53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division

The 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army that fought in both World War I and World War II. Originally raised in 1908 as the Welsh Division, part of the Territorial Force (TF), the division saw service in World War I, being designated 53rd (Welsh) Division in mid-1915, and fought in the Gallipoli Campaign and in the Middle East. Remaining active in the Territorial Army (TA) during the interwar period as a peacetime formation, the division again saw action in World War II, fighting in North-western Europe from June 1944 until May 1945.

The 53rd Division was temporarily disbanded at the end of the war, but was reactivated in 1947 when the Territorial Army was reformed and reorganised. In 1968 the division was finally deactivated, but its 160th Brigade remains in service today. As the name suggests, the division recruited mainly in Wales, but also in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire.

Welsh Division
53rd (Welsh) Division
53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division
53 inf div -vector
Formation patch of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, World War II.
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
EngagementsWorld War I:

World War II:

Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd
Gerard Bucknall
Robert Knox Ross


The division was raised in 1908 as part of the Territorial Force originally as the Welsh Division and had under command the North Wales Brigade, the Cheshire Brigade and the Welsh Border Brigade, together with support units of the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Army Medical Corps. The South Wales Brigade was also attached.

First World War

The Welsh Division was mobilised upon Britain's entrance into the First World War in early August 1914.

In 1915, the Welsh Division was numbered as the 53rd (Welsh) Division and the brigades became, respectively, the 158th (North Wales) Brigade the 159th (Cheshire) Brigade and the 160th (Welsh Border) Brigade.

Ramla mil cem welsh
53rd (Welsh) Division commemoration plaque - Ramleh military cemetery.

The division sailed from Devonport, bound for Gallipoli via Imbros (now Gökçeada) on 19 July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 9 August 1915. The division was evacuated from Gallipoli during December 1915 and moved to Egypt.[1] The evacuation was forced by a combination of combat, disease and harsh weather which saw the division reduced to just 162 officers and 2,428 men, approximately 15% of full strength.[2]

On 26 March 1917, the 53rd (Welsh) Division bore the brunt of the First Battle of Gaza where the three brigades, along with the 161st (Essex) Brigade of the 54th (East Anglian) Division, had to advance across exposed ground, withstanding shrapnel, machine gun and rifle fire, to capture the Turkish fortifications. Despite gaining the advantage towards the end of the day, the British commander called off the attack so that the division's casualties, close to 3,500, were suffered in vain.

Other division actions included the Battle of Romani in August 1916, the Battle of El Buggar Ridge in October 1917 and the Action of Tell 'Asur in March 1918, where it fought off several counter-attacks by the Ottoman forces.

Order of battle

The division comprised three infantry brigades, together with supporting units. Some original battalions were detached early in the First World War to reinforce other divisions. Other infantry and Yeomanry brigades were also attached to the division, particularly at Gallipoli and in Egypt[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

158th (North Wales) Brigade
159th (Cheshire) Brigade
  • 1/4th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left 31 May 1918)
  • 1/5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left November 1914)
  • 1/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left February 1915)
  • 1/7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (left 1 June 1918)
  • 2/6th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (from November 1914 to April 1915)
  • 2/5th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment (from February 1915 to April 1915)
  • 1/4th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (from 17 April 1915)
  • 1/5th Battalion, Welsh Regiment (from 17 April 1915, between 8 October 1915 and 20 February 1916 merged with 1/4th Battalion, fully amalgamated 30 July 1918)
  • 159th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 20 April 1916, moved to 53rd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 25 April 1918)
  • 159th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 28 June 1917)
  • 3rd Battalion, 152nd Punjabis (from 4 June 1918)
  • 2nd Battalion, 153rd Punjabis (from 5 June 1918)
  • 1st Battalion, 153rd Punjabis (from 2 August 1918)
160th (Welsh Border) Brigade
2nd South Western Mounted Brigade[12]

Attached to 53rd (Welsh) Division 29 November–9 December 1915

2/1st London Brigade

Attached to 53rd (Welsh) Division January–April 1916

4th Dismounted Brigade[13]

Attached to 53rd (Welsh) Division 15 March–21 June 1916

Divisional Mounted Troops
Divisional Artillery

53rd Divisional Artillery remained in England when the division embarked for Gallipoli. It embarked for France in November 1915 and joined the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front, until February 1916 when it re-embarked and joined the rest of the division in Egypt.

