27th Division

The following is a brief history of the 27th Division from Major A.F. Becke's "Order of Battle of Divisions - Part 1 - The regular British Divisions".


27TH Division

FORMATION, BATTLES, AND ENGAGEMENTS

The division had no existence before the outbreak of the Great War.

The division assembled and mobilized at Magdalen Hill Camp (2 miles east of Winchester) during November and December, 1914. The 13 infantry battalions of which it was composed came from India (10 from ten different stations), Hong Kong, Tientsin, and Canada (P.P.C.L.I.); the infantry brigades were formed at Winchester. The mounted troops included a cavalry squadron from an existing yeomanry unit and a cyclist company, which was formed at Winchester. Of the field artillery brigades : I. was originally at Edinburgh, whilst XIX. and XX. came from India ; but all three were extensively re-organized and re-formed at Winchester (see note 7, Order of Battle Table). The field companies, signal company, field ambulances, and train came from territorial force divisions.

The 27th Division embarked at Southampton on the 19th-21st December, disembarked at le Havre between the 20th-23rd December, and concentrated between Aire and Arques by the evening of the 25th December.

The 27th division served on the Western Front in France and Belgium until November, 1915. In the following month it embarked for the Macedonian Front, on which it served for the remainder of the War.

Between 1914 and 1918 the division was engaged in the following operations :--

1914

1915

14 and 15 March ......St. Eloi [V. Corps, Second Army].


BATTLES OF YPRES

22 and 23 April ......Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 April - 4 May ......Battle of St. Julien [V. Corps, Second Army, until 28/4 ; then Plumer's Force].
8 - 13 May ......Battle of Frezenberg Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].
24 - 25 May ......Battle of Bellewaarde Ridge [V. Corps, Second Army].

On the 1st November the division was warned to be ready to entrain for Marseille on the 10th November. Entrainment began on the 15th, and embarkation for the Macedonian Front on the 17th ; but it was not until the 13th February, 1916, that the last of the division disembarked at Salonika.

1916

30 Sept. - 2 Oct. ......Capture of the Karajaköis [XVI. Corps].
3 and 4 Oct. ......Capture of Yeniköi [XVI. Corps].
17 Nov. ; & 6 & 7 Dec. ......Tumbitza Farm [82nd Bde].

1917

14 Oct. ......Capture of Homondos [XVI. Corps].

1918

1 - 30 Sept. ......THE OFFENSIVE.
1 and 2 Sept. ......Capture of the Roche Noire Salient [XII. Corps].
22 - 30 Sept. ......Passage of the Vardar, and Pursuit to the Strumica Valley [XII. Corps until 25/9 ; Army Reserve until 27/9 ; then XVI. Corps].

At noon on 30th September, Bulgaria concluded an armistice, and hostilities ceased. The 27th Division had then reached the area Kosturino - Rabrovo - Cestovo. The advance was continued, and Krupnik was passed by the end of October. On the 2nd November the division was ordered to move back down the Struma to the Orlyak area (W. of L. Constantinople was reached on the 19th, and the 80th Bde., with I. Bde., R.F.A., 17th Fd. Coy. R.E., and 82nd Fd. Amb., reached Batum on the 22nd December. Detachments were sent to Poti (N. of Batum), and Tiflis ; and on the 19th January, 1919, Divisional H.Q. opened at Tiflis. By the 31st January the last shipload of the division disembarked at Batum. By May, 1919, detachments had been sent to the following places in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia :-- Baku, Krasnovodsk (in Trans-Caspia), Petrovsk, Shusha, Julfa, Erivan, Kars, Tiflis, Batum, and Gagri ; Divisional H.Q. were in Tiflis.

On the 15th August, 1919, the withdrawal of British Troops began from Trans-Caucasia, and on the 7th September, Divisional H.Q. opened at Batum. On the 14th and 15th September, the 81st and 82nd Bdes. were disbanded. The division was disbanded on the 24th September, 1919, and the divisional commander and the general staff left for Constantinople, after handing over to the military governor of Batum (Br.-Gen. W. J. N. Cooke-Collis, Comdg. 80th Infantry Brigade). On the 4th March, 1920, Br.-Gen. Cooke-Collis was appointed to command the Inter-Allied Force at Batum. This force was withdrawn from Batum by the 14th July, 1920.