Western Frontier Force

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Western Frontier Force
Area of operations, Senussi Campaign, World War 1.jpg
Active 1915–1918
Disbanded 1918
Country British Empire
Branch Army
Engagements Affair of the Wadi Senab
Affair of the Wadi Majid
Affair of Halazin
Action of Agagia
Affairs in the Dakhla Oasis
Operations at Girba and Siwa
Major-General Sir C. M. Dobell

The Western Frontier Force was raised from British Empire troops during the Senussi Campaign from November 1915 to February 1917, under the command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF). Orders for the formation of the force were issued on 20 November 1915, under Major-General Alexander Wallace, C.B. The force concentrated at Mersa Matruh on the coast and began operations against the Senussi in late 1915.

Organisational history[edit]

In January 1916, during the Band of Oases campaign, a Southern Force was formed under Major-General William Peyton, who replaced Wallace two weeks later and then the force was taken over by Major-General J. Adye. On 31 March, the Southern Force merged with the Western Force that was then divided into a North-West Section and a South-West Section and Adye was made Adjutant-General of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF). Peyton was appointed to the command of the Western Frontier Force (WFF) but was reappointed while in England. On 11 May, Lieutenant-General Sir Bryan Mahon took over but got sunstroke and was invalided.[1]

Major-General Alister Dallas, in temporary command during Peyton's absence, resumed temporary command until 20 June, when Major-General Sir Charles Macpherson Dobell took up the appointment. The North-West and South-West sections were abolished and a Coastal Section formed. On 4 October, Major-General W. A. Watson took over from Dobell, who was sent to command the Eastern Force (EF) in Sinai. On 5 March 1917, the quiet on the frontier led to the WFF being amalgamated with the Delta Command (Brigadier-General H. G. Casson), comprising a Coastal and a Southern section.[1]


  • Major-General A. Wallace[1][a]
  • Major-General W. E. Peyton
  • Major-General A. G. Dallas (temp)
  • Lieutenant-General Sir B. Mahon
  • Major-General A. G. Dallas (temp)
  • Major-General Sir C. M. Dobell
  • Major-General W. A. Watson
  • Brigadier-General H. G. Casson

Order of battle[edit]

January 1914

  • Derna district[2][b]
    • 3,000 paid regulars
    • 6,000 volunteers (unpaid)
  • Benghazi district
    • 3,000 paid regulars
    • 5,000 volunteers
  • Tripoli district
    • 600 African soldiers
    • 800 Zowai Arabs
    • 1,000 Tuareg

20 November 1915[3][c]

The composition of the force frequently changed and only settled in the middle of February 1916. Other units attached to the WFF included:


  1. ^ All data from Macmunn and Falls: Military Operations Egypt and Palestine, volume I (1928).[1]
  2. ^ All data from Macmunn and Falls: Military Operations Egypt and Palestine volume I (1928) unless specified. Later information suggested that there were 10,000 Senussi.[2]
  3. ^ All data from Macmunn and Falls: Military Operations Egypt and Palestine volume I (1928) unless specified.[3]
  4. ^ The 6th and 22nd were new titles of the 1/2nd South Midland and 1/1st North Midland brigades.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Macmunn & Falls 1996, p. 153.
  2. ^ a b Macmunn & Falls 1996, p. 411.
  3. ^ a b Macmunn & Falls 1996, pp. 107–108.
  4. ^ a b Macmunn & Falls 1996, p. 134.


  • Macmunn, G.; Falls, C. (1996) [1928]. Military Operations: Egypt and Palestine, From the Outbreak of War with Germany to June 1917. I (Battery Press ed.). London: HMSO. ISBN 0-89839-241-1. 

Further reading[edit]