|7th (Meerut) Indian Division|
|Active||1829 - 1920|
|Branch||British Indian Army|
|Part of||Bengal Army/Northern Command|
|Maj-Gen Claud Jacob (1915)|
Maj-Gen Sir George Younghusband (1915-16)
Maj-Gen Sir V. B. Fane (1918)
The Meerut Division first appeared in the Indian Army List in 1829, under the command of Sir Jasper Nicolls, KCB. 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. There were generally one Indian cavalry and two Indian infantry regiments stationed at Meerut itself, in addition to British troops: in 1829 these were the 4th Bengal Light Cavalry, 29th and 32nd Bengal Native Infantry.
In May 1857, on the eve of the 'Indian Rebellion of 1857' (or 'First War of Independence'), the troops at Meerut comprised the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers) and a battalion of the 60th (King’s Royal Rifle Corps), the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry, and 11th and 20th Bengal Native Infantry under the command of Maj-Gen W.H. Hewitt. The outbreak of the rebellion at Meerut was one of the first and most serious of the whole conflict.
The division was reconstituted when peace returned. Over succeeding decades, the stations controlled by Meerut Division varied, and the forces under command were regularly rotated. For example:
Divisional HQ: Meerut
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 7th (Meerut) Division first appeared in the Army List between 30 September and 31 December 1904, as part of Western (later Northern) Command. On the eve of World War I, the division had its HQ at Mussoorie, and had the Meerut Cavalry Brigade and the Bareilly (HQ Ranikhet), Dehra Dun and Garhwal (HQ Lansdowne) Infantry Brigades under command.
In 1914 the 7th (Meerut) 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 Meerut Cavalry Brigade was detached to form part of 2nd Indian Cavalry Division in the Indian Cavalry Corps. While in France the division was known as the Meerut Division, and its brigades by their names, to avoid confusion with the 7th 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 division landed at Marseilles 12–14 October 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 division finally got into action at the Battles of La Bassee, 1st Messines and Armentieres in October–November 1914.
GOC: Lieut-Gen C.A. Anderson, CB
GSO1: Col C.W. Jacob
Dehra Dun Brigade GOC: Brig-Gen C.E. Johnson
Bareilly Brigade GOC: Maj-Gen F. Macbean, CVO, CB
Divisional Mounted Troops
Supply & Transport:
GOC: Lieut-Gen Sir C.A. Anderson, KCB
Dehra Dun Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen Col C.W. Jacob
Garwhal Brigade GOC: Brig-Gen C.G. Blackader
Bareilly Brigade GOC: Brig-Gen W.M. Southey
As before, with the addition of 30th Battery of XLIII (Howitzer Brigade) RA.
By the Battle of Loos in September 1915, Maj-Gen Claud Jacob had replaced Anderson as GOC of 7th (Meerut) Division, and the exhausted 6th Jats and 41st Dogras had been replaced by the 93rd Burma Infantry and 33rd Punjabis (from Egypt), while 30th Battery, XLII (How) Bde had been replaced by 61st Battery, VIII (How) Bde.
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 battalions. The two divisions were relieved in the front line on 6 November and were due at Basra on 1 December, but their departure from Marseilles was delayed until after 25 December because of fear of submarine attack. 7th (Meerut) Division finally arrived in Mesopotamia in Spring 1917 and joined Tigris Corps, too late to relieve the 6th (Poona) Division at Kut-al-Amara.
The division participated in the battles at the Sheikh Sa'ad, Wadi, Hanna, Dujailia, and the Sannaiyat. After the fall of Kut, as part of the reorganization of the British and Indian forces in the region, the division spent much of the summer and fall refitting. The Meerut and Lahore Divisions would eventually become part of the I Indian Army Corps, part of the newly formed Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, participating in the capture of Baghdad in March 1917.
