17th Indian Division

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17th Indian Division
Active August 1917 – August 1923
Country  British India
Allegiance British Crown
Branch  British Indian Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Part of I Corps

World War I

Mesopotamian Campaign
Battle of Sharqat
Major-General Webb Gillman
Major-General G.A.J. Leslie

The 17th Indian Division was formed in 1917 from units of the British Indian Army for service in the Mesopotamia Campaign during World War I. After the war, it formed part of the occupation force for Iraq and took part in the Iraq Rebellion in 1920. In August 1923, the division was reduced to a single brigade.


Indian troops Mesopotamia

The 17th Indian Division started forming in Mesopotamia from August 1917 with the 50th, 51st, and 52nd Indian Brigades. Shortly after being formed, the 50th Brigade exchanged places with the 34th Indian Brigade of 15th Indian Division.[1]

Most of the infantry battalions that had already been in Mesopotamia for some months, guarding lines of communications so were somewhat acclimatized and accustomed to the country.[1] The division was involved in the Action at Fat-ha Gorge on the Little Zab between 23–26 October 1918 and the Battle of Sharqat, 28–30 October 1918[2] under command of I Corps[1]

At the end of the war, the 17th Division was chosen to form part of the occupation force for Iraq. It took part in the Iraq Rebellion in 1920. In August 1923, the division was reduced to a single brigade; the last British troops left in March 1927 and the Indian ones in November 1928.[1]

Order of battle[edit]

The division commanded the following units, although not all of them served at the same time:[3]

34th Indian Brigade[edit]

51st Indian Brigade[edit]

52nd Indian Brigade[edit]

Divisional Artillery[edit]

Engineers and Pioneers[edit]

Divisional Troops[edit]

  • 276th Machine Gun Company
  • 17th Machine Gun Battalion[c]
  • 3rd, 19th, 35th and 36th Combined Field Ambulances, RAMC
  • No. 7 Mobile Veterinary Section, AVC
  • 17th Division Train, ASC


The division was commanded from 25 August 1917 by Major-General W. Gillman. On 17 December 1917, Major-General G.A.J. Leslie took command.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ CCXX Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was originally the 1/I Home Counties Brigade of the Home Counties Division, Territorial Force, plus the 403rd (H) Battery. The Anglo-Indian Battery joined in May 1918.[4]
  2. ^ CCXXI Brigade, Royal Field Artillery was originally the 1/II Home Counties Brigade of the Home Counties Division, TF, plus the 404th (H) Battery. The Volunteer Battery joined in April 1918[4] from 15th Indian Division.[5]
  3. ^ 17th Machine Gun Battalion was organised in November 1918 from the 129th, 257th, 258th and 276th Machine Gun Companies.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Perry 1993, p. 146
  2. ^ "17th Indian Division on The Regimental Warpath 1914 - 1918 by PB Chappell". Archived from the original on 28 May 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-30. 
  3. ^ Perry 1993, p. 144
  4. ^ a b c Perry 1993, p. 145
  5. ^ Perry 1993, p. 135
  6. ^ Perry 1993, p. 141

Further reading[edit]

  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-351-7. 
  • Moberly, F.J. (1997) [1923]. Official History of the War: Mesopotamia Campaign. London: Imperial War Museum. ISBN 1-870423-30-5. 
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X. 

External links[edit]