1st (United Kingdom) Division

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1st Division
No. 1 Division
1st Infantry Division
1st Mixed Division
1st Armoured Division
1st (United Kingdom) Division
1st (UK) Division's insignia.png
Divisional insignia of the division, adopted in 1983
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
TypeInfantry Division
SizeArmy 2020 size – around eight brigades, including 102 Logistics Brigade
Part ofField Army
Garrison/HQImphal Barracks, York, United Kingdom
AnniversariesPeninsular Day[1]
EngagementsFirst Gulf War
Iraq War
Website1st UK Division on British Army website and Division's twitter account
Rupert Smith
Insignia of the 1st Infantry Division, which was maintained through to 19831st Infantry Division sign WW2.svg

The 1st (United Kingdom) Division, formerly known as the 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division and the 1st Division, is a division of the British Army.

Divisional history (1809–1959)[edit]

The 1st Division was formed following the disbandment of the 1st Infantry Division and was initially based with the British Army of the Rhine at Verden an der Aller in West Germany.[2]

Cold War[edit]

Ground operations during Operation Desert Storm, showing the 1st Armoured Divisions movements.

During the 1970s, the division consisted of two "square" brigades, the 7th Armoured Brigade and 22nd Armoured Brigade.[3] It became the 1st Armoured Division in 1976 and served with I (BR) Corps being based at Caithness and Shiel Barracks in Verden in Germany from 1978.[4] After being briefly reorganised into two "task forces" ("Alpha" and "Bravo") in the late 1970s, it consisted of the 7th Armoured Brigade, the 12th Armoured Brigade and 22nd Armoured Brigade in the 1980s.[5] The divisional badge dates from 1983, and combines the hollow red triangular "spearhead" badge of the 1st Infantry Division with the charging rhinoceros badge of 1st Armoured Division as displayed in the Second World War.[6]

Gulf War[edit]

The headquarters of the division was deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 to command British land forces in the Gulf War. It had the 4th Armoured Brigade and 7th Armoured Brigade under command. During the war, it came under the US VII Corps and was part of the great armoured left-hook that destroyed many Iraqi Republican Guard formations. The two brigades in the division alternated heading the advance.[7] The division participated in the Battle of Norfolk.[8] During this engagement it destroyed several companies of Iraqi T-55 tanks.[9] After 48 hours of combat, the division destroyed or isolated four Iraqi infantry divisions (the 26th, 48th, 31st, and 25th) and overran the Iraqi 52nd Armoured Division in several sharp engagements. The division traveled 217 miles in 97 hours. It captured or destroyed about 300 tanks[10] and a very large number of armoured personnel carriers, trucks, reconnaissance vehicles, etc.[9][11] The division also took over 7,000 Iraqi prisoners of war including two division commanders and two other general officers.[12]

1993 to 2020[edit]

Structure 1st Armoured Division before the Army 2020 changes.

In 1993, HQ 1st Armoured Division was disbanded and the 1st (UK) Armoured Division formed from the 4th Armoured Division. The headquarters were established at Wentworth Barracks in Herford, Germany, in 1993.[13] In 1994 it had the 4th, 7th, and 20th Armoured Brigades, each with two armoured regiments with Challenger tanks and two Warrior‐equipped armoured infantry battalions and an AS90 self‐propelled howitzer regiment.[14]

The divisional headquarters was deployed in command of the Multi-National Division (South-West) in Bosnia in 1996–1997 and 1998–1999.[15]

The Division headquarters again deployed to the Persian Gulf area in 2003. It again commanded British forces in the area, this time with three full brigades under its control. Those were 7th Armoured Brigade again, along with 16 Air Assault Brigade, and 3 Commando Brigade. In a combined arms operation, the division secured southern Iraq, including the city of Basra during the invasion. It came under I Marine Expeditionary Force during the 2003 conflict.[16]

Under Army 2020, the division was renamed 1st (United Kingdom) Division in July 2014 and given responsibility for commanding the Adaptable Force; and then in June 2015, the divisional headquarters moved to Imphal Barracks in York.[17]


Under the Future Soldier programme, the divisional headquarters will move from their current base at Imphal Barracks in York to Catterick Garrison not before 2028.[18] In addition, the 2nd Medical Brigade (to be reduced to 2nd Medical Group) and 1st Military Police Brigade (to be reduced to 1st Royal Military Provost Group) will both move under control of Commander Field Army.[19]


The brigades currently assigned to the division are:[20][21][22]

Graphic of the 1st UK Division as of March 2021.