  • I Welsh (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (renamed CCLXV (265) Bde and batteries became A & B 26 May 1916; renumbered CCLXI (261) Bde 15 September 1916
    • 1st Glamorgan (H) Battery (became C (H) Bty in new CCLXV Bde 25 December 1916)
    • 2nd Glamorgan (H) Battery (became C (H) Bty in new CCLXVI Bde 25 December 1916)
    • I Welsh (H) Brigade Ammunition Column (joined 53rd Divisional Ammunition Column 23–27 November 1916)
  • II Welsh Brigade, RFA (renamed CCLXVI (266) Bde and batteries became A & B 26 May 1916; renumbered CCLXVII (267) Bde 25 December 1916)
    • 3rd Glamorgan Battery (broken up between B and C Btys 25 December 1916)
    • 4th Glamorgan Battery (B Bty; renamed A Bty 25 December 1916)
    • Cardigan Battery (C Bty; renamed B Bty 25 December 1916)
    • 437 (H) Bty (formed 8 April 1918 with equipment from C (H)/CXVII Bty (74th (Yeomanry) Division), personnel from 53rd and 60th (2/2nd London) Divisional Ammunition Columns and 9th Mountain Bty RGA)
    • II Welsh Brigade Ammunition Column (joined 53rd Divisional Ammunition Column 23–27 November 1916)
  • Cheshire Brigade, RFA (renamed CCLXVII (267) Bde and batteries became A–C 26 May 1916; renumbered CCLXV (265) Bde 25 December 1916)
    • 1st Cheshire Battery (broken up between B and C Btys 25 December 1916)
    • 2nd Cheshire Battery (B Bty; renamed A Bty 25 December 1916)
    • 3rd Cheshire Battery (C Bty; renamed B Bty 25 December 1916)
    • C (H) Bty (joined from old CCLXV (I Welsh) Bde 5 December 1916)
    • Cheshire Brigade Ammunition Column (joined 53rd Divisional Ammunition Column 23–27 November 1916)
  • IV Welsh Brigade, RFA (renamed CCLXVIII (268) Bde and batteries became A–C 26 May 1916; renumbered CCLXVI (266) Bde 25 December 1916)
    • 1st Monmouth Battery (A Bty)
    • 2nd Monmouth Battery (B Bty)
    • 3rd Monmouth Battery (broken up between A and B Btys 25 December 1916)
    • C (H) Bty (joined from old CCLXV (I Welsh) Bde 5 December 1916)
    • IV Welsh Brigade Ammunition Column (joined 53rd Divisional Ammunition Column 23–27 November 1916)
  • 53rd (Welsh) Divisional Ammunition Column, RFA (only Small Arms Ammunition Section went to Gallipoli, remainder joined 54th (East Anglian) Division in France; reformed in Egypt from BACs 23–27 November 1916
  • Welsh (Carnarvonshire) Heavy Battery and Ammunition Column, Royal Garrison Artillery (remained in England when division embarked for Gallipoli)
Divisional Engineers
  • 1/1st Welsh Field Company, RE (numbered 436 Field Company 4 February 1917)
  • 2/1st Welsh Field Company, RE (raised after outbreak of war and joined 2 December 1915; numbered 437 Field Company 4 February 1917)
  • 1/1st Cheshire Field Company, RE (embarked for France 8 December 1914 and joined 3rd Division)
  • 2/1st Cheshire Field Company, RE (raised after outbreak of war and joined in England; numbered 439 Field Company 4 February 1917; to 74th (Yeomanry) Division 9 April 1918)
  • 72nd Company, 3rd Bombay Sappers and Miners (joined 5 August 1918)
  • 53rd (Welsh) Divisional Signal Company, RE
    • Headquarters and No 1 Section (attached to 54th (East Anglian) Division 10–23 August 1915; to Salonika 15 December 1915; rejoined 22 January 1916)
    • No 2 (Cheshire) Section
    • No 3 (North Wales) Section
    • No 4 (Welsh Border) Section
Divisional Pioneers
Divisional Machine Guns
  • No 53 Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (formed 15–25 April 1918)
    • 158th MG Company (from 158th Brigade)
    • 159th MG Company (from 159th Brigade)
    • 160th MG Company (from 160th Brigade)
    • Cape Corps MG Company (joined 17 September 1918)
Divisional Medical Services
  • 1st Welsh Field Ambulance, RAMC (to Desert Mounted Corps 21 August 1918)
  • 2nd Welsh Field Ambulance, RAMC (absorbed into 170 Combined Field Ambulance 11 September 1918)
  • 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance, RAMC (attached to 54th (East Anglian) Division 11–18 August 1915; absorbed into 171 Combined Field Ambulance 11 September 1918)
  • 170 Combined Field Ambulance (joined 3 July 1918)
  • 171 Combined Field Ambulance (joined 23 August 1918)
  • Welsh Clearing Hospital, RAMC
Divisional Transport
  • Welsh Divisional Transport and Supply Column, Army Service Corps (remained in England and joined 11th (Northern) Division)
    • Welsh Divisional Company (HQ) (became 479 Company, ASC)
    • Cheshire Brigade Company (became 480 Company, ASC)
    • North Wales Brigade Company (became 481 Company, ASC)
    • Welsh Border Brigade Company (became 482 Company, ASC)
    • Welsh Border Mounted Brigade Company (independent of division by 1914)
    • South Wales Mounted Brigade Company (independent of division by 1914)
  • 29th Divisional Train (originally 43rd (Wessex) Divisional Train; joined and retitled 53rd (Welsh) Divisional Train 17 March 1916)
    • 246, 247, 248, 249 (Horse Transport) Companies, ASC
  • 53rd (Welsh) Mobile Veterinary Section, Army Veterinary Corps (raised after outbreak of war, remained in England when division embarked for Gallipoli; rejoined 11 April 1916)

