British units in World War I
This page is about units mainly recruited in the United Kingdom from British subjects. For units recruited by the British Crown or colonial governments outside the UK, India and the major dominions, see British colonial units in World War I. For example, we class the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, West India Regiment and British West Indies Regiment as colonial, not British, as this seems to agree with the definition in the Manual of Military Law.
See how you can help to find out how you can help collect experiences of those in the First World War in their own words; you can also help by filling in the battalions for each regiment. A good source is the Long, Long Trail's page for the British infantry of 1914-1918 and on The British Divisions of 1914-1918. Chris Baker, the site's owner, has kindly given permission to use information from the site. We now have pages for most infantry battalions, but please feel free to get stuck in if you spot a gap!
Here's a list of REGIMENTS and CORPS of the BRITISH ARMY in 1918 (via the Internet Archive as the site appears to have been down for some years).
If you've got a diary, letters or other personal narratives you want to add now:
- if the page for the author's unit already exists, you can add it straight to the page. See below for which British units do and don't currently have pages.
- if the page for the author's unit doesn't yet exist, you can create it.
- if you don't want to create a page or you don't know which unit the author belonged to, you can add the narrative to Lists of personal diaries, letters, memoirs.
To create a new page:
Type the name of the unit, add ", UK" to the end if it's a British unit, then make it into a wiki link by putting two square brackets around the name of the regiment or battalion, like this:
[[1st Battalion Example Regiment, UK]]
This makes it into a red link 1st Battalion Example Regiment, UK; you can click on any red-linked page name to create that page. You can also create a page by entering its name in the search box. If it doesn't already exist, you can click on the red link in the search results.
See also naming conventions for British units.
- 1 British Army
- 1.1 Higher formations
- 1.2 Infantry
- 1.3 Cavalry
- 1.4 Machine Gun Units
- 1.5 Artillery
- 1.6 Cyclists
- 1.7 Other regiments, corps and departments
- 2 Volunteer Training Corps and Volunteer Force
- 3 Royal Navy
- 4 Royal Marines
- 5 Royal Air Force
- 6 Other organisations
The British Army consisted of land forces raised in the United Kingdom apart from the Royal Marines and the Royal Naval Division. It had these branches:
- Regular Army
- New Army
- Territorial Force
- Special Reserve
- Volunteer Force
Most regiments and corps included a mixture of units from each branch.
Every British army unit that has a page on this site should be listed in Category:All British Army units.
See also British Army Hierarchies for more information about the structure of the Army.
These are tactical formations above division level:
- Category:British corps (tactical) has pages for every corps except and Tank Corps headquarters. These were the next level above divisions.
- Category:British armies has pages for all the armies on the Western Front and at Salonika and Gallipoli. These were the next level above corps.
- Category:British Empire GHQs contains expeditionary forces and other formations that had the general headquarters in a theatre of war. Some pages have been added but several theatres are still missing.
We now have a page for every infantry regiment of the British Army. The table below shows links to the pages and the regiments' full names. It can be sorted by names or order of precedence.
|Page Name||Full Name||Precedence|
|Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, UK||Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders)||091|
|Bedfordshire Regiment, UK||Bedfordshire Regiment||016|
|Black Watch, UK||Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)||042|
|Border Regiment, UK||Border Regiment||034|
|Cambridgeshire Regiment, UK||Cambridgeshire Regiment||199 04|
|Cameron Highlanders, UK||Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders||079|
|Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), UK||Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)||026|
|Cheshire Regiment, UK||Cheshire Regiment||022|
|Coldstream Guards, UK||Coldstream Guards||000 02|
|Connaught Rangers, UK||Connaught Rangers||088|
|Devonshire Regiment, UK||Devonshire Regiment||011|
|Dorsetshire Regiment, UK||Dorsetshire Regiment||039|
|Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, UK||Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry||032|
|Durham Light Infantry, UK||Durham Light Infantry||068|
|East Kent Regiment, UK||Buffs (East Kent Regiment)||003|
|East Lancashire Regiment, UK||East Lancashire Regiment||030|
|East Surrey Regiment, UK||East Surrey Regiment||031|
|East Yorkshire Regiment, UK||East Yorkshire Regiment||015|
|Essex Regiment, UK||Essex Regiment||044|
|Gloucestershire Regiment, UK||Gloucestershire Regiment||028|
|Gordon Highlanders, UK||Gordon Highlanders||075|
|Grenadier Guards, UK||Grenadier Guards||000 01|
|Hampshire Regiment, UK||Hampshire Regiment||037|
