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157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade

The 157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army. The brigade fought in both World War I and World War II, assigned to 52nd (Lowland) Division.

Highland Light Infantry Brigade
157th (Highland Light Infantry) Brigade
157th Infantry Brigade
52 inf div -vector.svg
52nd (Lowland) Division insignia, World War II.
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Air Landing
Part of52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division
EngagementsWorld War I
World War II


The Highland Light Infantry Brigade was originally a Volunteer Infantry Brigade formed in 1902 when the former Glasgow Brigade of the Volunteer Force was split up. The four Volunteer Battalions of the Highland Light Infantry constituted one brigade, while the four Volunteer Battalions of the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) formed the other (the Scottish Rifles Brigade Brigade, later the 156th (Scottish Rifles) Brigade of the TF).[2]

From 1902 to 1908 the Highland Light Infantry Brigade had the following composition:[2]

The Brigade Headquarters (HQ) was at Hamilton, later at 2 West Regent Street, Glasgow. Initially the brigade commander was the Officer Commanding the 26th and 71st Regimental Districts (the HLI districts), later it was Colonel R.C. MacKenzie, former commanding officer of the 1st VB, HLI.[2]

Territorial ForceEdit

After the Volunteers were subsumed into the new Territorial Force (TF) under the Haldane Reforms of 1908,[3][4] the Scottish Rifles Brigade formed part of the Lowland Division of the TF with the following composition:[5][6][7][8][9][10]

  • 5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry
  • 6th (City of Glasgow) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry
  • 7th (Blythswood) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry
  • 8th (Lanark) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry

First World WarEdit

Upon the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, the Lowland Division was mobilised immediately for full-time war service. In May 1915 the brigade became the 157th (1/1st Highland Light Infantry) Brigade and the division the 52nd (Lowland) Division. The battalions were also redesignated with the '1/' prefix, 1/4th HLI. This was to avoid confusion with the 2nd Line duplicates which were also forming up and training as the 196th (2/1st Highland Light Infantry) Brigade of 65th (2nd Lowland) Division. The 2nd Line units consisted mainly of those few men who did not volunteer for overseas service when asked at the outbreak of war, together with the many recruits, and were intended to act as a reserve for the 1st Line units being sent overseas. During the war the brigade and division served in the Middle East and later on the Western Front.

Order of battle First World WarEdit

Between the warsEdit

After the Great War both the brigade and division were disbanded, as was the rest of the Territorial Force which was later renamed in the 1920s as the Territorial Army and the 52nd Division was reconstituted as was the brigade, which became the 157th (Highland Light Infantry) Infantry Brigade, again composed of the 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th battalions of the Highland Light Infantry and remained this way for most of the inter-war period.[12]

In 1938, due to an increasing need to strengthen the anti-aircraft defences of the country, the 7th Battalion, HLI was transferred to the Royal Artillery and converted into 83rd (7th (Blythswood) Battalion, Highland Light Infantry) Anti-Aircraft Brigade, Royal Artillery.[13] In the same year the 9th (Glasgow Highland) Battalion was redesignated 1st Battalion, Glasgow Highlanders[14] but still retained the Highland Light Infantry as its parent regiment. In the following year the brigade was redesignated as 157th Infantry Brigade.

Second World WarEdit

Men of the 7th Battalion, Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) use a small boat to cross a canal in the town of Rheine, Germany, 3 April 1945.

During the Second World War, the brigade served with the division during Operation Ariel in France in mid-1940 to cover the withdrawal of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) being evacuated from France. In 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 to join the 21st Army Group and were attached to the First Canadian Army and fought in the Battle of the Scheldt. The brigade took part in Operation Blackcock in 1945 and ended the war by the River Elbe.

Order of battleEdit

The 157th Infantry Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[15]


The following officers commanded the 157th Infantry Brigade during the war:[15]

  • Brigadier N.R. Campbell (until 23 April 1940)
  • Brigadier Sir J.E. Laurie, Bart (from 23 April 1940 until 30 March 1941)
  • Brigadier E. Hakewill Smith (from 30 March 1941 until 22 March 1942)
  • Brigadier F.L. Johnston (from 22 March 1942 until 22 November 1943)
  • Brigadier J.D. Russell (from 22 November 1943 until 26 January 1945)
  • Brigadier E.H.G. Grant (from 26 January until 24 July 1945)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Acting, from 24 July 1945)


  1. ^ "52nd (Lowland) Infantry Division (1944–45)" (PDF). British Military History. 14 December 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 28 July 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Army List, various dates.
  3. ^ Dunlop, Chapter 14.
  4. ^ Spiers, Chapter 10.
  5. ^ Thompson, pp. 3–5.
  6. ^ London Gazette, 20 March 1908.
  7. ^ Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 109–15.
  8. ^ 52 (L) Division at Long, Long Trail.
  9. ^ "52 (L) Division at Regimental Warpath". Archived from the original on 2009-12-28. Retrieved 2009-12-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  10. ^ Conrad, British Army, 1914.
  11. ^ Baker, Chris. "The 52nd (Lowland) Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  12. ^ "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. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ "7th Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry [UK]". Archived from the original on 2005-12-30. Retrieved 7 August 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ "The Glasgow Highlanders [UK]". Archived from the original on 2006-02-09. Retrieved 7 August 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  15. ^ a b Joslen (1990), p. 344.


  • 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.
  • James, Brigadier E. A. (1978). British Regiments 1914–18. London: Samson Books Limited. ISBN 0-906304-03-2.
  • Joslen, Lt.-Col. H. F. (1990) [1st. Pub. HMSO:1960]. Orders of Battle, Second World War, 1939–1945. London: London Stamp Exchange. ISBN 0-948130-03-2.
  • 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