The 53rd (Welsh) Division

The Division was a formation of the Territorial Force, formed as a result of the reforms of the army carried out in 1908 under the Secretary of State for War, Richard Burdon Haldane and was one of 14 divisions of the peacetime Force.

In 1914 the units of the Division had just departed for annual summer camp when emergency orders recalled them to the home base. August 1914 all units were mobilised for full time war service and moved to their allotted positions at Shrewsbury, Wellington, Oswestry and Fort Scoveston, and then the entire Division moved to Northampton.

The Division received a warning order in November 1914 advising preparation for a move to India, but this was cancelled a week later and eventually the 2nd Wessex Division went in its place. The Welsh Division moved to Cambridge in December 1914.

Several of the Division’s units left between November 1914 and February 1915. They were gradually replaced by second line units, but these suffered from shortages of arms which slowed training. These units were subsequently replaced in early 1915.

May 1915 the Division moved to Bedford, and in July 1915 embarked for the Mediterranean, subsequently serving at Gallipoli and in Palestine and Egypt (the detail of battles fought is set out on the pages for the Welsh Regiment, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers and the Herefordshire Regiment).

At the conclusion of the war, the first parties to be demobilised left Egypt for England in December 1918, and the final cadres sailed home from Egypt in June 1919.

There is a full description of the organisation of the Division.


The Great War