Outline History of 42nd Division
The history of the Signals is inextricably linked with that of the Division it supported, this section adds background to the role and deployment of the Divisional Signals.
The Division was first formed in 1908 as the East Lancashire Division, with its headquarters at Preston. Its Brigades were:
In 1909 Divisional Headquarters moved to Hulme Barracks, Manchester, and in 1910 to the National Buildings, Deansgate, Manchester.
1914 - 1918 War
When war was declared the East Lancashire Division was the first Territorial Division to volunteer for foreign service and the first to leave England. During this war the Division served in the following campaigns:
Five members of the Division were awarded the Victoria Cross during these campaigns.
Whilst serving in Gallipoli on 25th May 1915, the East Lancashire Division was re-titled with the number ‘42’, becoming the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division. At the same time the component Brigades were numbered as follows:
The Division returned to England and was demobilized in March 1919.
1919 - 1939
The Division was re-formed in April 1920 as the 42nd (East Lancashire) Division consisting of 125, 126 and 127 Brigades. Brigade Headquarters was at Preston.
In 1935 the Headquarters were moved to 145 Withington Road, Manchester 16, where they remained until the outbreak of war.
1939 - 1943
The Division started the war as a first line Territorial Army Infantry Division. Between September 1939 and January 1940 it served in Western, Southern and Northern Commands.
From April to June 1940 the Division served in France with the British Expeditionary Force being evacuated through Dunkirk.
On 1st November 1941 the Division was re-organized to become the 42nd Armoured Division. The Brigades were re-named as follows:
The Division was stationed in the United Kingdom and was disbanded in October 1943.
The 42nd (Lancashire) Division, incorporating the former 55th (West Lancashire) Division and the former 42nd (East Lancashire) Division was revived as part of the nine Divisions of the reconstituted Territorial Army on 1st May 1947.
The Division at that time contained four Brigades, 125, 126 and 127 Brigades together with 124 (Cheshire) Brigade. 124 (Cheshire) Brigade, as159 Brigade, had been part of 53rd (Welsh) Division from 1908 until May 1942 when they were transferred to 11th Armoured Division, remaining as the Infantry Brigade in that Division until the end of the war.
In January 1961 a further re-organization took place and the Division was reduced to three Brigades. 126 Brigade, based on Lancaster was disbanded (its regiments going to 125 and 127 Brigades), and 124 Brigade re-numbered as 126 Brigade.
In the early 1960s, the Division acquired an additional role of Headquarters North-West District and became known as 42nd (Lancashire) Division (TA) / North West District. The Divisional/District Headquarters was then at Cuerden Hall, Bamber Bridge, Preston.
A further change of title took place around 1965 when it became 42nd (Lancashire and Cheshire) Division (TA) / North West District.
In 1972 ‘42nd (Lancashire and Cheshire) Division’ was dropped from the title and it became just ‘North West District’, still commanded by a Major-General.
The District Headquarters moved to Fulwood Barracks, Preston.
In the mid-1990s, as part of a reduction in the size of headquarters across the army, the District was reduced to a Brigadier’s Command, the number was revived and it became known as 42nd (North West) Brigade.
42 Signal Squadron is still recruiting spare-time soldiers to
train on Tuesday evenings, weekends, plus a 2-week exercise each year,