|Herefordshire Regiment, UK||Herefordshire Regiment||199 07|
|Hertfordshire Regiment, UK||Hertfordshire Regiment||199 06|
|Highland Cyclist Battalion, UK||Highland Cyclist Battalion||199 09|
|Highland Light Infantry, UK||Highland Light Infantry||071|
|Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry), UK||Honourable Artillery Company (Infantry)||199 02|
|Household Battalion, UK||Household Battalion||000 00|
|Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, UK||Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion||199 11|
|Irish Guards, UK||Irish Guards||000 04|
|Kent Cyclist Battalion, UK||Kent Cyclist Battalion||199 10|
|King's Liverpool Regiment, UK||King's (Liverpool Regiment)||008|
|King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, UK||King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)||004|
|King's Own Scottish Borderers, UK||King's Own Scottish Borderers||025|
|King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, UK||King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry)||051|
|King's Royal Rifle Corps, UK||King's Royal Rifle Corps||060|
|King's Shropshire Light Infantry, UK||King's (Shropshire Light Infantry)||053|
|Lancashire Fusiliers, UK||Lancashire Fusiliers||020|
|Leicestershire Regiment, UK||Leicestershire Regiment||017|
|Leinster Regiment, UK||Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians)||100|
|Lincolnshire Regiment, UK||Lincolnshire Regiment||010|
|London Regiment, UK||London Regiment||199 05|
|Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, UK||Loyal North Lancashire Regiment||047|
|Manchester Regiment, UK||Manchester Regiment||063|
|Middlesex Regiment, UK||Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment)||057|
|Monmouthshire Regiment, UK||Monmouthshire Regiment||199 03|
|Norfolk Regiment, UK||Norfolk Regiment||009|
|North Staffordshire Regiment, UK||Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment)||064|
|Northamptonshire Regiment, UK||Northamptonshire Regiment||048|
|Northern Cyclist Battalion, UK||Northern Cyclist Battalion||199 08|
|Northumberland Fusiliers, UK||Northumberland Fusiliers||005|
|Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, UK||Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry||043|
|Rifle Brigade, UK||Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own)||199 01|
|Royal Berkshire Regiment, UK||Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment)||049|
|Royal Dublin Fusiliers, UK||Royal Dublin Fusiliers||102|
|Royal Fusiliers, UK||Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment)||007|
|Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, UK||Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers||027|
|Royal Irish Fusiliers, UK||Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers)||087|
|Royal Irish Regiment, UK||Royal Irish Regiment||018|
|Royal Irish Rifles, UK||Royal Irish Rifles||083|
|Royal Munster Fusiliers, UK||Royal Munster Fusiliers||101|
|Royal Scots Fusiliers, UK||Royal Scots Fusiliers||021|
|Royal Scots, UK||Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment)||001|
|Royal Sussex Regiment, UK||Royal Sussex Regiment||035|
|Royal Warwickshire Regiment, UK||Royal Warwickshire Regiment||006|
|Royal Welsh Fusiliers, UK||Royal Welsh Fusiliers||023|
|Royal West Kent Regiment, UK||Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)||050|
|Royal West Surrey Regiment, UK||Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment)||002|
|Scots Guards, UK||Scots Guards||000 03|
|Seaforth Highlanders, UK||Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany's)||072|
|Sherwood Foresters, UK||Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)||045|
|Somerset Light Infantry, UK||Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry)||013|
|South Lancashire Regiment, UK||Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment)||040|
|South Staffordshire Regiment, UK||South Staffordshire Regiment||038|
|South Wales Borderers, UK||South Wales Borderers||024|
|Suffolk Regiment, UK||Suffolk Regiment||012|
|Welsh Guards, UK||Welsh Guards||000 05|
|Welsh Regiment, UK||Welsh Regiment||041|
|West Riding Regiment, UK||Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment)||033|
|West Yorkshire Regiment, UK||Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment)||014|
|Wiltshire Regiment, UK||Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment)||062|
|Worcestershire Regiment, UK||Worcestershire Regiment||029|
|York and Lancaster Regiment, UK||York and Lancaster Regiment||065|
|Yorkshire Regiment, UK||Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment)||019|
Also administratively part of the infantry:
Regiment pages show each regiment's parent record office. Record offices also have their own pages, listed in Category:British Army record offices.
'The battalion was the basic tactical unit of the infantry of the British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918. At full establishment it consisted of 1,007 men of whom 30 were officers. It comprised a Battalion Headquarters and four Companies.'
We now have pages for nearly every British infantry battalion known to have existed. There might be some provisional battalions and Royal Defence Corps battalions missing: these will need to be added manually if any can be identified.
