Leicester Town Rifles

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Leicester Town Rifles
4th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment
44th Searchlight Regiment, RA
121st Light AA Regiment, RA
Active 31 August 1859
Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Branch Flag of the British Army.svg Territorial Army
Role Infantry
Air Defence
Garrison/HQ Leicester
Engagements WWI:
Hohenzollern Redoubt
3rd Ypres
German Spring Offensive
St Quentin Canal
North West Europe
Sir Henry St John Halford, Bt

The Leicester Town Rifles was an early unit of the British Volunteer Force raised in 1859. It went on to become the parent unit of the Territorial Army battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment, which served on the Western Front during World War I. Their successor unit served in the air defence role during and after World War II.


The enthusiasm for the Volunteer movement following an invasion scare in 1859 saw the creation of many Rifle Volunteer Corps (RVCs) composed of part-time soldiers eager to supplement the Regular British Army in time of need.[1] One such unit was the Leicester Town Rifles, formed in the East Midlands town (later city) of Leicester. Mansfield Turner was appointed captain of the new unit; his commission dated 31 August 1859 was considered to be the founding date of the company, which was designated the 1st Leicestershire RVC.[2][3][4]

A year later, all 10 RVCs that had been raised in Leicestershire were consolidated into a single administrative battalion:[3][4][5][6][7]

1st Administrative Battalion Leicestershire RVC

  • 1st (1st Leicester Town Rifles) Leicestershire RVC
  • 2nd (Duke of Rutland's Belvoir Rifles) Leicestershire RVC
  • 3rd (Melton Company) Leicestershire RVC
  • 4th (2nd Leicester Town Rifles) Leicestershire RVC
  • 5th (3rd Leicester Town Rifles) Leicestershire RVC
  • 6th (Loughborough) Leicestershire RVC
  • 7th (Lutterworth) Leicestershire RVC (disbanded in 1873)
  • 8th (Ashby-de-la-Zouch) Leicestershire RVC
  • 9th (Leicester Town) Leicestershire RVC
  • 10th (Hinckley) Leicestershire RVC

Turner was promoted to lieutenant-colonel to command the battalion on 10 July 1860, and he was succeeded in command of the 1st Corps by Sir Henry St John Halford, Bt.[8] Halford in turn succeeded Turner as Lt-Col in 1863 and was in command for most of the next three decades.[6]

In 1880 the Administrative Battalion was consolidated as the 1st Leicestershire RVC, and the following year, as part of the Childers reforms, it became the Volunteer Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, changing its title three years later to 1st Volunteer Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment. An additional company had been formed at Market Harborough in 1882, and in 1900 four more were added at Leicester (two), Wigston and Mountsorrel, after which it operated as a double-battalion unit.[3][5][7]

The battalion provided detachments of volunteers to serve alongside the Regulars during the Second Boer War, earning the Battle honour South Africa 1900–1902.[9]

Territorial Force

When the Volunteer Force was subsumed into the Territorial Force in 1908 as part of the Haldane Reforms, the double-battalion 1st Volunteer Bn formed both the 4th and 5th Battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment. The 5th Battalion had the companies from the country towns, while the 4th Battalion was recruited entirely from Leicester itself, with the exception of detachments at Anstey and Syston in Charnwood, and H Company at Wigston on the south side of the city. The regimental headquarters was at the Magazine in Leicester, which it shared with the Leicestershire Yeomanry and the Leicestershire Royal Horse Artillery. The 4th and 5th Battalions both formed part of the Lincoln & Leicester Brigade of the North Midland Division of the TF.[3][5][7][10][11][12]

World War I


On the outbreak of war in August 1914, the battalion mobilised at the Magazine (enlisting many old soldiers from the National Reserve[13]) and on 12 August entrained for the war station of the Lincoln & Leicester Brigade at Belper. The battalion was seen off by its Honorary Colonel, the Duke of Rutland, whose son and heir, the Marquess of Granby was a subaltern in the battalion.[14][15]

While at Belper the battalion was invited to volunteer for foreign service. This was accepted by the majority of the men. During September a 2nd-Line TF battalion designated the 2/4th was formed at Leicester from the Home Service men and new recruits, the original battalion becoming the 1/4th. Later a 3/4th or Reserve Battalion was formed to provide drafts to the battalions serving overseas.[10][16]

