51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland is an Adaptable Force Brigade of the British Army. It is the regional administrative formation responsible for all the units of the Army Reserve based in Scotland and an Adaptable Force Brigade under Army 2020. It is the largest Brigade in the United Kingdom in terms of geographic area. Although it takes its name and identity from, and is directly descended from the 51st Highland Division, formed as part of the Territorial Force in 1908 and which fought during the First and Second World Wars, it is also the modern descendant of the 52nd Lowland Division.
The British 51st Infantry Brigade began as a formation of the 17th (Northern) Division during the First World War. It spent the entirety of the war with the Division on the Western Front.
This brigade was not raised during the Second World War.
The dominant historical threads behind the current 51st Scottish Brigade come from the famed 51st Highland Division. It existed initially from August 1908 - March 1919, and then was reformed in the Territorial Army in the interwar period. Deployed to France with the British Expeditionary Force, the 51st Division was attached to the French Southern Group of Armies and fought a lone battle as the remainder of the BEF was forced to retreat toward Dunkirk. For some time, it was forced to hold a line four times longer than that which would normally be expected of a division. During this period, the 154th Brigade was detached and withdrawn successfully. However, the 152nd and 153rd Brigades were trapped at Saint-Valéry-en-Caux, and surrendered on 12 June. Later the Division was reformed from the second line 9th Highland Division and fought with the Eighth Army in the Western Desert campaign. It was later part of Second Army in the North-West Europe campaign.
The Territorial Army in Scotland re-raised the 51st/52nd Scottish Division in the late 1940s, which was in existence until the TA was disbanded and reorganised as the TAVR in 1967.
The 51st/52nd Scottish Division was split into two separate Brigades in 1968, with the 51st Highland component reformed as Highland District, commanded by a Brigadier and the Lowland component forming 52nd Lowland Brigade. Since then the name of the formation changed first to Highland Area and then to a subordinate formation of Scottish District, Highlands, as 51st Highland Brigade. In 1975 the Brigade Headquarters moved from Highland House, St Catherine’s Road, Perth to the old 51st Highland Division Officers’ Mess building at St Leonard’s Bank, Perth. As 51 Highland Brigade it consisted of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 51st Highland Volunteers, as well as other Territorial Army units based in the Highlands.
On 1 April 2002 51 (Scottish) Brigade took on the regional responsibility for the whole of Scotland, instead of just the Highlands, with its Headquarters at Forthside Barracks in Stirling and its Regional Training Centre situated at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh. This enabled 52 (Lowland) Brigade, which previously administered all Lowland TA units, to be specifically reorganised to parent Regular light role infantry battalions for operational deployments. 51st (Scottish) Brigade also co-ordinated operational deployments within its regional area of responsibility, such as in scenarios requiring Military Aid to the Civil Community. The Brigade also had its own military band, administered by 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland. In April 2012, with the disbandment of 2nd Division, the brigade came under the control of the new Support Command based in Aldershot.
Previously, 51 (Scottish) Brigade had a total manpower strength of over 2600 ranks, accounting for the majority of the 3100 Territorials based in Scotland. Over 700 Territorials from the Brigade served in either Operation Telic in Iraq or Operation Herrick in Afghanistan since the beginning of the decade - including two formed units – 7 SCOTS' Alamein Company in Iraq; and 6 SCOTS' Bremen Platoon in Afghanistan.
On 31 March 2014, it was renamed 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, and transformed as part of the Army 2020 concept. Today, the Brigade is a part of 1st (United Kingdom) Division and is the largest of the British Army's Adaptive Force Brigades. Its responsibilities include preparing units for operations, providing regional support for resilience and community engagement, and Defence Engagement in the Gulf Region. It maintains close links with the Gulf region with regular exchange programmes and units regularly exercising multinational exercises with partnered countries that take place both here in the UK and in the Gulf region.
As Headquarters Scotland the Brigade looks after all Army units in Scotland and is responsible for providing logistic and administrative support, engagement with employers, communities, and society, and to maintain the Firm Base support for all Regular, Reserve and Army Cadet Force units in Scotland as well as four University Officer Training Corps. It also maintains strong links with local government, emergency services and the community to provide resilience in times of need. In 2014 the Brigade HQ commanded all troops deployed on Op COMET, the UK military contribution to support the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It leads on military Defence Engagement with the Arabian peninsula.
The Brigade consists of the following Regular:51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland in Edinburgh
Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Leuchars with Jackal reconnaissance vehicles
Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry in Edinburgh (Army Reserve - paired with Royal Scots Dragoon Guards) with Land Rover RWMIK reconnaissance vehicles
2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Edinburgh
6th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Glasgow (Army Reserve - paired with 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Fort George with Foxhound vehicles
Balaklava Company, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Edinburg (Independent rifle company, formerly 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
7th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland in Perth (Army Reserve - paired with 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland)
3rd Battalion, The Rifles in Edinburgh with Foxhound vehicles
5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Newcastle (Army Reserve - paired with 3rd Battalion, The Rifles)
Additionally, the Brigade has administrative command for resilience operations and in some cases recruiting for the following:39 Engineer Regiment - Kinloss Barracks (Administered as part of 12 Engineer Group)
71 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
105th Regiment, Royal Artillery
The Scottish Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
225 Medical Regiment (V), Royal Army Medical Corps
32 (Scottish) Signal Regiment - part of 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade
205 (Scottish) Field Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps
The following Officers' Training Corps are commanded by Commandant RMAS but sit within 51st Infantry Brigade's area:Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Officer Training Corps
Tayforth Universities Officers Training Corps
Aberdeen Universities Officer Training Corps
City of Edinburgh University Officers Training Corps
Other Army Reserve units in Scotland:D Squadron, 23rd SAS Regiment (Administered as part of UKSF)
15th (Scottish) Company, 4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (Primarily administered as part of 15th (North East) Brigade)
243rd Provost Company (Part of 5th Regiment Royal Military Police, which is under the command of 102nd Logistics Brigade)
2 (City of Dundee) Signal Squadron (Primarily administered as part of 2 (National Communications) Signal Brigade)
23rd (V) Military Intelligence Company, Intelligence Corps (Part of 5th Military Intelligence Battalion)
3 Flight, Army Air Corps (Part of 7 Regiment, Army Air Corps)
125 Rations Squadron, Royal Logistic Corps (Part of 159 Supply Regiment, RLC)
153 Field Company, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
In 2015 the Brigade deployed The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland on peacekeeping operations to Cyprus on Op TOSCA, and The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland to Kabul, Afghanistan on Op TORAL.