New Zealand Division

The history of New Zealand Division

Formed in Egypt in March 1916, the Division was based on the New Zealand and Australian Division. In April 1916 the Division moved to France and remained there. It developed a reputation as being among the best of the formations under British command, fighting in many of the major actions of the war including:

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 Messines
The Battle of Polygon Wood**
The Battle of Broodseinde**
The First Battle of Passchendaele**
The battles marked ** are phases of the Third Battle of Ypres

1918
The Division was not affected by the restructuring of the army to having three brigades per Division, that took place in the British Divisions in February 1918.
The First Battle of Arras^
The Battle of the Ancre^
The battles marked ^ are phases of the First Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Albert+
The Second Battle of Bapaume+
The battles marked + are phases of the Second Battles of the Somme 1918
The Battle of Havrincourt ”
The Battle of the Canal du Nord ”
The Battle of Cambrai ”
The battles marked ” are phases of the Battles of the Hindenburg Line
The pursuit to the Selle
The Battle of the Selle
The Battle of the Sambre and the capture of Le Quesnoy

The Division was selected to advance into Germany and demobilisation commenced there in late 1918. The Division was disbanded in Germany in March 1919.

Article
The first paragraph of an article that appeared in the “Times” on 29 January 1917.

Order of battle

1st New Zealand Brigade joined from the New Zealand and Australian Division in Egypt in March 1916
1st Wellington Bn
1st Canterbury Bn
1st Auckland Bn
1st Otago Bn
1st NZ Machine Gun Company formed January 1916
left to move into New Zealand MG Bn February 1918
1st NZ Trench Mortar Battery formed in France April 1916
2nd New Zealand Brigade formed in Egypt February 1916
2nd Wellington Bn
2nd Canterbury Bn
2nd Auckland Bn
2nd Otago Bn
2nd NZ Machine Gun Company formed January 1916
left to move into New Zealand MG Bn February 1918
2nd NZ Trench Mortar Battery formed in France April 1916
3rd New Zealand (Rifle) Bde formation completed in Egypt March 1916
1st New Zealand Rifle Brigade
2nd New Zealand Rifle Brigade
3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade
4th New Zealand Rifle Brigade
3rd NZ Machine Gun Company formed January 1916
left to move into New Zealand MG Bn February 1918
3rd NZ Trench Mortar Battery formed in France April 1916
4th New Zealand Brigade joined May 1917, broken up February 1918
3rd Wellington Bn
3rd Canterbury Bn
3rd Auckland Bn
3rd Otago Bn
5th NZ Machine Gun Company left to move into New Zealand MG Battalion February 1918
4th NZ Trench Mortar Battery
Divisional Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
New Zealand Pioneer Battalion formed February 1916 from Maori Bn, Otago Mounted Rifles and 2nd Maori Contingent
4th NZ Machine Gun Company joined February 1917
left to move into New Zealand MG Battalion March 1918
NZ Machine Gun Battalion formed February 1918
NZ Divisional Train ASC later titled 749, 750, 751, 752 and 1048 Companies
NZ Mobile Veterinary Section AVC
NZ Divisional Employment Company joined February 1917
Divisional Mounted Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
Otago Mounted Rifles joined Pioneer Bn in February 1916, one Sqn remaining until March 1916 when it left to become II ANZAC Corps Cavalry Regiment
Divisional Artillery
1st NZ Brigade, RFA
2nd NZ Brigade, RFA left December 1916
3rd NZ Brigade, RFA
4th NZ (Howitzer) Bde, RFA broken up January 1917
NZ Divisional Ammunition Column
V.NZ Heavy Trench Mortar Battery RFA formed June 1916, left February 1918
X.NZ, Y.NZ and Z.NZ Medium Mortar Batteries RFA formed April 1916; in February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
Royal Engineers
1st NZ Field Company
2nd NZ Field Company
3rd NZ Field Company
4th NZ Field Company formed March 1917, broken up February 1918
NZ Divisional Signals Company
Royal Army Medical Corps
1st NZ Field Ambulance
2nd NZ Field Ambulance
3rd NZ Field Ambulance
4th NZ Field Ambulance joined June 1917, broken up February 1918

Divisional histories

“The New Zealand Division 1916-1919” by Col. H. Stewart DSO MC

“Western Front: The New Zealand Division in the First World War 1916-1918” by Matthew Wright

“From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth: The New Zealand Division on the Western Front 1916-1918” by John H. Gray

Divisional memorials

The are four principal memorials to the New Zealand Division: at Passchendaele and Messinesin Belgium, and Le Quesnoy and near Longueval, Somme, in France.

Links

Other Divisions

Archway: Archives New Zealand

NZ National Army Museum

NZ Army: culture and history