1/4th Battalion

The Lincoln & Leicester Bde only stayed a few days at Belper before moving to Luton, where the Division was concentrating. It later moved to Bishop's Stortford to train for deployment overseas with the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). The 1/4th Bn embarked from Southampton and landed in France 3–5 March 1915, and by 8 March the North Midland Division had completed its concentration – the first complete TF formation to arrive on the Western Front. It was numbered the 46th (North Midland) Division in May, when the Lincoln & Leicester Brigade was numbered 138th (Lincoln and Leicester) Brigade.[10][16][17]

Beginning on 26 March, a company at a time of the battalion went into the trenches under the instruction of the 1st Bn King's Own and 2nd Bn Essex Regiment, and on 4 April, facing Spanbroekmolen on the Messines Ridge, the complete battalion took over its own sector of the line for the first time.[18] Thereafter it participated in the round of reliefs, rotating trench-holding with fatigues, in the Sanctuary Wood and Hill 60 sectors in the Ypres Salient. The battalion suffered a steady trickle of casualties, but was not engaged in any serious fighting.[19]

Hohenzollern Redoubt

46th Division memorial at Vermelles, starting point for the division's attack on 13 October 1915
File:46th Division Memorial, Hohenzollern Redoubt (detail).JPG
46th (North Midland) Division's memorial at Cité de Madagascar, site of the Hohenzollern Redoubt.

In October 1915 1/4th Leicesters left Ypres and moved to Loos, where the 46th Division was to attack the German strongpoint known as the Hohenzollern Redoubt, briefly captured during the recent Battle of Loos but subsequently lost. The attack went in at 14.00 on 13 October behind a bombardment and gas cloud, with the 1/4th Leicesters aiming for the point of the salient formed by the strongpoint. The battalion went forward in four waves, each of which was caught by machine gun and artillery fire; few of the men got into the German line, and they were unable to maintain their position. The battalion's casualties were 20 officers and 453 other ranks; only 188 NCOs and men returned to the jumping-off trench and answered rollcall that evening.[20][21][22]

After receiving drafts of reinforcements from the 3/4th Bn, the 1/4th Bn entrained for Marseilles, where on 21 January 1916 it boarded HM Transport Andania bound for Egypt. However, the movement was immediately cancelled, and the troops disembarked next day. Most of the division that had already departed had to be brought back from Egypt.[10][23]


In March and April 1916 1/4th Bn held trenches in the Vimy Ridge sector and then went into reserve before moving into the line opposite Gommecourt in late May to prepare for the forthcoming Somme Offensive.[24]

The 1/4th Leicesters was designated as the reserve battalion of the reserve brigade, and did not go into the attack, where the Staffordshire Brigade and Sherwood Foresters lost very heavily.[25] The battalion finally captured Gommecourt in February 1917 when the Germans began their withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line.[26]

Lens and Hill 70

In April 1917 the division moved to the Lens area and became involved in 10 weeks' bloody fighting round Hill 70, during which the battalion suffered many casualties. The division handed over the line to the 2nd Canadian Division in early July, having secured the jumping-off positions from which the Canadian Corps launched the successful Battle of Hill 70 in August.[27][28][29]

46th (North Midland) Division was not used offensively again until September 1918, spending its time in tours of duty holding the front line in quiet sectors. The reorganisation of the BEF in January 1918 led to the disbandment of the 2/5th Leicesters, a draft of whom were sent to reinforce the 1/4th Bn. After the 2/4th Bn was disbanded in June (see below) the 1/4th was simply referred to as the 4th Bn.[10][30][31]

St Quentin Canal

The division was given the most difficult task in the Battle of the St. Quentin Canal on 29 September 1918: it had to cross the canal itself, where it constituted part of the Hindenburg Line. 4th Leicesters had the task of making a preliminary attack on Pike Wood and Peg Copse on the night of 27 September, supported by the guns of an Australian field artillery brigade. Unlike the rest of the carefully planned battle, this attack was hastily arranged. At sunset, A and B Companies supported by C and D advanced over 700 yards (650 m) of No man's land towards the German positions, following the creeping barrage. The barrage kept the Germans in their dugouts and the attack took them by surprise, A Company reaching their objective without a shot being fired, and only one platoon met resistance, while B Company reached their objective with just thee casualties. Pike Wood was put in a state of defence and was intermittently attacked during the night, with German bombing parties trying to work their way back up trenches into the position. 4th Leicesters suffered serious casualties before they handed the position over next morning to the battalions of the Staffordshire Brigade who were to make the main attack.[32][33]

