The 5th Infantry Division was a regular army division of the British Army. It was established by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington for service in the Peninsula War, as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, and was active for most of the period since, including the First World War and the Second World War. The division was reformed in 1995 as an administrative division covering Wales and the English regions of West Midlands, East Midlands and East. Its headquarters were in Shrewsbury. It was disbanded on 1 April 2012.
- 1 Peninsular War
- 2 Second Boer War
- 3 First World War
- 4 Second World War
- 5 Post Second World War
- 6 Recent commanders
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Sources
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The 5th Division during the Peninsular War under the command of General James Leith was present at most of the major engagements including the Battle of Bussaco, the Battle of Sabugal, the Siege of Almeida, the Battle of Badajoz, the Battle of Salamanca, the Battle of Vitoria, the Siege of San Sebastian, the Battle of Nivelle and the Battle of the Nive.
- 1st Brigade
- 2nd Brigade
- Portuguese Brigade
The Division was also present during the Waterloo Campaign first seeing action at the Battle of Quatre Bras then at the Battle of Waterloo under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Picton.
The formation was:
- 8th British Brigade, Major-General Sir James Kempt
- 9th British Brigade, Major-General Sir Dennis Pack
- 5th Hanoverian Brigade, Colonel Ernst von Vincke
- Landwehr Battalion Gifhorn
- Landwehr Battalion Hameln
- Landwehr Battalion Hildesheim
- Landwehr Battalion Peine
- Artillery, Major Heinrich Heise
- Roger's Battery, Royal Artillery
- Braun's Battery, Hanoverian Foot Artillery
Second Boer War
The 5th Division under the command of General Sir Charles Warren joined up with the Natal Field Force shortly after the Battle of Colenso and were a part of the reliving army of the besieged Ladysmith.
The formation was as follows:
11th Infantry Brigade initially commanded by General Edward Woodgate but he was wounded at Spion Kop and died shortly afterwards. He was succeeded by General Arthur Wynne who was later wounded at the Battle of the Tugela Heights and succeeded by Colonel Walter Kitchener.
- 2nd Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster's
- 2nd Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
- 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment
- 1st Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment
- Imperial Light Infantry
- 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment
- 2nd Battalion Middlesex Regiment
- 2nd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry
- Yorkshire's and Warwickshire's being left at Cape Colony
First World War
The 5th Division was a permanently established Regular Army division that was amongst the first to be sent to France at the outbreak of the First World War. It served on the Western Front for most of the war except for a brief period in Italy.
The 5th Division, as a regular army formation (one of the Old Contemptibles) fought in many of the major battles of the Western Front from The Battle of Mons in 1914, the later stages of the Somme offensive, including the first battle using tanks, up to the Battle of the Selle in 1918.
First World War formation
The formation was as follows:
13th Brigade This Brigade was temporarily under the command of 28th Division between 23 February and 7 April 1915, when it was replaced by 84th Brigade from that Division.
- 2nd Bn, The King's Own Scottish Borderers
- 2nd Bn, The Duke of Wellington's left January 1916
- 1st Bn, The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)
- 2nd Bn, The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry left December 1915
- 1/9th (City of London) Bn, The London Regiment joined November 1914, left February 1915
- 14th (Service) Bn, The Royal Warwicks joined December 1915, became Divisional Pioneers October 1918
- 15th (Service) Bn, The Royal Warwicks joined January 1916, disbanded October 1918
- 16th (Service) Bn, The Royal Warwicks joined October 1918
- 1st Bn, The Devons
- 2nd Bn, The Suffolk Regiment left September 1914
- 1st Bn, The East Surrey Regiment
- 1st Bn, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
- 2nd Bn, The Manchesters
- 1/5th Bn, The Cheshires joined February 1915, left November 1915
- 1/9th (Highlanders) Bn, The Royal Scots joined November 1915
- 2nd Bn, The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers joined November 1915
15th Brigade This Brigade was temporarily under the command of 28th Division between 3 March and 7 April 1915, when it was replaced by 83rd Brigade from that Division.
- 1st Bn, The Norfolk Regiment
- 1st Bn, The Bedfordshire Regiment
- 1st Bn, The Cheshires
- 1st Bn, The Dorsets left December 1915
- 1/6th Bn, The Cheshires joined December 1914, left March 1915
- 1/6th Bn, The King's (Liverpool) Regimentjoined February 1915, left November 1915
- 16th (Service) Bn, the Royal Warwicks joined December 1915, left October 1918
95th Brigade Brigade transferred from 32nd Division on 26 December 1915
- 12th (Service) Bn (Bristol), The Gloucesters joined December 1915, disbanded October 1918
- 1st Bn, The Devonshire Regiment joined January 1916
- 1st Bn, The East Surrey Regiment joined January 1916
- 1st Bn, The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry joined January 1916
The division was unusual among other British divisions in that no battle patches were worn on their tunics or helmets, aside from those briefly worn by New Army battalions bringing them from their former division.
