48th (South Midland) Division

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South Midland Division
48th (South Midland) Division
48th (South Midland) Infantry Division
48th Infantry (Reserve) Division
48th (South Midland) Division insignia (WW1).png
First World War division sign
Active 1908–1919
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Engagements Battle of the Somme (1916)
Third Battle of Ypres
Battle of Belgium<bf> Battle of France
48 inf div -vector.svg World War II

The 48th (South Midland) Division was an infantry division of the British Army, part of the Territorial Force raised in 1908. Originally called the South Midland Division, it was redesignated as the 48th (South Midland) Division in 1915. During the Great War, the division saw service on the Western Front before being transferred to the Italian Front in November 1917 and remained there for the rest of the war. Reformed in 1920 in the Territorial Army as the 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division, it saw active service in World War II with the British Expeditionary Force in Belgium and France before being evacuated from Dunkirk. It was converted into a training reserve division in late December 1942, remaining in that status for the rest of the war. The division was not reformed again.

Unit history[edit]


On the outbreak of war the division was known as the South Midland Division and had the Warwickshire Brigade, the Gloucester and Worcester Brigade and the South Midland Brigade under command, later the 48th (South Midland) Division, 143rd (Warwickshire) Brigade, 144th (Gloucester and Worcester) Brigade and 145th (South Midland) Brigade respectively. The division was sent to France in March 1915 and served on the Western Front and in Italy during the First World War. It took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the Battle of Pozières and the Third Battle of Ypres.

In November 1917, the division was sent to Italy, were it remained until the end of the War. It fought the Battle of the Asiago Plateau (15–16 June 1918) and the Battle of Vittorio Veneto.

After the war[edit]

After the war, the 48th Divisional Signal Company was posted to Iran as part of Norperforce.[1] The division was disbanded in June 1919 along with the rest of the Territorial Force. However, the Territorial Force was reformed in 1920 as the Territorial Army and the 48th Division was reconstituted as the 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division


The division, now named the 48th (South Midland) Infantry Division, was reformed as a 1st Line Territorial Army division of the British Army.

The 48th Division saw active service during World War II. In late January 1940, the division was sent to join the British Expeditionary Force on the Franco-Belgian border. On 10 May 1940 the German Army launched its invasion of the Low Countries where it was involved in the short battle and the retreat from Dunkirk. After returning from France, the division remained in the United Kingdom for the duration of the war. It was reduced to a Reserve Division in 1944 and supplied replacements to the 21st Army Group fighting in North-Western Europe.

The division was not reformed in the Territorial Army in 1947. However, between 1961 and 1966, 48 Division/District existed in the West Midlands.[2][3]

World War I formation[edit]

143rd (Royal Warwickshire) Brigade 
  • 1/5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • 1/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • 1/7th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
  • 1/8th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment (until September 1918)
  • 143rd Machine Gun Company (formed 8 January 1916, moved to 48th Bn MGC on 22 March 1918)
  • 143rd Trench Mortar Battery (formed 14 June 1916)
144th (Gloucester and Worcester) Brigade 
  • 1/4th (City of Bristol) Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
  • 1/6th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment
  • 1/7th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment
  • 1/8th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment (until September 1918)
  • 144th Machine Gun Company formed (23 January 1916, moved to 48th Bn, MGC on 22 March 1918)
  • 144th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 14 June 1916)
145th (South Midland) Brigade 
Divisional Troops 

Support Units[edit]

