4th Infantry Division (United Kingdom): Wikis


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4th Infantry Division
British 4th Infantry Division Insignia (New).png
Insignia of the 4th Division
Active 1809 - 1947
1956 - 1978
1995 -
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Type Infantry
Part of Land Command
Garrison/HQ Aldershot
Engagements Napoleonic Wars
Battle of Talavera
Battle of Albuera
Battle of Badajoz (1812)
Battle of Salamanca
Battle of Roncesvalles (1813)
Battle of Vitoria
Battle of the Pyrenees
Battle of Orthez
Battle of Toulouse (1814)
Crimean War
Battle of Alma
Battle of Inkerman
Battle of Balaclava
First World War
Le Cateau
Battle of Marne
Retreat from Mons
Battle of Aisne
First Battle of Ypres
Battle of Messines
Hill 60
Second Battle of Ypres
Battle of Albert
Battle of Le Transloy
Battle of the Somme
First Battle of the Scarpe
Third Battle of the Scarpe
Battle of Polygon Wood
Battle of Broodseinde
Battle of Poelcapelle
Battle of Passchendaele
Battle of Arras
Battle of Hazebroucke
Battle of Bethune
Advance in Flanders
Battle of the Scarpe
Battle of Drocourt-Queant
Battle of the Canal du Nord
Battle of the Selle
Battle of Valenciennes
Second World War
Battle of France
Oued Zarga
the Medjez Plain
Trasimene Line
Rimini Line
Monte Cassino
Major General Lamont Kirkland CBE
General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien , GCB, GCMG, DSO, (26.5.1858 - 12.8.1930)
Lieutenant General Sir Charles Colville, (7.8.1770 - 27.3.1843)
Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas D'Oyly Snow KCB, KCMG (5.5.1858 - 30.8.1940)
General Sir Alfred Dudley Ward, GCB, KBE, DSO,(27.1.1905 - 28.12.1991)
Field Marshal Sir Nigel Thomas Bagnall, GCB, CVO, MC (10.2.1927 - 8.4.2002)
Insignia of the 4th Division, replaced by current design in 1995. British 4th Infantry Division Insignia.png
British Army Infantry Divisions (1914–present)
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The 4th Infantry Division is a regular British Army division with a long history having been present at the Peninsular War the Crimean War , the First World War , and during the Second World War.


Napoleonic Wars

The 4th Division was originally formed in 1809 by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington for service in the Peninsula War. It fought in the Battle of Talavera and the Battle of Salamanca , Battle of Badajoz (1812) and the Battle of Roncesvalles (1813) , Battle of Vitoria , Battle of the Pyrenees , Battle of Orthez , Battle of Toulouse (1814).


Peninsula War formation

(from January 1812)

Major General Sir Charles Colville (to April 1812) Major General Lowry Cole (from June 1812)

  • 1st Brigade: Major General Kemmis
    • 3/27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot
    • 1/40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot
    • 1/48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot (from October 1812)
    • 2nd Provisional Battalion (2nd & 1/53rd Regiments of Foot) (from December 1812)
    • 1 Coy., 5/60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot
  • 2nd Brigade: Major General Sir Edward Pakenham
    • 1/7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers)
    • 2/7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) (November 1810 to May 1811)
    • 20th (East Devonshire) Regiment of Foot (from November 1812)
    • 1/23rd Regiment of Foot (Royal Welsh Fusiliers)
    • 1/48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot (to October 1812)
    • 1/82nd Regiment of Foot (Prince of Wales's Volunteers) (October to November 1812)
    • 1 Coy., Brunswick-Oels Jaegers
  • 3rd Brigade: Major General Skerrett (October to December 1812)
    • 3/1st Foot Guards
    • 2/47th (Lancashire) Regiment of Foot
    • 2/87th (Prince of Wales's Irish) Regiment of Foot
    • 2 Cos., 2/95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles)
  • Portuguese Brigade: Major General Collins
    • 1/11th Line Infantry of the Portuguese Army
    • 2/11th Line Infantry of the Portuguese Army
    • 1/23rd Line Infantry of the Portuguese Army
    • 2/23rd Line Infantry of the Portuguese Army
    • 7th Caçadores of the Portuguese Army


At the Battle of Waterloo it was tasked with holding Wellington's right flank and took no active part in the fighting but did capture the town of Cambrai afterwards.

