A chance to acquire new skills and see your name in print:
Why is this happening?
We said right at the beginning that as a group, our remit was going to include contributing to the historiography of the First World War. We’d like to embark on a long term research project together; one that it’s possible to involve yourself in from anywhere in the world, no matter how confined to the house you are, and no matter your level of knowledge.
The principle is that we can all learn something new, whilst furthering the historiography of the First World War.
What is the point of writing a divisonal history now?
Divisional histories are immensely useful to those researching the war. They are packed with information and they widen the scope of the reader from just researching a single battalion and what it did in any given battle . They put the contribution of the formation into wider context, as well as telling a story of its contribution to the war. We’d like to do this in memory of all the men who went to war with 14th (Light) Division and did not come home.
Not only will we all be learning about the conflict ourselves as we put it together, but we will be providing an invaluable resource for future generations to do the same.
Why 14th (Light) Division?
The way in which the writing of the existing divisional histories was approached in the aftermath of the war was very ad hoc. Some divisions have them, and some do not. We picked the 14th (Light) Division for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has no particular bias in terms of where the men came from. It’s not attributed to any one part of the country, such as the 9th (Scottish) or the 17th (Northern) Divisions. We thought that was fair. We also think that, as an exercise in commemoration, it would be apt to complete a “missing” divisional history for one of the K1 formations. This division was formed initially from the first wave of Kitchener volunteers, who flooded to recruitment offices at the beginning of the war. And lastly, the scope of operations, we think will appeal to a wide number of interested contirbutors. For example, the division served in the Salient, on the Somme and at Passchendaele. A division is a large formation, a little way short of 20,000 men at full strength, so there is lots for everyone to get involved in.
If you’re interested to see which units fought with the division, you can see an order of battle at the bottom of this page.
How will my contribution be recognised?
For starters, all contributors will be named both in the final volume and on relevant project pages online. The more individual submissions you contribute, the higher up the list your name will appear. Where you contribution is the same as someone else, the alphabet will dictate your position. We think that although this means a little more work for us, it is fairer than a straight, alphabetical list. When the project is finished, contributors will be entitled to a minimum 15% discount off the RRP on a copy of the book. We also recognise that students will want to participate for academic reasons. We will be happy to provide a letter from the Great War Group trustees that confirms how many contributions you submitted to the project.
We’ve split the project into sections:
- Gathering/transcribing sources
- Analysing the material
- Producing a finished volume
We are currently inviting contributors to take part in phase one. Phases two and three will be carried out by a much smaller team, centred on our trustees and on Andy Pay, who has put years of work into collection material relevant to the division.
I’m just a beginner, does that matter?
Not at all! We’ve devised this so that literally everyone can get involved. If you are new to research, or would like to do something very straightforward, we have just the job for you. We have thousands of pages of war diaries for units varying from front line troops, to artillery, to supporting units delivering food and looking after the horses.
The vast majority are handwritten and they need transcribing so we can begin analysing their contents. We’ve divided them into month long segments. If this sounds like the task for you, fill in the form and tick the box for “War Diaries.” You will be able to choose what you transcribe from a list, and you can email our dedicated help desk: 14thDivisionGWG@gmail.com if you find yourself stumped. We will also be holding a Zoom seminar on war diaries and how to tackle them, so don’t panic! This is an excellent opportunity to learn how to use important First World War source material.
Can I get a group together to contribute, or assign this to students?
Absolutely. Just let us know that that is what you’d like to do when you fill in the form. In this case, we will regard one person on the team as a lead contributor responsible for communications with the Great War Group.
I’ve been at this a while, and I’d like to do something a bit more challenging. Can I do that?
Of course! One of the things we have done is begun work on a comprehensive list of men who died serving with the division. If you’d like, you can select one, or, for example, a group killed on the same day and research their stories. Perhaps you know of a relevant memoir, or source or material that would help tell the story of the division, and you’d like to work on that. Just select “Other Contribution” on the form and we’ll be in touch to discuss your ideas and to provide you will the casualty list. We hope this will appeal to people who are both interested more in the military side of things, and those more interested in the personal side of things and genealogically based work.
I wish I had time to help, but I don’t. Can I still be involved?
Absolutely! We recognise that there are a lot of people out there that will be supportive of the project, but have no time to give. This is an entirely voluntary project, but somethign like this requires funding, not least for printing and distribution.
