Durham Light Infantry
|Durham Light Infantry|
Two Regular Battalions
The Dirty Little ImpsThe Faithful Durhams: from service against the Caribs at St Vincent in the West Indies in 1772. Though dropped in 1780, the title persisted as a nickname.
|Colors||Facing Colour: Dark Green - Regimental Colours: Red and Dark Green|
|March||"The Light Barque",slow "The Old 68th". Other quick pace music was " The Keel Row" and "Moneymusk" part of the "Cavalry Trot Past".|
|Anniversaries||Inkerman Day (5 November) was celebrated annually. The 68th was said to be the only regiment to have fought in red since it alone supposedly discarded its greatcoats in this winter battle. The 2nd Battalion celebrated Hooge Day (9 August) annually, in memory of a 1915 action outside Ypres|
|Battle honours||see below|
|Ceremonial chief||Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra of Kent|
|Within a Bugle Horn stringed the letters "D.L.I."|
The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) was an infantry regiment of the British Army from 1881 to 1968. It was formed by the amalgamation of the 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry) and the 106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry) along with the militia and rifle volunteers of County Durham. Following a series of mergers since 1968, the regiment's lineage is continued today by The Rifles.
- 1 History
- 2 Victoria Cross
- 3 George Cross
- 4 Territorial Battalions
- 5 Battle honours
- 6 Notable Old Comrades
- 7 DLI Museum
- 8 DLI memorial
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Originally raised in County Durham by General John Lambton in 1758, the 68th Regiment of Foot was transformed into a light infantry regiment in c. 1808 as part of Wellington's army in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsula War. The 68th later went on to fight in the Crimean War and in New Zealand. The 106th Foot joined the British army in 1862, having been raised in 1839 by the Honourable East India Company.
1881 to 1908
- 1881 - 68th and 106th become 1st and 2nd Battalions The Durham Light Infantry, Militia Battalions renamed 3rd and 4th Battalions The Durham Light Infantry
- 1882 - 2nd Bn. went to Gibraltar and thence to Egypt in 1884.
- 1884 - Depot moved from Sunderland to Fenham Barracks in Newcastle, shared with Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.
- 1885 - 2nd Battalion had been at home, Gibraltar and Malta, and now moved to Egypt, Battle of Ginnis, 30 December 1885. It was employed with the force under General Stephenson.
- 1887 - 2nd Battalion returned to India and was still there in 1899.
- 1890–1899 - 2nd DLI dominate Indian polo scene
- 1899 - 1st Battalion in Boer War, 2nd Battalion sent company of Mounted Infantry from India, 3rd and 4th Battalions fought in war also. 1st Bn. at Relief of Ladysmith, Colenso, Spion Kop and Vaal Krantz.
- 1900 - The 3rd and 4th Battalions of the regiment were formerly the 1st Durham Militia Fusiliers, and the 2nd or North Durham Militia. The headquarters were at Barnard Castle and Newcastle upon Tyne respectively. The 1st volunteer battalion was at Stockton-on-Tees, the 2nd at Bishop Auckland, the 3rd at Sunderland, the 5th at Durham and the 5th at Gateshead.
- 1908 - 3rd and 4th Battalions exchanged numbers and designated Special Reserve Battalions, they trained the bulk of recruits for Regiment during 1914 – 18 War, never reformed after war and disbanded in 1958. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions merged to form the 151st Brigade of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. Territorial Force created - 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th DLI formed.
World War I
- August–September 1914 - B.E.F., III Corps (Pulteney), 6th Division (Keir), 18th Infantry Brigade included 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
- 19 September 1914 - 2nd Battalion with 6th Infantry Division at Battle of the Aisne. Then around Armentieres for winter.
- April 1915 - Territorial Battalions arrived in France as part of 50th (Northumbrian) Division.
- 26 April 1915 - Battle of Ypres, 50th (Northumbrian) Division prevented capture of the city. 2nd Battalion at Yser Canal until July.
- August 1915 - 10th Battalion reached France, followed by 11th, 12th, 13th, 15th. Battle of Hooge - 2nd Battalion suffered nearly 500 casualties.
- 24 September 1915 - 18th Battalion raised and equipped by county.
- 19th Battalion started as a "Bantam" Battalion in 35th Division, 106th Brigade. 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions brigaded together as 151st (Durham Light Infantry) Brigade. The 5th Battalion form part of York and Durham Infantry Brigade.
- July 1916 - Battle of the Somme - multiple DLI Battalions. 2nd Battalion at Ginchy.
- 1 July 1916 - (First day of Somme) - Fourth Army (Gen. Sir H. Rawlinson), III Corps (Lieut.Gen. Sir W. P. Pulteney), 8th Division (Maj.-Gen. H. Hudson), Pioneers, 22nd Durham Light Infantry. XV Corps (Lieut.-Gen. H. S. Horne), 21st Division (Maj.-Gen. D. G. M. Campbell), 64th Brigade, 15th Durham Light Infantry. VIII Corps (Lieut.Gen. Sir A. G. Hunter-Weston), 31st Division (Maj.-Gen. R. Wanless O'Gowan), 93rd Brigade, 18th Durham Light Infantry (Durham Pals). XV Corps (Lieut.-Gen. H. S. Horne), 21st Division (Maj.-Gen. D. G. M. Campbell), 63rd Brigade, 8th Somerset Light Infantry. Both battalions heavily involved in fighting. 15th & 18th both heavily involved in fighting.