We don't yet have any information about Royal Defence Corps protection companies.
See also #Volunteer Training Corps below.
There are too many battalions to list on this page (already more than 1,700), but there are several ways you can find them:
The regiment pages shown in the table above should list all battalions known to have been part of a regiment.
The following categories list British infantry battalions:
- Category:British infantry battalions: all British infantry battalions that have pages, listed alphabetically by regiment, then in order of battalion numbers. Includes Army, Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
- Also has sub-categories listing certain battalions by uniform distinctions and special roles, but these are not yet complete.
- Category:British Army infantry battalions by regimental precedence: British Army infantry battalions only, listed in order of regimental precedence as shown in the above table, then in order of battalion numbers.
You can also use the search box to find battalions that already have pages. You don't always have to enter the name exactly as it appears in the page title: alternative names will often show up as redirects or part of the page text.
We now have a page for nearly every British infantry brigade that has war diaries. These pages are listed in Category:British infantry brigades.
Please feel free to add any missing brigades.
We now have pages for every British infantry division, including the divisions of the original Fourth New Army that were broken up in April 1915. These pages are listed in Category:British divisions.
We now have pages for more or less every British cavalry and yeomanry unit. You can find them in Category:British mounted units and its sub-categories.
Cavalry administrative units
These are the administrative corps and record offices of the British cavalry, including regular, yeomanry and Special Reserve regiments:
- Household Cavalry, UK
- Canterbury Cavalry Record Office, UK
- York Cavalry Record Office, UK
Cavalry divisions and corps
- Cavalry Corps, UK
- 1st Cavalry Division, UK
- 2nd Cavalry Division, UK
- 3rd Cavalry Division, UK
- the numbers 4th and 5th were used by Indian divisions
- 1st Mounted Division, UK
- 2nd Mounted Division, UK
- 3rd Mounted Division, UK
- 4th Mounted Division, UK
- Yeomanry Mounted Division, UK
See Category:British cavalry and mounted brigades for regular cavalry and yeomanry mounted brigades.
Cavalry and yeomanry regiments
Cavalry and yeomanry (ie Territorial cavalry) regiments and independent squadrons are listed in these categories:
- Category:British cavalry units lists all cavalry regiments and squadrons that have pages alphabetically by regiment name, including regular cavalry, yeomanry, Special Reserve and corps cavalry regiments.
- Category:British cavalry by regimental precedence lists regular cavalry and yeomanry regiments by order of precedence.
- Category:British yeomanry by county lists yeomanry regiments alphabetically by county, which is not always the same as regiment name.
- Chris Baker, The Long, Long Trail: The British cavalry regiments of 1914-1918 lists British regular and special reserve cavalry regiments, with further reading.
- Chris Baker, The Long, Long Trail: The British Yeomanry of 1914-1918 lists British yeomanry regiments (these were the Territorial branch of the cavalry).
- Chris Baker, The Long, Long Trail: Renumbering of the Territorial Force Yeomanry in 1917 lists which administrative corps each regiment belonged to.
Imperial Camel Corps
Machine Gun Units
We now have pages for all British machine gun units that have war diaries. Any that don't have war diaries will need to be added manually.
Most units belonged to Machine Gun Corps, UK, consisting of:
- Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), UK:
- Machine Gun Corps (Cavalry), UK
- machine gun squadrons attached to cavalry brigades: see Category:British machine gun squadrons
- Machine Gun Corps (Motors), UK, formerly part of Royal Field Artillery, UK and known as the Motor Machine Gun Service.
- Machine Gun Corps (Heavy), UK operated the first tanks and became Tank Corps, UK
- Machine Gun Training Centre, UK
The Guards had their own machine gun units which were administratively separate from the Machine Gun Corps:
- machine gun companies:
- Guards Machine Gun Regiment, UK (formerly Machine Gun Guards):
Royal Artillery, UK was an arm of the British Army, divided into two corps:
- Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery, UK; divided into two distinct identities:
- Royal Garrison Artillery, UK
The basic unit of the Royal Field Artillery was the brigade, which was roughly equivalent to an infantry battalion.
We now have pages for every Royal Horse Artillery unit that has war diaries. These are listed in Category:British horse artillery units.
Most of these were administratively under Army Cyclist Corps, UK but there are some exceptions. The following independent units were also classed as infantry regiments:
- Highland Cyclist Battalion, UK
- Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, UK
- Kent Cyclist Battalion, UK
- Northern Cyclist Battalion, UK
The Territorial battalions of some county infantry regiments were equipped as cyclists. All of these battalions have pages and are categorised as cyclist battalions as well as infantry battalions.
