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43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division: Wikis


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43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division
Active 1908 - August 1945
Branch Territorial Army
Type Infantry
Engagements Operation Overlord
Operation Market Garden
Battle of the Bulge
Operation Blackcock

The 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division was a British Territorial Army division first formed in 1908. It was reformed in 1920 as part of the rebuilding of the Territorial Army, and raised a second line duplicate, 45th (Wessex) Infantry Division, on the doubling of the Territorial Army in 1939.



The Division was a formation created with the rest of the Territorial Force in 1908. On 24 September 1914, it accepted overseas service in India in order to relieve regular units required for active service. Divisional and Brigade HQs, both artillery and infantry, did not embark for India. The "Division" sailed on 9 October 1914, and moved to India where it remained throughout the Great War.

In the Second World War it fought in Normandy, where it initially was earmarked as a reserve for Operation Epsom. It then launched an attack against the German 9th SS Panzer Division at Hill 112 in July, though they were beaten back after both sides had suffered horrendous casualties. It performed well, and was considered one of the best British Divisions in the Second World War.

It was the first British unit to cross the Seine river, with an assault crossing at the French town of Vernon opposed by the German 49th Infantry Division (see 'Assault Crossing, The River Seine 1944' by Ken Ford). This enabled the armour of XXX Corps under Gen. Brian Horrocks to thrust across northern France into Belgium.

43rd Division later played a major role in Operation Market Garden , as the support to Guards Armoured Division. During Market Garden, a Battalion (4th Dorsets) successfully crossed the Rhine as a diversion, so that 1st Airborne could withdraw more safely, but many men of the 4th Dorsets were themselves left behind on the north Bank of the Rhine when the Division withdrew.

The division later played a small part in the Battle of the Bulge, where it was placed on the Meuse as a reserve, and a large part in the invasion of Germany and the Crossing of the Rhine (Operation Veritable).

By the end of hostilities the 43rd had reached the Cuxhaven peninsula of northern Germany.



Order of Battle

129th Infantry Brigade

130th Infantry Brigade

214th Infantry Brigade

Support Units

  • 8th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment (Vickers machine gunners)
  • 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps
  • 94th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 112th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 179th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 59th Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery
  • 13th Bridging Platoon, Royal Engineers
  • 204th Field Company, Royal Engineers
  • 207th Field Park Company, Royal Engineers (from Bath, Somerset).
  • 260th Field Company, Royal Engineers (from Chippenham, Wiltshire).
  • 553rd Field Company, Royal Engineers
  • 54th Company, RASC
  • 504th Company, RASC
  • 505th Company, RASC
  • 506th Divisional Company, RASC
  • 110th Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery


External Links


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