|Active||c. 1838–1889, 1905–1972|
Northern Command was a Home Command of the British Army in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The District Commands of the British Army in Great Britain and Ireland first appear in print in 1840, at which time Northern Command was held by Maj-Gen Sir Charles James Napier, appointed in 1838. During his time the troops stationed within Northern Command were frequently deployed in support of the civil authorities during the Chartist unrest in the northern industrial cities. Napier was succeeded in 1841 by Maj-Gen Sir William Gomm, when the command included the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Flintshire, Denbighshire and the Isle of Man, with HQ at Manchester. Later the Midland Counties of Shropshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Northamptonshire were added and from 1850 to 1854 the Command included three sub-commands: NW Counties (HQ Manchester), NE Counties (HQ York) and Midlands (HQ Birmingham). From 1854 to 1857 there were two sub-commands, Northern Counties and Midland Counties, each with a brigade staff, but after that they disappeared and Northern Command remained a unitary command.
In 1876 a Mobilisation Scheme for the forces in Great Britain and Ireland was published, with the 'Active Army' divided into eight army corps based on the District Commands. '6th Corps' was to be formed within Northern Command, based at Chester. This scheme had been dropped by 1881. Northern Command continued to be an important administrative organisation until 1 July 1889, when it was divided into two separate Commands: North Eastern, under Maj-Gen N. Stevenson (HQ York), and North Western, under Maj-Gen W.H. Goodenough (HQ Chester).
The 1901 Army Estimates introduced by St John Brodrick allowed for six army corps based on six regional commands. As outlined in a paper published in 1903, V Corps was to be formed in a reconstituted Northern Command, with HQ at York. Maj-Gen Sir Leslie Rundle was appointed acting General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOCinC) of Northern Command on 10 October 1903, and it reappears in the Army List in 1905, with the boundaries defined as 'Berwick-on-Tweed (so far as regards the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers) and the Counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Isle of Man. The defences on the southern shores of the estuaries of the Humber and Mersey are included in the Northern Command'. By 1908 the Midland Counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Rutland had been added, but Westmoreland, Cumberland and Lancashire had been moved into registered office address Western Command.
The Command HQ was established in Fishergate in York in 1905. The site was named Imphal Barracks in 1951, but closed in 1958, when Northern Command HQ moved to a new Imphal Barracks on Fulford Road, York.
World War I
Army Order No 324, issued on 21 August 1914, authorised the formation of a 'New Army' of six Divisions, manned by volunteers who had responded to Earl Kitchener's appeal (hence the First New Army was known as 'K1'). Each division was to be under the administration of one of the Home Commands, and Northern Command formed what became the 11th (Northern) Division. It was followed by 17th (Northern) Division of K2 in September 1914.
At the end of 1914, Sir Herbert Plumer, the GOCinC, left Northern Command to form V Corps in France, and Maj-Gen Henry Lawson was placed in temporary command, followed by Lt-Gen Sir John Maxwell after he had suppressed the Easter Rising in Ireland. Maxwell was formally appointed GOCinC in November 1916.
World War II
- 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars
- 7th Royal Tank Regiment
- 7th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
- 9th/17th, 16th/43rd Field Batteries, Royal Artillery
- 20th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
Territorial Army troops included 25th Army Tank Brigade.
General Officers Commanding-in-Chief
- c. 1838 - 1841 Major-General Sir Charles Napier
- 1842 Major-General Sir William Gomm
- 1843 - 1849 Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Arbuthnot
- 1850 - 1855 Lieutenant General Lord Cathcart
- 1856 - 1859 Lieutenant General Sir Harry Smith
- 1859 - 1860 Lieutenant General Sir John Pennefather
- 1860 - 1865 Lieutenant General Sir George Weatherall (1 July 1860)
- 1865 - 1866 Lieutenant General Sir Sydney Cotton
- 1866 - 1871 Major-General Sir John Garvock (10 October 1866)
- 1871 - 1872 Major-General George Carey
- 1873 - 1874 Major-General Daniel Lysons
- 1874 - 1878 Lieutenant General Sir Henry Percival de Bathe (1 July 1874)
- 1878 - 1881 Major-General George Willis (1 April 1878)
- 1881 - 1884 Major-General William Cameron
- 1884 - 1886 Lieutenant General Frederick Willis
- 1886 - 1889 Major-General Charles Daniell
Note: Between 1889 and 1905 the Command was divided into smaller Districts
- 1905 - 1907 Lieutenant General Sir Leslie Rundle (acting 10 November 1903)
- 1907 - 1911 Lieutenant General Sir Laurence Oliphant (10 November 1907)
- 1911 - 1914 Lieutenant General Sir Herbert Plumer (10 November 1911)
- 1915 - 1916 Lieutenant General Sir Henry Lawson (temporary 1 January 1915)
- 1916 - 1919 Lieutenant General Sir John Maxwell (temporary 27 April 1916; substantive 1 November 1916)
- 1919 - 1923 Lieutenant General Sir Ivor Maxse (1 June 1919)
- 1923 - 1927 Lieutenant General Sir Charles Harington (1 November 1923)
- 1927 - 1931 Lieutenant General Sir Cameron Shute (15 May 1927)
- 1931 - 1933 Lieutenant General Sir Francis Gathorne-Hardy (15 May 1931)
- 1933 - 1937 Lieutenant General Sir Alexander Wardrop (17 October 1933)
- 1937 - 1940 Lieutenant General Sir William Bartholomew (12 October 1937)
- 1940 - 1941 Lieutenant General Sir Ronald Adam (8 June 1940)
- 1941 - 1944 Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Eastwood (3 June 1941)
- 1944 - 1946 Lieutenant General Sir Edwin Morris (7 June 1944)
- 1946 - 1947 Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison (27 February 1946)
- 1947 - 1949 Lieutenant General Sir Montagu Stopford (6 March 1947)
- 1949 - 1953 Lieutenant General Sir Philip Balfour (21 March 1949)
- 1953 - 1957 Lieutenant General Sir Geoffrey Evans (7 May 1953)
- 1957 - 1960 Lieutenant General Sir Richard Goodbody (8 May 1957)
- 1960 - 1962 Lieutenant General Sir Michael West (11 May 1960)
- 1962 - 1963 Lieutenant General Sir Charles Jones (1 June 1962)
- 1963 - 1964 Lieutenant General Sir Charles Richardson
- 1964 - 1967 Lieutenant General Sir Geoffrey Musson (1 December 1964)
- 1967 - 1969 Lieutenant General Sir Walter Walker (3 October 1967)
- 1969 - 1970 Lieutenant General Sir Cecil Blacker (1 June 1969)
- 1970 - 1972 Lieutenant General Sir William Jackson (10 October 1970)
- Hart's Army List 1840.
- Priscilla Napier, I Have Sind: Charles Napier in India 1841-1844, Salisbury: Michael Russell, 1990.
- Hart's Army Lists.
- Army List 1876–1881.
- Col John K. Dunlop, The Development of the British Army 1899–1914, London: Methuen, 1938.
- Quarterly Army List April 1905.
- Army List 1908.
- British History on line: Imphal Barracks
- Subterranea Britannica
- The long, long trail
- Army Lists.
- Patriot Files
- Fishergate: Serviced Officers
- Isby and Kamps, Armies of NATO's Central Front.
- Whitaker's Almanacks 1905 - 1972
- Northern Command at Regiments.org
- Army Commands
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