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The 155th (South Scottish) Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service in both World War I and World War II. Assigned to the 52nd (Lowland) Division, the brigade saw active service in the Middle East and on the Western Front during the First World War. During the Second World War, now the 155th Infantry Brigade, it continued to serve with the 52nd Division in Operation Dynamo, and later in North-western Europe from late 1944 until May 1945.

South Scottish Brigade
155th (South Scottish) Brigade
155th Infantry Brigade
155th Independent Infantry Brigade
52 inf div -vector.svg
52nd Division insignia, Second World War
Country United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
TypeInfantry, Mountain and Air Landing
Part of52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division



The Scottish Border Brigade (originally the South of Scotland Brigade) was a Volunteer Infantry Brigade of the British Army formed in 1888.

The enthusiasm for the Volunteer movement following an invasion scare in 1859 saw the creation of many Rifle, Artillery and Engineer Volunteer units composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need.[1][2] The Stanhope Memorandum of 1888 proposed a comprehensive Mobilisation Scheme for Volunteer units, which would assemble in their own brigades at key points in case of war. In peacetime, these brigades provided a structure for collective training.[3][4] Under this scheme the Volunteer Battalions in the Scottish Border areas would assemble at Hawick.[5]

From 1888, the South of Scotland/Scottish Border Brigade had the following composition:[5]

In the early 1890s, the two Black Watch battalions were replaced by:

After a further reorganisation in 1902, the 1st and 2nd VBs of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (at Kilmarnock and Ayr respectively) replaced the two battalions of the Royal Scots.

The Brigade Headquarters (HQ) and place of assembly was at Hawick and Colonel Viscount Melgund (later 4th Earl of Minto) was appointed brigade commander on 11 July 1888. From 1900, the brigade commander was the Officer Commanding the 25th Regimental District (the KOSB district) at Berwick-upon-Tweed, then from 1906 it was commanded by retired Colonel P.D. Trotter.[5]

Territorial ForceEdit

After the Volunteers were subsumed into the new Territorial Force (TF) under the Haldane Reforms of 1908,[6][7] the South Scottish Brigade (as it was now designated) formed part of the Lowland Division of the TF with the following composition:[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]

  • 4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, at Kilmarnock
  • 5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, at Ayr
  • 4th (Border) Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers (from 1st Roxburgh & Selkirk VRC and 2nd VB), at Galashiels
  • 5th (Dumfries & Galloway) Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers (from 3rd VB and Galloway VRC), at Dumfries

First World WarEdit

On the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Lowland Division was mobilised for full-time war service. In 1915, the division was numbered as the 52nd (Lowland) Division and the brigade the 155th (1/1st South Scottish) Brigade and the battalions received the '1/' prefix (1/4th Royal Royal Scots Fusiliers) to distinguish them from their 2nd Line units being formed as the 194th (2/1st South Scottish) Brigade, part of 65th (2nd Lowland) Division. During the First World War the brigade served in the Middle Eastern theatre and later on the Western Front.

First World War order of battleEdit

  • 1/4th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
  • 1/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers
  • 1/4th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers
  • 1/5th Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers (left 28 June 1918)
  • 155th Machine Gun Company, Machine Gun Corps (formed 23 March 1916, moved to 52nd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps 28 April 1918)
  • 155th Trench Mortar Battery (formed 24 May 1917)[16]

Between the warsEdit

After the war, the brigade and division were both disbanded as was the Territorial Force. The Territorial Force was, however, reformed in 1920 as the Territorial Army and the 52nd Division was reconstituted as was the brigade, which was redesignated as the 155th (South Scottish) Infantry Brigade. The brigade was reformed with the same units as it had before the First World War.[17]

In 1921, the 4th and 5th battalions of the Royal Scots Fusiliers were amalgamated into the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers[18] and it was later transferred to the 156th (Scottish Rifles) Infantry Brigade, later redesignated 156th (West Scottish) Infantry Brigade. The 155th Brigade later received the 4th/5th (Queen's Edinburgh Rifles) Battalion, Royal Scots (the amalgamated 4th and 5th battalions) and the 7th/9th (Highlanders) Battalion, Royal Scots (the amalgamated 7th and 9th) both arrived from 156th Brigade and was redesignated 155th (East Scottish) Infantry Brigade.

