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United Kingdom 1939 - 1940:

Western Command

Introduction
In 1920, and following the First World War, Western Command was reconstituted and reorganised with three areas, each containing one division within the Territorial Army. These were the:

East Lancashire Area – 42 (East Lancashire) Division
West Lancashire Area – 55 (West Lancashire) Division
Welsh Area – 53 (Welsh) Division

A Major General commanded each of the three Areas, and also commanded the Territorial Army division coterminous with that Area. In 1936, Staffordshire was transferred to West Lancashire Area from the disbanded North Midland Area. As the likelihood of war inevitable, the Territorial Army mobilised with effect from 28 August 1939, and the divisions became independent of their parents Areas. The Major General retained command of the division, with new commanders (usually Brigadiers) appointed to the remaining Areas.

In 1940, the areas were reorganised. The Wales Area split into two new areas, and a new area formed in the midlands. The five new areas in existence from 1940 until 1943 were:

Central Midland Area (Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Herefordshire);
South Wales Area;
North Wales Area (including Shropshire);
East Lancashire Area (Cumberland, Westmorland, East Lancashire & part of Cheshire);
West Lancashire Area (West Lancashire, Staffordshire, part of Cheshire & the Isle of Man).

Regular Army

There were no Regular Army formations stationed in Western Command.

Territorial Army

There were three Territorial Army formations based in Western Command. The:

42 (East Lancashire) Infantry Division;
53 (Welsh) Infantry Division;
55 (West Lancashire) Infantry Division.

In April 1939, when the requirement came to expand the Territorial Army, the three Territorial Army formations located in Western Command formed second line formations. The 42 (East Lancashire) Division formed a duplicate formation titled the 66 Infantry Division. The 53 (Welsh) Infantry Division formed the 38 Infantry Division, and the 55 (West Lancashire) Infantry Division formed the 59 (Staffordshire) Infantry Division.

On 14 August 1941, the Regimental Depots ceased to train recruits, and new Infantry Training Centres were opened at command level. These new Infantry Training Centres were:
No. 18 I.T.C. at Carlisle for the King’s Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster), the Border Regiment and the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire);
No. 19 I.T.C. at Formby for the King’s Regiment (Liverpool), East Lancashire Regiment and South Lancashire Regiment;
No. 20 I.T.C. at Shrewsbury for the North Staffordshire Regiment and King’s Shropshire Light Infantry;
No. 21 I.T.C. at Brecon for the Royal Welch Fusiliers, South Wales Borderers and the Welch Regiment;
No. 22 I.T.C. at Warwick for the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and the Leicestershire Regiment;
No. 23 I.T.C. at Worcester for the Worcestershire Regiment and South Staffordshire Regiment;
No. 24 I.T.C. at Chester for the Cheshire Regiment, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, Middlesex Regiment and Manchester Regiment.

In 1944, the command reduced from five to two districts; the two districts being:

Mid-West District (H.Q. at Shrewsbury) responsible for Wales, Shropshire Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire;
North West District (H.Q. at Preston) responsible for Lancashire, Cheshire, and part of Derbyshire.

The headquarters of the command remained at Chester. In 1961, the command spilt into three areas, the North West, West Midlands, and Welsh Areas, each with their own division (the 48 Division being reformed). Western Command was abolished with the other commands on 1 April 1972 with the creation of United Kingdom Land Forces.

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