Between the wars

The division was disbanded after the war, along with the rest of the Territorial Force which was reformed in the 1920s as the Territorial Army, and created on a similar basis to the Territorial Force and the 53rd Division was reformed. The division saw a great change in its units between the wars.[14]

Second World War


The Territorial Army and the 53rd (Welsh) Division, commanded by Major General Bevil Wilson[15] serving under Western Command, was mobilised on 1 September 1939,[16] the day the German Army invaded Poland, and two days later the Second World War officially began. The early days of the war for the 53rd Division were spent in training the divisions' 2nd Line duplicate, the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division, created earlier in the year, and containing many former members and much equipment, of the 53rd Division.[17] In October, just over a month after the war began, most of the 53rd Division was sent to Northern Ireland, coming under command of British Troops Northern Ireland.[15]


The British Army in the United Kingdom 1939-45 H11968
Universal Carriers and motorcycles of the 1/4th Battalion, Welch Regiment, on manoeuvres at Keady in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, 22 July 1941.

After the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fighting in France and Belgium was evacuated from Dunkirk in mid-1940, the threat grew of a possible German invasion of Northern Ireland and so the 61st Infantry Division arrived to help defend it, with the 53rd Division charged with responsibility for the southern half of Ulster and the 61st Division the northern.[18] They were both grouped together under command of III Corps.[19] In March 1941, the garrison was reinforced with the 5th Infantry Division,[20] a Regular Army formation that had fought in France in 1940. The 53rd Division took part in many numerous exercises, training by battalion, brigade, division or corps level. "It was a very different 53rd Division which returned to near its own countryside in November 1941, from the comparatively untrained one which had moved to Ireland in driblets between October 1939 and April 1940."[21] The 53rd Division, now commanded by Major General Gerard Bucknall, returned to the Welsh Border counties again in November 1941, with the divisional HQ based in Whitchurch, Shropshire.[22]


The division was again serving under Western Command. In April 1942 the division was sent to defend Kent in South-Eastern Command, under Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery, between 1942–1943, joining XII Corps ready to defeat a German invasion (Operation Sea Lion), serving with the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division and 46th Infantry Division. The 53rd Division was later earmarked to form part of the Second Army for the invasion of Europe.[23]

The British Army in the United Kingdom 1939-45 H18205
With bayonets fixed, men of the 7th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers charge down a bank on an assault course at Teddesley Hall, Penkridge in Staffordshire, England, 27 March 1942.

In September 1942, the division received a new GOC (General Officer Commanding), Major General Robert Knox "Bobby" Ross, an officer of the Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey) who arrived to replace Major-General Gerard Bucknall.[15] Like most senior British commanders of the Second World War, he was a veteran of the Great War, where he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross. Before promotion to command of the 53rd, he had commanded the 160th Infantry Brigade and before that, the 2nd Battalion, Queen's Royal Regiment in Palestine. He commanded the 53rd (Welsh) Division until August 1945, training the division to a very high standard in England and Kent and leading it throughout the campaign in North-west Europe.[24]

On 17 May 1942 the 53rd (Welsh) Division was reorganised, its 159th Infantry Brigade detaching to help form the 11th Armoured Division (The Black Bull), with the 31st Tank Brigade taking its place as part of an experiment with New Model Divisions (or Mixed Divisions) of one tank brigade and two infantry brigades.[25] The experiment was abandoned in late 1943 (being judged as unsuitable for the terrain in North-western Europe) and the 31st Tank Brigade was replaced by the 71st Infantry Brigade (containing the 1st East Lancashire Regiment, 1st Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and 1st Highland Light Infantry, nicknamed the Foreign or International Brigade) from the disbanded 42nd Armoured Division, in October.[26][27][28] The division spent the remaining period in the build-up to the invasion of Normandy in intensive training.


