Those Who Proudly Served 4447547 Sgt Albert `Spotty` Martin
4447547 Sgt Albert `Spotty` Martin photographed post war in Germany
.Photograph courtesy of his son Mr Dennis Martin
Sgt Albert (Spotty) Martin, 1st Btn Durham Light Infantry. Joined as a boy soldier on 29th July 1930 aged 15 years. Where he saw service in China,Shanghai and Tientsin with the 1st DLI. In 1940 he was off to The Middle East via Hong Kong where he served in General Wavell`s campaign seeing action in Egypt,Syria,Libya, ( Fort Capuzzo, Relief of Tobruk) before moving to Malta during the siege Following on from Malta, Sgt Martin and the 1st D.L.I went to the Dodecanese island of Kos (captured by the Germans at this time and became a POW),after the war he served in Germany, Korea and Malaysia.Sgt Albert Martin was captured on the Island of Kos when The 1st Durham Light Infantry were over-ran by numerically superior German forces he was held in Stalag IVB which was situated in the Mulhberg area of Germany south of Berlin, north east of Leipzig and north west of Dresden. The camp was situated between the small villages of Burxdorf and Neuburxdorf about 6km east of Mulhberg. Stalag IVb was a huge camp, holding up to 16,000 men.Sgt Martin was given the POW number 263768 at this time.He was liberated by the advancing Russians in 1945.
1st Battalion Bugles Sgt Albert Martin is pictured in the centre of the middle row
photograph courtesy of his son Dennis Martin.
Albert Martin (rear of the two) getting in some practice on the ranges,
Photograph courtesy of his son Dennis Martin.
Buglers of the 1st Durham Light Infantry without `Putees` Albert Martin is far right in the photograph,photograph courtesy of his son Dennis Martin
Those Who Proudly Served 4450735 Pte Walter Toogood 1st DLI
Walter Toogood was born in North Shields and enlisted at Newcastle upon Tyne 1934.He joined the Durham Light Infantry and served with the 1st Battalion until 1935, when he was posted to 2nd DLI here he saw service in India at
Bombay Deolali (Munro Barracks) and Poonha.In the Sudan,"DLI were stationed at Khartoum,Gebeit and Atbara before rejoining the 1st Battalion in 1937 Where he
saw service in China, Shanghai, Peking and Tientsin .In 1940 he was off to The Middle East via Hong Kong where he served in General Wavells campaign seeing action in Egypt,(7.1.40 to 23.1.42 and again 25.5.43 to 9.12.43) Syria,Libya, ( Fort Capuzzo,Relief of Tobruk) before moving to Malta during the siege.Pte Toogood then joined one of 151 Brigades Territorial battalions in preparation for the Assault on occupied Europe.Walters son Mike has photographs of the Victory
parade in which only one DLI battalion participated,The 9th DLI, indicating it
was this battalion Walter ended the war with.
Walter Toogood in China 1937-39 .Men of the 1st DLI pose with their Japanese
Photograph courtesy of Mike Toogood
Pte Walter Toogood saw service after the war with the Far Eastern Land forces in
Singapore,home service and service in Germany completing his military
career.Walter also served with The Somerset light Infantry and The Kings
Shropshire Light Infantry before leaving the Army in 1952.
Those Who Proudly Served 4439917 Warrant Officer Class 1 E. L. Jamieson
Those Who Proudly Served 4439917 Warrant Officer Class 1 E. L. Jamieson
Awarded the India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, North West Frontier 1930-31
whilst serving as a Corporal with The 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
1939-45 Star; Defence and War Medals; Awarded his Regular Army Long Service Good
Conduct Medal he also gained a Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.VI.R., 3rd
Those Who Proudly Served 4451716 Cpl John Robert Hood .
4451716 Cpl John Robert Hood pictured in Cairo.photograph by kind permission of
John Robert Hood was a bandsman in the Durham Light Infantry he served pre-war
and saw service in China,Shanghai,Tientsin,Part of Wavell`s Desert Army in North
Africa in 1940-41.John Robert Hood also served on Malta during the siege when
the Island was awarded The George Cross.In 1943 as part of 1st Battalion The
Durham Light Infantry he was landed on the island of Kos without supplies and
most of their equipment the 1st DLI were sacrificed with only 60 men managing to
escape the island.Cpl John Robert Hood was taken prisoner and spent the war in
various Stalag`s before being released by the Russians in 1945.
Those Who Proudly Served Pte James David Metheringham
Pte James David Metheringham was born on the 14th of March 1919 at 10 Pilot Street, Old Town, West Hartlepool. Jim was the youngest of four children, John, Lydia and Alice.His parents John Metheringham and Emmie Brown were migrants to the area.John’s family came originally from Lincolnshire and Emmie had come to Durham with her parents from the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland
James David Metheringham joined the army on 14/09/34 he was just 14 and a half.
He lied about his age as so many of the young men joining up did at the time in
order to secure themselves a job. He said that the recruiting sergeant knew what he was up to, but said that if his Mam would sign the papers he could join and anyway he was going on a break and would not be there when dad returned. His older brother John has also joined the Durham Light Infantry some time before and went on to win a Military Medal in 1940, the papers were signed and his
army life began.
His first posting was to Blackdown in Surrey, way down in the south of England,
it must have seemed like a world away for a young boy who had never been out of
his home town. He said he cried his eyes out every night for weeks, but the army
gave him a job and an education so it was just “ part of life “
James David Metheringham spent 12 years in the army as a regular solder, his
first overseas posting was to the Sudan in 1937 with the 2nd DLI, then to China
with the 1st DLI for 3 years in the international concession at Shanghai.