- October 1916 - 50th (Northumbrian) Division, 6th Battalion suffered heavily, CO wounded. 9th Battalion CO took command of both Battalions.
- Butte de Warlincourt. 6th, 8th and 9th Battalions involved.
- November 1917 - Battle of Cambrai, 2nd and 14th Battalions. Hindenburg Line broken.
- 1917 - At home, the 53rd (Young Soldiers) Battalion formed. After war, part of the Army of Occupation in Rhineland.
- 21 March 1918 - 2nd Battalion at Qveant - Pronville. Only 2 officers and 25 other ranks survived. 50th (Northumbrian) Division move to Rouen.
- November 1918 - 2nd Battalion represented Regiment in victorious march to the Rhine and crossed into Germany.
World War I Battalions
- 1914–1918 - 1st Battalion in India, remained there during 1914–18 War.
- 1st Battalion - India throughout the war. N. W. Frontier 1915, 1916–1917 (Afghanistan 1919). Upper Silesia 4 June 1921 to 3 July 1922. -
- 2nd Battalion- France and Flanders 10 September 1914. 2nd was part of 18th Infantry Brigade, 6th Division, Third Corps. South Russia, Batum, 19 October to 7 July 1920. Turkey 10 July 1910 to 10 November 1920 and thence to India.
- 1/5th Battalion- France and Flanders 15 April – reduced to training cadre 15 July 1918 and disbanded 9 November 1918. 1916 - 50th (Northumbrian) Division (T.F.), 150th Brigade.
- 2/5th Battalion - Salonika Front 15 November 1916, in independent 228th Brigade March 1917–October 1918, then as garrison bn. South Russia, Batum, January to 19 May.
- 1/6th Battalion and
- 1/8th Battalion - France and Flanders 17 April 1915. Owing to heavy casualties at Second Ypres, 1915 (the 1/8th alone lost 19 officers and 574 other ranks), both battalions amalgamated on 3 June 1915 and became 6/8th bn. Resumed separate identities on 11 August 1915. Both reduce to training cadres on 16 August 1918 and disbanded 6 November 1918. 1916 - both in 50th (Northumbrian) Division (T.F.), 151st Brigade.
- 1/7th Battalion - France and Flanders 17 April 1915 and becoming pioneer bn. 16 November 1915. 1916 - 50th (Northumbrian) Division (T.F.), Pioneers.
- 2/6th Battalion - France and Flanders 6 May 1918 as Garrison Guard Bn. Dropped 'Garrison Guard' by 16 July 1918.
- 2/7th Battalion - Home defence until 7 October 1918 when embarked for North Russia, Archangel Force. (Last war diary 29 August 1919).
- 1/9th Battalion - France and Flanders 17 April 1915 – became a pioneer bn. on 12 February 1918. 1916 - 50th (Northumbrian) Division (T.F.), 151st Brigade.
- 2/9th Battalion - Salonika 15 November 1916 until 19 January.
- 10th Battalion - France and Flanders 21 May 1915 – disbanded in France 12 February 1918. 1916 - 14th (Light) Division, 43rd Brigade.
- 11th Battalion, Pioneers - France and Flanders 20 July 1915. 1916 - 20th (Light) Division. Pioneers.
- 12th Battalion - France and Flanders 26 August 1915. Italy 13 November 1917. 12th were part of 68th Brigade, 23rd Division.
- 13th Battalion- France and Flanders 26 August 1915. Italy 13 November 1917. 13th were part of 68th Brigade, 23rd Division. France and Flanders 16 September 1918.
- 14th Battalion - France and Flanders 11 September 1915 – disbanded in France 1 February 1918. In 1916, 6th Infantry Division, 18th Brigade.
- 16th (Reserve) Battalion - Formed in Durham, October 1914, as a Service battalion, part of K4.
October 1914 : attached to 89th Brigade, original 30th Division.10 April 1915 : became a second Reserve battalion (after the 4th Bn). September 1916 : became 1st Training Reserve battalion of 1st Reserve Brigade
- 17th (Reserve) Battalion - Formed in Barnard Castle, October 1914, as a Service battalion, part of K4.
- 18th - "Durham Pals" Battalion- Egypt 21 December 1915. France and Flanders 11 March 1916. 1916 - 31st Division, 93rd Brigade.
- 20th Battalion - France and Flanders 5 May 1916. Italy 19 November 1917. 20th were part of 123rd Brigade, 41st Division. France and Flanders 17 March 1918.
- 21st (Reserve) Battalion, Formed at Cocken Hall, in July 1915, as a local Reserve Bn.
1 September 1916 : became 87th Training Reserve Bn, in 20th Reserve Brigade.
- 22nd (Service) Battalion (3rd County Pioneers),Formed in County Durham on 1 October 1915, by the Durham Recruiting Committee. 17 June 1916 : moved to France, and attached to 19th Division. 2 July 1916 : transferred to 8th Division.
3 July 1918 : absorbed by 1/7th Bn.
- 23rd (Reserve) Battalion, Formed at Catterick in October 1915, as a local Reserve Bn.1 September 1916 : absorbed into Training Reserve Bns, in 20th Reserve Brigade.
- 25th (Works) Battalion, Formed at Pocklington in May 1915.August 1917 : became 7th Labour Bn, the Labour Corps. Remained in England throughout the war.
- 28th (Home Service) Battalion, Formed in Frinton, 27 April 1918.
- 29th (Service) Battalion, Formed in Margate on 1 June 1918, and absorbed the cadre of 2/7th Duke of Wellington's.
