The 7th (Meerut) Division was an infantry division of the Indian Army and before 1895, the Bengal Army, that saw active service during World War I.

7th (Meerut) Indian Division
Soldiers of the 7th (Meerut) Division man trenches in Mesopotamia, 1917.
Active1829 - 1920
Country India
AllegianceBritish Crown
Branch British Indian Army
Part ofBengal Army/Northern Command
EngagementsWestern Front[1]

Mesopotamian Campaign
Palestine Campaign

Maj-Gen Claud Jacob (1915)
Maj-Gen Sir George Younghusband (1915-16)
Maj-Gen Sir Vere Fane (1918)



The Meerut Division first appeared in the Indian Army List in 1829, under the command of Sir Jasper Nicolls, KCB.[2] At this period Divisions were primarily administrative organisations controlling the brigades and stations in their area, rather than field formations, but they did provide field forces when required. There were generally one Indian cavalry and two Indian infantry regiments stationed at Meerut itself, in addition to British troops: in 1829 these were the 4th Bengal Light Cavalry, 29th and 32nd Bengal Native Infantry.[2]

Indian Rebellion of 1857


In May 1857, on the eve of the 'Indian Rebellion of 1857' (or 'First War of Independence'), the troops at Meerut comprised the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers) and a battalion of the 60th (King's Royal Rifle Corps), the 3rd Bengal Light Cavalry, and 11th and 20th Bengal Native Infantry under the command of Maj-Gen W.H. Hewitt.[3][4] The outbreak of the rebellion at Meerut was one of the first and most serious of the whole conflict.



The division was reconstituted when peace returned. Over succeeding decades, the stations controlled by Meerut Division varied, and the forces under command were regularly rotated. For example:[5]

Composition, January 1888


General Officer Commanding (GOC): Maj-Gen Sir G.R. Greave, KCB, KCMG

Divisional HQ: Meerut


Agra Brigade:


Dehra Dun:



  • Convalescent Depot



Pre–World War I


Under the reforms introduced by Lord Roberts as Commander-in-Chief (CinC) India, the Divisions were renamed 1st Class Districts in 1890. In the next round of reforms inaugurated by Lord Kitchener as CinC, they became numbered divisions with their territorial affiliation as a subsidiary title. The title 7th (Meerut) Division first appeared in the Army List between 30 September and 31 December 1904, as part of Western (later Northern) Command. On the eve of World War I, the division had its HQ at Mussoorie, and had the Meerut Cavalry Brigade and the Bareilly (HQ Ranikhet), Dehra Dun and Garhwal (HQ Lansdowne) Infantry Brigades under command.[6]

World War I


Western Front


In 1914 the 7th (Meerut) Division was part of Indian Expeditionary Force A sent to reinforce the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fighting in France. The bulk constituted an infantry division as part of Indian Corps, while the Meerut Cavalry Brigade was detached to form part of 2nd Indian Cavalry Division in the Indian Cavalry Corps. While in France the division was known as the Meerut Division, and its brigades by their names, to avoid confusion with the 7th British Division. Despatch from India was delayed by the activities of the German raiders Emden and Konigsberg operating in the Indian Ocean, and by the slow speed of the transport vessels. The division landed at Marseilles 12–14 October 1914 but there were further delays while the troops were re-armed with the latest pattern rifle and the supply train could be improvised, using tradesmen's vans procured locally.[7] The division finally got into action at the Battles of La Bassee, 1st Messines and Armentieres in October and November 1914.

Order of Battle, October 1914


GOC: Lt Gen C.A. Anderson, CB
GSO1: Col C.W. Jacob

Dehra Dun Brigade GOC: Brig-Gen C.E. Johnson

Garhwal Brigade GOC: Maj-Gen H.D’U. Keary, CB, DSO

Bareilly Brigade GOC: Maj-Gen F. Macbean, CVO, CB

Divisional Mounted Troops

Divisional Artillery


Signals Service

  • Meerut Signal Company

Divisional Pioneers

Supply & Transport:

  • Meerut Divisional train

Medical Units:

  • 19th & 20th British Field Ambulances
  • 128th, 129th and 130th Indian Field Ambulances

After winter operations (in which the Indian soldiers suffered badly) the division next took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Loos in 1915.[1]

Order of Battle, May 1915


The division's composition at this time was:[8] GOC: Lieut-Gen Sir Charles Anderson, KCB

Dehra Dun Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen C.W. Jacob

Garwhal Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen C.G. Blackader

Bareilly Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen W.M. Southey

Divisional Troops
As before, with the addition of 30th Battery of XLIII (Howitzer Brigade) RFA.

By the Battle of Loos in September 1915, Maj-Gen Claud Jacob had replaced Anderson as GOC of 7th (Meerut) Division, and the exhausted 6th Jats and 41st Dogras had been replaced by the 93rd Burma Infantry and 33rd Punjabis (from Egypt), while 30th Battery, XLII (How) Bde had been replaced by 61st Battery, VIII (How) Bde, RFA.[9] [10]



On 13 August 1915, General Sir John Nixon, commanding Indian Expeditionary Force D in Mesopotamia, requested one of the Indian infantry divisions in France as reinforcements for his advance on Baghdad. Coincidentally, on the same day, the Secretary of State for India, Austen Chamberlain, told the Viceroy of India that he was anxious for the Indian infantry to be withdrawn from France before they had to endure another winter. The system for supplying drafts had broken down and the Indian battalions were becoming very weak after the heavy casualties they had suffered. Although the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, objected to the Indian withdrawal from the Western Front, orders were issued on 31 October for the two divisions of Indian Corps (3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Division) to embark at Marseilles for Mesopotamia. They were to leave behind their attached Territorial Force battalions.[11] The two divisions were relieved in the front line on 6 November and were due at Basra on 1 December, but their departure from Marseilles was delayed until after 25 December because of fear of submarine attack.[12] 7th (Meerut) Division finally arrived in Mesopotamia in Spring 1917 and joined Tigris Corps, too late to relieve the 6th (Poona) Division at Kut-al-Amara.[13]

