221st Mixed Brigade

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For the World War II formation, see 221st Independent Infantry Brigade (Home). For the Spanish Republican formation, see 221st Mixed Brigade (Spain).
221st Mixed Brigade
Active 1914–1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry Brigade
Role Home Defence
Part of Scottish Coast Defences
Southern Army
Eastern Command

221st Mixed Brigade was a Scottish Home Service formation of the British Army that served under various titles throughout World War I.


On the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, the Lothian Brigade of the Territorial Force (TF) mobilised at Edinburgh under Brigadier-General H.F. Kays as part of Scottish Coastal Defences, with the following units under command:[1][2][3][4]

  • 4th (Queen's Edinburgh Rifles) Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
  • 5th (Queen's Edinburgh Rifles) Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
  • 8th Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)
  • 9th (Highlanders) Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)


Almost immediately (31 August 1914), TF units were authorised to raise 2nd battalions formed from those men who had not volunteered for, or were not fit for, overseas service, together with new volunteers.[5] A 2nd Lothian Brigade was formed from these units, but the two brigades merged again as the 1st Line battalions progressively went overseas in late 1914 and early 1915 to reinforce Regular Army formations or join the 52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (TF).[2][4][6][7]

Other units were also posted to the Lothian Brigade for short periods in early 1915, including Special Reserve (former Militia) battalions:[1][3][8]

locally-raised 'Pals' Battalions':[1]

and others such as:[1]

(not including TF battalions of the Royal Scots that were administratively attached while temporarily stationed at Edinburgh).

Provisional Brigade[edit]

Early in 1915 the 2nd Line TF battalions were raised to full strength to form 2nd Line divisions such as the 65th (2nd Lowland) Division, and began to form Reserve (3rd Line) units.[9] Once again the remaining Home Service men were separated out in May 1915 to form Coast Defence Battalions (termed Provisional Battalions from June 1915).[10] The Special Reserve battalions of the Lothian Brigade were split off into a separate Special Reserve Brigade (6 June 1915) and the Lothian Brigade was first retitled Scottish Provisional Brigade (1 July 1915) and then 1st Provisional Brigade.[1]

The composition of 1st Provisional Brigade was then as follows:[1]

  • 1/8th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (became 8th Scottish Provisional Battalion and left 23 June 1915)
  • 3rd Scottish Provisional Battalion (joined 22 May 1915)
  • 9th Scottish Provisional Battalion (joined 22 May 1915)
  • 11th Scottish Provisional Battalion (joined 23 May 1915)
  • 12th Scottish Provisional Battalion (4th & 5th King's Own Scottish Borderers) (joined 22 May, left 10 June 1915)
  • 18th (Reserve) Battalion, Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) (formed June 1915 from Depot companies of 15th, 16th and 17th Battalions)[2] (left 25 October 1915)
  • 3/1st Lothians and Border Horse (joined 23 August, left 31 December 1915)
  • 3/1st Lowland Feld Battery Royal Field Artillery (left 31 December 1915)
  • 1st Provisional Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps (joined 3 September 1915)
  • 1st Provisional Field Company Royal Engineers (joined 6 September 1915)
  • 1st Provisional Battery and Ammunition Column Royal Field Artillery (joined 25 October 1915)
  • 1st Provisional Brigade Train Army Service Corps

In April 1916, 1st Provisional Brigade moved by train from Edinburgh, first to the Bishops Stortford area, the on 25 April to the East Kent coast on 25 April. Brigadier-General A.G. Duff took over from Brig.-Gen. Kay, and the brigade came under the orders of 67th (2nd Home Counties) Division in Southern Army. The brigade was now billeted as follows:[1][11]

  • Brigade HQ – Sandwich
  • 1st Provisional Battery and Ammunition Column – Worth
  • 1st Provisional Field Company – Woodnesborough
  • 3rd Scottish Provisional Battalion – Sandwich Bay
  • 9th Scottish Provisional Battalion – Deal
  • 10th Scottish Provisional Battalion (absorbed 12th Scottish Prov. Bn April 1916) – Deal
  • 11th Scottish Provisional Battalion – Walmer
  • 1st Provisional Field Brigade Train – Sandwich
  • 1st Provisional Field Ambulance – Sandwich

Home defence[edit]

The Military Service Act 1916 swept away the Home/Foreign service distinction, and all TF soldiers became liable for overseas service, if medically fit. The Provisional Brigades thus became anomalous, and at the end of 1916 the remaining battalions were formed into numbered battalions of their parent units in new Mixed Brigades and Home Service Divisions. Part of their role was physical conditioning to render men fit for drafting overseas, alongside units of the Training Reserve. 1st Provisional Brigade became 221st Infantry Brigade, with its subunits redesignated as follows:[1][10]

  • 1203rd (Lowland) Battery and Ammunition Column, RFA (later 414th Battery and 414th Ammunition Column, RFA)
  • 640th (Lowland) Field Company, RE
  • 11th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (from 11th Prov. Bn)[12]
  • 15th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) (from 10th Prov. Bn)[13]
  • 21st Battalion, Highland Light Infantry (from 9th Prov. Bn)[3]
  • 16th Battalion, Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) (from 3rd Prov. Bn)[8]
  • 221st Brigade Train, ASC (later 833rd Horse Transport Company, ASC)
  • 329th (Lowland) Field Ambulance, RAMC

The brigade remained guarding the Kent coast throughout 1917, occasionally enduring bombing attacks from German Zeppelins and aircraft. Brigadier-General J. Marriott took over command in May 1917. On 25 October 1917 the title of the formation was changed to 221st Mixed Brigade (reflecting its all-arms rather than purely infantry composition). On 12 February the brigade was transferred from the command of 67th Division in Southern Army to the Cyclist Division under Eastern Command, with only minor changes in deployment.[1]

In May 1918 each of the Mixed Brigades was called upon to provide a battalion (redesignated a Garrison Guard battalion) to reconstitute the 59th (2nd North Midland) Division, which had been virtually destroyed during the German Spring Offensive. 221st Mixed Brigade supplied 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers (RSF) to 178th (2/1st Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) Brigade and immediately raised a new 13th (Home Service) Battalion RSF to take over its coast defence duties.[1][10][12][14]

With the war coming to an end, the brigade received orders for disbandment on 7 November 1918. The battalions dispersed in the following March and April (being formally disbanded in July) and Brigade HQ closed on 11 April 1919.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k HQ 221 Mixed Brigade War Diary 4 August 1914–30 July 1919, The National Archives, Kew, file WO 95/5458.
  2. ^ a b c d e http://www.1914-1918.net/royalscots.htm
  3. ^ a b c http://www.1914-1918.net/hli.htm
  4. ^ a b http://www.warpath.orbat.com/misc_units/coast_def.htm#lothian
  5. ^ Becke Pt 2b, p. 6.
  6. ^ http://www.warpath.orbat.com/divs/52_div.htm#156_bde
  7. ^ Becke Pt 2a, pp. 109–115.
  8. ^ a b http://www.1914-1918.net/argyll.htm
  9. ^ Becke Pt 2b, pp. 6, 65.
  10. ^ a b c Porter
  11. ^ Distribution of Northern and Southern Armies (Home Defence), The National Archives file WO 33/765.
  12. ^ a b http://www.1914-1918.net/rsfus.htm
  13. ^ http://www.1914-1918.net/scotrif.ht
  14. ^ Becke Pt2b, pp. 17–23.


  • 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 Territoral 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.

External sources[edit]