View Full Version : FIRST & SECOND WORLD WAR - A Short History of the War Office Pre WWI to WWII

Paul Francis
18-07-2011, 21:36
War Office

Pre 20th Century

Historically the War Office was the result of a series of amalgamations of separate departments.

In 1704 a reorganisation of the army took place, and the Secretary at War became a political officer, taking charge of all military matters in the House of Commons. In 1783 he became responsible for the financial business of the Army.

The post of Secretary of State for War was created in 1794, with a dedicated staff to deal with all military commissions, and to plan military operations abroad. The function of the Secretary at War, and the Commander-in-Chief was to provide the means of carrying out the military operations.

In 1855 the post of Secretary at War was merged with the Secretary of State for War. Many other functions, which until then had been separate, became centralised, such as the Commissariat Office (formerly a department of the Treasury responsible for providing issuing provisions, forage, and fuel etc). The Board of General Officers (issuing of contracts for clothing, the Army Medical Department, and Board of Ordnance were all absorbed under the new 'War Office'.

The military control remained, as previously, in the hands of the C-in-C at the Horse Guards, although the Secretary of State was responsible to Parliament for the manner in which the C-in-C exercised his duties.

The year 1870 witnessed the final welding of the civil administrative functions of the Secretary of State, as well as the military functions, into the single entity known as the War Office. The War Office Act of that year made him directly responsible for the control of every branch of Army administration.

No other reorganisation took place until 1904, when a report was published from a committee under the chairmanship of Viscount Esher, which recommended the creation of an Army Council.

The Army Council, consisting of the Secretary of State, the Under-Secretary of State, the Financial Secretary and four Military Members, was created by Letters Patent of 6 February 1904. An Order in Council 1904 charged the Secretary of State with responsibility for the whole business of the Army Council. At the same time the Office of ‘Commander-in-Chief’ was abolished.

The First World War

The mobilisation of the Expeditionary Force in August 1914, and the rapid enlistment of the Kitchener’s ‘New Armies’, involved a massive expansion of activities and changes in the organisation of the War Office. Furthermore there was a huge increase in staff, the numbers growing from less than 2,000, to over 22,000 in the four-year period of WWI.

The Army Council was also expanded during WWI by the addition of three Military Members:

▪ Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff in December (1915)
▪ Director-General of Military Aeronautics; created in February 1916, but ceased to be a member upon the institution of an Air Ministry
▪ Permanent British Military Representative at the Supreme War Council, Versailles (February 1918 – but ceased to be a member shortly afterwards).

Two Civilian Members were also added:

▪ Director-General of Movements and Railways in February (1917)
▪ Surveyor-General of Supply (May 1917).

From July 1916, the title of Civil Member of the Army Council lapsed, and that of Under-Secretary of State was substituted instead; he also became Vice-President of the Army Council. From July to December 1916, and then from April 1918 until a short time after the Armistice, the Under-Secretary of State acted as the deputy to the Secretary of State in all matters affecting administration.

Four other Ministries emerged from the Admiralty and the War Office:

▪ Ministry of Munitions
▪ Ministry of National Service
▪ Ministry of Pensions
▪ Air Ministry.

The Chief of the Imperial General Staff

This post was also known as the 1st Military Member of the Army Council.

Immediately after the outbreak of war the requirements of Press, Postal and Cable Censorship, as well as of Defence Security Intelligence, were all added to the department.

In December, 1914, Home Defence was separated from the Military Training Section, and formed into an additional Directorate under a Director of Home Defence. On year later, a Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff was created, and was appointed as a Member of the Army Council.

A Commander-in-Chief of the Home Forces was appointed in January 1915, and the Department of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff was reorganised; certain duties connected with Home Defence and training was then transferred to General Headquarters, Home Forces. The appointments of Director of Home Defence, and Director of Military Training were abolished; the Director of Military Operations (whose duties had hitherto included operations and intelligence) became responsible for operations only. The Director of Military Intelligence (now only responsible for intelligence), was also added. As a result of this reorganisation the duties of the General Staff were arranged under three directors, as follows:

• Director of Staff Duties – who had charge of staff duties, training (except for the duties transferred to General Headquarters, Home Forces), war organisation, and fighting efficiency

• Director of Military Operations, who was responsible for the following:

▪ Strategic considerations in connection with the military operations of the war
▪ Records of armed strength and fighting efficiency of British and Allied land forces
▪ Liaison with Allied armies
▪ Home Defence policy
▪ Collection, collation, and dissemination of information regarding India, and British Overseas Dominions and Colonies.

• Director of Military Intelligence – responsible for the collection, collation, and dissemination of information concerning foreign countries, Defence Security Intelligence, and press, postal, and cable censorship.

A Deputy to the Director of Military Intelligence was appointed and called Director of Special Intelligence; the title changed in March 1918, to Deputy Director of Military Intelligence. A Deputy Director of Military Operations was also appointed on 1 May 1918.

An Order in Council of 27 January 1916 was entrusted to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. It concerned the responsibility for issuing the orders of the Government, in regard to Military Operations, by which means the General Staff was intended to be brought into more direct relations to the Cabinet.

In 1917, as a result of the increased use of the tank in war, a Director-General Tank Corps, was appointed under the Chief of the Imperial General Staff to take charge of questions relating to the supply and employment of tanks, and the personnel of the Tank Corps. The Directorate continued to 1 August 1918, when its work was taken over by branches of the Staff Duties, Artillery and Organisation Directorate.

Letters Patent of 19 February 1918, included the then holder of the office of Permanent British Military Representative, British Section, Supreme War Council of the Allied Governments, as a Member of the Army Council. By an Order in Council of 27 February, 1918, both the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and the Deputy Chief of the Imperial General Staff were each made responsible – like the other Members of Council – to the Secretary of State for any business that would be assigned to them. The special position assigned to the Chief of the Imperial General Staff in January 1916 was accordingly altered.

In May 1918, a new section of the Staff Duties Directorate was formed to deal with questions of policy, and to co-ordinate all questions concerning the Signal Service – an adjustment of duties being made with the Military Intelligence Directorate.

The Adjutant General

This post was also known as the 2nd Military Member of the Army Council.

In August 1914, the Directorate of Recruiting and Organisation was divided into two Directorates: Recruiting and Organisation.

As reconstituted, the Directorate of Organisation was responsible for organisation and establishments (other than 'war'), and for the administration of 'other ranks' of Cavalry, Artillery, Engineers, and Infantry, together with the organisation and administration of the Record Offices.

In February 1915, a Director of Prisoners of War (POW) was appointed to deal with the policy and administration of enemy POWs. A POW Information Bureau, under Article 14 of the Regulation respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land, had been created in August 1914. Its purpose was to collect information from internment camps, and to keep all records connected with its occupants.

In July 1915, a Graves Registration Commission was established at General Headquarters in France, for the purpose of registering and marking all graves behind the line. The necessity for similar organisations in every theatre of war, and the increasing number of enquiries from relatives entailed the creation of a central organisation; hence in May 1916, the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries was established at the War Office under the Adjutant-General. In January 1916, a National Committee for the Care of Soldiers' Graves was appointed under the presidency of HRH the Prince of Wales. The policy of the directorate was then governed by the obligation to hand over to the National Committee all war graves concentrated into permanent cemeteries. That Committee was superseded under Royal Charter of 21st May, 1917, by the Imperial War Graves Commission, who then assumed responsibility for the erection of memorials and the perpetual maintenance of the graves.

The state of recruiting in the autumn of 1915 led to the appointment of a Director-General of Recruiting. The office lapsed shortly after the passing of the second Military Service Act in May 1916, and the directorate was reorganised to meet the new conditions. In the summer of 1917 the methods of the recruiting officers were subjected to examination by a committee of the House of Commons, and the business of recruiting was by an Order in Council dated 23 October, 1917. It also transferred from the War Office to the Ministry of National Service and was entrusted with the administration of all other man-power issues.

In February, 1916, the subject of releases, which had grown to be one of some magnitude, was assigned to the Organisation Directorate, and in the following month those sections of the Recruiting Directorate dealing with Mobilisation, Drafts and Reliefs (all arms), and Medals were transferred to the Director of Organisation. Soon afterwards new branches of the Organisation Directorate were formed to deal with the administration of new corps, such as the Machine Gun Corps, the Tank Corps, and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. Another branch was formed to deal with the disposal of 'temporary non-effectives'.

In April 1916, the control of the Territorial Force Medical Service was transferred from the Director-General of the Territorial Force, to the Director-General Army Medical Service.

A general reorganisation of the Adjutant-General's Department took place in May 1917. The Organisation Directorate was reconstituted by the formation of a separate branch for the administration of each arm dealt with, and of one co-ordinating branch of the whole Directorate; an extra branch was added to deal with labour. This Organisation continued practically unchanged (except as stated later) until the end of the war. At the same time the work connected with mobilisation was transferred from the Directorate of Organisation to a new Directorate of Mobilisation – also reconstituted in May 1917 – to deal with all questions regarding the demobilisation of the armies, and preparations for future mobilisation. The work in connection with medals also passed from the Director of Organisation to the Director of Personal Services.

In September 1917, those functions of the Directorate of Recruiting which were not transferred to the Ministry of National Service, were split into two sections:

▪ A section dealing with 'intake' of men (not at first under any Director) was formed in December and placed under the Director of Organisation
▪ A section charged with discharges, transfers to the reserve of soldiers for work of national importance, and all questions connected with the civil employment of ex-soldiers, was taken over by the Directorate of Mobilisation. A further function – the substitution of war-worn soldiers, for fit civilians still in civil life – was later added to its duties. At the end of May 1918, the Directorate of Mobilisation was placed under a Director-General responsible to the Under Secretary of State.

The Quartermaster General

The position was known as the 3rd Military Member of the Army Council.

In September 1914, the Directorate of Supplies and Quartering was divided:

▪ Quartering Directorate
▪ Supplies Directorate (later named Supplies and Transport).