Between the Wars
After 8 months in Germany, 2nd Battalion returned to Catterick. Stationed in Batoum in South Russia, then Anatolia. From here they went to India for final tour of duty in that country, staying until 1937.
1919 - 1st DLI in Third Anglo-Afghan War.
1st Battalion, abroad for 20 years, in India throughout war, returned to England. Then to Cologne, Upper Silesia and Hungary. In 1929 moved to Waziristan (at Razmak). Relief of Datta Khel, cleaning up of Mahoud stronghold of Makin. Returned to England at end of 1937 after 1 year in Khartoum. Then sent to Shanghai, passing 2nd Battalion in Red Sea.
- 1920 Germany Army of Occupation
- 1921 England: York
- 1925 Northern Ireland: Ballykinlar
- 1927 Egypt
- 1930 England: Catterick
- 1935 Blackdown 6 Bde
- 1937 China: Shanghai
- 1938 Tientsin
World War II Battalions
- 5th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - required to serve in an antiaircraft role, and was divided, first as 1/5th and 2/5th, and subsequently as 54th and 55th Searchlight Regiments, Royal Artillery.
- 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division
- 7th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 47th AA battalion.
- 8th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 151st Infantry Brigade
- 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 151st Infantry Brigade
- 10th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 70th Infantry Brigade - 23rd (Northumbrian) Division - 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division
- 11th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - 70th Infantry Brigade
- 12th Battalion (1st Battalion Tyneside Scottish) - 70th Infantry Brigade
- 1st/13th (Home Defence) Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
- 2nd/13th (Home Defence) Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
- 15th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry - in 1942 converted to armour as 155th Regiment in the Royal Armoured Corps, retaining the DLI cap badge on the black beret of the RAC.
- 1946 Greece
- 1948 UK
25 September 1948 amalgamated with 2nd Battalion without change of title
- 1949 Dortmund
- 1951 Berlin
- September 1952 Korea - 28th Commonwealth Brigade - In 1952–1953, 1 DLI fought as part of the United Nations forces in Korea AS PART OF 1st Commonwealth Division.
- September 1953 Egypt
- April 1955 England: Barnard Castle
- November 1957 Aden
- July 1958 Cyprus
- July 1959 England: Honiton
- May 1961 - based in Berlin in 1961, the time when the Berlin Wall was built
- June 1963 Hong Kong
- June 1966 the Durhams fought their last campaign and suffered their last casualties in the jungles and mountains of Borneo.
Finally in 1968, whilst the battalion was serving in Cyprus, it was announced that The Durham Light Infantry would join with three other county light infantry regiments to form one large Regiment - The Light Infantry.
Former soldiers who served with the Durham Light Infantry also include General Sir Peter de la Billière who was Director of United Kingdom Special Forces during the Iranian Embassy Siege in 1980 and was Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces during the first Gulf War in 1990.
Amalgamation 4th Battalion The Light Infantry
- 10 July 1968 4th Battalion, The Light Infantry
re-designated upon formation of "large" regiment from Light Infantry Brigade
- 1968 England: Colchester
Cyprus UN England: Colchester
- 31 March 1969 disbanded at Colchester
Pte John Byrne
He was about 22 years old, and a private in the 68th Regiment (later The Durham Light Infantry), British Army during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 5 November 1854 in the Crimea, at the Battle of Inkerman, when the regiment was ordered to retire, Private Byrne went back towards the enemy, and, at the risk of his own life, brought in a wounded soldier, under fire. On 11 May 1855 he bravely engaged in a hand-to-hand contest with one of the enemy on the parapet of the work he was defending, prevented the entrance of the enemy, killed his antagonist, and captured his arms.
Captain T de C Hamilton
Thomas de Courcy Hamilton VC (19 July 1825 – 3 March 1908).
He was 27 years old, and a captain in the 68th Regiment of Foot (later The Durham Light Infantry), British Army during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 11 May 1855 at Sebastopol, the Crimea, in a most determined sortie, Captain Hamilton boldly charged great numbers of the enemy with a small force, driving them from a battery of which they had taken possession. He was conspicuous for his gallantry on this occasion and his action saved the works from falling into enemy hands.
Sgt John Murray
He was approximately 27 years old, and a sergeant in the 68th (Durham) Regiment of Foot (Light Infantry), British Army during the Waikato-Hauhau Maori War, New Zealand when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 21 June 1864 at Tauranga, New Zealand, when the enemy's position was being stormed, Sergeant Murray ran up to a rifle-pit containing eight to ten of the enemy and, without any assistance, killed or wounded all of them. He then went on up the works, fighting with his bayonet.
Pte Thomas Kenny
Thomas Kenny VC (4 April 1882 – 29 November 1958) .
On 4 November 1915 near La Houssoie, France, in thick mist, Lt Philip Anthony Brown, the officer in charge of a patrol, was shot through both thighs. Private Kenny, although repeatedly fired on by the enemy, crawled about for more than an hour with his wounded officer on his back, trying to find his way through the fog to the British trenches. He refused to leave Lt Brown although told several times to do so, and at last, utterly exhausted, left him in a comparatively safe ditch and went for help. He found a rescue party and guided them to the wounded Lt Brown who was then brought to safety, although he later died of his wounds.