After the fall of Baghdad, the Palestine Campaign was given priority over Mesopotamia, and in December 1917 Sir Edmund Allenby, commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), was informed that after he had captured Jerusalem he would be reinforced by the 7th (Meerut) Division from Mesopotamia. The division moved from Mesopotamia to Egypt in December, and then on 1 April 1918 it relieved the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which was on its way to the Western Front. The EEF undertook few operations during the hot weather of Summer 1918, but the Meerut Division captured 'North Sister' and 'South Sister' Hills on 8 June, and raided 'Piffer Ridge' on 27 June. It subsequently took part in Allenby's advance through Palestine, including the Battle of Megiddo as part of Lieutenant-General Bulfin's XXI British Corps operating on the right flank.
In September 1918, the division had the following composition: GOC: Maj-Gen Sir V.B. Fane
The 10th Indian Division was an infantry division of the British Indian Army during World War I. It was formed in Egypt in December 1914 with three infantry brigades of Indian Expeditionary Force F. After taking part in the Actions on the Suez Canal, the division was dispersed as its brigades were posted away.
It was re-formed in January 1916 as part of the Suez Canal Defences with units and formations in Egypt, but this was short lived. It was broken up again on 7 March 1916 as the need to reform depleted units from France made this plan unrealistic.
The division was commanded throughout its existence by Major-General Alexander Wilson.20th Indian Brigade
The Garhwal Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army formed in 1902 as a result of the Kitchener Reforms. It was mobilized as 20th (Garhwal) Brigade at the outbreak of the First World War as part of the 7th (Meerut) Division and departed for France. It served on the Western Front until November 1915. It then moved to Egypt where it joined the 10th Indian Division, by now designated as 20th Indian Brigade. It left the division in March 1916 and thereafter served as an independent brigade in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. It was broken up in 1920.28th Indian Brigade
The 28th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service wirh the Indian Army during the First World War. Formed in October 1914, it defended the Suez Canal in early 1915, ended the Ottoman threat to Aden in July 1915, took part in the Mesopotamian Campaign in 1916 and 1917, before finishing the war in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. It remained in Palestine until it was broken up in 1920.31st Indian Brigade
The 31st 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 served in Egypt in 1915 before being broken up in February 1916.32nd (Imperial Service) Brigade
The 32nd (Imperial Service) Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. It served in Egypt in 1915 before being broken up in January 1916.35th Indian Brigade
The 35th 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. It was not reformed for the Second World War.3rd (Lahore) Division
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.52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
The 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that was originally formed as the Lowland Division, in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force. It later became the 52nd (Lowland) Division in 1915. The 52nd (Lowland) Division fought in the First World War before being disbanded, with the rest of the Territorial Force, in 1920. The Territorial Force was later reformed as the Territorial Army and the division was again raised, during the inter-war years, as the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division - a 1st Line Territorial Army Infantry Division - and went on to serve during the Second World War. After the war, the division was merged with the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division in 1948. The history of the division was carried on by the 52nd Lowland Brigade, and later the 52nd Lowland Regiment.7th Indian Cavalry Brigade
The Meerut 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 7th (Meerut) Cavalry Brigade at the outbreak of the First World War and departed for the Western Front where it served as part of the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division.
It was reorganized in June 1916 as 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade and took part in the Mesopotamian campaign. It formed part of the occupation forces for Mesopotamia after the end of the war and was broken up late in 1920.7th Meerut Divisional Area
The 7th Meerut 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 7th (Meerut) Division that had been mobilized in August 1914 for service on the Western Front. It was renamed as Meerut Division in June 1917 and remained in India throughout the war. The division was broken up in 1920.A. T. Anderson
Brigadier-General Austin Thomas Anderson (1886–1949) was an Australian brigadier-general who was in the Royal Artillery.
