This book is concerned with the two West Riding divisions during the Great War – the 49th (1st West Riding) and the second-line 62nd (2nd West Riding), formed after the outbreak of war. The 49th has no separate divisional history of its own but the 62nd has a two volume history, recently reprinted by N&M Press. The record is set out in three parts or books. Book I deals with pre-war history, describing the formation of the West Riding (Territorial) Association in 1908 and what it did in the years before the war (and there is an appendix listing all the Association members and permanent officials from 1908 to1920). This is followed by an account of the all the West Riding units, their formation, training and peacetime stations with a list of their COs at the outbreak of war; and finally there is an account of the process of mobilization when war came. Book II is entitled ‘War’ and takes the story from the arrival in France of the 49th Division in April 1915 through the arrival of the 62nd Division in January 1917 to the end of that year. The Cambrai offensive had ended in December and in the opening attack on 20th November the 62nd had, in the words of Haig in his foreword, carried out an operation of outstanding brilliance. By the end of 1917 casualties amounted to 44,049 all ranks of whom 406 officers and 5,242 other ranks were dead. Book III is ‘War’s End’ and covers the last year of the war through to the armistice. Subsequently the 62nd marched into Germany with the British Army of Occupation, the only Territorial division selected to be part of that Force. In 1919 it was renamed the Highland Division.One of the appendices provides a complete roll, extending to nearly one hundred pages, of all the Honours and Awards obtained by both divisions (listed separately). The statistics are interesting: the 49th total of awards came to 2,640 while the 62nd’s total was 2,655 despite arriving in France twenty months after the 49th. Both divisions won five VCs A further list shows all West Riding Territorial troops who won their awards while not serving with either division. Finally there is a table showing the return of casualties by units up to the end of 1918, amounting to 2,927 officers and 65,886 other ranks. To this is added a footnote saying the figures are provisional, and though so deplorably heavy, cannot be regarded as complete. This book is highly recommended.
WEST RIDING TERRITORIALS IN THE GREAT WAR
A record of the West Riding Territorials from pre-war days through to the end of the war. The first line division (49th) and the second-line (62nd) both fought on the Western Front. Complete list of 5,295 Honours and Awards and casualty returns to the end of December 1918