In the late 1930s, there was an increasing need for anti-aircraft defences throughout Britain and many infantry battalions were converted into anti-aircraft or searchlight units of the Royal Artillery or Royal Engineers. In 1938, all infantry brigades of the British Army were reduced from four to three battalions and, in the same year, the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots was converted into an anti-aircraft role, becoming the 4th/5th Battalion, Royal Scots (52nd Searchlight Regiment).[19] In 1939 the brigade was finally redesignated 155th Infantry Brigade.

Second World WarEdit

During the Second World War, the 155th Infantry Brigade served with the 52nd Division during Operation Ariel in France in 1940 to cover the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) which was being evacuated from France. The 52nd Division was itself evacuated from France on 17 June 1940, and spent many years on anti-invasion duties, training to repel an expected German invasion of Britain. From May 1942 to June 1944, the division was trained in mountain warfare yet was never used in the role. They were then trained in airlanding operations but were, again, never utilised in the role. In October 1944, they were sent to Belgium as a standard infantry division to join the 21st Army Group and were attached to First Canadian Army and fought in the Battle of the Scheldt where the 52nd Division gained an excellent reputation. The brigade was attached to 7th Armoured Division during Operation Blackcock in 1945 and ended the war by the River Elbe.

Second World War order of battleEdit

156th Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[20]

Second World War commandersEdit

The following officers commanded 155th Brigade during the war:[20]

  • Brigadier T. Grainger-Stewart (until 14 February 1942)
  • Brigadier C.D. Moorhead (from 14 February until 28 July 1942)
  • Lieutenant Colonel T.H.M. Murray (Acting, from 28 to 30 July 1942)
  • Brigadier G.P. Miller (from 30 July 1942 until 27 January 1943)
  • Lieutenant Colonel J.T. Campbell (Acting, from 27 January until 16 February 1943)
  • Brigadier E. Hakewill Smith (from 16 February until 19 November 1943)
  • Lieutenant Colonel W.F.R. Turner (Acting, from 19 November until 9 December 1943)
  • Lieutenant Colonel W.A.H. Maxwell (Acting, from 9 to 11 December 1943)
  • Brigadier J.F.S. McLaren (from 11 December 1943 until 4 February 1945, from 20 February to 25 June, again from 30 June to 31 July, and again from 12 August 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel W.F.R. Turner (Acting, from 4 to 15 February 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel E.L. Percival (Acting, from 15 to 20 February 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel J.G. Dawson (Acting, from 25 to 30 June 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel E.L. Percival (Acting, from 31 July until 12 August 1945)

Victoria Cross recipientsEdit


  1. ^ Beckett.
  2. ^ Spiers, pp. 163–8.
  3. ^ Beckett, pp. 135, 185–6.
  4. ^ Dunlop, pp. 60–1.
  5. ^ a b c Army List, various dates.
  6. ^ Dunlop, Chapter 14.
  7. ^ Spiers, Chapter 10.
  8. ^ Thompson, pp. 3–5.
  9. ^ London Gazette, 20 March 1908.
  10. ^ Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 109–15.
  11. ^ 52 (L) Division at Long, Long Trail.
  12. ^ RSF at Long, Long Trail.
  13. ^ KOSB at Long, Long Trail.
  14. ^ "52 (L) Division at Regimental Warpath". Archived from the original on 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  15. ^ Conrad, British Army, 1914.
  16. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 52nd (Lowland) Division in 1914-1918". The Long Long Trail. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  17. ^ "52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (1930–38)" (PDF). British Military History. 13 December 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  18. ^ "The Royal Scots Fusiliers". Archived from the original on 9 February 2006. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  19. ^ "1st Battalion, The Queen's Edinburgh Rifles". Archived from the original on 2005-12-27. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  20. ^ a b Joslen (1960), p. 342.


  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-847347-39-8.
  • Col John K. Dunlop, The Development of the British Army 1899–1914, London: Methuen, 1938.
  • Joslen, Lt.-Col. Hubert Frank (1960). Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-84342-474-6.
  • Edward M. Spiers, The Army and Society 1815–1914, London: Longmans, 1980, ISBN 0-582-48565-7.
  • Lt-Col R.R. Thompson, The Fifty-Second (Lowland) Division 1914–1918, Glasgow: Maclehose, Jackson 1923/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 978-1-84342993-7.

External sourcesEdit