140th (4th London) Brigade

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140th (4th London) Brigade
Active 1908–19
1920–36
1939–44
1944–45
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Infantry Brigade
Part of 47th (1/2nd London) Division
Nickname The Grey Brigade
Engagements World War I
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Brig.-Gen. Viscount Hampden
Brig. Arnold Cazenove

140th (4th London) Brigade (140 Bde) was an infantry formation of Britain's Territorial Army that had its origins in a South London Brigade (known as the 'Grey Brigade') of the former Volunteer Force. It served on the Western Front in World War I and was recreated in World War II.

Origin: 'The Grey Brigade'[edit]

An invasion scare in 1859 led to the creation of the Volunteer Force and huge enthusiasm for joining local Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs).[1][2] There were a large number of these units in and around London,[3][4] and the opportunity was taken to group them together for Easter training under the temporary command of officers of the Brigade of Guards stationed in the capital. Initially they were brigaded by the colour of their uniforms – scarlet, Rifle green or grey, the latter being a popular colour for RVCs in the 1860s.[5][6] The Stanhope Memorandum of December 1888 proposed a formal Mobilisation Scheme for Volunteer units throughout the country, which would assemble by brigades at key points in case of war. In peacetime these brigades provided a structure for collective training.[7][8] Under this scheme the units from Westminster, the West End of London and the adjacent suburbs (all in the County of Middlesex) were formed into the South London Brigade. These units had mainly been in the 'Grey Brigade', and the name stuck to the new formation. The staff for the brigade were provided by the Regimental Headquarters of the Scots Guards at Buckingham Gate in London, and its designated place of assembly was at the Guards' Depot at Caterham, where it could take its place in the London Defence Positions.[5] Its composition was as follows:[9]

The Volunteer Infantry Brigades were reorganised and increased in number in 1906, and by 1907 the South London Brigade had been numbered the 2nd London Brigade and the number of units reduced to six.[9][11]

Territorial Force[edit]

When the Territorial Force was created in 1908 under the Haldane Reforms, the existing volunteer units in the London area were brought together into a new London Regiment and organised into two divisions with a full complement of infantry brigades and supporting arms. The former South London Brigade now became the 4th London Brigade in 2nd London Division, still informally known as The Grey Brigade, still commanded by the CO of the Scots Guards, and with the following composition:[12][13][14][15][16][6]

  • 13th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment), headquartered in Kensington (the former 2nd and 4th Middlesex RVCs)
  • 14th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish), headquartered at 59 Buckingham Gate (the former 7th Middlesex RVC).
  • 15th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles) headquartered at Somerset House (the former 12th Middlesex RVC).
  • 16th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Queen's Westminster Rifles), headquartered at 58 Buckingham Gate (the former 13th Middlesex RVC).
  • No 2 (4th London Brigade) Company, 2nd London Divisional Train, ASC, headquartered at the Duke of York's Headquarters, Chelsea

World War I[edit]

The outbreak of war on 4 August saw 4th London Brigade at Perham Down on Salisbury Plain, where it had just arrived for its annual training camp with the rest of 2nd London Division. They were immediately recalled to London to complete their mobilisation and by mid-August 4 London Bde had reached its war station round St Albans, Hertfordshire.[13][14][17] The County of London Territorial Force Association immediately began raising 'Second Line' battalions, which quickly led to the formation of a duplicate 2/4th London Brigade (eventually 179th Brigade); consequently 4th London Brigade became 1/4th and its battalions similarly renumbered (1/13th–1/16th).[18][19][20][21]

Order of Battle[edit]

Several of the London battalions were politically well-connected[22] and were selected for overseas service ahead of the bulk of the Territorial Force. Thus the London Scottish, Queen's Westminsters and Kensingtons went to the Western Front as individual battalions attached to the British Expeditionary Force, the London Scottish being the first TF infantry battalion to see action, at Messines on 31 October 1914.[23] These battalions were replaced by others from 2nd London Bde of 1st London Division, which had been temporarily broken up.[24]

The following units served in 140 Bde during World War I:[13][14][25]

The 1/15th Londons (Civil Service Rifles) was the only prewar battalion of the brigade to serve with it throughout the war.

Service[edit]

In October 1914, 2nd London Division was selected for service on the Western Front and progressive training was carried out through the winter. The division embarked for France in March 1915, concentrating round Béthune. In May the division (already known in France simply as 'The London Division' to distinguish it from the Regular Army 2nd Division) took its place in the line and was designated 47th (1/2nd London) Division, with the brigades numbered consecutively: 4th London became 140th (1/4th London) Brigade.[13][27]

Actions[edit]

During World War I the brigade was engaged in the following operations:[13][14][15][28]

1915

1916

1917

Early in 1918 the brigade was completely reorganised (see Order of Battle above)

1918

After the Armistice, 47th Division was engaged in railway repair and then settled down around Bethune to await demobilisation. This began in January, and the last troops left France on 10 May 1919. The brigade was demobilised at Felixstowe in May–June 1919.[13][14][29]

Interwar years[edit]

47th Division and its subformations began to reform in the redesignated Territorial Army in 1920.[13][14][30] 140 Bde was reformed with brigade HQ at the Regimental Headquarters of the Irish Guards at Wellington Barracks in Birdcage Walk. Initially the brigade was composed of its original prewar battalions, but in 1921 the Civil Service Rifles merged with the Queen's Westminsters, and the brigade was brought up to strength by the addition of the Artists' Rifles:[31]

