49th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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49 (East) Brigade
49th Inf Brigade (Logo Polar Bears).jpg
Insignia of 49 Brigade
ActiveThe First World War to 2015
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeRegular Infantry
Territorial Army
Part ofSupport Command
Garrison/HQChetwynd Barracks, Chilwell
EngagementsWestern Front

The 49th Infantry Brigade, also known as 49 (East) Brigade, was a brigade of the British Army.


The brigade started its existence as part of the 16th (Irish) Division, part of Kitchener's Army in the First World War. The 16th Division served through the war on the Western Front.[1]

The 49th Brigade also served in Kenya during the Mau Mau Uprising from 1953 to 1955-6, incorporating the 1st Battalion, Royal Northumbrian Fusiliers, and the 1st Battalion, Royal Innskilling Fusiliers, joined by the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, from January 1955.[1]

However the core of the brigade's present history descends from the 49th (West Riding) Division, which fought in both World Wars. In the Second World War, the division was involved in the Norwegian Campaign, the guarding of Iceland, and Operation Overlord, where it landed in Normandy under XXX Corps. It was part of the reformed Territorial Army (as an armoured formation for a time) from 1947 to 1967.[1]

The Brigade Headquarters was reformed as a regular HQ with TA units in 1982 as part of 2nd Infantry Division.[2] It consisted of 5th and 7th Battalions, Royal Anglian Regiment, 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, 3rd Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment, the Royal Yeomanry, equipped with Fox armoured cars, 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, with 105mm Light Guns, and 307 OP Battery RA (V). The Division was tasked with the wartime rear-area security of the I (BR) Corps sector, behind the forward armoured divisions, during any Soviet thrust into Western Europe.[1]

Following the end of the Cold War, the Brigade was reorganised as 49 (East Midlands) Brigade on 1 April 1992, and then as 49 (East) Brigade on 1 April 1995 following the merger with 54 (East Anglia) Brigade.[1]

The brigade now has regional responsibility for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Leicester, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Rutland. In April 2000 the Brigade came under command of the 4th Division based in Aldershot. As from 1 April 2007, the Brigade came under the command of the 5th Division based in Shrewsbury and as of 2012 the Brigade came under the command of Support Command.[3]

Under Army 2020, 49 (East) Brigade was merged with 7th Armoured Brigade to become 7th Infantry Brigade on 13 February 2015.[4]

Regular Units[edit]

49th (East) Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom) [Regular Units]

Territorial Units[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "49 Brigade: History". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  2. ^ Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6".
  3. ^ "HQ Regional Command". Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  4. ^ "49 (East) Brigade Officially Disbanded". Forces TV. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b "49 (East) Brigade". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 19 September 2018.

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • David C Isby and Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985
  • Gregory Blaxland, The Regiments Depart: A History of the British Army 1945-70, William Kimber, London, 1971.