For the main attack on 29 September, 138th (Lincoln & Leicester) Brigade was in the second phase. Before Zero Hour the battalion moved up through the morning fog, under gas shelling that caused significant casualties (No 4 Platoon losing 22 men out of 26). B Company led, with the role of mopping up after the advancing Staffords, during which they took many prisoners. The rest of the battalion passed through, crossed the canal, and reached the Brown Line. Although the battalion's CO (Lt-Col F.W. Foster) and adjutant (Capt D.W. Howarth) were both wounded, the battalion attacked towards its final objective, the Yellow Line, 1000 yards (900 m) beyond the Brown Line. There was little enemy resistance and the battalion had taken all its objectives by noon. The rest of the brigade subsequently passed through to take the next two objectives.[34][35]

The pursuit

138th Brigade was once again in support during the Battle of Ramicourt (3 October), taking up the attack during the afternoon, with 4th Leicesters passing through Ramicourt itself and then advancing over open ground to reach a sunken road at Montbrehain occupied by the Sherwood Foresters and a variety of other detachments. The battalion took up position along the railway embarkment from Ramicourt to Montbrehain and held it through the night under attack by German aircraft using parachute flares.[36][37]

File:The Hundred Days Offensive, August-november 1918 Q7104.jpg
Men of 4th Leicesters firing at German snipers and machine gunners on the edge of Riqueval Wood near Bohain, 10 October 1918.

On 10 October, patrols of 4th Leicesters, advancing cautiously along the BohainAisonville road,were met by heavy machine-gun fire from the fringes of Riqueval Wood, and all attempts to enter it were repulsed. the battalion suffering considerable casualties. The wood held the division up for nearly a week.[38][39]

As part of the Battle of Andigny, 4th Leicesters attacked again at dawn on 17 October, round the flank of Riqueval Wood, uphill towards the Bohain–Wassigny road and Vaux-Andigny, behind a barrage awkwardly fired from a flank, which caused some casualties from friendly fire. The battalion took its objectives, which consisted of hastily dug trenches and rifle pits, and mopped-up the machine-gun nests left behind by the retreating Germans.[40][41][42] The battalion was relieved in the evening by the 5th Leicesters and went back to rest billets at Fresnoy-le-Grand. The battalion left again on 1 November, and marched in the pursuit until the Armistice of 11 November 1918 came into effect.[43][44][45]

46th Division moved to the Le Cateau in January 1919 where demobilisation began. The last cadres returned to England in June, and the division began reforming in 1920.[10]

2/4th Battalion

The 2nd Line battalion was formed in September 1914 at Leicester from men who had not volunteered for overseas service, together with the many new recruits under training. Mirroring its 1st Line parent, the battalion formed part of 2nd Lincoln & Leicester Brigade in 2nd North Midland Division; these were later numbered 177th (2/1st Lincoln and Leicester) Brigade and 59th (2nd North Midland) Division respectively. Training was carried out at Luton and later St Albans.[16][30] When the 59th Division began training for overseas service, the Home Service details of 2/4th Leicesters and other battalions of the 2nd Lincoln & Leicester Brigade went to the 28th Provisional Battalion, later the 13th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment, a home defence unit disbanded in October 1917.[46][47][48]


In April 1916 the 2/4th battalion was sent to Dublin to help quell disturbances following the Easter Rising – the troops of the 59th Division were the first TF units to serve in Ireland. After the suppression of the trouble, the division moved to Curragh Camp and resumed training. It returned to England in January 1917 and began final battle training at Fovant, where there was a large purpose-built camp on the edge of the Salisbury Plain training area, before embarking for France on 17 February.[16][30]

3rd Ypres

The 59th Division took part in following the German Retreat to Hindenburg Line in March and April, but it was not until September that it was engaged in its first full-scale action, the phase of the 3rd Ypres Offensive known as the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. 177th Brigade was in support for this successful assault. This was a carefully prepared assault with massive artillery preparation, and most of the objectives were taken easily.[49] The next phase, the Battle of Polygon Wood (26 September), when 177th Bde was in support, was equally successful.[50][51]

Bourlon Wood

59th Division was next moved south to join in the Battle of Cambrai. The division entered the recently captured line between Cantaing and Bourlon Wood on 28 November. Fierce German counter-attacks began on 30 November, and 177th Brigade was ordered to prepare the village of Flesquières for all-round defence[52] By 4 December the decision had been made to withdraw from the Bourlon Salient to the Flesquières Line, and 59th Division with 177th Bde in front held covering positions while this was carried out. At 14.30 on 6 December a hostile barrage came down on 59th Division's positions and an hour later German infantry advanced, the defenders in Flesquières inflicting heavy casualties on them before withdrawing as planned at 17.30. By 7 December the British were back on the line that they would hold for the coming winter.[53]

