|1st Cavalry Division|
First World War division insignia
|Active||August 1914 – March 1919|
31 October 1940 – 1 August 1941
|Part of||Cavalry Corps (First World War)|
|Engagements||First World War
Second World War
|Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby|
The 1st Cavalry Division was a regular Division of the British Army during the First World War where it fought on the Western Front. During the Second World War it was a first line formation, formed from Yeomanry Regiments. It fought in the Middle East before being converted to the 10th Armoured Division.
During the Peninsular War, Wellington organized his cavalry into The Cavalry Division from June 1809 under Major-General Sir William Payne. This performed a purely administrative, rather than tactical, role; the normal tactical headquarters were provided by brigades commanding two, later usually three, regiments. On 3 June 1810, Payne returned home and his second-in-command, Major-General Stapleton Cotton, took command. Cotton was to remain in command thereafter and effectively acted as Wellington's chief of cavalry.
On 19 June 1811, the cavalry was reorganized as two divisions and The Cavalry Division was redesignated as 1st Cavalry Division with the formation of the 2nd Cavalry Division. The divisions were once again amalgamated as The Cavalry Division on 21 April 1813 with Cotton (Lieutenant-General from 1 January 1812) still in command.
The 1st Cavalry Division was one of the first Divisions to move to France in 1914, they would remain on the Western Front throughout the war. It participated in most of the major actions where cavalry were used as a mounted mobile force, they would also be used as dismounted troops and effectively serve as infantry. On 11 November 1918, orders were received that the Division would lead the advance of Second Army into Germany, by 6 December, having passed through Namur, the Division secured the Rhine bridgehead at Cologne.
Main article: 1st Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
Main article: 2nd Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
Main article: 9th Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
9th Cavalry Brigade was formed in France on 14 April 1915 with the 15th Hussars and the 19th Hussars. These regular cavalry regiments had been serving on the Western Front since August 1914 as divisional cavalry squadrons assigned to infantry divisions. The brigade remained with 1st Cavalry Division for the rest of the war.
|15th (The King's) Hussars||14 April 1915|
|19th (Queen Alexandra's Own Royal) Hussars||14 April 1915|
|1/1st Bedfordshire Yeomanry||12 June 1915||10 March 1918|
|8th (The King's Royal Irish) Hussars||10 March 1918[c]|
|1/1st Warwickshire Battery, RHA (TF)||14 April 1915||21 November 1916[d]|
|Y Battery, RHA||1 December 1916[d]|
|9th Signal Troop, Royal Engineers||14 April 1915|
|9th Cavalry Brigade Machine Gun Squadron, MGC||28 February 1916[e]|
On 31 October 1939, during the Second World War, the 1st Cavalry Division was reformed. It was assigned to Northern Command, and took command of two pre-war First Line Territorial Army cavalry brigades (the 5th and 6th) and the newly formed 4th Cavalry Brigade. It was the only cavalry division in the British Army during the war.
It departed the United Kingdom in January 1940, transited across France, and arrived in Palestine on 31 January 1940. It served as a garrison force under British Forces, Palestine and Trans-Jordan.
In May 1941, the Divisional Headquarters and elements of the division (notably the 4th Cavalry Brigade), together with a battalion of infantry from the Essex Regiment (the 1st Battalion), a mechanised regiment from the Arab Legion and supporting artillery was reorganised as Habforce for operations in Iraq including the relief of the base at RAF Habbaniya and the occupation of Baghdad. Following this, in July 1941, Habforce was placed under the command of Australian I Corps and was involved in operations against the Vichy French in Syria, advancing from eastern Iraq near the Trans-Jordan border to capture Palmyra and secure the Haditha - Tripoli oil pipeline.
On 1 August 1941, the 1st Cavalry Division was converted into the 10th Armoured Division.[f] 10th Armoured Division later fought at the Battles of Alam Halfa and El Alamein. The 10th Armoured Division was disbanded in Egypt on 15 June 1944.
Main article: 4th Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|Household Cavalry Composite Regiment||13 November 1939||12 January 1941|
|1st Household Cavalry Regiment[g]||13 January 1941||31 July 1941|
|North Somerset Yeomanry||15 November 1939||21 March 1941[h]|
|Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry||3 December 1939||2 October 1940[i]|
|8 January 1941||31 July 1941|
|Warwickshire Yeomanry||22 March 1941[j]||31 July 1941|
Main article: 5th Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|Yorkshire Hussars||3 September 1939||22 March 1941[k]|
|Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry||3 September 1939||2 February 1941[l]|
|Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons||3 September 1939||18 March 1942|
|North Somerset Yeomanry||20 March 1941[h]||20 March 1942|
|Cheshire Yeomanry||21 March 1941[m]||7 June 1941|
|15 July 1941||21 March 1942|
|Staffordshire Yeomanry||30 April 1941||4 June 1941[n]|
Main article: 6th Cavalry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|Warwickshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||21 March 1941[j]|
|Staffordshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||28 April 1941[n]|
|5 June 1941||31 July 1941|
|Cheshire Yeomanry||3 September 1939||20 March 1941[m]|
|Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry||3 October 1940[i]||7 January 1941|
|Royal Scots Greys||1 March 1941[o]||31 July 1941|
|Yorkshire Hussars||23 March 1941[k]||31 July 1941|
The division also commanded the following support units:
The 1st Cavalry Division had the following commanders during the First World War:
|12 October 1914||Major-General||H. de B. de Lisle|
|27 May 1916||Major-General||Hon. C.E. Bingham|
|24 October 1915||Major-General||R.L. Mullens|
The 1st Cavalry Division had the following commanders during the Second World War:
|31 October 1939||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|
|27 June 1940||Brigadier||J.J. Kingstone (acting)|
|1 July 1940||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|
|26 February 1941||Brigadier||J.J. Kingstone (acting)|
|8 May 1941||Major-General||J.G.W. Clark|