Lieutenant Colonel (Temp) Roland B Bradford
He was 24 years old, and a Temporary Lieutenant Colonel in the 9th Bn., The Durham Light Infantry, British Army, Commander during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 1 October 1916 at Eaucourt L'Abbaye, France, when a leading battalion had suffered very severe casualties and the commander was wounded, its flank was dangerously exposed to the enemy. At the request of the wounded commander, Lieutenant Colonel Bradford took command of that battalion in addition to his own. By his fearless energy under fire of all descriptions, and skilful leadership of both battalions, he succeeded in rallying the attack and capturing and defending the objective.
On 20 November 1917, at the age of 25, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General; he was the youngest general officer in the British Army of modern times (and the youngest promoted professionally, earlier young generals were simply due to position). Ten days later, he was killed in action, at Cambrai, France, on 30 November 1917.
He was the brother of Lieutenant-Commander George Nicholson Bradford, VC: they were the only brothers to win the VC in World War I.
Pte Michael Heaviside
Michael Wilson Heaviside VC (20 October 1880 – 26 April 1939).
On the evening of 5 May 1917, the battalion returned to their barricades on the Hindenburg Line, near Fontaine-les-Croisilles, France. Only one hundred yards separated the British and German positions but the terrible fighting of the preceding days had died down. Snipers and machine gunners were, however, still active and any movement attracted deadly fire. Then about 2 o’clock the next afternoon, 6 May 1917, a sentry noticed movement in a shell hole about forty yards from the German barricade. A wounded British soldier was desperately waving an empty water bottle. Any attempt to help this soldier in daylight would result in almost certain death for the rescuers. Michael Heaviside, however, said that he was going to try. Grabbing water and a first aid bag, this thirty-six-year-old stretcher bearer scrambled over the barricade and out into no-man’s-land. Immediately, he came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire from the German positions and was forced to throw himself to the ground. He then began to crawl sixty yards across the broken ground from shell hole to shell hole to where the wounded soldier was sheltering. One eye witness later wrote -
“We could see bullets striking the ground right around the spot over which Heaviside was crawling. Every minute we expected to be his last but the brave chap went on.” As he crawled closer to the German lines, the firing increased. -
“The enemy seemed to be more determined to hit him, for the bullets were spluttering about more viciously than ever.”
When Private Heaviside reached the soldier, he found the man nearly demented with thirst for he had been lying badly wounded in the shell hole for four days and three nights, without any food or water. Michael Heaviside gave the soldier water, dressed his wounds and then promised that he would return with help. That night, Michael Heaviside led two other stretcher bearers out across no-man’s-land to the wounded soldier and carried him back to safety. Without doubt, he had saved this man’s life. The London Gazette announced the award of the Victoria Cross to Private Michael Heaviside on 8 June 1917 for his “most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.” He was the third soldier of The Durham Light Infantry to gain this award during the First World War. After the war, Michael Heaviside VC returned to work as a miner at Craghead. On 26 April 1939, he died at his home at Bloemfontein Terrace, aged just 58 years, his health damaged by his years underground and his time on the Western Front. Hundreds of mourners, many wearing their Great War medals, followed Michael Heaviside’s coffin to St Thomas’s Church, Craghead, as the local Colliery Band played the “Dead March in Saul.” At the graveside, a firing party from the 8th Battalion DLI fired three volleys of shots, followed by the “Last Post” played by the battalion’s buglers, then the mourners filed past, each dropping Flanders poppies into the open grave.
2nd Lieut Frederick Youens
Frederick Youens VC (14 August 1892 – 7 July 1917).
He was twenty one years old, and a temporary second lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 7 July 1917 near Hill 60, Belgium, it was reported that the enemy were preparing to raid the British trenches and Second Lieutenant Youens, who had already been wounded, immediately set out to rally a Lewis gun team which had become disorganised. While doing this an enemy bomb fell on the Lewis gun position without exploding. The second lieutenant picked it up and hurled it over the parapet, but soon after another bomb fell near the same place and again he picked it up, but it exploded in his hand, severely wounding him and some of his men. The officer later succumbed to his wounds.
Capt A M Lascelles
Arthur Moore Lascelles VC MC (12 October 1880 – 7 November 1918).
He was 37 years old, and an acting captain in the 3rd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army, attached to 14th Battalion during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 3 December 1917 at Masnieres, France, during a very heavy bombardment Captain Lascelles, although wounded, continued to encourage his men and organize the defence until the attack was driven off. Shortly afterwards the enemy attacked again and captured the trench, taking several prisoners. Captain Lascelles at once jumped onto the parapet and followed by his 12 remaining men rushed across under very heavy machine-gun fire and drove over 60 of the enemy back. Later the enemy attacked again and captured the trench and Captain Lascelles, who later managed to escape in spite of having received two further wounds.
Pte Thomas Young
Thomas Young VC (28 January 1895 – 15 October 1966) .
During the period 25–31 March 1918 at Bucquoy, France, Private Young, a stretcher-bearer, worked unceasingly evacuating the wounded from seemingly impossible places. On nine different occasions he went out in front of British lines in broad daylight, under heavy rifle, machine-gun and shell fire and brought back wounded to safety. Those too badly wounded to be moved before dressing, he dressed under fire and then carried them back unaided. He saved nine lives in this manner. A memorial to Pte Young has been erected in his home village of High Spen (It also carries the name of William Dobson Coldstream Guards a Vc recipient from the same village)
2nd Lieut Richard W Annand
"Dickie" Annand VC was 25 years old, and a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Bn., The Durham Light Infantry, British Army during World War II when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
- On 15 May 1940, near the River Dyle, Belgium, Second Lieutenant Annand inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy with hand grenades. He was wounded, but after having his wound dressed, he made another attack on the enemy the same evening. Later, when the position became hopeless and the platoon was ordered to withdraw, Lieutenant Annand discovered that his batman was wounded and missing. He returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheelbarrow before fainting from loss of blood. This was the first Victoria Cross awarded by the British Army in World War II.