Second World War
In September 1939 the Division was a regular formation based at Catterick under Northern Command. Both its infantry brigades (13th Infantry Brigade and 15th Infantry Brigade) went to France by early October 1939 as independent infantry brigades, but Divisional Headquarters crossed to France on 19 December 1939 and by the new year the Division was reformed with three brigades (13th Infantry Brigade, 15th Infantry Brigade and 17th Infantry Brigade).
15th Brigade joined the Norwegian Campaign and did not rejoin the Division until July 1940. The 5th Infantry Division saw action in France and Belgium in 1940 including the Battle of Arras on 21 May 1940 and the Ypres-Comines Canal from 26 to 28 May 1940, and then was withdrawn, along with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force, from Dunkirk. After this it served and travelled in so many regions of the world that they became known as the Globe Trotters. In April 1942 13th and 17th Infantry Brigades and a portion of the Divisional Troops were detached to 'Force 121' for Operation Ironclad, the invasion of Vichy French held Madagascar. The Division was not complete again until August 1942. It was sent from the UK to India for three months and then to the Middle East, where it spent time under the command of III Corps as part of Persia and Iraq Command. In February 1943 it went to Egypt and came under the command of XIII Corps for the Allied invasion of Sicily.
Sicily and Italy
The 5th Division saw action in the Sicily Landings from 9 to 12 July 1943 and then moved to Italy in September 1943. It landed at Anzio in January 1944 and was then withdrawn to Palestine in July 1944. It returned to Italy in February 1945 and to Belgium in March 1945. During the Second World War, the Division used a 'Y' on a khaki background as its insignia.
Second World War formation
- 2nd Battalion, The Cameronians
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (30 Nov.1939-14 Aug.1944)
- 2nd Battalion, Wiltshire Regiment
- 5th Battalion, The Essex Regiment (From 14 Aug.1944)
- 1st Battalion, Green Howards
- 1st Battalion, King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
- 1st Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment
17th Infantry Brigade (15 March 1942 – 30 June 1942 Detached to Force 121 in Madagascar)
- 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
- 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (Until 30 Mar.1940)
- 6th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders (From 30 Mar 1940)
Post Second World War
The Division was disbanded in 1946 and was reformed briefly from the 7th Armoured Division in Germany on 16 April 1958, with the 7th and 20th Armoured Brigades but was then redesignated the 1st Armoured Division on 30 June 1960. It was again reformed in the UK on 1 April 1968, under Army Strategic Command, incorporating the 2nd, 8th, and 39th Brigades, but disbanded in February 1971.
The 5th Division was reformed as an administrative division – effectively a military district – from North West, Wales, and Western Districts on 1 April 1995. It had administrative control over a wide range of regiments, training establishments and cadet corps. It had its permanent headquarters at the Copthorne Barracks in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
The division was in charge of the majority of British Army units in Wales, the English West Midlands and South West England. The South West was transferred to the 4th Division, replaced by the East Midlands and the East English regions. The division therefore covered the central regions of England as well as Wales. The 5th Division took command of Headquarters Salisbury Plain Area and 43rd (Wessex) Brigade from 3rd Division on 1 April 1999, and 107 (Ulster) Brigade also fell under its responsibility. However 107 Brigade was shifted back under HQ Northern Ireland, at a later date. HQ 43rd Brigade moved to Bulford by 1 September 1999, and HQ Salisbury Plain Area disbanded by that date. This process freed Headquarters 3rd (UK) Mechanised Division from its administrative and regional responsibilities and it become a deployable or "fly-away" division. The Division reported to Army Headquarters at Andover.
The new HQ Support Command in Aldershot began operation in January 2012 when HQ 4th Division in Aldershot disbanded. HQ 2nd division in Edinburgh and HQ 5th division in Shrewsbury were both disbanded in April 2012.
The composition was as follows:
- 49th (Eastern) Brigade
- 143rd (West Midlands) Brigade
- 160th (Wales) Brigade
- Colchester Garrison
- 16th Air Assault Brigade – operationally independent unit that, because its Headquarters is at Colchester, fell under purely administrative command of 5th Division.
