Western Command (United Kingdom)

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Western Command
Western Command (United Kingdom) Badge.jpg
Country United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army

Western Command was a command of the British Army.


Watergate House, Chester, command headquarters from 1907 to 1938
Capital House, Chester, command headquarters from 1938 to 1972

Western Command was established in 1905 and was originally called the Welsh & Midland Command before changing its name in 1906.[1] In 1907 Western Command relocated to Watergate House in Chester.[2] In 1938, after a brief stay in temporary accommodation at Boughton, it moved to a new purpose-built neo-Georgian property known as Capital House at Queen's Park in Chester.[3]

First World War[edit]

Army Order No 324, issued on 21 August 1914, authorised the formation of a 'New Army' of six Divisions, manned by volunteers who had responded to Earl Kitchener's appeal (hence the First New Army was known as 'K1'). Each division was to be under the administration of one of the Home Commands, and Western Command formed what became the 13th (Western) Division.[4] It was followed by 19th (Western) Division of K2 in September 1914.[5]

Second World War[edit]

Increasing concern during the 1930s about the threat of air attack led to large numbers of units of the part-time Territorial Army (TA) being converted to anti-aircraft (AA) gun and searchlight roles in the Royal Artillery (RA) and Royal Engineers (RE), and higher formations became necessary to control them. One such formation was the 4th Anti-Aircraft Division, raised on 1 September 1938 within the Western Command area, with its headquarters at Chester.[6][7] The first General Officer Commanding (GOC) was Maj-Gen Hugh Martin.[8][9][10] The division came under the control of Anti-Aircraft Command, however.[11]

In 1939, under Lieutenant General Robert Haining, Western Command consisted of Welsh, West Lancashire, and East Lancashire Areas, each commanding two divisions plus other troops.[12] It covered Wales and the Counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, and Beachley, Gloucestershire as well as the Isle of Man and the coast defence garrisons of Berehaven, Queenstown and (for the purpose of technical training only) Lough Swilly.[13]

Regular Troops reporting to the Command included:[13]

During 1943–44, the 80th Infantry (Reserve) Division was assigned to the Command as its training formation. On 1 September 1944, the division was replaced by the 38th Infantry (Reserve) Division, which took over the training role.[14][15]

Post War[edit]

The Command was merged into HQ UK Land Forces (HQ UKLF) in 1972[16] and the property handed over to the Royal Army Pay Corps.[3]

General Officers Commanding-in-Chief[edit]

GOCs and GOCinCs have included:[17][18][19]
General Officer Commanding North Western District

General Officer Commanding in Chief Western Command


  1. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1907
  2. ^ Langtree, Stephen; Comyns, Alan, eds. (2001), 2000 Years of Building: Chester's Architectural Legacy, Chester: Chester Civic Trust, p. 144, ISBN 0-9540152-0-7
  3. ^ a b Chester Walls
  4. ^ "13th Division". The long, long trail. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  5. ^ "19th Division". The long, long trail. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  6. ^ Frederick, p. 1047.
  7. ^ "4 AA Division 1939 at British Military History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  8. ^ Martin at Generals.dk.
  9. ^ Robert Palmer, A Concise History of Anti-Aircraft Command (History and Personnel) at British Military History.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Farndale, Annex J.
  11. ^ AA Command Orbat 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files
  12. ^ Leo Niehorster, Western Command, orbat.com, accessed December 2008
  13. ^ a b Patriot Files
  14. ^ Forty 2013, Reserve Divisions.
  15. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 65, 103.
  16. ^ "Army Command Structure (United Kingdom)". Hansard. 17 December 1970. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  17. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1905 – 1972
  18. ^ Western Command at Regiments.org
  19. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  20. ^ "No. 34877". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 June 1940. p. 3765.
  • Forty, George (2013) [1998]. Companion to the British Army 1939–1945 (ePub ed.). New York: Spellmount. ISBN 978-0-750-95139-5.
  • Joslen, H. F. (2003) [1990]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.