The office of Deputy Quartermaster General was revived in March 1916, the holder combining the duties of that office with those of the Director of Quartering. In the autumn of 1917 the two offices were separated, the Deputy Quartermaster General assuming also the functions of Inspector-General of Communications, the Forces in Great Britain.

In February, 1915, a Board of Control of Regimental Institutes was formed to deal with all questions of administration in connection with Garrison and Regimental Institutes at home. In April 1916, the canteen contractor was eliminated, and the powers and duties of the Board of Control were taken over by the Army Canteen Committee.

This was later expanded into the Navy and Army Canteen Board, and eventually became into the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI). In the autumn of 1917, a civilian official was appointed to act as the sole channel of communication between the War Office and the Navy and Army Canteen Board, and the Expeditionary Force Canteen.

The Master General of the Ordnance

This post was known as the 4th Military Member of the Army Council.

Early in the war an Assistant Director of Artillery was appointed to take charge of a branch formed to deal with the provision of high-explosives, in conjunction with the Committee on the Supply of High Explosives. In April 1915, contract business relating to warlike stores was transferred to the Department of the Master-General of the Ordnance, under the Director of Artillery.

An Order in Council dated 16 June 1915, defined the duties of the Ministry of Munitions of War, which was formed under the Ministry of Munitions Act 1915, to take over for the period of the war all matters relating to the supply of munitions. This included issues relating to high explosives and propellants, munitions, contracts for electrical stores, machinery, mechanical transport (transferred from the Quartermaster General's Department), and the administrative and financial control of Ordnance Factories. These included the traditional Government establishments at Woolwich Arsenal, Enfield Small Arms Factory, and the Waltham Powder Factory, as well as numerous other both purpose-built national factories, and requisitioned existing factories. These all came under the new ministry, and the section of War Office staff dealing with these questions, was transferred at the same time to the Ministry of Munitions.

Lloyd George, the first Minister of Munitions, appointed successful businessmen to the chief executive posts and by the end of his year of office he had transformed the British economy. At the end of the war, the Ministry was employing a staff of 65,000 and had over three million workers under its control.

The materials which the Ministry of Munitions brought under its control involved nearly 100 main categories, and included not only the obvious munitions (described above), but also raw materials such as timber, iron and steel, as well as plaster slabs, gas masks, waste paper, and boxes. Ultimately, the Ministry assumed responsibility for all supplies of materials; it therefore controlled distribution of raw material to non-munitions as well as munitions trades. The net result was an amalgamation of all the industries involved in the production of munitions – either directly or indirectly – coming under the control of one department.

In March 1916, the responsibility for design, patterns, specifications, and testing of both arms and ammunition, as well as for the examination of inventions was transferred to the Ministry of Munitions. The Army Council still retained the responsibility for fixing the requirements of the Army, as regards to the general nature and quantity of weapons and equipment, as well as for the distribution of munitions to the troops and their maintenance. Also, the Ministry of Munitions also took over the administration of the Research Department at Woolwich, plus the Experimental Staff at Shoeburyness, and the Experimental Officer and subordinate experi-mental staff at Hythe.

To ensure and to maintain a complete association between the Ministry of Munitions and the War Office, the Master-General of the Ordnance became an additional member of the Munitions Council in 1917. A member of the Ministry of Munitions was also placed at the disposal of the Army Council for the purpose of advice and consultation regarding the supply of munitions to the troops.

The Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War

This post was known as the Civil Member of the Army Council.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 issues regarding the Territorial Force and individual members were transferred to the branches of the office dealing with similar questions relating to the Regular Army and Special Reserve. The Territorial Force Directorate, however, retained the bulk of the Military Secretarial work of the Force.

The Under-Secretary of State for War was appointed in July 1916, replacing the Civil Member. Also entitled the Vice-President of the Army Council, he became the deputy to the Secretary of State, and was involved in all matters involving administration. This arrangement lasted for five months, when then the Under-Secretary then became the Secretary of State. In April 1918, the arrangement was revived, and continued shortly after the Armistice.

In January 1917, the Land Branches of the War Office and the Ministry of Munitions were amalgamated under a Director-General of Lands, who thereafter administered questions relating to the acquisition, management and sale of lands on behalf of both departments. In 1918, when the Air Ministry was constituted as a separate department, the amalgamated Lands Branch assumed similar duties on behalf of that department.

In April 1917, a reorganisation of the Territorial Force Directorate took place, because of the transfer of certain duties to the Military Secretary, and the Director of Organisation, and also due the vast increase in work now connected with the administration and organisation of the Volunteer Force. The latter was taken over by the War Office in 1916 under the Volunteer Act. The head of the Directorate became the Director-General of the Territorial and Volunteer Forces.

Between the Wars

In 1920 the Joint Secretaries of the War Office, one of whom was Secretary of the Army Council, and the other the Accounting Officer, were made members of the Army Council. In 1924 these two offices were merged into the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War.

Constitution of the War Office for 1927 and 1939

The 1927 constitution of the Army Council consisted of:

▪ The Secretary of State for War (President)
▪ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Vice-President)
▪ Financial Secretary of the War Office
▪ Chief of the Imperial General Staff (First Military Member)
▪ Adjutant-General to the Forces (Second Military Member)
▪ Quartermaster General to the Forces (Third Military Member)
▪ Master-General of the Ordnance (Fourth Military Member)
▪ Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War (Secretary of the Army Council and Accounting Officer).

The 1939 constitution of the Army Council was:

▪ The Secretary of State for War (President)
▪ Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for War (Vice President)
▪ Chief of the Imperial General Staff (First Military Member)
▪ Adjutant-General to the Forces (Second Military Member)
▪ Financial Secretary of the War Office (Finance Member)
▪ Director-General of Munitions Production (appointment created in 1936 and merged with Master-General of Ordnance during 1937)
▪ Director-General of the Territorial Army (appointment created in 1937)
▪ Permanent Under-Secretary of State for War (Secretary of the Army Council and Accounting Officer).

War Office Departmental Function (1939)

Department of the Under-Secretary of State

The secretariat carried out the duties for which the Permanent Under-Secretary of State was responsible, other than those performed by the financial staff. Duties of the department included the following:

▪ General control of the War Office
▪ Procedure and conduct of official business
▪ Domestic economy of the War Office
▪ Editing and issue of the Army Lists, Army Regulations, Army Orders, and other publications
▪ Parliamentary and legal business
▪ Printing and stationary services
▪ Administration of the Army Chaplain's Department
▪ Employment of civilian staff.

The Financial Staff carried out the duties for which the Permanent Under-Secretary of State was responsible as Accounting Officer of Army Votes, including funds, accounts, and the control of expenditure. The compilation of the Parliamentary Estimates, the financial review of establishments, pay, allowances, and pensions, plus the administration and organisation of the Royal Army Pay Corps were all associated duties.

Department of the Military Secretary to the Secretary of State

The Military Secretary to the Secretary of State carried out the executive duties involved in the appointment, promotion, and retirement of officers, and the granting of honours and awards. He was also the Secretary of the Selection Board.

Directorate of Public Relations

The Director of Public Relations was responsible for establishing an association of mutual understanding between the army and the public.

Department of the Chief of the Imperial General Staff

The Director of Military Operations and Intelligence was responsible for the following:

▪ The consideration of all questions of military policy affecting the security of the Empire
▪ Advice as the conduct of operations of war, and orders in regard to military operations
▪ The collection and collation of military intelligence
▪ Censorship
▪ Aid to the civil power
▪ Questions of international law and the League of Nations
▪ The preparation of General Staff maps.

The Director of Staff Duties dealt primarily with the general organisation affecting war administration, plus strategic and tactical principles. He was also responsible for the organisation and training of the General Staff, and issues regarding signal communications, and armoured fighting vehicles.

The Director of Military Training dealt with the education of the fighting arms, other than coast defence and the anti-aircraft units. The department involved the following branches, and their schools of instruction:
Cavalry Infantry Royal Tank Corps
Royal Army Service Corps Royal Engineers Royal Corps of Signals
Royal Artillery Field Branch.

He also had responsibility for the general policy regarding the provision of officers, the training of candidates for commissions, and the professional tests of officers for promotion. Additional duties were the preparation and revision of Field Service Regulations, and the general education of the army – other than vocational training. He was also Inspector of Infantry.

The Director of Training and Organisation dealt with the education and administration of coast defence and anti-aircraft units of the regular army and TA, as well as passive defence training and organisation.

Department of the Adjutant-General to the Forces

The functions carried out before 1939 by the Director of Recruiting and Organisation were divided between the Director of Organisation and the Director of Recruiting and Mobilisation.

The Director of Organisation dealt with the organisation and administration of all branches of the army, and the organisation in peacetime of the personnel of the military forces, such as discharges; the record offices, and the peacetime distribution of units.

The Director of Recruiting and Mobilisation dealt with recruitment of the regular and reserve forces, and with the co-ordination of administrative arrangements affecting mobilisation.

The Director of Personal Services was responsible for discipline; martial and military law; appeals; the detention barracks, and military prisons. Other duties were the organisation and administration of the Corps of Military Police; personal and ceremonial questions; war medals, and the vocational training of soldiers for employment in civil life.

The Director-General of Army Medical Services dealt with the organisation, administration and training of medical, dental and nursing personnel. The supervision of military hospitals, medical stores and equipment, plus control of medical and dental treatment, and were additional responsibilities.

Department of the Quartermaster General to the Forces

The Inspector of the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) reported to the Quartermaster General (QMG), on the efficiency and conduct of the various supplies, transport and barrack establishments, and examined all local arrangements for mobilisation and defence schemes.

Department of Supplies and Transport dealt with provision of food, forage, fuel, and petrol. Other duties were the supply, inspection, storage, issue, and repair of all mechanical transport operated by the RASC.

The Deputy Assistant Director of Remounts controlled the purchase and provision of all transport animals.

The duties of the Director of Movements and Quartering involved accommodation for all troops at home and abroad, plus barrack services, canteens, and the NAAFI; as well as regimental institutes, regimental funds, field lodging, and allowances. Other areas of responsibility included the movement of troops and stores by sea and rail, the War Department fleet, and the establishment and technical training of transportation units.

