24th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
24th Infantry Brigade (Guards)
24th Independent Infantry Brigade Group (Guards)
24th Airportable Brigade
24th (Airmobile) Brigade
|Role||Air Assault Infantry|
|Major-General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins
Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Arthur Montague Browning
Major-General Derek Horsford CBE DSO*
The 24th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army from the First World War, serving through the Second World War, until 1999 when it was merged with the 5th Airborne Brigade to form 16 Air Assault Brigade.
First World War
The Brigade was first formed as part of the 8th Division by battalions returning from overseas stations to reinforce British forces on the Western Front in France. The Brigade moved to France with the rest of the 8th Division in November 1914 and fought there for the entire war.
Order of battle
The order of battle included:
- 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (left February 1918)
- 1st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters
- 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
- 1/5th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) (from November 1914, left October 1915)
- 1/4th Battalion, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (from February to April 1915)
- 24th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 19 January 1916, moved to 8th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 20 January 1918)
- 24th Trench Mortar Battery (formed January 1916)
Second World War
In 1940 the 24th Guards Brigade, under the command of Brigadier Colin McVean Gubbins, it was part of Lieutenant General Hugh Massey's unsuccessful British force that was sent to Norway in April. It arrived in Narvik on April 15, 1940, and was evacuated on June 8, 1940.
In 1942-1943 the 24th Guards Brigade formed part of the 1st Infantry Division and the 6th Armoured Division during the fighting in Tunisia and Algeria. From December 7, 1943, to August 31, 1945, it served in the Italian Campaign with 1st Division, fighting at Anzio from January to March 1944, where the brigade, by the time it was relieved by 18th Brigade, had suffered 1,950 casualties. From March 1944 the brigade was mainly with the 6th South African Armoured Division until March 1945 when it joined 56th (London) Infantry Division. As 24th Guards Brigade it was part of the force that liberated Trieste in 1945, but soon afterwards lost its 'Guards' title as the Guards units were withdrawn from the brigade and became 24th Independent Infantry Brigade, the infantry element of the Trieste Garrison - BETFOR (British Element Trieste Force).
Order of Battle 1939 - 1945
24th Guards Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:
- 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (from 1 March 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Irish Guards (from 1 March 1940 until 13 March 1944)
- 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers (from 4 March until 10 June 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards (from 16 June 1940 until 12 September 1941)
- 24th Infantry Brigade (Guards) Anti-Tank Company (formed 1 September 1940, disbanded 10 February 1941)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (from 9 December 1940 until 5 June 1942)
- 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment (from 12 September 1941 until 10 September 1942)
- 5th Battalion, Grenadier Guards (from 5 June 1942 until 28 March 1945)
- 11th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (from 11 September until 29 October 1942)
- 3rd Battalion, Coldstream Guards (from 13 March 1944 until 28 February 1945)
- 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Guards (from 10 March 1945)
- 1st Battalion, Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) (from 10 March 1945)
- 42nd Field Company, Royal Engineers
- 137th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps
- 550th Company, Royal Corps of Signals
- 24th Independent Guards Brigade Group Workshop, Royal Engineers
The following officers commanded 24th Guards Brigade during the war:
- Brigadier W. Fraser
- Brigadier Colin McVean Gubbins
- Brigadier Frederick Browning
- Brigadier W.P.A. Bradshaw
- Brigadier A.S.P. Murray
- Brigadier M.D. Erskine
- Brigadier A.F.L. Clive
Post World War II
The Brigade was withdrawn from Trieste in October 1954. In 1960 as 24th Infantry Brigade Group the brigade's commander, Brigadier D.G. Horsford, was rushed from Kenya to Kuwait to take command of the British land forces assembled to dissuade President Kassem of Iraq from invading the country (Operation Vantage). By December 1963 Kenya gained its independence, and the 24th Brigade was reduced to two battalions, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards and 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment, both at Kahawa, plus 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery and 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders at Gilgil. It was involved in putting down indigenous army mutinies which sprang up in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Uganda (see Ugandan People's Defence Force), and Kenya itself in January 1964. Brigade Headquarters left Kenya for Aden at the end of October 1964, and stayed there until the final British evacuation of Aden in November 1967. On its return home it joined 3rd Infantry Division in 1968 as part of Army Strategic Command and was based at Crownhill Fort in Plymouth, now restored and a museum.
The Brigade arrived in Northern Ireland at the start of The Troubles in mid-1969 and was back again in June 1970. The brigade was soon afterward reorganised as 24th Airportable Brigade at Streatlam Camp, Barnard Castle, County Durham. At this time the Brigade headquarters consisted of elements from various units. There was a large contingent of Royal Corps of Signals (210 Signal Squadron), Royal Pioneer Corps, Intelligence Corps and Royal Army Ordnance Corps. After its reformation in 1983, It became part of the 2nd Infantry Division. It had the war role of putting an airmobile anti-tank barrier in the face of any Soviet breakthrough of I (BR) Corps defences in Germany. 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment pioneered this new airmobile role and served with UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, as part of the 'Rapid Reaction Force. It combined with elements of 5th Airborne Brigade to become 16 Air Assault Brigade.
- "The 8th Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- "24th Infantry Brigade". Orders of Battle. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Crownhill Fort Key: A large iron key in fitted oak box with presentation plaque, 29cm, ""Crownhill"". The Saleroom. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6.".
- "4th Division". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.