The Highland Division was one of the pre-war Territorial divisions. Its HQ was in Perth with brigade HQs in Aberdeen, Inverness and Stirling. On mobilization the division moved down to its war station in Bedford where it remained, carrying out training till embarking for France in May 1915. During this period six of its battalions were sent to France, three in November 1914 and three in the following March, replaced by two Highland battalions and a brigade of four Lancashire battalions; it is not clear whether the latter were required to wear kilts. They were transferred to the 55th (West Lancashire) Division when that division reformed in France in January 1916 and were replaced, appropriately, by Scottish battalions. It was in May 1915, just as the division arrived in France, that it was designated 51st and the brigades 152nd, 153rd and 154th; by the end of the war the 51st (Highland) Division had become one of the best known divisions in the BEF.The division was quickly into action at Festubert (19-wed German assault on the Lys at Estaires and Hazebrouck. By the time it was withdrawn from the line on 13 April the division had suffered 7,480 casualties during the previous four weeks. All these major battles are described in detail in this well-written history, with clear maps to support the narrative. But the author has not overlooked the periods in between in his account, the more routine aspects of trench warfare. It is strange that the last two VCs awarded – Sergeant Meikle in July 1918 and Lieut Bissett in October – receive no mention in the history. Total casualties numbered close on 48,000.
HISTORY OF THE 51ST (HIGHLAND) DIVISION 1914-1918
Pre-war TF division which landed in France in May 1915 and fought on the Western front during the rest of the war – Festubert, Givenchy, Somme (High Wood and Beaumont Hamel), Arras, Third Ypres, Cambrai and the Lys. 48,000 casualties, six VCs. One of the best known divisions in the BEF.
Major F. W. Bewsher
Usually despatched within 2-5 Days
2001. SB. N & M Press reprint (original 1921). xvi + 411pp with 13 maps and three portrait photos.