55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

West Lancashire Division
55th (West Lancashire) Division
55th (West Lancashire) Motor Division
55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division
55 inf div -vector2.svg
The shoulder patch of the division, the Red Rose of Lancaster, used from 1916 until the division was disbanded.[1][2]
Active 1908–1915
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Force (1907-1919)
Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army (1920-1945)
Type Infantry
Motorised infantry
Motto(s) First World War: "We win or die who wear the rose of Lancaster"[3]
Engagements Battle of the Somme
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Cambrai
Battle of Estaires
Sir William D. Morgan
Sir Frederick E. Morgan

The West Lancashire Division was an infantry division of the British Army, which was active during both the First and Second World Wars. The division was raised in 1908 following the creation of the Territorial Force (TF), with the intent of being a defensive formation to protect the county of Lancashire from any potential invasion. Following the outbreak of the First World War, the majority of its men volunteered to be deployed to France resulting in the division being stripped of assets and those who remained being merged with the newly formed 2nd West Lancashire Division in 1915.

In 1916, the division was reformed in France as the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, and was assigned the units that had been previously transferred away. The division went on to fight in the Battles of Guillemont, Ginchy, and Morval; all part of the Battle of the Somme. In 1917, the division fought in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge and Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, both part of the Battle of Passchendaele. Following their experience in these battles, the division gained a reputation for being a first-rate formation. Late in 1917, the division fought in the Battle of Cambrai. During the latter stages of the battle, the division faced a major German counterattack and was forced back just over 1 mile (1.6 km). This resulted in a court of enquiry being formed to examine the reasons behind such loss of territory, and its findings have been controversial with contemporary soldiers and modern historians. In 1918, the division faced the German Spring Offensive and fought in the Battle of the Lys. The division's defence of Givenchy has been lauded. After the German offensive stalled, the division joined in in the Hundred Days Offensive resulting in the defeat of the German military and the end of the war. The division suffered almost 36,000 casualties during the war.

In 1920, the TF was reformed as the Territorial Army (TA), which the division became part of and served in the United Kingdom throughout the 1920s and 30s. In the late 1930s, the division was chosen to be part of the motor division concept and became the 55th (West Lancashire) Motor Division. It was reduced from three to two infantry brigades, along with a decrease in artillery and other support units, but became a fully motorised formation. The intention of such a unit was to increase battlefield mobility, enabling the motor divisions to follow armoured forces through breaches in the enemy frontline to rapidly consolidate captured territory. In March 1939, after the re-emergence of Germany as a significant military power and its occupation of Czechoslovakia, the British Army increased the number of divisions in the TA by duplicating existing units. The 59th (Staffordshire) Motor Division was formed in September 1939, as a second-line duplicate of the 55th. Following the Battle of France, the motor division concept was abandoned. The division was allocated a third infantry brigade, and became 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division. It remained within the United Kingdom including a deployment to Northern Ireland, until the end of the war, assigned to anti-invasion duties. In 1944, it was intended to prepare the division to be deployed overseas for combat. However, it was subsequently stripped of its units who were transferred to other formations that went overseas. Instead of combat the division was used to support Operation Fortitude, the deception effort that supported the invasion of France. At the end of the war, the division was demobilised and was not re-raised in 1947 when the Territorial Army was reformed.


In 1901, following lessons learned from the Second Boer War and diplomatic clashes with the growing German Empire, the United Kingdom sought to reform the British Army to be able to fight a European adversary. This task fell to Secretary of State for War, Richard Haldane who implemented policies known as the Haldane Reforms. The Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 created a new Territorial Force (TF) by merging the Yeomanry and the Volunteer Force in 1908.[4] This resulted in the creation of 14 Territorial divisions, including the West Lancashire Division.[5][6]

The Territorials were only liable to serve within the United Kingdom.[5] Haldane envisioned the Territorials taking over the defence of the country against the threat of invasion, which would allow the regular army to be deployed aboard. Haldane saw the Territorials as a source of reinforcements for the regular army. Six months following mobilisation, during which time the troops would have come up to an acceptable training standard, Haldane was confident that up to a quarter of the men would volunteer for overseas service.[5][7][6] The new division was placed under the command of Major-General Edward Thompson Dickson and was composed of the North Lancashire, Liverpool and South Lancashire Brigades. Divisional headquarters, the Liverpool Brigade and the divisional artillery were based in Liverpool, with the latter based at Seaforth Barracks. The rest of the division was based in Blundellsands, Lancaster and St. Helens.[8][9]

First World War

Early years of the war

Following the start of the war, the division returned from annual training in Wales to barracks and depots in Lancashire.[10] With the popular enthusiasm for the war, the division was flooded with potential recruits. The divisional historian, James Ogden Coop, wrote "every existing vacancy was filled and could have been filled ten times over". The division was offered the opportunity to serve overseas, which Coop wrote "every unit in the division volunteered" for.[11]

The West Lancashire Division went through a succession of General officer commanding, before Major-General John Forster was given command on 3 September 1914.[12][13][14] The division moved to Kent to continue training in preparation for service to France. Once training was complete, the division would be deployed as a full formation to France. Due to the casualties suffered by British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the opening months of fighting on the Western Front, the division was instead used a source of reinforcements. Between October 1914 and May 1915, the division was steadily drained; individual companies of engineers, artillery, medical personnel and battalions of infantry at a time were removed from the division and dispatched to France to reinforce other divisions.[12] After the North Lancashire Brigade, its last remaining infantry unit, transferred to the 51st (Highland) Division in April 1915, the remainder of the division became part of the 2nd West Lancashire Division, which was soon renumbered as the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division. The divisional artillery was sent to France in October, attached to the 2nd Canadian Division.[10]

After the Army Council authorised the reformation of the 55th in France in November, its former artillery units were given orders to move to Saint-Omer in mid-December. They were followed by other divisional assets, which had been previously stripped away, who assembled near Hallencourt beginning on 3 January 1916. With these experienced troops, the division was reformed as the 55th (West Lancashire) Division.[15] Major-General Hugh Jeudwine was given command of the reformed division,[14] which was fully reassembled by 27 January.[10] The infantry of the division comprised the 164th Brigade (1/4th Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) (1/4KORL), 1/4th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (1/4LR), 2/5th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers (2/5LF), and 1/8th (Irish) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) (Liverpool Irish)), 165th Brigade (1/5th Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) (1/5KR), 1/6KR, 1/7KR, and 1/9KR), and 166th Brigade (1/10th (Scottish) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment) (Liverpool Scottish), 1/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (1/5SL), 1/5th Battalion, King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) (1/5KORL), and 1/5th Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (1/5LR)).[16] During the year, Jeudwine adopted the Red Rose of Lancaster in an attempt to foster and link county pride with the division.[3]

First trench tour

Men of the King's Liverpool Regiment, moving along a communication trench leading to the front line near Wailly, 16 April 1916.

In February, the division took over a sector of the front line between Brétencourt and Wailly, near Arras, relieving the French 88th Division. This area was held until July, during this time the division engaged in trench raiding.[17] On 17 April, the Liverpool Irish launched the division's first large trench raid. The Liverpool Irish, attacking during the night, did significant damage to three German dug-outs, destroyed a grenade store and inflicted 56 casualties (including prisoners taken) for the loss of Second Lieutenant Edward Felix Baxter.[18] Baxter, while assisting in preparation for the raid in no man's land, disarmed a live grenade stopping it from exploding before it could injure any of his men or alert the Germans. Afterwards, he was first into the German trenches, killed a sentry, assisted in the attacks on the dug-outs, was last to leave ensuring his men had got away and was then killed. For his actions, Baxter was awarded the Victoria Cross.[19]

Another big raid was launched on 28 June, this time during the day. Elements of six battalions crossed no man's land behind a smokescreen. A shift in the wind dispersed the smoke and the raiders came under heavy German fire. Two of the attacking parties were repelled and the other four entered the German trenches and inflicted casualties before returning.[20] Losses for the second raid are not reported. During this period, the division suffered 1,100 casualties.[21] On 25 July, the division was relieved by the 11th (Northern) Division and then moved south to the Battle of the Somme.[22]

Battle of the Somme

Map of the area the division operated

The division was given the objective of capturing the German trenches to the south-east of Guillemont and then the village. The German defenders, dug in at the village and the vicinity, had already repulsed two big attack during the Battle of Guillemont.[23][24] In moving up to the front, the division suffered its first casualties of the battle. On 8 August at 04.20, the attack began following a heavy bombardment. The advance of 1/4KORL on the left flank ran straight into barbed wire laid by the Germans during the night. While 1/4KORL tried to cut through the wire it was subjected to massed rifle- and machine-gun fire forcing them to return to their trenches. 2/5LF, who had initially been held in reserve, became embroiled in the assault and suffered heavily.[25]