The commanding General at this time was Charles Colville ,In his novel Les Misérables Victor Hugo credits Colville with asking for the surrender of the Imperial Guard at Waterloo and receiving General Cambronne's reply of "Merd".[1]

Formation at Waterloo

  • 6th Hanoverian Brigade - Major-General Sir James Lyon
    • Field Battalion Calenberg
    • Field Battalion Lauenburg
    • Landwehr Battalion Bentheim
    • Landwehr Battalion Hoya
    • Landwehr Battalion Nienburg

Crimean War

The Division was also called for service during the Crimean War fought between the allied forces of the United Kingdom, French Empire and the Ottoman Empire on one side and Russia on the other. It saw action in the Battle of Alma the Battle of Inkerman and the Battle of Balaclava ,fought on 25 October , 1854 ( famous for the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Thin Red Line ).

Formation During The Crimean War

Commanding General: Major General Sir George Cathcart

First World War

As a permanently established Regular Army division it was amongst the first to be sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force at the outbreak of the First World War. It served on the Western Front for the duration of the war and was present during all the major offensives including the Battle of the Marne , Battle of Ypres , Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Passchendaele.

First World War formation

10th Brigade 
11th Brigade 
Map of the Western Front, 1915–16.
12th Brigade 

From early November 1915 until February 1916 the 12th Brigade was swapped with the 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Second World War

The Division served during the Second World War and was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), together with the 3rd Infantry Division in formed the British II Corps. After the 1940 Battle of France and the evacuation at Dunkirk, it spent the next two years in the United Kingdom on Invasion duties and training for its next deployment which would be as part of the British First Army and Operation Torch, the landings on the North West African coast.

During the Tunisia Campaign it was involved in Operation Vulcan the final ground attack against Axis forces in North Africa.

After the Axis defeat in Africa it was next involved in the Italian Campaign, and fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino.

In November 1944 it was dispatched to Greece to provide assistance during the Greek Civil War.

Commanders During the Second World War

Second World War formation

10th Infantry Brigade 
11th Infantry Brigade (until June 1942) 
12th Infantry Brigade 
21st Tank Brigade (June 1942 - December 1943) 
28th Infantry Brigade (from December 1943) 

Support Units

Post Second World War

It was reformed from 11th Armoured Division on 1 April 1956, and took on 20th Armoured Brigade Group from the disbanding 6th Armoured Division in May 1958. At the time the Division also incorporated the (Canadian) 4th Infantry Brigade and the 4th Guards Brigade. It was redesignated 4th Armoured Division on 1 January 1978, parenting Task Force Golf and Task Force Hotel, and served as part of I (BR) Corps in Germany. Following the 1981–1983 Army reorganisation, I (BR) Corps consisted of 1st and 4th Armoured Divisions, which would have manned the front line against the anticipated attack by the Soviet 3rd Shock Army. It ceased this role on 1 July 1993.

Formation 1981 - 1983

Current formation

Structure 4th Division

The Division was reformed again in 1995 as a regenerative division - a military district in all but name - that serves as the parent formation for units in Southern England.

The Division's current insignia is a tiger. It is currently commanded by Major General Lamont Kirkland, from HQ at Steeles Road, Aldershot. Major General Everson reports to the Commander Regional Forces, at HQ Land Command at Wilton. The Division is responsible for the administration of Aldershot Garrison and three Regional Brigades:

For administrative purposes, the following formations are also under the administrative control of 4th Division:

Recent Commanders

Recent Commanders have been:[2]

  • 1995–1997 Major General NWF Richards
  • 1998–2001 Major General TJ Sullivan
  • 2001–2002 Major General AS Ritchie
  • 2003–2004 Major General DL Judd
  • 2004–2005 Major General JS Kerr
  • 2006–12 November 2008 Major General PF Everson
  • 12 November 2008–Present Major General RL Kirkland[3][4]


  1. ^ Chapter XIV. The Last Square "les miserables". http://www.online-literature.com/victor_hugo/les_miserables/84/ Chapter XIV. The Last Square.  
  2. ^ Whitaker's Almanacks
  3. ^ Service appointments:Army, The Times, 6 August 2008. Retrieved on 17 November 2008
  4. ^ London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58885, p. 17876, 18 November 2008. Retrieved on 26 November 2008.

See also

External links


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