The Director of Army Veterinary Services dealt with the veterinary care of horses; the organisation, administration, and training of vet personnel; veterinary hygiene; and the supply, inspection, and examination of equipment and stores.

The Director of Fortifications and Works was in charge of the construction and maintenance of barracks, fortifications, ranges, and hospitals at home and abroad. Further duties included the installation of lighting and power, plus issues concerning the military estate, quantity survey, and the personnel and organisation of works services.

The Department of the Director-General of Munitions Production

The Director-General of Munitions Production was responsible for the supply, storage, issue and repair of munitions, general stores and clothing for the army, and for the preparation of plans for organising the supply of munitions on mobilisation.

The Director of Army Contracts was charged with the duty of obtaining tenders and placing orders for stores, supplies and building works. The sale of surplus stores, the review of local contracts, and the allocation of orders between the Royal Ordnance Factories (ROFs) and the trade, were other areas of responsibility. For duties connected with munitions he was responsible to the Director-General of Munitions Production; for all other army stores and supplies and for contracts generally, he was responsible to the Financial Secretary.

The Director of Ordnance Factories dealt with the administration, control and maintenance of the ROFs.

The Director of Industrial Planning was responsible for advice in connection with the adequacy of sources of supply of munitions, and for the preparation of plans for organising the supply of munitions on mobilisation, as well as during peacetime. He was also responsible for advice regarding the adequacy of firms and plant, and he directed the works of the Munitions Technical Planning Establishment.

The duties of the Director of Scientific Research was responsible for the general direction and organisation of research work for War Office purposes and for advising on and co-ordinating the work of the scientific staffs serving with the various army research establishments and technical committees. He was also responsible for all duties in connection with patents, inventions, royalties and rewards.

The Inspector of Army Ordnance Services and the Inspector of Army Ordnance Workshop Services report on the methods by which the RAOC duties were carried out in the store and workshop branches of the RAOC.

The Director of Artillery dealt with the design, provision and inspection in regard to the following classes of stores:

▪ Guns
▪ Ammunition
▪ Machine guns
▪ Small arms, and small arms ammunition
▪ RA Instruments and stores
▪ Chemical defence apparatus and appliances.

The Director of Mechanisation dealt with the design and inspection of all mechanically propelled vehicles, whether tracked, semi-tracked or wheeled and the provision of such vehicles other than those supplied to the RASC establishment.

The Director of Ordnance Services dealt with the provision, storage, issue and repair of general stores and clothing, plus the storage, issue and repair (other than first-line repair) of all military stores and the peacetime distribution and training of the RAOC.

Department of the Director-General of the Territorial Army

The Director-General of the Territorial Army dealt with services relating to the TA; the administration of the civil business of the TA, the TA Reserve, the Supplementary Reserve and the TA County Associations. Also the organisation and administration of the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Department of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State

Department of Lands dealt with the administration of land belonging to, or in charge of the War Department, and also with the questions of purchase and sale of land and buildings.

Department of the Financial Secretary

The Financial Secretary was responsible for labour policy and general financial strategy. He was also responsible for guidelines regarding contracts, both general and those involving supplies and stores, other than munitions..

Paul Francis
18-07-2011, 21:43
WWII Reorganisation

By 1942 the Department of the Chief of the Imperial Staff Organisation consisted of the following sections:
Military Operations Military Intelligence
Signals Staff Duties
Military Training Weapons & Vehicles
Armoured Fighting Vehicles Air
Home Guard & Territorial Army American Liaison & Munitions
Royal Artillery (absorbing the Directorate of AA & Coast Defence).

The Directorate of Staff Duties was responsible through the War Establishments Committee for the preparation of War Establishments of all Army units and formations.

The Director-General of Munitions Production was transferred to the Ministry of Supply.

The Directorate of Air dealt with War Office issues concerning airborne forces and air-ground co-operation.

The Directorate of AA and Coast Defence was abolished, and its functions were taken over by the Directorate of Artillery.

War Office Accommodation

The War Office Building

The architect, commissioned in 1898 by HM Office of Works for the new War Office building, was William Young FRIBA. He died two years later, but the design was completed by his son, Clyde Young, and Sir John Taylor, consultant surveyor to HM Office of Works.

The building is of trapezium shape. This was dictated by the need to use all available space to maximise the accommodation on a site surrounded by existing buildings. Foundations were laid in 1899, and in order to carry the weight of the building, a huge ‘tank’, with concrete walls and base up to six feet thick and 30 feet below the road level, was constructed. The first brick was laid in September 1901 and the building was completed in 1906.

Using what was then called ‘Renaissance’ style (now called Edwardian Baroque’), Young designed the west Whitehall-facing front as the main elevation. The west and north fronts from the second floor upwards received a row of Ionic columns. Along the roof were placed sculptured figures symbolising Peace and War, Truth and Justice, Fame and Victory; on top of each of the four corner towers, a decorative dome was installed to mask the irregularity of the building’s shape.

The main entrance, grand hall and staircase were placed in the centre of the west front, with the principal rooms on the second floor. The Secretary of State for War occupied a suite above the main entrance (now known as the Haldane Suite) while the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State occupied the room across the main staircases. The Chief of the General (later Imperial General) Staff, had his office in a large room in the centre of the southern side.

The circular tower rooms at the corners were for other members of the Army Council, and the Army Council Room was in the centre of the north side. The more important rooms and office suites were elaborately decorated, and a few were adorned with oak panelling. Several fine marble fireplaces came from the various aristocratic residences occupied by the then ‘old’ War Office in Pall Mall, including Cumberland (formerly York) House, and Buckingham House. Two are attributed to well known sculptors, John Bacon RA and Thomas Carter, and all are over 200 years old. A Parliamentary Answer in April 1910 gave the full cost of the ‘new’ War Office as £1,229,128.

Wartime Staff Relocation

As a result of a number of committees led by Sir James Rae of the Treasury in the late 1930s, a series of emergency measures were planned to relocate essential government staff from central London; they hinged around four distinct moves. Relevant personnel were categorised as ‘A’ staff, or ‘B’ staff. The former were those key to the day-to-day running of the war, e.g. operations and intelligence departments of the fighting forces. ‘B’ staff were essential to the war effort, though not on the day-to-day basis, and included personnel, production, accounts and design departments. The actual locations, many of which were ‘spa’ towns, were top secret at the time and were referred to only by letter pairs, such as Cheltenham ‘KA’ and Droitwich ‘GJ’. The plans were:

▪ The North West Suburban Plan – involved all key war departments and the Cabinet to the London outskirts around Harrow and Neasden
▪ The Black Move – up to 30,000 ‘A’ staff would relocate to the west country, roughly between Gloucester and Bromsgrove. The Cabinet and the Royal Family would be included
▪ The Yellow Move – was for ‘B’ staff, and up to 70,000 were involved. The locations were in the midlands and north, including North Wales
▪ The Blue Move – would have involved 7,500 very senior and key personnel relocating to Bournemouth.

For a variety of reasons none of these plans, as originally defined, ever came to fruition. Enemy bombing of London was nowhere near as bad as anticipated, and the senior staff preferred to remain close together in Whitehall. The ‘hiccup’ of several days which would occur in moving these staff was felt unacceptable at that stage in the war. Theoretically the Black Move was abrogated, and the Yellow was substantially modified, becoming the ‘Grey Plan’.

A very large number of personnel were, however moved from London, to both ‘Black’ and ‘Yellow / Grey’ areas. In September 1940 arrangements were made for between 800 and 1,200 War Office staff to move to recently vacated premises at Cheltenham Ladies College, and a further 700 to Droitwich, followed by 600 more at a later date.

By April 1941 3,100 War Office staff had been sent to Cheltenham, codenamed ‘KA’. Table I gives details of the premises in Cheltenham that were used as office accommodation.

At Oakley Farm, Priors Road, on the eastern outskirts of the town a new site was constructed at the end of 1939. It had six Temporary Office Buildings (TOBs), four of which were allocated to the War Office, and two to the Foreign Office. The army would relocate their Central, Finance, and Lands E&A Branches to the site.

The following year, a second establishment was created at Benhall Farm, Golden Valley, a few miles to the west of the town centre. It also had six blocks, and would house a number of departments including: Adjutant General, Judge Adjutant General, Military Training, Fortifications and Works, and Reserves.

Mid war the Army vacated the TOBs, which were then used by the US Army Service of Supply. Post WWII both sites have been used by GCHQ for many years. The TOBs were renamed Standard Office Buildings (SOBs), and those at Benhall were demolished recently, but two still remain at Oakley.

Droitwich (GJ) accommodated an even greater number of War Office staff. Two years into the war 3,950 were based either in hotels as shown in Table II, or at a new development a mile south of the town-centre on the Worcester Road; this consisted of five TOBs, only one of which remains today.

Towards the end of WWII there were 16,400 WO staff in London, 700 in Droitwich, 660 in Liverpool, and 670 in Oxford. All those in Cheltenham had already left for other locations. It was intended that those outside London should remain for at least two years.

Accommodation was urgently required for all government staff returning from their wartime locations and a large number of SOBs were constructed between 1946 and 1949 in the following suburbs:

Bromley Chessington
Epsom Ewell
Hatch End Kidbrooke
Mottingham Northwood
Orpington Ruislip
Stanmore West Wickham
Tolworth / Surbiton (Toby Jug / Alpine Avenue)

The War Office was allocated three of these developments:

▪ Chessington was occupied by Master General of the Ordnance, Director of Army Contracts, Director of Quartering, Director of Supplies and Transport and the Controller of Lands and Claims (525 staff)
▪ Stanmore housed the Director Army Legal Services, Officers Documentation, Administration of Personnel and Army Pensions Office – 931 staff in total
▪ Tolworth had the Master General of the Ordnance and Survey Production (90 staff). In addition 51 staff of the Director of Military Survey went to a site in Feltham.

By 1948 the War Office was occupying a significant number of other premises in London, most of which were close to Whitehall. Occupancy and staff levels are shown in Table III.

