51st Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

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51st Infantry Brigade
Insignia of 51st Infantry Brigade
Active World War I
1914 - 1918
1952 - Present
Country  United Kingdom
Branch  British Army
Type All Arms and Services
Role Training and Administration
Military Aid to the Civil Community
Military Aid to the Civil Power
Part of 1st (United Kingdom) Division
Garrison/HQ Craigiehall, Edinburgh
Nickname(s) The Army In Scotland
Engagements World War I
Cyprus Emergency
Brigadier P Harkness

51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland is an Adaptable Force Brigade of the British Army. It is the regional administrative formation responsible for all the units of the Army Reserve based in Scotland and an Adaptable Force Brigade under Army 2020. It is the largest Brigade in the United Kingdom in terms of geographic area. Although it takes its name and identity from, and is directly descended from the 51st Highland Division, formed as part of the Territorial Force in 1908 and which fought during the First and Second World Wars, it is also the modern descendant of the 52nd Lowland Division. It is now also the Headquarters for the Army in Scotland.


World War I[edit]

The British 51st Infantry Brigade began as a formation of the 17th (Northern) Division during the First World War. It spent the entirety of the war with the Division on the Western Front.

World War II[edit]

This brigade was not raised during the Second World War.

Post 1945[edit]

The Brigade was reformed in the Canal Zone in 1952, and then moved to Famagusta in Cyprus in 1955 to combat the EOKA insurgency. It had the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and 40 Field Regiment Royal Artillery under its command. By 1962 it had returned to the United Kingdom and become 51st Gurkha Brigade. It is recorded that Brigadier Philip Tower was commander of the 51st Infantry Brigade Group from 15 December 1961 to 28 March 1962. From 1963 to 1965 later-General Harry Tuzo commanded the Brigade in Borneo and Brunei. His Gurkha battalions worked to win the "hearts and minds" of the locals, but also participated with the SAS in Operation Claret which interdicted Indonesian troops as they attempted to cross the border.

The Brigade was later disbanded in Hong Kong in 1976.

51st Highland Division[edit]

Insignia of the 51st Highland Division, 51st (Scottish) Brigade's direct antecedent.

The dominant historical threads behind the current 51st Scottish Brigade come from the famed 51st Highland Division. It existed initially from August 1908 - March 1919, and then was reformed in the Territorial Army in the interwar period. Deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force, the 51st Division was attached to the French Southern Group of Armies and fought a lone battle as the remainder of the BEF was forced to retreat toward Dunkirk. For some time, it was forced to hold a line four times longer than that which would normally be expected of a division. During this period, the 154th Brigade was detached and withdrawn successfully. However, the 152nd and 153rd Brigades were trapped at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, and surrendered on June 12. Later the Division was reformed from the second line 9th Highland Division and fought with the Eighth Army in the Western Desert campaign. It was later part of Second Army in the North-West Europe campaign.

The Territorial Army in Scotland re-raised the 51st/52nd Scottish Division in the late 1940s, which was in existence until the TA was disbanded and reorganised as the TAVR in 1967.

Highland Brigade[edit]

The 51st/52nd Scottish Division was split into two separate Brigades in 1968, with the 51st Highland component reformed as Highland District, commanded by a Brigadier and the Lowland component forming 52nd Lowland Brigade. Since then the name of the formation changed first to Highland Area and then to a subordinate formation of Scottish District, Highlands, as 51st Highland Brigade. In 1975 the Brigade Headquarters moved from Highland House, St Catherine’s Road, Perth to the old 51st Highland Division Officers’ Mess building at St Leonard’s Bank, Perth. As 51 Highland Brigade it consisted of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 51st Highland Volunteers, as well as other Territorial Army units based in the Highlands.

21st century[edit]

On 1 April 2002 51 (Scottish) Brigade took on the regional responsibility for the whole of Scotland, instead of just the Highlands, with its Headquarters at Forthside Barracks in Stirling and its Regional Training Centre situated at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh. This enabled 52 (Lowland) Brigade, which previously administered all Lowland TA units, to be specifically reorganised to parent Regular light role infantry battalions for operational deployments. 51st (Scottish) Brigade also co-ordinated operational deployments within its regional area of responsibility, such as in scenarios requiring Military Aid to the Civil Community. The Brigade also had its own military band, administered by 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland. In April 2012, with the disbandment of 2nd Division, the brigade came under the control of the new Support Command based in Aldershot.

51 (Scottish) Brigade has a total manpower strength of over 2600 ranks, accounting for the majority of the 3100 Territorials based in Scotland. Over 700 Territorials from the Brigade have served in either Operation Telic in Iraq or Operation Herrick in Afghanistan since the beginning of the decade - including two formed units – 7 SCOTS' Alamein Company in Iraq; and 6 SCOTS' Bremen Platoon in Afghanistan.

On 31 March 2014, it was renamed 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, and transformed as part of the Army 2020 concept.[1]

Current formation[edit]

The Brigade consists of the following Regular units:[2]

Also the following Army Reserve units:

Additionally, the Brigade has administrative command for resilience operations and recruiting for the following:

The following Officers' Training Corps are commanded by Commandant RMAS but sit within 51st Infantry Brigade's area:

Other TA Units stationed in the area of 51st (Scottish) Brigade[edit]


  1. ^ "51st Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  2. ^ "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 

External links and sources[edit]