The 3rd (Lahore) Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army, first organised in 1852. It saw service during World War I as part of the Indian Corps in France before being moved to the Middle East where it fought against troops of the Ottoman Empire.
|3rd (Lahore) Division|
|Active||1852 – ?|
|Branch||British Indian Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Mian Mir (Lahore)|
|Sir Hugh Henry Gough, VC|
Frederick Walter Kitchener
Sir Arthur Hoskins
The Lahore Division first appears in the Indian Army List in 1852, when the short-lived Cis-Jhelum Division was renamed (at the same time the Trans-Jhelum Division at Peshawar was renamed the Punjab Division). The Cis-Jhelum Division in turn had previously been the Saugor Division, a longstanding formation of the Bengal Army. At this period Divisions were primarily administrative organisations controlling the brigades and stations in their area, rather than field formations, but they did provide field forces when required. The Lahore Division absorbed the Lahore Field Force under Brigadier Sir James Tennant, which had formed part of the Army of the Punjab since 1847. Lahore Fort was occupied by the British after the First Anglo-Sikh War and the city of Lahore was annexed in 1849 at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Sikh War. In 1852 a military cantonment (known until 1906 as Mian Mir) was established outside the city.
Lahore: Commanding Station: Brigadier Sir James Tennant, Bengal Artillery
Wazirabad: Brigadier J.R. Hearsey
Sialkot: Lieutenant-Colonel J.T. Lane, Bengal Artillery
During the 'Indian Mutiny' (or 'First War of Independence') some Indian regiments at the Mian Mir cantonments plotted to mutiny but were disarmed under the guns of a British horse artillery battery and infantry battalion to prevent them seizing Lahore Fort. Later the 26th Bengal Native Infantry at Mian Mir did mutiny, murder some of their officers and escape under cover of a dust storm, but Lahore was held for the remainder of the conflict by British troops and Indians troops loyal to the government.
Over succeeding decades, the stations controlled by Lahore Division varied, and the forces under command were regularly rotated. For example:
Divisional HQ: Mian Mir (Lahore Cantonment)
Bakloh (near Dalhousie):
Under the reforms introduced by Lord Roberts as Commander-in-Chief (CinC) India, the Divisions were renamed 1st Class Districts in 1890. In the next round of reforms inaugurated by Lord Kitchener as CinC, they became numbered divisions with their territorial affiliation as a subsidiary title. The title 3rd (Lahore) Division first appears in the Army List between 30 September and 31 December 1904, as part of Northern Command, with the Jullunder, Sirhind and Ambala brigades under command. Lahore District/3rd (Lahore) Division at this time was under the command of Maj-Gen Walter Kitchener, the CinC’s younger brother, who commanded it at the Rawalpindi Parade 1905. In 1914 the division, with HQ at Dalhousie, consisted of the Ferozepore, Jullunder (based at Dalhousie) and Sirhind (based at Kasauli) infantry brigades, and the Ambala cavalry brigade (based at Kasauli).
In 1914 the 3rd (Lahore) Division was part of Indian Expeditionary Force A sent to reinforce the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fighting in France. The bulk constituted an infantry division as part of Indian Corps, while the Ambala Cavalry Brigade was detached to form part of 1st Indian Cavalry Division in the Indian Cavalry Corps. While in France the division was known as the Lahore Division, and its brigades by their names, to avoid confusion with the 3rd British Division. Despatch from India was delayed by the activities of the German raiders Emden and Konigsberg operating in the Indian Ocean, and by the slow speed of the transport vessels. The first two brigades landed at Marseilles on 26 September 1914, but there were further delays while the troops were re-armed with the latest pattern rifle, and the supply train could be improvised, using tradesmen's vans procured locally.
The 3rd Lahore Divisional Area was formed in late 1914 to take over the garrison duties of the 3rd Division when it left for France. The 3rd Lahore Divisional Area was disbanded in May 1917, the responsibilities of the area being taken over by the 16th Division.