The Liverpool Irish had more success, advancing over the German first line trench and rapidly entered the village. The battalion was isolated due the difficulties faced by the other attackers and German troops, hidden in bunkers throughout the village, emerged to re-occupy the front line, along with reinforcements from nearby positions. The battalion was cut off and attacked from all directions as German artillery bombarded the village gas shells and the battalion was lost, with 572 casualties.[26] 1/4LR advanced after the Liverpool Irish had reached the village, discovered the Germans had returned to the front line trenches and were unable to advance further.[27] On the right flank, 1/5KR advanced but were not able to reach the German lines and dug-in where they had been stopped.[28] During the night, the 166th Brigade moved up to the front. Historian Everard Wyrall wrote that the trenches were "not only crowded with troops in an exhausted state and littered with dead and wounded, but damaged and blown about by hostile shell-fire."[29] An attack on 9 August made little headway.[30][31]

The division was ordered to prepare for an attack after 20 August; French troops on the right flank were to attack to clear away German positions, to aid the 55th Division attack. 1/9KR was ordered to assist the French, by attacking Cochrane Alley.[30][32] After a three-hour bombardment, 1/9KR attacked. Despite German defensive fire, the battalion made it the German line and engaged in fierce hand to hand fighting that drove the Germans out. The French attack failed and left the battalion isolated under enfilade fire from their flanks for the rest of the day. After dark, the battalion was withdrawn and the captured ground was consolidated by other troops. Two days later, the division was withdrawn from the front line for a period of rest.[33][34] During August, the division suffered 4,126 casualties.[35]

The division returned to the front line during the night 4/5 September, relieving the 24th Division near Delville Wood and took part in the Battle of Ginchy on 9 September. The 164th Brigade had to capture a line of trenches on the outskirts of Ginchy and into Delville Wood. The initial attack was delayed, as some of the attacking troops captured an unidentified trench and mistook it for the objective.[36] At the main objective, the brigade found a determined defence and after some back and forth fighting was forced to retire to the start line. The attack by the 165th Brigade succeeded, capturing the objective within 15 minutes.[37] Other British forces took Ginchy during the day, which improved the front position and brought an end to the battle.[38] To improve the local position, the 164th Brigade conducted another attack, two days later and were once again repulsed. Between 10 and 12 September, the division was relieved by the New Zealand Division.[37]

On 17 September, the division returned to the front relieving the 41st Division near Flers during the Battle of Flers–Courcelette.[10] On 25 September, the division took part in the Battle of Morval, a general offensive launched by the Fourth Army. The division was to attack German trenches north-west of Gueudecourt.[39] Under a creeping barrage, the division attacked, overran the German positions and captured all its objectives. The attack on Gueudecourt was repulsed and left the 55th Division flank exposed.[40] The following day, the division attacked again, captured more German positions and repulsed a counter-attack late in the afternoon. When the division was relieved it was transferred north to the Ypres Salient.[41]

Third Battle of Ypres

The division re-entered the front line in October 1916, manning a section of the Ypres Salient. It rested, re-equipped and limited itself to raiding until July 1917.[42] At the end of 1916, the British Army issued instructions for the platoon to be the basic unit in infantry tactics. Following their lead, Jeudwine wrote "It must be impressed on all platoon leaders that each one of them now has a 'self contained command' ... It is within the power of each one of them to influence to a great extent the course of an action by his knowledge, resolution and courage. Every means possible must be employed to develop [these men]".[43] McCartney wrote Jeudwine "recognized that many of his soldiers had held responsible positions in civilian life that required independent thought" and "by devolving decision-making down the chain of command he was able to harness their skills and experience to enhance tactical performance on the battlefield".[43] In June 1917, Jeudwine authorised the publishing of the divisional magazine Sub Rosa (Under the Rose). This was a further effort to foster a link between county pride and the division; the magazine contained poetry based on Lancashire history, county tales and cartoons.[44]

By July, the division was part of Fifth Army, and assigned to the opening assault (known as of the Battle of Pilckem Ridge) of the Third Battle of Ypres (also known as the Battle of Passchendaele).[45][10] The division was assigned to capture the German defensive position opposite, culminating in the capture of the German third line.[45] In preparation, an intensive artillery barrage was laid down and 03:50 the attack began. Advancing behind a creeping barrage, the division overran the German front line and captured a fortified farm. As the attack proceeded, supported by at least one tank, it was met by increasing German resistance. The artillery barrage weakened as it moved forward, resulting in the Germans being able to man weapons further back, hindering the advance. The attack was pressed with mounting casualties and the majority of objectives were captured. 1/4KORL and 1/4LR fought their way into five German 77 mm gun batteries and captured them.[46] During the afternoon, the Germans launched several infantry battalions in a counter-attack on the 55th Division, driving back the forward British positions before the end of the day. During the next two days, the division consolidated the territory captured. On 2 August, the Germans began a methodical counter-attack (gegenangriff) to push back the 55th but the attack was repulsed. On 4 August, the division was relieved. During the fighting 600 prisoners had been taken and 3,552 casualties suffered.[47]

The 55th was given a period of rest, during which it received reinforcements and conducted training. The division was visited by Field Marshal Douglas Haig, commander of the BEF. On 12 September, the division returned to the same sector of the front and was assigned to take the final objective that had eluded them on 31 July. This included an important ridge with two rises known as Hill 35 and Hill 37, as well as Schuler Farm, a strong point. Two abortive attacks has been made while the 55th Division was resting.[48] The division moved during the night 19/20 September and manned the front line trenches and water-logged shell holes that dotted the area. While a 24-hour bombardment had hit the German positions, indicating an assault was coming, German prisoners reported the attack was anticipated having spotted tape the British had laid to aid the division in moving into the correct area. At 05:40 on 20 September, the attack, known as the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge began.[10]

The division advanced behind a creeping barrage but this did little to stop German resistance. By 11:00, Hill 37 was taken but 20 minutes later, the Germans launched a counter-attack that retook the hill. At 14:00, Hill 35 had been cleared and the nearby trenches and strong points mopped-up. Within 30-minutes the Germans launched a counter-attack but this was met with British artillery fire and petered out. A further effort was made to capture Hill 37 and it was taken by 17:00, before being subjected to artillery fire and a German infantry attack. The division dug-in on its objectives and brought to bear upon the Germans their own captured machine-guns.[49] Schuler Farm fell the following day. During the afternoon of 21 September, the Germans launched a big counter-attack to retake all lost ground, especially Hill 37 that was an important observation point for their artillery. While the Germans were able to temporarily take back some territory, the counter-attack was a failure. Coop called the German losses in this battle "appalling", while divisional losses amount to 2,730. The 55th Division was relieved during the night 22/34 September by the 39th Division, ending its role in the battle. The division moved south towards Cambrai, where it joined VII Corps in the Third Army.[10][50] Historian Helen McCartney wrote that by the end of this period, "the 55th Division was described as 'a good fighting division, possessing the right spirit' and a 'first rate division' by its army and corps commanders in their reports to GHQ".[43]

Battle of Cambrai

In its new position, the division took over 8,000 yards (4.5 mi) of the frontline in front of the village of Épehy.[51] Rather than a continuous trench line, the division occupied a series of fortified posts (each capable of holding a platoon) that were connected by trenches only designed to facilitate movement.[52] On 18 November, following a heavy bombardment, a 200-strong German raiding party entered the division's trenches in 3 places.[53] During the raid, 40 members of the division were captured.[54] Coop stated it was believed that the German's obtained information about the division's upcoming attack from these prisoners.[53] Historian Bryan Cooper, however, wrote the men provided no information. Instead, six prisoners from the 36th (Ulster) Division provided intelligence to the 184th Infantry Regiment.[54] The division was assigned a supporting role to the Battle of Cambrai, tasked with preventing German forces from moving to reinforce the main British effort. This would be accomplished by assaulting two German strongpoints: Gillemont Farm, and a position called the "Knoll".[55][56] As a consequence of the acquired intelligence, the Germans abandoned their frontline trenches and reinforced their second line positions. In addition, new narrow deep trenches were dug east of Gillemont Farm, where counterattacking forces were massed, and from where they launched rifle grenades upon the attacking force.[57]

At 06:20, the 55th opened up a barrage upon the German front.[58] Two minutes later, 1/4LR attacked towards Gillemont Farm. At 06:30, the division utilised deceptive measures that included dummies and a mock tank, to attract German fire away from the attack. At 06:44, behind a creeping barrage, the Liverpool Irish and 2/5LF attacked towards the Knoll.[59] In support of the attack, a smoke screen was deployed on the flank of the 2/5LF; thermite rounds were used to silence German machine gun positions; and 1,320 gas shells were fired into other German positions.[60] The Liverpool Irish, due to uncut wire, were forced back to their own positions, while 2/5LF entered the Knoll.[61] Between 08:00 and 09:00, 1/4LR entered the German trenches at Gillemont Farm. Following a heavy barrage, the Germans launched a counterattack on the Knoll, and by 10:00 had recaptured the position following heavy fighting.[62] Another series of counterattacks were launched around noon, and the Germans retook Gillemont Farm by 13:00.[63] Fighting ceased for the day, with the exception of a heavy bombardment laid down on the German positions at 16:30. During the night, patrols were dispatched without combat. The following morning, a 10 minute bombardment of the German positions took place at 05:00, followed by a 3-minute hurricane bombardment at 06:30. A creeping barrage was then laid on, to simulate a British attack that resulted in the Germans manning their positions. These efforts aided in keeping the Germans from being redeployed.[64] This ended the division's effort in support of the battle, which had resulted in around 600 casualties.[57]

