43rd Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)
|43 (Wessex) Brigade|
Insignia of the 43 (Wessex) Brigade
|Role||Support to the Field Army|
|Part of||Support Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Jellalabad Barracks, Tidworth Camp|
The brigade was originally created during World War I as part of the 14th (Light) Division, part of Kitchener's Army. It was reformed as a Lines of Communication security force in North Africa during the Second World War.
First World War Order of Battle
- 6th (Service) Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (left June 1918)
- 6th (Service) Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (disbanded February 1918)
- 6th (Service) Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (disbanded February 1918)
- 10th (Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (disbanded February 1918)
- 43rd Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 16 February 1916, moved to 16th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 1 March 1918)
- 43rd Trench Mortar Battery (formed 24 April 1916)
The brigade was redesignated on 9 November 1943 as the 40th Infantry Division for deception purposes. The brigade was in Sicily for "internal security duties on lines of communications". The battalions of the brigade (30th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry, 30th Royal Norfolk Regiment and 30th Dorset Regiment) "were given brigade designations; and every effort was made to appear to be a division. This included the adoption of a divisional sign featuring the diamond and acord of the Great War 40th Div.; these were made up locally and worn on uniform by the personnel of the 'division'-in reality, three battalions of low medical category men armed with personal weapons only and with a skeleton compliment of transport." (Chappell, p. 23)
The brigade was disbanded, still in Sicily, in June 1944.
In 1985 43rd (Wessex) Brigade was formed as one of the new one star Headquarters principally as a National Defence Brigade commanding the Territorial Army in the south west of England. Due to its south-west location, it assumed the history and badge of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division rather than the old 43rd Infantry Brigade. In 1995 the restructuring programme within the British Army saw an increase in the brigade's responsibility to include regional and budgetary aspects working to a new superior headquarters - 3rd Division. The Strategic Defence Review of 1998 further increased the brigade's responsibility and as from 1 April 1999 it came under the command of Headquarters 4th Division, and moved from Exeter to Bulford in September 1999 to establish the new Headquarters 43rd (Wessex) Brigade.
43 (Wessex) Brigade was transferred to 4th Division on 1 April 2007, and then came under Support Command in late 2011. The brigade was disbanded on 1 September 2014 under the Army 2020 plan, when units and personnel from the brigade merged with Royal Artillery regiments to form 1st Artillery Brigade and Headquarters South West.
Composition before disbandment
- The Royal Wessex Yeomanry (RHQ Bovington) (TA)
- 6th Battalion The Rifles (HQ Exeter) (TA)
- 155 (Wessex) Transport Regiment (HQ Plymouth) (TA)
- Bristol University Officers Training Corps (HQ Bristol) (TA)
- Exeter University Officers Training Corps (HQ Exeter) (TA)
- 243 Field Hospital (Wessex) (RHQ Keynsham) (TA)
- 43 (Wessex) Brigade - on British Army official website