The Lowland Division was a pre-war Territorial division which, in May 1915, was numbered 52nd with brigades 155th, 156th and 157th. In the same month the division embarked for service in Gallipoli, a move that was marked by what is still the greatest rail disaster in Britain’s history. The troop train carrying the HQ and two companies of 1/7th R Scots collided with a stationary train near Gretna, a few seconds later the London express ran full speed into the wreckage of the troop train resulting in the deaths of three officers and 207 other ranks with another five officers and 219 other ranks injured.The division landed on Gallipoli at Cape Helles in June and subsequently was in action at Gully Ravine, Achi Baba and Krithia Nullah till evacuated in January 1916, moving to Egypt. The fighting on Gallipoli is described in detail as is the evacuation, and from time to time tables of casualties are given . During the Gallipoli campaign the division lost by battle casualties at least seventy percent of its officers and over fifty percent of its other ranks. The second part of the book deals with the two and a half years the division spent in the Middle East, in Sinai and Palestine. In the summer of 1916 the advance into the Sinai desert began, to Romani to El Arish and from there into Palestine where, under Allenby, the division fought in all three battles of Gaza and in operations through to the end of 1917. In April 1918 the 52nd Division was transferred to the Western Front, taking over a sector of the front at Vimy. During the remaining months of the war the division was in action on the Somme, the Scarpe, the Drocourt-Queant line, the Canal du Nord, ending the war not far from Mons.This is a very full record of the 52nd Division’s part in the Great War with plenty of general interest in addition to active operations, from small patrols to major attacks, acts of bravery and initiative. There is a comprehensive 25-page index but no roll of honour or list of honours and awards and although there are numerous casualty lists in the text there is no final total. Five VCs are claimed but I can account only for four: D.R Lauder 1/4th RSF; S.H.P Boughey 1/4thRSF (wrongly shown in the index with initials J.H; D.L McIntyre 1/6th HLI; and D.F Hunter 1/5th HLI.
Lt Col R.R Thompson
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2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1923). SB. xvi + 610pp with 39 b/w illus + coloured plate showing divisional and brigade signs with 15 maps.(11 in colour)