Regular nightly patrols followed thereafter. On 28 November, German artillery fire increased on the division's positions. This was judged to be additional German batteries registering their guns. This coincided with Luftstreitkräfte low-flying reconnisance flights, and a reported build-up of German forces behind their lines. Jeudwine judged this to indication that the division was about to be attacked, reported this up the chain of command, and ordered an artillery bombardment to commence on the morning of 29 November.[65] Jeudwine's judgement was correct, the German 2nd Army intended to use seven divisions to retake the territory lost to the British during the fighting at Cambrai.[66] The following day, the division was ordered to take over part of the front held by 20th (Light) Division, resulting in the division being responsible for 13,000 yards (7.4 mi) of the frontline.[67] The 166th Brigade held the left (from north to south: 1/5SL, 1/5LF, Liverpool Scottish; 1/5KORL in reserve), and the 165th Brigade on the right flank (from north to south: 1/6KR, 1/5KR, 1/7KR; 1/9KR in reserve).[53]

At 07:00 on 30 November, the German counterattack began with a heavy barrage across the entire divisional front. An hour later, German machine guns opened fire on divisional positions, supported by aerial attacks. On the division's left, the Germans broke through and were able to use this to outflank the 55th Division's positions.[68] 1/5SL came under heavy attack, but were initially able to hold their ground. When attacked from flanking German forces, now surrounded, they were forced to surrender. The rest of the 166th Brigade were heavily engaged, but despite fierce resistance slowing the German advance, they were unable to stop the Germans from penetrating the front to a depth of 800 yards (0.45 mi). Frontline troops, despite heavy losses, were able to fall back. Some were able to launch minor counter-attacks, denying high ground to the Germans. In one sector, a composite group of 1/5KORL, 1/5KR, and Liverpool Scottish were cut off, but held their position until 05:00 the next morning when they fought their way back to the main divisional positions. The 166th Brigade, held in reserve, was redeployed and ordered to dig new trench lines and lay wire in front of Épehy, to deny the village to the Germans.[69]

The 165th Brigade also came under heavy attack, and had varied experience. 1/5KR threw back the German attack on their front, 1/7KR stalled the assault in their sector, and despite having their lines penetrated 1/6KR were able to launch counter-attacks to retake their lost positions. Much heavy back and forth fighting took place throughout the afternoon, while VII Corps organised assets for a counter-attack.[70] A.J. Smithers wrote "the 55th fought off all assaults during the day".[71] Later in the day, VII Corps counterattack allowed the front to be held and stemmed the German attack.[72] In the following days, the division was withdrawn from the frontline to the Flamicourt area to be rested.[73] Prior to leaving, Lieutenant-General Thomas Snow (VII Corps) wrote that he

...cannot allow the 55th Division to leave ... without expressing ... his satisfaction at the way they fought and worked during the recent operations. It is not at present quite clear what happened on the left of the Division, but, from the enquiries made ..., he knows that ... in spite of the heavy losses incurred, [the 30th] was a day which will always reflect credit on the 55th Division.[74]

A casualty breakdown for 30 November is not provided, however for the entire period of 20 November to 8 December, the division suffered 3,259 casualties.[75]

Cambrai court of enquiry

The division had been pushed back 2,000 yards (1.1 mi) and while the line outside of Épehy was not broken, the loss of terrain was a cause for concern for the Army. McCartney wrote "This scale of loss could not be ignored, and a Court of Enquiry was convened to investigate the causes of the collapse of a previously 'first rate fighting division'". The enquiry admitted that the Germans were able to achieve surprise due a thick mist and the division's position had become untenable due to the division having been forced to remove artillery to bolster other units. The enquiry was critical of the division's lack of defence in depth and the training of the men.[76] Tim Travers wrote the success of the German counterattack "are not hard to find, and they principally relate to command failures on the part of GHQ and Third Army, who did not anticipate the attack, believing the Germans not to be capable of a major effort". Jeudwine warned of the attack but VII Corps failed to co-ordinate the defence with flanking units. Travers wrote "when the warnings of the attack came from 55 Division, these warnings ran into greater and greater resistance the higher they went. Hence the divisional level was caught in the inability of the corps and army structures to communicate with each other". The use of infiltration tactics by the Germans were also ignored.[77] Smithers wrote that the enquiry blamed junior officers and below, holding "no officer of field rank or above ... to blame for anything".[78] Smithers mused "one cannot wonder at the contempt this document excited once its contents became know" and wrote that Louis Oldfield [a senior officer within the 51st (Highland) Division] "probably spoke for everybody...: 'The result of the Cambrai enquiry is very misleading and discreditable. Someone ought to be kicked'".[79]

Early 1918

After Cambrai, the division moved to the Bomy area near Fruges for rest and training that emphasised musketry and was assigned to the First Army. The divisional artillery was left at Cambrai before rejoining the division on 4 January. In anticipation of a German attack, the Pioneer Battalion (1/4th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment [1/4SL]) and Royal Engineer field companies fortified the defences in the GivenchyFestubert sector.[80]

By 1918, the number of front line infantry within the British Army in France had decreased, leading to a manpower crisis. To consolidate manpower and to increase the number of machine guns and artillery support available to the infantry, the number of battalions in a division was cut from twelve to nine.[81][82] This had the effect of reducing the establishment of a division from 18,825 men to 16,035.[83] To ease reinforcement, an attempt was made to consolidate as many battalions from the same regiment within the same brigade.[84] This resulted in the majority of the Liverpool Irish being dispersed among 165th Brigade, before the battalion was merged with another Liverpool Irish formation and transferred from the division.[85] The same happened with 1/9KR and 1/5LR.[86] All three battalions were assigned to the 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division.[16] The artillery was also reorganised, with the third medium trench mortar battery divided between the other two and the heavy trench mortar battery transferred to corps artillery on 29 January.[16]

Men of 1/7KR in the trenches of the La Bassée sector, March 1918

Following this reorganisation, the division took over the left sector of the I Corps front from the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division on 15 February. Its line extended north from the La Bassée–Cambrin Road to the Cailloux Road northeast of Festubert, but was reduced on 5 March when the 46th (North Midland) Division took over the area south of the La Bassée Canal. Two days after the 55th moved back into the line, a German raiding party estimated at a strength of thirty was repulsed in an attack at Warlingham Crater. Although the front remained relatively quiet, 1/5SL suffered 43 casualties from a much stronger raid on 7 March. On the same day, the brigade and divisional machine gun companies were consolidated with the formation of the divisional machine gun battalion.[16][87]

Due to intelligence of increased German artillery presence, the brigade in divisional reserve was assigned to reinforce the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps on the left of the division in event of an attack. 1/5KR conducted a raid on 18 March that found the German trenches deserted, and another by the battalion on 25 March captured a few prisoners and a machine gun while suffering a few slightly wounded. The 166th Brigade took over a sector south of the La Bassée Canal from a brigade of the 46th Division on 27 March, but was itself replaced by a brigade of the 1st Division on the night of 6–7 April and sent to divisional reserve.[87]

The front continued to remain quiet and patrols sent out every night in the first week of April advanced unopposed as far as the German support lines. The 166th Brigade, in reserve, prepared to relieve the rightmost Portuguese brigade on the left of the division; the handover was scheduled for 9 April. At this time, the 164th Brigade held positions on the right of the division between the La Bassée Canal and a point north of Givenchy, from which the 165th Brigade held the line north to Festubert. 1/4KORL were on the right of the 164th and 1/4LR on the left, with 2/5LF in support, while 1/7KR held the right of 165th and 1/5KR the left, supported by 1/6KR. The infantry on the frontline were either tasked with holding their positions "to the last" or with conducting local counterattacks, as rehearsed in training exercises.[88]

Defence of Givenchy

9 April

German attack against XI and XV Corps, 9 April

At 04:15 on 9 April, the German bombardment marking the beginning of Operation Georgette, a diversionary attack during the Spring Offensive, began in the divisional sector. The engagement in the southern part of the Allied line became known as the Battle of Estaires.[89] The bombardment shelled the frontline and transportation routes in the divisional rear all the way to Locon. After it began, the 166th Brigade was alerted and quickly moved to its battle positions after 04:30 The bombardment dwindled around 06:30, when the division headquarters received a report that it marked a large-scale raid against the Portuguese. Accordingly, the 165th Brigade was ordered to make contact with the Portuguese for further information, but the latter made no contact with the division during the day, as they had been overwhelmed by the attack and pushed back. The bombardment resumed about 08:00, when the Portuguese to the left were forced to retreat, leaving the left flank of the division open.[90]