Paul Francis
18-07-2011, 21:46
Table I – War Office Accommodation in Cheltenham, 1940
Source T162/533

Cheltenham Ladies College – Main Buildings St Georges Road & Bath Road

Schoolmasters Training College Swindon Road

St Mary's College St Georges Place

Dean Close School Shelburne Road

Plough Hotel High Street

School of Arts & Crafts St Margaret's Road

Cheltenham Technical College The Lypiatts, Lansdown Road

New Club Promenade

Town Hall Imperial Square

Pump Room Pittville

Rotunda Montpelier Road

Museum Clarence Street

Cheltenham Ladies College

Astell, Overton Park Road
4/5 Bayshill Lawn
St Hilda's, Western Road
Farnley Lodge, Vittoria Walk
Glenlee, Malvern Road
Roderic House & Bunwell House, Suffolk Square
Sanatorium, Leckhampton
St Margaret’s, Christchurch Road
Sidney Lodge, Overton Road
Hatherley Court, Hatherley Road

Cheltenham Ladies College, Parabola Road
Bayshill Court, St Austins, St Helens
4/5 Bayshill Lawn

Dean Close School
Walton Court & Hostel, Lansdown Road
Fortfield, Lansdown Road Junior. School

Cheltenham Boys College, Sandford Road
Christstowe & Newick House

Cheltenham Boys College, Thirlestaine Road
Junior School House, College House, Linton House

Cheltenham Boys College, College Road
Chiltondale, Lindley, Leconfield
Hazlewell, Boyne House

Cheltenham Boys College Southwood, Lypiatt Road

Royal Hotel 97 The Strand, High Street

Queens Hotel Promenade

Majestic Hotel Park Place

Belle Vue Hotel 55 The Strand, High Street

New Court Hotel Lansdown Road

Fleece Hotel 161 / 2 High Street

Savoy Hotel Bayshill Road

Montpelier Spa Hotel Lansdown Place

Rodney Hotel 61–69 Rodney Road

Ellenborough Hotel Oriel Road

Paul Francis
18-07-2011, 22:06
Table II – War Office Premises in Droitwich, c.1941

Source T162/533

Norbury House Hotel

Friar Street

Worcester Brine Baths Hotel

Corbett Street

Park Hotel

Worcester Road

Raven Hotel

Corbett Street

The Winter Garden

St Andrews Road

Impney Hotel

Birmingham Road

Clarendon Hotel

St Andrews Street

Hillcairne Hotel

St Andrews Road

St Andrews House Hotel

Worcester Road

Paul Francis
18-07-2011, 22:06
Table III – War Office London Accommodation, c.1948

Note: total numbers of personnel shown in brackets

Fortress ?

Northumberland House, Northumberland Avenue WC2

Intelligence, Movements,
Ordnance (747)

QMG House ?

Quartermasters (508)

Horse Guards Parade, SW1

London District HQ (190)

Greener House, Haymarket SW1

Lands Branch

Metropole Building, Northumberland Avenue WC2

Quartermasters (1,390)

Hotel Victoria, Northumberland Avenue WC2

Quartermasters (830)

Golden Cross House, WC2

Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Quartermasters (307)

73 The Strand, WC2


Spring Gardens, SW1

Judge Adjutant General

Whitehall Court, SW1

Engineering (90)

Hobart House, Grosvenor Place W1

Romney House, Marsham Street SW1

DES (280)

Lansdowne House, Berkeley Square W1

DG Army Medical, Personnel, Legal, Recruiting (936)

Nuffield House ?

Hyde Park Gate, SW7

DGAMS (260)

Eaton Square / Chesham Place, SW1

Adjutant General / Finance (1,300)

Greencoat Place, SW1

(Reproduction) (65)

Audit House, EC4 ?

York House ?

Lands & Claims, Organisation & Methods (144)

St Christopher House, SE1?

MG of Ordnance, Army Contracts (1,233)

The Wilderness, East Molesey

Paul Francis
19-07-2011, 16:08
The War Cabinet & War Office

Background – The Cardwell Reforms

Once Napoleon had been defeated, the first half of the 19th Century had proved to be a comparatively peaceful period for Britain. The Royal Navy remained unchallenged, and seaborne trade flourished, which contributed to Britain's economic growth over other nations. As a result successive cabinets kept military and naval expenditure to a minimum. The 1854–56 Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny of 1857 exposed grave weaknesses in Britain's military organisation. This led to the introduction of a major series of reforms by Edward (later Lord) Cardwell, Secretary of State for War in W E Gladstone's Cabinet of 1868–74.

Prior to the reforms, the British Army consisted of 109 numbered regiments. Regiments were independently organised and administered through the office of a CO. The Regular Army was backed up by a paid but part-time Militia, and a further part-time component which consisted of organised units of volunteers (infantry), and Yeomanry (light cavalry). The Militia was controlled by the Lords Lieutenants of the various counties, and was designed solely for home defence.

The pre-1881 Home organisation of the British Army was as follows, the numbers of sub-districts being shown in brackets:

Northern District (26) Southern District (3) Home District (6)
Eastern District (5) Chatham District (1) Woolwich District (1)
Western District (7) South-Eastern District (3) Aldershot District (1)
North British District (8) Jersey District (1) Guernsey District (1)
Belfast District (3) Dublin District (3) Cork District (2).

In 1870 Cardwell launched the first of his reform measures – the Army Enlistment Act – which abolished lifetime enlistment's in the Regular Army. This was designed to stimulate recruiting and hence build up a reserve. Improved recruiting would provide the necessary drafts for the colonial army and a reserve would assist in the expansion of the home battalions, essential in the event of a national emergency. Previously senior officers, provided conveniently from the aristocracy, were frequently totally inadequate in their position. Future officers would have to earn their status.

This was followed on 1 November 1871 by the Regulation of the Forces Act, which effectively transferred control of the Militia from the county governments to the War Office.

From 1 April 1873 Cardwell had installed a system of Sub-District Brigade Depots which effectively paired up single-battalion regiments while retaining two battalion foot regiments, all within 70 permanent depots – these being numbered 1–70. Under this scheme there were 25 two-battalion regiments of foot, 2 four-battalion regiments and 80 single-battalion regiments of foot (which were then paired up). Most of the old regimental county names were retained, but it was not possible to pair up all battalions in this way so that some foot regiments now found themselves allocated to county titles that was completely alien to their 1782 territorial ties.

A change in government put Cardwell out of office in 1874, however despite much opposition, his reforms stayed in place and within a few years Cardwell's party was back in power. The new Secretary of State for War, Hugh Childers, decided that Cardwell's initiatives had not gone far enough.

The result was General Order 41 of 1 May 1881 which began the process of creating a network of four-battalion army regiments in England, Scotland and Wales and, five-battalion regiments in Ireland. Each of these was linked by a headquarters and territorial name to its Regimental District. This linking battalions was designed to provide an equal distribution of the battalions between home and foreign garrisons, and the battalions at home would supply the drafts for their linked battalions abroad.

The 109 numbered foot regiments (140 battalions) in existence in January 1881 were again reorganised when the Secretary for War improved on the Cardwell's localisation scheme, when the old Sub-District Brigade system was abolished in favour of a new one dividing Britain into 67 Regimental Districts. This time the numbering system was based on the senior of the paired 67 foot regiments and two-battalion regiments existing in January 1881. Seven of the 1873 pairings were rearranged more appropriately. One regiment, the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps remained unaffiliated and the last one to reform remained unnumbered and became the Rifle Brigade. The old title 'regiment of foot' was abolished as it had more in common with a battalion; it was replaced with a title consisting of the territorial name followed by 'regiment' (such as The Royal Sussex Regiment), meaning an administrative family of many battalions.

From 1881, Regimental District No.30 consisted of the East Lancashire Regiment, which was formed initially with two battalions – the 1st Battalion being created from the former 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot, and the 2nd Battalion from the former 59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot. It also consisted of 5th Lancashire Militia. The unit's first Regimental Depot was in Burnley, soon moving to Fulwood Barracks, Preston in 1898. The Regiment recruited primarily from the new industrial towns of East Lancashire, including Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, Colne and Nelson.

It is interesting to note too, that regiment seniority is based on the old numbering system, hence the East Lancashire Regiment is the 30th regiment in seniority. The most senior regiment of all is The Royal Scots (The Lothian Regiment, formed from 1st Regiment of Foot). The last regiment to be formed was The Rifle Brigade – it had no number. As each regiment was formed, it received its regimental district number, which was an indication its age and seniority, although once the command structure became organised the numbers lost their significance, except from a historical and sentimental point of view.

After 1922, when Southern Ireland left Great Britain, four Irish regiments disbanded leaving 63 numbered regiments, plus the Rifle Brigade, making a total of 64 regiments of the line They were still numbered 1–91 on the old system, with the missing numbers belonging to disbanded units.

After May 1881, each regimental district came under the command of a Lieutenant Colonel and its territory was based on county boundaries and population density. Each district therefore, had a regular regiment composed of two battalions (either two of the single battalions or one of the old two-battalion regiments).

After May 1881, Militia battalions were redesignated as the 3rd (or 4th) battalion of regiments of the line, but they retained their Militia status until 1908. In Ireland there were no volunteer units, but the 12 foot regiments had also to accommodate 32 battalions of Militia, which led to the new regiments having up to four Militia battalions each.

The two or more Militia battalions and various Volunteer battalions attached to each district were grouped around the regimental depot that served as an administrative headquarters and a basic training centre. The Militia and Volunteer units would serve as the regiment's second-line force and provided a potential supply of recruits for the Regular units. The establishment of line battalions at home and abroad was eight companies. The depot was to consist of four companies, with power to expand to eight companies.

Further shortcomings of Britain's poor defence organisation were highlighted in the Boer War, and as a result Lord Esher took the next evolutionary step in 1903. Esher was concerned mainly with home defence and his contribution was three key recommendations, all were accepted. These were:

▪ The abolition of the post of Commander-in-Chief who would be replaced by a Chief of Staff
▪ The formation of a Committee of Defence, to be chaired by the Prime Minister
▪ The formation of the Army Council, to be chaired by the Secretary of State for War and made up of four military and three knowledgeable civilian members.

