Between the Wars

As the sandbag emplacements of WW1 rotted in silence there were big changes ahead for both the 1st and 2nd Durham Light Infantry. The reconstitution of these battalions was an ongoing process from 1919 .The 2nd DLI based in Cologne were comprised largely of men awaiting demobilisation.On the 14th April 1919 the cadre of the 2nd Battalion were recalled to Catterick at this time it consisted of just six officers and fifty NCO`s and men on the 13th of October it left for Batum  its strength had grown to 23 officers and 777 NCO`s and men The battalion would not return from overseas duty until 1937.Mercifully its stay in Batum was short on 10th November 1920 it embarked at Constantinople (Istanbul ) under Lt Colonel H E Lavie for India.


The 2nd DLI found its first home was Ahmednagar which is a city of  the Ahmednagar District in the state of Maharashtra, India, it remained here until 1923 then in December 1923 it move for a stay in Cawnpore with detachments of 2nd DLI in Benares and during the hot season the men were rotated to the hill stations of Kailana and Landour where it was much cooler.


On the 14th March 1926 the battalion was on the move again this time to Sialkot again the battalion provided detachments at Amritsar and the hill station of Bartodie.On the 27th January1927 it was on the move yet again this time  to China to help deal with the troubles in Shanghai.  On the 22nd July 1927 the battalion once again embarked for India arriving back at Sialkot on the 12th August 1927. At this time command of the battalion was in the hands of Lieut Colonel R T Lee formerly of the Queens Regt.

 

 

Colour Party 2nd DLI 1923 

On November  9th 1929 2DLI left Daowali Station at 16;30hrs under the command of Lieutenant Colonel R V Turner as the train pulled slowly out of the station the band of the 9th Lancers struck up a chorus of `Auld Lang Syne` After an uneventful journey they arrived early next morning at the rest camp at Mari Indus here they rested in preparation for the crossing of the Indus river the next morning

Men of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry in a marching column headed by a mounted officer of the regiment.Photograph courtesy of Mr Ian Goddard 

 

 The 2nd Durham Light Infantry in a marching column headed by two mounted officers of the regiment who are followed by a native bearer .Photograph courtesy of Mr Ian Goddard 

 

As they cross the bridge the mules carrying the supplies and stores can be seen being led in the centre of the column.Photograph courtesy of Mr Ian Goddard

Once they were across they marched into Kalabagh where the order was given that each man

 was to chain himself to his rifle from the sounding of the retreat to reveille in a bid to stop them being stolen by the local tribesmen. From Kalabagh the 2DLI were taken once again by rail to Bannu which they reached on the 13th November 1929.Thirty two three ton trucks were loaded with the battalions kit and equipment the convoy, under Captain Taylor set off for Razamak at 08;45hrs on the 14th leaving the rest of the battalion to complete the journey on foot.

Led by `B` Company the first leg of the journey ended at 14;30hrs when after a thirteen and a half mile march they went into camp at  Saidgi .From here there followed more long marches Idak was the next port of call followed by the crossing of  the River Tochi and onto Tal,Damdil and Razani.At Razani the battalion had one more sixteen mile march which would see them arrive at their final destination of Razmak.

As the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry began their final approach on Razmak they were met at various intervals by the bands of the regiments currently stationed there.Razmak itself consisted of a vast sea of red roofed huts and tented camps surrounded by a four foot perimiter wall topped with barbed wire.As the battalion entered the main gate they were met by their new brigade commander Brigadier S B Pope.Straight away the battalion settled down to life on The North West Frontier.

  In 1930 during the troubles 2 DLI were stationed on the Waziristan frontier where they were based in Cantonnments (Temporary bases) with fighting troop columns who were well supplied and patrolled areas of unrest.The 2nd Durham Light Infantry were attatched to

the Razmak movable Column.

4435534 CSM Archie Goddard rests during the route march and poses for a souvenir snap which gives us a window into a fleeting moment in history through the eyes of a Durham Light Infantryman.Photograph courtesy of Mr Ian Goddard.

