160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales

The 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales or Brigâd 160 (Cymru) is a regional brigade of the British Army that has been in existence since 1908, and saw service during both World War I and World War II, as part of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division. It is a regional command responsible for all of Wales. The brigade organises an annual patrolling competition in the Brecon Beacons, known as Exercise Cambrian Patrol.

Welsh Border Brigade
160th (Welsh Border) Brigade
160th Infantry Brigade
160th (Wales) Brigade
160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales
160th Infantry Brigade logo
Current shoulder sleeve insignia of the 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales.
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeRegular and Territorial Army
Part of53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
1st (United Kingdom) Division
Garrison/HQThe Barracks, Brecon, Wales
Battle honoursWorld War I:
* Gallipoli Campaign
* First Battle of Gaza
* Battle of Nablus (1918)
World War II:
* Battle of Normandy
* Battle of Falaise
* Battle of the Bulge
* Battle of the Reichswald
* Western Allied invasion of Germany
Brigadier Alan S. Richmond
Sir John Dill
Robert Ross
Eric Dorman-Smith
Sir Lashmer Whistler


The Welsh Border Brigade was originally raised in 1908, upon creation of the Territorial Force, and was part of the Welsh Division. The brigade was composed of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Volunteer battalions of the Monmouthshire Regiment along with the 1st Battalion of the Herefordshire Regiment.

First World War

In 1915 the brigade was redesignated the 160th (1/1st South Wales) Brigade and the Welsh Division the 53rd (Welsh) Division. The brigade fought with the division in the Great War, in the Middle Eastern theatre.

The brigade was reconstituted as a result of British troops being sent to the Western Front during the emergency following the German March 1918 Spring Offensive.

Order of battle

Between the wars

After the war the brigade and division were disbanded as was the Territorial Force. However, both the brigade and division were reformed in 1920 in the Territorial Army. The brigade, now the 160th (South Wales) Infantry Brigade, was again composed of the same four battalions it had before the Great War. However, these were all posted to the 159th (Welsh Border) Infantry Brigade early in the 1920s and were replaced by the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions of the Welch Regiment. The 6th and 7th Battalions were amalgamated as the 6th/7th Battalion, Welch Regiment and the 4th Battalion, King's Shropshire Light Infantry joined in the same year.

Second World War

The brigade, now composed of two battalions of the Welch Regiment and one of the Monmouthshire Regiment, together with the rest of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, was mobilised in late August 1939 and soon afterwards Britain declared war on Nazi Germany. In April 1940 the 160th Brigade was sent to Northern Ireland and, after the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was evacuated from France, the brigade was mainly involved in anti-invasion duties and exercises training to repel a potential German invasion of Northern Ireland. The 160th Brigade, and the rest of the 53rd Division, were sent to Southeast England almost two years later, where they began training for the eventual Allied invasion of Northern France.

The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 B11257
Infantrymen of the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment advance along a railway embankment during the capture of 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, 25 October 1944.

After another nearly two years spent in Kent training, the brigade, under the command of Brigadier Charles Coleman, with the rest of the 53rd Division, landed in Normandy as part of Operation Overlord (codename for the Allied invasion of Northwest Europe) in late June 1944,[1] and were almost immediately involved in severe attritional fighting around the French city of Caen, facing numerous German panzer divisions, in what came to be known as the Battle for Caen. The 160th Brigade later participated in the Second Battle of the Odon, sustaining heavy casualties, which resulted in the 1/5th Battalion, Welch Regiment being transferred to the 158th Brigade of the same division and replaced by the 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The decision was made by the divisional commander, Major-General Robert Ross (a former commander of the brigade), due to an acute shortage of infantrymen in the British Army at this stage of the war, even more so in finding sufficient numbers of battle casualty replacements (or reinforcements) for three battalions of the same regiment all serving together in the same brigade, which, like the 160th Brigade, had also suffered heavy losses.

