When Great Britain and its dominions declared war on Germany in August 1914, they were faced with the formidable challenge of transforming masses of untrained citizen-soldiers at home and abroad into competent, coordinated fighting divisions. The Empire on the Western Front focuses on the development of two units, Britain’s 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division and the Canadian 4th Division, to show how the British Expeditionary Force rose to this challenge. Examining their respective geneses and following them through to the end of the war, Geoffrey Jackson explores many aspects of the division-building process of these two units – from leadership and training to discipline and morale – and how (or whether) the process differed in Britain and Canada. The Empire on the Western Front examines army formation and operations at the divisional level and ultimately calls into question existing accounts that emphasize the differences between the imperial and dominion armies.
1 Raising and Training the Divisions
Part 1: Forging Fighting Forces
2 The 4th and the 62nd Divisions: First Months in Line
3 The 62nd Division: Second Bullecourt and Aftermath
4 The 4th Division: Road to Vimy
5 The 4th Division: Lens and Passchendaele
6 The 62nd Division: Road to Bourlon
Part 2: The Final Year
7 The 62nd Division: Training and Fighting
8 The 62nd Division: The Hundred Days
9 The 4th Division in 1918: Towards the Hundred Days
Conclusion: Producing Combat-Capable BEF Divisions in Wartime
Appendix: Orders of Battle for 62nd and 4th Divisions
Notes; Bibliography; Index
Geoffrey Jackson holds a PhD from the University of Calgary and teaches courses in military and Canadian history and strategic studies at Mount Royal University. He has published numerous articles and essays on the First World War.
Geoffrey Jackson is to be congratulated for his efforts. The Empire on the Western Front is recommended reading for anyone interested in Great War history.
~Major Jim D. Barrett, The Ormsby Review