The German infantry attack began an hour later, under the cover of thick fog, which prevented accurate fire against them from the 55th Division defenders until the German troops were in close range. As a result, the attackers managed to advance beyond the 164th Brigade front line and by 09:30 were assaulting 1/4LR battalion headquarters. Although garrisons at Moat Farm and Givenchy held their positions, they were surrounded by the German troops. The German advance reached as far as Gunner Siding on the Cuinchy–Givenchy Road south of Givenchy and on the far left of the brigade, to Le Plantin South and Windy Corner. However, local counterattacks combined with the resistance of the garrisons prevented the Germans from expanding the breakthrough and the lost ground was mostly regained by the early afternoon. Reoccupying forward posts at dusk, the brigade was able to reclaim its entire sector by the end of the day.[91]

In the 165th Brigade sector to the north, the old British line was attacked after 08:30 Due to the Portuguese retreat, the German troops slipped around the northern end of the line and attacked it from the rear. The main line of resistance along the Pont Fixe–Festubert Road, known as the Village Line, was attacked by 09:50 Due to the continued resistance of garrisons on the old British line and forward positions, the German attack was disrupted, and it only broke through the Village Line on the extreme right of the brigade, where Windy Corner and Le Plantin South were taken. A local counterattack managed to quickly retake Le Plantin South, and the Village Line held for the rest of the day. On the extreme left, Route A Keep was taken from the rear by German troops at 11:00, and after noon German machine guns directed fire on both flanks of the 165th Brigade headquarters at Loisne Chateau.[92]

To bolster the left flank, two companies and the headquarters of 1/6KR were moved forward to the Tuning Fork line under German artillery fire from 04:30. They were joined at 07:00 by the Liverpool Scottish from the 166th Brigade, who positioned a company in the Switch and three companies between the Tuning Fork and Loisne Central Keep; the battalion was attached to the 165th in several hours. 1/5KR and 1/7KR were each reinforced by a company from 1/6KR at 09:45, and soldiers from the transport lines were scraped together into a company to hold positions in the left rear of the 165th Brigade headquarters. The line north of Loisne was further reinforced by two companies of 1/5SL from the 166th Brigade at 14:00, and held for the rest of the afternoon despite repeated German attacks.[92]

The remaining battalion of the 166th Brigade, 1/5KORL, took positions between Le Touret and Loisne Central by early afternoon. 1/4SL and the 419th and 423rd Field Companies were moved forward to Mesplaux Farm at 13:00, where they were attached to the 166th Brigade. The Mesplaux Farm line was strengthened after 14:00 by the addition of 1/4th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (1/4SH) from the 154th Brigade of the 51st Division, which was attached to the 55th early in the morning. The remainder of the 154th held positions guarding Locon and Les Caudrons from the north, and at 14:45 the 422nd Field Company and about fifty infantrymen began to take over the extreme edge of the flank at the Lawe Canal.[93]

Shortly afterwards, 1/5KR reported that German troops were advancing around to the north and had captured Le Touret village, prompting the dispatch of 1/4SH to hold the line between 1/5KR and 1/4LR; the battalion reached its designated positions by 17:00 The German troops continued their attacks for the rest of the day, particularly near Mesplaux Farm, but were repulsed. By the end of the day, the division and the 154th Brigade held an 11,000 yard line along the original positions of the 164th Brigade and the main line of resistance of the 165th, which had refused its flank for 2,000 yards to the junction with the 51st Division.[93]

10 April

The 9th Brigade of the 3rd Division came up before dawn on 10 April and was attached to the division, with 13th King's becoming the reserve for the 165th Brigade at Gorre, another battalion attached to the 164th, and the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers becoming divisional reserve at Essars. Around the same time, the 42nd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, was attached to the division artillery to support the 166th Brigade line, although two of its batteries were detached to cover the 51st Division for a day.[94]

Troops of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division blinded by poison gas during the Battle of Estaires, 10 April 1918.

The German attacks resumed at 07:40 with a strong drive on Loisne from the north under the cover of an intense artillery barrage. Loisne Central was defended with the help of a reinforcing company from 1/5SL and the German attack was broken off at 09:30 after suffering heavy losses. At Le Touret, another attack was launched against B Company of 1/5KR, along with a bombardment of the 166th Brigade frontline and its rear, but met with the same results as the attack at Loisne Central. The same company of 1/5KR again came under attack at 13:00, and was forced to withdraw 200 yards after losing a hundred of its 140 men. The remainder of the battalion retook the position in a counterattack at 14:20, and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers were attached to the 166th Brigade early in the afternoon to bolster the sector.[95]

The last German attack of that day was directed at Loisne at 19:00, and managed to make a temporary lodgement in the division's line, but was similarly repulsed with the loss of 21 prisoners and two machine guns. Around this time a heavy artillery bombardment of the Village Line demolished its defences, but the garrisons continued to hold their positions.[95]

11–16 April

German shelling of the division sector resumed at dawn on 11 April and escalated into a three-hour bombardment just prior to 8:00, which ended with an attack between Loisne and the Lawe Canal, which pushed back the centre and left of the 166th Brigade and opened a gap in the line. The attack was ultimately repulsed by a counterattack of 1/4SL and 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, the latter advancing from Les Facons. A massing of German troops between Rue Cailloux and Quinque Rue and along the old British line was reported in the early afternoon, and targeted by the division artillery, which prevented a German attack on the southern positions of the 165th Brigade. However, to the north, the German troops captured Festubert East and Cailloux Keep soon after 16:00, having taken heavy casualties. Festubert East was soon recaptured by a local counterattack and Cailloux Keep followed by 19:30.[95]

Units were relieved and the front readjusted in the sector of the 165th Brigade during the night of 11–12 April,[95] and at midnight on 12 April an assault by a company each from the Liverpool Scottish and 13th King's assisted by an artillery and trench mortar barrage recaptured the Route A Keep after heavy fighting. The troops at Route A Keep repulsed strong German counterattacks at dawn and at 17:30 on the following day, although they suffered heavy casualties. Although heavy shelling continued after 13 April, there were no other German attacks against the division. The infantry of the division was relieved beginning on the night of 14–15 April with the 166th Brigade, followed by the 165th on the next night and the 164th on 16–17 April. While the artillery remained on the front, the remainder of the 55th was sent to the Auchel area for rest. Its positions were taken over by 1st and 3rd Divisions.[96]

The defence of the Givenchy sector was to become the most famous action of the Division. According to Coop, it had captured almost 1,000 prisoners and seventy machine guns during the fighting, in return for the loss of 163 officers and 2,956 men killed, wounded, and missing. The History of the Great War gives casualty figures of 201 officers and 3,670 men killed, wounded, and missing between 9 and 30 April.[97] "It was afterwards publicly stated by an officer of the German General Staff that the stand made by the Division on April 9 and the days which followed marked the final ruination of the supreme German effort of 1918", according to Coop.[98] Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée was eventually selected as the location of a large memorial to the Division.[99]

Local attacks in the Givenchy sector

The division spent only a brief period in the rest area, as on 21 April the 166th Infantry Brigade and a company from the divisional machine gun battalion were lorried to the forward sector and temporarily attached to 1st Division. On the same day, the 55th was visited by French Minister of War Georges Clemenceau, and the 2/10th Liverpool Scottish transferred from the 57th Division for amalgamation with the Liverpool Scottish, briefly joining the 166th Brigade at Gorre. The division returned to the Givenchy–Festubert sector between 22 and 23 April, relieving 1st Division. The Liverpool Scottish recaptured the Route A Keep, which had been lost while the division was away from the front, on 24 April, capturing ten German soldiers and four machine guns. The portion of the line containing the Keep was handed over to the 46th Division on that day.[100]

The division sent out two raiding parties on the night of 25 April to reoccupy the junctions of Orchard and Finchley Roads with the previous front line, but were repulsed by German defenders. A detachment of 1/4KORL renewed the attack at 23:15, assisted by an artillery barrage, but was checked by machine gun fire. Two platoons made a third attempt at 04:00 on 26 April and reached the German positions, covered by a strengthened artillery barrage, but were forced to retreat after inflicting heavy casualties on the German troops. On the afternoon of 26 April, a company each from 1/4KORL and 2/5LF attempted to recapture the Givenchy Crater positions that provided German troops observation posts over the division frontlines. The company from 1/4KORL achieved its objective, but the 2/5LF company failed due to a missed artillery barrage, and both companies returned to the lines in fierce fighting, capturing thirty German soldiers.[101] For his actions in the attack, Corporal James Hewitson of the 1/4KORL was awarded the Victoria Cross. In retaliation, the German troops recaptured Route A Keep from the 46th Division that night,[102] although the position was finally retaken two days later.[100]

After a 2 May increase in German air activity and reports from prisoners of war and deserters who claimed that a German attack would occur after 9 May, the division artillery increased its shelling of the German rear, blowing up an ammunition dump on 8 May and destroying a church used as an observation post on the next day, with the assistance of a spotter plane. This activity was reduced after 15 May when it became apparent that the German troops would not attack, and the rest of the month remained quiet. Gas shell bombardments against Beuvry, Givenchy, and Labourse between 4 and 5 June, coupled with prisoner intelligence of a forthcoming attack, briefly put the division on alert again in early June, but no attack came. A 2/5LF raiding party was thwarted in an attempt to gather intelligence on 8 June by German resistance. The division sector remained uneventful for the next several months, except for sporadic low-level raiding.[103]