2nd DLI Patrol as part of the Razmak Moveable Column

The first major unrest occurred on the 11th May 1930 when there was an attack on  Datta Khel and the adjacent post at Boya .The attack was made  by  by lashkars (tribal militias )of Wazir tribesmen originally estimated at 500 and 400 respectively, but it was subsequently stated that these lashkars numbered considerably more  Datta, Khel was garrisoned by four platoons of the Tochi Scouts and Boya by two platoons of these Scouts. With the help of bombing by aircraft the attacks were successfully repulsed, the 2nd DLI as part of the Razmak Movable Column, marched the best part of 66 miles to face the lashkars arriving on the 15th May and dispersing the enemy who by this time had surrounded the scout troops.

2nd DLI Machine gunners attached to the Column (Seated gunner about to fire is 4443146 Pte George Percy Garbutt identified by his son George)

 The Wazirs were joined in early July 1930 by elements of the Mahsuds who attacked the armed post at Sorarogha south east of Razmak.The column at this time were  at Gardai but returned to Razmak then on to Tauda China from here the columns reconnaissance units located 300 hostiles in the area of  Maidan and Ladha.On the 12th and 14th July 2nd DLI engaged the Mahsuds in two small actions losses for the battalion were 2 killed and 9 wounded.Total losses for the column were 4 killed and 17 wounded.It was in one of these actions that Cpl Brooks won a Military Medal.Cpl Brooks was leading No4 platoon consisting of 28 men from `A` Company when it was engaged at close range by The Mahsuds but without causing any casualties.Cpl Brooks and his platoon then stormed the hill causing the Mahsuds to flee.

Unfortunately while this was happening another platoon of `A` Company under Lieutenant Philips was ambushed causing four casualties(4441520 Pte W Blench,4446260 Pte N R Lilley and 4445000 Pte F Hird) 4445028 Pte.N. Simms of the Regiment was wounded during the action and when 4445336 Pte.H. Croft attempted a rescue he was shot dead by the tribesmen,Pte Simm`s brother (4445027 Pte G Simms) made a more sucessful attempt but his brother was too badly wounded and died shortly after. A third platoon under 2/Lieutenant Robertson was sent to reinforce the platoon,  as fire was now been directed on the second platoon from the direction of Khassadar but after two sections with vickers machine guns were dispatched the enemy quickly withdrew.

To the South the enemy were still active and it was left to `C` Company to advance and capture this position which they did without loss.A later counter attack by part of `C` Company to cover the columns withdrawl did result in several men being wounded (4443861 L/Cpl H Cooper,4444037 L/Cpl A Catterson,4444499 Pte George Wilfred Cassels (Killed in Action serving with 1st East Surreys19th March 1944 aged 35 buried Cassino War Cemetery),4758961 Pte T Quogan and 4444862 Pte M Hudson) After this encounter the tribesmen were reluctant to face the column .On the 22nd July a perimiter camp was formed at the junction of the Dwa Toi and Baddar Algad.Heavy rain set in and the Baddar Algad came down in a spate and nearly drowned two members of `B` Company.It was expected that the Mahsuds would again attack the column but this did not materialize and Ladha was occupied with little opposition.

On the 27th July the last of the hostile tribes submitted and the suppression of the Mahsud outbreak was complete.There now followed a relatively quiet period for the battalion in November 1930 it finally left Razmak for Barrackpore where it stayed until October 1934 under the command of Lt Colonel C R Congreve before moving onto Bombay.In the latter stages of the battalions time at Barrackpore it was reported that a Pte Hudson was accidentally drowned the full circumstances are unclear but the Strait Times carried the following report;-

 

Drowned in Barrackpore Tank

`Private Hudson of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry was  buried with Military Honours in the Barrackpore Cemetery on Tuesday evening.It is stated that Hudson escaped from barracks on Tuesday morning scaled the wall of the compound and jumped into a tank on the other side of the wall.While swimming across the tank he got into difficulties and drowned before the Military Police who were in pursuit could come to his assistance`