Committee of Imperial Defence, 1904–1946

The Committee of Imperial Defence (CID) was first established in December 1902 on a temporary basis to advise the Prime Minster of the need for planning and co-ordination of the British Empire's defence forces. It became permanent in May 1904 in a remodelled form as suggested by Esher and his colleagues and functioned as a small advisory committee for the Prime Minister. Members were often cabinet ministers concerned with defence or military leaders. The Prime Minister was the chairman, but the committee had no executive powers, just considerable influence. It formulated the general principles on which a defence policy should be based and prepared plans to ensure that naval, military and civil authorities at home and abroad would respond in a co-ordinated manner if war was declared. It task was made easier by the creation of a General Staff for the Army in 1906, and a Naval Staff in 1912. After 1906 much of its work was delegated to sub-committees which could take the detailed evidence from expert witnesses, and investigate more fully questions of technical matters.

Up to August 1914 the main committee met in Disraeli's former residence at 2 Whitehall Gardens, London SW1.

It was suspended during WWI, all functions being taken over firstly by the War Council (November 1914), then the Dardanelles Committee (May 1915), followed by the War Committee (November 1916, and finally by the War Cabinet (December 1916 to November 1919). The CID resumed in 1922 and its membership rose to 18; the committee then became unwieldy which led to the establishment of a Minister for the Co-ordination of Defence (1936–1940).

On the outbreak of WWII, the committee was again suspended and its responsibilities were taken over by the War Cabinet. The decision was taken in 1946 to make the suspension permanent which was published in a White Paper on the CID (Command 6923).

The War Book

At the end of 1909, a committee was appointed by the Army Council under the chairmanship of Sir Edward Ward, to consider and report on the arrangements necessary for additional work which would fall upon the War Office in the event of war. The Army Council accepted in principle the recommendations of this committee, and steps were taken to compile a book setting out the action necessary, which would have to be taken when war was threatened; it also included the war requirements on the part of the army branches.

The first edition was issued in 1912 (A1568) and subsequent editions were issued throughout the 20th Century as and when updates were required.

The War Cabinet – First World War

In 1914 the Liberal Cabinet under H Asquith, the Prime Minister since 5 April 1908, numbered 20 members and as such, was too large to assemble at short notice. Therefore, in November 1914 Asquith set up the War Council, primarily to explore aspects of war policy and to review the overall strategic situation.

Following the formation of the Coalition Government on 25 May 1915, the War Council gave way to the Dardanelles Committee which had been originally formed to deal with operations in that region but was gradually extended to deal with wider strategic issues. This was replaced in November 1915 by a five-man War Committee which lasted for about a year when the new Prime Minister, Lloyd George amalgamated the War Committee with the Cabinet to become the War Cabinet.

The War Cabinet was superseded by a peacetime Cabinet of normal size during November 1919 and the Committee of Imperial Defence was revived in its original form.

The Chiefs of Staff Sub-Committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence formed in 1923 to achieve inter-service co-operation. In addition to advice and questions relating to sea, land and air policy, the First Sea Lord, the Chief of Imperial General Staff and the Chief of the Air Staff had the collective responsibility of advising on general defence policy.

Below the Chiefs of Staff Committee were the following committees:

• Joint Planning Committee, appointed in 1927
• Deputy Chiefs of Staff Committee set up in1932
• Joint Intelligence Committee set up in 1936.

Chamberlain's War Cabinet

On 1 September 1939, the Prime Minister Chamberlain informed the Cabinet of his intention to set up a War Cabinet, and when it met for the first time two days later, it comprised of nine members. The secretariats of the Cabinet and CID were merged into a single body, known as the War Cabinet Secretariat.

The Committee of Imperial Defence disbanded and the Chiefs of Staff reported directly to the War Cabinet without the CID acting as a filter, the War Cabinet found itself involved in the formulation of military policy in too much detail. The Military Co-ordination Committee was accordingly formed to address this problem.

Coalition Government

When Germany attacked the Low Countries on 10 May, Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill succeeded him as Prime Minister. Churchill at once formed a coalition government with a War Cabinet of five members, later increased to eight and it remained at this number until the end of the coalition in May 1945.

Churchill combined the office of Prime Minister with that of Minister of Defence, his staff being provided by the military branch of the War Cabinet Secretariat. The Military Coordin-ation Committee was then replaced by the Defence Committee which was divided into two panels:

▪ Defence Committee (Operations)
▪ Defence Committee (Supply).

Home Defence Executive

After the collapse of France, in May 1940, the War Cabinet on the joint recommendations of the Chiefs of Staff and the Minister of Home Security set up a body known as the Home Defence Executive. The committee's office was located in the Metropole Building.

The Home Defence Executive functioned as an organisation to address the needs concerning the risks of invasion. The Chairman was the C-in-C Home Forces and the other original members were the C-in-Cs of the three main air commands and representatives of the Admiralty, the Air Ministry, the Ministry of Home Security and the Ministry of Transport. At the end of May the original Executive was dissolved and never met again.

It was replaced by a conference concerning the day-to-day business of home defence held by the C-in-C Home Forces, and his staff consisting of the Chief of General Staff, Home Forces, a Naval Staff Officer, Air Staff Officer and Chief Civil Staff Officer. Any matters concerning the civil side of the war effort arising at these conferences were brought up the same day with representatives of the civil departments concerned presided over by the Chief Civil Staff Officer (Sir Findlater Stewart). It was this meeting that it became known as the 'new' Home Defence Executive. The Ministry of Home Security and Ministry of War Transport were regularly represented at these meetings, as was the bomb defence section of the General Staff at the War Office and other civil departments concerned with invasion plans were called in as necessary.

It oversaw all arrangement involving civil co-operation with the military authorities concerning a possible invasion. It included the denial of resources to the enemy ranging from currency and petrol to possible landing grounds. Schemes were worked out for the transportation, accommodation and feeding refugee civilians plus others designed to help keep the roads and railways clear for essential military traffic. Also arrangements were in place for the protection of vital factories and installations against sabotage, clearance of blitzed buildings and bomb disposal.

The Cabinet War Room

In May 1940 GHQ Home Forces was located at Kneller Hall in Twickenham and on 29 May the War Cabinet approved a recommendation from the Chiefs of Staff that an Advanced Headquarters should be set up in the Cabinet War Room.

Following the Air Defence Exercises of 1937, the decision was taken by the Deputy Chiefs of Staff that the Chiefs of Staff, Deputy Chiefs of Staff and the Joint Planners should all be housed in a Central War Room. This should include a map room where they could meet every day and where their decisions could be transformed into orders. It had been assumed that that such a structure would form part of the new Whitehall building but as this was going to take several years to build, a temporary solution had to be found.

The Office of Works concluded after a survey of many basements of government buildings, that the most suitable location would be the basement under the western side of the New Public Offices, facing Great George Street (erected between 1898 and 1915). Rooms 62 to 65A were subsequently cleared with room 65 becoming the Map Room and Room 65A the War Cabinet Room. The Central War Room opened on 27 August 1939.

The Central War Room was gradually expanded over the next few months, with Room 69 becoming the new Cabinet Room and the Prime Minister taking over Room 65A.

In July the main component of GHQ Home Forces had moved to St Paul's School, Hammersmith and the Advanced Headquarters had been allotted several rooms in the Central War Room. Room 62B, was acquired by C-in-C Home Forces; six of his senior staff were given Room 62A and five junior staff officers were allocated Room 62. Room 69A was partitioned for use by Sir Findlater Stewart.

Between October 1940 and the summer of 1941, the war room complex was expanded and a concrete slab was built within a sub-ground floor basement to increase its structural integrity.

Paul Francis
19-07-2011, 16:17
Organisation of Army Command Organisation at Home


The United Kingdom's armed forces – the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force – for the first 64 years of the 20th Century functioned under separate ministries, i.e. the Admiralty, the War Office and the Air Ministry. These ministries were co-ordinated by the War Cabinet.

The supreme command of the Army was invested in the Army Council which directed the War Office; the Chief of Imperial General Staff was the senior military member of the Army Council. The Secretary of State for War was responsible to the War Cabinet for the business of the Army.

Command Organisation


At the declaration of war on 3 September 1939 the British Army consisted of the Regular Army, the Territorial Army and several reserve forces. Soon after the outbreak of war the two main elements were consolidated into a single 'British Army'.

At this time the service consisted of the Home Forces, AA Command, the British Forces in the Middle East, the British Forces in India, and a large number of other commands scattered throughout the world. All of these elements were commanded directly by the War Office.

The Home Forces, under its own Commander-in-Chief and GHQ, comprised all field forces and non-field forces located in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man. It was responsible for the defence of the British Isles, and consisted of all corps, divisions, and separate units assigned to defend Great Britain against invasion.

Paul Francis
19-07-2011, 16:41
Chain of Command 1940 & 1941

GHQ Home Forces was itself unconcerned with the detailed elaboration of invasion plans; its task was to issue directives to the seven regionally based home commands, laying down the C-in-C's policy in particular matters. The precise details were then worked out at the lower levels.

All home command headquarters administered a number of organisations, formations and units within their region of responsibility. Examples include Command Ammunition Depots, Command Ordnance Depots, Command Stores, and Command Signals. Furthermore, all Reception/Reinforcement Camps (home defence) and Staging Camps, came under GHQ Home Forces.

Within, and parallel to the GHQ Command structure, the War Office had overall control of a very large number of non-Field Force (non-mobile) formations or units that included training establishments such as Infantry Primary Training Wings, AA Training Regiments (practice camps, depots & schools), and Airborne Forces training schools.

Other establishments administered by the WO included the Central Armament Depots, Royal Pioneer Corps, Military Hospitals, Prisoner-of-War Camps, and Internment Camps.