On the morning of 24 August, the 164th Brigade captured the Givenchy craters in a surprise attack against desultory German resistance, capturing 44 prisoners while losing 20 killed and 83 wounded. Two counterattacks were easily driven off and despite bombarding the craters with artillery and gas shells for several days, the German troops did not attempt to regain the craters. Four days later after the capture of the craters, the 166th Brigade occupied Festubert East Keep upon finding it deserted by German troops. When German troops in the 46th Division sector withdrew in late August, the division, as directed by the corps, ordered its infantry brigades to rapidly pursue German troops if a retreat began in its sector by pushing patrols forward instead of maintaining an unbroken line. Roads in the division sector were also improved to be usable by horse transport. Beginning on 2 September, the division sent out patrols to establish forward outposts, and, although there was no major German retreat in its sector, the main line had been extended to the northern part of the Canteleux Trench by 7 September against steadily stiffening opposition.[104]

The advance was slowed by the halting of the advance of the 16th Division on the right south of the La Bassée Canal, which allowed German troops holding the Embankment Redoubt to enfilade positions in the southern part of the Canteleux Trench. Furthermore, the British were uncertain whether the opposing German troops intended to remain on the line or to retreat, given that higher command was unwilling to launch an attack against strongly held German positions. The 164th Brigade attacked the southern part of Canteleux Trench and the Apse House on 7 September, but was driven back after gaining a small foothold; further attacks in the vicinity also were unsuccessful. Meanwhile, patrols from the 165th Brigade continued the advance until 12 September, by which time posts had been extended to a line running from La Bassée Alley to the junction of Serpent and Solace Trenches, but met stiff resistance involving hand-to-hand fighting from nearby German posts in the same trenches. A repeated attack by two companies of the 2/5LF on the southern part of Canteleux Trench and the Apse House, simultaneous with an advance by the 16th Division, met with failure in both sectors after six hours of fighting for the 2/5LF, who were repulsed by a German counterattack.[105]

The 165th Brigade captured Canteleux Trench and the Apse House on the morning of 17 September with an attacking force of four companies from 1/5KR, supported by a corps heavy artillery bombardment and divisional artillery, which enabled the gaining of the objective in return for few casualties. The simultaneous advance of the 16th Division to the south also met with success, but the southern portion was again enfiladed when they were driven back by a counterattack in the afternoon, although the lost ground was soon regained. A German company-strength counterattack was launched against the 55th Division's gains on the next day and managed to briefly capture a forward post; control of the trench allowed observation of the ground between it and the German-held La BasséeFromelles line.[106]

The division was transferred with I Corps to the Fifth Army on 19 September. Operating on the left of the division, the 166th Brigade captured the ground between the Pumping Stations and the junction of Serpent and Nora Trenches in a 20 September morning attack by two companies of 1/5SL while the 19th (Western) Division advanced to the north. 1/5SL took 43 prisoners, and on the same morning the 165th Brigade on the right captured three more trenches.[106] After the 19th Division was pushed back by a German counterattack on 22 September, the post had the junction of Serpent and Nora Trenches had to be withdrawn. At this juncture attention was turned from establishing outposts to strengthening the existing line due to fears of an impending strong counterattack, although the frontline brigades continued to be urged to remain alert in case of a German retreat.[107]

While the 19th Division renewed its advance on 25 September to regain the territory lost to the counterattack three days earlier, the 1/6KR captured its objectives on the La Bassée–Estaires road, extending the line to the Telephone Exchange in the south. They repulsed a weak counterattack but were thrown back in the evening by an artillery-supported counterattack. A predawn attack by the battalion regained the lost ground on the next day; in the two days of fighting the battalion took 105 prisoners while suffering 52 casualties. Another predawn attack by three companies of the 1/5KR on 27 September to extend the right flank of the 165th Brigade from the Pumping Stations to the La Bassée–Estaires road from the Telephone Exchange to Piano House captured its objectives, but after more than a day of fierce artillery bombardment a 29 September counterattack by a stormtrooper unit recaptured Saucy Trench and Piano House. The latter were retaken by the 1/7KR by the end of the day.[108]

In anticipation of a German retreat, I Corps ordered a general advance south of the La Bassée canal for the morning of 30 September after a day of harassment fire. As a result, the 1/4LR launched a two-company attack on that day to gain a line from the Canal Alley to the strongpoint of the Distillery. Although the battalion initially achieved its objectives and captured 48 prisoners, they were driven back with heavy casualties by a noon counterattack after the advance of the 16th Division to the right was halted by German resistance. The battalion made a second attempt on 1 October and this time was able to hold its positions, advancing in conjunction with the 16th Division. With these gains, the divisional main line had moved forward an estimated 4,000 yards (3,700 m) in the left sector and 2,500 yd (2,300 m) in the right since the beginning of September. During the month, the division captured 308 prisoners and seventeen machine guns.[108]

Pursuit to Mons

Men of 1/4SL crossing a pontoon bridge over the Scheldt at Tournai, 9 November 1918.

After German troops began withdrawing in the divisional sector on 2 October, the 55th began a pursuit, capturing La Bassée on the same day. Transferred to III Corps on 8 October, it crossed the Haute Deule canal between 14 and 16 October. Early on 11 November, the division captured Ath, east of Tournai, and when the Armistice took effect at 11:00 that day, the forward units of the division had reached a line between Thoricourt and Bassilly,[10] seven miles east of Ath, having advanced fifty miles in eighty days.[99]


Belgian fireman and men of the 55th Division working the pumps to extinguish a fire in Tournai, December 1918

After the end of the war, the division received orders on 15 November to advance into Germany with the Second Army, but six days later the orders were rescinded and the division transferred to the Fifth Army. During the second half of the month, the division rebuilt railways and roads around Leuze-en-Hainaut. Reviewed by George V on 7 December, it relocated to Brussels in midmonth while conducting "educational work". During January, the 55th was reviewed by Albert I of Belgium and sent representatives to a Brussels ceremonial parade, while its numbers were steadily reduced by demobilisation. Jeudwine departed on 15 March to command an Army of Occupation division, and by the end of April the division numbered 158 officers and 2,192 men.[10] The division was disbanded shortly afterwards.[109]

Between January 1916 and November 1918, 6,520 officers and men of the division were killed, 24,294 wounded, and 4,887 reported missing, more than half of the total of 63,923 officers and men who served with the division during this period.[110] For acts of valour, eleven soldiers were (in some cases posthumously) awarded the VC, one of whom, Royal Army Medical Corps Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, attached to the Liverpool Scottish, gained a second Victoria Cross.[111] In addition, the following awards (in several cases, multiple times) were bestowed: 80 Distinguished Service Orders, 427 Military Crosses, 200 Distinguished Conduct Medals, 1,649 Military Medals, and 70 Meritorious Service Medals.[110]

Inter-war period

The division began reforming as part of Western Command in Lancashire during April 1920.[10] In 1921, the TF was reconstituted as the Territorial Army (TA) following the passage of the Territorial Army and Militia Act 1921.[112][a] As part of the TA, the division continued to based throughout Lancashire, with units located in Lancaster, Liverpool, Preston, Southport, St. Helens, and Warrington.[117]

Motor division

British military doctrine development during the inter-war period resulted in three types of division by the end of the 1930s: the infantry division; the mobile division (later called the armoured division); and the motor division. Historian David French wrote "The main role of the infantry ... was to break into the enemy's defensive position." This would then be exploited by the mobile division, followed by the motor divisions that would "carry out the rapid consolidation of the ground captured by the mobile divisions" therefore "transform[ing] the 'break-in' into a 'break-through'."[118] French wrote that the motor division "matched that of the German army's motorized and light divisions. But there the similarities ended." German motorised divisions contained three brigades and were as fully equipped as a regular infantry division, while their smaller light divisions contained a tank battalion. The British motor division, while being fully motorised and capable of transporting all their infantry, "otherwise much weaker than normal infantry divisions" or their German counterparts as it was made up of only two brigades, had two artillery regiments as opposed to an infantry division's three, and contained no tanks.[119]

In 1938, the army decided to create six Motor Divisions from TA units. Only three infantry divisions were converted prior to the war, which included the 55th (West Lancashire).[119][120][b] The reform started the process of removing infantry and artillery elements from the division.[119] Many of the division's battalions were converted to new roles, and transferred to other branches of the army. 6th Liverpool Rifles were retrained and transferred to the Royal Engineers becoming the 38th (The King’s Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, Royal Engineers; the 5th King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) was converted to artillery, becoming the 56th (King’s Own) Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery; the 7th King’s Regiment (Liverpool) becoming the 40th (The King's) Royal Tank Regiment.[117] The division retained three brigades until March 1939, when the 164th Brigade was removed bringing the division into line with the intention of the new organisation. The division now comprised the 165th (Liverpool) and the 166th (South Lancashire and Cheshire) Infantry Brigades.[122][123]