We thought it might be a fitting act of remembrance to enable people to “adopt” one of the fallen who served with the division. You can do this for a donation of £1. You can look through the list and select whoever you’d like based on any criteria you choose. Perhaps the man you will honour lived near you, or served in a regiment that is significant for you. Perhaps there is a particular date or battle that holds meaning for you, perhaps you share a name. Or perhaps you’d like us to select a casualty, or a group of them at random for you.
You can view a list of casualties here
We will, as we go, be building a database of men who served with the division and survived. This is a far more complicated task than accounting for the fallen, but you will be able to adopt these individuals as and when we discover them.
Your tie to your soldier or group will be commemorated on our website, but more importantly, we like the idea that this list of names will become more than that. There are nearly 10,000 men on it, many of whom have no surviving family. We think that by encouraging people to find a connection to them, it will be a fitting way to ensure that their individual sacrifice is remembered again, whilst fundraising at the same time. Funds will go towards production of the final volume and towards a dedicated website for the 14th (Light) Division. Here we will be able to make public information that we cannot fit into the finished history volume; which as a resource we believe will be an enduring memorial to the men who fought with it.
What do I do now?
Simply complete the form below and we’ll be in touch with information on how to get started:
14th Division Order of Battle
7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (until February 1918)
8th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (until June 1918)
7th Rifle Brigade (until June 1918)
8th Rifle Brigade (until June 1918)
41st Machine Gun Company (February 1916-March 1918)
41st Trench Mortar Battery (From May 1916)
18th York & Lancaster Regiment (From June 1918)
29th Durham Light Infantry (From June 1918)
33rd London Regiment (From June 1918)
5th Ox & Bucks Light Infantry
5th Shropshire Light Infantry
9th King’s Royal Rifle Corps
9th Rifle Brigade
42nd Machine Gun Company (February 1916-March 1918)
42nd Trench Mortar Battery (From May 1916)
6th Wiltshire Regiment (From June 1918)
16th Manchester Regiment (From June 1918)
14th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (From June 1918)
6th Somerset Light Infantry (until June 1918)
6th Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry (until February 1918)
6th Yorkshire Light Infantry (until February 1918)
10th Durham Light Infantry (until February 1918)
43rd Machine Gun Company (February 1916-March 1918)
43rd Trench Mortar Battery (From May 1916)
9th Cameronians (February-April 1918 only)
7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps (February-June 1918 only)
12th Suffolk Regiment (joined June 1918)
6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (June 1918 only)
20th Middlesex Regiment (from June 1918)
10/11th Highland Light Infantry (from June 1918)
11th King’s (Liverpool) (January 1915 to June 1918)
8th Devon Regiment (left May 1915)
15th Loyal North Lancashire (joined June 1918)
6th Leinster Regiment (July 1918 only)
8th Motor Machine Gun Battery (1915-November 1916)
224th Machine Gun Company
249th Machine Gun Company
14th Battalion Machine Gun Corps
D Squadron, Duke of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry (until May 1916)
14th Divisional Cyclist Company, Army Cyclist Corps (January 1915-May 1916)
14th Divisional Train (100, 101, 102 & 103 Companies, Army Service Corps)
26th Mobile Veterinary Section, Army Veterinary Corps
215th Divisional Employment Company, Labour Corps (from June 1917)
14th Divisional Motor Ambulance Workshop (Until April 1916)
46th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
47th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
48th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (until January 1917)
49th (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (until October 1916)
14th Divisional Armmunition Coloumn
14th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (known as 8th (New) until February 1915, until June 1915)
V14 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, Royal Field Artillery (July 1916 to January 1918)
X.14, Y.14, Z.14 Medium Batteries, Royal Field Artillery (March 1916 to February 1918)
61st Field Company, Royal Engineers
62nd Field Company, Royal Engineers
89th Field Company, Royal Engineers
14th Divisional Signals. Company, Royal Engineers
42nd Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
43rd Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
44th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
25th Sanitary Section (until April 1917)
I own some material relevant to the 14th Division, can I share it?
Yes, we would love to hear from you. Below is a list of all the units associated with the 14th Division, so that you can check what is, and is not relevant to the project. Providing it meets our submission guidelines (regarding copyright/ownership) we will do our very best to incorporate your contribution.
When will this be finished?
This is a huge undertaking, and depends greatly on funds raised to produce it, and the rate at which research contributions are made. As such, trying to place a date of completion is not realistic. We will, however, periodically update the website with news as to how the project is progressing. This is our first effort along these lines, and just like our conributors, we’ll be learning as we go!
Will this divisional history definitely be published?
Yes. We can guarantee that once we have a completed volume that makes the grade, it will see the light of day.