75th Division

The history of 75th Division

This formation was created during the war. On 16 March 1917 the War Office gave permission to the GOC Egyptian Expeditionary Force, Sir Edmund Allenby, to form a new Division from the units of the Territorial Force which were now arriving from India.On 21 May further instructions were given that the three infantry brigades should incorporate Indian battalions; this was augmented on 11 June by instructions that each brigade should have three Indian battalions and one British. It was, strictly, a Division of the Territorial Force but “indianised” to a great extent. Division HQ came into existence at El Arish on 25 June 1917. The complete Division was a long time in formation, the artillery not being full to establishment until October 1917.

A Lewis gun emplacement in a trench held by the 3/3rd Ghurkha Rifles, 75th Division in Palestine. Imperial War Museum image Q12397B.
A Lewis gun emplacement in a trench held by the 3/3rd Ghurkha Rifles, 75th Division in Palestine. Imperial War Museum image Q12397B.

The Division took the field in time for the Third Battle of Gaza and remained in action in Palestine, taking part in the following engagements:

1917

The Third Battle of Gaza (27 October – 7 November 1917, including the Capture of Gaza on 6-7 November)
The Capture of Junction Station (13 – 14 November 1917)
The Battle of Nabi Samweil (20 – 24 November 1917)

1918

The Battle of Tell’Asur (11 – 12 March 1918)
The action of Berukin (9 – 11 April 1918)
The Battle of Sharon (19 September 1918, part of the Battles of Megiddo)

The 75th Division was withdrawn for rest after Sharon and went into reserve at Tyre. On 22 October it became to move to Haifa and was there on 31 October (when Turkey signed an Armistice). A gradual move back to Egypt took place, the units going via Lydda and Kantara. By March 1919 Divisional HQ was at Alexandria and brigades at Heliopolis and Ismailia. The division remained in existence, gradually demobilising, until 1 April 1920.

The order of battle of the 75th Division

232nd Brigadeformed at Moascar on 14 April 1917
1/5th Bn, the Devonshire Regimentleft 4 May 1918
2/5th Bn, the Hampshire Regimentdisbanded by 13 August 1918
1/4th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantryleft for 233rd Bde 4 June 1917
2nd Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regimentunder orders to join Bde 20 April 1917 but this appears to have been countermanded on 24 April 1917, with 233rd Bde 4 June 1917
2/3rd Bn, the Ghurka Riflesjoined from 233rd Bde 22 July 1917
2/4th Bn, the Somerset Light Infantryjoined at Deir el Belah 16 October 1917, left 2 May 1918
1/4th Bn, the Wiltshire Regimentjoined from 223rd Bde 3 May 1918
72nd Bn, Punjabisjoined near Wadi Ballut on 28 April 1918
2/4th Bn, the Dorsetshire Regimentborrowed from 233rd Bde 1-2 May 1918
3rd Bn, the Kashmir Riflesjoined near Rantis 3 August 1918
229th Machine Gun Companyjoined at Deir el Belah 18 June 1917, moved to 75th Bn MGC 3 May 1918
232nd Trench Mortar Batteryformed 26 July 1917
  
233rd Brigadeformed 25 May 1917, joined Division 18 August 1917
1/5th Bn, the Somerset Light Infantry 
2/4th Bn, the Hampshire Regimentleft 2 May 1918
2nd Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regimentjoined 4 June 1917, left for 234th Bde 25 June 1917
1/4th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantryjoined from 232nd Bde 4 June 1917, left for 234th Bde 25 June 1917
2/3rd Bn, the Ghurka Riflesjoined 29 June 1917, left for 232nd Bde 16 July 1917
3/3rd Bn, the Ghurka Riflesjoined at Rafa 30 June 1917
29th Bn, Punjabisjoined 28 April 1918
2/4th Bn, the Dorsetshire Regimentjoined from 234th Bde 2 May 1918, lent to 232nd Bde 1-2 May 1918, disbanded 10 August 1918
2/154th Bn, Infantryjoined near Rantis 25 July 1918
230th Machine Gun Companyjoined at Rafa 15 July 1917, moved to 75th Bn MGC 3 May 1918
233rd Trench Mortar Batteryjoined near Gaza 1 September 1917
  
234th Brigadeformed 25 June 1917
2nd Bn, the Loyal North Lancashire Regimentjoined from 233rd Bde 25 June 1917, left 9 August 1917
1/4th Bn, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantryjoined from 233rd Bde 25 June 1917
13rd Bn, Outram’s Riflesjoined at El Arish 1 July 1917
58th Bn, Riflesjoined 16 September 1917
2/4th Bn, the Dorsetshire Regimentjoined at Deir el Belah 19 September 1917, left for 233rd Bde 25 April 1918
2/4th Bn, the Devonshire Regimentjoined at Ramle 13 December 1917, disbanded at Wadi Ballut 23 May 1918
1/152nd Bn, Infantryjoined near Rantis 26 July 1918
231st Machine Gun Companyjoined at El Arish 13 August 1917, moved to 75th Bn MGC 3 May 1918
234th Trench Mortar Batteryformed near Qubeibe 7 December 1917
  
Divisional Troops 
2/32nd Bn, Sikhsjoined as Divisional Pioneer Bn 20 July1918
75th Battalion MGCformed 3 May 1918
  
Divisional Mounted Troopsthe 75th Division had no mounted troops
  
Divisional Artillery 
XXXVII Brigade, RFAhistory of the brigade
CLXXII Brigade, RFAhistory of the brigade
I South African Brigade, RFAjoined at Deir el Belah 12 September 1917
VIII Mountain Brigade, RGAjoined 25 March 1918, left 15 September 1918
75th Divisional Ammunition Column RFAjoined at Sheikh Nabdan on 19 October 1917 after a march of just under 159 miles in ten days, having first formed at El Ferdan on 29 August 1917
X.75, Y. 75 and Z.75 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFAjoined at Deir el Belah 3 October 1917, disbanded 22 February 1918
  
Royal Engineers 
496th (1/2nd Kent) Field Companyjoined at El Arish 4 July 1917
495th (1/1st Kent) Field Companyjoined at Sheikh Abbas 26 August 1917, left 26 May 1918
10/2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Sappers & Minersjoined near Ramle 7 December 1917
16/2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Sappers & Minersjoined at Wadi Ballut 23 May 1918
75th Divisional Signals Companyjoined at El Arish 29 July 1917
  
Royal Army Medical Corps 
145th Field Ambulancejoined at Deir el Belah 14 August 1917, disbanded 19 May 1918
146th Field Ambulancejoined at Rafa 14 August 1917, disbanded 19 May 1918
147th Field Ambulancejoined at El Arish 14 August 1917, disbanded 19 May 1918
123rd Combined Field Ambulancejoined as 123rd Indian Field Ambulance 14 May 1918, renamed by 21 May
127th Combined Field Ambulancejoined 14 May 1918
163rd Combined Field Ambulancejoined 14 May 1918
107th Sanitary Sectionjoined at El Arish 14 July 1917
  
Other Divisional Troops 
75th Divisional Train ASC925, 926, 927 and 928 Companies ASC, joined at El Arish 4 July 1917. Formerly X Divisional Train
60th Mobile Veterinary Section AVCjoined at El Arish 3 July 1917

There is no memorial or published history of 75th Division.