The British Army in Normandy 1944 B7574
Fusilier W. Nodder of the Royal Welch Fusiliers writes home from his slit trench before the attack on Evrecy, Normandy, France, 16 July 1944.

After several years of training, the 53rd (Welsh) Division landed in Normandy on 28 June 1944, the second last British infantry division to land and was placed under command of XII Corps, defending the Odon Valley position.[29] The division was involved in much fighting in this area, with the 158th Brigade detached to fight with the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division in the Second Battle of the Odon (Operation Greenline) before Operation Goodwood in mid-July. In August it began to push beyond the Odon and crossed the river Orne, helping to close the Falaise Pocket. It was during this fighting that Acting Captain Tasker Watkins, Officer Commanding (OC) B Company of the 1/5th Battalion, Welch Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross, the first and only to be awarded to the regiment and division during the war, as well as the only Welshman of the British Army during the Second World War to be awarded the VC.[30]

On 2 August, the GOC, Major-General Ross, decided that due to the casualties suffered by the division in Normandy and an acute lack of infantry replacements, the battalions of 158th Brigade (the 4th, 6th and 7th Battalions of the Royal Welch Fusiliers) were replaced and sent to other brigades of the division, the 4th RWF transferring to 71 Brigade and 6th RWF to 160 Brigade while the 7th RWF remained in 158 Brigade.[31] "It was found that with three Battalions of one Regiment in the same Brigade – as in the case of the 158th Brigade with its three Battalions of Royal Welch Fusiliers – difficulties were experienced in providing reinforcements in the event of heavy casualties. This was particularly so with Officer reinforcements."[31] (Curiously though, this did occur with the 131st (Queen's) Brigade of the 7th Armoured Division). By 31 August 1944 the 53rd (Welsh) Division had suffered many casualties; in just over two months of fighting 52 officers and 533 other ranks were killed, 145 officers were wounded, 18 missing, 2,711 other ranks wounded and 360 missing for a total of 3,819 casualties.[32] The division had managed to capture over 3,800 prisoners of war (POWs).[33]

53rd Welsh Division Memorial
Memorial to the 53rd (Welsh) Division, 's-Hertogenbosch.
The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 B13431
3-inch mortar team of the 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment in action during the advance of 53rd (Welsh) Division towards Laroche in Belgium, 5 January 1945.

The division took part in the Swan (swift advance) to Belgium where much fighting took place to secure an important bridgehead at the Junction Canal near Lommel. The 53rd Division then fought hard to expand the salient south of Eindhoven in conjunction with the Operation Market Garden, which ended in failure due to events at the Battle of Arnhem in late September, where the British 1st Airborne Division was virtually destroyed in severe fighting. Advancing into the Netherlands, 53rd (Welsh) Division liberated the city of 's-Hertogenbosch in four days of heavy fighting from 24 October.

The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 BU1753
Two men of the 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers man a trench in the Reichswald Forest, Germany, 8 February 1945.

In December 1944, attached to XXX Corps, it was one of the British divisions that took part in the mainly American Battle of the Bulge, helping to cut off the northern tip of the German salient.[15] For the next few weeks, the division absorbed large numbers of replacements and trained the newcomers. Still with XXX Corps, which was attached to the First Canadian Army, it was later sent north in front of the Siegfried Line to take part in Operation Veritable (the Battle of the Reichswald Forest) in February 1945 where the division, supported by Churchill tanks of the 34th Armoured Brigade, was involved in some of the fiercest fighting of the campaign thus far, against determined German paratroopers and fighting in terrain similar to that found at Passchendaele 27 years before but with the addition of the cold of "winter rain, mud and flooding", where the mud was knee-deep.[34][35] The Commanding Officer (CO) of the 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment described the fighting in the forest as a "terribly wearing business for the men. Psychologically and mentally. It was nearly all bayonet, Sten and grenade fighting. The Bosch reserves fought very well, stubborn and had to be dug out with the bayonet."[36] Throughout Veritable the 53rd Division suffered almost 2,500 casualties (including psychiatric casualties), roughly a quarter of what they suffered throughout the entire campaign, while capturing over 3,000 prisoners.[37]

The British Army in North-west Europe 1944-45 B15066
Men of the 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment in Weeze, Germany, 3 March 1945.