Recruiting poster for the South Midland Divisional Cyclist Company
Mounted Troops
Royal Artillery
  • 240th (1/1st South Midland) Brigade, RFA
  • 241st (1/2nd South Midland) Brigade, RFA
  • 242nd (1/3rd South Midland) Brigade, RFA (until January 1917)
  • 243rd (1/4th South Midland) (Howitzer) Brigade, RFA
  • South Midland (Warwicks) Battery, RGA (left 16 April 1915)
  • 48th Divisional Ammunition Column RFA
  • V/48 Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, RFA (formed 21 April 1916, disbanded 10 November 1917)
  • X/48, Y/48 and Z/48 Medium Mortar Batteries, RFA (formed 15 March 1916)
Royal Engineers
  • 474th (1st South Midland) Field Company, RE (left December 1914, rejoined May 1915)
  • 475th (2nd South Midland) Field Company, RE
  • 7th Field Company, RE (joined April 1915, left June 1915)
  • 419th (1st West Lancashire) Field Company, RE (attached 18–28 April 1915)
  • 476th (2/1st South Midland) Field Company, RE (joined June 1915)
  • 48th Divisional Signal Company, RE
Royal Army Medical Corps
  • 1/1st South Midland Field Ambulance, RAMC
  • 1/2nd South Midland Ambulance, RAMC
  • 1/3rd South Midland Field Ambulance, RAMC
  • 48th (1/1st South Midland) Sanitary Section, RAMC (formed 21 February 1915, left for III Corps 4 April 1917)
48th (1/1st South Midland) Divisional Train, Army Service Corps
  • 459th (HQ) HT Coy, ASC
  • 460th (Warwick Bde) HT Coy, ASC
  • 461st (Gloucester & Worcester Bde) HT Coy, ASC
  • 462nd (South Midland Bde) HT Coy, ASC
  • 328th MT Coy, ASC
Other units
  • 1st South Midland Mobile Veterinary Section Army Veterinary Corps
  • 48th Divisional Ambulance Workshop (absorbed into Divisional Supply Column 4 April 1916)
  • 242nd Divisional Employment Company (joined June 1917)

World War II formation[edit]

143rd Infantry Brigade

144th Infantry Brigade

145th Infantry Brigade

  • 4th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
  • 1st Buckinghamshire Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry
  • 4th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment (to February 1940)
  • 2nd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (from February 1940)

Divisional Troops


  • Major-General Alexander W. Thorneycroft: September 1911 – July 1912
  • Major-General John L. Keir: July 1912 – July 1914
  • Major-General Edward R.C. Graham: July–August 1914
  • Major-General Henry N.C. Heath: August 1914 – May 1915
  • Major-General Sir Robert Fanshawe:[4] May 1916 – June 1918
  • Major-General Sir Harold B. Walker: June 1918 – April 1923
  • Major-General Sir Percy P. de B. Radcliffe: April 1923 – April 1926
  • Major-General Thomas T. Pitman: April 1926 – April 1930
  • Major-General Sir Ivo L.B. Vesey: April 1930 – June 1931
  • Major-General Cuthbert G. Fuller: June 1931 – June 1935
  • Major-General Stephen S. Butler: June 1935 – June 1939
  • Major-General Frank C. Roberts: June–October 1939
  • Major-General A.F. Andrew N. Thorne: October 1939 – June 1940
  • Major-General Roderic L. Petre: June 1940 – October 1941
  • Major-General Arthur Grassett: 8 October – 6 December 1941
  • Major-General Hayman Hayman-Joyce: 7 December 1941 – 29 August 1943
  • Major-General Horatio P.M. Berney-Ficklin: August 1943 – March 1944
  • Major-General W. Pat A. Bradshaw: March 1944 – 1946
  • Major-General John Worsley: February 1961 – March 1963

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haldane, J. Aylmer L. Sir (2005). The insurrection in Mesopotamia, 1920. London: The Imperial War Museum in association with The Battery Press. ISBN 1904897169. OCLC 60688896. 1904897169. 
  2. ^ MOD. "148 (West Midlands) Brigade - History of the Brigade". Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  3. ^ T F Mills (26 May 2006). "West Midland District". regiments.org. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. 
  4. ^ "FANSHAWE, Maj.-Gen. Sir Robert". Who Was Who (Online ed.). London: A & C Black. 2007. 

External links[edit]