27th Division

The history of 27th Division

As regular units from the further garrisons of Empire arrived back in England, having been recalled soon after the declaration of war but many having waited until a Territorial unit had gone out to replace them, they were formed up into three divisions, numbered 27th to 29th. The 27th was formed at Magdalen Hill Camp near Winchester in November-December 1914.

Under command of Major-General T. D’O. Snow (appointed 19 November 1914)

Shortage of some types of units led to places in the division being filled by Territorial Force units taken from other divisions. A much-needed reinforcement to the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, 27th Division landed at Le Havre on 20-23 December 1914 and then moved to concentrate in the area between Aire-sur-la-Lys and Arques. The division subsequently took part in these actions:


  • The Action of St Eloi (under V Corps, 14-15 March)
  • The Second Battle of Ypres (under V Corps), in phases
    • Battle of Gravenstafel (22-23 April)
    • Battle of St-Julien (24 April – 4 May)
    • Battle of Frezenberg (8-13 May)
    • Battle of Bellewaarde (24-25 May)

Major-General G. F. Milne took command on 16 July 1915, Snow having been promoted to command of VII Corps

The 27th Division was ordered to Salonika in November 1915 and embarkation began on 17 November, but it was not until 13 February 1916 that the last units of the division finally arrived. See Salonika campaign


Brigadier-General S. W. Hare took temporary command on 13 February, Milne having been promoted to command of XVI Corps. On 7 February 1916 he was replaced by Major-General W. R. Marshall

Brigadier-General H. D. White-Thompson took temporary command on 14 September, Marshall having been promoted to command of an Indian Corps. Next day he was replaced by Major-General H. S. L. Ravenshaw

  • 30 September – 2 October 1916: the capture of Karajakois
  • 3-4 October 1916: the capture of Yenikoi
  • 17 November and 6-7 December 1916: the battle of Tumbitza Farm

Brigadier-General G. A. Weir took temporary command on 30 November, Ravenshaw having fallen into enemy hands after a ship on which he was travelling to England was sunk by an Austrian submarine. He was replaced on 22 December 1916 by Major-General G. T. Forestier-Walker


  • 14 October 1917: the capture of Homondos


The 27th Division lost a number of units in mid 1918; they were transferred to France.

  • 1-30 September 1918: the final offensive in Salonika, including the division’s part in the capture of the Roche Noir Salient (1-2 September), the passage of the Vardar river and pursuit to the Strumica valley (22-30 September)

Hostilities with Bulgaria ceased on 30 September, with the 27th Division by then in the area Kosturino – Rabrovo – Cestovo. The division continued to advance and passed Krupnik by the end of October. 27th Division was ordered to halt and turn about on 2 November, embarking in December for operations on the Black Sea. It reached Constantinople on 19 December and opened HQ at Tiflis in January 1919. The division was not disbanded until 24 September 1919, by which time it was at Batum.

Imperial War Museum photograph Q32526, with thanks. An infantry patrol from a unit of the 27th Division prior to leaving their trenches for an evening raid in the Struma Valley, November, 1916.

The order of battle of the 27th Division

80th Infantry Brigade

2nd King’s Shropshire Light Infantry

3rd King’s Royal Rifle Corps

4th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (left June 1918)

4th Rifle Brigade

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (left for 3rd Canadian Division November 1915)

80th Machine Gun Company (joined 16 May 1916)

80th Trench Mortar Battery ( joined 2 September 1916)

80th Small Arms Ammunition Section Ammunition Column (joined 28 September 1916)

81st Infantry Brigade

1st Royal Scots

2nd Gloucestershire Regiment (left for 82nd Brigade November 1916)

2nd Cameron Highlanders

1st Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

1/9th Royal Scots (joined February 1915, left November 1915)

81st Machine Gun Company (joined 16 May 1916)

81st Small Arms Ammunition Section Ammunition Column (joined 28 September 1916)

81st Trench Mortar Battery (joined 16 October 1916)

13th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) (joined October 1916, left June 1918)

82nd Infantry Brigade

1st Royal Irish Regiment  (left November 1916)

2nd Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry

2nd Royal Irish Fusiliers (left November 1916)

1st Leinster Regiment (left November 1916)

1/1st Cambridgeshire Regiment (joined February 1915, left November 1915)

82nd Machine Gun Company (formed 16 May 1916)

82nd Trench Mortar Battery (formed 31 July 1916)

82nd Small Arms Ammunition Section Ammunition Column (joined 28 September 1916)

10th Cameron Highlanders (joined October 1916, left June 1918)

2nd Gloucestershire Regiment (joined from 81st Brigade November 1916)

10th Hampshire Regiment (joined November 1916)

19th Infantry Brigade (joined from 6th Division on 31 May 1915 but left to go to 2nd Division on 19 August 1915)

2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers

1st Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

1/5th Scottish Rifles

1st Middlesex Regiment

2nd Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Divisional Mounted Troops

“A” Squadron, Surrey Yeomanry (left 27 December 1916)

“D” Squadron, Derbyshire Yeomanry ( joined 26 March 1916, left June 1916)

27th Divisional Cyclist Company of the Army Cyclist Corps (left 7 December 1916)

Divisional Troops

26th Middlesex  Regiment (joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion in August 1916)

27th Divisonal Train (95, 96, 97 and 98 (Horse Transport) Companies of the Army Service Corps) joined in November and December 1914 but remained when the Division moved to Salonika, becoming the 55th Divisional Train. A new Train, comprising 483, 484, 485 and 486 Companies sailed from Devonport on 16 January 1916. In April 1916 the Train was reorganised into “Pack and Wheel Echelons”; 852, 853, 845 and 856 Companies also later joined.

16th Mobile Veterinary Section of the Army Veterinary Corps

27th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop ( joined February 1915 but remained in France when Division moved to Salonika)

818th Divisional Employment Company of the Labour Corps (formed 14 September 1917)

Divisional Artillery

I Brigade RFA

XIX Brigade RFA

XX BRigade RFA

CXXIX (Hoiwtzer) Brigade RFA (joined August 1915)

27th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA (formed December 1914 from the IV Home Counties (Howitzer) Brigade TF RFA; disbanded 8 January 1917. 27th Division retained its Brigade Ammunition Columns)

130th Howitzer Battery RFA (attached between 8 January and 21 February 1915)

61st Howitzer Battery RFA (attached between 21 February 1915 and June 1915)

2nd Mountain Battery RGA (attached 17 to 24 July 1916)

Bute Mountain Battery of IV Highland Mountain Brigade RGA (attached between 22 July and 8 September 1918, and again 23 September and 25 September 1918)

London Daily News, 7 May 1919, reporting the return of XIX and XX Brigades RFA at Dover, having returned from Salonika. (British Newspaper Archive).

Divisional Royal Engineers

1st (Wessex) Field Company (later renamed 500th Field Company)

2nd (Wessex) Field Company ( later renamed 501st Field Company)

1st (South Midland) Field Company (left March 1915)

17th Field Company ( joined from 5th Division 26 March 1915)

Wessex Divisional Signal Company

Divisional Royal Army Medical Corps

81st (1st Home Counties) Field Ambulance

82nd (2nd Home Counties) Field Ambulance

83rd (3rd Home Counties) Field Ambulance

7th Sanitary Section (joined 9 January 1915, left 16 April 1917)

Divisional histories

There appears to be no published history of this division.

Divisional memorials

There appears to be no memorial to this division.


The Salonika campaign

Other Divisions