New Zealand Division

The New Zealand Division was an infantry division of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force raised for service in the First World War. It was formed in Egypt in early 1916 when the New Zealand and Australian Division was renamed after the detachment of its Australian personnel left the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, together with reinforcements from New Zealand, as the basis of the division. It was commanded by Major General Andrew Hamilton Russell for the duration of the war.

New Zealand Division
Soldiers from the Pioneer Battalion performing a haka, June 1918
Active1916–19
Country New Zealand
Branch New Zealand Military Forces
TypeInfantry
Size~15,000
EngagementsFirst World War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Andrew Russell

The division saw service on the Western Front in France and Belgium, fighting in major battles at the Somme, Messines and Broodseinde Ridge throughout 1916 and 1917. All were notable successes for the New Zealanders but the division suffered a serious defeat at Passchendaele on 12 October 1917, its most costly day of the war.

In early 1918, the division helped blunt the German spring offensive at the Somme, before the Allies went on the offensive in August. During the Hundred Days' Offensive that followed, it was one of the lead divisions of the Third Army and advanced 100 kilometres (62 mi) in 75 days. The division's last major engagement of the war was at Le Quesnoy in early November 1918. During the latter stages of the war, the New Zealand Division was one of the strongest divisions of the Dominion serving on the Western Front. After the armistice, it served on occupation duties in Germany before being disbanded in 1919.