The Field Force formations and draft units that were under training in the UK for the war in Europe and elsewhere were under War Office supervision. These were organised in the traditional way by using the existing system of administrative corps and divisions over the units of the field such as brigades, regiments and battalions etc.

The War Office was responsible for the establishment, control and maintenance of the main supply depots for the supply of petrol, ammunition, vehicles, plus war-like and other ordnance stores. During an invasion, control of the main supply depots would be handed over to Commands. The War Office was also accountable for administrative policy, and for movement by sea and rail, but the movement of troops by road was the responsibility of Commands.

Commands were sub-divided into a number of regional 'Areas' or 'Districts' and each of these could be sub-divided further into 'Sub-Areas'. A Sub-Area might contain a number of 'Garrisons' and or 'Sectors'. Within any one command, the numbers of districts, areas and sub-areas changed over time as the command structure was reorganised during the course of WWII, partly due to the recommendations of the Gale Committee.

Commands were generally headed by a Lieutenant-General as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (C-in-C); Areas were commanded by a Brigadier, or a Major-General or similar rank, depending on the size of the area; whilst Sub-Areas generally came under a full Colonel. The January 1940 C-in-Cs of the Home Commands were as follows:

▪ Eastern Command – Lieutenant-General Sir Guy C Williams
▪ London Area – Lieutenant-General Sir Bertram Sergison-Brooke
▪ Northern Command – General Sir William H Bartholomew
▪ Northern Ireland District – Major-General R V Pollok
▪ Southern Command – Lieutenant-General Sir Bertie D Fisher
▪ Scottish Command – General, Sir Charles J C Grant
▪ Western Command – Lieutenant-General R H Haining.

To assist the C-in-C there was at his disposal a General Staff, as well as administrative staff officers with technical and departmental advisors. These officers, together with their assistants, formed the Command Headquarters. From Command HQ orders were sent out to the subordinate commanders, commanding corps, divisions, or even smaller units.

GHQ Home Forces was essentially a static command, but with non-home commands the GHQ, the C-in-C and his staff were mobile, and could move with the Army under his command. For example, General Lord Gort VC, C-in-C of the British Expeditionary Force 1939–40 had his headquarters in October 1939 at Habarcq, west of Arras; some weeks later GHQ moved to Palais St Vaast in Arras, and so on.

The chain of command for operational / tactical matters came from GHQ Home Forces, through commands, to tactical corps and areas. The work of GHQ Home Forces fell into four key departments:

▪ Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C)
▪ General Staff ('G' Staff) – concerned with operations, intelligence and all matters regarding training
▪ Adjutant-General Staff ('A' Staff) – concerned with all matters relating to personnel and discipline
▪ Quartermaster General Staff ('Q' Staff) – concerned with supplies, quartering, and movements.

These four branches of GHQ were fundamental to the successful organisation of the British Army. They had their counterparts in every unit, from an army, through its divisions and brigades, down to battalions in which 'G' and 'A' duties were carried out, together with 'Q' work by the regimental quartermaster.

The responsibilities of a Sub-Area commander were:

▪ Operational Control
▪ Training of all units within the Sub-Area, except for establishments and units directly under the control of the War Office.

Command Structure below Sub-Area (1941)

Sub-Areas were sub-divided into Sectors, usually consisting of a county, district, or civil division.

The sub-division of a Sector into a number of Sub-Sectors was generally associated with the Home Guard, Police, or Air-Raid Precautions authorities. There might be a Regular Army Officer and Staff Officer attached to the local Home Guard unit.

Garrisons refer to a city or large town, for which there was a Regular Army Officer appointed as CO, and a Staff Officer provided for him.

Towns came under the command of a regular army officer, or one from the Home Guard who has been appointed as OC Troops or Local Military Commander. Rank would vary according to town size, but typically could be a Lieutenant-Colonel or a Lieutenant.

Infantry Training Centres

On 14 August 1941 the old Regimental Depots ceased to exist and Infantry Training Centres were formed at command level:

Eastern Command

No.1 ITC – Warley
No.2 ITC – Norwich
No.3 ITC – Bury St Edmunds

Northern Command

No.4 ITC – Brancepeth
No.5 ITC – Richmond
No.6 ITC – Strensall
No.7 ITC – Lincoln

Scottish Command

No.8 ITC – Perth
No.9 ITC – Aberdeen
No.10 ITC – Berwick
No.11 ITC – Fort George

South Eastern Command

No.12 ITC – Canterbury
No.13 ITC – Maidstone

Southern Command

No.14 ITC – Dorchester
No.15 ITC – Gloucester
No.16 ITC – Oxford
No.17 ITC – Reading
No.22 ITC – Warwick
No.23 ITC – Worcester
No.24 ITC – Chester

Western Command

No.18 ITC – Carlisle
No.19 ITC – Formby
No.20 ITC – Shrewsbury
No.21 ITC – Brecon

Northern Ireland District

25 ITC – Ballykinler

The Gale Committee

The Gale Committee was formed in 1941 to examine the administrative responsibilities of Field Force Formations, the Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB), and the existing command structure of areas and sub-areas in the UK. It was to report to the Army Council with recommendations for improving the existing system, which it did on 15 September 1941. It is presumed that most, but not all of the committee's recommendations were implemented. There were four committee members:

▪ Chairman: Major-General H M Gale
▪ Members: G W Dunkley, and Major-General E C Gepp
▪ Secretary: Lieutenant-Colonel F C Curtis.

The committee concluded that the present chain of command was inadequate to deal efficiently with operational and administrative requirements: it decided that a network of operational headquarters to sift and transmit information, and to control the employment of local military resources should cover the whole country. This should be a self-contained static organisation that could take full operational responsibility independent of field force formations, and the field force formations themselves should be free of all administrative commitments that would encumber them to any one particular territory.

The various area headquarters were the link immediately below command level and were considered by the committee as a leftover from the peacetime organisation, designed for administrative purposes rather than one for operations. An added complication was that since June 1940, Corps and Divisional headquarters had been superimposed onto territory administered by area headquarters, thus there were now two rulers of the same territory.

It was therefore recommended that better use of the Corps headquarters should be made, and that they should assume fuller administrative control of the territory allotted to them. For this purpose it was proposed that they should be classified as 1st Class Districts and renamed 'Corps Districts'.

Another major recommendation was for the creation of 2nd Class Districts, each commanded by a Major-General, and would be described as 'Districts'. This would improve overall operational control, and in territory not covered by Corps Districts, they would be the next link down from command headquarters, and would replace existing area HQs

A serious flaw in the old system was poor communication between area and sub-area. Most area headquarters were connected to the nearest civilian telephone exchange as their sole means of communication with their sub-areas. Some area commands had a wireless set to communicate with command headquarters but sub-areas were without wireless facilities and relied totally on the nearest civilian exchange.

It was accepted that no change could take place until at least after the following winter, and the changes would take a long time to take effect.

For London District, it was recommended that should sever its links to Eastern Command.

The higher headquarters in Northern Ireland were British Troops in Northern Ireland (BTNI) (from July 1940), and Northern Ireland District & 3rd Corps (from April 1941). It was proposed to abolish Northern Ireland District, and to raise BTNI to the status of a command headquarters, with a Major-General in charge of administration.

The proposed Chain of Command was as detailed below. Most of this formation was adopted, but at the time it was originally compiled, the exact numbers required of sub-areas and garrisons were unknown.

1. Eastern Command

2 Corps District – HQ Newmarket
▪ Cambridge Area – HQ Cambridge
▪ Sub-Areas: Mid-Norfolk (Thetford), West Norfolk (Hunstanton), Cambridge
11 Corps District - HQ Bishops Stortford
▪ Essex & Suffolk Area (Felsted)
▪ Sub-Areas: Suffolk (Bury St Edmunds), Essex (Great Dunmow)
▪ Garrison HQ: Shoeburyness, Southend, Colchester, Harwich
East Central District – HQ Dunstable
▪ Sub-Areas: Beds, Hunts & Northants (Bedford), Bucks & Herts (Hertford)

2. London District

▪ Sub-Areas: North-East, North-West, South-East, and South-West (all London)
▪ Garrison HQ: Woolwich, Pirbright, Windsor

3. Northern Command

9 Corps District – HQ Darlington
▪ Sub-Areas: Durham (Stanhope), Tyne Valley Sub-Area (Hexham)
▪ Garrison HQ: Middlesbrough, Newcastle
▪ Catterick Area, with Catterick Garrison
1 Corps District – HQ Doncaster
▪ Sub-Areas: South Lincs (Market Rasen) & North Lincs (Sleaford).
▪ East Riding Coastal Area (with East Riding Rear Sub-Area & Hull Garrison).
West Riding District – HQ Leeds
▪ Sub-Areas: Leeds, York, Sheffield
▪ Garrison HQ: Harrogate, Ripon
North Midland District – HQ Nottingham
▪ Sub-Areas: Nottingham, Derby, Leicester

4. Scottish Command

North Highland District – HQ Inverness
▪ Sub-Areas: Moray (Elgin), Aberdeen (Huntly), Caithness (Thurso), Cromarty (Alness)
▪ Garrison HQ: Aberdeen, Outer Hebrides
Perth Area
▪ Sub-Areas: Perth (Crieff), Angus (Forfar), Fife (Cupar).
▪ Garrison HQ: Dundee
Edinburgh Area
▪ Sub-Areas: Lothian (Haddington), Border (St Boswells)
Glasgow District – HQ Houston
▪ West Highland Area (Glasgow).
▪ Sub-Areas: Argyll (Oban), Clyde (Glasgow), Stirling
▪ Garrison HQ: Glasgow
▪ Galloway Area (Ayr); with Sub-Areas: Ayr, Dumfries
Orkney & Shetland Defences – HQ Stromness
▪ Shetland Defences – HQ Lerwick

