South Western District [UK]
Authors and Contributors this page: T.F. Mills
Page created 1 July 2005. Corrected and updated 28.05.2006

South Western District

1865-1905, 1920-1995

 United Kingdom  
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Western District
formed with HQ at Devonport to administer troops in Cornwall, Devonshire, Bristol, Somersetshire, and South Wales (Brecknockshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Glamorganshire, Haverfordwest, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire, and Radnorshire)

1870? Gloucestershire and Herefordshire added (previously reporting directly to Army HQ), Regular forces in Trowbridge, Wilts, transferred from Southern Dist, and district divided in sub-districts:
  • 1st Western Sub-District, HQ at Devonport (Cornwall, Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Regular forces in Trowbridge)
  • 2nd Western Sub-District, HQ at Bristol (South Wales, Monmouthshire, and Herefordshire)
1873? Worcestershire transferred from Northern Dist
  1873.04.01 district reorganised in Sub District Brigade Depots upon territorialisation of the infantry:
  • No. 22 Sub District at Worcester
  • No. 24 Sub District at Cardiff
  • No. 25 Sub District at Brecon
  • No. 34 Sub District at Exeter
  • No. 35 Sub District at Bodmin
  • No. 36 Sub District at Taunton
  • No. 37 Sub District at Bristol
  1874 Sub Districts redesignated Infantry Brigade Depots
  1881.07.01 Brigade Depots redesignated Regimental Districts, and numbered according to the pre-1881 rank of the senior regiment in the reorganised pairings; Herefordshire transferred to Northern Dist
  1890? Worcestershire (No. 29 Regtal Dist) transferred to North Western District
1902? assigned to Southern Command
  1905.02 broken up to form Welsh Border District, Western District, and South Midland District
1920 South-Western Area
re-formed in Southern Command to encompass counties of Cornwall, Devonshire, and Somersetshire (commanded by GOC 8th Bde at Devonport)

Wessex Area
absorbed Southern Area (Hampshire (excluding Tidworth and portions in Aldershot Command), and Dorset), remaining under command GOC 43rd Div at Devonport

193u South-Western Area
HQ at Devonport; Hampshire (No. 37 Regtal Dist) transferred to re-form Southern Area ; parts of Wiltshire (no. 62 Regtal Dist) transferred back to Salisbury Plain Area
1940? SW Area disbanded and reorganised as two new areas, re-absorbing Hampshire from Southern Area:
  • Western Area (Somersetshire)
    • City of Bristol and Avonmouth Sub Area
    • Yeovil Garrison
  • South Western Area? (Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorset, Hampshire)
1941.08.14 Regtal Dists closed, and Infantry Training Centres formed at command level:
1944? South Western District
reorganised with HQ at Taunton, for administration of troops in counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire (
transferred from South Midland Area), Somerset, and Channel Islands; Hampshire transferred to Aldershot and Hampshire Dist; Dorset transferred to form Wiltshire & Dorset Dist
1945? Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey & Alderney) came under command
1946.10.28 training functions reorganised as H Group and Infantry Training Centre (Devonshire Regt, Gloucestershire Regt, R Hampshire Regt, Dorset Regt, R Berkshire Regt, Wiltshire Regt) and Primary Training Centres established in locations of old regimental depots (using old district numbers) to carry out initial recruit training
  1948.07.01 H Group redesignated Wessex Brigade
  1948? Dorset transferred from Wiltshire & Dorset Dist
  1948 PTCs closed, and all training taken over by Brigade Infantry Training Centres
  1951 ITCs closed and training resumed at old regimental depot PTCs
  1959 regimental depots closed, and training resumed by Brigade Infantry Training Centres

43rd (Wessex) Division/District
Dorset transferred to Aldershot Dist; reorganised in sub-districts (HQ remained at Taunton):

  • Gloucestershire and Somerset Sub-District, HQ at Taunton
  • Salisbury Plain Sub-District, transferred from district status, including Wiltshire
  • Devon and Cornwall Sub-District
1968? South West District
reorganised in Southern Command with HQ at Taunton, encompassing Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire, part of Hampshire, and absorbing Dorset from Aldershot District; Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey & Alderney) transferred to SE Dist
  1972.04. transferred to UK Land Forces
1995.04.01 transferred to 3rd Division as 43 (Wessex) Brigade
   Forces Under Command
Index of Divisions
Index of Brigades
  <1860> Maj-Gen. W.N. Hutchinson
    Maj-Gen. J. K.L. Douglas-Withers, CBE, MC
1971.12.08 Maj-Gen. H.F. Cunningham, OBE
  1990.03 Maj-Gen. A.J.G. Pollard

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