Wessex Brigade

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The Wessex Brigade was an administrative formation of the British Army from 1948 to 1968. The Brigade administered the regular infantry battalions of the Wessex area of south and south west England.

After the Second World War the British Army had fourteen infantry depots, each bearing a letter. The depots were territorially organised, and Infantry Depot H at Bulford was the headquarters for the six county regiments that recruited in Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Wiltshire.[1]

In 1948, the depots adopted names and this depot became the Wessex Brigade, with all regiments being reduced to a single battalion at the same time. The Wessex Brigade was formally formed at Exeter on October 28, 1948 and combined the depots of the following regiments:[2]

Under the Defence Review announced in July, 1957, the infantry of the line was reorganised, and the number of battalions was reduced to four by amalgamation. Accordingly, on May 17, 1958 the Devonshire Regiment and Dorset Regiment were amalgamated into the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, while on June 9, 1959 the Royal Berkshire Regiment and the Wiltshire Regiment were merged into the Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire).[3]

Proposals were made over the next decade to amalgamate the Gloucesters and Royal Hampshires, which went as far as the battalions reducing ready for amalgamation, but this was cancelled less than two weeks before formation day.

From 1958 all regiments in the Brigade adopted a common cap badge consisting of the Wessex wyvern on a plinth inscribed Wessex.[4] From 1960 the Wessex Brigade was based at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter.[5]

On 1 July 1968 the Wessex Brigade was united with the Welsh and Mercian Brigades, to form the Prince of Wales's Division.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Messenger, Charles. "A History of British Infantry: For Love of Regiment, Volume 2, 1915-1994". p. 156. 
  2. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1956, p. 471
  3. ^ Army Orders 24/1958 and 22/1959
  4. ^ A L Kipling and H L King, Head-dress badges of the British Army, Volume 2, London, 1979
  5. ^ "Infantry Brigade Depots (Location)". Hansard. 7 March 1958. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1969, p. 473

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