When the war broke out he was moved with 1st DLI back to the Middle East, where
he served in the Western Desert including the Tobruk campaign and later saw
service during the Siege of Malta.The chaplain in Malta used to say that the
solders looked like angels as they were so severely undernourished due to the
food shortages that their shoulder blades stuck out like wings.James
Metheringham served for some time with AAC 11TH Parachute Regiment before
rejoining the DLI where he again saw service in North West Europe and was
demobbed in 1948.He emigrated with his family first to Canada then to
Australia.Jim Metheringham died in in April 2008
Those Who Proudly Served 4448559 James Henry `Dusty` Miller
Pte James Henry Miller was born on the 23rd October 1910 in Wear Street, Bishopwearmouth,Sunderland. He enlisted into the Durham Light Infantry on the 12th January 1931 .Posted to India with the 2nd DLI in 1932 he remained there until 1937 where after a brief period in the Sudan he returned to England, after deciding not to join the 1st DLI who were en-route to China ,he stayed with the regiment as part of the reserve forces. Recalled to the colour`s on the 1st September 1939 `Dusty`Miller once again joined 2nd DLI at Fenham Barracks and went with them to France and Belgium.
Dusty Miller was at the Dyle River when Annand won his V.C and was with the battalion at St Venant .Wounded he was originally left in a Barn due to the wounds but attempted to escape back to the coast but was captured after the lorry in which he was travelling was hit.Treated with extreme brutality by an SS unit `Dusty` was finally taken to hospital before he was sent to the P.o.W camp where he remained until liberated by the Russians in 1945.`Dusty` Miller died on 27th September 2008.Information and photographs by kind permission of his family.
Those Who Proudly Served 4449582 Sgt William Prudhoe Forrest 8th & 11th D.L.I .
William `Bill`Forrest enlisted into the 8th Durham Light Infantry on the 26th April 1932 and served with them until 1939 much of this time he was a drummer with the regimental band.On the outbreak of the second world war the 8th DLI split into two battalions the new battalion being numbered the 11th DLI .Bill now joined 11th DLI . Now a Corporal with the signals section he left England as part of 70 brigade to take up positions in France and Belgium as part of the British Expeditionary Force.After 11th DLI had received crippling casualties during the German onslaught of 1940 Bills unit found themselves cut off ,but following a long journey on foot in which time he survived heavy artillery,mortar and aerial bombardments he made his way to La Panne where he
eventually escaped back to England on a minesweeper landing at Margate.
As part of 49th Divison he served in Iceland with 11th DLI before transferring to the RE as a sergeant in 1942 he later saw action in Normandy.He was demmobed in 1945 Bill joined the Civil Defence Corps in 1952. A keen gardener,poet,artist and organist William Prudhoe Forrest died on the 14th May 2008 aged 95.
Those Who Proudly Served 4450138 CQMS .(Major)R.H.Webb 1st Durham Light Infantry.
4450138 C.Q.M.S .R.H.Webb was a pre-War regular soldier with the 1st Durham Light Infantry.A good friend of Sgt Albert `Spotty`Martin Sgt Webb saw service in
China,Shanghai and Tientsin .In 1940 he saw service in the middle east which he reached via Hong Kong .He served in General Wavells campaign seeing action in Egypt,Syria,Libya,( Fort Capuzzo,Relief of Tobruk) before moving to Malta during the siege Sgt Robert Henry Webb was present when the battalion,so ill equipped were virtually wiped out on the Dodecanese island of Kos where he was captured by the Germans He became a PoW listed in 1945 as present in Stalag 7A at Moosburg with the PoW number of 124178. Moosburg was liberated by the American Fourteenth Armoured Division on the 28th April 1945.
During their time in the PoW camps Sgt Martin and Sgt Webb still kept in touch
as the cards below can testify .
Those Who Proudly Served 4465668 Pte Matthew Stapylton 16th Durham Light Infantry
4465668 Pte Matthew Stapylton 16th Durham Light Infantry
Pte Matthew Stapylton was born on 31st May, 1920, the youngest son of Matthew
and Agnes Maria Stapylton. He lived at 95 Collingwood View, North Shields.with two older sisters and a step-brother and step-sister. His father Matthew Snr had also served with the Durham Light Infantry in the First World war (later service with the Machine Gun Corps) Matthew Stapylton snr,was like so many in
the area at this time ,often out of work and the family were raised in poverty.
Young Matthew attended the Queen Victoria school in North Shields from the age of 5 to 14. The family were Methodists and Matthew attended the Wesleyan Memorial Church in North Shields. The only known job he had prior to enlisting on 24th July, 1940, was as a butcher's errand boy. He never married but was engaged to a local girl before he enlisted. Matthew Stapylton was short-sighted and always wore spectacles. The family state that he had other health problems and was initially rejected for military service .
Whilst in training at Morton Hall Camp which is situated at Frogston Road East,
Edinburgh Scotland, he was a member of 5 Platoon. One soldier who shared the
same tent, Private Thomas Atkinson who was a stretcher bearer with `B`Company
16th D.L.I at the time, remembers Matthew as a "likeable sort with a good tenor
The 16th D.L.I was part of 139 Brigade, 46th Division. On Christmas morning,
1942, the battalion sailed on the SS Staffordshire from Liverpool for North
Africa. On 17th January,1943 the battalion relieved the 6th Queens Own Royal
West Kent`s positions near Sedjenane, a small mining village in the northern Tell
The D.L.I positions were overlooked by the Germans who were dug in on the sides
of three hills named 'Greenhill' 'Baldy' and `Sugarloaf`. The Germans attacked
in strength on 1st March, 1943 The 16th DLI were ordered to counter-attack at
dawn on March 1/2nd, C Company was to advance from their established position on
'Jobey's Bump'. whilst A and D who had been amalgamated into a composite Company
accompanied `B` Company to try and out flank a feature known as Point 231 and
At 0600hrs Matthew and his Durham Light Infantry comrades pressed home their
attack with great determination after initially reaching the top of the hill and
taking a number of prisoners the German Parachute engineers opened up from
concealed positions with machine guns and very few actually managed to escape
the withering fire.Casualties were heavy. 4465668 Pte Matthew Stapylton was
killed on the 1/2nd March 1943 he has no known grave and is commemorated on the
Medjez-El-Bab Memorial Face 29.
