The Reconnaissance Corps, or simply Recce Corps, was a corps of the British Army, formed during the Second World War whose units provided the mobile spearhead of infantry divisions. It was formed from infantry brigade reconnaissance groups on 14 January 1941, all the brigade reconnaissance groups of each infantry corps were formed into reconnaissance battalions, each usually bearing the number of its relevant division. For example, the 43rd Battalion, Reconnaissance Corps was the reconnaissance battalion of the 43rd Division. Initially, coming from infantry units, reconnaissance units used the designations of battalions, companies. However, from 6 June 1942, the Corps changed to the descriptions of regiments, squadrons. The Corps became part of the Royal Armoured Corps in 1944, with the end of the war, this number of reconnaissance units was not needed and the Reconnaissance Corps was disbanded in August 1946. Reconnaissance duties reverted to regular armoured units of the RAC, the Reconnaissance Corps was charged with gathering vital tactical information in battle for infantry divisions, probing ahead and screening the flanks of main advances. The training centre was established at Winchester in February 1941, until the home of the Corps moved to Catterick in Yorkshire. Many failed and were sent to infantry battalions, but those who succeeded enjoyed the kudos of belonging to an elite unit and were determined to prove their own worth. Before beginning training with his unit, each man undertook a course with technical units. Most recce men became efficient in two of these roles e. g. driver and operator, Reconnaissance regiments were organised into a headquarters squadron and three reconnaissance squadrons. Each recce squadron comprised three troops and an assault troop. Scout troops were equipped with Bren Gun Carriers and light reconnaissance cars, the assault troops were composed of lorried infantry and were called up when enemy resistance needed to be overcome. Later in the war, more efficient and well-armed armoured cars such as the Humber Armoured Car, Daimler Armoured Car, the following units served in the Recce Corps, 1st Reconnaissance Regiment formed January 1941 in the 1st Division from the Hampshire Regiment. 2nd Reconnaissance Regiment formed April 1941 in the 2nd Division, mainly from the 6th Battalion, Loyal Regiment, 3rd Reconnaissance Regiment formed April 1941 in the 3rd Division, from the 8th Battalion, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. 4th Reconnaissance Regiment formed January 1941 mainly from the companies of the 10th, 11th and 12th Brigades of the 4th Division. 5th Reconnaissance Regiment formed February 1941 in the 5th Division from the 3rd Battalion, 18th Reconnaissance Battalion formed in the 18th Division from the 5th Battalion, Loyal Regiment, surrendered at Singapore 1942. 44th Reconnaissance Regiment formed January 1941 in the 44th Division from the 7th Battalion, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, transferred to 56th Division in 1943, but retained number
Men of the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment, part of the 1st Infantry Division, pose with a captured German swastika flag in Littoria, Italy, 25 May 1944. They are, from left to right: Corporal H. Seddon, Trooper R. Carslake and Trooper J. Callaghan.
Universal carriers of the 49th Reconnaissance Regiment are welcomed by Dutch civilians on the outskirts of Kampen, 19 April 1945.