15th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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15 (North East) Brigade
15 bde merlin col.png
Merlin Insignia of 15 (North East) Brigade
Active 1914 -
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type Regular and Territorial Army
Part of Support Command
Garrison/HQ Imphal Barracks, York
Engagements World War I
Battle of Mons
Battle of Le Cateau
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of the Somme
Third Battle of Ypres
Battle of Vimy Ridge
Battle of Epehy
World War II
Norwegian Campaign
Operation Husky
Italian Campaign
North West Europe Campaign
Post War
Battle of Surabaya
Brigadier G Bibby CBE

The 15th Infantry Brigade, now 15 (North East) Brigade, is a British Army brigade. It was part of the regular British 5th Infantry Division during the First and Second World War, and is now part of the British 2nd Infantry Division in the north of the United Kingdom, with specific responsibility for the areas of North East England and Yorkshire and the Humber.


Formation in Ireland[edit]

The 15th Infantry Brigade was first formed in 1905 at Fermoy and up to the outbreak of the First World War continued to serve in Ireland. The Brigade, which at that time consisted of 1 Norfolks, 1 Dorsets, 1 Cheshires and 2nd Highland Light Infantry, was mobilized on 5 August 1914 and crossed to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force.

First World War[edit]

The Brigade consisted of the following battalions:

During the opening months of the War, the Brigade had its full share of fighting and saw action at Mons, Le Cateau, at the crossings of the Marne and Aisne and in the first battles in Flanders.

The Brigade has chosen Ypres, November 1914, as the Brigade Battle and there is an annual Brigade Dinner to celebrate it. The Brigade fought in all four battles of Ypres.

The Brigade distinguished itself in various battles. One of the most notable was the attack on Hill 60 near Ypres in 1915. Hill 60 was the highest point on what was known as the “Caterpillar Ridge” and as such was an excellent post for observation of the ground area around Zillebeke and Ypres. The 5th Division, composed of 13th, 14th and 15th Brigades, had the task of securing Hill 60 and the ridge line. The Hill was taken between 17 and 19 April 1915, with heavy losses, and the subsequent German counterattack in early May was particularly ferocious. The Germans, unable to obtain victory, eventually resorted to the use of chlorine gas and Brigade casualties during the first week in May 1915 were 33 officers and 1,553 men. However, the line was held until reliefs were brought forward and the Brigade withdrawn.

The last battle of the Great War in November 1918 found 15th Brigade in the forefront of the advance, east of the River Sambre.

The Inter-War Years[edit]

Following the war the Brigade returned to Belfast where it commanded 1st Bn. Dorsetshire Regiment, 1st Bn. Somerset Light Infantry, 1st Bn. Durham Light Infantry and 1st Bn. Kings Royal Rifle Corps. In 1924 the Brigade moved to Germany and was renamed 1 Rhine Brigade. The Brigade was reformed, as 15th Infantry Brigade in October.

World War II[edit]

The brigade was formed from regular units on the outbreak of war on 3 September 1939. When the 5th Division was sent to France in early 1940, the 15th Brigade was sent instead in May to Norway, as part of Sickleforce to participate in the unsuccessful Norwegian Campaign, under the command of Lieutenant-General H.R.S.Massey. The brigade was reunited with the 5th Division on 3 August.

The Brigade served with this formation for the rest of the war, seeing action in the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 and Italian Campaign in 1944. After participating in the later stages of the Battle of Anzio, the brigade was deployed to garrison duties in the Middle East before being transferred to North West Europe on 3 March 1945. The brigade was disbanded in Hanover on 31 March 1948.

Commanding Officers during World War II[edit]

  • Brigadier Horatio Pettus Mackintosh Berney-Ficklin (3 September 1939 - 22 April 1940)
  • Brigadier H.E.F. Smyth (22–25 April 1940)
  • Lieutenant-Colonel A.L. Kent-Lemon (25 April - 25 May 1940) (acting)
  • Brigadier H.P.M. Berney-Ficklin (25 May - 20 June 1940)
  • Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Robinson (20–22 June 1940) (acting)
  • Brigadier Sir James Gammell (22 June - 23 July 1940)
  • Lieutenant Colonel A.E. Robinson (23–25 July 1940) (acting)
  • Brigadier H.R.H. Greenfield (25 July 1940 - 8 March 1943)
  • Brigadier G.S. Rawstone (8 March - 19 August 1943)
  • Brigadier E.O. Martin (19 August 1943 - 22 January 1944)
  • Brigadier J.Y. Whitfield (22 January - 29 April 1944)
  • Lieutenant Colonel P St. Clair-Ford (29 April - 6 May 1944)(acting)
  • Brigadier J.Y. Whitfield (6 May - 2 July 1944)
  • Lieutenant Colonel P St. Clair-Ford (2–13 July 1944) (acting)
  • Brigadier C. Huxley (13 July 1944 - 21 June 1945)
  • Brigadier D.R. Morgan (21 June - 31 August 1945)

Structure during World War II[edit]


The Brigade was reformed in 1982, as a Territorial Army formation, which in turn was part of the Second Infantry Division which was moving to York. The Brigade's Headquarters were at Alanbrooke Barracks and its first commander in this new role was Brigadier Michael Aris. Its organisation and role were tested in Exercise Keystone in 1983, when it consisted of:

In 1999, having been a territorial formation for many years, the brigade was made responsible for both regular and territorial units in the North East, when the Second Division became a "Regenerative Division", responsible for the north of England and Scotland.

Current Role and Structure[edit]

15th (North East) Brigade is a Regional Brigade responsible for the recruiting of soldiers and Officers for the Regular and Territorial Army. It trains the Territorial Army for operations, provides a command and control focus for all military support to civilian authorities during civil emergencies e.g. flooding and is responsible for providing the "Firm Base" to the Regular Army within its area. The brigade has its Headquarters at Imphal Barracks in York and includes the following units:[1]


This Brigade is not listed as any of the 11 Brigades under Army 2020. Instead, the former 4th Mechanised Brigade will be converted to an infantry brigade, also becoming HQ North East, based in Catterick. It will consist of one regular (the Light Dragoons) and one reserve (the Queen's Own Yeomanry) light reconnaissance regiments and one regular (2nd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment) and one reserve (4th Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment) light role infantry battalions.[2]

External links[edit]