53rd Welsh

A World War II Living History Group

158 (Royal Welch) Brigade

The 158 (Royal Welch) Brigade consisted solely of Battalions of the Royal Welch Fusiliers until 3rd August 1944 - where after the casualties suffered during Operation Greenline the RWF Battalions were spread across the Division to minimise casualties - due to problems with reinforcing understrength Brigades full of members of one Regiment.

Units

Until 3rd August 1944, 158 (Royal Welch) Brigade consisted of the following:

4th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

7th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

158 Brigade Group

The Brigade Group was all of the forces which came under the Brigade in addition to its three basic Infantry Battalions. The Brigade Group consists of the three infantry Battalions, Brigade HQ, a Battery detached from the Divisional Anti-Tank Regiment, and the Field Regiment of 25 pounders that supported the Brigade. There were often additions of light anti-air units, and attached tank support into this category.

158 Brigade Group consisted of:

158 Brigade HQ

4th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

6th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

7th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers

278 Battery 71 Anti-tank Regiment (initially 8 x 17 pounders, 4 x 6 pounders)

83 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery (24 x 25 pounders)

Brigade History

 

Royal Welch Fusiliers assist in clearing bomb damage in Belfast, Northern Ireland, 7 May 1941. [IWM]

Men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers advance through smoke at a battle school in Northern Ireland, 21 August 1942. [IWM]

Men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers watch as an instructor demonstrates firing the 2-inch mortar from the hip at a battle school in Northern Ireland, 21 August 1942. [IWM]

Gunners of the Royal Welch Fusiliers attend an open air service led by the Reverend Bennett Rees, during operations in the Odon valley, 15 July 1944.

Men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers queue for containers of tea before the attack on Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

Pte W Nodder of the Royal Welch Fusiliers writes home from his slit trench before the attack on Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

A sergeant briefs men of the Royal Welch Fusiliers before an attack towards Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

Sgt J Lloyd (right) and L/Cpl Jones, two motorcycle despatch riders of the Royal Welch Fusiliers have a 'brew' before the attack on Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

Sergeant G S Davies of the Royal Welch Fusiliers packs his medical bag at the regimental aid post before an attack towards Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

A heavily-loaded Universal carrier drives through a gap made in a hedge during the attack on Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

Churchill tanks moving into position at dawn to support the attack on Evrecy, 16 July 1944.[IWM]

Sgt E Walter of the Army Film and Photographic Unit (AFPU) examines a German artillery piece left behind during their retreat from Evrecy, 16 July 1944. [IWM]

A Bren gun carrier from 158 Brigade escorts German prisoners, 19 September 1944. [IWM]

 

Shoulder Titles

Prior to the re-organisation of the Brigade it was often hard to distinguish the 3 RWF Battalions. The shoulder titles they adopted are as folllows:

4 RWF: two lateral Arms of Service stripes with a single verticle stripe making a 'T' shape.

6 RWF: two lateral Arms of Service stripes with two verticle stripes making a 'T' shape.

7 RWF: two lateral Arms of Service stripes with three verticle stripes making a 'T' shape.

The lateral Arms of Service stripes (AoS) were scarlet and symbolised the 2nd Brigade in the Division. The verticle AoS stripe represented which Battalion it was (1st, 2nd or 3rd) in this case corresponding 4 RWF, 6 RWF, 7 RWF.

With the re-organisation in August, this system of AoS stripes was no longer needed and instead they reverted to the stripes which dictated which Brigade each RWF Battalion was in.