Rearmament, 1930s

During the 1930s, tensions increased between Germany and the United Kingdom and its allies.[124] In late 1937 and throughout 1938, German demands for the annexation of Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia led to an international crisis. To avoid war, the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in September and brokered the Munich Agreement. The agreement averted a war and allowed Germany to annexe the Sudetenland.[125] Although Chamberlain had intended the agreement to lead to further peaceful resolution of issues, relations between both countries soon deteriorated.[126] On 15 March 1939, Germany breached the terms of the agreement by invading and occupying the remnants of the Czech state.[127]

On 29 March, British Secretary of State for War Leslie Hore-Belisha announced plans to increase the TA from 130,000 to 340,000 men and double the number of TA divisions.[128] The plan was for existing units to recruit over their establishments (aided by an increase in pay for Territorials, the removal of restrictions on promotion which had hindered recruiting, construction of better-quality barracks and an increase in supper rations) and then form second-line divisions from cadres that could be increased.[128][129] The 55th provided cadres to form a Second Line duplicate unit, which would become the 59th (Staffordshire) Motor Division following the start of the war.[130][131] In April, limited conscription was introduced. This resulted in 34,500 20-year-old militiamen being conscripted into the regular army, initially to be trained for six months before deployment to the forming second-line units.[131][132] It was envisioned that the duplicating process and recruiting the required numbers of men would take no more than six months. Some TA divisions had made little progress by the time the Second World War began; others were able to complete this work within a matter of weeks.[133][134]

Second World War

Universal Carriers of the 9th Battalion, King's Regiment (Liverpool), of 164th Brigade, moving through a Sussex village, 3 July 1941.

By the outbreak of the war, the 55th Division had reformed the 164th Brigade and on 4 September established the Second Line duplicate of the 166th Brigade, the 177th.[135] On 15 September, the 166th Infantry Brigade (renamed the 176th Infantry Brigade) and the 177th Brigade were transferred to the 59th (Staffordshire) Motor Division.[136] The 55th was now made up of the 164th and 165th Infantry Brigades.[137]

The TA's war deployment plan envisioned its piecemeal use, as equipment became available, to reinforce the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) already dispatched to Europe. The TA would join regular army divisions in waves as its divisions completed their training, with the final divisions deployed a year after the war began.[138] As a result, the division did not leave the United Kingdom before the BEF returned from France in the Dunkirk evacuation during May and June 1940.[139][140] Much of the BEF's heavy equipment was left behind, leaving the troops in Britain sparsely equipped. Priority for new equipment was given to a handful of formations that would launch the riposte to a German landing and the 55th Division had very little of its establishment of equipment. On paper, an infantry division was to have seventy-two 25-pounder field guns. On 31 May 1940, the division had eight and four First World War vintage 18-pounder field guns and eight 4.5-inch howitzers. The division had only two anti-tank guns against a nominal establishment of 48 and only 47 of the required 307 Boys anti-tank rifles.[141][142]

Furthermore, as soon as the troops returned from France, the British Army began implementing lessons learned from the campaign and re-organizing formations. As part of this, the army's five motor divisions (made up of two brigades) were to be reformed as regular infantry divisions (made up of three brigades).[143][144] The 66th Infantry Division was disbanded on 23 June and its 199th Infantry Brigade was re-assigned to the division, which became the 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division.[145] The division was assigned to Western Command, before transferring to Northern and Eastern Command. By early 1940, it was spread out along the Essex coast, where it remained for the year.[146][147] By 1941, it had been replaced by the Essex County Division, and the 55th moved south to defend the Sussex coast.[148] During January 1942, the division was placed on the Lower Establishment as a static home defence and training division. Higher Establishment divisions were reserved for overseas deployment and operations.[120][149][150] The division was reassigned to Northern Command and moved to Yorkshire in the vicinity of Kingston upon Hull.[151] In December 1943, the division went to Northern Ireland under the command of British Troops Northern Ireland.[146]

In May 1944, the 55th was raised to Higher Establishment and returned to the mainland in July.[146] The division did not increase in size; in 1944, the war establishment (the paper strength) of a Higher Establishment infantry division was 18,347 men.[152] The 55th and the 38th (Welsh), the 45th, the 47th (London), and the 61st Infantry divisions had a combined total of 17,845 men. The division would remain within the United Kingdom and be drained of manpower to a point that it was all but disbanded but maintained as a deception formation.[153][154][155][1]

The division played a role in Fortitude North deception to make the Germans believe that the notional 250,000-strong Fourth Army, based in Scotland, would assault Norway.[156][157] The division was assigned to the fictional II Corps to " preparing to assault Stavanger".[158] The division participated by maintaining wireless signals suggesting the division was moving around the United Kingdom as part of Fourth Army, while remaining in Northern Ireland. The ruse of an attack on Norway was maintained through July, with the plan coming to an official end in September.[159] The division joined the Fourth Army's notional move south from Scotland to England, becoming part of Fortitude South to convince the Germans that the Normandy landings were a feint and the main Allied invasion would take place in the Pas de Calais with a force of 500,000 men.[160] The deception aimed to persuade the Germans not to move the 18 divisions of the 15th Army to Normandy.[161][162] The division also provided the signal and headquarters staff to create the phantom 55th US Infantry Division that was also part of this effort.[163] Gerhard Weinberg wrote that the Germans readily believed in the threat to the Pas de Calais and "it was only at the end of July" that they realised a second assault was not coming; "by that time, it was too late to move reinforcements".[164] Mary Barbier wrote "it is time to consider that the importance of the deception has been overrated".[165][c] The 15th Army was largely immobile, not combat-ready and that despite the deception, numerous German divisions, including the 1st SS Panzer Division in reserve behind the 15th Army, were transferred to Normandy; the Germans had realised as early as May that the threat to Normandy was real. While the Germans believed the deception due to "preconceived ideas about the importance of the Pas De Calais", the Allied staff had overestimated the effectiveness of the deception over the inaction of the 15th Army, because they held a "preconceived notion of what FORTITUDE would accomplish".[166]

Of the 17,845 men within the five phantom divisions (including the 55th), around 13,000 were available as replacements for the 21st Army Group fighting in France.[167] The remaining 4,800 men were considered ineligible for service abroad because of a lack of training or being medically unfit. Over the next six months, up to 75 per cent of them would be deployed to reinforce the 21st Army Group after the completion of their training and certification of fitness.[154] The Liverpool Scottish were used as a training formation and a source of reinforcements for other Scottish regiments.[168] Entire units were stripped from the division and deployed abroad; the 2nd Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire) (previously 10th Battalion) was transferred to Italy.[169]


In the aftermath of the war, the British army demobilised.[170] The TA was reformed in 1947 on a much smaller scale of eight divisions that did not include the 55th West Lancashire.[171][d] In 1947, the division's insignia was temporarily adopted by the 87th Army Group Royal Artillery, which was based in Liverpool and was made up primarily of units from West Lancashire, creating a connection with the division.[1]

General officers commanding

The following officers commanded the division:

Appointed General officer commanding (GOC)
1 April 1908 Major-General Edward Thompson Dickson[172][8]
6 July 1909 Major-General Edward Cecil Bethune[173]
3 June 1912 Major-General Walter Lindsay[174][14]
5 August 1914 Major-General Frederick Hammersley[11][175][14]
3 September 1914 Major-General John Burton Forster[12][13][14]
3 January 1916 Major-General Sir Hugh Jeudwine[14]
29 May 1919 Major-General Sir Reginald Barnes[176][177]
1 April 1921 Major-General Sir Cecil Nicholson[178][179]
1 April 1925 Major-General Hugo de Pree[180]
16 July 1926 Major-General Basil Hitchcock[181][182]
14 September 1928 Major-General Harold W. Higginson[182]
14 September 1932 Major-General George Alexander Weir[183]
1 January 1934 Major-General James Cooke-Collis[184]
5 December 1935 Major-General Ernest Lewin[185]
1 June 1938 Major-General Vivian Majendie[186]
1 June 1941 Major-General William Duthie Morgan[120]
13 October 1941 Brigadier Rupert Brett (Acting GOC)[120]
30 October 1941 Major-General Frederick Morgan[120]
14 May 1942 Major-General Hugh Hibbert[120]
15 August 1943 Major-General Walter Clutterbuck[120][187]
13 July 1944 Major-General Horatio Berney-Ficklin[120]

Order of battle

See also


  1. ^ The TA was the reserve of the British regular army made up of part-time volunteers. Its intended role was the sole method of expanding the size of the British Armed Forces (comparable to the creation of Kitchener's Army during the First World War). First-line territorial formations would create a second-line division using a cadre of trained personnel and, if needed, a third division would be created. All TA recruits were required to take the general service obligation: if the British Government decided, territorial soldiers could be deployed overseas for combat (This avoided the complications of the First World War-era TF, whose members were not required to leave Britain unless they volunteered for overseas service, until the Military Service Act 1916.).[113][114][115][116]
  2. ^ The other two were the 1st London and 50th (Northumbrian) divisions.[121]
  3. ^ The 15th Army was made up of seven static divisions trained for defensive operations, and supplemented with two Luftwaffe Field Divisions. The army lacked equipment, transport and was under-trained.[165]
  4. ^ The 49th (West Riding) and 56th (London) Armoured Divisions and the 42nd (Lancashire), 43rd (Wessex), 44th (Home Counties), 50th (Northumbrian), 51st/52nd (Scottish), and 53rd (Welsh) infantry divisions.[171]


