56th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
The British Army's 56th Infantry Brigade was originally a Kitchener's Army brigade within 19th (Western) Division during the First World War. Later during the Second World War it was reformed on 15 February 1944 in the United Kingdom.
The Brigade took part in the Invasion of Normandy, where it formed the right flank of the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division on Gold Beach. It remained attached to the 50th Division until the 10th, after which it was attached to the 7th Armoured Division until 12 June, reverting then to 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. It came under command of the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division in early August 1944. It was eventually permanently attached to the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division on 20 August 1944.
56 Brigade took part in the Normandy landings, liberated Bayeux on 7 June leaving the town mainly intact. All its battalions were involved in the taking of Tilly-sur-Seulles with 2 Essex finally investing the town. Later actions were north of St Germain d'Ectot and the liberation of Thury-Harcourt in the Suisse Normande. It was prominent in the drive towards Le Havre and was one of the assault divisions taking the city in September 1944. Continuing to fight in Belgium at Poppel and then the Netherlands it was the assault brigade for the final assault on Arnhem in April 1945. The 56th served well, and ended the war in Germany.
The Brigade was reformed in January 1987 within London District and comprised mostly Guards Public duties battalions. It was seen as the successor of the London Divisions of the First and Second World Wars. It was disbanded in 1993.
World War II Structure
- 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers
- Antony Beevor (1991). Inside The British Army. Corgi Books. pp. 232–3.
- Regiments.org, (Disbandment date)[dead link]
- 56 Infantry Brigade at Orders of Battle.com
- Andrew Holborn (2010). 56th Infantry Brigade and D-Day: An Independent Infantry Brigade and the Campaign in North West Europe 1944–1945. Continuum. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Administrative Order No. 1: 56th Brigade - administrative orders issued in May 1944 in preparation for the Normandy landings
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