Some yeomanry cavalry regiments were converted into cyclists. We haven't yet catalogued these changes but all yeomanry regiments have pages.
Other regiments, corps and departments
This is a list of other regiments, corps and departments of the British Army.
- Army Chaplains Department, UK
- Army Ordnance Corps, UK
- Army Ordnance Department, UK
- Army Pay Corps, UK
- Army Pay Department, UK
- Army Service Corps, UK
- Army Veterinary Corps, UK
- Labour Corps, UK
- Military Police, UK divided into:
- Non-Combatant Corps, UK
- Royal Army Medical Corps, UK
- Royal Army Ordnance Corps, UK
- Royal Engineers, UK
- Tank Corps, UK
- Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service
- Territorial Force Nursing Service
- Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps
Officer Cadet Battalions
These battalions were set up to train new officers. They all have pages, listed in Category:British officer cadet battalions.
Volunteer Training Corps and Volunteer Force
Home defence units similar to the Home Guard in WW2. Initially known as the Volunteer Training Corps and not officially recognised by the War Office. In June 1916, the British Crown declared that volunteer units could be accepted under the terms of the 1863 Volunteer Act, which had never been repealed but had not been used in practice since the old Volunteer Force was converted into the Territorial Force in 1908. From then on, volunteer units accepted by the Crown were part of the Volunteer Force and their names were listed in the official Army Orders when they were accepted. Later in the war, probably in 1918, Volunteer battalions were integrated into British Army regiments. We're not yet sure how far they were administratively integrated, but at the very least they took the name and badge of the parent regiment.
For the purposes of data on this site, Volunteer units that were officially accepted by Army Orders will be treated as a branch of the British Army called "Volunteer Force". If we can identify any units that existed in the VTC but were not accepted by the Crown into the VF, they will be classed as a separate service called "Volunteer Training Corps".
We don't have a definitive list of units, but have started building a list of red links below. Please add any regiments or battalions that you know of. Page names will be based on pre-1918 Volunteer regiment names to disambiguate the units from pre-1908 Volunteer battalions. Ideally the canonical names will be taken from Army Orders listing accepted units.
More units are listed in Army Orders 206, 284, 323 and 374 of 1916. Links to these will be added later.
- Carnarvonshire Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Cheshire Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Dorsetshire Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 1st Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 2nd Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 3rd Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 4th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 5th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 6th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 7th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 8th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 9th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 10th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 11th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- 12th Battalion Durham Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Forfarshire Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Hampshire Volunteer Regiment, UK
- Surrey Volunteer Regiment, UK
For more information see:
- Great War Forum thread on Volunteer Battalions
- London Gazette 2910/815 list commissions in a few Volunteer regiments in 1917
- Wikipedia:Volunteer Training Corps (World War I)
- Regular Navy
- Royal Naval Reserve
- Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Also included the Royal Naval Air Service, which operated aircraft and armoured cars.
These infantry units and formations were raised by the Royal Navy but fought on land under Army command.
- 63rd (Royal Naval) Division, UK
- 1st Royal Naval Brigade, UK
- 188th Infantry Brigade, UK
- 189th Infantry Brigade, UK
- Anson Battalion, UK
- Benbow Battalion, UK
- Collingwood Battalion, UK
- Drake Battalion, UK
- Hawke Battalion, UK
- Hood Battalion, UK
- Howe Battalion, UK
- Nelson Battalion, UK
- Royal Marine Light Infantry, UK
- Royal Marine Artillery, UK
- Royal Marine Engineers, UK
RMLI units that were not part of the Royal Naval Division will need to be added manually if any can be identified.
Royal Air Force
Formed in April 1918 from the Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) and Royal Naval Air Service (part of the Royal Navy).
We need more information about the legal and administrative status of some of these organisations in relation to the British Army.
- Voluntary Aid Detachments included men's and women's units. Officially recognised by the War Office, but what was its relationship with the Army?
- British Red Cross
- Order of St John
- Friends Ambulance Unit: set up by Quakers and operated with the British Red Cross and Order of St John. More information. Was this a recognised Voluntary Aid Detachment or something else?
See also women's departments of the British Army above.
- Women's Hospital Corps
- Scottish Women's Hospitals: not officially recognised by the British War Office but served with other allied nations in several theatres.
- The Women's Volunteer Reserve
- The Women's Legion
- Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps
- First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY, now the Princess Royal’s Volunteer Corps). Authorised by the British Crown but separate from the Army.
- Women's Auxiliary Force
- Women's Auxiliary Agricultural Corps
- Women's Forage Corps
- Women's Forestry Corps
- Women's Land Army