  1. ^ a b c "Badge, formation, 55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division & 87th Army Group RA (Field) (TA)". Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  2. ^ Chappell 1987, p. 36.
  3. ^ a b McCartney 2005, pp. 81-82.
  4. ^ Perry 1988, pp. 4–6.
  5. ^ a b c Perry 1988, p. 6.
  6. ^ a b Hall 2011, p. 20.
  7. ^ Beckett 1991, p. 215.
  8. ^ a b WW 1910, p. 527.
  9. ^ a b Hart 1910, pp. 108–109.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Becke 1989a, pp. 138–139.
  11. ^ a b Coop 1919, p. 21.
  12. ^ a b c Coop 1919, p. 22.
  13. ^ a b "No. 28895". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 September 1914. p. 7176.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Becke 1989a, p. 133.
  15. ^ Coop 1919, p. 23.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae Becke 1989a, pp. 136–137.
  17. ^ Coop 1919, p. 25.
  18. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 25–27.
  19. ^ "No. 29765". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 September 1916. p. 9417.
  20. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 26–27.
  21. ^ Coop 1919, p. 28.
  22. ^ Coop 1919, p. 29.
  23. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 30–31.
  24. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 300.
  25. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 31–33.
  26. ^ Wyrall 2012, pp. 304–305.
  27. ^ Coop 1919, p. 34.
  28. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 303.
  29. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 307.
  30. ^ a b Coop 1919, p. 35.
  31. ^ Wyrall 2012, pp. 309, 311.
  32. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 311.
  33. ^ Coop 1919, p. 36.
  34. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 312.
  35. ^ Miles 1992, pp. 166, 184.
  36. ^ Coop 1919, p. 96.
  37. ^ a b Coop 1919, p. 40.
  38. ^ Miles 1992, p. 274.
  39. ^ Coop 1919, p. 41.
  40. ^ Coop 1919, p. 42.
  41. ^ Coop 1919, p. 44.
  42. ^ Coop 1919, p. 46.
  43. ^ a b c McCartney 2005, p. 223.
  44. ^ McCartney 2005, p. 83.
  45. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 46–48.
  46. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 49–52.
  47. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 53–54.
  48. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 55–56.
  49. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 55–60.
  50. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 60–64.
  51. ^ Coop 1919, p. 65.
  52. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 65, 74.
  53. ^ a b c Coop 1919, p. 74.
  54. ^ a b Cooper 1967, p. 88.
  55. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 66-67.
  56. ^ Cowper 1957, p. 188.
  57. ^ a b Coop 1919, p. 71.
  58. ^ Coop 1919, p. 66.
  59. ^ Coop 1919, p. 67.
  60. ^ Coop 1919, p. 68.
  61. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 67-69.
  62. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 68-69.
  63. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 69-70.
  64. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 70-71.
  65. ^ Coop 1919, p. 72.
  66. ^ Sheldon 2009, p. 208.
  67. ^ Coop 1919, p. 73.
  68. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 74–75.
  69. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 76–78.
  70. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 79–82.
  71. ^ Smithers 1992, p. 161.
  72. ^ Sheldon 2009, pp. 273–297.
  73. ^ Coop 1919, p. 83.
  74. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 83–84.
  75. ^ Miles 1992, p. 382.
  76. ^ McCartney 2005, p. 228.
  77. ^ Travers 1992, pp. 30–31.
  78. ^ Smithers 1992, p. 171.
  79. ^ Smithers 1992, p. 173.
  80. ^ Coop 1919, p. 85.
  81. ^ Perry 1988, pp. 26–28.
  82. ^ Morrow 2005, p. 239.
  83. ^ Perry 1988, p. 26.
  84. ^ Perry 1988, pp. 28–29.
  85. ^ Wyrall 2012, p. 610.
  86. ^ Becke 2007, p. 3: In attached corrigenda sheet
  87. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 87–89.
  88. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 89–91.
  89. ^ James 1990, p. 29.
  90. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 92–93.
  91. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 92–94.
  92. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 94–96.
  93. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 96–97.
  94. ^ Coop 1919, p. 100.
  95. ^ a b c d Coop 1919, pp. 101–103.
  96. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 104–105.
  97. ^ Edmonds 2009, p. 493.
  98. ^ Coop 1919, p. 106.
  99. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 158–159.
  100. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 115–116.
  101. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 117–118.
  102. ^ Edmonds 2009, p. 439.
  103. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 119–120.
  104. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 125, 127–128.
  105. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 129–130.
  106. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 131–132.
  107. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 133–134.
  108. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 134–136.
  109. ^ Lord & Watson 2003, p. 171.
  110. ^ a b Coop 1919, pp. 167–168.
  111. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 170–172.
  112. ^ Messenger 1994, pp. 41–42.
  113. ^ Allport 2015, p. 323.
  114. ^ French 2001, p. 53.
  115. ^ Perry 1988, pp. 41–42.
  116. ^ Simkins 2007, pp. 43–46.
  117. ^ a b "55 (WEST LANCASHIRE) DIVISION (1930-36)" (PDF). British Military History. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  118. ^ French 2001, pp. 37–41.
  119. ^ a b c French 2001, p. 41.
  120. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Joslen 2003, p. 90.
  121. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 37, 81, 90.
  122. ^ "War Office, Monthly Army List, February 1939". National Library of Scotland. p. 58. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  123. ^ "War Office, Monthly Army List, March 1939". National Library of Scotland. p. 58. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  124. ^ Bell 1997, pp. 3–4.
  125. ^ Bell 1997, pp. 258–275.
  126. ^ Bell 1997, pp. 277–278.
  127. ^ Bell 1997, p. 281.
  128. ^ a b Gibbs 1976, p. 518.
  129. ^ Messenger 1994, p. 47.
  130. ^ Joslen 2003, p. 93.
  131. ^ a b Messenger 1994, p. 49.
  132. ^ French 2001, p. 64.
  133. ^ Perry 1988, p. 48.
  134. ^ Levy 2006, p. 66.
  135. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 352, 356.
  136. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 354–356.
  137. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 352-353.
  138. ^ Gibbs 1976, pp. 455, 507, 514–515.
  139. ^ a b c Joslen 2003, pp. 90–91.
  140. ^ Fraser 1999, pp. 72–77.
  141. ^ Fraser 1999, pp. 83–85.
  142. ^ Collier 1957, p. 125.
  143. ^ French 2001, pp. 189–191.
  144. ^ Perry 1988, p. 54.
  145. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 90, 361–363.
  146. ^ a b c Joslen 2003, p. 91.
  147. ^ Collier 1957, pp. 85, 219.
  148. ^ Collier 1957, p. 229.
  149. ^ French 2001, p. 188.
  150. ^ Perry 1988, p. 65.
  151. ^ Collier 1957, p. 293.
  152. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 130–131.
  153. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 90-91.
  154. ^ a b Hart 2007, pp. 48–51.
  155. ^ Holt 2004, p. 922.
  156. ^ Crowdy 2008, pp. 323, 232.
  157. ^ Levine 2014, p. 732.
  158. ^ Holt 2004, p. 556.
  159. ^ Barbier 2007a, pp. 122, 125.
  160. ^ Barbier 2007a, p. 132.
  161. ^ Barbier 2007a, p. 172.
  162. ^ Zabecki 1999, p. 1485.
  163. ^ Barbier 2007a, p. 48.
  164. ^ Weinberg 1994, pp. 681–682.
  165. ^ a b Barbier 2007b, p. 180.
  166. ^ Barbier 2007b, pp. 180–181.
  167. ^ Hart 2007, p. 52.
  168. ^ "The Second World War)". Liverpool Scottish Museum Archive. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  169. ^ "The Regiments in World War II". The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment: Lancashire Infantry Museum. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  170. ^ Allport 2009, pp. 26, 43.
  171. ^ a b Messenger 1994, p. 157.
  172. ^ "No. 28126". The London Gazette. 7 April 1908. p. 2672.
  173. ^ "No. 28269". The London Gazette. 9 July 1909. p. 5282.
  174. ^ "No. 28615". The London Gazette. 7 June 1912. p. 4135.
  175. ^ "No. 28921". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 September 1914. p. 7787.
  176. ^ "No. 31417". The London Gazette (Supplement). 24 June 1919. p. 8014.
  177. ^ Dawnay & Headlam 1921, p. 444.
  178. ^ "No. 32274". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 March 1921. p. 2546.
  179. ^ Dawnay & Headlam 1922, p. 420.
  180. ^ "No. 33036". The London Gazette. 7 April 1925. p. 2371.
  181. ^ "No. 33185". The London Gazette. 23 July 1926. p. 4870.
  182. ^ a b "No. 33424". The London Gazette. 25 September 1928. p. 6218.
  183. ^ "No. 33865". The London Gazette. 20 September 1932. p. 5956.
  184. ^ "No. 34011". The London Gazette. 2 January 1934. p. 56.
  185. ^ "No. 34242". The London Gazette. 14 January 1936. p. 309.
  186. ^ "No. 34517". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 June 1938. p. 3639.
  187. ^ Smart 2005, p. 65.
  188. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 20–21.
  189. ^ "War Office, Monthly Army List, August 1914". National Library of Scotland. p. 56-57.
  190. ^ Becke 1989b, p. 3.
  191. ^ a b 359 MR 1959, p. 45.
  192. ^ a b c Becke 1989a, p. 135.
  193. ^ Coop 1919, pp. 11–17, 20–24.
  194. ^ Young 2000, Annex Q.
  195. ^ a b Joslen 2003, p. 352.
  196. ^ a b Joslen 2003, p. 353.
  197. ^ Joslen 2003, p. 363.