The division, now under command of XII Corps, under Lieutenant-General Neil Ritchie, took part in Operation Plunder. the crossing the Rhine]] and advancing into Germany, where they ended the war.[38] Throughout its 10 months of almost continuous combat, the 53rd (Welsh) Division had suffered nearly 10,000 casualties: 113 officers and 1,396 other ranks killed, 387 officers and 7,221 other ranks wounded and 33 officers and 1,255 other ranks missing.[39] Of those declared missing, 3 officers and 553 other ranks rejoined their units, bringing the total casualties for the division to 9,849 killed, wounded or missing.[40] As with most divisions, the majority of these casualties were sustained by the average "Tommy" in the infantry–nicknamed the PBI or "Poor Bloody Infantry"–who had sustained more than 80 percent of the total losses. According to Ross the division "captured some 35,000 prisoners of war and probably accounted for the same amount in dead and wounded."[39]

Order of battle

The 53rd Infantry Division was constituted as follows during the Second World War:[15]

158th Infantry Brigade[41]

  • 4th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (left 3 August 1944)
  • 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (left 3 August 1944)
  • 7th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (left 27 April 1945, rejoined 14 June 1945)
  • 158th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (formed 3 July 1940, disbanded 16 February 1941)
  • 1/5th Battalion, Welch Regiment (from 4 August 1944)
  • 1st Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment (from 4 August 1944)
  • 2nd Battalion, South Wales Borderers (from 26 April 1945)

159th Infantry Brigade (left 17 May 1942)[42]

160th Infantry Brigade[43]

  • 4th Battalion, Welch Regiment
  • 1/5th Battalion, Welch Regiment (left 3 August 1944)
  • 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment
  • 160th Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (formed 1 July 1940, disbanded 15 February 1941)
  • 6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers (from 4 August 1944)

31st Tank Brigade (from 17 May 1942, left 10 September 1943)[44]

71st Infantry Brigade (from 18 October 1943)[28]

Divisional Troops


The division ended the war in 1945 in Hamburg. It served later as a peacekeeping force in the Rhineland, then disbanded to reform the 2nd Infantry Division in Germany in early 1947. It was reactivated later that year, serving as part of the peacetime TA. The 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division was finally disbanded in 1968.

There remain a few remnants of the division in the TA. The 160th Brigade is the regional brigade responsible for the administration of all TA units in Wales, while 53 (Welsh) Signal Squadron are the descendant formation of 53rd (Welsh) Divisional Signal Regiment, and continues to serve in a very similar capacity, providing communications support to the 160th Brigade.

Battle honours

First World War
Second World War


  • Brigadier-General Augustus W. Hill: April 1908-January 1909
  • Major-General Francis Lloyd: January 1909-September 1913
  • Major-General the Hon. John E. Lindley: 14 October 1913 – 19 August 1915[5]
  • Major-General the Hon. Herbert Alexander Lawrence (temporary): 19–25 August 1915[5]
  • Major-General William R. Marshall: 25 August–9 September 1915[5]
  • Brigadier-General W.J.C. Butler (acting): 9–13 September 1915[5]
  • Major-General William R. Marshall: 13 September–23 December 1915[5]
  • Brigadier-General R. O'B Taylor (acting): 23–27 December 1915[5]
  • Brigadier-General W.J.C. Butler (acting): 27 December 1915 – 11 January 1916[5]
  • Major-General Alister G. Dallas: 11 January 1916 – 6 March 1916[5]
  • Brigadier-General A.H. Short (acting): 8–11 March 1916[5]
  • Major-General Alister G. Dallas: 11 March–20 May 1916[5]
  • Brigadier-General A.H. Short (acting): 20 May–28 June 1916[5]
  • Major-General Alister G. Dallas: 28 June 1916 – 10 April 1917[5]
  • Major-General Stanley F. Mott: 10 April 1917-July 1919[5]
  • Major-General Cyril J. Deverell: July 1919 – 1921
  • Major-General Sir Archibald A. Montgomery: March 1922-June 1923
  • Major-General Sir Thomas O. Marden: June 1923-June 1927
  • Major-General Thomas Astley Cubitt: June 1927-October 1928
  • Major-General Charles P. Deedes: October 1928-June 1930
  • Major-General Charles J.C. Grant: June 1930-December 1932
  • Major-General James K. Dick-Cunyngham: December 1932-June 1935
  • Major-General Gervase Thorpe: June 1935-June 1939
  • Major-General Bevil T. Wilson: June 1939-29 July 1941[15]
  • Major-General Gerard C. Bucknall: 29 July 1941 – 12 September 1942[15]
  • Major-General Robert K. Ross: 12 September 1942 – 16 February 1945[15]
  • Brigadier M. Elrington (acting): 16 February–10 March 1945[15]
  • Major-General Robert K. Ross: 10 March-27 May 1945[15]
  • Brigadier C.F.C. Coleman (acting): 27 May–3 June 1945[15]
  • Major-General Robert K. Ross: 3 June-26 August 1945[15]
  • Brigadier C.F.C. Coleman (acting): 26 August 1945–[15]
  • Major-General Francis R. G. Matthews: 1945-1946
  • Major-General George W. Richards: 1946-1947
  • Major-General Philip M. Balfour: 1946-February 1947
  • Major-General Christopher G. Woolner: January–August 1947
  • Major-General George N. Wood: August 1947-March 1950
  • Major-General Ernest E. Down: March 1950-October 1952
  • Major-General Edric M. Bastyan: October 1952-March 1955
  • Major-General William R. Cox: March 1955-January 1958
  • Major-General Lewis O. Pugh: January 1958-February 1961

