William James Ramsdale

WW1 Military Chronology


The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (32nd & 46th Foot) Regimental Museum is located at: The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) Regimental Museum is located at:
DCLI Badge The Keep
Bodmin Barracks
Cornwall PL31 1EG
Tel: 01208 72810
The Wardrobe
58 The Close
Wiltshire SP1 2EX
Tel: 01722 414536
Royal Berkshire Badge

4 August 1914 At 23:00 Britain is at war in Europe
August 1914 The 14th Division [Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry] formed at Bodmin and sent to Aldershot as the 43rd Brigade
29 August 1914 William enlists in the Sixth (Service) Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (Private, regimental no. 4573)
14 September 1914 14th Division renamed the 14th (Light) Division
26 September 1914 14th (Light) Division inspected on Queen's Parade by HM the King
1914 The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) engaged at Mons
1914 - 1918 The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) engaged at Ypres
November 1914 14th (Light) Division billeted in the Guildford and Godalming district
22 January 1915 14th (Light) Division inspected on Hankley Common by Earl Kitchener
18 February 1915 14th (Light) Division sent to Stanhope Lines, Aldershot
11 May 1915 14th (Light) Division warned to proceed overseas
18 May 1915 Entrainment of 14th (Light) Division begins
22 May 1915 William as part of 14th (Light) Division arrives in Boulogne, France
30 July to 22 September 1915 William, as part of the 14th (Light) Division, engaged at Hooge (German liquid fire attack) & Bellewaarde
6th (Service) Battalion, DCLI was raised at Bodmin in August 1914 as part of Kitchener's First New Army and joined 43rd Brigade, 14th (Light) Division. They trained at Aldershot and spent the winter at Witley, returning to Aldershot in February 1915. They proceeded to France, landing at Boulogne on Saturday, 22nd May 1915. They fought in the action of Hooge, being the first division to be attacked by flamethrowers. They were in action in the Second Attack on Bellewaarde. In 1916 they were on the Somme seeing action in the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. In 1917 they fought in the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the first and third Battles of the Scarpe at Arras, the Battle of Langemark and the first and second Battle of Passchendaele. On Wednesday, 20th February 1918 the 6th DCLI was disbanded in France.
1916 to 1918 The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) engaged at Neuve Chapelle, Loos, Somme
May 1916 10th (Labour) Battalion of the Royal Berkshire Regiment formed in Portsmouth in May 1916
19 May 1916 William is transferred to the 10th (Labour) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment
20 June 1916 Moved to France
April 1917 Transferred to the Labour Corps as the 158th and 159th Labour Companies
13 May 1917 William is transferred to the 158th Labour Corps (Sergeant, regimental number 94210)
The 10th (Labour) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment, was formed in the latter part of 1915 under Colonel J. H. Balfour as a Labour Battalion. It was based at Cambridge Barracks in Portsmouth and was formed of men who were deemed not suitable for front line duties. After October 1915 large numbers of conscripts began arriving and those classified as "for labour service" were initially allocated to Headquarters Works Companies but these were then formed into the 10th (Labour) Battalion. They were brought back briefly to Reading over the Christmas of 1915. On Sunday, 7th May 1916 they were mobilised and on Friday, 19th May 1916 William was transferred to the 10th (Labour) Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment. On the night of Sunday 18th/19th June 1916 the 10th (Labour) Battalion embarked for France after having been delayed by influenza. They went to no 3 Labour camp at Rouen where they were employed on loading and unloading supplies from trains. On Saturday, 12th May 1917 the 10th (Labour) Battalion was transferred to the Labour Corps as the 158th and 159th Labour Companies of the newly formed Labour Corps and virtually severed all links with the rest of the Regiment.
11 November 1918 Armistice is signed at 05:00 in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiègne in Northern France and hostilities cease six hours later at 11:00
26 March 1919 William is assigned to Class Z Reserve (most fit soldiers were transferred to this category) - Serial # ZR 47/R/99

Order of Battle 14th (Light) Division C June 1916 France

The 14th (Light) Division came into existence by Army Order No.324, issued on Friday, 21st August 1914, authorising the formation of the six new Divisions of K1 comprising the First New Army. Kitchener's Volunteers (known at the time as "K1" or the First One Hundred Thousand) was formed of volunteers under the care of the War Office. Each Division consisted of three Brigades each of four infantry Battalions. The 14th (Light) Division was the junior formation of K1 and was originally numbered the 8th (Light) Division, but as more Regular Army units became available to create a Division, they were given precedence, and this was renumbered as the 14th (Light) Division. Initially without equipment or arms of any kind, the recruits were judged to be ready by May 1915.

In the 14th (Light) Division all the regiments were of the fast marching rifle or light infantry regiments, hence the title "Light". The battalions in the 43rd Brigade were:

Whilst at Aldershot HM the King inspected the division on Queen's Parade on Saturday, 26th September 1914, and it was inspected by Kitchener on Hankley Common on Tuesday, 11th May 1915. The division crossed to France from Southampton to le Havre and by Tuesday, 25th May 1915 had concentrated around Watten, north west of St Omer.

The 14th Division served on the Western Front throughout the war and the 43rd Brigade were engaged in the following actions:

14th (Light) Division Sign: this sign had, contrary to general belief, no history and did not represent the 14th proposition of Euclid's Elements (Book 1):

"If with any straight line, and at a point on it, two straight lines not lying on the same side make the sum of the adjacent angles equal to two right angles, then the two straight lines are in a straight line with one another".

Green stood for the Light Division.

General Officer Commanding Major General V.A. Couper
General Staff Officer Class I Lieutenant Colonel G.D. Bruce
Asst Adjutant & Quartermaster General Lieutenant Colonel C.L.C. Hamilton
Commander Royal Artillery Brigadier General W.B.R. Sandy
Chief Royal Engineer Lieutenant Colonel J.E.C. Craster

41st Brigade: Brigadier General P.C. B. Skinner

42nd Brigade: Brigadier General F.A. Dugeon

43rd Brigade: Brigadier General P.R. Wood

XLVI, XLVII, XLVIII & XLIX Brigades, Royal Field Artillery

X.14, Y.14, Z.14 Medium and V.14 Heavy Trench Mortar Batteries

14th Divisional Ammunition Columns, Royal Garrison Artillery

61st, 62nd & 89th Field Companies, Royal Engineers

14th Divisional Signal Company, Royal Engineers

11th (Service) Battalion The King's (Liverpool Regiment) (Pioneers)

42nd, 43rd & 44th Field Ambulances, Royal Army Medical Corps

26th Mobile Veterinary Section 14th Divisional Train - 100th, 101st, 102nd & 103rd Companies, Royal Army Service Corps

43rd Brigade (prior to being reduced to Cadre)

43rd Brigade (after being reconstituted)