He later achieved the rank of Captain. Richard Annand died on 24 December 2004. His service uniform and his Victoria Cross are on display in the Durham Light Infantry Museum.
[London Gazette, 23 August 1940 ], River Dyle, Belgium, 15–16 May 1940, Second Lieutenant Richard Wallace Annand, 2nd Bn, The Durham Light Infantry.
For most conspicuous gallantry on the 15–16 May 1940, when the platoon under his command was on the south side of the River Dyle, astride a blown bridge. During the night a strong attack was beaten off, but about 11 a.m. the enemy again launched a violent attack and pushed forward a bridging party into the sunken bottom of the river. Second Lieutenant Annand attacked this party, but when ammunition ran out he went forward himself over open ground, with total disregard for enemy mortar and machine-gun fire. Reaching the top of the bridge, he drove out the party below, inflicting over twenty casualties with hand grenades. Having been wounded he rejoined his platoon, had his wound dressed, and then carried on in command. Richard Annand's platoon sergeant said later "Mr Annand came to me at platoon headquarters and asked for a box of grenades as they could hear Jerry trying to repair the bridge. Off he went and he sure must have given them a lovely time because it wasn't a great while before he was back for more".
During the evening another attack was launched and again Second Lieutenant Annand went forward with hand grenades and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy. When the order to withdraw was received, he withdrew his platoon, but learning on the way back that his batman was wounded and had been left behind, he returned at once to the former position and brought him back in a wheelbarrow, before losing consciousness as the result of wounds.
Pte Adam H Wakenshaw
Adam Herbert Wakenshaw VC (9 June 1914 – 27 June 1942) .
He was 28 years old, and a private in the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, British Army during the Second World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 27 June 1942 south of Mersa Matruh, Egypt, Private Wakenshaw was a member of a crew of a 2 pounder (907 g) anti-tank gun, when the enemy attacked, silencing the gun and killing or seriously wounded all the crew. Private Wakenshaw's left arm was blown off but he crawled back to his gun, loaded it with one arm and fired five more rounds with considerable effect. He was then blown away from the gun by an enemy shell and was again severely wounded, but he still managed to crawl back and was preparing to fire again when a direct hit on the ammunition killed him and destroyed the gun.
Sergeant Michael Gibson of the 9th Bomb Disposal Company, Royal Engineers was posthumously awarded the George Cross for the conspicuous gallantry he displayed on 18 October 1940 in Coventry  in defusing a large unexploded bomb. He was in charge of the operation to dig out and defuse the device when another bomb exploded nearby. The bomb he was working on then began 'hissing' and seemed likely to explode, so he sent the rest of his team to shelter and continued to defuse the device alone.
Gibson was born in 1906 and served with the Durham Light Infantry before joining the Royal Engineers. He was killed a year later, at the age of 34, when a 250 kg bomb exploded after it had been removed by truck from the housing estate in which it had fallen. 6 other men were killed in the blast, Second Lieutenant Alexander Fraser Campbell and Sappers William Gibson, Richard Gilchrest, Jack Plumb, Ronald William Skelton and Ernest Arthur Stote.
The 1st Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed at Stockton-on-Tees in 1860, and in 1880 was amalgamated with other Durham corps, from Darlington, Castle Eden and Middlesbrough, to form a battalion of eight companies.
The 1st Durhams later became the 1st Volunteer Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry and as such gained the battle honour `South Africa 1900-02' for the services of its members during the Boer War.
The 5th was extended to three battalions for war service in 1914. The 1/5th went to France as part of the 50th Division in 1915 and after seeing a great deal of action on the Western Front was reduced to a training cadre in July 1918. The 2/5th served in Salonika as a garrison battalion from October 1916, while the 3/5th formed the 5th (Reserve) Battalion.
For the Second World War, the 5th Durhams were required to serve in an antiaircraft role, and was divided, first as 1/5th and 2/5th, and subsequently as 54th and 55th Searchlight Regiments, Royal Artillery.
The 6th was formed in 1860 as one of Durhams several rifle volunteer admin battalions. Numbered as 2nd, the battalion was consolidated as the 2nd Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1880. It consisted of six companies and had its headquarters at Bishop Auckland. The 2nd Corps later became the 2nd Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and as such was awarded the battle honour, `South Africa 1900-02'.
During the First World War, the 1/6th suffered heavy casualties at Ypres and as a result was temporarily amalgamated with the 8th Durhams to form 6th/8th Battalion. The 2/6th, as part of the 59th Division, served in France as a garrison guard battalion, and the 3/6th became part of the 5th (Reserve) Battalion in 1916.
In 1940, the battalion went to France with the BEF. It later fought at El Alamein and was to take part in the June 1944 assault landings in Normandy. The battalion is now represented by D (Rifles) Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bishop Auckland.
During 1860, five companies of rifle volunteers were raised in Sunderland, and subsequently merged as the 3rd Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps. As the 3rd (Sunderland) Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, the corps contributed a large number to the several volunteer service companies that went to serve with the regular troop in South Africa.
In 1915, the 1/7th went to France, where it became the pioneer battalion of the 50th Division, and later the 8th Division. The 2/7th remained in the UK until October 1918, when it was sent to North Russia. The 3/7th was also formed, which in 1916 became part of the 5th (Reserve) Battalion. The 7th DLI was converted and transferred in 1936 as 47 AA Battalion, Royal Artillery.