Victoria Cross recipients

  • Captain Tasker Watkins, 1/5th Battalion, Welch Regiment, Second World War
  • Refer to Monmouthshire Regiment section for Corporal Thomas Edward Chapman VC

See also


  1. ^ a b c 1/5th and 1/6th Battalions of the Royal Welch Fusiliers were amalgamated on 3 August 1918 as the 5th/6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers.[10]


  1. ^ Baker, Chris. "The Royal Welsh Fusiliers". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Royal Welsh Fusiliers". Forces War Records. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  3. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 53rd (Welsh) Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  4. ^ Monthly Army List, August 1914.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Becke, pp. 117–23.
  6. ^ Conrad.
  7. ^ 53 (W) Division at Regimental Warpath.
  8. ^ Ward, pp. 10–12, 56–7
  9. ^ Young, Annex D.
  10. ^ a b c d James 1978, p. 67
  11. ^ James 1978, p. 117
  12. ^ Becke, p. 15.
  13. ^ Becke, pp. 1–7.
  14. ^ "53 (Welsh) Division (1930-38)" (PDF). British Military History. 20 March 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Joslen, pp. 87–8
  16. ^ Barclay, p. 26.
  17. ^ http://www.britishmilitaryhistory.co.uk/webeasycms/hold/uploads/bmh_document_pdf/38-Infantry-Division-1939-.pdf
  18. ^ Delaforce, p. 13.
  19. ^ Barclay, p. 36.
  20. ^ Delaforce, p. 15.
  21. ^ Barclay, p. 41.
  22. ^ Barclay, p. 42.
  23. ^ http://www.britishmilitaryhistory.co.uk/webeasycms/hold/uploads/bmh_document_pdf/53-Infantry-Division-1939-.pdf
  24. ^ http://www.queensroyalsurreys.org.uk/colonels_and_co/commanding_officers/queens_west_surrey/023.html
  25. ^ Barclay, p. 47.
  26. ^ Barclay, p. 52.
  27. ^ Delaforce, p. 23.
  28. ^ a b Joslen, p. 302.
  29. ^ Barclay, p. 60.
  30. ^ http://ww2today.com/16-august-1944-tasker-watkins-first-welsh-vc-of-the-war
  31. ^ a b Barclay, pp. 66–67.
  32. ^ Delaforce, p. 85.
  33. ^ Barclay, p. 69.
  34. ^ Delaforce, p. 151.
  35. ^ Barclay, p. 125.
  36. ^ Delaforce, p. 160.
  37. ^ Delaforce, p. 162.
  38. ^ Barclay, p. 147.
  39. ^ a b Delaforce, p. 219.
  40. ^ Barclay, p. 178.
  41. ^ Joslen, p. 346.
  42. ^ Joslen, p. 347.
  43. ^ Joslen, p. 348.
  44. ^ Joslen, p. 204.
  45. ^ Barclay, p. 199.


  • Barclay, C. N. (1956). The History of the 53rd (Welsh) Division in the Second World War. London: Wm. Clowes & Sons. OCLC 36762829.
  • Becke, Major A. F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4.
  • Delaforce, P. (2015) [1996]. Red Crown & Dragon: 53rd Welsh Division in North-West Europe 1944–1945 (Thistle ed.). Brighton: Tom Donovan. ISBN 1-91019-863-3.
  • James, Brigadier E. A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.
  • Joslen, Lt-Col. H. F. (2003). Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945. Uckfield: Naval & Military. ISBN 1-84342-474-6.
  • Westlake, Ray (1996). British Regiments at Gallipoli. Barnsley: Leo Cooper. ISBN 0-85052-511-X.
  • Maj C.H. Dudley Ward, History of the 53rd (Welsh) Division (T.F.) 1914–1918, Cardiff: Western Mail, 1927/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 978-1-845740-50-4.
  • Lt-Col Michael Young, Army Service Corps 1902–1918, Barnsley: Leo Cooper, 2000, ISBN 0-85052-730-9.

