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British Military Operations After WW1: 1919-1922

Updated on July 1, 2010



The transformation of the Ottoman empire to the Turkish republic 1918-1922 was not without its problems, one of which was the influx of Greeks into the area around Izmir. Britain maintained a garrison around Constantinople to influence control of the sea lanes between the Aegean and Black Seas. The upsurge of Turkish nationalism and the conflict with Greece led to a substantial increase in the size of the British force in 1922. At the time, the British government was accused of excessive belligerence towards Turkey and its failure to influence the outcome led to the downfall of the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, and the withdrawal of all forces in 1923.


Both France and Britain sought to punish Turkey for being a German ally and supported the greek idea that much of Turkey formerally was part Greece. Therefore, they provided money to Greek to allow their military forces to invade Turkey at Izmir in 1919. This support continue until the climatic battle at the Sarkarya River, near Turkey's new capital, where the Greeks were halted in Turkey's last ditch attempt. Once the Greeks lost, Britian and France yanked all financial support and put the Greek military operations to a full stop and then rout out of Turkey in 1922.


British Forces:

HQ 28th Division

3rd Hussars

XVII Brigade RFA –13, 26, 92 Batteries

XIX Brigade RFA - 29, 96 Batteries

V Pack Brigade RFA-1, 5, 7, 14 Batteries

12 Field Company RE

2 Divisional Signal Company


83 Brigade

2 Bn Royal Fusiliers

2 Bn Royal Sussex Regiment

1 Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment

1 Bn Gordon Highlanders


85 Brigade

1 Bn Kings Own Scottish Borderers

2 Bn Sherwood Foresters

2 Bn Highland Light Infantry

2 Bn Rifle Brigade


Other units

X Brigade RFA-30, 46, 51, 54 Field Batteries

1 Bn Grenadier Guards

2 Bn Grenadier Guards

1 Bn Irish Guards

1 Bn Buffs [to 83 Bde]

1 Bn Kings Liverpool Regiment

2 Bn East Yorkshire Regiment

1 Bn Duke of Wellington’s Regiment

2 Bn Essex Regiment

1 Bn North Staffordshire Regiment

2 Bn Royal Ulster Rifles

11 Royal Marine Battalion



The following is a selection of orders of battle of various operations carried out by the British Army in the years between the wars. All were operations of a limited nature carried out in support of particular political or international objectives. Almost all were the result of requirements of or dissatisfaction about the peace settlements of 1919-1922.



Late in 1919 Britain sent troops to Murmansk and Archangel in northern Russia. They were part of an international force designed to protect Allied interests there during the Russian Civil War, and to offer assistance to those Russian forces fighting the Bolsheviks in that conflict.


Privately, called "Churchill's War", this was a secret military deployment of men and millions of dollars in equipment to create a "White Army" to crush Lenin and the birth of Communism. It also had the support of 15,000 US soldiers and many French. Most of the public did not know about this war, which included South Russia until 1920 because of secrecy.  The White Army, under General Denikin, did come within 200 miles of Moscow in Oct. 1919, but the corruption in the rear areas made it impossible to continue.


British Forces:

2/10 Royal Scots

2 Royal Warwickshire

45 Royal Fusiliers [Elope Force]

46 Royal Fusiliers [Elope Force]

17 Kings Liverpool

6 Green Howards

12 Green Howards

1 East Surrey

11 Royal Sussex

2 Hampshire

1 Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire LI

2/7 Durham LI

2 Highland LI

6 Royal Marine Bn

8 Bn Machine Gun Corps

8, 201, 252, 280 Machine Gun Companies



Following the armistice with the Ottoman empire, Britain sent troops from Macedonia to secure Constantinople and the Straits. In addition, troops were sent eastwards to Turkish ports on the Black Sea and into Caucasus region of Russia to influence the outcome of the struggle against the Bolsheviks. Units of the Indian Army provided part of the garrison in Turkey.