Recent Commanders have been:
GOC 5th Division
- 1902–1903 Major-General Sir Leslie Rundle
- 1903–1906 Lieutenant-General Henry Grant
- 1907–1909 Lieutenant-General Sir Herbert Plumer
- 1909–1913 Major-General William Campbell
- 1913–1914 Major-General Sir Charles Fergusson
- 1914–1915 Major-General Thomas Morland
- 1915–1916 Major-General Charles Kavanagh
- 1916–1918 Major-General Reginald Stephens
- 1918–1919 Major-General John Ponsonby
- 1919–1922 Major-General Sir Hugh Jeudwine
- Note the Division was disbanded in 1922 and reformed in 1929
- 1929–1931 Lieutenant-General Walter Kirke
- 1931–1934 Lieutenant-General Thomas Humphreys
- 1934–1937 Major-General Geoffrey Howard
- 1937–1938 Major-General Guy Williams
- 1938–1940 Major-General Harold Franklyn
- 1940–1943 Major-General Horatio Berney-Ficklin
- 1943–1944 Major-General Gerard Bucknall
- Jan 1944 – Nov 1944 Major-General Philip Gregson-Ellis
- 1944–1946 Major-General Richard Hull
- 1946–1947 Major-General Philip Gregson-Ellis
- Note the Division, having been disbanded at the end of the War, was reformed in 1958 but the brigades used to form 1st Armoured Division in 1959
- 1958–1959 Major-General Geoffrey Musson
- Note the Division was briefly reformed in 1968 but disbanded again in 1971
- Note the Division was reformed in 1995
- 1995–1996 Major General Ian Freer
- 1996–1999 Major General Robin Searby
- 1999–2000 Major General Peter Grant Peterkin
- 2000–2003 Major General Arthur Denaro
- 2003–2005 Major General Nicholas Cottam
- 2005–2008 Major General Andrew Farquhar
- 2008–2012 Major General Martin Rutledge
- Pivka, p. 16
- "The Battle of Waterloo". http://www.britishbattles.com/waterloo/waterloo-allied-order.htm. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "Ladysmith history and the Boer War". http://www.ladysmithhistory.com/the-relief/spionkop-battle/. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "The Battle of Val Krantz and Pieters". http://www.britishbattles.com/great-boer-war/val-krantz.htm. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Woodgate's 11th Brigade
- Kings Own
- Coke's 10th Brigade
- 10th Battalion
- "The 5th Division in 1914–1918". http://www.1914-1918.net/5div.htm. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Osprey Publishing MAA 182, p.9
- "badge, formation, 5th Infantry Division". Imperial War Museum. http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30072605. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- "British Army of the Rhine". http://www.baor-locations.org/historybaor.aspx.html. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Watson, p. 124
- "TA Command Structure 1967 – 2000". http://www.win.tue.nl/~drenth/BritArmy/Lineage/TACOMMANDSTRUCT67/index.html. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Soldier Magazine, December 1998, p.13
- "New Army's HQ Land Forces base is opened in Andover". BBC News. 9 September 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-11240456. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- First tranche of Army unit moves confirmed Defence News, 10 November 2011
- House of Commons Library: Standard Note: SN06038
- Army Commands
- Von Pivka, Otto (1973). The Black Brunswickers. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-0850451467. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5fjxqPuj9xYC&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=5th+Division+%22Battle+of+the+Nive%22&source=bl&ots=AYrojdwzN3&sig=mhJ8znYoWtGYm5VJiST4LmjdZrg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VCoNUeu5JsbE0QX9hIDADA&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=5th%20Division%20%22Battle%20of%20the%20Nive%22&f=false.
- Watson, Graham (2005). The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947–2004. Tiger Lily Publications LLC. ISBN 978-0972029698. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZNm0n9SwRQIC&pg=PA124&lpg=PA124&dq=2nd,+8th,+and+39th+Brigades+5th+division+1971&source=bl&ots=c67P2kGbNM&sig=OEiyqNBibu3datIn711WcMz_eEM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=xx4NUa6tJ4qL0AXq5oD4Bw&ved=0CGAQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=2nd%2C%208th%2C%20and%2039th%20Brigades%205th%20division%201971&f=false.
- A Guide to Appointments and Invitations for High Commissions & Embassies in London, UK Ministry of Defence, June 2006 Edition
- Gregory Blaxland, The Regiments Depart: A History of the British Army 1945–70, William Kimber, London, 1971.
- Readers' Digest, The World At Arms, 1989
- British Army Order of Battle 1939 – 1945
- The British Army in the Great War: The 5th Division
- Hussey & Inman, The Fifth Division in the Great War
- 5 Infantry Division (1943–45)
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