The story of the 8th Division began in Southampton when its HQ was set up in the Polygon Hotel on 19th September 1914. Apart from the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, Wessex (Territorial) Field Ambulance and the Signal Company, it was an all-regular division, the infantry battalions coming from overseas garrisons. Its first commander was Major-General F.J. Davies, a Grenadier, who had come from the post of Director of Staff Duties at the War Office. Prior to that he had been Haig’s Chief of Staff when the latter was GOC Aldershot Command. In his foreword Earl Haig highlights the fact that despite its unfailing gallantry in all its efforts, the division was signally unfortunate in its lack of success in the major offensives in which it took part. This is reflected in the appalling total casualty figure of just under 64,000 and the fifty pages of honours and awards, including Mention in Despatches, that constitute one of the appendices. Twelve VCs were won.It is a very good history, well written and supported by excellent maps. It strikes a balance between detailed descriptions of the operations in which the division took part and anecdotes and personal experience. Each major action described is preceded by a review of the situation thus providing a background to the part played by the division. Appendices include, most usefully, complete order of battle with names of commanders down to unit level, staffs down to grade three, and all changes; a table showing sectors occupied with dates of periods spent in the line, actions and casualties sustained on each occasion. By some strange oversight, the division’s first VC, Lt Neame, is omitted from the list of honours and awards.
EIGHTH DIVISION IN WAR 1914-1918
A regular division formed in September 1914 from battalions returning from overseas garrisons. To Western front in November 1914 and remained there. Very good history of an unlucky division. Nearly 64,000 casualties, twelve VCs. Complete order of battle, succession of commanders down to unit level and staff. Table showing sectors occupied and periods in the line.