External links

158th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 158th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that served in both World War I and World War II before being disbanded in 1968. Throughout its existence the brigade was assigned to the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division and was composed almost entirely of Territorial battalions from the Royal Welch Fusiliers.

159th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 159th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army. Part of the Territorial Army (TA), the brigade was assigned to the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division and served with the division in the early stages of World War II until May 1942 when it was transferred to be the motorised infantry element of the 11th Armoured Division. The brigade would serve with the 11th Armoured in North-west Europe from June 1944 to May 1945.

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.

53rd Division

53rd Division or 53rd Infantry Division may refer to:

53rd Infantry Division (France)

53rd Reserve Division (German Empire)

53rd Infantry Division Arezzo, an Italian division of World War II

53rd Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, a British division of World Wars I and II

53 Division (Sri Lanka)

71st Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 71st Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army that saw active service during both the First and Second world wars.

Christopher Woolner

Major General Christopher Geoffrey Woolner & Two Bars (18 October 1893 – 10 January 1984) was a senior British Army officer who served in the First World War and Second World War.

Cyril Deverell

Sir Cyril John Deverell, (9 November 1874 – 12 May 1947) was a British Army Field Marshal, who served as Chief of the Imperial General Staff from 1936 to 1937. He fought in the Fourth Anglo-Ashanti War and the First World War and later advised the Government on the importance of maintaining the capability to mount an Expeditionary Force for operations on mainland Europe.

Dudley Ryder, 7th Earl of Harrowby

Dudley Danvers Granville Coutts Ryder, 7th Earl of Harrowby, TD (20 December 1922 – 9 October 2007) was a deputy chairman of Coutts bank and its parent company, NatWest. He was a descendent of Thomas Coutts, who joined the bank in 1761, and of Sir Dudley Ryder, Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench in the 1750s. He was known by his courtesy title of Viscount Sandon from 1956 to 1987, when he succeeded to the title of Earl of Harrowby upon the death of his father, the 6th Earl.

When he was born, his father, also Dudley Ryder, was Member of Parliament for Shrewsbury and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Sir Samuel Hoare. His mother, Lady Helena Blanche Coventry, was the daughter of George William Coventry, Viscount Deerhurst, first son of George Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry.

He was educated at Eton. He joined the young soldiers' battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment in 1940, while at Eton. He was commissioned in 1942. He landed in Normandy 6 days after D-Day, and served in Northern Europe in the Second World War in the 59th (Staffordshire) Infantry Division. He moved to the 133 Field Regiment Royal Artillery in February 1945, part of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division, but was severely injured near the Reichswald forest only a few days later. After recovering from his injuries, he was posted to the Far East in preparation for the invasion of Malaya, Operation Zipper. The operation was abandoned following the surrender of Japan. He remained in the Far East after the war, serving as a political officer with the 5th Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in Java, under Laurens van der Post. He continued as an officer in the Territorial Army after he retired from the regular Army, rising to rank of lieutenant-colonel before retiring in 1964, having commanded the 254 (City of London) Field Regiment Royal Artillery.Although he did not follow many of his ancestors in standing for Parliament, he was a councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 1950 to 1971. He was president of the Wolverhampton South West Conservative Association, resigning in protest after the sitting MP, Enoch Powell, made his "rivers of blood" speech in 1968.

He turned down a place at New College, Oxford to join the family bank after leaving the Army, and became a managing director in 1949. He continued in that role until 1989, and was also deputy chairman from 1970 to 1989. He was responsible for the modernisation of the bank during the 1970s and 1980s, introducing computerisation and co-ordinating a redevelopment of the bank's offices on the Strand to a design by Sir Frederick Gibberd. When Coutts' parent company, National Provincial Bank, merged with Westminster Bank in 1968, he joined the board of the combined NatWest Bank. He was deputy chairman of NatWest from 1971 to 1987.

He was also a director of the National Provident Institution until 1986, and of the Saudi International Bank, Bentley Engineering, Powell Duffryn, Dowty and Dinorwic Slate Quarries. He also held public appointments, including being chairman of the governors of the combined Bethlem Royal and Maudsley hospitals, a governor of the University of Keele, and treasurer of the Family Welfare Association. He was also a member of the member Trilateral Commission and of the Institut International d'Études Bancaires.

