Girish Mahajan (Editor)

HQ Northern Ireland

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Active  1922–2009
Branch  British Army
Country  United Kingdom
Type  Command
HQ Northern Ireland
Garrison/HQ  Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn

HQ Northern Ireland was the formation responsible for the British Army in and around Northern Ireland. It was established in 1922 and disbanded, replaced by a brigade-level Army Reserve formation, 38 (Irish) Brigade, in 2009.



Northern Ireland District was established following the partition of Ireland in 1922 and was originally based at Victoria Barracks, Belfast. During the Second World War the role of the District was enhanced from internal security to that of combatting any threat of invasion from the Republic of Ireland. The status of the formation was upgraded from District to Command under the leadership of Lieutenant General Sir John Hackett in 1961.

With the emergence of the Troubles, which started in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, the role of HQ Northern Ireland increased substantially as it took responsibility for "assisting in the defeat of terrorism and the maintenance of public order" and by 1972 it had 27,000 troops under its command.

On 30 January 2006 the Secretary of State for Defence announced to the House of Commons that 19 Light Brigade, then stationed at Catterick, would be re-roling into a light brigade and relocating to Scotland and Northern Ireland. On 10 May 2006 it was further announced that "in addition to the HQ and other units of 19 Light Brigade that we expect to relocate to Northern Ireland in 2007 and 2008, a new and non-deployable regional brigade headquarters will form at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn. The current 107 (Ulster) Brigade, based at Ballymena, will merge on 15 December this year into HQ 39 Infantry Brigade, which will itself be replaced by the new regional brigade headquarters, 38th (Irish) Brigade under the command of the 2nd Division, on 1 August 2007".

On 6 August 2007 HQ Northern Ireland and 38 (Irish) Brigade combined to create a single transitional headquarters with a two star General Officer Commanding. At the same time the British military presence in the Province was reduced to about 5,000 troops.

On 1 January 2009 the name of the formation changed to 38 (Irish) Brigade and HQ Northern Ireland was dissolved with residual regional functions being migrated to HQ 2 Division in Edinburgh.

Other services had a smaller 'footprint' in the province during the Troubles. The RAF's presence in Northern Ireland was based at RAF Aldergrove, and 230 Squadron was based there for many years, among other units. The Royal Navy no longer maintain a regular presence in Northern Ireland waters with the disbandment of the Northern Ireland Squadron. The Royal Navy's main presence is HMS Hibernia, which serves as the HQ of the Royal Naval Reserve's Ulster Division.

HQ Northern Ireland formations, December 1989

In December 1989 the following units were permanently based in Northern Ireland under command of HQ Northern Ireland. The three infantry battalions on a 6-month rotation to Northern Ireland are shown in italics; smaller units on a 6-month roulement to Northern Ireland are not shown. Two Territorial Army battalions stationed in Northern Ireland were to move immediately to Germany to reinforce British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) in case of war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. For administrative purposes these units were under command of brigade HQs based in Northern Ireland during peacetime. Both units are shown in the list below in italics followed by the higher command they were to reinforce in Germany in brackets:

  • 3rd Brigade, Portadown
  • 1st Bn, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, Omagh, Light Role
  • 1st Bn, Royal Anglian Regiment, Armagh roulement Battalion, August 1989 to January 1990
  • 4th Bn, Royal Irish Rangers (TA), Portadown (to I British Corps)
  • 2nd Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Armagh
  • 3rd Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Down
  • 11th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, Craigavon
  • 8th Infantry Brigade, Derry
  • 1st Bn, Gloucestershire Regiment, Ballykelly
  • 1st Bn, Royal Hampshire Regiment, Londonderry, (45x Saxon)
  • 1st Bn, King's Own Scottish Borderers, Fermanagh roulement Battalion, October 1989 to March 1990
  • 4th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Fermanagh
  • 5th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Londonderry
  • 6th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Tyrone
  • 8th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Tyrone
  • 39th Infantry Brigade, Lisburn
  • 3rd Bn, Parachute Regiment, Belfast, Light Role
  • 1st Bn, Black Watch, Ballykinlar
  • 3rd Bn, Queen's Regiment, Aldergrove
  • 1st Bn, Queen's Regiment, Belfast roulement Battalion, October 1989 to March 1990
  • 5th Bn, Royal Irish Rangers (TA), Armagh (to I British Corps)
  • 1st/9th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Antrim
  • 3rd Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, County Down
  • 7th/10th Bn, Ulster Defence Regiment, Belfast
  • 102nd (Ulster) Light Air Defence Regiment (V), Royal Artillery, Belfast, (32x Javelin)
  • No. 665 Squadron AAC, RAF Aldergrove
  • List of units c.2011

