The 5th Division was a pre-war regular division, one of the original four divisions of the BEF, part of II Corps, and it arrived in France on 16th/17th August. Along with the 3rd Division it took the brunt of the Battle of Mons and was heavily engaged at Le Cateau on 26th August when it won all five VCs awarded in the battle. These two engagements cost the division just over 4,500 casualties. The division fought on the Aisne and the Marne and in October and November it was in action on the La Bassee front and then in the battles of First Ypres; between 14th October and 30th November 1914 it incurred a further 5,100 casualties. For the first seven months of 1915 the 5th Division remained in the Ypres Salient, taking part in the Hill 60 fighting and in Second Ypres when the Germans first used gas. From July to September 1916 the division was involved in the fighting on the Somme, suffering 11,745 casualties. It also fought in the 1917 Arras offensive and in Third Ypres at Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and Passchendaele. In November 1917 the division was sent to Italy, returning to France in April 1918, thus missing the opening phase of the German March offensive, but otherwise it fought in nearly all the battles on the Western Front. No final casualty figure for the war is given but a realistic estimate would be 50,000. Seventeen VCs were won, among them the first to be awarded to a Territorial – 2Lt G.H Woolley, 9th (QVR) Battalion the London Regt, for gallantry at Hill 60 where, today, there is still a memorial to the battalion, erected soon after the war.This history is a readable and competent account of a division which retained a majority of regular battalions throughout. The maps are clear though small, but lack any tactical information. There is a very useful chronological table of events involving the division and the two appendices give details of changes in the order of battle and in divisional staff and brigade commanders. Finally, the divisional sign was a yellow diagonal on a blue, square background. Both co-authors served in the division, Hussey commanded the divisional artillery (CRA) and Inman (Cheshires) served as GSO3 and later as DAAG at divisional HQ.
FIFTH DIVISION IN THE GREAT WAR
Pre-war regular division which landed in France in August 1914 as part of the original BEF. Sent to Italy in November 1917, returned to France April 1918. Fought in nearly all the battles on the Western Front. Total casualties some 50,000, seventeen VCs. Chronology, Command and Staff lists.