The 29th Division was the last of the regular divisions to be formed after the outbreak of war from battalions serving overseas. They came from India, Burma, China and Mauritius but only eleven regular battalions were available, so the 5th R Scots, a territorial battalion, was selected to make up the twelve. One of the artillery brigades and the divisional troops were also provided by the territorials, so although reckoned as a regular division it was in reality something of a mixture. Originally intended for the Western front, the division’s destination was changed to Gallipoli, the only regular divison to serve there. It became known as the ‘Incomparable 29th’ and was to win more VCs than any other division, twenty-seven in all. The 29th fought right through the Gallipoli campaign from the initial landings on 25th April 1915 when six VCs were awarded to 1st Lancashire Fusiliers (the so-called ‘Six VCs Before Breakfast’), until finally taken off in January 1916. After a brief stopover in Egypt the division sailed for France in March 1916 and took over the Beaumont Hamel sector on the Somme front. It was here that the division attacked on 1 July incurring a loss of 5,240 casualties on that day, and its memorial can now be seen at the entrance to the Newfoundland Memorial Park. The division took part in the Arras offensive in April 1917 and later that year in the Third Ypres offensive. In November 1917 it was at Cambrai in the first mass tank attack and in the subsequent German counter-attack. The Cambrai fighting cost the division 4,400 casualties.The principal contributors to this book are the three divisional commanders and the first GSO1, the senior staff officer, but these are supplemented by eyewitness accounts and official reports from other sources. Although the main aim of the book has been to give an accurate and intelligible account of the battles in which the 29th Division fought (and in this it has been extremely successful), gallant deeds and other incidents in and out of the line have not been overlooked. Appendices provide full citations of all the VCs and a most useful chronology of the division’s movements, including periods spent in the trenches. The maps are clear though in some cases they lack tactical detail. This is a good history, a record of gallant deeds of a division regarded as one of the elite. It formed part of the Rhine Army and in March 1919 it was renamed the Southern Division.
STORY OF THE 29TH DIVISION. A Record of Gallant Deeds
The ‘Incomparable 29th” was the last regular division to be formed and the only one to fight at Gallipoli. Came to France in March 1916, fought on the Somme, Arras and Cambrai. Twenty-seven VCs, all citations given. Chronology of the divison’s movements. One of the elite divisions
by Capt. Stair Gillon
Usually despatched within 2-5 Days
2002. N & M reprint (original pub 1925). SB xv + 276pp with three portrait photos and 12 maps