Those Who Proudly Served R.S.M Archie Goddard 4435534 2nd Durham Light Infantry.
4435534 Archibald George Goddard was interested in joining the Army from his earliest years. At the age of 16 he joined the DLI as a Private in a Territorial Battalion. No doubt at the behest of his father who also served with the Durhams He also took up shooting through a miniature rifle club from which he gained three medals, including one depicting Lord Roberts of Khandahar who was instrumental in encouraging the sport of shooting after the Army’s poor record of marksmanship against the Boers during the recent war. Archibald George Goddard enlisted in the Regular Army on his 18th birthday in March 1912, joining 2/DLI in Colchester two days later.
With the outbreak of war in August 1914 he was posted to the 3/DLI training in Britain until June 1915 when as a Sergeant he rejoined the 2nd Battalion fighting at the Ypres Salient in Flanders. On 9th August the Durhams participated with distinction in the Battle of Hooge Chateau, when it is believed he served with C Company who had the unenviable task of going out under the cover of darkness to hide amongst the dead from previous attacks close to
the German lines before assaulting the enemy trenches. The Durhams took their objective after savage hand to hand fighting but were then subjected to German artillery bombardment causing many casualties, including Sgt Goddard who
received a scalp wound.
In April the following year he was posted back to the Training Reserve in Britain followed by attachments to various regiments at home and in Germany, including 1st battalion DLI.
He rejoined 2nd DLI in January 1921 on its arrival at Ahmednagar in India as CQMS, remaining with the battalion through it’s later postings to Cawnpore in 1923-1924 and Sialkot 1926-1929. Whilst at Sialkot in 1927, the Battalion received orders for an emergency deployment to Shanghai to protect the International Settlement against marauding Chinese armies. They remained there for six months earning popularity and a well deserved reputation amongst both the foreign and Chinese population. Two years after their return from Shanghai to Sialkot 2/DLI moved up to Razmak on the Northwest Frontier where together with other units of the Indian Army they took part in successful operations against the hostile Mahsuds who were engaged in raids against villages and army outposts in the Province during 1931. In 1933 at Barrackpore outside Calcutta
Archibald George Goddard was promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major. The Durhams
finally sailed from India in early 1937 to spend six months stationed in Khartoum before continuing home to Britain in time for Christmas. The Battalion was then stationed at Inkerman Barracks outside Woking in Surrey.
During the 1920s Archibald George Goddard became friendly with Frank McCann a sergeant in the battalion and his family. The McCanns had returned home in 1927 when Frank took his discharge from the Army, but Archie had remained in contact with the family. In 1938 Archie proposed and was accepted by Violet, Frank’s step daughter and they were married in the August. It had been Archibald George Goddard`s intention to retire from the Army and settle down in Sussex but these plans were frustrated by the war clouds which were gathering over Europe.
Archies son Ian was born the following year in May 1939.Four months later war was declared and the 2nd Battalion Durham Light Infantry were on their way to France. With their departure my Mother like the other wives had to vacate the married quarters at Inkerman Barrack and faced the problem of finding somewhere to live. With the threat of the German blitzkrieg and the Luftwaffe bombing of London she decided not to stay with her parents in Putney but found accommodation outside the barracks.
The 2nd Battalion was heavily engaged in an effort to stem the German breakthrough in Northern France in May 1940 but were finally overrun. Archibald George Goddard was with the Headquarters Company in a barn outside of St Venant. They fought a magnificent rearguard action but with the barn on fire , their ammunition exhausted,and German tanks outside they were forced to surrender in the face of these overwhelming odds . Thus on 27th May for RSM Goddard began five unhappy years as a prisoner of war. The survivors of 2DLI together with other prisoners were force marched with little food and water for five days to reach Cambrai where they were mustered. On 6th June the Germans loaded the prisoners onto rail trucks to begin a journey which ended on 11th June at Stalag XXI BH at Schubin in Poland. Archie was later sent to a stalag at
Thure before returning to Schubin in 1941 to take charge of the Red Cross parcels depot. A further transfer later in the year took him to Stalag XXI A at Schilberg, also in Poland, for a period of twelve months. His final move was to Stalag 383 at Hohenfels in Bavaria in September 1942 where he remained for the remainder of the war as Senior British Warrant Officer. He was awarded a Mentioned in Despatches for Distinguished Conduct whilst a POW
RSM Goddard was repatriated back to England on 8th May 1945 arriving at Aylesbury in a Lancaster bomber.The family still possess his box of papers relating to his time as a POW. These include camp rolls, copies of clandestine messages and a diary relating to the rather chaotic period at Stalag 383 in April when the German guards deserted shortly before the camp was relieved by the American Army. During this time Archie recalled a large number of Germans were taken prisoner (probably gave themselves up) including 1 general, 3 colonels, 12 other officers, 186 other ranks plus the Burgermeister from
Hohenfels and assorted Hungarians.