German Offensive

When the German Spring Offensive opened on 21 March 1918 (the Battle of St Quentin), 59th Division was holding the line of the Bullecourt Salient. The German attack followed a hurricane bombardment and was covered by morning mist, and quickly overran the defences of the division's Forward Zone.[54] 2/4th Leicesters had only just come out of the line after 24 hours of continuous trench duty. It was sent straight back up to assist in the defence of Ecoust, but the leading company found that the village had already fallen, and was unable to do more than cover the retreat of the gunners of a field battery which had removed the breechblocks of their guns before being overrun. The battalion could get no further forward than the rear of the Battle Zone. Here the 'line' was no more than a yet-to-be-dug trench marked out with the turf removed and no barbed wire. The men extended along the line but were completely exposed in the open. An officer stood in the Écoust road, stopping stragglers and directing them to join the Leicesters. Under the inspiring leadership of their CO, Lt-Col Sir Iain Colquhoun, 7th Baronet, and Regimental Sergeant-Major 'African Joe' Withers, the battalion held off the Germans for the rest of the day, with modest casualties of 12 killed and 18 wounded.[55][56]

During the night of 21/22 March, 40th Division took over 59th Division's front, but 177th Bde remained in the line under its command. Over the next few days the composite force was slowly pushed from one fallback position to another, making local counter-attacks, until it was relieved in turn by 42nd (East Lancashire) Division, brought up in buses on 25 March.[30][57][58]

What remained of 59th Division was sent north to recuperate, but there the survivors were caught up in the second phase of the Spring Offensive, the Battles of Bailleul (14–15 April) and Kemmel Ridge (17–18 April) forming part of the larger Battles of the Lys.[30] In May 1918 the shattered 59th Division was temporarily disbanded and its battalions reduced to training cadres, the surplus men being drafted to other units.[30]

14th Battalion

On 8 May 1918, the cadre of 2/4th Bn was transferred to 47th Bde of 16th Division, (formerly the Irish Division, also smashed up in the Spring Offensive), which went back to England in June. 2/4th Bn was sent to Aldeburgh, where it was merged into the 14th Bn Leicesters, a newly formed service battalion. The 14th Leicesters then moved to Aldershot, where the 16th Division was reforming as an English division. It returned to France on 30 July and 14th Leicesters served with the 16th Division during the final advance of the war.[16][30][59]

3/4th Battalion

The 3/4th Battalion was formed at Leicester early in 1915 and moved to Belton Park near Grantham and later to Nottingham.[23] It was redesignated the 4th Reserve Bn on 8 April 1916 and on 1 September it absorbed the 5th Reserve (formerly 3/5th) Bn. It later served at Catterick, North Coates and Louth.[16]


The 4th Leicesters reformed at Leicester on 7 February 1920 in the renamed Territorial Army (TA).[5]

In December 1936 the 46th (North Midland) Division was disbanded and its headquarters was reconstituted as 2nd Anti-Aircraft Division to control the increasing number of anti-aircraft (AA) units being created north of London. At the same time, several of its infantry battalions were converted into searchlight battalions of the Royal Engineers (RE). The 4th Leicesters was one of these, becoming 44th (The Leicestershire Regiment) Anti-Aircraft Battalion, RE (TA), with HQ and 374–377 Anti-Aircraft Companies at Leicester. It formed part of 32nd (Midland) Anti-Aircraft Group in 2nd AA Division (the group was redesignated 32nd AA Brigade in November 1938).[5][60]

World War II


The TA's AA units were mobilised on 23 September 1938 during the Munich Crisis, with units manning their emergency positions within 24 hours, even though many did not yet have their full complement of men or equipment. The emergency lasted three weeks, and they were stood down on 13 October.[61] In February 1939 the existing AA defences came under the control of a new Anti-Aircraft Command. In June a partial mobilisation of TA units was begun in a process known as 'couverture', whereby each AA unit in rotation did a month's tour of duty at selected AA and searchlight positions. On 24 August, ahead of the declaration of war, AA Command was fully mobilised at its war stations.[62]

2nd AA Division's defence responsibiities covered Yorkshire, Humberside and the North Midlands, together with the airfields of No. 12 Group RAF.[63][64][65]