The Straits Times October 3rd 1934

September 1936 saw Lt Colonel J O C Hasted take the Battalion to Khartoum where after a brief stay it embarked for England from Port Sudan leaving behind its turnover personnel who would be embodied into the 1st Battalion DLI who were on their way to Shanghai a place their sister battalion had known well back in 1927

 

 

 

 

 

Group photograph of the officers and men who served abroad with the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, from October 1919 to November 1937, on their arrival at Southampton, November 1937 Company Sergeant-Major Stray, Private Dawson, Sergeant Etherington, Colour-Sergeant Berry, Private Christeson, Lieutenant-Quartermaster Pearson, Sergeant Ryding, Company Sergeant-Major Runciman, Major Beart, Sergeant Ingram, Colour-Sergeant Love, Sergeant Barnett, Colour-Sergeant Burkinshaw, and Sergeant Healey

On the 16th November 2DLI arrived at Woking taking the place vacated by 1st DLI in the 6th Infantry Brigade 2nd Division .Under Lt Colonel V A C Yate it was still at Woking in September 1939 as Britain prepared for War?.

 AMBALA to SIALKOT 1926

 

Times gone by.....Men of the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry start their epic 300 mile journey from Ambala to Sialkot in the heart of the Indian Punjab.The photographs were taken during the journey by  Pte William Sheriff  who was an officers driver/servant who served with the Durhams from 1918-1926 apart from these train journeys the ordinary Durham Light Infantrymen  would have marched to their destination.(information courtesy of his son Neville Sherriff site member)

 At the start of the journey 2 DLI aboard and ready!

For a lot of the younger members of the DLI this was a great adventure and they did`nt want to miss a moment!

For the older members it was just another journey and they were glad of their tea Soldiers of 'H.Q.' Wing, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taking refreshment at a camp, taken at Phillaur, India, 1926

Tea break/rest over... time to get that kit laid out for inspection soldiers of  'A' Coy 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, undergoing a kit inspection, taken at Phillaur, India, 1926

An unknown Durham Light Infantryman caught by Pte Sherriffs camera 1926

North West Frontier of India Gallantry Award 1930

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 7 OCTOBER, 1930.

Awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the Field:?

No. 4441928 Corporal William Charles

Brooks, 2nd Battalion, Durham Light Infantry.

4441928  Cpl William Charles Brooks 2DLI

Born in May 1901, he served in The Royal Navy during the Great War, from 1917 to 1919, before enlisting in the 2nd Battalion DLI in June 1922 at Fenham Barracks. On 12 July 1930, in hills near Tauda China on the North West Frontier of India, Corporal Brooks won the Military Medal for bravery. This was the only Military Medal awarded in 1930 and was presented to him in 1931.On that day, he was in command of 4 Platoon, "A" Company, when it came under heavy fire from Mahsud tribesmen hidden on a hill. The platoon charged and cleared the hill but again came under fire, losing one man killed and several wounded. `Brney` as he was known to all was also Mentioned in Dispatches during the Campaign(1930).On his return from service abroard in 1936-37 he was posted as a Sergeant Instructor  at the Regimental Depot before rejoining the 2nd DLI at Woking on the eve of war.

During the Second World War, he served with 2 DLI at Dunkirk and in India Burma where he was again mentioned in dispatches for a second time.A noted battalion athlete `Barney` was part of the Athletics team (100yds Belt) Hockey XI and a member of the rifle team.

RSM Brookes retired in August 1945 ,He lived  at 33 Fox Road,Lower Bourne,Farnham. Regimental Sergeant Major William Charles`Barney`Brookes M.M died suddenly on the 31st May 1981 from a heart attack at Farnham Hospital.He was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Garden of Rememberance at St Michaels on the Bourne on Friday 5th June 1981.

THE LONDON GAZETTE, 26 JUNE, 1931

The names of the undermentioned have been brought to notice for distinguished services

rendered during Operations on the North West Frontier of India during the period, 23rd

April to 12th September, 1930, by His Excellency Field-Marshal Sir William Birdwood,

Bart., G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G.,C.I.E., D.S.O., late Commander-in-Ohief in India:?

