42nd Armoured Division (United Kingdom)

The 42nd Armoured Division was an armoured division of the British Army raised during the Second World War.

42nd Armoured Division
42nd Armoured Division insignia.
Active1 November 1941 – 17 October 1943
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeArmoured Division
Size13,235 men[1]
227 tanks[nb 1][nb 2]


War Service

The division was formed in late 1941 by converting the 42nd (East Lancashire) Infantry Division.[3] 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.[4] The division was converted on 1 November 1941 into an armoured division. The division's first commander was Major-General Miles C. Dempsey.[3]

However, the division was not posted overseas[5] and its divisional headquarters was disbanded on 17 October 1943;[3] the division's infantry was assigned to the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division and its armour to the 79th Armoured Division.[5]

General Officer Commanding

Two men served as the General Officer Commanding of the 42nd Armoured Division:

Order of battle

10th Armoured Brigade

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.

11th Armoured Brigade

42nd Support Group

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.

Divisional troops

See also


  1. ^ 201 tanks and 26 anti-aircraft tanks.[2]
  2. ^ These two figures are the war establishment, the on-paper strength, of the division; for information on how divisions size changed over the war, please see British Army during the Second World War and British Armoured formations of World War II.
  1. ^ Joslen, p. 129
  2. ^ Joslen, p. 6
  3. ^ a b c Joslen, p. 42
  4. ^ Joslen, p. 68
  5. ^ a b Chappell, p. 15
  6. ^ a b Joslen, p. 29


  • Chappell, Mike (1987). British battle insignia (2): 1939-1940. Men-At-Arms. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 0-85045-739-4.
  • Joslen, Lieutenant-Colonel H.F (1960) [1960]. Orders Of Battle Second World War 1939-1945. Naval & Military Press Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84342-474-1.

External links

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