
  • 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (joined February 1918 left May 1918)
  • 10th (Service) Battalion (Grimsby Chums), Lincolnshire Regiment (transferred from 101st Brigade February 1918 left June 1918)
  • 103rd Machine Gun Company (joined 27 April 1916, moved to 34th Battalion M.G.C. 26 February 1918)
  • 103rd Trench Mortar Battery (joined 18 February 1916, broken up 16 May 1918)

After reorganisation in July 1918:

On the First day on the Somme, the division had the largest number of casualties of the British divisions, the 102nd Brigade had 2,324 casualties and the 103rd Brigade incurred 1,968 losses.[2] From 6 July – 22 August, the brigades were swapped with the 111th and 112th brigades of the 37th Division, which was holding the line on a quiet sector at Vimy Ridge.

Divisional Troops

  • 18th (Service) Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers (joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion July 1915, left June 1918)
  • 2/4th (T.F.) Battalion, the Somerset Light Infantry (joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion June 1918)

Thirteen other infantry battalions joined the Division for short periods during its reorganisation in mid 1918, all had left by July 1918)

  • 19th Motor Machine Gun Battery (joined November 1915 left 6 February 1916)
  • 240th Machine Gun Company (joined 18 July 1917, moved to 34th Battalion M.G.C. 26 February 1918)
  • 34th Battalion M.G.C. (formed 26 February 1918 absorbing the brigade M.G. companies)
  • Divisional Mounted Troops
  • 34th Divisional Train Army Service Corps
    • 229th, 230th, 231st and 232nd Companies.
  • 44th Mobile Veterinary Section Army Veterinary Corps
  • 231st Divisional Employment Company (joined 25 May 1917)

Royal Artillery

The Divisional artillery was placed under temporary command of 5th Division while the infantry was being reorganised in mid 1918.

  • CLII Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (R.F.A.)
  • CLX Brigade, R.F.A.
  • CLXXV Brigade, R.F.A. (left 26 January 1917)
  • CLXXVI (Howitzer) Brigade, R.F.A. (broken up 28 August 1916)
  • 130th Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery (R.G.A.) (raised with Division but moved independently to France)
  • 516th Heavy Battery R.G.A. (joined CLXXV Brigade 7 October 1916)
  • 34th (Nottingham) Divisional Ammunition Column R.F.A.
  • V.34 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, R.F.A. (formed by 16 August 1916; left for VI Corps 6 March 1918)
  • X.34, Y.34 and Z.34 Medium Mortar Batteries, R.F.A. (formed by 18 June 1916; on 6 March 1918, Z broken up and distributed among X and Y batteries)

Royal Engineers

  • 105th Field Company (left February 1915)
  • 106th Field Company (left February 1915)
  • 207th (Norfolk) Field Company (joined February 1915)
  • 208th (Norfolk) Field Company (joined February 1915)
  • 209th (Norfolk) Field Company (joined February 1915)
  • 34th Divisional Signals Company

Royal Army Medical Corps

  • 102nd Field Ambulance
  • 103rd Field Ambulance
  • 104th Field Ambulance
  • 74th Sanitary Section (left 31 March 1917)

Commanders

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Chappell pp. 28, 46
  2. ^ Shakespear 1921, p. 52.

References

  • Chappell, Mike (1986). British Battle Insignia (1) 1914-18. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9780850457278.
  • Shakespear, J. (2001) [1921]. The Thirty-Fourth Division, 1915–1919: The Story of its Career from Ripon to the Rhine (Naval & Military Press, Uckfield ed.). London: H. F. & G. Witherby. ISBN 978-1-84342-050-7. OCLC 6148340. Retrieved 14 October 2014.

External links

  • The British Army in the Great War: The 34th Division
  • The Regimental Warpath 1914–1918: 34th Division ORBAT
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