The division participated in the battles at the Sheikh Sa'ad, Wadi, Hanna, Dujailia, and the Sannaiyat. After the fall of Kut, as part of the reorganization of the British and Indian forces in the region, the division spent much of the summer and fall refitting. The Meerut and Lahore Divisions would eventually become part of the I Indian Army Corps, part of the newly formed Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, participating in the capture of Baghdad in March 1917.


The Meerut Division at Nahr al-Kalb (Dog river) in Lebanon, October 1918

After the fall of Baghdad, the Palestine Campaign was given priority over Mesopotamia, and in December 1917 Sir Edmund Allenby, commanding the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), was informed that after he had captured Jerusalem he would be reinforced by the 7th (Meerut) Division from Mesopotamia. The division moved from Mesopotamia to Egypt in December,[14] and then on 1 April 1918 it relieved the 52nd (Lowland) Division, which was on its way to the Western Front.[15] The two divisions exchanged their artillery units, those that had been serving with 7th (Meerut) Division going to the Western Front, and the Territorial Force brigades of 52nd (Lowland) Divisional Artillery served with 7th (Meerut) Division until the end of the war.[16][17][18]

The EEF undertook few operations during the hot weather of Summer 1918, but the Meerut Division captured 'North Sister' and 'South Sister' Hills on 8 June, and raided 'Piffer Ridge' on 27 June. It subsequently took part in Allenby's advance through Palestine, including the Battle of Megiddo as part of Lieutenant-General Bulfin's XXI British Corps operating on the right flank.[19]

Order of Battle September 1918


In September 1918, the division had the following composition:[16][20][21]

GOC: Maj-Gen Sir Vere Fane

19th (Dehra Dun) Brigade:
GOC: Brig-Gen G.A. Weir

21st (Bareilly) Brigade:
GOC: Brig-Gen A.G. Kemball

28th Brigade (Frontier Force):
GOC: Brig-Gen C.H. Davies

Divisional Artillery:

Divisional Engineers:

Divisional Pioneers:

General Officers Commanding


The following officers commanded the division during World War I:[16]

See also



  1. ^ a b Baker, Chris (2010). "The British Corps of 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b East India Register and Directory 1829.
  3. ^ East India Register and Army List 1857 Volume II.
  4. ^ David.
  5. ^ India List, January 1888
  6. ^ Monthly Army List August 1914.
  7. ^ Edmonds, 1914, Vol II, p. 92, Note 1.
  8. ^ Edmonds 1914, Vol II, Appendix I
  9. ^ Edmonds & Wynne, 1915 Vol II, Appendix 3.
  10. ^ Edmonds & Wynne 1915, Vol II, Appendix 2
  11. ^ Edmonds & Wynne, 1915, Vol II, pp. 402–3.
  12. ^ Moberly, Vol II.
  13. ^ Baker, Chris (2010). "The British campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  14. ^ Moberly
  15. ^ Falls, Part I.
  16. ^ a b c Perry, pp. 83–97.
  17. ^ Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 109–15.
  18. ^ Falls, pp. 412–3.
  19. ^ Falls, Part II.
  20. ^ Bullock, Appendix.
  21. ^ Falls, Appendix C.
  22. ^ Backe, Pt 2b, pp. 25–32.
  23. ^ Edwards, p. 87.


  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th), with the Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Bullock, David L. (1988). Allenby’s War: the Palestine-Arabian Campaigns 1916–1918. London: Blandford. ISBN 0-7137-1869-2.
  • Edmonds, Brig-Gen Sir James E. (1995) [1st. Pub. Macmillan:1925]. History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1914. Vol. II: Antwerp, La Bassee, Armentieres, Messines, and Ypres, October–November 1914. London: Imperial War Museum. ISBN 1-870423-55-0.
  • Edmonds, Brig-Gen Sir James E.; Wynne, Captain G.C. (1928). History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1915. Vol. II: Battle of Aubers Ridge, Festubert, and Loos. London: Macmillan.
  • Maj D.K. Edwards, A History of the 1st Middlesex Volunteer Engineers (101 (London) Engineer Regiment, TA) 1860–1967, London, 1967.
  • Capt Cyril Falls, History of the Great War: Military Operations, Egypt and Palestine, Vol II, From June 1917 to the End of the War, Part I, London: HM Stationery Office, 1930/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84574-951-4.
  • Capt Cyril Falls, History of the Great War: Military Operations, Egypt and Palestine, Vol II, From June 1917 to the End of the War, Part II, London: HM Stationery Office, 1930/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2013, ISBN 978-1-84574-950-7.
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-351-7.
  • Moberly, Brig-Gen F.J. (1924). History of the Great War: Military Operations: The Campaign in Mesopotamia. Vol. II. London: HMSO.
  • Moberly, Brig-Gen F.J. (1927). History of the Great War: Military Operations: The Campaign in Mesopotamia. Vol. IV. London: HMSO.
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X.
  • David, Saul (2002). The Indian Mutiny of 1857. London: Viking. ISBN 0-670-91137-2.