He took the courtesy title of Viscount Sandon following the death of his grandfather in 1956, and succeeded his father as 7th Earl of Harrowby in 1987. He also inherited the family seat, neo-Jacobean Sandon Hall near Stafford, designed by William Burn in 1850. Together with all but 90 hereditary peers, he lost his seat in the House of Lords after the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999 implemented reforms proposed by the Labour Government.He married Jeannette Rosalthé Johnston-Saint, younger daughter of Captain Peter Johnston-Saint, on 14 June 1949. They had a son and a daughter. His first wife died in 1997, and he remarried in 2003, to Janet Boote (née Stott), youngest daughter of Alan Edward Stott.

He died suddenly at Sandon Hall, of a suspected heart attack. He was survived by his second wife, and the two children from his first marriage. His son, Dudley Ryder, succeeded him as 8th Earl.

Ernest Down

Lieutenant-General Sir Ernest Edward Down KBE CB (1902–1980) was a senior officer of the British Army, who saw active service during World War II.

Francis Matthews (British Army officer)

Major General Francis Raymond Gage Matthews CB DSO (26 January 1903 – 26 May 1976) was a British Army officer who served in World War II and later was Commander of British Forces in Hong Kong.

Gerard Bucknall

Lieutenant-General Gerard Corfield Bucknall CB, MC, DL (14 September 1894 – 7 December 1980) was a senior British Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II, where he commanded the 5th Infantry Division and later XXX Corps during the Battle of Normandy in mid-1944.

Herefordshire Light Infantry

The Herefordshire Light Infantry was an infantry regiment of the British Army in existence from 1861 to 1967. The regiment had no lineal connection with the 36th (Herefordshire) Regiment of Foot.

Logan Scott-Bowden

Major General Logan Scott-Bowden, CBE, DSO, MC and Bar (21 February 1920 - 9 February 2014) was a British army officer. A Royal Engineers officer during World War II, he was the first commander of the Ulster Defence Regiment. Retiring as a Major General in 1974, he served as the Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Engineers from 1975 to 1980.

Monmouthshire Regiment

The Monmouthshire Regiment was an infantry regiment of the British Army and the Territorial Army. Originating in units of rifle volunteers formed in Monmouthshire in 1859, the regiment served in the Second Anglo-Boer War and both World War I and World War II before losing its separate identity in 1967.

Operation Jupiter (1944)

Operation Jupiter was an offensive by VIII Corps of the British Second Army on 10 July 1944 during the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War. The objective of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division (Major-General Ivo Thomas), was to capture the villages of Baron-sur-Odon, Fontaine-Étoupefour, Chateau de Fontaine and to recapture Hill 112. An attached brigade of the 15th (Scottish) Infantry Division would take Éterville, Maltot and the ground up to the River Orne and then the tanks of the 4th Armoured Brigade, supported by infantry, would advance through the captured ground and secure several villages to the west of the River Orne. It was hoped that the initial objectives could be captured by 9:00 a.m., after which the 4th Armoured Brigade would exploit the success.

The British advance went well at first but fighting for Hill 112 took all day and Maltot changed hands several times. On 11 July, counter-attacks by the 9th SS Panzer Division Hohenstaufen, 10th SS Panzer Division Frundsberg and the schwere-SS Panzer Battalion 102 in the afternoon, forced the British off the top of Hill 112 to positions on the north-facing slope. The operation was a tactical failure for VIII Corps but a strategic success for the Allies, attrition having reduced the II SS Panzer Corps to a condition from which it never recovered. British operations of the Second Battle of the Odon conducted in the Odon valley continued in July and the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division occupied Hill 112 almost unopposed on 4 August, after the Germans withdrew during Operation Cobra and Operation Bluecoat further west. A stone memorial to the 43rd Division was built on the hill in the late 1940s.

Robert Knox Ross

Major General Robert Knox Ross CB DSO MC (23 August 1893 – 3 November 1951) was a senior British Army officer who, during World War II, commanded the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division throughout the campaign in North-West Europe from June 1944 until May 1945.

Thomas Marden

Major General Sir Thomas Owen Marden, KBE, CB, CMG (15 September 1866 – 11 September 1951) was a British Army officer, active during the Second Boer War and World War I, where he commanded a battalion of the Welsh Regiment, a brigade, and finally the 6th Division. Following the war, he commanded a British occupying force in Turkey during the Chanak Crisis in the early 1920s.

William Reginald Cox

Major-General William Reginald Cox CB, DSO (13 June 1905 – 12 June 1988) was a senior British Army officer who commanded the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment in the Western European Campaign from June 1944 until Victory in Europe Day in May 1945. He later served as colonel of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

Divisions of the British Army

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