4th Infantry Division (United Kingdom)
The 4th Infantry Division was a regular infantry division of the British Army with a very long history, seeing active service in the Peninsular War, the Crimean War, the First World War, and during the Second World War. It was disbanded after the war and reformed in the 1950s as an armoured formation before being disbanded and reformed again and finally disbanded on 1 January 2012.
The 4th Division was originally formed in 1809 by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, for service in the Peninsular War. It fought in the Battle of Talavera and the Battle of Salamanca, Battle of Badajoz and the Battle of Roncesvalles, Battle of Vitoria, Battle of the Pyrenees, Battle of Orthez, Battle of Toulouse.
Peninsular War order of battle
The order of battle from January 1812 was as follows:
Major General Sir Charles Colville (to April 1812) Major General Lowry Cole (from June 1812)
- 1st Brigade: Major General James Kemmis
- 3/27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot
- 1/40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot
- 1/48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot (from October 1812)
- 2nd Provisional Battalion (2nd & 1/53rd Regiments of Foot) (from December 1812)
- 1 Coy., 5/60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot
- 2nd Brigade: Major General Sir Edward Pakenham
- 1/7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers)
- 2/7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) (November 1810 to May 1811)
- 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot (from November 1812)
- 1/23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)
- 1/48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot (to October 1812)
- 1/82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) (October to November 1812)
- 1 Coy., Brunswick-Oels Jaegers
- 3rd Brigade: Major General Skerrett (October to December 1812)
- 3/1st Foot Guards
- 2/47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot
- 2/87th (Prince of Wales's Irish) Regiment of Foot
- 2 Cos., 2/95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles)
- Portuguese Brigade: Major General Collins
At the Battle of Waterloo it was tasked with holding Wellington's right flank and, with the exception of its 4th brigade, took no active part in the fighting, but did capture the town of Cambrai afterwards. The commanding general at this time was Charles Colville. In his novel Les Misérables Victor Hugo credits Colville with asking for the surrender of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo and receiving General Cambronne's reply of "Merde".
Waterloo order of battle
- Commanding General Major-General Sir Charles Colville
- 4th Brigade – Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Henry Mitchell
- 6th Brigade – Major-General George Johnstone
- 6th Hanoverian Brigade – Major-General Sir James Lyon
- Field Battalion Calenberg
- Field Battalion Lauenburg
- Landwehr Battalion Bentheim
- Landwehr Battalion Hoya
- Landwehr Battalion Nienburg
The Division was also called for service during the Crimean War fought between the allied forces of the United Kingdom, French Empire and the Ottoman Empire on one side and Russia on the other. It saw action in the Battle of Alma the Battle of Inkerman and the Battle of Balaclava, fought on 25 October 1854 (famous for the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Thin Red Line).
Crimean War order of battle
Commanding General: Major General Sir George Cathcart
- 7th Brigade: Brigadier General Torrens
- 8th Brigade
- one field battery royal Artillery
First World War
As a permanently established Regular Army division it was amongst the first to be sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of the First World War. It served on the Western Front for the duration of the war and was present during all the major offensives including the Battle of the Marne, Battle of Ypres, Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Passchendaele.
Order of battle
The order of battle of 4th Division during the First World War was as follows:
- 1st Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
- 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (left August 1917)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers (left November 1916)
- 10th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 22 December 1915, moved to 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 26 February 1918)
- 10th Trench Mortar Battery (formed June 1916)
- 1/7th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (from January 1915 until March 1916)
- 1/9th Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (from May to July 1915)
- Household Battalion (from November 1916 until February 1918)
- 3/10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (from August 1917 until February 1918)
- 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) (from February 1918)
- 1st Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry
- 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (left February 1918)
- 1st Battalion, Hampshire Regiment
- 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)
- 1/5th (City of London) Battalion, London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade) (from November 1914 until May 1915)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (from July 1915 until May 1916)
- 11th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (formed 23 December 1915, moved to 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 26 February 1918)
- 11th Trench Mortar Battery (formed June 1916)
- 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster)
- 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (left December 1914)
- 2nd Battalion, Essex Regiment
- 1/2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment (until January 1916)
- 1/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (from February 1915 until January 1916)
- 12th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 24 January 1916, moved to 4th Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 26 February 1918)
- 12th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 11 June 1916)
- 2nd Battalion, Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) (from January 1916 to 10th Bde. February 1918)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment (from March until July 1915)
- XIV Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (until 14 January 1917)
- XXIX Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
- XXXII Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
- XXXVII (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (until 17 February 1915)
- CXXVII (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (from 6 August 1915 until 21 May 1916)
- 31st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (until 29 April 1915)
- 7th Field Company, Royal Engineers (until 29 April 1915)
- 9th Field Company, Royal Engineers
- 1st West Lancashire Field Company, Royal Engineers (from 14 February 1915 until 28 February 1916)
- 1st Renfrew Field Company, Royal Engineers (joined 2 May 1916; became 406th (Renfrew) Field Company 3 February 1917)
- 1st Durham Field Company, Royal Engineers (joined 20 September 1916; became 526th (Durham) Field Company 3 February 1917)
- 21st (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (from 21 June 1916)
Second World War
France and Belgium
Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 the 4th Division, under Major General Dudley Johnson, who had won the Victoria Cross (VC) in the Great War, was sent to the border between France and Belgium as part of Lieutenant-General Alan Brooke's II Corps of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). All three of the division's brigades were commanded by distinguished soldiers, the 10th by Brigadier Evelyn Barker, the 11th by Brigadier Kenneth Anderson and the 12th by Brigadier John Hawkesworth. After the disastrous Battle of France in May–June 1940, where the division sustained heavy losses, and the evacuation at Dunkirk, it spent the next two years in the United Kingdom on anti-invasion duties and training for its next deployment.
