|1st Cavalry Division|
First World War division insignia
|Active||August 1914 – March 1919|
31 October 1940 – 1 August 1941
|Part of||Cavalry Corps (First World War)|
|Engagements||First World War
Second World War
|Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby|
The 1st Cavalry Division was a regular Division of the British Army during the First World War where it fought on the Western Front. During the Second World War it was a first line formation, formed from Yeomanry Regiments. It fought in the Middle East before being converted to the 10th Armoured Division.
During the Peninsular War, Wellington organized his cavalry into The Cavalry Division from June 1809 under Major-General Sir William Payne. This performed a purely administrative, rather than tactical, role; the normal tactical headquarters were provided by brigades commanding two, later usually three, regiments. On 3 June 1810, Payne returned home and his second-in-command, Major-General Stapleton Cotton, took command. Cotton was to remain in command thereafter and effectively acted as Wellington's chief of cavalry.
On 19 June 1811, the cavalry was reorganized as two divisions and The Cavalry Division was redesignated as 1st Cavalry Division with the formation of the 2nd Cavalry Division. The divisions were once again amalgamated as The Cavalry Division on 21 April 1813 with Cotton (Lieutenant-General from 1 January 1812) still in command.
First World War
The 1st Cavalry Division was one of the first Divisions to move to France in 1914, they would remain on the Western Front throughout the war. It participated in most of the major actions where cavalry were used as a mounted mobile force, they would also be used as dismounted troops and effectively serve as infantry. On 11 November 1918, orders were received that the Division would lead the advance of Second Army into Germany, by 6 December, having passed through Namur, the Division secured the Rhine bridgehead at Cologne.
Order of battle in the First World War
1st Cavalry Brigade
- 2nd Dragoon Guards
- 5th Dragoon Guards
- 11th Hussars
- 1st Signal Troop, Royal Engineers
- 1st Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron (from February 1916)
2nd Cavalry Brigade
- 4th Dragoon Guards
- 9th Lancers
- 18th Hussars
- 2nd Signal Troop, Royal Engineers
- 2nd Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron (from 28 February 1916)
9th Cavalry Brigade
9th Cavalry Brigade was formed in France on 14 April 1915 with the 15th Hussars and the 19th Hussars. These regular cavalry regiments had been serving on the Western Front since August 1914 as divisional cavalry squadrons assigned to infantry divisions. The brigade remained with 1st Cavalry Division for the rest of the war.
|15th (The King's) Hussars||14 April 1915|
|19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars||14 April 1915|
|1/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry||12 June 1915||10 March 1918|
|8th (The King's Royal Irish) Hussars||10 March 1918[c]|
|1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA (TF)||14 April 1915||21 November 1916[d]|
|Y Battery, RHA||1 December 1916[d]|
|9th Signal Troop, Royal Engineers||14 April 1915|
|9th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron, MGC||28 February 1916[e]|
Cavalry Divisional troops
- III Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery transferred to 2nd Cavalry Division on formation on 17 September 1914
- VII Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery
- I Battery, RHA attached to 1st Cavalry Brigade from 17 September 1914
- L Battery, RHA withdrawn after Action at Néry on 1 September 1914
- (Tempy) Z Battery, RHA from 1 to 27 September 1914
- H Battery, RHA from 28 September 1914, attached to 2nd Cavalry Brigade
- 1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA (TF) from 14 April 1915 to 21 November 1916, attached to 9th Cavalry Brigade
- Y Battery, RHA from 1 December 1916, attached to 9th Cavalry Brigade
- VII RHA Brigade Ammunition Column
- 1st Field Squadron Royal Engineers
- 1st Signal Squadron, Royal Engineers
Second World War
On 31 October 1939, during the Second World War, the 1st Cavalry Division was reformed. It was assigned to Northern Command, and took command of two pre-war First Line Territorial Army cavalry brigades (the 5th and 6th) and the newly formed 4th Cavalry Brigade. It was the only cavalry division in the British Army during the war.
It departed the United Kingdom in January 1940, transited across France, and arrived in Palestine on 31 January 1940. It served as a garrison force under British Forces, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
In May 1941, the Divisional Headquarters and elements of the division (notably the 4th Cavalry Brigade), together with a battalion of infantry from the Essex Regiment (the 1st Battalion), a mechanised regiment from the Arab Legion and supporting artillery was reorganised as Habforce for operations in Iraq including the relief of the base at RAF Habbaniya and the occupation of Baghdad. Following this, in July 1941, Habforce was placed under the command of Australian I Corps and was involved in operations against the Vichy French in Syria, advancing from eastern Iraq near the Trans-Jordan border to capture Palmyra and secure the Haditha - Tripoli oil pipeline.
On 1 August 1941, the 1st Cavalry Division was converted into the 10th Armoured Division.[f] 10th Armoured Division later fought at the Battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein. The 10th Armoured Division was disbanded in Egypt on 15 June 1944.