A & D Sqns, Lothians & Border Horse

Surrey Yeomanry

2 Kings Own Royal Regiment

9 Kings Own Royal Regiment

9 Royal Warwickshire

10 Devonshire

2 East Yorkshire

11 Royal Welsh Fusiliers

8 Royal Scots Fusiliers

2 Gloucestershire

9 Worcestershire

11 Worcestershire

2 Duke of Cornwall’s LI

8 Duke of Cornwall’s LI

1st/4th Hampshire

1 Welsh Regiment

7 Royal Berkshire

2 Kings Shropshire LI

26 Middlesex

7 North Staffordshire

2 Durham LI

2/5 Durham LI

2 Cameron Hldrs

2 Royal Dublin Fusiliers

4 Rifle Brigade

65, 66, 67, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 80, 81, 253, 277, Z Machine Gun Coys

Indian Army-

6th Cavalry

23rd Infantry

54th Infantry

95th Infantry

2 Bn 128th Infantry

2 Bn 4th Gurkha Rifles



Britain sent a small force to Siberia, via Vladivostok, to influence events in Siberia. This force was to maintain a British ‘presence’ in an area which had attracted Japanese and American forces as well. Once again, US troops also were sent in secrecy.


9 Bn Hampshire Regiment

25 Bn Middlesex Regiment



Throughout World War One, the British had to keep a force of British and Indian units on the North-West Frontier to maintain peace amongst the various tribes. The collapse of Russia and the emergence of Bolshevism in Russia led to a substantial intervention in Afghanistan in 1919 to secure the Indian sub-continent. British and Indian units took part in this operation.


1st/4th Queens Regiment

4 Buffs

2 Kings Liverpool

2 Somerset LI

1 Green Howards

1 Duke of Wellington’s Regiment

2nd/4th Border Regiment

1 Royal Sussex

1/5 Hampshire

1 South Lancashire

1st/4th Royal West Kent

2 North Staffordshire

1/25 London

Kent Cyclist Bn

15, 20, 21 Machine Gun (Cav) Companies

3, 15, 22, 222, 260, 263, 270, 288 Machine Gun Companies

Indian Army-

1, 2, 13, 16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 33, 37 Cavalry Regiments

37, 39 Infantry Regiments


Substantial Indian Army forces operated in Central Asia during 1919 [28 Cavalry, 2, 19, 21, 24, 25, 32, 39, 67, 84, 89 Infantry, 2/6 Gurkhas]. At same time Indian units were sent to Persia [Iran]-they were 16, 22, 55, 81, 98, 99, 107 and 127 Infantry]



Further British and Indian forces were engaged in occupation duties as Mesopotamia was transformed in to Iraq. British units included –

1st Kings Dragoon Guards

7th Dragoon Guards

8th Hussars

1st Armoured Car Company

6th Armoured Car Company

A Battery Royal Horse Artillery

17th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

19th Brigade Royal Field Artillery

2 Bn Northumberland Fusiliers

2 Bn Royal Norfolk Regiment

2 Bn East Yorkshire Regiment

1 Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

1 Bn Royal Berkshire Regiment

1 Bn King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

2 Bn York & Lancaster Regiment

2 Bn Royal Ulster Rifles

1 Bn Royal Irish Fusiliers

From 1923 the British Army handed over supervision of Iraq to the Royal Air Force. Until 1941 British ground troops were rare visitors in Iraq.


SYRIA 1919

Although France was awarded a mandate to govern the former Ottoman territories of Syria and Lebanon, Britain maintained troops in the area until the French were in a position to take control.

Gloucestershire Hussars

Sherwood Rangers

Worcestershire Yeomanry

4 Royal Norfolk

5 Royal Norfolk

4 Bedfordshire

2 Leicestershire

Indian Army-

2, 18, 19, 36 Cavalry, 2 Guides Infantry


SILESIA 1920-21 (Upper Silesia Plebiscite)

As part of the Versailles Treaty the German province of Upper Silesia was promised a plebiscite to determine its future status-whether to remain German or to be handed over to the new states of Poland and Czeckoslovakia. British troops maintained the peace in Silesia until the plebiscite was held.

1 Bn Royal Irish Regiment

2 Bn Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

1 Bn Gloucestershire Regiment

4 Bn Worcestershire Regiment

1 Bn Royal Sussex Regiment

2 Bn Black Watch

2 Bn Royal West Kent

1 Bn Kings Own Yorkshire LI

1 Bn Middlesex Regiment

3 Bn Middlesex Regiment

1 Bn Durham LI

2 Bn Connaught Rangers

2 Bn Leinster Regiment

1 Bn Munster Fusiliers


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      pain in mention however of the r.a.s.c in which my father served in archangel.


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