68th (2nd Welsh) Division

History of the division

  • Created as part of the formation of “2nd Line” reserves for the Territorial Force authorised on 31 August 1914 but did not come into existence until January 1915.
  • Was the 2nd Line to the existing 53rd (Welsh) Division
  • Concentrated as a formation in the Northampton area in April 1915
  • Suffered from continual drain of drafts from its units and from equipment shortages
  • Moved to the Bedford area in July-August 1915
  • Became part of the First Army of Central Force for home defence in November 1915
  • Left First Army and became part of general reserve of home forces by September 1916
    • Locations at this time: HQ and 203rd Infantry Brigade at Bedford; 204th Infantry Brigade at old Warden and Lowestoft; 205th Infantry Brigade at Howbury and Orford; mounted units at Turvey; artillery at Austin Cannon, Old Warden and Howbury; engineers at Orford, Yatesbury and Bungay.
  • Joined Northern Army of Central Force for home defence by May 1917
    • Locations in summer 1917: HQ at Bungay;  203rd Infantry Brigade at Halesworth; 204th Infantry Brigade at Westleton; 205th Infantry Brigade at Lowestoft (Herringfleet by August); cyclists at Great Yarmouth and Saxmundham; artillery at Huntingdon and Flixton; attached artillery at Leiston; engineers at Halesworth, Great Yarmouth and Southwold.
    • Locations in winter 1917-18: 203rd Infantry Brigade at Great Yarmouth; 204th Infantry Brigade at Bury St Edmunds; 205th Infantry Brigade at Lowestoft; cyclists at Lowestoft, Peasenhall and Wickham Market; artillery at Langley and Harleston, heavy battery at Blythburgh; engineers at Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Heydon.
  • Significant changes to the structure of the infantry brigades in winter 1917-1918 and the division ceased to belong to the Territorial Force. It was renamed as 68th Division
    • Locations in spring 1918: HQ at Bungay;  203rd Infantry Brigade at Benacre Park and Herringfleet; 204th Infantry Brigade at Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Stowlangtoft; 205th Infantry Brigade at Saxmundham; cyclists at Henham; artillery at Henham and Herringfleet; engineers at Henham, Herringfleet and Southwold.
    • Locations in November 1918: HQ at Bungay;  203rd Infantry Brigade at Herringfleet; 204th Infantry Brigade at Bury St Edmunds, Newmarket and Stowlangtoft; 205th Infantry Brigade at Henham; cyclists at Oulton; artillery at Harleston and Herringfleet; engineers at Diss, Great Yarmouth and Southwold.
  • Ceased to exist by 17 March 1919.

Order of Battle

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203rd (2/1st North Wales) Infantry Brigade

  • 2/4th (Denbighshire) Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Disbanded by March 1918.
  • 2/5th (Flintshire) Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Disbanded 16 March 1918.
  • 2/6th (Carnarvonshire & Anglesey) Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Disbanded  8 September 1917.
  • 2/7th (Merioneth & Montgomeryshire) Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Disbanded 12 September 1917.
  • 225th Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 23 July 1917. Became 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 27 October 1917.
  • 226th Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 23 July 1917. Became 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment on 27 October 1917.
  • 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) joined 11 March 1918.

204th (2/1st Cheshire) Infantry Brigade

  • 2/4th Cheshire Regiment. Absorbed into 2/7th Battalion 8 December 1915.
  • 2/5th (Earl of Chester’s) Cheshire Regiment. Disbanded 21 April 1918.
  • 2/6th Cheshire Regiment. Disbanded 11 September 1917.
  • 2/7th Cheshire Regiment. Disbanded 31 March 1918.
  • 229th Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 23 July 1917. Became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on 27 October 1917.
  • 230th Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 24 September 1917. Became 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the South Wales Borderers on 27 October 1917.

205th (2/1st Welsh Border) Infantry Brigade

  • 2/1st Monmouthshire Regiment. Disbanded 31 March 1918.
  • 2/2nd Monmouthshire Regiment. Disbanded 20 April 1918.
  • 2/3rd Monmouthshire Regiment. Absorbed into 2/1st and 2/2nd Battalions August 1917.
  • 2/1st Herefordshire Regiment. Disbanded 10 September 1917.
  • 233rd Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 23 July 1917. Became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) on 27 October 1917.
  • 234th Infantry Battalion. Joined from Training Reserve 23 July 1917. Became 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Welsh Regiment on 27 October 1917.
  • 51st (Graduated) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Joined January 1918.
  • 52nd (Graduated) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. Joined January 1918.

Mounted Troops

  • 2/1st Welsh Divisional Cyclist Company, later renamed 68th Company of the Army Cyclist Corps.
  • 2/6th (Cyclist) Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment. With the division in the period August to September 1915.
  • C Squadron, 2/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry. With the division in the period late 1916 to early 1917.
  • 1/6th (Cyclist) Battalion, the Suffolk Regiment. With the division in the period May 1917 to March 1918.
  • 2/25th (Cyclist) Battalion, the London Regiment. With the division in the period May 1917 to March 1918.

Divisional artillery

Divisional Royal Engineers

  • 2/1st Welsh Field Company. Left 4 October 1915.Later renamed 437th Field Company.
  • 2/1st Cheshire Field Company. Left July 1915. Later renamed 439th Field Company.
  • 3/1st Cheshire Field Company. Joined 22 July 1915. Later renamed 440th Field Company.
  • 1/1st Glamorgan Field Company. Joined 29 November 1915. Later renamed 441st Field Company.
  • 2/1st Glamorgan Field Company. Joined by 1 January 1916. Later renamed 442nd Field Company.
  • Divisional Signal Company.

Divisional Royal Army Medical Corps

  • 2/1st Welsh Field Ambulance. Later renamed 319th Field Ambulance.
  • 2/2nd Welsh Field Ambulance. Later renamed 320th Field Ambulance.
  • 2/3rd Welsh Field Ambulance. Later renamed 321st Field Ambulance.
  • 2/1st Welsh Sanitary Section. Joined division in 1916.
  • 2/1st Motor Ambulance Workshop. Absorved into Divisional Train in 1916.

Divisional Army Veterinary Corps

  • 2/1st Welsh Mobile Veterinary Section.
  • 1/1st Welsh Mobile Veterinary Section. With the division in the period 7 January 1916 to 21 March 1916.

Divisional Army Service Corps

  • 2/1st Welsh Divisional Train (later renamed as 549, 550, 551 and 552 Horse Transport Companies)

Note: the division did not have a Pioneer Battalion or any machine gun units.

War diaries

War diaries do not exist for any element of this division

Links

53rd (Welsh) Division

Territorial Force

Training Reserve