29th Division

The history of 29th Division

As regular units from the further garrisons of Empire arrived back in England after having received recall orders soon after war was declared, 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 29th, consisting of units that arrived from the most distant stations, was formed in the Stratford-Warwick-Leamington-Rugby-Nuneaton area of Warwickshire in January-March 1915. Originally intended for France, pressure on Lord Kitchener to launch a ground attack at Gallipoli forced him to deploy the Division there.

The 29th Division embarked at Avonmouth on 16-22 March 1915 and went via Malta to Alexandria. On 7 April the first units to have arrived at Egypt began to re-embark for the move to Mudros, the deep water harbour at the island of Lemnos that was going to be used as a forward base for operations at Gallipoli. The Division landed at Cape Helles on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and subsequently took part in the following actions:


On the nights 7-8 January 1916, the Division was evacuated from Gallipoli and all units returned to Egypt. Orders were received there on 25 February for a move to France. Embarking in March it arrived at Marseilles and moved to concentrate in the area east of Pont Remy between 15 and 29 March. The Division remained on the Western Front for the remainder of the war.

The Battle of Albert*
The Battle of the Transloy Ridges*
* the battles marked * are phases of the Battles of the Somme 1916

The First Battle of the Scarpe**
The Second Battle of the Scarpe**
The Third Battle of the Scarpe**
** the battles marked ** are phases of the Arras Offensive 1917

The Battle of Langemarck^
The Battle of Broodseinde^
The Battle of Poelcapelle^
^ the battles marked ^ are phases of the Third Battles of Ypres 1917

The Battle of Cambrai

The Battle of Estaires+
The Battle of Messines 1918+
The Battle of Hazebrouck+ including the defence on Nieppe Forest
The Battle of Bailleul+
+ the battles marked + are phases of the Battles of the Lys

The Action of Outtersteene Ridge-
The capture of Ploegsteert and Hill 63-
– the battles marked – are phases of the Advance in Flanders
The Battle of Ypres 1918++
The Battle of Courtrai++
++ the battles marked ++ are phases of the Final Advance in Flanders

After the Armistice the Division was among those selected to march into Germany to occupy the Rhine bridgehead. All units crossed the Belgian-German border at Malmedy on 4 December 1918 and arrived in Cologne five days later. The Division crossed the Rhine by the Honhenzollern Bridge on 13 December. Gradually, demobilisation began and by March 1919 most units were down to cadre strength.

The order of battle of the 29th Division

86th Infantry Brigade sometimes known as the Fusilier Brigade
2nd Bn, the Royal Fusiliers
1st Bn, the Lancashire Fusiliers
1st Bn, the Royal Munster Fusiliers left April 1916
1st Bn, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers left October 1917, rejoined April 1918
2/3rd Bn, the London Regiment joined August 1915, left January 1916
86th Machine Gun Company formed 26 February 1916, moved to 29 Battalion MGC on 15 Feb 1918
16th Bn, the Middlesex Regiment joined April 1916, disbanded February 1918
86th Trench Mortar Battery formed 21 April 1916
1st Bn, the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry joined October 1917, left April 1918
87th Infantry Brigade
2nd Bn, the South Wales Borderers
1st Bn, the King’s Own Scottish Borderers
1st Bn, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers left February 1918
1st Bn, the Border Regiment
87th Machine Gun Company formed 16 February 1916, moved to 29 Battalion MGC on 15 Feb 1918
87th Trench Mortar Battery formed 28 April 1916
88th Infantry Brigade
4th Bn, the Worcestershire Regiment
2nd Bn, the Hampshire Regiment
1st Bn, the Essex Regiment left February 1918
1st Bn, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment left April 1918
1/5th Bn, the Royal Scots joined March 1915, left July 1915
2/1st Bn, the London Regiment joined August 1915, left January 1916
88th Machine Gun Company formed 21 February 1916, moved to 29 Battalion MGC on 15 Feb 1918
88th Trench Mortar Battery formed 16 April 1916
2nd Bn, the Leinster Regiment joined April 1918
Divisional Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
1/2nd Bn, the Monmouthshire Regiment joined as Divisional Pioneer Battalion in May 1916
29th Divisional Train 246, 247, 248 and 249 TF Companies, ASC. This was originally the Wessex Divisional Train from the Wessex Division. This transferred to 53rd (Welsh) Division in Egypt, March 1916, after seeing action in Gallipoli. A new Divisional Train was formed in England, consisting of 225, 226, 227 and 228 Companies, ASC. It moved to France and joined the Division 24 March 1916
18th Mobile Veterinary Section AVC
226th Divisional Employment Company joined on 25 May 1917 as 28th Employment Company, 1st Labour Corps; redesignated in June 1917
29th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop remained in Egypt when Division moved to France. A fresh unit joined in France, and it was absorbed by the Divisional Supply Column in April 1916
Divisional Mounted Troops under direct command of Divisional HQ
C Sqn, the Surrey Yeomanry left 11 May 1916
1 Section, 10 Squadron, Royal Naval Armoured Car Detachment attached between 5 May 1915 and 20 June 1915
Divisional Artillery
XV Brigade, RHA
XVII Brigade, RFA
CXLVII Brigade, RFA left January 1917
IV Highland Mountain Brigade, RGA left July 1915
29th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA original 29th DAC remained in Egypt when the Division moved to France (in October 1916 it was transferred to the 10th (Irish) Division. While en-route to Salonika its ship was torpedoed and more than 100 men were lost). On arrival in France the former DAC of the 53rd (Welsh) Division joined 29th Division
CXXXII Brigade, RFA formerly LVII (H) joined 2 March 1916, broken up 12 September 1916
V.29 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA formed May 1916, broken up 4 February 1918
X.29, Y.29 and Z.29 Medium Trench Mortar Batteries, RFA joined April 1916; on 4 February 1918, Z broken up and batteries reorganised to have 6 x 6-inch weapons each
Royal Engineers
2nd (Lowland) Field Company left February 1916
510th Field Company renamed from 2nd (London) Field Company
455th Field Company renamed from 1st (West Riding) Field Company
497th Field Company joined February 1916, renamed from 3rd (kent) Field Company
1st London Divisional Signal Company
Royal Army Medical Corps
87th (1st West Lancashire) Field Ambulance
88th (1st East Anglian) Field Ambulance
89th (1st Highland) Field Ambulance
16th Sanitary Section left April 1917

Divisional histories

“The story of the 29th Division: a record of gallant deeds” by Captain Stair Gillon.


Divisional memorials

There is a memorial to the 29th Division situated within Newfoundland Memorial Park, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France.


There is also a memorial, situated on the A45 east of Coventry near Stretton-on-Dunsmore, at the spot where units of the 29th Division were inspected by King George V before they departed for Gallipoli.

The memorial to the 29th Division on the A45.


Other Divisions