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The 18th (Eastern) Division gained a reputation as one of the most efficient infantry divisions during the fighting on the Somme in 1916. An early 'New Army' formation (comprising 'Kitchener Army' volunteers), it benefited from a core of able young regimental and staff officers and especially from a very talented commander, Major-General Ivor Maxse.

The division's commitment to training, thorough preparedness and good communication was perhaps exemplified by Brigadier-General Shoubridge's (54th Brigade) carefully planned assault on the south-west tip of Thiepval.