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1st Indian Cavalry Division

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Country  British India
Branch  British Indian Army
Size  Division
Allegiance  British Crown
Type  Cavalry
1st Indian Cavalry Division
Active  September 1914 – March 1918

The 1st Indian Cavalry Division was a division of the British Indian Army formed at the outbreak of World War I. It served on the Western Front, being renamed as 4th Cavalry Division on 26 November 1916. In March 1918, the 4th Cavalry Division was broken up. The British units remained in France and the Indian elements were sent to Egypt to help constitute 1st Mounted Division.



The division sailed for France from Bombay on October 16, 1914, under the command of Major General H D Fanshawe. The division was re-designated the 4th Cavalry Division in November 1916. During the war the Division served in the trenches as infantry. Due to the difference in troop levels between infantry and cavalry regiments, each cavalry brigade formed one dismounted cavalry regiment.

The high number of officer casualties suffered early on had an effect on its later performance. British officers that understood the language, customs, and psychology of their men could not be quickly replaced, and the alien environment of the Western Front had some effect on the soldiers. The division served in France and Flanders, held in reserve for the expected breakthrough. It provided dismounted parties for trench duties, but its only battle was the Battle of Cambrai, during the German counterattacks of 30 November – 3 December. In March 1918 it was broken up and the Indian regiments combined in Egypt with the Yeomanry Mounted Division to form the 1st Mounted Division (later 4th Cavalry Division).

Order of battle

2nd (Sialkot) Cavalry Brigade

  • 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers
  • 6th King Edward's Own Cavalry
  • 19th Lancers (Fane's Horse)
  • Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
  • 10th Machine Gun Squadron (joined after February 1916)
  • 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade (left on 15 September 1915 for 2nd Indian Cavalry Division)

  • 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars
  • 9th Hodson's Horse
  • 30th Lancers (Gordon's Horse)
  • A Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
  • 8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade

  • 1st King's Dragoon Guards (left on 7 October 1917)
  • 1/1st Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons (joined on 6 December 1917)
  • 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse)
  • 36th Jacob's Horse
  • U Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
  • 12th Machine Gun Squadron (from 29 February 1916)
  • 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade (joined on 15 September 1915 from 2nd Indian Cavalry Division)

  • 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons
  • 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse)
  • 38th King George's Own Central India Horse
  • A Battery, Royal Horse Artillery
  • I Indian Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery (XVI Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery from 26 November 1916)

  • A Battery, Royal Horse Artillery (with 3rd (Ambala) Cavalry Brigade then 5th (Mhow) Cavalry Brigade)
  • Q Battery, Royal Horse Artillery (with 2nd (Sialkot) Cavalry Brigade)
  • U Battery, Royal Horse Artillery (with 8th (Lucknow) Cavalry Brigade)
  • I Indian RHA Brigade Ammunition Column
  • References

    1st Indian Cavalry Division Wikipedia

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