5. Southern Command

5 Corps District – HQ Alderbury
▪ Garrison HQ: Barton Stacey, Portsmouth, Southampton, Blandford,
Bovington, Bournemouth
8 Corps District – HQ Taunton
▪ Western Area (Frome)
▪ Sub-Areas: Bristol, South Somerset, North Devon (Great Torrington),
Cornwall Coastal Area
▪ Garrison HQ: Yeovil, Plymouth, Scilly Isles
Salisbury Plain District – HQ Bulford
▪ Sub-Areas: North Wilts (Marlborough), South Wiltshire
▪ Garrison HQ: Chiseldon, Corsham, Tidworth, Devizes, Larkhill, Warminster, Bulford
South Midland District – HQ Oxford
▪ Sub-Areas: Gloucester (Cheltenham), Berkshire & Oxfordshire,
▪ Garrison HQ: Shrivenham Garrison

6. South Eastern Command

Canadian Corps District – Advanced HQ Worth – Rear HQ Turner's Hill
▪ North Sussex Sub-Area (Horsham) & Newhaven Garrison.
12 Corps District – HQ Tunbridge Wells
▪ Maidstone Sub-Area (Aylesford)
▪ Garrison HQ: Sheerness, Margate, Dover, Canterbury, Shorncliffe
Aldershot District
▪ Blackdown & Deepcut Sub-Area (with Ascot Garrison & Arborfield Garrison). Bordon & Longmoor Sub-Area (Frensham) & Farnborough Sub-Area
North Kent & Surrey Area
▪ Dorking Sub-Area (Cranleigh) & Gravesend Sub-Area (Cobham) (with Gravesend Garrison & Chatham Garrison)

7. Western Command

Mersey-Solway District
▪ East Lancashire Area (Preston)
▪ Carlisle Sub-Area, Lancaster & Barrow Sub-Area. (Kendal), Preston Sub-Area (Longton) (with Blackpool Garrison) & Manchester Sub-Area (Middleton)
West Lancs Area
▪ Lichfield Sub-Area, Chester Sub-Area (with Saighton Garrison), Mersey Garrison (with Liverpool Garrison & Birkenhead Garrison) & Isle of Man Garrison
Milford Haven-Severn District
▪ Central Midland Area (Warwick)
▪ Worcester Sub-Area (Droitwich) & Warwick Sub-Area (Lapworth) (with Birmingham Garrison)
▪ South Wales Area (Abergavenny)
▪ Carmarthen Sub-Area (with Pembroke Dock Garrison) & Severn Sub-Area (Taffs Well) (with Barry Garrison, Swansea Garrison & Cardiff Garrison)
North Wales Area: HQ Shrewsbury
▪ Cambrian Sub-Area (Betws-y-Coed), Shropshire Sub-Area & Welsh Border Sub-Area (Ludlow) (with Donnington Garrison)

Paul Francis
19-07-2011, 16:51
Organisation of the Army at Home, 1940

Administrative & Operational Control

The normal peacetime military organisation in the UK was designed to be administrative, and not for operational purposes. Under the general control of the Army Council, the War Office was concerned with such matters as training, equipment, the messing of troops, regimental records, pay, transport, control of the ordnance factories and depots and the issue of stores, arms and vehicles. It achieved all of this through the regional command structure and the commands themselves through the sub-area organisation.

The operational preparations during an emergency, such as an invasion of the UK were made by the C-in-C, Home Forces with the help from a small operational staff.

The immanent possibility of military operations in this country during 1940, raised questions about how a large mobile Army organised in corps and divisions could be fitted into the existing static administrative structure of home commands and areas.

On the operational side the chain of command ran from Home Forces headquarters, through command headquarters and corps headquarters, to divisions.

On the administrative side, the executive chain ran from the War Office through home commands to area headquarters.

The common ground of the two was the command headquarters. For example, if the C-in-C wished to move a corps of two divisions from Dorset to York, his administrative staff would have arranged the details of the move with the Movement Control Branch at the War Office. The corps, on completion of the move, would find itself arriving in Northern Command, and for operational purposes, it would now receive its orders from HQ Northern Command. Its divisions would find their billets and other local administrative needs from the local area headquarters in which they were now located.

During active operations within any part of the country, the local area headquarters would close, and the corps and divisions of the active Army (within that particular area) would carry out their own administration, as they would do when in contact with the enemy in the field. All other area headquarters outside the operational area would remain open.

Prior to WWII, the organisation for Home Defence was centralised in the War Office; command of the troops at home came under C-in-C, whose main duties were:

▪ Preparation of plans to deal with invasion
▪ Operational control in an emergency of all troops in the country, except special functions nominated by the War Office and AA Command
▪ Executive control of all measures for the military protection of vulnerable points;
▪ Command and training of Home Defence battalions.

All administrative arrangements such as quartering, movements and training of Regular Army personnel were in the hands of the War Office. AA Command came under the War Office for administration, but under RAF Fighter Command for operational control.

After the outbreak of WWII, greater powers were given to the C-in-C who could now, with the exception of AA Command, exercise complete operational control over all military forces in the UK.

Training units and establishments would now also be included in the C-in-C's defence plans, but these units were not given operational duties that would interfere with training requirements until an emergency had actually happened.

To co-ordinate all military and civil arrangements, a Home Defence Executive (HDE) was set up, to deal quickly and efficiently with problems as soon as they occurred.

C-in-C Home Forces

Until an invasion had actually taken place, the C-in-C had no executive command over any other service or government department, but he could ensure through the HDE, that his wishes were brought to the right department concerned. If this failed to work, the C-in-C would have to refer to the Secretary of State for War, who would have taken the matter to the War Cabinet for a decision.

If an invasion had taken place, the C-in-C would assume command of operations, but he had no executive powers over any forces other than the Army. The co-operation of the other two services had to be obtained through the attached RN and RAF officers assigned to his staff, and the civil services through his Civil Staff Officer.

War Office

In the event of active operations in the UK, the chief duties of the War Office operationally would have been:

▪ to arrange for the provision of urgent requirements and information demanded by GHQ
▪ to prepare and brief papers for Chiefs of Staff and War Cabinet
▪ to collect information and maintain records of the progress of operations for the immediate information of the Army Council and the Principal Staff Officers.

World War II Army Branches

All Army branches come under the 'Arms of the Service'. The combatant branches are called 'The Arms'; the administrative branches are 'The Services'. The principal branches in 1943 were as follows:

• The Arms
▪ Cavalry (Cav)
▪ Royal Armoured Corps (RAC)
▪ Royal Regiment of Artillery (RA)
▪ Corps of Royal Engineers (RE)
▪ Royal Corps of Signals (R Sigs)
▪ Infantry (Inf)
▪ Reconnaissance Corps (Recce Corps).

• The Services
▪ Royal Army Chaplains Department (RAChD)
▪ Royal Army Service Corps (RASC)
▪ Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC)
▪ Royal Army Ordnance Corp (RAOC)
▪ Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME)
▪ Royal Army Pay Corps (RAPC)
▪ Royal Army Veterinary Service (RAVC)
▪ Army Educational Corps (AEC)
▪ Army Dental Corps (AD Corps)
▪ Pioneer Corps (P Corps) (Formally the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, AMPC)
▪ Intelligence Corps (IC)
▪ Army Catering Corps (ACC)
▪ Army Physical Training Corps (APTC)
▪ Corps of Military Police (MPSC)
▪ Military Provost Staff Corps (MPSC)
▪ Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS)
▪ Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)
▪ Officers' Training Corps (OTC).

Corps, Divisions & Brigades

Composition of a Division in WWII

A division was the smallest formation that could operate independently in war. It was a complete small army since it was made up of all types of arms and had its own supply system. If a large force was required, then two or three divisions could be grouped together to form an army corps. An even larger force could be formed into an Army, such as the British Expeditionary Force of 1939–40.

The nominal strength of a division was about 12,000 officers and men, but the actual figure would depend on the work required and the nature of the country in which it was called upon to operate.

There were two main types of a division, both were motorised – one based on light MGs and able to move very quickly along roads, and the other which was based on the tank and corresponded to a mechanised armoured division. This division was able to move across open country.

Both divisions contained troops that belonged to many different branches of the Army (artillery, infantry, RASC, RAOC & RAMC etc). Some branches within a division were organised in regiments, while others are organised as corps. Generally the traditional long established branches retained their regiments and battalions in order to keep and maintain their traditions while the more recent additions to the Army were organised as corps.

Each division included non-combatant branches as well as combatant.

WWII Brigade

The infantry brigade was the basic unit of the combat formation; it consisted of 120 officers and 2,824 men, and a brigade HQ of nine officers and 57 men. The brigade was made up of three rifle battalions, a defence platoon, and attached to it were divisional troops in the form of an anti-tank (ATk) battery, signals, a light aid detachment, and an LAA battery.