2nd Battalion, The Durham. Light Infantry. Cpl W Brooks, No. 4441928   M.M.

A Veteran in India ....4438523 Pte Danny Lawlor Durham Light Infantry

Very few men of the Durhams can boast of an India General Service Medal covering two periods of service with the Durham Light Infantry  Indeed the only ones I am aware of are 4441728 Pte T Sefton,4438523 Pte D Lawlor,4435426 Pte M Brady,4435150 Sgt A Aston ,Lieutenant G Shields and Captain F Taylor.

This small section deals with just one of them 4438523 Pte (Lance Corporal) Daniel Lawlor ,born in Ireland he was the son of Daniel Lawlor and Annie Lawlor of 10 Neville Street Felling upon Tyne County Durham.Daniel was the eldest of nine children,he had three brothers James,William,and Peter his sisters were Annie,Mary,Julia,Maggie and Nellie.Daniel like his father was initially employed down the mines.The 1911 census confirming his occupation as a miner in 1911 he was aged just 16.

 4438523 Danny Lawlor reading in a Barrackroom in India

With war clouds looming young Daniel enlisted in The Northumberland Fusiliers given the Regimental number of 10816. Private Daniel Lawlor transferred to the 1st battalion The Durham Light Infantry his Regimental number was changed once again to 52320 changing again post war to 4438523.

During his time with the Northumberland Fusiliers he would have earned two possibly three medals for his service on the Western Front When he joined the 1st DLI he found himself serving  on the North West Frontier a far cry from the horrors  he had witnessed on the fields of Flanders.During his deployment Daniel earned for himself The India General Service Medal 1908 with the medal went the Clasp or Bar indicating his service( Afghanistan NWF 1919) Daniel received his medal (According to theOfficial Medal Roll) between 12th October 1922 and 23rd July 1923.

At some point Daniel transferred to the 2nd DLI where he served again on the North West
Frontier receiving another Clasp/Bar for North West Frontier 1930-31 this clasp was awarded to Daniel in September 1935(Mis-typed name as Lawler).During his time he had also served with the 2nd DLI during their time at Razamak where he performed the duties of a Regimental Policeman.(Bottom photograph) In 1935 Daniel was in Home Service  once again serving with the 1st DLI at their Depot. In 1937 he was off to China along with the majority of his  1st DLI comrades picking up the turnover personnel from the 2nd DLI at Port Sudan.Daniel served in Tientsin and Shanghai where he remained until 1939.War clouds were forming once more and Daniel and the 1st DLI found themselves moving to the Western Desert via Hong Kong to join Wavells desert army.Daniel Lawlor the 1st World War Veteran and a Veteran of several tours of India found himself caught up in the vicious battle for desert supremecy against ,initially the Italians then later Rommels Africa Korps.Daniel was sadly killed there on the 21st April 1941.Aged 45 years Daniel Lawlor rests today in Cairo War Memorial Cemetery.The circumstances of his death are unknown but it is believed he was killed in an accident.My thanks to Jimmy Ray for the photographs his Great-Uncle Daniel Lawlor is remembered here with Honour .

 

 `Cushy` Danny (Centre) Calcutta 1931 Regimental Police

                                The Rifle Factory at Ishapore

During their time in India the 2nd Durham Light Infantry were always conscious that their weapons were very susceptible to thieves and often chained their rifles to them as they slept ..but even this did not deter the more determined thief!

At Ishapore there was a Rifle Factory During World War I & II, the factory produced large quantities of .303 Bolt Action Rifles to meet the war requirements. In addition to this, repairs were carried out on  Light Machine Guns like the Maxim. Lewis, Hotchkiss and Vickers. Such an important facility needed a guard and sections from 2nd Durham Light Infantry often found them selves assigned as `Rifle factory guards` . Two rare examples of photographs are shown below.

The two DLI soldiers photographed with the  three man native contingent outside of the main factory gate would find the surroundings very familiar today as the factory gateway remains virtually unchanged. Constructed in 1907 with a height of  some 10.5 metres the `battlements` on top of the gate gave a commanding view of both the factory and its approach.

