CCLXXVIII (Howitzer)Brigade

This unit was formed in 1908 for the new Territorial Force. It is also sometimes shown as 4th West Lancashire (Howitzer) Brigade RFA or 278 Brigade RFA.


  • The 4th West Lancashire Brigade RFA TF was based at Edge Lane, Liverpool. It comprised a headquarters, the 7th and 8th Lancashire (Howitzer) Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column. It was embodied when the army was mobilised on 4-5 August 1914.
  • The brigade came under orders of the West Lancashire Division. The division was in effect broken up when most of its infantry battalions were ordered independently to France in late 1914.
  • The divisional artillery including this brigade was placed under orders of the 2nd Canadian Division and crossed to France, landing at Le Havre on 1 October 1915. Before sailing,the batteries' old 5-inch howitzers were replaced by modern 4.5-inch howitzers.
  • The West Lancashire Division, now titled as the 55th (West Lancashire) Division, was ordered to re-form in France and the artillery rejoined it at Hallencourt between 2 and 4 January 1916.
  • On 9 February 1916 "B" Battery of 85 (Howitzer) Brigade joined and became "C" Battery.
  • On 15 May 1916 the brigade was given the number 278 and the 7th and 8th Lancashire Batteries became "A" and, "B" Batteries.
  • The brigade was reorganised on 23 May 1916. "B" went to 275 Brigade as its "D" Battery; "A" went to 276 Brigade as its "D" Battery, and "C" went to 277 Brigade as its "D" Battery. They were replaced by the D" Batteries arriving from 275, 276 and 277 and becoming new "A", "B" and "C" Batteries.
  • On 4 October 1916 "C" Battery was broken up and its sections went to "A" and "B" Batteries.
  • The brigade was broken up on 19 October 1916 and ceased to exist. "A" Battery went to 275 Brigade on 6 October and became its B" Battery; and "B" went to 277 Brigade on 7 October, becoming its "A" Battery.

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