Anderson was the son of William Mather Anderson (Chief Inspector of the Oriental Bank in London and Acting Governor of Mauritius at one time) and Mary Anne Neilley (born and married in Australia and died in England). He was born on 28 August 1868 in Mauritius.On 8 October 1908, Anderson married Ethel Campbell in Ahmednagar, India. During World War I, he served in the 7th (Meerut) Division and was commanded the 48th (South Midland) Division artillery from 1920 through 1924. He retired from the military in 1924 and settled in Sydney.Anderson is said to have received the French Légion d'honneur medal in the park at Cambrai in 1916. However, the Musée de la Légion d'honneur says that Augustin Thomas Anderson, a colonel in the British Army, received the medal on 12 December 1918.From 1927 through 1939 he was the private secretary to Sir Dudley de Chair, the Governor of New South Wales, Australia, Sir Philip Game, and Sir Alexander Hore-Ruthven. In 1939 he became the Comptroller to the Governor General.Anderson died on 22 February 1949 in Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia.Action of Arsuf
The Action of Arsuf (8 June 1918), was fought between the forces of the British Empire and the Ottoman Empire, German Empire and Austria-Hungary during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. The British Empire forces involved was the 21st (Bareilly) Brigade comprising the 2nd Battalion, Black Watch, the 1st Guides Infantry, the 29th Punjabis and the 1/8th Gurkha Rifles.On 8 June 1918 the 21st (Bareilly) Brigade, part of the 7th (Meerut) Division, was tasked with the capture of two hills, 1 mile (1.6 km) from the Mediterranean Sea known as the two sisters, defended by elements of the Ottoman 7th Division. The hills were being used as observation posts and the intention was to deprive the Turkish forces of their use. The successful assault was carried out by the Black Watch and the Guides Infantry. The Turkish forces responded with two counter-attacks of their own. The first succeeded in recapturing a section of their previous position before being driven back. The second counter-attack was defeated before they managed to reach the British position. The Turkish forces suffered "considerable" losses, and four officers and 101 other ranks were taken prisoner. Equipment captured included two heavy and five light machine guns.
The capture of the two Turkish positions greatly improved the British position. Their loss deprived the Turkish forces an observation post that overlooked a large portion of the British lines and rear areas. They also now gave the British their own observation post that could see the Turkish rear areas. There capture was significant enough to be mentioned in army despatches.Archibald Ritchie (British Army officer)
Major-General Sir Archibald Buchanan Ritchie, KBE CB CMG (14 May 1869 – 9 July 1955) was a British Army officer, who commanded the 11th (Northern) Division and 16th (Irish) Division during the First World War.
Ritchie was born in 1869, the son of John Ritchie, an artillery officer who would later rise to the rank of Major-General. He was educated at the United Services College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, before joining the Seaforth Highlanders on 1889. He saw service in the Nile Campaign of 1898, and was promoted to captain on 2 May 1898. When the Second Boer War broke out in late 1899, Ritchie was temporarily appointed Adjutant of the newly established 4th (Militia) Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment, which was sent to South Africa. He was twice mentioned in despatches for his service, and returned to the United Kingdom in March 1902, when he returned to his old regiment.
On the outbreak of the First World War, Ritchie was a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, based in India. The battalion was mobilised as part of the 7th (Meerut) Division in Indian Expeditionary Force A, and sent to France, where it arrived in October 1914, and first saw action on 7 November. He remained with the battalion during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, where his commander praised him as "most reliable". and later in the year was promoted and given command of 26th Brigade in 9th (Scottish) Division. He led the brigade at the Battle of Loos (1915) and the Battle of the Somme (1916) before being promoted to command the 11th (Northern) Division in December 1916. He was wounded in May 1917, and in 1918 returned to command 16th (Irish) Division.Following the end of the war, Ritchie was confirmed in the rank of Major-General, and commanded 51st (Highland) Division in the Territorial Army from 1923-27 before retiring. In retirement, he was the ceremonial colonel of the Seaforth Highlanders from 1931-39.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.Garhwal Brigade
The Garhwal 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 April 1917 to replace the original Garhwal Brigade that had been mobilized in August 1914 as the 20th (Garhwal) Brigade for service on the Western Front. It remained in India throughout the war.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 structureLucknow Brigade
The Lucknow Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army formed in 1907 as a result of the Kitchener Reforms. It was mobilized as 22nd (Lucknow) Brigade at the outbreak of the First World War as part of Indian Expeditionary Force E. It served in Egypt in 1915 before being broken up in January 1916.
The brigade was reformed in India in 1917 for internal security duties and to aid the expansion of the Indian Army in the last year of the war. It remained part of the British Indian Army between the wars under several designations and was the 6th (Lucknow) Infantry Brigade in September 1939.Sidney William Ware
Sidney William Ware VC (11 November 1892 – 16 April 1916) was a British recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
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|