  • Allport, Alan (2009). Demobbed: Coming Home After the Second World War. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-14043-6.
  • Allport, Alan (2015). Browned Off and Bloody-minded: The British Soldier Goes to War 1939–1945. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-17075-7.
  • Barbier, Mary Kathryn (2007a). D-day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion. London and Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 978-0-275-99479-2.
  • Barbier, Mary Kathryn (2007b) [2006]. "Deception and the Planning of D-Day". In Buckley, John (ed.). The Normandy Campaign 1944: Sixty Years On. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 170–184. ISBN 978-0-415-44942-7.
  • Becke, Major A. F. (1989a) [1935]. Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). Malpas: Ray Westlake – Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-12-4.
  • Becke, Major A. F. (1989b) [1935]. Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). Malpas: Ray Westlake – Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-00-0.
  • Becke, Major A. F. (2007) [1939]. Order of Battle of Divisions Part 3B. New Army Divisions (30–41) and 63rd (R.N.) Division. Uckfield: Naval & Military Press. ISBN 1-847347-41-X.
  • Beckett, Ian Frederick William (1991). The Amateur Military Tradition, 1558–1945. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-719-02912-0.
  • Bell, P. M.H. (1997). The Origins of the Second World War in Europe (2nd ed.). London: Pearson. ISBN 978-0-582-30470-3.
  • Chappell, Mike (1987). British Battle Insignia 1939–1940. Men-At-Arms. II. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-0-85045-739-1.
  • Collier, Basil (1957). Butler, J. R. M. (ed.). The Defence of the United Kingdom. History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series. London: HMSO. OCLC 375046.
  • Coop, J. A. (1919). The Story of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division. Liverpool: Liverpool Daily Post. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  • Cooper, Bryan (1967). The Ironclads of Cambrai. London: Souvenir Press. OCLC 492736339.
  • Cowper, Julia Margaret (1957). The King's Own: The Story of a Royal Regiment. III 1914-1950. Aldershot: Gale & Polden. OCLC 316399592.
  • Crowdy, Terry (2008). Deceiving Hitler: Double-Cross and Deception in World War II. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 978-1-846-03135-9.
  • Dawnay, G. P.; Headlam, Cuthbert, eds. (1921). The Army Quarterly. I. London: West of England Press. OCLC 820579535.
  • Dawnay, G. P.; Headlam, Cuthbert, eds. (1922). The Army Quarterly. IV. London: West of England Press. OCLC 7295943.
  • Edmonds, J. E. (2009) [1937]. Military Operations: France and Belgium, March–April: Continuation of the German Offensives. History of the Great War based on Official Documents by Direction of the Committee of Imperial Defence. II. accompanying Map Case (A. F. Becke) (Reprint ed.). Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-845-74726-8.
  • Fraser, David (1999) [1983]. And We Shall Shock Them: The British Army in the Second World War. London: Cassell Military. ISBN 978-0-304-35233-3.
  • French, David (2001) [2000]. Raising Churchill's Army: The British Army and the War Against Germany 1919–1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-924630-4.
  • Gibbs, N. H. (1976). Grand Strategy. History of the Second World War. I. London: HMSO. ISBN 978-0-11-630181-9.
  • Hall, Brian (2011) [1997]. Aspects of Birmingham: Discovering Local History. Barnsley. ISBN 978-1-84884-422-3.
  • Hart, Fitzroy, ed. (1910). Hart's Annual Army List: Special Reserve List, and Territorial Force List, for 1910. London: John Murray. OCLC 46781398.
  • Hart, Stephen Ashley (2007) [2000]. Colossal Cracks: Montgomery's 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe, 1944–45. Mechanicsburg: Stackpole Books. ISBN 978-0-8117-3383-0.
  • History of the 359 (4th West Lancs.) Medium Regiment R.A. (T.A.) 1859–1959. Liverpool: 359 Medium Regiment. 1959. OCLC 17071676.
  • Holt, Thaddeus (2004). The Deceivers: Allied Military Deception in the Second World War. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-743-25042-9.
  • James, E. A. (1990) [1924]. A Record of the Battles and Engagements of the British Armies in France and Flanders 1914–1918 (PDF) (London Stamp Exchange ed.). Aldershot: Gale & Polden. ISBN 0-948130-18-0.
  • Joslen, H.F. (2003) [1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.
  • Levine, Timothy R., ed. (2014). Encyclopedia of Deception. Thousand Oaks: Sage. ISBN 978-1-452-25877-5.
  • Levy, James P. (2006). Appeasement and Rearmament: Britain, 1936–1939. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-4537-3.
  • Lord, Cliff; Watson, Graham (2003). The Royal Corps of Signals: Unit Histories of the Corps (1920–2001) and its Antecedents. West Midlands: Helion. ISBN 978-1-874622-07-9.
  • McCartney, Helen B. (2005). Citizen Soldiers: The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-52118-777-0.
  • Messenger, Charles (1994). For Love of Regiment 1915–1994. A History of British Infantry. II. London: Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 978-0-85052-422-2.
  • Miles, W. (1992) [1938]. Military Operations France and Belgium, 1916: 2nd July 1916 to the End of the Battles of the Somme. History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. II (Imperial War Museum and Battery Press ed.). London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-901627-76-6.
  • Morrow, John Howard (2005). The Great War: An Imperial History. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-20440-8.
  • Perry, Frederick William (1988). The Commonwealth Armies: Manpower and Organisation in Two World Wars. War, Armed Forces and Society. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-71902-595-2.
  • Simkins, Peter (2007) [1988]. Kitchener's Army: The Raising of the New Armies 1914–1916. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 978-1-84415-585-9.
  • Sheldon, J. (2009). The German Army at Cambrai. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 978-1-84415-944-4.
  • Smart, Nick (2005). Biographical Dictionary of British Generals of the Second World War. Barnesley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 1-84415-049-6.
  • Smithers, A.J (1992). Cambrai: The First Great Tank Battle. London: Leo Cooper. ISBN 978-0-85052-268-6.
  • Travers, Tim (1992). How the War Was Won: Command and Technology in the British Army on the Western Front, 1917-1918. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-20341-741-6.
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. (1994). A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-44317-3.
  • Who's Who. London: A & C Black. 1910. OCLC 866511400.
  • Wyrall, Everard (2012) [1928]. History of the King's Regiment (Liverpool) 1914-1919. II. Luton: Andrews UK. ISBN 978-1-78150-795-7.
  • Young, Lieutenant-Colonel Michael (2000). Army Service Corps 1902–1918. Barnesley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 0-85052-730-9.
  • Zabecki, David T., ed. (1999). World War II in Europe: An Encyclopedia. Military History of the United States. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-824-07029-8.

Further reading

  • Gregson, Adrian (2018). From Docks and Sand: Southport and Bootle's Battalion, the 7th King's Liverpool Regiment, in the First World War. Solihull: Helion. ISBN 978-1-91151-216-5.
  • Hesketh, Roger (2000). Fortitude: The D-Day Deception Campaign. Woodstock: The Overlook Press. ISBN 978-1-585-67075-8.
  • Knight, Paul (2016). Liverpool Territorials in the Great War. Barnsley: Pen & Sword. ISBN 978-1-473-83404-0.
  • Knight, Paul (2019). Lessons from the Mud: 55th (West Lancashire) Division at the Third Battle of Ypres. Helion. ISBN 978-1-912-39005-2.
  • Shannon, Kevin (2015). The Lion and the Rose: The 4th Battalion The King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment 1914-1919. Stroud: Fonthill Media. ISBN 978-1-781-55438-8.
  • Shannon, Kevin (2017). The Lion and the Rose. 2: The 1/5th Battalion the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment 1914-1919. Stroud: Fonthill Media. ISBN 978-1-781-55555-2.
  • Shannon, Kevin (2019). The Liverpool Rifles: A Biography of the 1/6th Battalion King's Liverpool Regiment in the First World War. Stroud: Fonthill Media. ISBN 978-1-781-55701-3.

External links

  • 55th (West Lancashire) Division on The Long, Long Trail
Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=55th_(West_Lancashire)_Infantry_Division&oldid=912052987"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/55th_(West_Lancashire)_Infantry_Division
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "55th (West Lancashire) Infantry Division"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA