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Listing of WWII British Units

When the British Empire, France and their allies declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, two days after its invasion of Poland, the Army was still unprepared. For example, few armoured formations had been organised, and their equipment and training were sketchy. Nearly 100,000 soldiers were based abroad, more than half of them in India and the garrisons East of Suez, such as Singapore. Others were based in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa. The smallest overseas command was the West Indies with a single battalion supported by indigenous units.

Many British leaders, including Winston Churchill, sought to avoid the costly battles of attrition which had characterised the Western Front in World War I. Churchill became Prime Minister in the middle of the Battle of France, which resulted in British troops being driven from the continent and left no realistic chance of re-establishing any Western Front for years. The number of British divisions was therefore kept low; perhaps 50 were formed in total (not counting administrative or anti-aircraft divisions), but probably no more than 30 were in existence at any one time. This allowed the Royal Navy and especially the Royal Air Force to be expanded and maintained at full strength.

The increasing use of technology saw the creation of new types of units. Some of these were formed at the instigation of the War Office; most notably the Army Commandos. Inspired by the German use of airborne units in their Blitzkrieg offensives, Airborne brigades and divisions were formed. The Parachute Regiment was established as the parent body for all troops parachuting into battle. Glider infantry or Airlanding units also formed part of the airborne divisions.

Other new units, mainly various types of "special forces" were originally formed on an ad hoc basis. The Long Range Desert Group was formed in the Middle East by officers who had been amateur explorers in the Sahara desert before the war. The first SAS units were also formed in the Middle East. From 1942, the Army Air Corps administered the Parachute Regiment, the Glider Pilot Regiment, the Special Air Service Regiment and the Air Observation Post Squadron, RA.

The regular forces also experienced a substantial expansion, not just including the many battalions created in existing regiments. Six cavalry regiments were formed from the cadres of existing regiments, along with two new infantry regiments, all of which would be disbanded during demobilisation in the aftermath of the war. A Reconnaissance Corps of over 20 regiments was also formed, which was absorbed by the Royal Armoured Corps in 1944.

The requirement for infantry was much less than in the previous world war, and many infantry battalions were converted into anti-tank and anti-aircraft units of the Royal Artillery, or armoured regiments in the Royal Armoured Corps and Royal Tank Regiment. Towards the end of the war, this trend had to be reversed; as the infantry strength declined, and the threat from enemy air forces disappeared, many soldiers in anti-aircraft units were drafted into the infantry.

Reenacting Tommy

There are many good British units out there today. Talk to them, ask questions, see how you might fit in with their program. When joining a group, it's always best to research them and not just "jump in." Our two cents.

To Get your Unit Listed Here

ou NEED to have a website for this listing, if you don't have one, let us know -- we may be able to help.

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To add your unit link, please go to our link-add page.

 

If you find a problem in this time/area or would like your unit listed please feel free to e-mail the WW2 T/A webmasters: Harry Coombs or Rob Haught.

 

Lincolnshire Regiment

The Lincolnshire Regiment has a proud history that dates back to the 17th Century.

It is our commitment to accurately portray the men who served in this prestigious regiment and to uphold its proud traditions.
Our goal is to reenact and recreate the Lincolnshire Regiment and to honour those who served so proudly, during the worlds most turbulant period, World War II.

Anyone who may wish to serve, with distinction in this Regiment may contact me on this group page. Your comments and assistance would be greatly appreciated.

To participate, it is not necessary to have all your equipment. Recommend getting uniform and weapon first. Those who are interested in portraying a typical WW2 British Soldier in the field, feel free to contact me at the enlistment link below. We have a group page, on Yahoo groups, LincolnshireRegiment, just join and state your interest.

Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LincolnshireRegiment/
Royal Ulster Rifles (Southern USA)
A Company, First Battalion The Royal Ulster Rifles is a reenactment unit portraying members of the British 6th Airlanding Brigade, 6th Airborne Division during the period from D-Day to the end of World War II.

From the top. The unit was started by a lone reenactor who wanted to do a British Airborne impression without having to be English. Besides, the Irish have better beer. Since our start in 1995 membership has snowflaked, gaining an average of one member per year to our present strength of seven permanent members. We're small, but we sure have fun.

Our members live in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We attend events in most of the surrounding states, and even host "Operation Varsity" each March or early April in Grand Gulf, Mississippi. As a member of the Louisiana Military History Association, we cooperate with allied and axis units in their events, as well as going to events hosted by other associations.
Long Range Dessert Group (California and Western USA)
To learn as much as possible about the unit, the men in it and the equipment they used. Then to share that information with all whom wish to learn. To that end this group has built a replica of a classic WWII LRDG truck (1942 Canadian Chevy, right hand drive, India format) and outfitted it with "historically correct" military equipment, gear, provisions, and uniforms.
Detailed information about the history of and vehicles and equipment used by LRDG, and information about LRDG model kits.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight is the RAF's tribute to the aviators of WWII, and flies several Spitfires, two Hurricanes, a Dakota and a Lancaster.
The Chatham Home Guard was formed in July 1994 to research the history of the Kent Home Guard, to portray the real 'Dad's Army' and to 're-educate' the public. To these men who gave up their spare time and, sometimes, their lives, the Home Guard was not a comedy. The Chatham Home Guard appears once a month at Fort Amherst, Chatham, Kent as well as appearing at shows and events elsewhere.
Formed in 1998, The Cameron Highlanders Reenactment Group is a World War II non-profit educational historical society. We exist for the sole purpose of remembering and paying tribute to the Scottish combat soldier of World War II, with a special emphasis on those who served in the battalions of The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders. We do this by preserving period artifacts, uniforms, and equipment, researching their use and origin, as well as the troops that used them. Our Unit events consist of public displays, battle reenactments, and Living History events.
The 9th Cameronians served under the 15th (Scottish) Division of the British Army in WWII in the Northwest European Theater from their landing in France on 17 June 1944 until the end of hostilities in Europe. This site is dedicated to preserving the memory of one of the most unique regiments to serve in the British Army from the Normandy breakout, through the Rhine crossing, and on to VE-Day.
The 15th Division reenactment group is dedicated to preserving the memory of one of the boldest fighting divisions to serve in the British Army in time of war.
The Irish Guards Living History Association spend their time putting on displays for the public and attending private tacticals. The static displays are used to display uniforms and equipment for close inspection and to give lectures on history to the public. We also pride ourselves on our cerimonial duties, recreating the changing of the guard ceremony done at Buckingham Palace. The private tacticals re-create battles like the Battle of the Bulge or hypothetical situations to give a greater understanding of life in the field. We also get together with other groups or individuals who portray Canadian, American and other WWII units to view each other's collections, trade or just meet informally. The Irish Guards is not a political organisation and boasts members from many different backgrounds brought together by their common interest in history.
We are an organization of re-enactors and living historians based in Southern California dedicated to preserving the rich history of the British 1st Airborne Division and honoring the veterans who served Great Britain and the Commonwealth nations.
3rd Parachute Brigade of the 6th Airborne (North West USA and Western Canada)
A WW II reenactment and living history group located in the Washington, British Columbia, and Oregon area. This unit is a member of the North West Historical Association (NWHA)
Summer of 44 are a very flexible Living History Display concentrating on the XXI Independent Parachute Company. Through our extensive collection of vehicles, weapons and equipment we can adapt according to the needs of the moment, and mobilise in a variety of guises. This flexibility combined with our high level of professionalism has led to Film and TV work, magazine and literary articles and work in support of the Royal British Legion and other veterans organisations.
Welcome to our site for the reenactors of the A Company, 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion, 5th Parachute Brigade of the British 6th Airborne Division. Reenacting the Division during the 1942-1945 period of World War II, our goal is to bring to the public the historical aspect as well as the personal accounts of the men who sacrificed not only their youth but, in some cases, their lives.

With our headquarters Company in Tennessee, A Company involves members all over Florida. We attend events all over the South East United States showing up for displays and reenactments as well.  During such events we try as best as we can to give the public not only an overall presentation, but a personal aspect on what it must have been like to be a member of the British Airborne during WWII. As it is impossible to relay the actual experience of battle, all we can do is keep the memory of these sacrifices alive by passing the knowledge that we have gained to the general public.
The Hampshire Regiment is a member of the World War II Living History Association which is a society of militaria collectors, historians and hobbyists whose prime aim is to preserve and display the uniforms, weapons and equipment of the 1939-1945 war.

