For much of 1942, the division was heavily engaged in internal security, and not regarded as battle-worthy due to lack of training and transport. Once trained in 1943, it was commanded directly by Eastern Army in the first Arakan offensive. Once this stalled, the HQ of 26th Division took over the front, too late to prevent a minor disaster. After this the British fell back almost to their starting point on the Indian frontier.
Once reorganised, the division was in reserve for the first part of the Second Arakan Offensive. When a Japanese counter-attack at Ngakyedauk cut off the forward troops, 26th Division was deployed to relieve them. It then took over the front and took part in the capture of two vital railway tunnels. After this, the Arakan offensive wound down to spare troops and resources for the battles in Manipur.
During the Third Arakan Offensive and subsequent operations, 26th Division took part mainly in amphibious operations, including the unopposed capture of Akyab Island, the Battle of Ramree Island and Operation Dracula, the capture of Rangoon.
After the Japanese surrender, the division reinforced other troops in Java and Sumatra, where the end of the war brought widespread disorder. The division was formally disbanded in India on August 31, 1945, but most of its units/troops were stationed in Sumatra at Padang and Medan until November 1946; they embarked at the port of Belawan for India to be disbanded.
The division's badge was a Bengal tiger stepping through a blue triangle on a black background. The triangle represented the "delta" of the Ganges River.