The 8th Durham Light Infantry was originally the 4th Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps, which had been formed in 1860 by the amalgamation of several Durham rifle companies. The 4th consisted of ten companies, many of which dated from the beginning of the Volunteer Movement in 1859.
In 1887 the 4th Durham RVC became the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and in 1908 its C Company transferred as the Durham University Contingent of the Officers Training Corps. The remainder of the battalion provided the 8th Durham Light Infantry which saw active service throughout France and Belgium during the First World War.
In the Second World War, the battalion served in N Africa, and in 1944 was involved in the assault landings in Normandy. The 8th DLI is now represented by D (Rifles) Company, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bishop Auckland.
In 1880 the 5th Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps was formed by the amalgamation of several rifle volunteer units from the Gateshead, South Shields, Blaydon Burn and Winlaton areas. The 5th later became the 5th Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and in 1908 the regiment's 9th Territorial Battalion.
Members of the battalion served in South Africa during the Boer War. In 1914 three battalions were provided for war service, two members gaining the Victoria Cross while serving in France.
In the Second World War the battalion also saw service in N Africa, Sicily and NW Europe. Another Victoria Cross was awarded to a member of the 9th Durhams, Pte. Adam Wakenshaw, for his part in an action at Mersa Matruh in the Western Desert on 27 June 1942. Wakenshaw was killed that day and is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt.
In 1948 the battalion was converted as the 17th Battalion, Parachute Regiment. This battalion is now represented as part of the 4th (Volunteer) Battalion of the Regiment.
Formed in 1939 as a duplicate of the 6th Battalion at Bishop Auckland, the battalion served in France during 1940, in Iceland, and in NW Europe from 1944.
Formed as a duplicate of the 8th Battalion in 1939, the battalion fought in NW Europe during 1944, having previously served in Iceland and with the BEF in 1940. Whilst under the command of Lt Col CD Hamilton, DSO the battalion was broken up to provide reinforcements for other units. Lt Col Hamilton became the Commanding Officer of the 1/7th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment, in January 1945, replacing Lt Col Wilsey.
Formed in 1939 as a duplicate of the 9th Battalion DLI and designated 12th (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion. The title "Tyneside Scottish" was a revival of that used during the First World War by the several service battalions of the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers that were raised by Scotsmen in the Tyneside area.
Before the end of 1939, the battalion was transferred to the Black Watch and renamed the 1st Battalion the Tyneside Scottish. As such it went with the BEF to France in 1940, served in Iceland between October 1940 and December 1941, and fought in NW Europe during 1944. The battalion was transferred to the Royal Artillery as 670 LAA Regiment in 1947.
13th and 18th (Home Defence) Battalion
See 30th Battalion
Formed in 1915 under the title, 3rd North Coast Defence Battalion, it was redesignated later the same year as 23rd Provisional Battalion (TF). In 1917 it became the 26th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
Designated as 27th DLI in January 1917 it had originally been formed in 1915 as the 25th Provisional Battalion (TF).
This battalion was formed as 41 Group National Defence Companies in 1936, and later organised as the 1/13th and 2/13th (Home Defence) Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry. For a short time in 1941 the 2/13 was known as the 18th Battalion. Later that year, however, the 18th was merged with the 13th to form the 30th Battalion
- 1st DLI (68th Light Infantry)
Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Orthes, Peninsula; Alma, Inkerman, Sebastopol; New Zealand; Relief of Ladysmith, South Africa, 1899–1902; N. W. Frontier, 1915, 1916–1917; Halfaya, 1941, Syria, 1941; Tobruk 1941, Relief of Tobruk; Malta 1942; Cos, Cesena, Pergola Ridge, Sillaro Crossing; Korea, 1952–1953; Borneo, 1964.
- 2nd DLI (2nd Bombay Europeans and 106th Light Infantry)
Reshire, Bushire, Koosh-Ab, Persia; Aisne 1914, Armentieres 1914; Hooge 1915; Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Le Transloy, Hill 70, Somme 1916; Cambrai 1917; Somme 1918; Kemmel; Epehy, Selle, Sambre; Dyle, St Omer-La Bassee, Dunkirk 1940; Donbaik, Kohima, Mandalay, Burma 1943–1945.
- 5th DLI (T.A)
- 6th DLI (TA)
As for 5th DLI up to Ypres, 1915; Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Somme, 1916; Scarpe, 1917; Arras 1917; Passchendaele, Ypres, 1917; St Quentin, Rosieres, Somme, 1918; Estaires, Lys; Aisne 1918; Arras Counter Attack, Dunkirk, 1940; Gazala, Gabr el Fakri, Mersa Matruh, El Alamein, Mareth; Landing in Sicily, Solarino, Primosole Bridge, Sicily, 1943; Villers Bocage, Tilly-sur-Seulles, St Pierre la Vielle; Gheel.
- 7th DLI (TA)
As for 5th DLI up to Ypres, 1915; Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Somme, 1916; Scarpe, 1917; Passchendaele, Ypres, 1917; St. Quentin, Rosieres, Somme, 1918; Estaires, Lys, Aisne, 1918; Arras, 1918; Ypres, 1918.
