The 147 Brigade first saw action in the Second World War when it participated in the ill-fated landings in Norway of 15th to 17th April 1940. The intention of the landings was to regain control from the Germans of the key ports of Narvik and Trondheim. However, with the invasion left in disarray, the Brigade and the rest of the 49th were withdrawn in May 1940 and posted to Iceland.*
Despite its reputation as a barren and often inhospitable island, its location was of critical strategic importance to the Germans and British alike. Control of Iceland meant control of both sea and air traffic over the North Atlantic region. From May 1940 to April 1942 the men of 147 Brigade safeguarded British interests in Icelandic region.
This near two tenure in Iceland provides the explanation as to why the men of the 147 Brigade, including 11th Battalion after September 1942, were identified as soldiers of the 49th (West Riding) Division by the insignia depicting a lone polar bear standing on an ice floe.