44th Searchlight Regiment

On 1 August 1940 the AA battalions of the RE were transferred to the Royal Artillery (RA), the 44th being designated 44th (The Leicestershire Regiment) Searchlight Regiment, RA. By now its HQ was at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire.[5][66][67][68][69]


During the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940, and more especially during the night-bombing Blitz that followed, the units of 32nd AA Bde defended the industrial towns and airfields of the East Midlands.[68][70][71][72] In 1941 the searchlight layout over the Midlands was reorganised, so that any hostile raid approaching the Gun Defended Areas (GDA) around the towns had to cross multiple cross multiple searchlight belts, and then within the GDAs the concentration of lights was increased.[73]

121st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment

In January 1942, the regiment changed role again, becoming 121st (The Leicestershire Regiment) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA (TA), equipped with 40 mm Bofors light anti-aircraft (LAA) guns and organised into four batteries (396–399).[5][67][74] The regiment remained part of Home Forces until March 1944 when it joined Second Army in preparation for the invasion of Normandy (Operation Overlord).[74]

North West Europe

The regiment's role in the Overlord plan was to act as a corps LAA regiment under the Corps Commander RA (CCRA) of VIII Corps. VIII Corps was a follow-up formation and first went into action in Operation Epsom on 26 June.[75][76] After the heavy fighting in Normandy, VIII Corps was 'grounded' during the breakout and pursuit,[77][78][79] and then had to rush forwards 300 miles to play a supporting role during Operation Market Garden.[80][81] VIII Corps had the lead in Operation Constellation, the capture of Venray and Blerick on the Maas.[82][83]

During the fighting in the Klever Reichswald (Operation Veritable) in early 1945, 100th AA Bde was assigned to protect VIII Corps, which had taken Venlo.[84] 121 LAA Regiment reverted to the direct control of the CCRA during the Rhine crossings (Operation Plunder (23–30 March), when the corps was in Second Army Reserve and 100 AA Bde was protecting the bridgehead.[85][86][87]

Once the Allies were across the Rhine, VIII Corps spearheaded Second Army's drive into Germany.[88] Beyond the River Weser, VIII Corps met weaker opposition and pushed rapidly across Luneburg Heath. Its last major task was the crossing of the Elbe, (Operation Enterprise), timed for 29 April, for which it had 100 AA Bde (including two batteries of 121 LAA Regt from the Corps) providing AA cover. This coincided with the last peak of Luftwaffe activity, with 100 AA Bde reporting about 60 attacks by Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter-bombers against the bridgeheads. With the attackers coming in at heights up to 3000 feet it was mainly an LAA battle: four attackers were shot down. Despite the deterrent effect of the LAA batteries around the bridges, the Luftwaffe did succeed in putting one Class 40 bridge out of action on 1 May; it was repaired the same day.[89][90] Four days later the German surrender at Lüneburg Heath ended the war in Europe. 121 LAA Regiment was placed in suspended animation in 1946.[66]



When the TA was reconstituted in 1947, the regiment was reformed at Leicester as 579 (The Royal Leicestershire Regiment) Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA, forming part of 76 AA Bde (the former 50 Light AA Bde) at Leicester. In 1950 the regiment absorbed the Leicester-based 527 LAA/SL Regiment (as R Battery) without change of title.[5][66][67] Anti-Aircraft Command was disbanded in 1955 and there were considerable reductions in the TA's AA units, as a result of which 579 LAA Regiment merged with 262nd (North Midland) Heavy AA Regiment from Derby, and 585th (The Northamptonshire Regiment) LAA/SL Regiment, into a new 438th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RA with the following organisation:[5][66][91]

  • RHQ at Leicester – ex 579 Rgt
  • P (North Midland) Battery – ex 262 Rgt
  • Q (Royal Leicestershire Regiment) Battery – ex 579 Rgt
  • R (Northamptonshire Regiment) Battery – ex 585 Rgt


In 1961 there were further reorganisations, and 438 Rgt was broken up again. P Battery became 438th (Derbyshire Artillery) Field Squadron, RE, and R Battery merged with 5th Bn Northamptons to form 4/5th Bn of the that regiment. Similarly, RHQ and Q Battery merged with 5th Bn of the Leicesters to form 4/5th Battalion, Royal Leicestershire Regiment bringing together all of the pre-1908 volunteer units of the regiment and reverting to infantry for the first time since 1936.[5][92]

When the TA was converted into the Territorial and Army Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) in 1967, 4/5th Battalion provided two elements:[93]

  • 4th (Leicestershire) Company, 5th (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment in TAVR II (units with a NATO role)
  • The Royal Leicestershire Regiment (Territorials) in TAVR III (home defence units)
    • HQ Company at Leicester
    • A Company at Leicester
    • B Company at Loughborough
    • C Company at Hinckley

The Territorial regiment also incorporated 115 (Leicestershire) Corps Field Park Squadron, RE[93][94] The regiment was reduced to a cadre in 1969 and reconstituted in 1971 as B (Royal Leicestershire) Company, 7th (Volunteer) Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment.[93]

In 1978, 4th Coy 5th Bn and B Coy 7th Bn were amalgamated to form HQ (The Royal Leicestershire) Company of 7th Bn Royal Anglians (except the Hinckley detachment which became part of 3 (Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry) Company of 5th Bn).[93] A further reduction in the TA in 1999 saw HQ and C (Northamptonshire Regiment) Companies merged to form C (Leicestershire and Northamptonshire) Company of the East of England Regiment, which was redesignated 3rd Bn Royal Anglian regiment in 2006.[95] Under the 2020 plans for the Army Reserve, C Company at Leicester will absorb B (Lincolnshire) Company by the end of 2016.[96]

File:Cap badge Royal Leicestershire Regiment.jpg
Leicestershire Regiment cap badge


After conversion to the RE and then the RA, 44th S/L Rgt continued to wear Leicester Regiment buttons and cap badge bearing the 'Royal Hindoostan Tiger'. After World War II, 579 LAA Rgt wore an embroidered arm badge consisting of the tiger in green on a black rectangle.[66]

Honorary Colonels

The following officers served as Honorary Colonel of the 1st Leicester RVC and its successor units:[5][6][93]

  • Major-General Edwyn Sherard Burnaby, MP, of Baggrave Hall, appointed 23 March 1878 (1st Leicester RVC).
  • Henry Manners, 8th Duke of Rutland, KG, TD (styled Marquess of Granby until 1906), appointed 12 October 1897 (1st Volunteer Bn).[97]
  • Col J.E. Sarson, CB, OBE, VD, TD, appointed 14 November 1925 (4th Bn).
  • Lt-Col Sir Charles Frederick Oliver, TD, appointed 26 July 1937 (4th Bn).
  • Col Claude Danolds Oliver, OBE, TD, appointed 1 April 1967 (Royal Leicestershire (T)).
  • Lt-Col Gerald Laycock Aspell, TD, appointed 1 April 1972 (Deputy Hon Col, Royal Anglians).
  • Lt-Col Michael Moore, MC, TD, appointed 1 April 1979 (Deputy Hon Col, Royal Anglians).
  • Col Geoffrey Wilkes, OBE, TD, appointed 29 September 1981 (Deputy Hon Col, Royal Anglians).
  • Lr-Col W.G. Dawson, TD (Deputy Hon Col, Royal Anglians).
  • Lt-Col J.C.D. Heggs, appointed 1 February 1996 (Deputy Hon Col, Royal Anglians).

Prominent members


  1. Beckett.
  2. London Gazette, 20 September 1859.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Westlake, pp. 154–6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Beckett, Appendix VII.
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 4th Bn Leicester Regt at Regiments.org
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Army List
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 MacDonald, pp. 11–12.
  8. London Gazette, 24 July 1860.
  9. Leslie.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Becke, Pt 2a, pp. 61–7.
  11. Leicester at The Drill Hall Project.
  12. Milne, p. 1.
  13. National Reserve at Long, Long Trail.
  14. Milne, pp. 1–3.
  15. Simpson, p. 49.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 Leicesters at Long, Long Trail.
  17. Milne, pp. 4–13.
  18. Milne, pp. 18–24.
  19. Milne, pp. 25–50.
  20. Milne, pp. 51–6.
  21. Cherry, pp. 278–93.
  22. Rawson, pp. 125–8.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Milne, pp. 62–65.
  24. Milne, pp. 70–8.
  25. Milne, p. 81.
  26. Milne, pp. 92–3.
  27. Milnes, pp. 98–106.
  28. Campbell-Johnston.
  29. Edmonds, 1917, Vol II, p. 114.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 30.5 30.6 Becke, Pt 2b, pp. 17–23.
  31. Milne, p. 117.
  32. Milne, pp. 131–36.
  33. Priestley, p. 33.
  34. Milne, pp. 137–43.
  35. Priestley, pp. 6, 72–3.
  36. Milne, pp. 144–49.
  37. Priestley, pp. 113, 120.
  38. Priestley, pp. 132–8.
  39. Milne, pp. 150–1.
  40. Milne, pp. 151–4.
  41. Edmonds & Maxwell-Hyslop, pp. 301–2.
  42. Priestley, pp. 139–52.
  43. Milne, pp. 155–56.
  44. Edmonds & Maxwell-Hyslop, pp. 519–20.
  45. Priestley, pp. 158–71.
  46. 8th Provisional Brigade War Diary, The National Archives, Kew file WO 95/5458.
  47. Becke, Pt2 b, pp. 107–10.
  48. Lincolns at Long, Long Trail.
  49. Wolff, pp. 191–5.
  50. Edmonds, 1917, Vol II, pp. 288–9.
  51. Wolff, p. 199.
  52. Miles, pp. 167, 213.
  53. Miles, pp. 262–7.
  54. Middlebrook, pp. 91, 192–3, 232–4.
  55. Middlebrook, pp. 251–2.
  56. Edmonds, 1918, Vol I, pp. 228–34.
  57. Edmonds, 1918, Vol I, pp. 303, 387–8, 442–4.
  58. Whitton, pp. 173–96.
  59. Becke, Pt 3a, pp. 61–9.
  60. 2nd AA Division at British Military History
  61. Routledge, pp. 62–3.
  62. Routledge, pp. 65–6, 371.
  63. Routledge, Table LVIII, p. 376; Table LX, p. 378.
  64. 2 AA Division 1939 at British Military History.
  65. AA Command 3 September 1939 at Patriot Files.
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4 Litchfield, pp. 139–40.
  67. 67.0 67.1 67.2 Farndale, Annex M, pp. 338–9.
  68. 68.0 68.1 2 AA Division 1940 at British Military History.
  69. 44 S/L Regt at RA 1939–45.
  70. Farndale, Annex D, p. 259.
  71. 2 AA Division 1940 at RA 1939–45.
  72. Routledge, Table LXV, p. 396.
  73. Routledge, p. 399.
  74. 74.0 74.1 121 LAA Regt at RA 1939–45.
  75. Routledge, p. 314, Table XLIX, p. 319.
  76. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, Appendix IV, p. 372.
  77. Ellis, Normandy, p. 452.
  78. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, pp. 4, 72.
  79. Buckley, p. 184.
  80. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, pp. 13, 29, 36, 43.
  81. Buckley, p. 235.
  82. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, pp. 160–1.
  83. Buckley, pp. 235–8.
  84. Routledge, p. 350.
  85. Routledge, p. 365.
  86. Buckley, p. 281.
  87. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, p. 285.
  88. Ellis, Defeat of Germany, pp. 305–8.
  89. Routledge, pp. 362–3.
  90. Buckley, p. 293.
  91. 564–591 Rgts RA at British Army 1945 on
  92. 414–443 Rgts RA at British Army 1945 on
  93. 93.0 93.1 93.2 93.3 93.4 5th and 4/5th Bns Leicester Regiment at Regiments.org.
  94. 100–225 Sqns RE at British Army 1945 on.
  95. East Anglian Regt at Regiments.org.
  96. Army 2020 Reserve Structure and Basing Changes at British Army site.
  97. 97.0 97.1 Burkes: 'Rutland'.
  98. Beckett, pp. 114, 201, 276.
  99. Burkes: 'Halford'.
  100. London Gazette 20 November 1860
  101. London Gazette 25 December 1868
  102. London Gazette 16 February 1869
  103. London Gazette, 14 July 1914.
  104. London Gazette, 14 August 1914.
  105. London Gazette, 22 August 1914.
  106. London Gazette, 24 March 1916.
  107. London Gazette, 23 May 1919.