- 8th DLI (TA)
As for 5th up to Ypres, 1915; Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy; Ancre Heights, Somme, 1916; Scarpe, 1917; Arras, 1917; Passchendaele, Ypres, 1917; St Quentin, Rosieres, Somme, 1918; Estaires, Lys; Aisne, 1918; Arras Counter Attack, St Omer-La Bassee, Dunkirk, 1940; Gazala, Gabr el Fakri, Mersa Matruh, El Alamein, Mareth; Landing in Sicily, Primosole Bridge; Villers Bocage, St Pierre la Vielle;p Gheel.
- 9th DLI (TA)
As for 5th up to Ypres, 1915; Flers-Courcelette, Le Transloy, Ancre Heights, Somme, 1916; Scarpe, 1917; Arras, 1917; Passchendaele, Ypres, 1917; Arras, 1918; Tardenois, Marne, 1918; BPAUME, 1918; Havrincourt, Canal du Nord; Arras Counter Attack, St Omer-La Bassee; Dunkirk, 1940; Zt el Mrassas, Point 174; El Alamein, Mareth; Landing in Sicily, Primosole Bridge; Villers Bocage, Tilly-sur-Seulles, St. Pierre la Vielle; Gheel, Roer, Ibbenburen.
- 10th DLI (Service) 1914 – February 1918; TA, 1939–1944
Delville Wood, Flers-Courcelette, Somme, 1916; Arras, 1917; Scarpe, 1917; Menin Road, Passchendaele, Ypres, 1917; Dunkirk, 1940; Defence of Rauray.
- 11th DLI (Service) 1914 – November 1918; TA 1939–1944
Guillemont, Somme, 1916; Ypres, 1917; Cambrai, 1917; St Quentin, Somme, 1918; Dunkirk, 1940; Defence of Rauray.
- 12th DLI (Seivice) 1914 – November 1918; TA (Tyneside Scottish) 1939–1944
Albert 1916; Bazentin, Le Transloy, Somme, 1916; Messines 1917; Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood, Ypres, 1917; Piave, Vittorio Veneto, Italy, 1917–1918; Dunkirk, 1940; Defence of Rauray.
- 13th DLI (Service) 1914 – November 1918
Albert, 1916; Pozieres, Le Transloy, Somme, 1916; Messines, 1917; Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood; Ypres, 1917; Piave; Beaurevoir; Cambrai, 1918; Sambre.
- 14th DLI (Service) 1914 – February 1918
Loos, Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Le Transloy; Somme,1916; Hill 70, Cambrai, 1917.
- 15th DLI (Service) 1914 – November 1918
Loos, Albert, 1916; Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Somme, 1916; Arras, 1917; Scarpe, 1917; Broodseinde, Ypres, 1917; St Quentin, Somme, 1918;. Aisne, 1918; Albert, 1918; Hindenburg Line, Beaurevoir, Sambre.
- 16th DLI (Hostilities Only 1940–1945)
Sedjenane I, El Kourzia, Salerno, Volturno Crossing, Teano, Monte Camino, Monte Tuga, Gothic Line, Gemmano, Cesena, Cosina Canal, Athens, Greece 1944–1945.
- 18th DLI (Service) 1915 – November 1918
(Area: South Shields, Hartlepool, Sunderland, Darlington) Egypt, 1915–1916; Albert, 1916; Somme, 1916; Arleux, Scarpe, 1917; Somme,1918; Hazebrouck, Bailleul, Ypres, 1918.
- 19th DLI (Service) 1915 – November 1918
(Formed as Bantams; height in range 5 ft-5 ft 3in) Bazentin, Somme, 1916; Ypres, 1917; Albert, 1918; Somme, 1918; Ypres, 1918; Courtrai.
- 20th DLI (Service) 1915 – November 1918
Flers-Courcelette, Ancre Heights, Somme, 1916; Pilckem, Menin Road Ridge, Ypres, 1917; Bapaume, 1918; Somme, 1918; Ypres, 1918.
- 22nd DLI (Service)1916 – July 1918
Somme, 1916; Pilckem, Langemarck, 1917, Ypres, 1917; St Quentin, Rosieres, Somme, 1918; Aisne, 1918.
- 29th DLI (Service) June 1918 – November 1918
- Second-line Territorial Battalions
2/5th, Macedonia; 2/6th, Ypres, 1918; 2/7th, Archangel; 2/8th Macedonia.
Notable Old Comrades
- Lieutenant Leslie Samuel Phillips, CBE, Actor
- King Vajiravudh, of Siam (Thailand) while holding the rank of Crown Prince
- George Sainton Kaye Butterworth, MC (12 July 1885 – 5 August 1916) was an English composer best known for his settings of A. E. Housman's poems.
- Private Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent (29 April 1895 – 3 October 1967) conductor, organist and composer
- Gilbert Maurice Norman was born 1914 He joined the army, receiving a commission in the Durham Light Infantry in 1940 and was subsequently recruited into the Special Operations Executive (SOE).In November 1942 he was sent into France to join the newly formed Prosper network, but on 23 June 1943 was arrested by the Gestapo, together with cell leader Francis Suttill and courier Andrée Borrel. Norman was taken to the Paris headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst at 84 Avenue Foch and tortured for several days. The Germans used Norman's captured wireless set, to transmit their own false messages to SOE Headquarters in Baker Street. Norman attempted to warn London that he was in captivity by not giving the Germans the second part of his security check, which they did not know about, but was frustrated when London sent a curt reply telling him to correct the omission. The Germans were thus able to set a trap which resulted in the capture of Jack Agazarian who had been sent with Nicholas Bodington to investigate the fate of the Prosper network. After brutal interrogation and torture, Norman was shipped to Mauthausen concentration camp where he was executed on 6 September 1944.
