British Army Order of Battle (September 1939)

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The organisation of Divisions and Brigades of British Army in 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, is listed below.

The ultimate head of all the British armed forces was nominally King George VI, with the various Offices coming underneath. The War Office covered the Army in the United Kingdom, and the Middle East Command. The professional head of the Army was the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Lord Gort. However, Gort would command the BEF when it crossed to the continent, being replaced by General Ironside. The army was administered through the Army Council, comparable to the Air Staff or the Admiralty.

War Office[edit]

Leslie Hore-Belisha was responsible for the War Office in his role as Secretary of State for War.[1]

Northern Command[edit]

The Northern Command, under Commander-in-chief Lieutenant General Sir William Bartholomew, with its HQ in York.[2][3]

Eastern Command[edit]

Eastern Command, under Lieutenant General Sir Guy Williams, with its HQ in London.[7] Apart from the 4th Infantry Division, the units were drawn from the Territorial Army.

Western Command[edit]

The Western Command, under Lieutenant General Sir Robert Haining, had its HQ in Chester.[13][14]

Southern Command[edit]

The Southern Command, under Lieutenant General Sir Bertie Fisher, with its HQ in Salisbury.[18][19]

Aldershot Command[edit]

Aldershot Command, under Lieutenant General Sir John Dill, with its HQ in Aldershot.[23][24]

Scottish Command[edit]

The Scottish Command, under General Sir Charles Grant, with its HQ in Edinburgh.[26][27]

Northern Ireland District[edit]

The Northern Ireland District, under Major-General Robert Pollok, with its HQ in Belfast. It had no subordinate divisions or brigades.[31]

London District[edit]

The London District, under Major-General Andrew Thorne, with its HQ in London.[32][33]

Anti-Aircraft Command[edit]

Anti-Aircraft Command, under Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Pile, with its HQ co-located with RAF Fighter Command[34] at RAF Bentley Priory, in the northwestern London suburb of Stanmore.[35]

There were varying numbers of brigades to each Divisional HQ, the units were drawn from the Royal Artillery and Royal Engineers.

Middle East Command[edit]

The Middle East Command, under Lieutenant-General Sir Archibald Wavell, with its HQ in Cairo, Egypt.[37]

India and Burma Offices[edit]

Lawrence Dundas, 2nd Marquess of Zetland was responsible for both the India and Burma Offices in his role as Secretary of State for India.[41]

Army of India[edit]

There were no British Army divisions or brigades in India[42] but units of the British Army were posted on tour to India as the "British Army in India" and collectively with the Indian Army formed the "Army of India" under the Commander-in-Chief, India (in 1939 General Robert Cassels). He commanded this force through GHQ India, covering India, Iraq and Persia.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ British Army, 03.09.1939
  2. ^ a b Northern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  3. ^ British Northern Command on 3 September 1939 Patriotfiles.com accessed 1 April 2011
  4. ^ a b c d Northumbrian Area, British Army, 03.09.1939
  5. ^ British Military History
  6. ^ a b c d West Riding Area, British Army, 03.09.1939
  7. ^ a b c Eastern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  8. ^ British Military History
  9. ^ a b http://niehorster.orbat.com/017_britain/39_commands/eastern_east-anglia.html>
  10. ^ a b c d Home Counties Area, Eastern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  11. ^ British Military History
  12. ^ Chatham Area, Eastern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  13. ^ Western Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Patriot Files
  15. ^ a b c Welsh Area, Western Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  16. ^ a b c d West Lancashire Area, Western Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  17. ^ a b c d East Lancashire Area, Western Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  18. ^ a b c Southern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Patriot Files
  20. ^ a b c South-Western Area, Southern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  21. ^ a b c d South Midland Area, Southern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  22. ^ a b Southern Area, Southern Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  23. ^ a b c d Aldershot Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  24. ^ British Military History
  25. ^ a b c Patriot Files
  26. ^ Scottish Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  27. ^ British Military History
  28. ^ a b c Highland Area, Scottish Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  29. ^ a b c d e f Patriot Files
  30. ^ a b c Lowland Area, Scottish Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  31. ^ Northern Ireland District, British Army, 03.09.1939
  32. ^ a b c d London District, British Army, 03.09.1939
  33. ^ a b c d Patriot Files
  34. ^ London Gazette 38149 p5973–5974
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h Anti-Aircraft Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  36. ^ a b c d e f g British Anti-Aircraft Command, TA on 3 September 1939 Patriotfiles.com
  37. ^ Middle East Command, British Army, 03.09.1939
  38. ^ a b c Egypt, 03.09.1939
  39. ^ a b c Palestine, 03.09.1939
  40. ^ a b Leo Niehorster, The Sudan,03.09.1939
  41. ^ The India and Burma Office, 03.09.1939
  42. ^ Army of India, 03.09.1939

References[edit]

External links[edit]