  • Army List, various dates.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2a: The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56), London: HM Stationery Office, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84734-739-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 2b: The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th), with the Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions, London: HM Stationery Office, 1937/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84734-739-8.
  • Maj A.F. Becke,History of the Great War: Order of Battle of Divisions, Part 3a: New Army Divisions (9–26), London: HM Stationery Office, 1938/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2007, ISBN 1-84734-741-X.
  • Ian F.W. Beckett, Riflemen Form: A study of the Rifle Volunteer Movement 1859–1908, Aldershot: Ogilby Trusts, 1982, ISBN 0-85936-271-X.
  • John Buckley, Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe, London: Yale University Press, 2013, ISBN 978-0-300-13449-0.
  • Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, various editions.
  • Lt P.S.C. Campbell-Johnson, The 46th (North Midland) Division at Lens in 1917, London: Fisher Unwin, 1919/Raleigh, NC:Poacher Books/Lulu Publishing, 2011, ISBN 978-1-4457-9613-0.
  • Niall Cherry, Most Unfavourable Ground: The Battle of Loos 1915, Solihull: Helion, 2005, ISBN 1-874622-03-5.
  • Brig-Gen Sir James E. Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1917, Vol II, Messines and Third Ypres (Passchendaele), London: HM Stationery Office, 1948/Imperial War Museum and Battery Press, 1992, ISBN 0-901627-75-5.
  • Brig-Gen Sir James E. Edmonds, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1918, Vol I, The German March Offensive and its Preliminaries, London: Macmillan, 1935/Imperial War Museum and Battery Press, 1995, ISBN 0-89839-219-5.
  • Brig-Gen Sir James E. Edmonds & Lt-Col R. Maxwell-Hyslop, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1918, Vol V, 26th September–11th November, The Advance to Victory, London: HM Stationery Office, 1947/Imperial War Museum and Battery Press, 1993, ISBN 1-870423-06-2.
  • Major L.F. Ellis, History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series: Victory in the West, Vol I: The Battle of Normandy, London: HM Stationery Office, 1962/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 1-84574-058-0.
  • Major L.F. Ellis, History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Military Series: Victory in the West, Vol II: The Defeat of Germany, London: HM Stationery Office, 1968/Uckfield: Naval & Military, 2004, ISBN 1-84574-059-9.
  • Gen Sir Martin Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: The Years of Defeat: Europe and North Africa, 1939–1941, Woolwich: Royal Artillery Institution, 1988/London: Brasseys, 1996, ISBN 1-85753-080-2.
  • Lt-Col H.F. Joslen, Orders of Battle, United Kingdom and Colonial Formations and Units in the Second World War, 1939–1945, London: HM Stationery Office, 1960/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2003, ISBN 1-84342-474-6.
  • N.B. Leslie, Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies 1695–1914, London: Leo Cooper, 1970, ISBN 0-85052-004-5.
  • Norman E.H. Litchfield, The Territorial Artillery 1908–1988 (Their Lineage, Uniforms and Badges), Nottingham: Sherwood Press, 1992, ISBN 0-9508205-2-0.
  • Alan MacDonald, A Lack of Offensive Spirit? The 46th (North Midland) Division at Gommecourt, 1st July 1916, West Wickham: Iona Books, 2008, ISBN 978-0-9558119-0-6.
  • Martin Middlebrook, The Kaiser's Battle, 21 March 1918: The First Day of the German Spring Offensive, London: Allen Lane, 1978/Penguin, 1983, ISBN 0-14-017135-5.
  • Capt Wilfred Miles, History of the Great War: Military Operations, France and Belgium 1917, Vol III, The Battle of Cambrai, London: HM Stationery Office, 1948/Uckfield: Naval and Military Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-84574-724-4.
  • Capt John Milne, Footprints of the 1/4th Leicestershire Regiment, August 1914 to November 1918, Leicester: Edgar Backus, 1935/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-84342-203-7.
  • Maj R.E. Priestley, Breaking the Hindenburg Line: The Story of the 46th (North Midland) Division, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1919/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-84342-266-2.
  • Andrew Rawson, Battleground Europe: Loos −1915: Hohenzollern Redoubt, Barnsley: Leo Cooper, 2003, ISBN 0-85052-903-4.
  • Brig N.W. Routledge, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery: Anti-Aircraft Artillery 1914–55, London: Royal Artillery Institution/Brassey's, 1994, ISBN 1-85753-099-3.
  • Maj-Gen C.R. Simpson (ed), The History of the Lincolnshire Regiment 1914–1918, London: Medici Society, 1931//Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2002, ISBN 978-1-84342-355-3.
  • Ray Westlake, Tracing the Rifle Volunteers, Barnsley: Pen and Sword, 2010, ISBN 978-1-84884-211-3.
  • Lt.-Col. F.E. Whitton, History of the 40th Division, Aldershot; Gale & Polden, 1926/Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2004, ISBN 978-1-84342-870-1.
  • Leon Wolff, In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign, London: Longmans, 1959/Corgi, 1966.

External sources