In 1935, a growing number of TA infantry battalions had been converted to the searchlight or anti-aircraft artillery role, and at the end of the year 47th Division was disbanded and converted into 1st Anti-Aircraft Division. 140 Brigade HQ was also disbanded and its battalions dispersed to other London infantry brigades.[32]

However, the rapid expansion of the TA after the Munich Crisis saw a new 4th London Infantry Brigade reformed with Second Line TA battalions, to provide a duplicate of 1st London Infantry Brigade. 4th London Brigade resumed its number as 140 (London) Brigade on 21 November 1940.[33]

World War II[edit]

The composition of 140 (London) Brigade during World War II was as follows:[33][34][35]

140 Brigade did not see any active service in World War II. It mobilised as a motor brigade, but became a conventional infantry brigade in June 1940. It was disbanded on 31 August 1944.[44] On 17 November 1944, 213th Brigade (which had recently joined 47th Division, now reformed as a reserve division) was renumbered 140th Infantry Brigade, but without any London connection. The new brigade had the following composition:[35][45]

  • 4th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
  • 6th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment
  • 7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment

140 Brigade was not included in the Territorial Army when it reformed in 1947.[46]

Commanders[edit]

140 Brigade was commanded by the following officers:[33][47][48]

  • Brig.-Gen. F.J. Heyworth (from 9 October 1913)
  • Brig.-Gen. G.J. Cuthbert (from 26 November 1914)
  • Brig.-Gen. W. Thwaites (from 2 June 1915)
  • Brig.-Gen. Viscount Hampden (from 11 July 1916; went sick 6 May 1917)
  • Brig.-Gen. H.B.P.L. Kennedy (from 18 May 1917)
  • Col. L.M. Gregson, Irish Guards, (1932)[49]
  • Brig. W.P.A. Bradshaw (on outbreak of war)
  • Brig. J.W. Pendlebury (from 3 November 1941)
  • Brig. A. de L. Cazenove (from 12 April 1943 to disbandment of original brigade)
  • Brig. E.H.L. White (from 213th Bde)
  • Brig M.A. James (from 24 July 1945)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Beckett.
  2. ^ Westlake.
  3. ^ Martin.
  4. ^ Money Barnes.
  5. ^ a b Bailey & Hollier, pp. 4 & 382.
  6. ^ a b Anon, Civil Service Rifles, p. 42.
  7. ^ Beckett, pp. 135, 185–6.
  8. ^ Dunlop, pp. 60–1.
  9. ^ a b Army List.
  10. ^ Anon, Civil Service Rifles, pp. 19–20.
  11. ^ Westlake, p. 4.
  12. ^ Maude, pp. 1–2, 227–8.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Becke, Part 2a, pp. 69–75.
  14. ^ a b c d e f 47th Division at Long, Long Trail
  15. ^ a b 47th Division (Regimental Warpath)
  16. ^ British Army 1914
  17. ^ Maude, pp. 2–3.
  18. ^ Maude, p. 287.
  19. ^ Becke, Part 2b, pp. 25–30.
  20. ^ 60th Division (Long, Long Trail)
  21. ^ 60th Division (Regimental Warpath)
  22. ^ Beckett.
  23. ^ Edmonds, pp. 295, 307–10 and Appendix 4, pp. 487–88.
  24. ^ Becke, pp. 141–47.
  25. ^ Maude, p. 227.
  26. ^ Maude, p. 43.
  27. ^ Maude, pp. 11–19.
  28. ^ Maude, pp. 239–40.
  29. ^ Maude, p. 211.
  30. ^ Maude, p. 212.
  31. ^ 47 (2 London) Division (1930–36) (British Military History)
  32. ^ 1 AA Division at British Military History
  33. ^ a b c Joslen, p. 235.
  34. ^ London District on 3 September 1939 (Patriot Files)
  35. ^ a b 47 Infantry Division (British Military History)
  36. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 374.
  37. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 373.
  38. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 377, 539.
  39. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 238.
  40. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 238, 329.
  41. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 296, 330.
  42. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 286, 369.
  43. ^ Joslen, pp. 235, 326, 551.
  44. ^ Joslen, pp. 41, 235.
  45. ^ Joslen, p. 376.
  46. ^ Territorial Army 1947 (Orbat.com)
  47. ^ Maude, p. 232.
  48. ^ Becke, p. 70.
  49. ^ Monthly Army List January 1932.

References[edit]

  • Anon, The History of the Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles, London, 1921:Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84342-368-5.
  • Sgt O.F. Bailey and Sgt H.M. Hollier, "The Kensingtons" 13th London Regiment, London: Regimental Old Comrades' Association, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84342-364-2.
  • Maj R. Money Barnes, The Soldiers of London, London: Seeley Service, 1963.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th), with the Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Ian F.W. Beckett, Riflemen Form: A study of the Rifle Volunteer Movement 1859–1908, Aldershot: Ogilby Trusts, 1982, ISBN 0 85936 271 X.
  • Col John K. Dunlop, The Development of the British Army 1899–1914, London: Methuen, 1938.
  • Brig-Gen Sir James E. Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium, 1914, Vol II, London: Macmillan, 1925/Imperial War Museum & Battery Press, 1995, ISBN 1-870423-55-0.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2003, ISBN 1-84342-474-6.
  • Lt-Col H.R. Martin, Historical Record of the London Regiment, 2nd Edn (nd)
  • Alan H. Maude (ed.), The History of the 47th (London) Division 1914–1919, London: Amalgamated Press, 1922/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 1-84342-205-0.

External sources[edit]