History of the 2nd Division

Formation

The Army’s 2nd Division was formed in 1809 by Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, and fought at Waterloo, the Crimea, China, Zululand, Egypt and South Africa.

The First World War

During the First World War, having deployed to France as part of Kitchener’s ‘Contemptible Little Army’, the Division spent over four years in the trenches. It served with distinction at the battles of Mons, Marne, the Somme, Ypres and Cambrai.

The Second World War

Shortly after the start of the Second World War, the 2nd Division had to extricate itself through Dunkirk. After the threat of a German invasion had receded, 2nd Division deployed to India in 1942 with the Royal Scots, the Durham Light Infantry, the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Cameron Highlanders amongst many others. There, the Division was to mount its most famous engagement in 1944 during the Burma Campaign when, at the battle of Kohima, it relieved the embattled garrison. This battle was the beginning of the end for the Japanese in Burma.

Post War

Since 1947, the 2nd Division has changed its role many times. In the 1950s it amalgamated with the 6th Armoured Division in Germany and in 1976 it was re-roled as an armoured formation, The 2nd Armoured Division. The Division returned to the UK in 1982, after an absence of forty years. As 2nd Infantry Division it settled in York taking over the responsibility of the Army’s Eastern District in 1995.

The Strategic Defence Review

The 1998 Strategic Defence Review led to a reorganisation of Land Command and the move in April 2000 of Headquarters 2nd Division to Craigiehall to the north of Edinburgh.

Craigiehall

Craigiehall House

Craigiehall - Headquarters 2nd Division

A formal designed landscape was laid out following the construction of Craigiehall to the design of Sir William Bruce in 1699. Alexander McGill is recorded as being involved in the construction of the walled garden in 1708.

A large country house to the west of the city. The house was later the headquarters of the Black Watch Regiment, but is now the Officers' Mess of Headquarters 2nd Division to Craigiehall to the north of Edinburgh.

Craigiehall was the site of a Royal Artillery Anti-Aircraft Operations Room (AAOR), covering the Forth & Rosyth anti-aircraft zone (GDA), and was built in the early 1950s to a standard design.