Paul Francis
22-07-2011, 07:49
: Cardwell Reforms - Regiment Lists 1881

Pre 1881
Post 1881

1st The Royal Scots Regiment

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)

2nd (The Queen's Royal) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

3rd (The East Kent) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)

4th (The King's Own Royal) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)

5th Regiment of Foot (Northumberland Fusiliers)

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Northumberland Fusiliers

6th (Royal 1st Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment

7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers)

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)

8th (The King's) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The King's Regiment (Liverpool)

9th (The East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Norfolk Regiment

10th (The North Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Lincolnshire Regiment

11th (The North Devonshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Devonshire Regiment

12th (The East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Suffolk Regiment

13th (1st Somersetshire) (Prince Albert's Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry)

14th (Buckinghamshire - The Prince of Wales's Own) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)

15th (The Yorkshire East Riding) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The East Yorkshire Regiment

16th (The Bedfordshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Bedfordshire Regiment

17th (The Leicestershire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Leicestershire Regiment

18th (The Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Irish Regiment

19th (The 1st Yorkshire North Riding - Princess of Wales's Own) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment)

20th (The East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Lancashire Fusiliers

21st (Royal Scots Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Scots Fusiliers

22nd (The Cheshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Cheshire Regiment

23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)

1st & 2nd Battalions, The Royal Welsh Fusiliers

24th (The 2nd Warwickshire) Regiment of Foot

1st & 2nd Battalions, The South Wales Borderers

25th (The York) Regiment of Foot (King's Own Borderers)

1st & 2nd Battalions, The King's Own Borderers

26th (The Cameronian) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

28th (The North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment

29th (The Worcestershire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment

30th (The Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment

31st (The Huntingdonshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment

32nd (The Cornwall) Regiment Foot (Light Infantry)

1st Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

33rd (The Duke of Wellington's) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

34th (The Cumberland) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Border Regiment

35th (Royal Sussex) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment

36th (The Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Worcestershire Regiment

37th (The North Hampshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment

38th (The 1st Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment

39th (The Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment

40th (The 2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Volunteers Regiment (South Lancashire Regiment)

41st (The Welsh) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Welsh Regiment

42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot, The Black Watch

1st Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

43rd (Monmouthshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry

44th (The East Essex) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Essex Regiment

45th (Nottinghamshire) (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment)

46th (The South Devonshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

47th (The Lancashire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

48th (The Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment

49th (Princess Charlotte of Wales's) (or The Hertfordshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment)

50th (The Queen's Own) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

51st (The 2nd Yorkshire West Riding) or The King's Own Light Infantry Regiment

1st Battalion, The King's Own Light Infantry (South Yorkshire Regiment)

52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

1st Battalion, The Oxfordshire Light Infantry

53rd (The Shropshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment)

54th (The West Norfolk) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Dorsetshire Regiment

55th (The Westmoreland) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Border Regiment

56th (The West Essex) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Essex Regiment

57th (The West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)

58th (The Rutlandshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment

59th (2nd Nottinghamshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The East Lancashire Regiment

60th (The King's Royal Rifle Corps) Regiment of Foot

1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Battalions, The King's Royal Rifle Corps

61st (The South Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment

62nd (The Wiltshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment)

63rd (The West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Manchester Regiment

64th (2nd Staffordshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment)

65th (The 2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The York & Lancaster Regiment

66th (The Berkshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Berkshire Regiment)

67th (The South Hampshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Hampshire Regiment

68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

1st Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry

69th (The South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Welsh Regiment

70th (The Surrey) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The East Surrey Regiment

71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry)

1st Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry

72nd (or Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs)

73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

74th (Highland) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry

75th (Stirlingshire) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders

76th Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)

77th (The East Middlesex) Regiment of Foot (The Duke of Cambridge's Own)

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)

78th (Highlanders) Regiment of Foot (or The Ross-shire Buffs)

2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs)

79th (The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders

80th Regiment of Foot (Staffordshire Volunteers)

2nd Battalion, The South Staffordshire Regiment

81st Regiment of Foot (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers)

2nd Battalion, The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales's Volunteers)

2nd Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Volunteers Regiment (South Lancashire Regiment)

83rd (County of Dublin) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles

84th (York & Lancaster) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The York & Lancaster Regiment

85th, or The King's Regiment of Light Infantry (Bucks Volunteers)

2nd Battalion, The King's Light Infantry (Shropshire Regiment)

86th (Royal County Down) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles

87th (or Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers)

88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers)

1st Battalion, The Connaught Rangers

89th (The Princess Victoria's) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers)

90th Regiment of Foot (Perthshire Volunteers) (Light Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)

91st (Princess Louise's Argyllshire Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, Princess Louise's (Sutherland & Argyll Highlanders)

92nd (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Gordon Highlanders

93rd (Sutherland Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, Princess Louise's (Sutherland & Argyll Highlanders)

94th Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Connaught Rangers

95th (Derbyshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment)

96th Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Manchester Regiment

97th (The Earl of Ulster's) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

98th (The Prince of Wales's) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment)

99th Duke of Edinburgh's (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot

2nd Battalion, The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment)

100th (or Prince of Wales's Royal Canadian) Regiment of Foot

1st Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

101st Regiment of Foot (Royal Bengal Fusiliers)

1st Battalion, The Royal Munster Fusiliers

102nd Regiment of Foot (Royal Madras Fusiliers)

1st Battalion, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers

103rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Bombay Fusiliers)

2nd Battalion, The Royal Dublin Fusiliers

104th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Fusiliers)

2nd Battalion, The Royal Munster Fusiliers

105th Regiment of Foot (Madras Light Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The King's Own Light Infantry (South Yorkshire Regiment)

106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry

107th Regiment of Foot (Bengal Light Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment

108th Regiment of Foot (Madras Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

109th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Infantry)

2nd Battalion, The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)

The Prince Consort's Own Rifle Brigade

1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Battalions, The Prince Consort's Own (Rifle Brigade)

Cardwell Reforms - Former Titles of Militia Infantry Source: Army List 1906

Pre 1881
Post 1881

England & Wales


3rd Battalion, Bedford Regiment

Royal Berkshire

3rd Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment

Royal Buckinghamshire

3rd Battalion Oxford Light Infantry


4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment

Royal Caernarfon

4th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers

1st Royal Cheshire

3rd Battalion, Cheshire Regiment

2nd Royal Cheshire

4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment

The Royal Cornwall Rangers

3rd Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

Royal Cumberland

3rd Battalion, Borders Regiment

Royal Denbigh & Merioneth

3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers

1st Derby

3rd Battalion, Notts & Derby Regiment

2nd Derby

3rd Battalion, Notts & Derby Regiment

1st Devon

4th Battalion, Devon Regiment

2nd Devon

3rd Battalion, Devon Regiment


3rd Battalion, Dorset Regiment

1st Durham

3rd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

2nd Durham

4th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry

Essex Rifles

3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment

West Essex

4th Battalion, Essex Regiment

Royal Glamorgan

3rd Battalion, Welsh Regiment

Royal South Gloucester

3rd Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment

Royal North Gloucester

4th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment


3rd Battalion, Hampshire Regiment


4th Battalion, Shropshire Light Infantry


4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment


5th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Company

East Kent

3rd Battalion, East Kent Regiment

West Kent

3rd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment

1st Royal Lancashire

3rd & 4th Battalions, Royal Lancashire Regiment

2nd Royal Lancashire

5th & 6th Battalions, Liverpool Regiment

3rd Royal Lancashire

3rd Battalion, North Lancashire Regiment

4th Royal Lancashire

3rd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment

5th Royal Lancashire

3rd Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment

6th Royal Lancashire

5th & 6th Battalions, Manchester Regiment

7th Royal Lancashire

5th & 6th Battalions, Lancashire Fusiliers


3rd Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment

Royal North Lincoln

3rd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment

Royal South Lincoln

4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment

Royal East Middlesex

6th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment

2nd Royal Middlesex

7th Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Company

3rd Middlesex (or Royal Westminster)

5th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

4th (or Royal South Middlesex)

7th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers

Royal Elthorne (or 5th Royal Middlesex)

5th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment

Royal Montgomery

4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers

1st Norfolk

3rd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment

2nd Norfolk

4th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment

Northampton & Rutland

3rd Battalion, Northumberland Regiment


5th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Nottingham (Royal Sherwood Foresters)

4th Battalion, Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment


4th Battalion, Oxford Light Infantry


3rd Battalion, Shropshire Light Infantry

1st Somerset

3rd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry

2nd Somerset

4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry

Royal South Wales Borderers

3rd Battalion, South Wales Borderers

1st Stafford

3rd & 4th Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment

England & Wales

2nd Stafford

3rd Battalion, North Stafford Regiment

3rd Stafford

4th Battalion, North Stafford Regiment

West Suffolk

3rd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment

1st Royal Surrey

3rd Battalion, East Surrey Regiment

2nd Royal Surrey

3rd Battalion, Royal West Surrey Regiment

3rd Royal Surrey

4th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment

Royal Sussex

3rd Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment

King's Own Tower Hamlets

7th Battalion, Rifle Regiment

Queen's Own Tower Hamlets

5th Battalion, Rifle Regiment

1st Warwick

5th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

2nd Warwick

6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Royal Westmoreland

4th Battalion, Borderers Regiment

Royal Wiltshire

3rd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment


5th & 6th Battalions, Worcester Regiment

East York

3rd Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment

North York

4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment

1st West York

3rd Battalion, Yorkshire Light Infantry

2nd West York

3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment

3rd West York

3rd Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment

4th West York

4th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment

5th West York

3rd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment

6th West York

3rd Battalion, West Riding Regiment


Royal Aberdeen Highlanders

3rd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders

Royal Ayr & Wigtown

3rd Battalion, Royal Scottish Fusiliers

Edinburgh Light Infantry

3rd Battalion, Royal Scots

Highland Border Light Infantry

3rd Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Highland Light Infantry

3rd Battalion, Cameron Highlanders

Highland Rifle Militia

3rd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders

1st Royal Lanark

3rd & 4th Battalions, Highland Light Infantry

2nd Royal Lanark

3rd & 4th Battalions, Scottish Rifles

Royal Perth

3rd Battalion, Royal Highlanders

Royal Renfrew

4th Battalion, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders

Scottish Borderers

3rd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers



4th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles


3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers


8th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps


4th Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers

North Cork

9th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps

South Cork

3rd Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers


5th Battalion, Royal Inniskellen Fusiliers

Royal North Down

3rd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Royal South Down

5th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles

Dublin County

5th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers

Royal Dublin City

4th Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers


3rd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers


4th Battalion, Connaught Rangers


4th Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers


3rd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers


5th Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment

King's County

3rd Battalion Leinster Regiment

Royal Limerick County

5th Battalion, Munster Fusiliers

Longford Rifles

9th Battalion, Rifle Brigade


6th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles


North Mayo

3rd Battalion, Connaught Rangers

South Mayo

3rd Battalion, Connaught Rangers

Royal Meath

5th Battalion, Leinster Regiment


5th Battalion Royal Irish Fusilers

Queen's County

4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment


5th Battalion, Connaught Rangers

North Tipperary

4th Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment

Royal Tyrone Fusiliers

4th Battalion, Royal Inniskillen Fusiliers


9th Battalion, Rifle Brigade


3rd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers