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24th Infantry Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 24th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade formation of the British Army from the First World War, serving through the Second World War, until 1999 when it was merged with the 5th Airborne Brigade to form 16 Air Assault Brigade.

24th Brigade
24th Infantry Brigade (Guards)
24th Independent Infantry Brigade Group (Guards)
24th Airportable Brigade
24th (Airmobile) Brigade
24th Infantry Brigade Badge.gif
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
RoleAir Assault Infantry
Major-General Sir Colin McVean Gubbins
Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Arthur Montague Browning
Major-General Derek Horsford CBE DSO*



First World WarEdit

The Brigade was first formed as part of the 8th Division by battalions returning from overseas stations to reinforce British forces on the Western Front in France. The Brigade moved to France with the rest of the 8th Division in November 1914 and fought there for the entire war.

Order of battleEdit

The order of battle included:[1]

Second World WarEdit

In 1940 the 24th Guards Brigade, under the command of Brigadier Colin McVean Gubbins, it was part of Lieutenant General Hugh Massey's unsuccessful British force that was sent to Norway in April. It arrived in Narvik on 15 April 1940 and was evacuated on 8 June 1940.

Men of the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards, marching along St Pauls Cray Road near Chislehurst in Kent, 15 June 1942.

In 1942-1943 the 24th Guards Brigade formed part of the 1st Infantry Division and the 6th Armoured Division during the fighting in Tunisia and Algeria. From 7 December 1943 to 31 August 1945 it served in the Italian Campaign with 1st Division, fighting at Anzio from January to March 1944, where the brigade, by the time it was relieved by 18th Brigade, had suffered 1,950 casualties. From March 1944 the brigade was mainly with the 6th South African Armoured Division until March 1945 when it joined 56th (London) Infantry Division. As 24th Guards Brigade it was part of the force that liberated Trieste in 1945, but soon afterwards lost its 'Guards' title as the Guards units were withdrawn from the brigade and became 24th Independent Infantry Brigade, the infantry element of the Trieste Garrison - BETFOR (British Element Trieste Force).

Order of Battle 1939 - 1945Edit

24th Guards Brigade was constituted as follows during the war:[2]


The following officers commanded 24th Guards Brigade during the war:

Post World War IIEdit

The Brigade was withdrawn from Trieste in October 1954. In 1960 as 24th Infantry Brigade Group the brigade's commander, Brigadier D.G. Horsford, was rushed from Kenya to Kuwait to take command of the British land forces assembled to dissuade President Kassem of Iraq from invading the country (Operation Vantage). By December 1963 Kenya gained its independence, and the 24th Brigade was reduced to two battalions, 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards and 1st Battalion, Staffordshire Regiment, both at Kahawa, plus 3rd Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery and 1st Battalion, Gordon Highlanders at Gilgil. It was involved in putting down indigenous army mutinies which sprang up in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Uganda (see Ugandan People's Defence Force), and Kenya itself in January 1964. Brigade Headquarters left Kenya for Aden at the end of October 1964, and stayed there until the final British evacuation of Aden in November 1967. On its return home it joined 3rd Infantry Division in 1968 as part of Army Strategic Command and was based at Crownhill Fort in Plymouth, now restored and a museum.[3]

The Brigade arrived in Northern Ireland at the start of The Troubles in mid-1969 and was back again in June 1970. The brigade was soon afterward reorganised as 24th Airportable Brigade at Streatlam Camp, Barnard Castle, County Durham. At this time the Brigade headquarters consisted of elements from various units. There was a large contingent of Royal Corps of Signals (210 Signal Squadron), Royal Pioneer Corps, Intelligence Corps and Royal Army Ordnance Corps. After its reformation in 1983, it became part of the 2nd Infantry Division.[4] It had the war role of putting an airmobile anti-tank barrier in the face of any Soviet breakthrough of I (BR) Corps defences in Germany. 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment pioneered this new airmobile role and served with UNPROFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, as part of the 'Rapid Reaction Force. It combined with elements of 5th Airborne Brigade to become 16 Air Assault Brigade.[5]

Structure in 1989Edit

In 1989, the 24th Infantry Brigade was known as the 24th (Air-mobile) Brigade. The Brigade was headquartered at Catterick, under the 2nd Infantry Division. The structure is as follows:

24th Airmobile Infantry Brigade


  1. ^ "The 8th Division in 1914-1918". The Long, Long Trail. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  2. ^ "24th Infantry Brigade". Orders of Battle. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Crownhill Fort Key: A large iron key in fitted oak box with presentation plaque, 29cm, ""Crownhill"". The Saleroom. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  4. ^ Black, Harvey. "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6".
  5. ^ "4th Division". Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on 31 July 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  6. ^ "1st Bn, The Prince of Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire: Service". 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  7. ^ "1st Bn, The Green Howards: Deployments". 2007-12-16. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  8. ^ "1st Bn, The King Shropshire Light Infantry: Deployments". 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  9. ^ "27 REGIMENT ROYAL ARTILLERY". 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  10. ^ "Army Air Corps (UK)". 2007-11-30. Retrieved 2018-09-13.
  11. ^ "Corps of Royal Engineers". 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2018-09-13.