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49 (East) Brigade
49th Inf Brigade (Logo Polar Bears).jpg
Insignia of 49 Brigade
Active Since World War I
Country Great Britain
Branch British Army
Type Regular Infantry
Territorial Army
Part of 5th Division
Engagements Western Front

The 49th Infantry Brigade, now 49 (East) Brigade, is a brigade of the British Army.


The brigade started its existence as part of the British 16th (Irish) Division, part of Kitchener's Army in the First World War. The 16th Division served through the war on the Western Front.

The 49th Brigade also served in Kenya during the Mau Mau Uprising from 1953 to 1955-6, incorporating the 1st Battalion, Royal Northumbrian Fusiliers, and the 1st Battalion, Royal Innskilling Fusiliers, joined by the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, from January 1955.

However the core of the Brigade's present history descends from the British 49th (West Riding) Division, Territorial Army, which fought in both World Wars. In World War II the Division was involved in the Norwegian Campaign, the guarding of Iceland, and Operation Overlord, where it landed in Normandy under XXX Corps. It was part of the reformed Territorial Army (as an armoured formation for a time) from 1947 to 1967.

The Brigade Headquarters was reformed as a regular HQ with TA units in 1982 as part of 2nd Infantry Division. It consisted of 5th and 7th Battalions, Royal Anglian Regiment, 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, 3rd Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment, the Royal Yeomanry, equipped with Fox armoured cars, 100th (Yeomanry) Regiment Royal Artillery, with 105mm Light Guns, and 307 OP Battery RA (V). The Division was tasked with the wartime rear-area security of the I (BR) Corps sector, behind the forward armoured divisions, during any Soviet thrust into Western Europe.

Following the end of the Cold War, the Brigade was reorganised as 49 (East Midlands) Brigade on 1 April 1992, and then as 49 (East) Brigade on 1 April 1995 following the merger with 54 (East Anglia) Brigade.

The brigade now has regional responsibility for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Leicester, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Rutland. In April 2000 the Brigade came under command of the 4th Division based in Aldershot. As from 1 April 2007, the Brigade is now under the command of the 5th Division based in Shrewsbury.

Regular Units[1]Edit

Territorial UnitsEdit


External Links and SourcesEdit

  • Official website
  • David C Isby and Charles Kamps Jr, Armies of NATO's Central Front, Jane's Publishing Company, 1985
  • Gregory Blaxland, The Regiments Depart: A History of the British Army 1945-70, William Kimber, London, 1971.

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