RSM Goddard was discharged from the Army at York on 4th March 1946 now ceasing
to fulfil Army physical requirements after serving for 33 years and 2 days.His first civilian job after his discharge was back at Inkerman Barracks where a demobilisation depot had been set up. Later he was employed at the Shaftesbury Homes for Boys School in Bisley, initially to help set up an Army Cadet Unit then acting as a Housemaster and finally as the school Bursar. He retired with his wife Violet to Child Okeford in Dorset in 1959 where they were both actively involved with the Royal British Legion for many years and lived contentedly until Archies death in 1979.
Those Who Proudly Served Pte Syd Walt 4449017 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Private Syd Walt 4449017 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Pte Syd Walt 4449017 also of the 2nd battalion D.L.I Sydney Walt was born in
Sunderland in 1913 he was the son of Thomas William Walt, and of Florence Beatrice Walt(nee Younger) the family moved to Hutton Magna, Yorkshire after Syd`s enlistment .A pre war regular with the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry Syd enlisted in 1931 he saw service on the Northwest Frontier and in the Sudan. Pte Syd Walt was part of the British Expeditionary Force which was sent to France and Belgium following the declaration of War in September 1939.
On the 29th May 1940 during the actions around St Venant when 2nd DLI were
overwhelmed by superior German forces including tanks 4449017 Pte Syd Walt was
reported Killed in Action later it was discovered he had been mortally wounded and on the 27th May 1940 and died two days later.He lies at peace Plot 3. Row A. Grave 20 of St Venant Communal Cemetery he was aged just 26 years .
Those who Proudly Served 288944 Lieut John Scott Burnett Holt 6th Durham Light Infantry
John Scott Burnett Holt was born in Washington, County Durham, in 1916, the son of Robert and Ellen Holt, of 3 Heworth Crescent,New Washington, Co. Durham .John Scott Burnett Holt enlisted as a regular soldier with the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry in 1933 and served with `B` Company in Shanghai, Tientsin, Hong Kong, the Desert Campaign in Syria and on Malta during the siege.Whilst with the 1st Durham Light Infantry he rose to the rank of Colour Sergeant. On the
16th May 1943, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant with the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry and was slightly wounded shortly after.
Lieutenant Holts promotion was not announced in the London Gazette until the 31st August 1943 by this time Lieutenant Holt was Dead killed in Action during patrol activity serving with the 6th battalion The Durham Light Infantry on the 6th August 1943, near Villa Biondi in Sicily he is at peace in Catania War Cemetery.
Complete Service History 0f 288944 Lieutenant John Scott Burnett Holt
1st Battalion, and 6th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry
Born, County Durham; residence, County Durham; enlisted 1st Battalion, The
Durham Light Infantry, 1933; China (Lance-Corporal 'D' Company), 1937 – 1939;
Shanghai 1937; Tientsin, China, 1938; Hong Kong, China, 1939; Syria (Sergeant),
1939 - 1940; Malta (1st Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry),
(Colour-Sergeant), 1941 –1942; commissioned Lieutenant, 6th Battalion, The
Durham Light Infantry, ('B' Company) 17 May 1943; Sicily, Italy, July 1943;
killed in action, 6 August 1943
Those Who Proudly Served Pte Robert Burke 4447385 1st & 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Pte Robert Burke 4447385 1st & 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4447385 Pte Robert Burke served with the Durham Light Infantry from 1929 to 1945. From his pay book the record shows he was initially with the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry but transferred to the 2nd Battalion some time later when the 1st battalion returned to England. Robert Burke enlisted at the age of 17 by lying about his age. Less than a year after his enlistment he was in Egypt then The Sudan (The photograph below of an informal group has inscribed on the back`Tropical Photo Stores, Khartoum.` and reads Pte Robert Burke, 3rd from left, back row. Khartoum, Sudan Nov 1929 - Oct 1930) followed by India where he
stayed for some years. At the start of WW 2 he was sent to Belgium as part of the BEF after fighting many rearguard actions Robert Burke was one of the few survivors of 2nd DLI who where subsequently evacuated from Dunkirk .As part of a reconstituted 2nd DLI he then went to India, fought at Kohima in 1944 then the
subsequent advance through Burma. Photographs by kind permission of his Grandson
Chris Burke and in proud memory of his father Mr R W Burke.
Those Who Proudly Served 4452446 Pte Robert Henry Smith 9th Durham Light Infantry
4452446 PTE ROBERT HENRY SMITH 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
4452446 PTE ROBERT HENRY SMITH was born in Felling in 1912 to Robert and Sophia Smith. He married Jennie Potts and worked as a miner before the war at Follonsbury Colliery.Robert was a pre-war territorial. Whilst in France in 1940 he served with Jennie`s brother.Roberts brother always seemed bitter about the fact that in his opinion they were poorly trained and equipped for the type of war they fought in 1940 serving with the 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry he was one of thirty men of the battalion killed on the 26th May 1940 in actions in and around Provin some of his comrades lie at Lille and Provin but the majority including Bob have no known grave and are commemorated on Column 123 of The Dunkirk Memorial.The battalion war diary for this day recounts an Artillery barrage and a diving bombing on the 26th May which caused heavy casualties .
Robert is mentioned in the `Missing Men` file from the National Archives but there is no mention of any follow up enquiries or his ultimate fate.. Robert Henry Smith was just 28 years old.Remembered with honour by his Nephew Steve Smith.
Those Who Proudly Served 4451283 Cpl Harrison Oughton Jones 1st Durham Light Infantry
4451283 Cpl Harrison(Harry) Oughton Jones The 1st Battalion The Durham Light
4451283 Cpl Harrison(Harry) Oughton Jones 1st DLI was the son of Thomas Edward Jones Born (14th December, 1889) who was a Sergeant Drum Major in the Durham.Light.Infantry during World War One.
Harry shortly after his eighteenth birthday joined his fathers Regiment the Durham Light Infantry and was posted to ` Aines Squad` `D`Coy (machine gun) 1st DLI at this time young Harry weighed just under 8 stone During this time the Battalion were being mechanised and Harry soon learned how to drive Bren Gun
At an Army shooting competition at Bisley Ranges `Harry` was placed 1st out of over a thousand contestants around this time `Harry` struck up a lifelong friendship with another D.L.I. soldier Frank Chapmans ( 4451284) who eventually married Harry’s sister,
Sent to Chatham Naval Base (School of Military Engineering) he was taught the trade of Plumbing,and was very proud of his trades badge depicting two crossed axes and became a jack of all trades and Battalion plumber when he transferred to`A` Coy .Harrys stay with `A` Company was short lived for he found himself transferred to `HQ` Company in preparation for the 1st DLI`s move to China in 1937.On the journey `Harry remembered they had to stop in at India to take on more DLI troops,(Turnover from the 2nd DLI who were returning home) water and fresh fruit,On the battalions arrival in China (Shanghai) they transferred to the docks in small boats with their main troop ship anchored in middle of river,
Initially he was based in the Girls school on Nanking Road in Shanghai,before he moved north to Peking / Tienstin to “a far nicer barracks”, The severe winter and drop in temperature enabled `Harry` and Frank Chapman to teach the Battalions officers how to ice skate on the frozen Tennis Courts,During their time in China the news of the declaration of war reached the Durhams and they hastily prepared for their new deployment in Hong Kong,before journeying on to Egypt where he landed at Port Said,Harry and the 1st DLI were rushed to Mersa Matruh and `Harry` would have been awarded Military Medal for acts of courage during an enemy bombing raid on a rail head had it not been for an officers case of mistaken-identity.`Harry` participated in the battle to take Fort Cappuzo,after the brutal battle he requested permission to return and pick up
his truck that had the front end blown off by a shell, or mortar round to which his Officer agreed, on returning and surveying the damage to his truck he once again requested permission to again return to the battle field a request which was once again granted shortly after `Harry` returned with a second badly damaged vehicle which he managed to strip down and repair his truck thus making one truck from two totally destroyed vehicles! This feat did not go un-noticed and `Harry` found himself transferred to `B` Coy and made fitter for the rest of the Battalion transport!,
Harry found himself on the way to Tobruk,before moving to Syria and fought Vichy French and pushed them through Palestine to the Turkish border, until the surrender at Aleppo,Then returned to Egypt,Port Said, then on to Alexandria, in preparation for a move to Malta`Harry` sailed on Friday 13th to Malta onboard the Breckonshire captained by Colin Hutchinson who was quick to acknowledge the part Harry and other DLI soldiers played in relieving the ships crew and manning the machine guns during the almost constant air raids.
A stick of bombs from a Luftwaffe aircraft exploded and blew a hole in the side of the Brackonshire, the order to abandon ship was given (eventually ship was run aground to save the cargo),`Harry` remembered a destroyer which had pulled alongside to save the crew hit a mine and sank,ocean going tugs rescued the survivors and took them into Valetta Harbour, During the DLI`s time on Malta
a lot of the time was spent on various guard duties, on one such guard duty in
Rabbat `Harry` shot the seat pole out of a bike ridden by Major Dennis Frank
Crosthwaite who had been returning from a night on the town and refused to stop
at the first checkpoint. The Major commended Harry for his action and advised
he wouldn’t have to go on guard duty again.The Major also advised `Harry` he
wouldn’t go out drinking again!,
During a heavy bombing raid Harry was manning a Bren Gun position on a hillside
and managed to bring down an enemy bomber and was promoted to Corporal in the field for this action. Cpl Harrison(Harry) Oughton Jones also recounted to his family the tale of how he assisted in shooting down an enemy aircraft after going on a totally unofficial test flight after assisting in the repair of the aircraft, Prior to his Malta departure he was asked by Captain May if he was prepared to join the paratroopers an offer which was declined,
Malta to Egypt,then on to the Island of Kos his platoon were looking after an air strip near the Coast when the Germans invaded `Harry` was wounded in the leg and reported to the Medical Station, Whilst there he was advised by the medical orderly to prepare for surrender to which he replied he would never surrender and asked the orderly to give him some rations to make good his escape, he met up with an 18 year old RAF private named Jack Harrison and tried to get the Coast, but was captured and interrogated and marched off to German HQ the pair were able to escape after an English Beaufighter strafed the guards,
The pair were offered a boat by a Greek fisherman on the proviso that they took the fisherman`s wife and two children to Turkey which Harry agreed to do, however once the boat was uncovered eight fully armed and kitted out South African Air Force personnel (including a Sergeant and a Colonel) jumped from the bush and commandeered it. None of the South Africans knew how to sail the boat so Harry offered to sail it as long as Jack and the Greek family were allowed onboard an offer the South Africans reluctantly After an eventful journey in which they had been repeatedly straffed by a German fighter the group arrived in Turkey and were escorted by a Turkish soldier(On promise of payment) to a village up in the Mountains, after a nights rest and a good feed the group set off on their long journey overland to the sea port of Bodrum where they parted from the South
Africans and were put on a small craft by members of the SAS.(SBS) bound for Cyprus. Before he left the Turkish soldier made Harry sign a form which was sent to Constantinople requesting reimbursement for their journey, Information courtesy of Jason Renshaw.
Those Who Proudly Served 4448027 Sgt Freddie Pegram 1st Durham Light Infantry
Sgt Frederick Pegram 4448027 was from Gateshead in Old Co Durham.The son of the late Richard and Frances Annie Pegram of Gateshead Co Durham.He joined the
Durham Light Infantry in 1930 just as his father Richard had done before
him.Richard who served with the 2nd Durham Light Infantry was killed in action on the 16th March 1917,37030 Pte Richard Pegram was aged 28 years he was buried at Philosophe British Military Cemetery in Mazingarbe . Young Freddie was just
three years old.
Freddie was brought up at the family home of 46 Hewitt Street in Gateshead. He entered the Army as a boy soldier joining his fathers battalion the 2nd DLI and saw service on the Northwest Frontier in India. In 1936 he transferred to The 1st Durham Light Infantry where, in 1937 ,he travelled with them to China where he saw service in Shanghai,Peking and Tientsin.In 1938 he was with `B` Company 1st DLI. Sgt Freddie Pegram was part of the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry when he too was sadly killed in action during an offensive at Fort Capuzzo on the 15th May 1941.He was aged 27.Today he lies in good company at Hafaya Sollum War Cemetery Section 8 Row F Grave 1.Remembered with honour by Michael.
Young Freddie (centre) with two friends possibly in the barrack room during
their time in China.
Those Who Proudly Served 3133830 Pte Charles McCann 11th Durham Light Infantry
3133830 Pte Charles McCann a native of Long Row,Connel Park,New Cumnock Ayrshire. served with The 11th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry he was formerly a member of The Kings Own Scottish Borderers . Pte McCann took part in the Invasion of occupied Europe but made the ultimate sacrifice on the 27th June 1944. The 11th DLI were ordered to put in a battalion attack on the village of Rauray across wide open ground which only that morning had seen the destruction of seven tanks and two self propelled guns(Source Rissik) it was decided no further armour would be risked in the attack so it was left to the Infantry at midday the platoons advanced line abreast with fixed bayonets,B company on the right D company on the left with C Company following on once the leading companies had reached Rauray. The men advanced into withering Spandau and mortar fire B Company in particularly suffered heavy casualties reaching their objective with less than fifty men it was later found the Germans had a fire point located nearby where an officer had sat calling down accurate murderous fire on the DLI advance.Found in this position was a mattress, sheets, chairs, flowers wine and a working telephone all situated less than 200 yards away from the DLI start line.! The 11th DLI suffered a staggering forty eight men killed in this one attack with hundreds more wounded the objective gained but at what price.
On his last leave Charlie McCann repaired a fence which had been blasted - he told Toms Mother - "every time you look at that fence - think of me" so Tom is sure he knew that he wouldn't make it back- after Toms Dad died his mother downsized and took a piece of the fence with her ,so she remembered Charlie
Back row L-R :- Larry McCann - Larry Canning- Charlie McCann
Front row - Mary Gordon - (friend from Aberdeen) - Toms sisters - Teresa - Jane
Ann - Cathie - Isa McCann -
the McCanns are all gone now sisters Teresa and Jane Ann , brother Larry in
Nottingham and Cathie in Park City Utah and now Tom Canning himself who died in Canada 2016.
St Manvieu War Cemetery ,Cheux holds many Durham Light Infantry In Section 5 Row
J Grave 1 lies Pte Charles McCann of the Durham Light Infantry Remembered with
Honour by his cousin Tom Canning
Those Who Proudly
Served 3605934 THOMAS COLE BROWN 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 3605934 THOMAS COLE BROWN 9th Durham Light Infantry
3605934 Pte Thomas Cole Brown was a former member of the Border Regiment before
he joined the 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry.Thomas was the much loved son of John and Mary Brown and husband of Irene Constance Brown, of Cramlington, Northumberland. Thomas took part in the Invasion of Sicily when as part of the famous 50th Division he and other members of 6th 8th and 9th DLI splashed ashore on 10th July 1943 near Avola. He was part of the Durhams assault on The Primosole Bridge against fanatical opposition.On the 17th July 1943 9th DLI launched a final assault on the bridge commencing at 0200hrs following the 6th DLI who had set off at 0100hrs the fighting was vicious with the Germans not prepared to give an inch the 9th DLI found the going tough hampered by the thick vines which made any movement difficult passing through the bridgehead provided by 8th DLI Thomas and the rest 9th DLI fought their way to the end of the bridge before being forced back but persistence prevailed and both the Durham battalions were able to advance well beyond the bridge.The cost in men was high in `A` Company alone the final count revealed just one officer and seven un-wounded men.The 6th and 9th DLI were withdrawn but their was a price paid for the days victory part of that price was Pte Thomas Cole Brown who was killed in action 17th July 1943 on this the last assault on the Primosole Bridge.Today
Thomas lies in good company in Catania War Cemetery Section III Row B Grave 24. Remembered with Honour by his proud Grandson Steve Mitchell.