We strive to remember the people involved in the conflict by accurately portraying them in living history displays, public re-enactments and organised mock battles. The Association provides the means for the members to do this in a safe and legal way.

We shall continue to represent the participants of WWII in as correct a manner as possible through our dress and behavior, so as to act as a living memorial to them. As we pursue these aims we shall endeavor to inform and educate the public and future generations. We shall not allow any political involvement to enter into our activities.
2010 WWII and Veterans Weekend (Midwest - Michigan)
The 3rd Annual WWII and Veterans Weekend in St. Clair Shores Michigan is quickly becoming the premiere event in the region. Directors Paul Palazzolo and Jose Evangelista are committed to making it the most enjoyable event reenactors will participate in. Visit website for complete details.
Our unit  is a member of the Southern World War II Reenactor Association which is a group of  historians and hobbyists whose prime aim is to preserve and display the uniforms, weapons and equipment of the 1939-1945 war.

We strive to remember the people involved in the conflict by accurately portraying them in living history displays, public and tactical re-enactments. The Association provides the means for the members to do this in a safe and legal way.

We shall continue to represent the participants of WWII in as correct a manner as possible through our dress and behavior, so as to act as a living memorial to them. As we pursue these aims we shall endeavor to inform and educate the public and future generations. We shall not allow any political involvement to enter into our activities.
6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment
  During WW2, for the first time, soldiers and equipment were flown into battle by air. In the opening phases of the war, the German armed forces used airborne forces dropping by parachute and landing by glider with great effect to attack targets in western Europe and the Mediterranean.   The United Kingdom was quick to see the advantages such forces could give, and in response, developed airborne forces of her own.  Of the nations who used airborne forces, no-one brought the concept to reality in a manner grander than the United Kingdom.  With larger and more sophisticated types of glider than any other country, the British Army was capable of landing entire mechanized and armored units directly into battle by air.  
  The epitome of that capability was the 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, an entirely mechanized, armored unit equipped with light tanks, armored personnel carriers, armored scout cars, jeeps, motorcycle mounted infantry, and it's own artillery in the form of towed 4.2" heavy mortars.  
  The 6th AARR was flown into the Normandy bridgehead on the evening of D-Day, the operation code-named "Mallard", becoming the first-ever unit in history to fly tanks directly into a battle by air.  It fought throughout the Normandy campaign alongside the units brought in by sea, and advanced out of the bridgehead during the "Breakout from Normandy", leading the way to the Seine River.     After the 6th AARR was withdrawn from Normandy to Britain to prepare for further airborne operations, it was sent, in a hurry, back to the continent in December of 1944 to bolster the British and American forces fighting along the northern flank of the Ardennes forest in the "Battle of the Bulge".  Upon completing its mission there, it was again withdrawn to Britain to prepare for further airborne operations.
  In March of 1945, the tanks of the 6th AARR were again flown into battle, this time during "Operation Varsity", the crossing of the Rhine River.  The unit flew into the air head to fight off german counterattacks and operate as a reserve, assisting the airborne infantry where necessary.  Upon the successful establishment of the airhead and the link-up with the 'seaborne' forces crossing over the river, the 6th AARR again led the advance, at the head of the 6th Airborne Division. Leading the division in its true reconnaissance role, it broke out of the Rhine bridgehead and advanced all the way to the Baltic sea, linking up with Soviet Forces advancing from the east, and putting paid to the Third Reich.
  Our club, the re-enacted 6th Airborne Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, portrays the men and machines of our namesake, to keep alive the memory of those who pioneered the flight of armor into battle.  We are a non-profit organization of volunteers who spend our time and effort collecting and crewing armored vehicles of the type used by the 6th AARR in its operations during WW2.  
  We participate in demonstrations for the public as well as private gatherings of like-minded clubs in Texas and her neighboring states.  Membership is open to all.  
The South Staffs is a WW2 reenacting organization which strives to honor the veterans of the original unit in our portrayal. We are based out of New Hampshire, and accept members from all over the northeastern United States. We prefer to be as authentic as is practical.


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