  • Permanent Units
  • HQ Northern Ireland
  • 15 Signal Regiment
  • 38 Infantry Brigade
  • HQNI Support Battalion
  • 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Regiment (27th (Inniskilling), 83rd, 87th and The Ulster Defence Regiment)
  • 591 (Independent) Field Squadron, Royal Engineers
  • 152 Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps
  • 253 Medical Regiment, Royal Army Medical Corps
  • Queen's University Officer Training Corps
  • B (North Irish Horse) Squadron, Queen's Own Yeomanry
  • 40 (Ulster) Signal Squadron
  • 206 (Ulster) Battery, 105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers)
  • 204 Field Hospital, Royal Army Medical Corps
  • No. 3 Squadron, RAF Regiment
  • 5 Regiment, Army Air Corps
  • 25 Engineer Regiment
  • 8 Detachment, Lisburn, Northern Ireland – 243 Provost Company (Volunteers)
  • General Officers Commanding Northern Ireland

    General Officers Commanding have included:
    Northern Ireland District

  • General Sir Archibald Cameron 1922–1925
  • General Sir Felix Ready 1926–1929
  • General Sir Arthur Wauchope 1929–1931
  • Major-General Sir Eric Girdwood 1931–1935
  • Major-General James Cooke-Collis 1935–1938
  • Major-General Robert Pollok 1938–1940
  • Major-General Hubert Huddleston 1940
  • Major-General Ridley Pakenham-Walsh 1940–1941
  • Major-General Vivian Majendie 1941–1943
  • Major-General Alan Cunningham 1943–1944
  • Major-General Gerard Bucknall 1944–1948
  • Major-General Ouvry Roberts 1948–1949
  • Lieutenant General Sir Reginald Denning 1949–1952
  • Lieutenant General Sir John Woodall 1952–1955
  • Lieutenant General Sir Brian Kimmins 1955–1958
  • Lieutenant General Sir Douglas Packard 1959–1961
  • Northern Ireland Command

  • Lieutenant General Sir John Hackett 1961–1963
  • Lieutenant General Sir Richard Anderson 1963–1965
  • Lieutenant General Sir Desmond Fitzpatrick 1965–1966
  • Lieutenant General Sir Ian Harris 1966–1969
  • Lieutenant General Sir Ian Freeland 1969–1971
  • Lieutenant General Vernon Erskine-Crum 1971
  • General Sir Harry Tuzo 1971–1973
  • General Sir Frank King 1973–1975
  • Lieutenant General Sir David House 1975–1977
  • General Sir Timothy Creasey 1977–1979
  • General Sir Richard Lawson 1979–1982
  • Lieutenant General Sir Robert Richardson 1982–1985
  • General Sir Robert Pascoe 1985–1988
  • General Sir John Waters 1988–1990
  • General Sir John Wilsey 1990–1993
  • General Sir Roger Wheeler 1993–1996
  • General Sir Rupert Smith 1996–1998
  • Lieutenant General Sir Hew Pike 1998–2000
  • General Sir Alistair Irwin 2000–2003
  • Lieutenant General Sir Philip Trousdell 2003–2005
  • General Sir Redmond Watt 2005–2006
  • Lieutenant General Nick Parker 2006–2007
  • Major General Chris Brown 2008–2009
  • References

    HQ Northern Ireland Wikipedia

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