Photographs by kind permission of Steve Mitchell.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4453565 Pte Thomas William Jackson 6th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4453565 Pte Thomas William Jackson 6th Durham Light Infantry
4453565 Pte Thomas William Jackson was the son of Fredrick and Emily Jackson, of Hull a member of The 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry his army number indicates he joined the Durhams between 11th May 1938 - 1939 (4453000 -4454516,) Thomas served with the battalion in France in 1940 and escaped from the French beaches he then went onto serve in the Middle East where he was
captured by Enemy forces.In the early days of the alliance between Germany and
Italy it was the Italians who took responsibility for all allied prisoners of war. Pte Thomas William Jackson was herded aboard the Italian Merchant ship the Scillin The conditions in the hold of the Scillin were terrible. It was so crowded none of the Prisoners could lie down and half the men had dysentery a great many more were seasick. The only air and light came in through a small hatch. which was kept open during the day and battened down at night.The Scillin was en route from Tripoli to Sicily with about 815 Commonwealth prisoners-of-war on board including men from several Durham Light Infantry battalions, when she was sunk on November 14th 1942 18 Km north of Milazzo by the British submarine Sahib. An enquiry found the Captain of the submarine had no knowledge of The Scillin`s cargo a verdict which many believe was reached to protect the Enigma secret code breakers who had been transcribing Axis codes since 1939.Nothing of course could be proved but what is known is that young Pte Thomas William Jackson was amongst those who tragically lost their lives that night.Thomas who was just 22 has no known grave but is commemorated on the memorial at El Alamein Column 69.He is remembered with honour by Jackie
Those Who Proudly
Served 4456430 Pte Bill Charles 11th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4456430 Pte Bill Charles 11th Durham Light Infantry
4456430 Pte Bill Charles served with the British Army ,embodied in August
1939 he was part of the 11th Durham .L.I a duplicate battalion of the 8th battalion.On the outbreak of war the Territorial battalions had enough men to
form second line battalions the 10th ,11th and 12th DLI (later the 12th would become part of the Black Watch) Bill Charles was employed in a Brick factory nr Birtley when he was called to the colours. He lived at 15 Surrey Terrace, Barley
Mow, Birtley, with his Mother and Father James who had also seen service during the first World War and again with The 8th DLI from 4 May 1922 until 3rd May 1926.Bill initially moved from the Drill Hall to the Masonic Hall in Birtley before moving briefly to Sunderland after the outbreak of hostilities.Bill
Charles then moved to Oxfordshire.Bill Moved with the 49th (Polar Bear) Division to Iceland The 11th were
stationed around Reykjavik where it took over billets from The Royal Regiment of Canada,like 10DLI the 11th Battalion personnel were well dispersed with posts at Thingvettlar Lake (possible Sea plane Landings), and at Hafnafjordur .
Bill continued to serve with the 11th DLI on various outposts along the
important convoy routes.When the Americans took command of Iceland ,Bill, along with his battalion returned to England where they began to train for their role in the inevitable invasion of occupied France.As part of `S` Company he arrived in France on D+ 6.As a carrier driver he toot part in the bloody battles around Rauray in which the 10th 11th and old 12th DLI were heavily committed.
The need for reinforcements led to the break up of the Durham Battalions within the 49th Div and with the 11th DLI still at full strength it was a decision that did not go down well with the Durham soldiers.Bill Charles was told to pull into that field, have a cup of tea, and when he drove out, he was out of the DLI and in the Cameronians..but thats another story.Remembered with honour by his son Jim Charles and his family
Those Who Proudly
Served 4036125 Pte Reginald George Goodwin 8th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4036125 Pte Reginald George Goodwin 8th Durham Light Infantry
Originally from Herefordshire, Reg Goodwin enlisted in the British Army on the
17th of January 1940. Private R.G. Goodwin 4036125(Number indicates initial service with The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry) was posted to the Herefordshire Regiment, Territorial Army to begin basic training. On the 15th July 1942 he was once again transferred to the Welch Regiment .On the 23rd of
November 1942 Pte Goodwin found himself part of a batch of reinforcements bound for the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th Division, 13th Corps, 8th Army in North Africa.
The 8th DLI together with the 6th & 9th DLI took part in the actions on the
Mareth Line, a defensive system between Libya and Tunisia. The Battle of Mareth, March 1943 took a heavy toll on the 8th DLI, but the line was taken. After the battle 151 Bde were granted leave in Cairo and Alexandria where the photograph showing Pte Goodwin was believed to have been taken
On July 10th, 1943 the DLI Brigade were landed with the rest of the 50th Division, 8th Army on the south east coast of Sicily. Arriving in LCIs (Landing Craft; Infantry) from the Dutch ship Ruys, the 8th Battalion DLI waded ashore into Jig "Green Sector" and were ordered to occupy covering positions north-west and south-west of Avola, in order to deny the enemy any high ground from which observation of the Landing Area could be obtained. Reg Goodwin took the opportunity to eat tomatoes and grapes straight from the vines/plants, but later it meant finding a latrine or quiet hedge very quickly!"
A Bren-Gunner in A Company, 8th DLI, Reg Goodwin saw action during the assault
on the Primosole Bridge that spanned the Simeto River on 15th July 1943."Reg
Goodwin was shouting that a party of Jerries were crossing the front. Sergeant
Mackmin of D Company ran over to him and together they had a go at them. Pte
Goodwin acted as a rest for the Bren by standing up with the gun on his
shoulder. They fired a couple of magazines at them. It was during this Action
that he was later awarded the Military Medal.
After the securing of Sicily by the 8th Army, in October 1943 the DLI Bde embarked on the Dutch freighter Sibajak and sailed in convoy out of Augusta Harbour for Algiers, Gibraltar, and then England. While on leave the investiture for Reg Goodwins Military Medal took place. On March 14th, 1944 he was presented with his Military Medal at Buckingham Palace by King George VI.
After leave ended my Pte Reg Goodwin began training for D-Day; Operation Overlord. On the 5th June 1944 he departed from Southampton on the HMS Albrighton (commanded by Capt G.V.M Dolphin, R.N) as part of Assault Group G3. The 151st Brigade (6th, 8th and 9th DLI) were to land at King "Green Sector" Gold Beach, coming to shore in LCI (L)'s (Landing Craft Infantry - Large). Between the hours of 10:30 and 12:00 on the 6th June 1944 the reserve troops of the 151st Infantry Brigade, comprising the 6th, 8th and 9th Battalions DLI landed in heavy surf at Gold Beach.Many hard battles lay ahead for Reg and the other DLI including Tilly sur Seulles and St Pierre and these actions took a toll on the men who were expected to fight them.A decision was made to disband the 50th Division 9th DLI transferred to 7th Armoured whilst 6th and 8th DLI
were disbanded with a cadre unit returning to England to train New Light Infantrymen.At the end of August, 1944, Reginald George Goodwin ,now a Corporal,returned to England, and took no further part in the Second World War.
