The Army

Read more about the British Army during the Second World War.

Britain’s pre-war army was a small professional force equipped primarily to garrison Britain and its imperial territories. The combined force of the regular army and the Territorials amounted to less than 900,000, but by the end of the war, voluntary service and mass conscription meant that over 3.5 million men had served in the massively expanded service.

As well as a vast expansion in infantry, armoured and artillery divisions, the war saw the creations of a new kind of soldier in units such as the Special Air Service (SAS), Army Commandos and the Parachute Regiment.

After the evacuation from Dunkirk and the fall of France in June, 1940, the British Army was mainly deployed to protect overseas British territories, and significant numbers of troops were sent to Egypt, Singapore and Burma. A small force was also sent to Greece in March 1941 but it was soon forced to retreat. British Army units also took part in the Allied invasions of Sicily, Italy and France .

During the Second World War some 145,000 British soldiers were killed, 240,000 were wounded and 180,000 were taken prisoner.

This page was added by Malin Lundin on 08/05/2012.