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Formed originally as the 37th Division in December 1914, mainly through the efforts of the Earl of Derby, whose crest, the Eagle and Child on the Cap of Maintenance was adopted as the divisional sign, the division was renumbered 30th in April 1915. It was the senior division of Kitchener’s Fourth New Army and was an entirely Lancashire division: the infantry came from the King’s (Liverpool) and the Manchesters, all Pals battalions, while the artillery, engineers and signals were all designated County Palatine. The division went to France in November 1915 and on the opening day of the Somme it recorded one of the few successes of that awful day by securing all its objectives, including Montauban. For the next two years it fought on the Western Front but by May 1918 its casualties were such that it was reduced to cadre and ceased to exist in its original form. It was reconstituted in June/July with nine new battalions and re-entered the line in September 1918, and it is at this point that this history takes up the story.
It begins with the Order of Battle of the reformed division and the list of staff and commanders down to unit level and follows this with a very cursory review of the activities of the original, pre-reform division, and background notes on the battalions of the new division. The narrative consists of a series of short accounts of the operations in which the division was involved, each covering a specified period and each followed by a list of immediate awards made in connection with those operations. At the end is a list of the awards made to the division in the 1919 New Year’s Honours list. Total casualties throughout the war amounted to 35,182; two VCs were won, both before the division was reformed.
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