Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Composite Brigade or Unit?


andrew pugh

Recommended Posts

Tended to be a group of 'remnants' cobbled-together in time of need. Quite common in the March/April 1918 period when divisions suffered heavy casualties. A group of blokes from the umpteenth brigade would be wandering about, and get combined with blokes from the umpteen and first brigade, under a handy Lt Col, Brig gen, or similar, and called Ponsonby's Composite Force, or the Umpteenth Brigade Composite Force.

The OH has quite a few examples, such as Gater's Force (21st Division - ask Arm).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi

check the orbat for 50th Northumbrian Division through April to June 1918

the battalions are reduced to companies eg 8/DLI Company 151Composite Bn, 4/Yorks Company 150 Composite Bn, 4/NF Company 149 Composite Bn.

These units are further reduced and the Composite Battalions become Composite Companies eg 151 Composite Company, 50th Composite Battalion.

Thats of the top of my head without looking at the Div History. The same happened to 19th and 8th Divisions I believe.

regards

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dont forget the Household Cavalry Composite Regiment. Made up of 1 squadron from each of the 3 HC regiments and part of original BEF. The idea was there were sufficient men left to mount royal lifeguard as well as providing an operational unit. First used in Sudan in 1882 if I remember rightly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Andy

The key point is that composite units were temporary formations, cobbled together in particular circumstances. If you have a relative who was in, say, 150 Brigade Composite Battalion, you should not expect to find a War Diary for it (although some do exist) or assume that his papers, medal roll reference etc will mention it. Firstly you need to find which units were joined together to form it and when (the Forum members can probably help you here) and then find out in which of the constituent units your relative served.

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Re Composite Unit,this may assist.It is from the 1/8th Royal Scots War Diary during the Battle of the Lys.

12th April 1918-About 2 a.m. the enemy delivered a heavy attack and broke through on the left.B.Coy were engaged all day in fighting during which several men were lost sight of.Ultimately this Coy. retired behind the Canal.A&C.Coys fought on in the dark till practically surrounded.The enemy were in their rear and captured Bn. H.Q. from which however all escaped except Major Todd and Capt & Adj A.D. Jones who were lost sight of and believed captured.A.Coy less one platoon retired with other troops across the Canal in front of Mony Rehmenchon,the remaining platoon retired south with elements of 152nd Inf. Bde.C.Coy on retiral from the Paradis position established touch with some R.Es. and fomed a line through Pacaut Wood,where they held up a strong attack about 5 p.m.The troops on their right retired but they formed a defensive flank and finally at dusk in company with all other troops in the vicinity retired across the Canal.Orders were shortly after received to march to Busnes,where the Division was assembling.

13th April 1918-About 3 a.m. all men of the Bn.in the forward area had reached the vicinity of Busnes and formed two parties.In the afternoon Capt Mitchell came from rear headquarters and took command of both parties who were now organised as the Royal Scot Coy.of the 153rd Inf.Bde Composite Bn.The night passed quietly.

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A battalion of the Dorest and Norfolk Regiments were combined out in Mesopotamia and became known as the Norsets. If you search for Norsets I would imagine something should come up to elaborate on the subject.

Yours &c.,

Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There were several types of Composite unit, depending on the particular circumstances. Some indeed were ad hoc groups of miscellaneous bodies of men 'cobbled together' (accurate description) in times of dire need. Perhaps the best known was the one that came to be called Carey's Force. See my post of 29 August for that. Other Composite units were forces combining several regiments for a specific task, such as the 4th Cavalry Brigade Composite Regiment formed for the attack on Rifle Wood 1.4.1918 and which comprised all three Squadrons of Oxfordshire Hussars and two Squadrons 3rd (KO) Hussars. There are many similar examples.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...