In late 1941 the War Office decided to form an airlanding brigade of glider borne troops in addition to the 1st Parachute Brigade. On 10th October 1941 the 31st Independent Brigade recently returned from India and mountain-trained was selected for conversion to the air land role and redesignated the 1st Air Landing Brigade and became part of the 1st Airborne Division. Brigadier GF Hopkinson took command on 31st October.
On 9th July 1943 the Brigade captured the Ponte Grande Bridge by air assault spear- heading the amphibious invasion of Sicily and two months later particpated in the Italian landings. It returned to the UK with the 1st Airborne Division in preparation for D-Day but was not used until Operation MARKET-GARDEN when it was virtually wiped out in the battles around Arnhem and Oosterbeek in september 1944. It subsequently participated in the Liberation of Norway in May 1945 before the 1st Airborne Division was disbanded in November.
See also: HQ 1st Airlanding Brigade
Order of Battle:
- 1st Bn The Border Regiment.
- 2nd Bn The South Staffordshire Regiment.
- 2nd Bn Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry : to 15 May 1943
- 1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles : to 15 May 1943.
- 7th Bn King’s Own Scottish Borderers : from 6 Dec 1943.
Units Assigned in 1942:
- 1st Airlanding Light Battery RA: 10 Dec 1941 - 27 Sep 1942
- 1st Airlanding AT Battery RA: 10 Dec 1941 - 27 Sep 1942
- 9th Field Coy RE: 10 Dec 1941 - 18 Jun 1942
- 1st Airlanding Recce Sqn: 10 Dec 1941 - 30 Dec 1942
- 1st Airlanding Bde Gp Coy RASC: 10 Dec 1941 - 30 Apr 1942
- 181st Field Ambulance: 10 Dec 1941 - 30 Mar 1942
- Brig G.F. Hopkinson 10 Dec 1941
- Brig P.H.W. Hicks: 6 Apr 1943
- Lt-Col R. Payton Reid (acting): 11 Dec 1944
- Brig R.H. Bower: 14 Dec 1944