The 74th Division came into being in Egypt in March 1917, composed of three dismounted brigades of yeomanry (2nd, 3rd and 4th), which had fought at Gallipoli in that role, had returned to Egypt to form part of the Suez Canal Defence force and had been reorganized as infantry brigades numbered 229th, 230th and 231st. The GOC, Maj Gen E.S Girdwood, took as the divisional insignia a broken spur which, the author states, might have been a reflection of the bitterness he felt over the fate that condemned the fine yeomanry regiments to an infantry role. The division fought at the Second and Third Battles of Gaza, playing a leading role in the latter, and took part in the capture of Beersheba and Jerusalem. In May 1918 the division was transferred to the Western Front where it fought for the rest of the war, at Bapaume, the Hindenburg Line battles, Epehy and the final advance in Artois and Flanders. Total casualties numbered 8,654 of which just over 5,000 were incurred in France. Three VCs were awarded but in the appendix giving the citations, one of them is shown as Sgt T.Caldwell, who was not in the division when he performed his act of gallantry in October 1918, his battalion (12th RSF) had been transferred to the 31st Division four months previously. On the other hand, the VC won by LSgt W Waring (25th RWF) at Ronssoy during the battle of Epehy doesn’t get a mention. Other appendices quote operation orders for the attack on Beersheba and Jerusalem; give casualty figures for Palestine and France and list battalion COs.
Dudley Ward is one of the most prolific writer of military histories connected with the Great War. Other divisional histories include the 53rd and 56th Divisions and regimental histories include the Welsh Guards and the RWF. He earned a high reputation and he has done a fine job with this history, backed up with good, clear maps.
Keywords: history, war, wwi, first world war, world war one, world war 1, ww1, battalion, regiment, army, soldiers, battles, historical