September 1939 found the 4th Devons at Exeter. For the first few months of the war they were employed on coastal defence duties on the south-east coast but, in May 1940, they were sent to join the garrison at Gibraltar. In June 1943 they returned to England and became the demonstration battalion at the School of Infantry at Barnard Castle. In December they moved to Eastbourne, expecting to play a part in the invasion of Europe, but they remained in Sussex until April 1945, providing drafts to other battalions. They were preparing to embark for Japan when the atom bombs ended the war.
In the summer of 1939 the 6th Devons, based on Barnstaple, spawned a second battalion: the 9th Devons. With the 4th and 8th, the 6th Devons initially formed 134 Devonshire Brigade in 45th Division. The 6th spent the war first on the east coast in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, then in Suffolk and Essex before a period of training in Northern Ireland in 1943. The rest of the war was spent in Sussex, supplying drafts to other units. The 9th left the South West in May 1940 for Sussex before moving again in the autumn to Nottinghamshire. From 1941 they were variously at Maidenhead, Rayleigh, Southminster and Colchester. The summer of 1942 found the 9th back at Rayleigh in Essex, where they were disbanded in August.
The 8th Devons’ war followed a similar pattern with postings to Sussex, Yorkshire, Wokingham, Oxfordshire, Essex, Lancashire and finally Sheringham in Norfolk.
In November 1939 the 10th Devons were formed in Devonport from Number 80 Group of the National Defence Companies. These companies had been forming since 1936 and recruited volunteers who were mostly past the age for military service. In September 1941 the 10th Battalion left Plymouth for Torquay where, in December, they were renamed the 30th Devons. After a year in Torquay they moved to Kingsbridge, Falmouth, St Mary’s (Scilly) before returning to Falmouth, where they stayed until April 1945. Their last move was to Launceston before they were disbanded soon after the end of the war.
Formed in July 1940 from a nucleus at the Regimental Depot in Exeter, the 11th Devons were stationed first at Ilfracombe before moving to Plymouth. After a period of training in Northern Ireland from September 1942, they returned to Litton Cheney in Dorset in May 1943 but four months later were disbanded at Bradford Down Camp, near Dorchester.