In June 1942 the division, now under Major General John Hawkesworth, was selected to be converted into a 'mixed' division, consisting of two infantry brigades and one tank brigade. As a result of this change, the divisions' 11th Infantry Brigade left the division and was replaced by the 21st Army Tank Brigade.
The division departed for North Africa in early 1943, arriving in Tunisia in March, coming under Lieutenant-General John Crocker's IX Corps, part of the British First Army. During the Tunisian Campaign it was involved in Operation Vulcan, the final ground attack against Axis forces in North Africa which ended the North African Campaign, with the surrender of nearly 250,000 German and Italian soldiers. During the assault the division suffered heavy losses, with four battalions sustaining over 300 casualties. After the Axis defeat in North Africa, in May 1943, the division was to remain there for the next 9 months, during which time it was converted back into a standard infantry division, with the 28th Infantry Brigade, consisting mainly of Regular Army battalions who had served on garrison duties in Gibraltar, arriving to replace the 21st Tank Brigade.
The division arrived on the Italian Front in late February 1944, relieving the British 46th Infantry Division, initially coming under command of Lieutenant-General Richard McCreery's British X Corps, then serving under the U.S. Fifth Army. In March the division transferred to Lieutenant-General Sidney Kirkman's British XIII Corps, part of the British Eighth Army. The division, now under the command of Major-General Alfred Dudley Ward, fought with distinction at the fourth and final Battle of Monte Cassino in May 1944, and later in severe fighting in the battles for the Gothic Line. During the battle of Cassino Captain Richard Wakeford of the 2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross.
However, in November 1944 it was dispatched, with the rest of III Corps, to Greece to provide assistance during the Greek Civil War, and was to remain there until the end of the war in Europe in May 1945.
Order of battle
The 4th Infantry Division was constituted as follows during the war:
- 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
- 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (left 3 May 1940)
- 10th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (disbanded 1 January 1941)
- 1/6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment (from 4 May 1940)
- 2nd Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers
- 1st Battalion, East Surrey Regiment
- 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (left 29 January 1940)
- 11th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (disbanded 31 December 1940)
- 5th (Huntingdonshire) Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment (from 29 January 1940)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers
- 1st Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment (left 13 June 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) (left 4 March 1940)
- 12th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (disbanded 3 January 1941)
- 6th Battalion, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) (from 4 March 1940)
- 1st Battalion, Queen's Own Royal West Kent Regiment (from 5 September 1940)
- 2nd Battalion, King's Regiment (Liverpool)
- 2nd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry
- 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (from 5 January, left 2 February 1944)
- 2/4th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment (from 24 March 1943)
- 5th Dragoon Guards (Reconnaissance Battalion, left 31 March 1940)
- 4th Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps (from 1 January 1941, redesignated 4th Regiment 6 June 1942, became 4th Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps 1 January 1944)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers (joined as Machine Gun Battalion from 11 November 1941, left 20 May 1942, rejoined as Support Battalion 10 March 1944, became MG Battalion from 7 June 1944)
- 17th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (left 19 February 1940)
- 22nd Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
- 30th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
- 77th (Highland) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (from 19 February 1940)
- 14th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
- 91st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (from 26 January 1942, disbanded 6 November 1944)
- 7th Field Company, Royal Engineers
- 9th Field Company, Royal Engineers (left 16 February 1940)
- 59th Field Company, Royal Engineers
- 225th Field Company, Royal Engineers (from 16 February 1940)
- 18th Field Park Company, Royal Engineers
- 3rd Bridging Platoon, Royal Engineers (from 18 October 1943)
- 4th Divisional Signals, Royal Corps of Signals
Post Second World War
The Division was reformed from 11th Armoured Division on 1 April 1956, and took on 20th Armoured Brigade Group from the disbanding 6th Armoured Division in May 1958. At the time the Division also incorporated the (Canadian) 4th Infantry Brigade and the 4th Guards Brigade.