Order of battle in Second World War
4th Cavalry Brigade
|Household Cavalry Composite Regiment||13 November 1939||12 January 1941|
|1st Household Cavalry Regiment[g]||13 January 1941||31 July 1941|
|North Somerset Yeomanry||15 November 1939||21 March 1941[h]|
|Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry||3 December 1939||2 October 1940[i]|
|8 January 1941||31 July 1941|
|Warwickshire Yeomanry||22 March 1941[j]||31 July 1941|
5th Cavalry Brigade
|Yorkshire Hussars||3 September 1939||22 March 1941[k]|
|Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry||3 September 1939||2 February 1941[l]|
|Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons||3 September 1939||18 March 1942|
|North Somerset Yeomanry||20 March 1941[h]||20 March 1942|
|Cheshire Yeomanry||21 March 1941[m]||7 June 1941|
|15 July 1941||21 March 1942|
|Staffordshire Yeomanry||30 April 1941||4 June 1941[n]|
6th Cavalry Brigade
|Warwickshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||21 March 1941[j]|
|Staffordshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||28 April 1941[n]|
|5 June 1941||31 July 1941|
|Cheshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||20 March 1941[m]|
|Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry||3 October 1940[i]||7 January 1941|
|Royal Scots Greys||1 March 1941[o]||31 July 1941|
|Yorkshire Hussars||23 March 1941[k]||31 July 1941|
The division also commanded the following support units:
- 104th (Essex Yeomanry) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery
- 106th (Lancashire Hussars) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery
- 107th (South Nottinghamshire Hussars) Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery
- 2nd Field Squadron, Royal Engineers
- 141st Field Park Squadron, Royal Engineers
- 1st Cavalry Divisional Signals (Middlesex Yeomanry), Royal Corps of Signals
- 550th Company, Royal Army Service Corps, TA
The 1st Cavalry Division had the following commanders during the First World War:
|12 October 1914||Major-General||H. de B. de Lisle|
|27 May 1916||Major-General||Hon. C.E. Bingham|
|24 October 1915||Major-General||R.L. Mullens|
The 1st Cavalry Division had the following commanders during the Second World War:
|31 October 1939||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|
|27 June 1940||Brigadier||J.J. Kingstone (acting)|
|1 July 1940||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|
|26 February 1941||Brigadier||J.J. Kingstone (acting)|
|8 May 1941||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|
- List of British divisions in WWI
- British Cavalry Corps order of battle 1914
- British cavalry during the First World War
- List of British divisions in WWI
- List of British divisions in WWII
- British Armoured formations of the Second World War
- These figures comprise the war establishment, the on-paper strength, of the division.
- 1/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry left to become a cyclist unit, then to form a machine gun battalion with the 1/1st Essex Yeomanry. The German Spring Offensive forestalled this plan, and the regiment was remounted and returned to 1st Cavalry Division. From April 1918 it was split up with a squadron joining each regiment in 9th Cavalry Brigade (8th, 15th and 19th Hussars).
- 8th Hussars joined from 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade of the 5th Cavalry Division after it was broken up. On 11 March it came on the British War Establishment i.e. the 4th squadron was absorbed into the others.
- 1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA transferred to XV Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery in 29th Division in exchange for Y Battery, RHA.
- 9th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron was formed from the machine gun sections of the brigade's constituent regiments.
- 4th Cavalry Brigade was converted into the 9th Armoured Brigade and 6th Cavalry Brigade into 8th Armoured Brigade
- Household Cavalry Composite Regiment was redesignated 1st Household Cavalry Regiment.
- North Somerset Yeomanry transferred from 4th to 5th Cavalry Brigade.
- Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry transferred from 4th to 6th Cavalry Brigade, and back again.
- Warwickshire Yeomanry transferred from 6th to 4th Cavalry Brigade.
- Yorkshire Hussars transferred from 5th to 6th Cavalry Brigade.
- Sherwood Rangers transferred to HQ, Middle East Forces and was later converted into an Armoured Regiment with the 8th Armoured Brigade (former 4th Cavalry Brigade).
- Cheshire Yeomanry transferred from 6th to 5th Cavalry Brigade.
- Staffordshire Yeomanry transferred from 6th to 5th Cavalry Brigade, and back again.
- Royal Scots Greys joined from Force Troops, British Forces in Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
- Joslen 2003, p. 133
- Reid 2004, p. 79
- Haythornthwaite 1990, p. 103
- Reid 2004, p. 75
- Reid 2004, p. 80
- Reid 2004, p. 86
- Reid 2004, p. 81
- Reid 2004, p. 85
- Baker, Chris. "The 1st Cavalry Division, Order of Battle". The Long Long Trail. The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918 (website). Archived from the original on 1 October 2009. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- Becke 1935, p. 5
- James 1978, p. 12
- James 1978, p. 16
- Baker, Chris. "Cavalry units of the Machine Gun Corps". The Long Long Trail. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- Joslen 2003, p. 33
- Rothwell, Steve. "Orders of Battle: Arab Legion". Retrieved 25 November 2008.
- Joslen 2003, p. 189
- Joslen 2003, p. 191
- Joslen 2003, p. 25
- Joslen 2003, p. 190
- Joslen 2003, p. 480
- "History of 550 Coy RASC TA 1936-45" by Capt M B Phillips, TD
- Becke 1935, p. 1
- Becke, Major A.F. (1935). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 1. The Regular British Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-09-4.
- Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1990). The Napoleonic Source Book. London: Guild Publishing.
- James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.
- Joslen, H. F. (2003) . Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.
- Reid, Stuart (2004). Wellington's Army in the Peninsula 1809–14. Volume 2 of Battle Orders Series. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-517-1.
- History of 550 Coy RASC TA 1936-45 by Capt M B Phillips TD
- Baker, Chris. "The 1st Cavalry Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
- "1st Cavalry Division on The Regimental Warpath 1914 - 1918 by PB Chappell". Archived from the original on 8 January 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-02.
- "1st Cavalry Division". Orders of Battle.com.
- BritishMilitaryHistory Palestine & Trans-Jordan 1930 - 1948