GOC: Brig-Gen R.G. Egerton, CB
GOC: Maj-Gen P.M. Carnegy, CB
Sirhind Brigade - arrived at Marseilles from Egypt 30 November, joined 9 December 1914
GOC: Maj-Gen J.M.S. Brunker
Divisional Troops: Mounted Troops:
Supply & Transport:
The division finally got into action piecemeal at the simultaneous Battles of La Bassee, 1st Messines and Armentieres along the British part of the Western Front in October–November 1914. The degree to which the division was broken up can be gauged by the 29 October entry in the diary kept by the Indian corps' commander, Lt-Gen Sir James Willcocks:
When the troops were relieved in November 1914, the reassembled division defended a section of the front in Indian Corps' sector.
GOC: Brig-Gen R.G. Egerton, CB
GOC: Brig-Gen E.P. Strickland
Divisional Troops: As before, with addition of XLIII (Howitzer Bde, RA (40th & 57th Batteries)
On 13 August 1915, General Sir John Nixon, commanding Indian Expeditionary Force D in Mesopotamia, requested one of the Indian infantry divisions in France as reinforcements for his advance on Baghdad. Coincidentally, on the same day, the Secretary of State for India, Austen Chamberlain, told the Viceroy of India that he was anxious for the Indian infantry to be withdrawn from France before they had to endure another winter. The system for supplying drafts had broken down and the Indian battalions were becoming very weak after the heavy casualties they had suffered. Although the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, objected to their withdrawal from the Western Front, orders were issued on 31 October for the two divisions of Indian Corps (3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Division) to embark at Marseilles for Mesopotamia. They were to leave behind their attached Territorial Force and Special Reserve battalions, and the three RFA brigades of 18-pounder guns of 3rd (Lahore) Division. The two divisions were relieved in the front line on 6 November and were due at Basra in December, but their departure from Marseilles was delayed because of fear of submarine attack. 3rd (Lahore) Division finally arrived in Mesopotamia in April 1916 and joined Tigris Corps, too late to relieve 6th (Poona) Division at Kut-al-Amara.
After the fall of Baghdad, the Palestine Campaign was given priority over Mesopotamia, and in March 1918 the division was transferred to Egypt to join Sir Edmund Allenby's Egyptian Expeditionary Force until the end of the war. At the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918 it formed part of Sir Edward Bulfin's XXI Corps on the right flank.
Divisional Artillery (reorganised in April 1918):
The 15th Indian Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army that saw active service in the First World War. It served in the Mesopotamian Campaign on the Euphrates Front throughout its existence. The division was not reformed for the Second World War.15th Ludhiana Sikhs
The 15th Ludhiana Sikhs was an infantry regiment in the British Indian Army. They could trace their origins to 1846, when they were known as the Regiment of Ludhiana (or the Loodiana Regiment). During the Indian Mutiny they were relied upon to hold Benares throughout the period of the Mutiny. In 1861, they became the 15th Bengal Native Infantry and shortly afterwards to the 15th (Ludhiana) Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry in 1864. Further changes in title followed they became the 15th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry (Ludhiana Sikhs) in 1885, the 15th (Ludhiana) Sikh Infantry in 1901 and the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs following the Kitchener reforms of the Indian Army in 1903. To honour the visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Indian they took part in the Rawalpindi Parade 1905.
