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149th (Northumberland) Brigade
Country Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Allegiance British Crown
Service history
Active 1908–1938
Size Brigade
Part of Northumbrian Division
50th (Northumbrian) Division
Battles Western Front (World War I)
Second Battle of Ypres
Battle of the Somme
Battle of Arras (1917)
Third Battle of Ypres
First Battle of the Somme (1918)
Battle of the Lys (1918)
Battles of the Hindenburg Line
Final Advance in Picardy

The Northumberland Brigade was formed in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force of the British Army with four battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The brigade was numbered as 149th (Northumberland) Brigade in 1915 and served with the 50th (Northumbrian) Division on the Western Front throughout World War I. Due to losses suffered in the Ludendorf Offensive in 1918 it had to be comprehensively reorganized. Reformed as the Northumberland Brigade post-war, it was broken up before the outbreak of World War II.



Under the terms of the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9), the Northumberland Brigade was formed in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force. It was Headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne and consisted of four infantry battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers and a Transport and Supply Company:

4th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.) – HQ at Hexham
5th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.) – HQ at Walker, Newcastle upon Tyne
6th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.) – HQ at Northumberland Road, Newcastle upon Tyne
7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.) – HQ at Alnwick
Northumberland Brigade Company, ASC (T.F.) – at Newcastle upon Tyne

It was assigned to the Northumbrian Division.[1]

World War IEdit

The brigade was mobilized on the outbreak of the war and posted to the Tyne Defences. The battalions were given fractional designations (e.g. 1/4th Battalion) with the formation of the 2nd Line battalions in 1914.[lower-alpha 1] In April 1915, the brigade was posted to France and on 14 May was redesignated as 149th (Northumberland) Brigade (the division became 50th (Northumbrian) Division).[3]

The brigade served with the 50th Division on the Western Front for the rest of the war. In 1915 it took part in the Second Battle of Ypres and the Battle of the Somme in 1916.[4] In 1917 it took part in the Battle of Arras and the Third Battle of Ypres. As a result of the losses suffered in the Ludendorf Offensive (First Battle of the Somme and Battle of the Lys), the brigade had to be comprehensively reorganized.[5] On 15 July 1918, the Northumberland Fusiliers battalions were reduced to cadre and transferred to Lines of Communication duties;[6] they were replaced by two battalions from Salonika (3rd Royal Fusiliers ex 85th Brigade, 28th Division and 13th Black Watch ex 81st Brigade, 27th Division) and another (2nd Royal Dublin Fusiliers) that had been in France since August 1914.[7] Thereafter, it took part in the Battles of the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance in Picardy.[5]

Order of battleEdit

The brigade commanded the following units during the war:[8]


The 50th Division had crossed the Sambre and reached Solre-le-Château on 10 November 1918 when it was relieved. Demobilization started in December and by 19 March 1919 the division had ceased to exist in France.[5]

The Northumbrian Division was reformed again in England on 1 April 1920[5] with the same composition as pre-war.[10] The four original battalions were reformed in the Territorial Army on 7 February 1920.[11][12][13][14]

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division was reorganized as a Motor Division[15] which saw a reduction from three to two brigades.[16]

and the brigade ceased to exist.

See alsoEdit


  1. In accordance with the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 (7 Edw. 7, c.9) which brought the Territorial Force into being, the TF was intended to be a home defence force for service during wartime and members could not be compelled to serve outside the country. However, on the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, many members volunteered for Imperial Service. Therefore, TF units were split into 1st Line (liable for overseas service) and 2nd Line (home service for those unable or unwilling to serve overseas) units. 2nd Line units performed the home defence role, although in fact most of these were also posted abroad in due course. Later, a 3rd Line was formed to act as a reserve, providing trained replacements for the 1st and 2nd Line units.[2]
  2. British divisions on the Western Front were reduced from a 12-battalion to a 9-battalion basis in February 1918 (brigades from four to three battalions).[9]



  • Becke, Major A.F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4. 
  • James, Brigadier E.A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2. 
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2. 
  • Westlake, Ray (1986). The Territorial Battalions, A Pictorial History, 1859–1985. Tunbridge Wells: Spellmount. 

External linksEdit

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