Mad dogs and Englishmen...The Durhams who served in India  

The folowing are snapshots of men of the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry during their time in what was known as `The Jewel in the Crown` imagine the contrast for these men having been raised in post WW1 England.

The soldiers in the photographs are identified where possible and what I know of them is also added if anyone has more to add then please do get in touch.

 

Above image shows two Durham Light Infantrymen in 1930 possibly at Razmak,India.On the left is 4441895 Cpl L H Bailey and to the right is 4443777 Pte J H Chambers both men were entitled to an India General Service Medal with the clasp North West Frontier 1930-31 in respect of their service in India.The medal roll confirms both mens entitlement however only 4443777 Pte Chambers award is noted as having actually been issued.The Medal was awarded in October 1934.Pte Joseph H Chambers returned to the 2nd Durham Light Infantry from the supplementary reserve as war clouds drew ever nearer he was killed in Action on May 27th 1940 at St Venant he was aged 32. Cpl Bailey became a Sergeant on the 27th March 1933 and continued to serve

Another 2nd Durham Light Infantry Corporal (above) again photographed in India but this shot is believed to have been taken at Pirgul Mountain near Razmak .In civilian clothes the photograph is believed to be 4436706 Cpl A C Berry discharged to the reserve in 1934 he was also awarded a IGS Medal which was issued in October 1934

Above 4441992 Cpl A G Davies 2nd Durham Light Infantry outside of one of the compounds barrack huts at Razmak in 1930.Awarded IGSMedal.Davies was promoted Sergeant on the 23rd October 1932 although service the numbers are identical his initial on the promotions roll is `D`

 

Above four private soldiers and a Corporal of the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry photographed at `Riflemans Tower` at Razmak again in 1930.

 

4443146 Pte George Percy Garbutt 2nd DLI born West Hartlepool enlisted 1923 served India / North west Frontier returned home around 1930 and finally discharged in 1935 (Please view profile on Who Proudly Served Page. Images below courtesy of George Garbutt Jnr

4443146  George P Garbutt (centre) and below (left)

 The Durham Light Infantry at a machine gun post on Datta Khel column, India,

Greetings from Razmak

2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry,  Ahmednager, India,1923

Below is a snapshot into the lives of those Durham Light Infantrymen so far away from home in 1923

 

 (above)Photograph of a group of officers and Sergeants of the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar, India, 1923 Back row: Sergeants Quarrell, Leahy, Bruce, Burkinshaw, Lillie, Gordon, Atkinson, Williams, Mitchell, and Marks Fourth row: Sergeants Gallavan, Ryding, Errington, Hardy, Simpkin, Jasper, Thompson, Stephenson, Wood, and Peters Third row: Sergeants Archer, Mulholland, Thomas, McCann, Trueman, Elwood, Page, Kirkland, Aynesley, Aston, Holland, and White Second row: Sergeants Goddard, West, Younghusband, Newcombe, Christopher, Creber, Yardley, Burini, Plummer, Pearson, Dyer, and Dixon First row: Sergeant Nugent, Regimental Sergeant-Major Shields, Captain and Adjutant E.H. Lysaght-Griffin, Lieutenant-Colonel J.W. Jeffreys, Major R.V. Turner, Captain and Quartermaster Lindsay, Bandmaster Grice, Seated on ground: Sergeants Robson, Eldrett, and Moores

(Above) Group photograph of the staff of 'B' Company, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar, India, 1923

 

  

 (Above) Photograph of a group of officers of the 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar, India, 1923

 

 

 (Above) Group photograph of the staff of 'C' Company, 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar, India, 1923

 

 

(Above) Photograph of a group of the band  2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar,  India, 1923

 (Above) Group photograph of the football team 2nd Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, taken at Ahmednagar, India, 1923

 

 


2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry,  India,1928

The 2nd Battalion Bugles. The Durham Light Infantry photographed 1928