44th (Home Counties) Division

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44th (Home Counties) Division
44InfDiv.png
44th Infantry Division insignia.
Active 1914
c.1939-1943
1947-1961
Country United Kingdom
Branch Territorial Army
Type Infantry
Engagements Alam Halfa
El Alamein
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Brian Horrocks
Arthur Percival

The 44th (Home Counties) Division[1] was an infantry division of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force that was raised in 1908. In the First World War the division was sent overseas but without seeing combat and was disbanded in 1915. Reformed in the Territorial Army in 1920 as the 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division the division saw active service in the Second World War in Belgium, France and North Africa before again being disbanded in 1943. The division was again reformed in the Territorial Army in 1947 before final disbandment in 1967.

First World War[edit]

Formed in 1908, after the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 the division was used to supply garrison troops in the east, replacing regular battalions. On or around 30 October 1914 most of the units of the Division left for India, whereupon some were sent further on to Burma and Aden. From the time of disembarkation in India, the division practically ceased to exist, and the Divisional Commander returned home.

First World War Order of Battle[edit]

131st (Surrey) Brigade

132nd (Middlesex) Brigade

  • 1/7th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
  • 1/8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
  • 1/9th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
  • 1/10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment

133rd (Kent) Brigade

Second World War[edit]

During the Second World War the division, now named the 44th (Home Counties) Infantry Division,[2] was initially part of III Corps forming part of the British Expeditionary Force in France. In May 1940 they were evacuated at Dunkirk after the German Army threatened to cut off and destroy the entire BEF from the main French Armies during the battles of France and Belgium. After returning to England they spent many years on home defence anticipating a German invasion.

Later it was sent to North Africa and fought at the Battle of Alam Halfa and the Second Battle of El Alamein. It is considered to have performed poorly during Alam Halfa, where the 132nd Brigade was attached to 2nd New Zealand Division. It only had one brigade (The 132nd Infantry Brigade) at El Alamein, as the others (the 131st Brigade and 133rd Brigade) had been incorporated into the 7th Armoured Division and 10th Armoured Divisions as Motorised Brigades (The 7th Armoured had theirs transferred to the 1st Armoured Division and the 10th was a brand new Armoured Division). The 44th Division was disbanded after the battle, and the 132nd Brigade and 133rd Brigade were dispersed with most battalions ending up as British battalions in British Indian Army brigades.

Second World War Order of Battle[edit]

Infantry[edit]

131st Infantry Brigade
132nd Infantry Brigade
133rd Infantry Brigade

Support Units[edit]

  • 6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (Machine Gun Battalion - until 24 November 1942)
  • 57th (Home Counties) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 58th (Sussex) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 65th (8th London) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 57th (East Surrey) Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 99th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 30th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 11th Field Company, Royal Engineers
  • 210th Field Company, Royal Engineers
  • 211th Field Company, Royal Engineers

Post Second World War[edit]

The Division was reformed in 1947. The division was reformed in the Territorial Army after the Second World War. Beckett 2008 says that TA units that were in suspended animation were formally reactivated on 1 January 1947, though no personnel were assigned until commanding officers and permanent staff had been appointed in March and April 1947.[3]

It include the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, 47 (London) Infantry Brigade, 131 (Surrey) Infantry Brigade (including battalions of The Queen's Regiment), and 133 (Kent & Sussex) Infantry Brigade.

On 1 May 1961, all TA divisions were merged with the districts, and the division became 44th (Home Counties) Division/District. [4]

Commanders[edit]

  • Major-General Colin G. Donald: April 1908-January 1909
  • Major-General Edward T. Dickson: January 1909-April 1912
  • Major-General Charles V. F. Townshend: April–October 1912
  • Major-General James C. Young: October 1912-December 1914
  • Major-General Sir John R. Longley: July 1919-June 1923
  • Major-General Sir Henry W. Hodgson: June 1923-June 1927
  • Major-General Arthur G. Wauchope: June 1927-January 1929
  • Major-General Henry R. Peck: January 1929-January 1933
  • Major-General John Kennedy: January 1933-April 1934
  • Major-General John R. Minshull Ford: April 1934-April 1938
  • Major-General Edmund Osborne: April 1938-June 1940
  • Major-General Arthur Percival: June 1940-April 1941
  • Major-General Frank N. Mason-Macfarlane: April–June 1941
  • Major-General Brian Horrocks: June 1941-March 1942
  • Major-General Ivor T. P. Hughes: March 1942-January 1943
  • Major-General Hugh C. Stockwell: July 1946-July 1947
  • Major-General Philip G.S. Gregson-Ellis: July 1947-July 1950
  • Major-General Brian C.H. Kimmins: July 1950-March 1952
  • Major-General E.Otway Herbert: March 1952-December 1953
  • Major-General Robert C.M. King: January 1954-November 1956
  • Major-General William F.R. Turner: November 1956-November 1959

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Beckett 2008, 128.
  2. ^ Joslen, p. 71
  3. ^ Beckett 2008, 169.
  4. ^ Ian F.W. Beckett, 'Territorials: A Century of Service,' First Published April 2008 by DRA Printing of 14 Mary Seacole Road, The Millfields, Plymouth PL1 3JY on behalf of TA 100, ISBN 978-0-9557813-1-5, 183, 185, and see also regiments.org (archive), Home Counties District, accessed September 2012.

References[edit]

  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) [1st. pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 9781843424741. OCLC 65152579. 

External links[edit]