Western Command (United Kingdom)

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Western Command
Active 1905–1972
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Command
Garrison/HQ Chester

Western Command was a command of the British Army.


The District Commands of the British Army in Great Britain and Ireland first appear in print in 1840. In January 1876 a ‘Mobilization Scheme for the forces in Great Britain and Ireland’ was published, with the ‘Active Army’ divided into eight army corps based on the major Commands and Districts. This scheme disappeared in 1881, when the districts were retitled ‘District Commands’. The Western District Command was based at Government House, Mount Wise in Devonport.[1][2]

Western Command was established in 1905 and was originally called the Welsh & Midland Command before changing its name in 1906.[3] In 1907 Western Command relocated to Watergate House in Chester.[4] In 1938, after a brief stay in temporary accommodation at Boughton, it moved to a new purpose-built neo-Georgian property at Queen's Park in Chester.[5]

Among the formations formed in the Command area during the First World War was the 13th (Western) Division, which assembled on Salisbury Plain.

In 1939, under Lieutenant General Robert Haining, the command consisted of Welsh, West Lancashire, and East Lancashire Areas, each commanding two divisions plus other troops.[6] It covered Wales and the Counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland, 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.[7]

Regular Troops reporting to the Command included:[7]

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.[8][9]

The Command was merged into HQ UK Land Forces (HQ UKLF) in 1972 and the property handed over to the Royal Army Pay Corps.[5] It was effectively downgraded to district status, and later Wales and Western districts were established to take over the command's area.

General Officers Commanding-in-Chief[edit]

GOCs and GOCinCs have included:[10][11][12]
General Officer Commanding Western District

General Officer Commanding Western Command


  1. ^ "Devonport in 1878". Whites Directory of Devon. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Plymouth Maritime Headquarters (Mount Wise)". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  3. ^ Whitaker's Almanack 1907
  4. ^ 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 
  5. ^ a b Chester Walls
  6. ^ Leo Niehorster, Western Command, orbat.com, accessed December 2008
  7. ^ a b Patriot Files
  8. ^ Forty 2013, Reserve Divisions.
  9. ^ Joslen 2003, pp. 65, 103.
  10. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks 1905 - 1972
  11. ^ Western Command at Regiments.org
  12. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  • Forty, George (2013) [1998]. Companion to the British Army 1939–1945 (ePub ed.). New York: Spellmount. ISBN 978-0-750-95139-5. 
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) [1st pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.