The Division had been formed in 1914 with large numbers from the Ulster Volunteers joining the ranks.
The units most closely assocuated with the Ballymena area were the 11th and 12th Royal Irish Rifles (South and Central Antrims respectively.) After basic training in Ireland the Division gathered for transfer to England from where they would be sent to the front lines in France and Flanders.
The Division paraded through the centre of Belfast before huge crowds on May 9, 1915.The Division then moved to Seaford on the Sussex coast of England where Lord Kitchener inspected the Division on 27 July 1915.
He later remarked to Carson “your Division of Ulstermen is the finest I have yet seen”. The Great War cost the Division 32,186 men killed, wounded or missing.