The brigade went on to fight in the Battle of Falaise, capturing large numbers of German troops as prisoners of war (POWs) and the subsequent Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine, later playing a minor role in the Battle of the Bulge, a large role in Operation Veritable in February 1945 and crossing the River Rhine into Germany over a month later, where it took part in the Western Allied invasion of Germany, finally ending the war in Hamburg, Germany.

The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 BU2783
Men of the 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment in Bocholt, Germany, 29 March 1945. Note the Nazi slogan painted on the wall.

The 160th Brigade remained in Germany on occupation duties until it was disbanded in late 1946.

Order of battle

The 160th Infantry Brigade was composed as follows during the war:[1]


The following officers commanded the 160th Infantry Brigade during the war:[1]

  • Brigadier A.E. Williams (until 10 May 1940)
  • Brigadier R.K. Ross (from 10 May 1940 until 17 September 1942)
  • Brigadier E.E. Dorman-Smith (from 17 September 1942 until 22 November 1943)
  • Lieutenant Colonel C.F.C. Coleman (acting, from 22 November 1943 until 28 January 1944)
  • Brigadier L.G. Whistler (from 28 January 1944 until 22 June 1944)
  • Brigadier C.F.C. Coleman (from 22 June 1944 until 27 May 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel H.B.D. Crozier (acting, from 27 May 1945 until 3 June 1945)
  • Brigadier C.F.C. Coleman (from 3 June 1945)

Post war

From 1 April 1967, following the 1966 Defence White Paper, the Territorial Army was reorganised as the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve.[2]

Structure in 1989:[3][4][5]

With the disbandment of 5th Division, the brigade came under the control of the new Support Command based in Aldershot, in April 2012.[6]

Units circa 2017

Under the Army 2020 concept, 160th (Wales) Brigade was renamed as 160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales. It is one of the seven Adaptable Force brigades. It comprises:[7]

Both The Barracks, Brecon, and Beachley Barracks, Chepstow, are scheduled to close in 2027.

160th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Wales (HQ The Barracks, Brecon)

106 Infantry Brigade UK
106 Infantry Brigade UK
  • Other Units assigned
    • Wales University Officer's Training Corps
    • Infantry Battle School


  1. ^ a b c Joslen, p. 348
  2. ^ Steinberg, S. (1967). The Statesman's Year-Book 1967-68: The One-Volume ENCYCLOPAEDIA of all nations. Springer. p. 106. ISBN 9780230270961.
  3. ^ "British Army 1989" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Structures" (PDF).
  5. ^ "British army units".
  6. ^ House of Commons briefing note
  7. ^ "Army 2020 Report" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 15 August 2015.


  • Falls, Cyril; A. F. Becke (maps) (1930). Military Operations Egypt & Palestine from June 1917 to the End of the War. Official History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. 2 Part II. London: HM Stationery Office. OCLC 256950972.
  • Joslen, Lt-Col H.F. (2003) [1960]. Orders of Battle: Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval and Military Press. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.

External links

Administrative structure of the field forces of the British Army

The field forces of the British Army after the Army 2020 Refine reforms are organised, in garrison, as:

Reaction forces comprising a modified 16 Air Assault Brigade and an armoured division (3rd (UK) Division) of two armoured infantry brigades, the 12th and 20th Armoured Infantry Brigades and two Strike brigades: 1st Strike Brigade and an as-yet-unnamed strike brigade.

Adaptive forces comprising a division (1st (UK) Division) of seven infantry brigades, three of which (the 4th, 7th, and 51st) will be deployable.

Force Troops Command comprising nine brigades of supporting units.For all units, operational direction is via Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ). Elements within the nine regionally-aligned brigades may also report to another chain of command. When not dealing with operational commitments or mission-specific training (e.g. when conducting routine civilian engagement, ranges, or 'defence contribution to homeland resilience' (homeland defence)) they may report through a Regional Point of Command (RPOC) to Headquarters Regional Command at Andover. Therefore, it may not always be apparent as to which Headquarters a given unit is working to, and care should be taken to establish the correct chain of command for any engagement.

