The 4th was a royal infantry division that served under the British Army during World War II. Originally formed in 1809 for service during the Napoleonic Wars, it continued to serve in the British Army until it was disbanded in 2012. By the Second World War, it had consisted of men mainly from the British Expeditionary Force.
The first commander of the 4th Royal Infantry Division was Dudley Graham Johnson who had held command for one year beginning in 1939. He was succeeded by J.G. des R. Swayne who himself commanded for two years, ending in 1942. Meanwhile, J.H. Hogshaw temporarily took command of the division, until Major General Hayman-Joyce took command for another year until 1944, when he was replaced by A.D. Ward, who had served until 1945. Ward was followed by numerous commanders, who each took command for several months.
The 4th Royal Infantry Division consisted mainly of the 10th, 11th, 28th and the 12th Royal Infantry Brigades. Furthermore, the 4th also contained the 21st Tank Brigade, the 4th Royal Reconnaissance Regiment and the 2nd Northumberland Fusiliers.
During its long and extensive history, the 4th Royal Infantry Division had served in numerous battles and campaigns including the famed battles of Waterloo and during World War I. Its first combat actions seen during World War II however was when it was sent along with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force into France to combat the advancing German troops. Following the division's retreat back to Great Britain, it was sent to North Africa via Operation Torch and subsequently fought there for a great deal of time. It fought its way throughout Tunisia and eventually moved on to the fighting in Italy in 1944. Here it fought for a little while against German defenses before being moved to the fighting in Greece where it stayed until the end of the war.