During this time they took part in the Battle of Ahmed Khel and the Battle of Kandahar in the Second Anglo-Afghan War. They then took part in the Battle of Tofrek and Suakin in the Mahdist War, the Chitral Expedition and the Tirah Campaign and World War I. During World War I they were part of the 8th (Jullundur) Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division they served on the Western Front in France, in Egypt as part of the Western Frontier Force, and in the Mesopotamia Campaign.After World War I the Indian government reformed the army again moving from single battalion regiments to multi battalion regiments. The 15th Ludhiana Sikhs now became the 2nd Battalion, 11th Sikh Regiment. This regiment was allocated to the new Indian Army after independence.29th Indian Brigade
The 29th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. Formed in October 1914, it raided Sheik Saiad en route to Egypt, defended the Suez Canal in early 1915, before taking part in the Gallipoli Campaign (April to December 1915). On returning to Egypt it acted as an independent formation being broken up in June 1917.37th Indian Brigade
The 37th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. It took part in the Mesopotamian campaign and was disbanded shortly after the end of the war.3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade
The Ambala Cavalry Brigade was a cavalry brigade of the British Indian Army formed in 1904 as a result of the Kitchener Reforms. It was mobilized as 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade at the outbreak of the First World War as part of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division and departed for France. It served on the Western Front with the 1st and 2nd Indian Cavalry Divisions until it was broken up in March 1918.3rd Lahore Divisional Area
The 3rd Lahore Divisional Area was an infantry division of the British Indian Army that formed part of the Indian Army during the First World War. It was formed in September 1914 to replace the original 3rd (Lahore) Division that had been mobilized in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. It was abolished in May 1917 when its remaining responsibilities were passed on to the 16th Indian Division.44th (Ferozepore) Brigade
The Ferozepore Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that formed part of the Indian Army during the First World War. It was formed in December 1914 as part of the 3rd Lahore Divisional Area for service on the North West Frontier and renamed as 44th (Ferozepore) Brigade in August 1915. It remained in India throughout the First World War but saw active service in the Third Anglo-Afghan War with the 16th Indian Division.
Post-war, the brigade underwent a number of changes in designation before settling on Ferozepore Brigade Area by the outbreak of the Second World War. It was broken up in February 1942.7th (Meerut) Division
The 7th (Meerut) Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army that saw active service during World War I.Alfred Astley Pearson
General Sir Alfred Astley Pearson, KCB (1850–1923) was a British Indian Army officer.Ambala Brigade
The Ambala Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that formed part of the Indian Army during the First World War. It was formed in November 1914 to replace the original Ambala Brigade that had been mobilized as the 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade for service on the Western Front. It remained in India throughout the war.
The brigade continued to exist between the World Wars and by September 1939 it was designated Ambala Brigade Area. It was broken up in 1941.Battle of Dujaila
The Battle of Dujaila (Turkish: Sâbis Muharebesi) was fought on 8 March 1916, between British and Ottoman forces during the First World War. The Ottoman forces, led by Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz were besieging Kut, when the Anglo-Indian relief force, led by Lieutenant-General Fenton Aylmer, attempted to relieve the city. The attempt failed, and Aylmer lost 4,000 men.Battle of Hanna
The First Battle of Hanna (Turkish: Felahiye Muharebesi) was a World War I battle fought on the Mesopotamian front on 21 January 1916 between Ottoman Army and Anglo-Indian forces.Battle of Istabulat
The Battle of Istabulat was a part of the Samarrah Campaign during the First World War occurring when the British Empire attempted to further its strategic position after the capture of Baghdad from the Ottoman Empire.Battle of Sharon
The Battle of Sharon fought between 19 and 25 September 1918, began the set piece Battle of Megiddo half a day before the Battle of Nablus, in which large formations engaged and responded to movements by the opposition, according to pre-existing plans, in the last months of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of World War I. The fighting took place over a wide area from the Mediterranean Sea east to the Rafat salient in the Judean Hills. Here the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) XXI Corps with the French brigade sized Détachment Français de Palestine et de Syrie attacked the Yildirim Army Group Eighth Army's XXII Corps and German Asia Corps. The Battle of Sharon extended well behind the Ottoman front lines when the Desert Mounted Corps rode through a gap in the front line across the Plain of Sharon to occupy the Esdraelon Plain. Meanwhile, during the Battle of Nablus the XX Corps attacked Nablus while Chaytor's Force held the right flank in the Jordan Valley before advancing to secure bridges and fords across the Jordan River, to continue the encirclement the defenders in the Judean Hills. Subsequently, Chaytor's Force advanced against the Fourth Army to capture Es Salt and Amman after the Second Battle of Amman.
