23rd Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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The British 23rd Infantry Brigade was a Second World War infantry brigade which saw active service in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign, the Western Desert Campaign and the Burma Campaign.

History[edit]

In September 1939 this unit was known as the Canal Brigade, on duty on the Suez Canal. It was redesignated the 23rd Infantry Brigade on 20 September 1939 but was dispersed in the canal area becoming part of HQ Canal sub-Area troops. In May 1941 the brigade was re-formed under Alexander Galloway to take part in the Syria-Lebanon Campaign during June and July 1941 as part of 6th Infantry Division. In October 1941 6th Infantry Division was re-designated 70th Infantry Division and was shipped to Tobruk to relieve the 9th Australian Infantry Division. The Tobruk garrison held off Rommel's Axis forces until the siege was relieved at the end of the year.

In March 1942 70th Division arrived in India. Its brigades, including 23rd Infantry Brigade, were sent to train as Chindit units. 23rd Brigade did not take part in the Second Chindit Expedition, however, but instead it was deployed during the Battle of Kohima in the long range penetration role behind Japanese lines for which it had been trained to interdict Japanese communication and supplies.

Commanders[edit]

  • Brigadier W. T. Brooks 1939 - 1940
  • Brigadier J. T. Leslie 1940
  • Brigadier Alexander Galloway 1941
  • Lieutenant-Colonel R. F. Heyworth
  • Brigadier C. H. V. Cox 1941 - 1943
  • Lieutenant-Colonel E. W. Towsey 1943
  • Brigadier P. C. Marindin 1943
  • Brigadier L. E. C. M. Perowne 1943 - 1945
  • Brigadier R. G. Collingwood 1945

Units[edit]

Chindit units[edit]

  • 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment:Columns 44, 56
  • 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's Regiment: Columns 33, 76
  • 4th Battalion, Border Regiment:Columns 34, 55
  • 60th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery: Columns 60, 68 (fighting as infantry)
  • 12th Field Company Royal Engineers & Medical Detachment: Support

Gurkha units[edit]

(A veteran[who?] said these Nepalese units need to be included. Contact the Burma Star Association for details.)

  • 3rd Battalion 6th Gurkha Rifles
  • 3rd Battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles

See also[edit]