Clive Barracks

Clive Barracks is a military installation at Ternhill in Shropshire in Western England.

Infantry of the British Army

The Infantry of the British Army, part of the structure of the British Army, comprises 49 infantry battalions, from 19 regiments. Of these, 33 battalions are part of the Regular army and the remaining 16 a part of the Army Reserve. The British Army's Infantry forms a highly flexible organisation, taking on a variety of roles, including armoured, mechanised, air assault and light.

Regional Command (British Army)

Regional Command (formerly Support Command) is a two-star command of the British Army. It is the Army’s HQ for the UK, Nepal and Brunei. It delivers Real Life Support to the Army and controls the UK Stations and Garrisons. It is also responsible for engagement with the civilian community and acts as the proponent for UK Operations.Support Command, formed in 2011, became Regional Command in 2015.

Royal Irish Regiment (1992)

The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling) 83rd and 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment) (R IRISH) is an infantry regiment of the British Army. The regiment was founded in 1992 through the amalgamation of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence Regiment. Their oldest predecessor; the 27th Regiment of Foot; was first raised in June 1689 to fight in the Williamite War in Ireland. Other notable regiments in their lineage include the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, Royal Irish Rifles and the Royal Irish Fusiliers (Princess Victoria's).

The motto of the regiment is Faugh A Ballagh (Modern Irish: Fág an Bealach), derived from the Irish Gaelic phrase for "Clear the Way". This originates from the Peninsular War, when Ensign Edward Keogh of the 87th Regiment of Foot let out the cry while capturing a French Imperial Eagle at the Battle of Barrosa. The Regimental Headquarters of the Royal Irish Regiment has been Palace Barracks, Holywood in County Down, Northern Ireland since moving there in 2008.

Structure of the British Army

The structure of the British Army is broadly similar to that of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, in that the four-star (general-equivalent) field commands have been eliminated. Army Headquarters is located in Andover, Hampshire. As the top-level budget holder, this organisation is responsible for providing forces at operational readiness for employment by the Permanent Joint Headquarters. There is a Commander Field Army and a personnel and UK operations command, Home Command.

The command structure is hierarchical with divisions and brigades controlling groupings of units from an administrative perspective. Major Units are regiment or battalion-sized with minor units being either company sized sub-units or platoons. All units within the service are either Regular (full-time) or Army Reserve (full-time or part-time), or a combination with sub-units of each type.

Naming conventions of units differ for traditional British historical reasons, creating a significant opportunity for confusion; an infantry battalion is equivalent to a cavalry regiment. An infantry regiment is an administrative and ceremonial organisation only, and may include several battalions. For operational tasks, a battle group will be formed around a combat unit, supported by units or sub-units from other areas. An example would be a squadron of tanks attached to an armoured infantry battle group, together with a reconnaissance troop, artillery battery and engineering support.

Since the 1957 Defence Review, the structure of the Army has consistently shrunk. A comparison of the List of British Army Regiments (1962), the List of British Army Regiments (1994) and the List of British Army Regiments (2008) will show the steep decline in the number of infantry and armoured regiments. Since 1990, reductions have been almost constant, through succeeding defence reviews: Options for Change (1990), Front Line First (1994), the Strategic Defence Review of 1998, Delivering Security in a Changing World (2003), and the Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010. However, the 2015 Review indicated no change from the personnel number targets set in 2010.

The Rifles

The Rifles is an infantry regiment of the British Army. Formed in 2007, it consists of five Regular and three Reserve battalions, plus a number of companies in other Army Reserve battalions. Each battalion of The Rifles was formerly an individual battalion of one of the two large regiments of the Light Division (with the exception of the 1st Battalion, which is an amalgamation of two individual regiments). Since formation the regiment has been involved in combat operations, first in the later stages of the Iraq War and in the War in Afghanistan.

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