Bill Mitchinson will examine the successes and failures of 48th (South Midland) Division during its sojourns on the Western Front and in Italy. It was the third of the 1st Line TF divisions to cross to France. Unlike the other 1st Line formations, however, it did not, for good or bad, acquire a Krithia, Gommecourt, High Wood, Suvla Bay, Givenchy, or Riqueval to its name. It was the first British division to serve on the Somme, it followed the German withdrawal to Gillement Farm and the Knoll, and fought for long periods during 3rd Ypres. In November 1917 it was transferred to the Southern Front and served on the Montello and the Asiago.
Following what was considered a poor performance against the Austrian offensive in June, its GOC was sacked. The talk will assess the division’s fighting power in the context of the BEF’s developing doctrine and question why it was the only 1st Line division to fight on the Western Front not to have a post-war volume written about its service.