See also[edit]




  1. ^ 1 (UK) Division (6 July 2022). "1 (UK) Division". Twitter. Retrieved 6 July 2022., 1 (UK) Division (22 July 2021). "1 (UK) Division". Twitter. Retrieved 22 July 2021., 1 (UK) Division (10 September 2020). "1(UK) Division". Twitter. Retrieved 10 September 2020., and 1 (UK) Division (14 June 2019). "1 (UK) Division". Twitter. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  2. ^ "1_Division". 1 April 2009. Archived from the original on 1 April 2009.
  3. ^ Watson, Graham (2005). The British Army in Germany: An Organisational History 1947–2004. Tiger Lily. p. 95. ISBN 9780972029698.
  4. ^ "Shiel Barracks". BAOR Locations. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  5. ^ Black, Harvey (29 April 2014). "The Cold War Years. A Hot War in reality. Part 6".
  6. ^ "Badge, formation, 1st Armoured Division & 2nd Armoured Brigade". Imperial war Museum. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  7. ^ Order of Battle for VII Armoured Corps, see also Cordingley, "Eye of the Storm: Commanding 7th Armoured Brigade in the Gulf War."
  8. ^ Bourque, p.260
  9. ^ a b Bourque, p.275
  10. ^ "Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank". Global Security. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  11. ^ Bourque, p.377
  12. ^ Bourque P.319
  13. ^ "Wentworth Barracks". BAOR locations. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Land Command Shapes Up", Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 July 1995; Charles Heyman, The British Army: A Pocket Guide 1997/1998, Pen & Sword, Barnsley, 24–25.
  16. ^ 1st (UK) Armoured Division in Iraq Field Artillery, January–February 2004
  17. ^ "Homecoming of a Yorkshire general". The Press. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  18. ^ "1 (UK) Division". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Field Army". www.army.mod.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Army restructures to confront evolving threats". Ministry of Defence. London. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  21. ^ Burgess, Sally (1 August 2019). "British Army to train cyber spies to combat hackers and digital propaganda". Sky News. London. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  22. ^ Nicholls, Dominic (1 August 2019). "British Army to engage in social media warfare as new cyber division unveiled". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  23. ^ "4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2021.
  24. ^ "7th Infantry Brigade and HQ East". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  25. ^ "11th Infantry Brigade & HQ South East". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Today marked the formal move of 51 Brigade and Army Headquarters Scotland from Forthside Barracks, Stirling to its new home at Redford Cavalry Barracks in Edinburgh". The Army in Scotland – Twitter. 26 March 2021. Archived from the original on 26 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  27. ^ at 4:56pm, Tom Sables 20 October 2020. "Is Your Military Base Closing? Read The Full List Of Sites Shutting". Forces Network. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Regular Army basing matrix by formation and unit" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2016.
  29. ^ "Army 2020 Update" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 June 2014.
  30. ^ a b "1st (United Kingdom) Division". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  31. ^ "102 Logistic Brigade". army.mod.uk.
  32. ^ "Question regarding whether 102nd Logistic Brigade HQ will disband or will the HQ continue to stay in the Field Army Order of Battle" (PDF). assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/. Ministry of Defence UK. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020. I can advise that we still plan to rationalise Headquarters 102nd Logistic Brigade
  33. ^ "102 Logistic Brigade". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  34. ^ "2nd Medical Brigade". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  35. ^ "Army 2020 Refine changes since 2017" (PDF). Dropbox. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  36. ^ "Provost Marshal (Army) & 1st Military Police Brigade". army.mod.uk. British Army. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  37. ^ "1st (United Kingdom) Division". army.mod.uk. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Today we realign (TACOM) to @1UKDivision We are very much looking forward at becoming part of #TeamRHINO". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "It's great to have @1MPBrigade as part of #teamrhino". Archived from the original on 1 December 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020 – via Twitter.


  • Bourque, Stephen A. (2001). Jayhawk! The 7th Corps in the Persian Gulf War. Center of Military History, United States Army. LCCN 2001028533. OCLC 51313637.
  • Bourque, Stephen A.; Burdan, John (2007). The road to Safwan the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Denton, Tex: University of North Texas Press. ISBN 9781574412321.

Further reading[edit]

  • Wilson, Peter Liddell (1985). The First Division 1809-1985: A Short Illustrated History. Viersen, Germany: 1st Armoured Division. OCLC 500105706.
  • Wilson, Peter Liddell (1993). The First Division 1809-1993: A Short Illustrated History (2nd ed.). Herford, Germany: 1st Division. OCLC 29635235.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°07′00″N 8°41′49″E / 52.11667°N 8.69694°E / 52.11667; 8.69694