The Battle of Sharon began on 19 September with a Western Front style bombardment during which two thirds of the mainly ground-based heavy artillery, supported by the firepower of two destroyers pounded Ottoman positions, while one third of the heavy artillery fired creeping barrages to cover the infantry assaults. The XXI Corps infantry attacked simultaneously along the front line from the Mediterranean coast where the 60th Division, launched an attack on the western coastal section of the front line defended by the Eighth Army's XXII Corps. During this Battle of Tulkarm the 60th Division breached the front and second line trenches to eventually capture Tulkarm, the site of the Eighth Army headquarters. On their right, the main Tabsor system of trenches held by the Ottoman XXII Corps was attacked and eventually captured during the Battle of Tabsor, by the 3rd (Lahore), 7th (Meerut), and the 75th Divisions. These three divisions subsequently advanced, despite the Ottoman XXII Corps being reinforced, to capture Et Tire and Masudiye Station. In the process of the battles for Tulkarm and Tabsor the 7th (Meerut) and 60th Divisions created a gap in the front line, for the Desert Mounted Corps to ride through. They rode north and eastwards to the rear to capture the defending Ottoman armies' lines of communication. The right flank of the attacking XXI Corps was protected from the Eighth Army's Asia Corps, by the 54th (East Anglian) Division and the French Colonial Détachment Français de Palestine et de Syrie holding and pivoting on the Rafat salient, during the Battle of Arara as the infantry battle progressed.
The cavalry phase of the Battle of Sharon began as soon as the gap was made during the infantry attacks. The 5th Cavalry Division led the way north up along the Plain of Sharon followed by the 4th Cavalry Division with the Australian Mounted Division in reserve. These divisions subsequently rode across the Mount Carmel Range through two passes, to occupy the Esdraelon Plain, on 20 September. Here they cut the main Ottoman lines of communication. Units of the 4th and 5th Cavalry Divisions converged to capture Afulah with the 4th Cavalry Division capturing Beisan in the afternoon. The Australian Mounted Division captured Jenin along with thousands of prisoners when they captured the main line of retreat from Nablus to Damascus. On 20 September Nazareth, the site of the Ottoman Army's Yildirim Army Group headquarters, was unsuccessfully attacked by the 5th Cavalry Division. During the Battle of Nazareth the Ottoman Commander in Chief, Otto Liman von Sanders, was forced to escape. The 5th Cavalry Division captured the town the following day and several days later this division also captured Haifa and Acre following the Battle of Haifa. On the last day of the Battle of Sharon, the Australian Mounted Division attacked a German reinforced rearguard garrison at Samakh, which had been put on the alert by Liman von Sanders during his escape from Nazareth. The Australian Light Horse victory at the Battle of Samakh and the subsequent Capture of Tiberias ended the Battle of Sharon and the Battle of Megiddo. As a result of the battles of Sharon and Nablus, known collectively as the Battle of Megiddo, much territory and many prisoners were captured. The Final Offensive of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign began the day after the Battle of Megiddo ended, with the pursuit to Damascus, which was captured on 1 October.Battle of Tabsor
The Battle of Tabsor was fought on 19–20 September 1918 beginning the Battle of Sharon, which along with the Battle of Nablus formed the set piece Battle of Megiddo fought between 19 and 25 September in the last months of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. During the infantry phase of the Battle of Sharon the British Empire 60th Division, XXI Corps attacked and captured the section of the front line nearest the Mediterranean coast under cover of an intense artillery barrage including a creeping barrage and naval gunfire. This Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) victory over the entrenched Ottoman Eighth Army, composed of German and Ottoman soldiers, began the Final Offensive, ultimately resulting in the destruction of the equivalent of one Ottoman army, the retreat of what remained of two others, and the capture of many thousands of prisoners and many miles of territory from the Judean Hills to the border of modern-day Turkey. After the end of the battle of Megiddo, the Desert Mounted Corps pursued the retreating soldiers to Damascus, six days later. By the time the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire five weeks later, Aleppo had been captured.
