The 2nd Home Counties Division was a 2nd Line Territorial Forcedivision of the British Army in World War I. The division was formed as a duplicate of the 44th (Home Counties) Division in November 1914. As the name suggests, the division recruited in the Home Counties, particularly Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. In August 1915, in common with all Territorial Force divisions, it was numbered as 67th (2nd Home Counties) Division. Between September 1917 and the end of the year, the division was extensively reorganized and lost its territorial identity; henceforth it was known as 67th Division.
It served on home defence duties throughout the war, whist recruiting, training and supplying drafts to overseas units and formations. It was twice warned to prepare to be transferred to Ireland, and in April 1917 for service on the Western Front, but in the event never left England. It was eventually disbanded in March 1919.
In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw.7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. 2nd Line units performed the home defence role, although in fact most of these were also posted abroad in due course.
On 15 August 1915, TF units were instructed to separate home service men from those who had volunteered for overseas service (1st Line), with the home service personnel to be formed into reserve units (2nd Line). On 31 August, 2nd Line units were authorized for each 1st Line unit where more than 60% of men had volunteered for overseas service. After being organized, armed and clothed, the 2nd Line units were gradually grouped into large formations thereby forming the 2nd Line divisions. These 2nd Line units and formations had the same name and structure as their 1st Line parents. On 24 November, it was decided to replace imperial service (1st Line) formations as they proceeded overseas with their reserve (2nd Line) formations. A second reserve (3rd Line) unit was then formed at the peace headquarters of the 1st Line.
The formation of the 2nd Home Counties Division was expedited as its parent Home Counties Division had been posted to India on 30 October 1914. As a result, the division was formed in November 1914 with the 2nd Surrey, 2nd Middlesex and 2nd Kent Brigades as a 2nd Line duplicate and concentrated around Windsor. Officers and men of the 1st Line infantry battalions and artillery brigades[lower-alpha 1] who did not go to India also joined the 2nd Line.
Throughout 1915, training was hampered by a lack of modern arms and equipment. Further complicating the situation, in July 1915, the 2nd Line units and formations became liable for overseas service and were extensively reorganized; the home service personnel were posted to home service units. Initially, the artillery were equipped with some obsolete French 90mm guns and the infantry with Japanese .256" rifles.
Order of battle
Organisation, December 1915
Organisation in December 1915 after reorganization when all 2nd Line formations became liable for overseas service.
↑The basic organic unit of the Royal Artillery was, and is, the Battery. When grouped together they formed brigades, in the same way that infantry battalions or cavalry regiments were grouped together in brigades. At the outbreak of World War I, a field artillery brigade of headquarters (4 officers, 37 other ranks), three batteries (5 and 193 each), and a brigade ammunition column (4 and 154) had a total strength just under 800 so was broadly comparable to an infantry battalion (just over 1,000) or a cavalry regiment (about 550). Like an infantry battalion, an artillery brigade was usually commanded by a Lieutenant-Colonel. These figures refer to 6-gun batteries; Territorial Force artillery batteries were organized on a 4-gun basis at the outbreak of the war, so strengths would be approximately two thirds of this. Artillery brigades were redesignated as regiments in 1938.
1/1st Home Counties (Kent) Heavy Battery, RGA (four 4.7" guns) from 30 October 1914 to 17 November 1915. It was re-equipped and left for the Western Front, landing at Le Havre on 29 December 1915. It joined the XVI Heavy Artillery Brigade on 31 December.
2/1st Home Counties (Kent) Heavy Battery, RGA became a separate unit on 26 December 1914. It was equipped with four 4.7" guns on 10 January 1916 and was attached to the 226th Mixed Brigade at Mundesley in September 1916.
130th Heavy Battery, RGA (four 60 pounders) was attached to the division from 19 November 1915 to 7 February 1916. It briefly served in Egypt, before joining the Fourth Army in France on 25 May.
↑ 5.05.12/7th and 2/8th Battalions, Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) originally formed part of the division. On 1 February 1915 they were posted to Gibraltar and on 23 August joined the garrison in Egypt. Both battalions transferred to France on 9 May 1916 and were disbanded there on 15 June. At that time, 3/7th and 3/8th were redesignated as 2/7th ansd 2/8th. They were replaced in the division by their 3rd Line battalions and 4th Line battalions were formed to act as reserves.
↑Major-General J.C. Young commanded the Home Counties Division at the outbreak of the war. He accompanied the division to India, departing on 30 October 1914. On arrival, he handed over the units and returned to England, arriving on 22 December.
Becke, Major A.F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4.
Becke, Major A.F. (1937). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2B. The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th) with The Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-00-0.