- Sir Richard George May (12 November 1938 – 1 July 2004) was a British *judge. National service with the Durham Light Infantry.
- Sergeant Major Bill Nicholson OBE (26 January 1919 – 23 October 2004) was an English football player, coach, manager and scout who devoted his life to Tottenham Hotspur in North London.
- General Sir Peter Edgar de la Couer de la Billière KCB, KBE, DSO, MC & Bar (b. 29 April 1934) is a former British soldier, who was Director of the United Kingdom Special Forces during the Iranian Embassy Siege and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the 1990 Gulf War.
- Major Sir John Frederick Ferguson CBE CStJ DL (c.1891 – 27 May 1975), Chief Constable, Metropolitan Police.
- Lieutenant Harold Orton (23 October 1898 – 7 March 1975) was an English university lecturer and dialectologist, best remembered as co-founder of the Survey of English Dialects.
- General Sir Nigel Poett (J.H.N. Poett) was a British Army officer best known for commanding the 5th Parachute Brigade, British 6th Airborne Division during the Battle of Normandy.
- Lieutenant Colonel William Morgan Fletcher-Vane, 1st Baron Inglewood (12 April 1909 – 22 June 1989), was a British Conservative Party politician.
- (John) William Ainsley (30 June 1898 – 23 June 1976) was a British coal miner and politician.
- Air Vice-Marshal Adam Henry Robson, PhD, (3 August 1892 – 9 October 1980) was a senior officer of the Royal Air Force. After being educated at Armstrong College, Newcastle he joined the Durham Light Infantry on the outbreak of the First World War and served until 1919, being thrice wounded and twice winning the Military Cross.
- Claud Lovat Fraser (15 May 1890 London – 18 June 1921, Dymchurch) was an English Artist, designer and author. In the autumn of 1914, Fraser enlisted with the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps and was quickly commissioned to the 14th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. He went on to produce sketches as a record of the trenches and battlefields of Flanders. He was one of few British officers to survive the Battle of Loos in 1915. In December of that year his battalion withstood a German gas attack but in the confusion of the event, he neglected to put on his gas mask and suffered injuries to his lungs. He was promoted to captain in early 1916, but by late February he was invalided home, suffering from the effects of gas and from shellshock after a battle at the Ypres Salient. He served as a clerk in the War Office on visual propaganda from October 1916 through to late April 1917 and then at the Army Record Office at Hounslow until his discharge in March
- Sir Godfrey Russell Vick KC (24 December 1892 – 27 September 1958) was an English lawyer and judge who played a part in several important tribunals.
- Peter Lewis MC, later a journalist and editor.
The DLI Museum ( ) is the official museum of the Durham Light Infantry. Located in Durham, England, the museum features displays about the regiment's history, with an emphasis on World War I and World War II activities. Exhibits include uniforms, weapons, medals, flags, hats, letters, photographs, badges, ceremonial regalia and other artefacts.
The museum is located on the first two floors of Aykley Heads House, and the Durham Art Gallery is located on the third floor.
- Atkins, John Black (1900). "XIII. We attack Vaal Krantz and fail again". The relief of Ladysmith. London: Methuen. p. 255. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
- Forty p 51.
- "Roland Boys Bradford - DLI". DLI Museum. Retrieved 7 November 2012. "Born at Witton Park, Durham on 23 February 1892, he was educated at Darlington Grammar School and Epsom College. He was commissioned in the 5th Battalion DLI in 1910 and joined the 2nd Battalion DLI in 1912 as a Second Lieutenant. His career during the Great War was remarkable, rising from Lieutenant in 1914 to Brigadier General in 1917, when at 25 years old he was the youngest General in the British Army. During the War he served with 2 DLI, 7 DLI and commanded the 9th Battalion DLI for over a year. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery at Eaucourt l'Abbaye on 1 October 1916, whilst commanding 9 DLI."
- [dead link]
- "Family Tree Researcher: The Royal Engineers 9th Bomb Disposal Company". Familyresearcher.co.uk. 1940-10-18. Retrieved 2012-11-07.
- Who Was Who 1897-2006 (2007)
- "Durham Light Infantry memorial unveiled in Staffordshire". BBC.
- Court Circular
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2009)|
- Light Infantry Reunited - Site for all ex and serving Light Infantry/RGJ and Rifles personnel
- "British Army Handbook 1939-1945" by George Forty, Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998.
- "The Territorial Battalions, A Pictorial History 1859–1985" by Ray Westlake
- "For Your Tomorrow A History of the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1919-1955 " by Harry Moses - Published by The Memoir Club, Durham
- "The Faithful Sixth A History of the Sixth Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry " by Harry Moses - Published by The Memoir Club, Durham
- "The Fighting Bradfords Northern Heroes of World War One " by Harry Moses
- "The Gateshead Gurkhas A History of the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry 1859-1967 " by Harry Moses
- "The Durhams In Korea 1952-53 " by Harry Moses
- "For You Tommy The War Is Over - DLI POWs In WWII" by Harry Moses
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Durham Light Infantry.|
- Durham Light Infantry
- Durham Light Infantry Museum and Durham Art Gallery website
- Re-creating the 68th/Durham Light Infantry from 1758 and 1814
- Regiments.org entry[dead link]
- Project Gutenberg - The story of the 6th Battalion DLI; France 1915–1918
- The 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1940–1946
- "In the footsteps of the fallen – Northern Echo article on the Durham Light Infantry in Normandy".[dead link]