53rd Brigade (United Kingdom)

The 53rd Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Army that saw active service in both the First and Second World Wars. In the First World War, the brigade served with 18th (Eastern) Division and during the Second with the 18th Infantry Division.

53rd Brigade
53rd Infantry Brigade
British 18th (Eastern) Division insignia.png
18th Division insignia, First World War
Country United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Part of18th (Eastern) Division
18th Infantry Division
EngagementsBattle of Muar (Malayan Campaign)
Battle of Singapore


First World WarEdit

The 53rd Brigade was raised in 1914 during the Great War and was part of the 18th (Eastern) Division. Both the brigade and division were part of Lord Kitchener's New Armies and fought on the Western Front from 1915 to 1918.

Order of battleEdit

Second World WarEdit

After the war, the brigade and the division were disbanded in 1919. However, the brigade was reformed, as the 53rd Infantry Brigade, on 18 September 1939, after the outbreak of the Second World War, in the Territorial Army from the redesignation of the 163rd Infantry Brigade, originally part of the 54th (East Anglian) Infantry Division. The brigade was assigned to the 18th Infantry Division, a duplicate of 54th Division. During the early years of the war the brigade remained with the 18th Division in the United Kingdom, mainly on training duties and on home defence and anticipating a German invasion. However, the invasion never arrived. In late 1941, the brigade was sent, with the rest of 18th Division, overseas, initially to the Middle East but later to Singapore after Japan entered the war in December. The brigade landed first and fought in the short but bitter and violent Battle of Singapore where they were forced to surrender to the Imperial Japanese Army and became prisoners for the next three years, and received extremely harsh and degrading treatment.[2]

Order of battleEdit

  • 5th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment
  • 6th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment
  • 7th Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment (until 1 November 1939)
  • 2nd Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment (from 1 November 1939)[3]
  • 53rd Infantry Brigade Anti-Tank Company (formed 23 September, disbanded 14 December 1940)[4]


  1. ^ "18th (Eastern) Division". The Long Long Trail. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  2. ^ At the time of its capture the 53rd Brigade was commanded by Brigadier C.L.B. Duke. Commander previous to Duke were Brig. M.D. Jephson and Brig. S. Collingwood."53 Infantry Brigade". Orders of Battle.com.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)