During the 1970s, the division consisted of two "square" brigades, the 11th Armoured Brigade and the 20th Armoured Brigade. It was renamed 4th Armoured Division and served with I (BR) Corps being based at Hammersmith Barracks in Herford from 1978. After being briefly reorganised into two "task forces" ("Golf" and "Hotel") in the late 1970s, the division consisted of the 11th Armoured, the 20th Armoured, and the 33rd Armoured Brigades in the 1980s.
The division ceased its role as a frontline Armoured Division on 1 July 1993.
The 4th Division was reformed as an administrative division – effectively a military district – from South East District and Eastern District on 1 April 1995. It had its permanent headquarters at the Military Headquarters Building in Steeles Road, Aldershot.
Following further reshuffling, 49th (East) Brigade came under the command of the 5th Division based in Shrewsbury from 1 April 2007, 43 (Wessex) Brigade was transferred to 4th Division on 1 April 2007 and 16 Air Assault Brigade became subordinated to Joint Helicopter Command.
The Division reported to Army Headquarters at Andover from 2010. The new HQ Support Command in Aldershot began operation in January 2012 when HQ 4th Division in Aldershot disbanded. HQ 2nd division in Edinburgh and HQ 5th division in Shrewsbury were both disbanded in April 2012.
- List of commanders of the British 4th Division
- List of British divisions in World War I
- List of British divisions in World War II
- British Army Order of Battle (September 1939)
- Cole p. 37
- Chappell p. 10
- Lipscombe, Nick (2014). Bayonne and Toulouse 1813–14: Wellington invades France. Osprey. p. 23. ISBN 978-1472802774.
- Fletcher, Ian. Men-at-Arms Campaign 48: Salamanca 1812. Great Britain: Osprey History, 1991. ISBN 1-84176-277-6.
- Siborne 1993, p. 678.
- "Chapter XIV. The Last Square". les miserables.
- Pemberton, p. 74
- "4th Division". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
- Becke, pp. 57–63.
- "The history of 4th Division".
- Richard A. Rinaldi, Royal Engineers, World War I at Orbat.com Archived 24 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- "badge, formation, 4th Infantry Division". UK: Imperial War Museum. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- p. 79, Alexander's Generals, the Italian Campaign 1944–45, Gregory Blaxland
- Medley, R. H. (1995). Cap Badge: The Story of Four Battalions of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment (T.A.), 1939-47. Pen and Sword. ISBN 978-0850524345.
- p. 289, Alexander's Generals, the Italian Campaign 1944–45, Gregory Blaxland
- p. 80, Alexander's Generals, the Italian Campaign 1944–45, Gregory Blaxland
- "Medal entitlement of: Major Richard Wakeford". Retrieved 26 February 2017.
- p. 229, Alexander's Generals, the Italian Campaign 1944–45, Gregory Blaxland
- Joslen, pp. 45–6.
- Joslen, p. 248.
- Joslen, p. 249.
- Joslen, p. 250.
- Joslen, p. .
- Joslen, p. 448.
- "17 Fd Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "22 Fd Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 12 January 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "30 Fd Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 8 February 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "77 Fd Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- Litchfield, p. 304.
- "14 A/T Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "91 LAA Rgt at RA 1939–45". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "4th Division". Regiments.org. Archived from the original on 29 December 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
- Watson, Graham (2005). The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947–2004. Tiger Lily. p. 95. ISBN 9780972029698.
- "History of BAOR". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
- Black, Harvey (29 April 2014). "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6".
- "TA Command Structure 1967–2000". Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Three brothers sign up for Army". BBC. 7 March 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
- Heyman, Charles (2001). The British Army: a pocket guide. Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 9780850527100.
- Tanner, James (2014). The British Army since 2000 (PDF). Osprey. p. 13. ISBN 978-1782005933.
- "New Army's HQ Land Forces base is opened in Andover". BBC News. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- First tranche of Army unit moves confirmed Defence News, 10 November 2011
- House of Commons Library: Standard Note: SN06038
- Becke, Major A.F. (1934) History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 1: The Regular British Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1934/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-38-X.
- Chappel M. (1986) British Battle Insignia (1). 1914–18 Osprey Publishing ISBN 9780850457278
- Cole, Howard (1973). Formation Badges of World War 2. Britain, Commonwealth and Empire. London: Arms and Armour Press.
- Joslen, H. F. (2003) . Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield, East Sussex: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.
- Litchfield, Norman E.H. (1992) The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.
- Pemberton, W. Baring (1962). Battles of the Crimean War. Pan Books Ltd. ISBN 0-330-02181-8
- Siborne, Maj-Gen H.T. (30 September 1993), Waterloo Letters, Frontline Books, p. 5, ISBN 978-1-85367-156-2