Western District (British Army)

Western District was a command of the British Army.

Western District
Country United Kingdom
BranchFlag of the British Army.svg British Army
TypeDistrict Command
Garrison/HQGovernment House, Devonport (1793-1905)
Copthorne Barracks (1967–1995)
Government House, Devonport, command headquarters from 1793 to 1905
Copthorne Barracks, command headquarters from 1967 to 1995


Early formationEdit

Great Britain was divided into military districts on the outbreak of war with France in 1793.[1] The role of Western District Commander, which was doubled hatted with that of Lieutenant-Governor of Plymouth, was based at Government House, Mount Wise in Devonport.[2][3] In January 1876 a ‘Mobilization Scheme for the forces in Great Britain and Ireland’ was published, with the ‘Active Army’ divided into eight army corps based on the District Commands. This scheme disappeared in 1881, when the districts were retitled ‘District Commands.[4] By the 1890s the command included the counties of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset and all of South Wales.[5]

In 1901 Western District was grouped with South East District at Dover and Southern District at Portsmouth under Second Army Corps at Salisbury. 2nd Army Corps was renamed Southern Command in 1905.[6]


The district was formed from 48th (South Midland) Division as part of the Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve in 1967.[7] It had its headquarters at Copthorne Barracks, and was placed under the command of HQ UK Land Forces in 1972.[8] In the early 1980s West Midlands District became "Western District".[9] In 1991, the first of the minor districts to be amalgamated were North West District, the former West Midlands District (by then Western District) and Wales, to form a new Wales and Western District.[10] It was disbanded again on the formation of HQ Land Command in 1995.[11]

General Officers CommandingEdit

General officers Commanding included:[12]
Western District

West Midlands District

Western District

Wales and Western District


  1. ^ Robert Burnham and Ron McGuigan, The British Army Against Napoleon: Facts, Lists and Trivia, 1805–1815 (2010) p. 7.
  2. ^ "Devonport in 1878". Whites Directory of Devon. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Plymouth Maritime Headquarters (Mount Wise)". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  4. ^ Army List 1876–1881.
  5. ^ Harrison, General Sir Richard (1908). "Recollections of a Life in the British Army During the Latter Half of the 19th century". Smith, Eldr & Co. p. 315.
  6. ^ Col John K. Dunlop, The Development of the British Army 1899–1914, London: Methuen, 1938.
  7. ^ Steinberg, S. (1967). The Statesman's Year-Book 1967-68: The Encyclopaedia for the Businessman-of-The-World. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 106. ISBN 978-0230270961.
  8. ^ Paxton, J. (1972). The Statesman's Year-Book 1972-73: The Encyclopaedia for the Businessman-of-The-World. Palgrave Macmillan UK. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-230-27101-2.
  9. ^ Army List 1981
  10. ^ Beevor, Antony (1991). Inside the British Army. Transworld Publishers. p. 232. ISBN 978-0552138185.
  11. ^ "Land Command Shapes Up", Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 July 1995.
  12. ^ "Army Commands" (PDF). Retrieved 2 July 2016.