|42nd Armoured Division|
42nd Armoured Division insignia.
|Active||1 November 1941 – 17 October 1943|
227 tanks[nb 1][nb 2]
The division was formed in late 1941 by converting the 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division. The 42nd Division was a 1st Line Territorial Army (TA) infantry formation that saw service in the Battle of France and was evacuated at Dunkirk in June 1940. The division was converted on 1 November 1941 into an armoured division. The division's first commander was Major-General Miles C. Dempsey.
However, the division was not posted overseas and its divisional headquarters was disbanded on 17 October 1943; the division's infantry was assigned to the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division and its armour to the 79th Armoured Division.
Two men served as the General Officer Commanding of the 42nd Armoured Division:
On 1 November 1941, the 10th Armoured Brigade was converted from the 125th Infantry Brigade, of three battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers, and was attached to the 42nd Armoured Division. It comprised the 108 RAC (previously 1/5th Battalion), 109 RAC (1/6th Battalion) and 143 RAC (9th Battalion). On 25 July 1942, the brigade was converted again into the 10th Tank Brigade and finally disbanded on 25 November 1943. The 10th Armoured Brigade did not see active service as a unit and was broken up in late 1943.
In the early days of the Second World War the support group (or Pivot Group as it was sometimes known) was what its name suggested. It provided whatever support the armoured brigades needed to the operation in hand, being able to provide motorised infantry, field artillery, anti-tank artillery or light anti-aircraft artillery as needed.