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226th Infantry Brigade
Active May 1915–1919
11 January-1 December 1941
Country  United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Type Infantry Brigade
Role Training and Home Defence
Part of World War I:
Southern Army
71st Division (attached)
67th (2nd Home Counties) Division (attached)
World War II:
Dorset County Division

226th Infantry Brigade was a Home Service formation of the British Army that existed under various short-lived titles in both World War I and World War II

World War I[edit | edit source]

On the outbreak of World War I the Territorial Force (TF) immediately mobilised for home defence, but shortly afterwards (31 August 1914), its units were authorised to raise 2nd battalions formed from those men who had not volunteered for, or were not fit for, overseas service, together with new volunteers, while the 1st Line went overseas to supplement the Regulars.[1] Early in 1915 the 2nd Line TF battalions were raised to full strength to form new divisions, and began to form Reserve (3rd Line) units to supply drafts.[2] The remaining Home Service men were separated out in May 1915 to form brigades of Coast Defence Battalions (termed Provisional Battalions from June 1915).[3]

7th Provisional Brigade[edit | edit source]

7th Provisional Brigade was one of these formations, with the following composition:[3][4][5]

Also attached:[4]

  • 2/8th (Cyclist) Battalion Essex Regiment
  • 2/1st Warwick Field Brigade RFA

These units had fluctuating strengths. For example, in November 1915 the 82nd Provisional Bn consisted of 1550 men, but drafts to the 2nd and 3rd Line TF units and 63rd Provisional Battalion (in 5th Provisional Brigade) reduced this to 1100, including just under 200 men of the National Guard. The Battalion War Diary complains that many of the TF men being received from the Gloucesters and Worcesters 'especially those sent from Bristol have ailments which will prevent them ever becoming efficient soldiers'.[4] The National Guard (or National Reserve) men would have been in Medical Category C.[6]

The Provisional Brigades were dispersed in defence positions along the East Anglian coast.[4] In July 1916, 7th Provisional Bde was at Frinton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze, forming part of Southern Army of Home Forces.[7]

226th Mixed Brigade[edit | edit source]

The Military Service Act 1916 swept away the Home/Foreign service distinction, and all TF soldiers became liable for overseas service, if medically fit. The Provisional Brigades thus became anomalous, and at the end of 1916 their units became numbered battalions of their parent units. Part of their role was physical conditioning to render men fit for drafting overseas. 7th Provisional Brigade became 226th Mixed Brigade in December 1916, with its units redesignated as follows:[3][5][8]

  • General Officer Commanding:[9][10] Brigadier-General J.F. Erskine (until 24 October 1917)
    Brigadier-General Hon. C.G. Fortescue (21 November 1917 – 11 March 1918)
    Brigadier-General B.C.M. Carter (from 25 March 1918)
  • 17th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment (from 82nd Provisional Battalion)[11]
  • 21st Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (from 29th Provisional Battalion, disbanded 12 January 1918)[12]
  • 2/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (joined 1 September 1917 from 71st Division, became Garrison Guard battalion and joined 59th (2nd North Midland) Division 1 May 1918)[13][14]
  • 28th (Home Service) Battalion, Durham Light Infantry (raised 27 April 1918)[13][14]
  • 29th Battalion, London Regiment (joined September 1917 from 71st Division)[15][16]
  • 30th Battalion, London Regiment (joined 5 February 1918 from 71st Division)[15][16]
  • 31st Battalion, London Regiment (from 107th Provisional Battalion, disbanded 7 September 1918)[15][16]
  • 32nd Battalion, London Regiment (from 108th Provisional Battalion, disbanded 13 April 1918)[15][16]
  • 2/1st London Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (joined 71st Division 9 March 1917 when 58th (2/1st London) Division went overseas)[8][9][17]
  • 2/2nd London Heavy Battery, RGA (joined 71st Division 9 March 1917)[8][9][18]

Service[edit | edit source]

At first, 226th Brigade had no divisional allocation. Then from 13 April 1917 it was attached to 71st Division, a Home Service formation also composed of former Provisional Battalions.[9]

On 10 January 1918, instructions were issued to break up 71st Division by mid-March. 226th Brigade exchanged some units with other brigades of the division and was then attached to 67th (2nd Home Counties) Division (again, without formally being part of the division).[10]

In May 1918 each of the non-divisional home service brigades provided one Garrison Guard battalion to reconstitute the 59th Division in France. 226th Brigade supplied the 2/6th Durham LI, which was replaced in the brigade by a newly raised Home Service battalion of the regiment.[13][14]

The brigade never served overseas, and was demobilised early in 1919.[10]

World War II[edit | edit source]

A new formation under the title of 226th Independent Infantry Brigade (Home) was organised for service in the United Kingdom on 11 January 1941. It was commanded by Brigadier J.C.A. Birch (Brig H.S. Brown from 27 June 1941) and consisted of newly raised infantry battalions.[19]

Composition[edit | edit source]

The composition of 226th Bde during World War II was as follows:[19]

Service[edit | edit source]

Upon formation 226 Bde brigade came under Southern Area headquarters until 28 February 1941 when it briefly came under command of 3rd Infantry Division.[19] On 24 April 1941, 226 Bde became part of the newly created Dorset County Division, which had taken over the operational commitments of Southern Area.[20]

Dorset County Division was broken up on 24 November 1941, and 226 Bde was attached to Southern Command until 1 December, when its headquarters was redesignated HQ 34th Army Tank Brigade.[21] 8th Battalion Essex Regiment became 153rd Regiment Royal Armoured Corps and 8th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment became 144th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.[22]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Becke, p. 6.
  2. Becke, pp. 6, 65.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Porter
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 7th Provisional Brigade War Diary, The National Archives, Kew file WO 95/5458.
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://www.warpath.orbat.com/misc_units/misc_unallot_uk.htm#226_bde Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Warpath" defined multiple times with different content
  6. http://www.1914-1918.net/reserve.htm
  7. Distribution of Northern and Southern Armies (Home Defence), The National Archives file WO 33/765.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 http://www.1914-1918.net/71div.html
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Becke, pp. 101–5.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Becke, pp. 75–82.
  11. http://www.warpath.orbat.com/regts/gloucesters.htm
  12. http://www.warpath.orbat.com/regts/sherwoods.htm
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 http://www.warpath.orbat.com/regts/dli.htm
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 http://www.1914-1918.net/dli.htm
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 http://www.warpath.orbat.com/regts/london.htm
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 http://www.1914-1918.net/london.htm
  17. Becke, p. 11
  18. Becke, p. 27
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Joslen, p. 389.
  20. Joslen, pp. 109, 389.
  21. Joslen, pp. 207, 389.
  22. Forty, pp. 50–1.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th), with the Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • George Forty, British Army Handbook 1939-1945, Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0-7509-1403-3.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2003, ISBN 1843424746.

External sources[edit | edit source]

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