During the Battle of Tabsor the 3rd (Lahore), 7th (Meerut) and 75th Divisions attacked the entrenched Ottoman Empire Eighth Army defending the Tabsor defences. These defences were located in the middle section of the front line, assigned to the XXI Corps. On their left the Battle of Tulkarm was being fought with the Battle of Arara fought on their right. Together with the cavalry phase, these battles make up the Battle of Sharon, which, with the Battle of Nablus, fought by the XX Corps and Chaytor's Force, have become known as the Battle of Megiddo. Megiddo developed into a major set piece offensive, when large formations of the Allied EEF, attacked and responded to the reactions of three Ottoman armies, each time following a predetermined plan. The offensive resulted in defeat for Ottoman forces in Palestine, Syria and the Transjordan.
These operations began the Final Offensive, ultimately resulting in the destruction of the equivalent of an Ottoman army and the retreat in disarray of what remained of two armies. The defeat of the Yildirim Army Group, commanded by Otto Liman von Sanders, resulted in the capture of many thousands of prisoners and many miles of territory stretching from the Judean Hills. After the battle of Megiddo, Desert Mounted Corps pursued the retreating German and Ottoman soldiers to Damascus, which was captured six days later, when the pursuit continued on to close to the border of modern-day Turkey. Five weeks after the Final Offensive began and with Aleppo captured, the Armistice of Mudros was signed between the Allies and the Ottoman Empire ending the fighting in this theatre.
The Battle of Tabsor began with an intense creeping bombardment, during which three infantry divisions of the XXI Corps attacked the Tabsor defences; the only continuous trench-and-redoubt system on the Ottoman front line. As they advanced, their left flank was protected by the 60th Division, which advanced up the coast to the Nahr el Faliq, before capturing Tulkarm, the headquarters of the Eighth Army. Their right flank was secured by the 54th (East Anglian) Division, with the Détachment Français de Palestine et de Syrie pivoting on the Rafat salient. Defending the Ottoman front line against the attacks by the 3rd (Lahore), 7th (Meerut) and 75th Divisions were four divisions of the Ottoman Eighth Army: the 7th, 20th and 46th Infantry Divisions of the Ottoman XXII Corps and the 19th Division of the German Asia Corps. By the end of the first day of battle, the Ottoman 7th Division had ceased to exist and the Ottoman front line (which had previously stretched east-west from the coast) had been pushed and bent back to run north-south. The Seventh Army, further inland, was forced to withdraw when the Eighth Army was outflanked, to conform with the new Ottoman front line.Defence of Festubert
The Defence of Festubert was an engagement early in the First World War when Indian and British battalions of the 7th (Meerut) Division, Indian Army defended the village of Festubert against a German attack from 23–24 November 1914. It is notable for being one of the first actions in the war in which an attack was made against a prepared defensive position, thus foreshadowing the years of trench warfare which were to come.
The British and Indian regiments that took part were awarded the battle honour Festubert 1914.Indian Army during World War I order of battle
Indian Army during World War I order of battle
see Indian Army during World War I for further details on campaigns and structureReginald Hoskins
Major-General Sir Arthur Reginald Hoskins, (30 May 1871 – 7 February 1942) was a senior British Army officer of the First World War.
Indian Army Divisions in World War I
Indian Expeditionary Forces 1914–1918
|Force A Western Front|
|Force B East Africa Campaign|
|Force C East Africa Campaign|
|Force D Mesopotamia Campaign|
|Force E Sinai and Palestine Campaign|
|Force F Suez Canal|
|Force G Gallipoli Campaign|