6th Division

The history of 6th Division

This peacetime Division of the pre-war army was quartered in Ireland and England at the outbreak of war, and was ordered on mobilisation to concentrate near Cambridge. By early September it was fully equipped and trained. On the 10 September 1914 it landed at St Nazaire and proceeded to the Western Front, where it remained throughout the war. The Division arrived in time to reinforce the hard-pressed BEF on the Aisne, before the whole army was moved north into Flanders:

1914
The actions on the Aisne heights

1915
The action at Hooge

1916
The Battle of Flers-Courcelette*
The Battle of Morval*
The Battle of Le Transloy*
The battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916
1917
The Battle of Hill 70 (at same time as the Battles of Arras 1917)
The Cambrai operations

1918
The Battle of St Quentin**
The battle marked ** is a phase of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Bailleul***
The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge***
The Second Battle of Kemmel Ridge***
The Advance in Flanders
The Battle of Epehy+
The Battle of the St Quentin Canal+
The Battle of Beaurevoir+
The Battle of Cambrai 1918+
The battles marked + are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The pursuit to the Selle
The Battle of the Selle

The Division was billeted around Bohain at the Armistice on 11 November 1918. It was selected to march into Germany as part of the occupation force and began to move 14-18 November to Solre-le-Chateau to assemble. The Division crossed the German border on 13 December and reached its destination at Bruehl on 23 December.

The order of battle of the 6th Division

16th Brigade
1st Bn, the Buffs
1st Bn, the Leicestershire Regt left November 1915
1st Bn, the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
2nd Bn, the York & Lancaster Regt
1/5th Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regt joined February 1915, left June 1915
8th Bn, the Bedfordshire Regt joined 17 November 1915, disbanded 16 February 1918
16th Machine Gun Company formed in February 1916
left to move into 6th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
16th Trench Mortar Battery formed 3 April 1916
17th Brigade
Brigade transferred to 24th Division in exchange for 71st Brigade on 14 October 1915
1st Bn, the Royal Fusiliers
1st Bn, the North Staffordshire Regt
2nd Bn, the Leinster Regt
3rd Bn, the Rifle Brigade
2nd Bn, the Manchester Regt
1/2nd Bn, the London Regt joined February 1915
18th Brigade
1st Bn, the West Yorkshire Regt
1st Bn, the East Yorkshire Regt left November 1915
2nd Bn, the Sherwood Foresters left October 1915
2nd Bn, the Durham Light Infantry
1/16th Bn, the London Regt joined November 1914, left January 1916
11th Bn, the Essex Regt joined October 1915
14th Bn, the Durham Light Infantry joined November 1915, disbanded February 1918
18th Brigade Machine Gun Company formed in February 1916
left to move into 6th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
18th Trench Mortar Battery formed 16 April 1916
19th Brigade
Brigade joined from GHQ Troops on 12 October 1914 and left to join 27th Division on 31 May 1915
2nd Bn, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers
1st Bn, the Cameronians
1st Bn, the Middlesex Regt
2nd Bn, the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders
1/5th Bn, the Cameronians joined November 1915
71st Brigade
Brigade transferred to 24th Division in exchange for 17th Brigade on 11 October 1915
9th Bn, the Norfolk Regt
9th Bn, the Suffolk Regt disbanded February 1918
8th Bn, the Bedfordshire Regt left November 1915
11th Bn, the Essex Regt left October 1915
2nd Bn, the Sherwood Foresters joined October 1915
1st Bn, the Leicestershire Regt joined November 1915
71st Machine Gun Company formed 14 March 1916
left to move into 6th MG Battalion 1 March 1918
71st Trench Mortar Battery formed April 1916
Divisional Troops
11th Bn, the Leicestershire Regt joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion in April 1916
192nd Company, the Machine Gun Corps joined 15 December 1916
left to move into 6th MG Battalion 1 March191 8
No 6 Battalion, the Machine Gun Corps formed 1 March 1918
Divisional Mounted Troops
C Squadron, the 19th Hussars left April 1915
B Sqn, the 1/st Northamptonshire Yeomanry joined April 1915, left May 1916
6th Company, Army Cyclist Corps left June 1916
Divisional Artillery
II Brigade, RFA
XII (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA left May 1916
XXIV Brigade, RFA
XXXVIII Brigade, RFA left January 1917
6th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA
24th Heavy Battery RGA left April 1915
No 2 Pom-Pom Section RGA attached 4 October 1914 to 16 December 1914
V.6 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA formed 20 July 1916, left 6 March 1918
X.6, Y.6 and Z.6 Medium Mortar Batteries RFA joined on 1 April 1916; on 15 March 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
Royal Engineers
12th Field Company
38th Field Company left April 1915
1st (London) Field Company joined December 1914, later renamed 509th Field Company RE
2/2nd (West Riding) Field Company joined October 1915, later renamed 459th Field Company RE
6th Divisional Signals Company
Royal Army Medical Corps
16th Field Ambulance
17th Field Ambulance
18th Field Ambulance
8th Sanitary Section joined 9 January 1915, left 5 April 1917
Other Divisional Troops
6th Divisional Train ASC 17, 19, 23 and 24 Companies
6th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC
209th Divisional Employment Company joined 20 May 1917 at which time it was 11th Divisional Employment Company; renamed in June 1917
6th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop joined by 10 June 1915, transferred to Divisional Train 9 April 1916

Divisional histories

A free PDF copy of Sir T. O.Marden’s “A short history of the 6th Division Aug. 1914- March 1919” can be downloaded from archive.org: here

Divisional memorials

There appears to be no memorial to the 6th Division

Links

Other Divisions