Corporal Reginald George Goodwin was demobbed from the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry on 12th June 1946 and he retired to Folkestone, Kent to be with his family. Many people would later ask him how he won his Military Medal. He would reply, "I saved the lives of my battalion." Pushed for further description he would blithely respond, "I shot the cook" and nothing more. Along with the Military Medal he was also awarded the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star (8th Army Bar), the Italy Star, the France and Germany Star, the Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal.
Reginald George Goodwin passed away in March 1975.Remembered with honour by his
Grandson Matt Goodwin.My thanks to Matt for information and the permission to display it here
Those Who Proudly
Served 4457133 Sgt Thomas Dabner 11th &16th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4457133 Sgt Thomas Dabner 11th &16th Durham Light Infantry
Thomas Cyril Wallace Dabner was the son of Thomas Dabner and Doris Dabner and the brother of Betty they lived at No 6 The Esplanade West in Sunderland Co Durham born in 1919.Thomas Dabner Snr was a merchant Seaman whose life was the
sea, based in Liverpool...Thomas Snr did not return to Sunderland after
1935.This left a huge gap in the family life of young Thomas and his sister Betty.Thomas was educated at Cowan Road School before gaining employment at the Seaburn Hotel on the Sunderland Sea-front.
Thomas Cyril Walter Dabner enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry in 1939 part of the ill fated 11th Durham Light Infantry which ,despite being poorly equipped and lacking essential training ,put up strong resistance during the BEF campaign in France during 1940 using rifles to snipe at the oncoming German Panzer Commanders. Thomas was like hundreds of others captured and forced to drive a lorry of wounded British soldiers between two panzers which were escorting them.During the night Thomas made a dash for freedom ,turning his lorry off the main road and making good his escape despite heavy German retalliatory fire.He delivered the wounded into the safe hands of the RAMC before completing his journey back to England via the Dunkirk Beaches.Thomas Dabner was awarded the Military Medal for his actions that day 21/5/40.
On his return to England Thomas remained with The 11th DLI and as part of the 49th (Polar Bear ) Division spent 15 months in Iceland on his return Thomas promoted to Cpl was transferred to the 16th Durham Light Infantry .
Thomas Dabner (above) with local children in Iceland and again below ,(right) with other members of the 11th DLI with one of the battalion carriers,taken during their time in Iceland 1941
The aftermath of the Bombing raid the remains of No 12 Azalea Terrace,Sunderland
Thomas Dabners Grandfather was killed on the 16th May 1943 it was one of the heaviest the Town of Sunderland had suffered with 71 people killed in addition to Thomas`s Grandfather Leonard Jefferies Salter,who was then 80 yrs old his wife Elsie Gertrude Salter aged 55yrs were recorded as killed at the address of 12 Azalea Ave, Sunderland, the address still exists but not the building with a row of flats replacing the old buildings.On the night in question High explosives resulted in the destruction of Nos 10, 12,14, Azalea Avenue possibly being due to a parachute mine,many of which were dropped during the raid.Thomas was home on leave at the time and took part in the attempted rescue of his
Grandfather but it was too late as both had already perished.
Thomas promoted Sgt took his place alongside the rest of the 16th DLI as theystormed ashore in the footsteps of the Hampshire brigade at Salerno on the 9th September 1943.On the 12th September 1944 just over a year or so later 4457133 Sgt Thomas Cyril Wallace Dabner MM aged just 25 years was dead Killed in Action near Gemmano in Italy.Today he lies at peace in section XIV Row J Grave 4 of CORIANO RIDGE WAR CEMETERY,Italy.Thomas Dabner ,`Uncle Thomas` is remembered with honour by his niece Catherine Lavelle.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4458732 Sgt Ernest Galley 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4458732 Sgt Ernest Galley 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Ernest Galley was born in September 1919 in Hetton le Hole, County Durham, where his father, who had served in the Royal Artillery during the First World War, worked as a coal miner. Ernest left school when he was 14 years old to work in a local shop, as his father did not want him to be a miner. He later joined the Co-op and was a baker when he was conscripted into the Army in January 1940.
After his initial training at the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth Castle, 4458732 Private Galley was sent as part of a draft to France in May 1940. After landing at Cherbourg and later moving to Rouen, he was never actually attached to any unit before he was ordered to return to England. Ernest Galley was then posted to ‘A’ Company 2nd Battalion DLI, reforming at Bridlington after its escape from France. In April 1942, 2 DLI was sailed for India, where it first began intensive training for jungle and combined operations. In February 1943, 2 DLI went into action against the Japanese in the Arakan but Ernest Galley missed the fighting as he was in hospital with malaria. Platoon Sergeant Galley rejoined his battalion in time for the action at Kohima. During the fighting for Jail Hill in early May 1944, Ernest Galley was hit in the head by a bullet. After hospital treatment in India, he was evacuated to England, arriving in Liverpool
in January 1945. He was then sent to Shotley Bridge Hospital for plastic surgery
to his face. Ernest Galley was demobilised from the Army in June 1945.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4459264 L/Cpl Fred Welsh 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4459264 L/Cpl Fred Welsh 9th Durham Light Infantry
Frederick Welsh was born in October 1919 at Ferryhill Station in County Durham,where his father worked as a Deputy in a local colliery. Frederick left school when he was 14 years old and found work as a labourer on the colliery farm. Frederick Welsh was conscripted into the Army in January 1940 and after basic training at the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth Castle, 4459264 Private Welsh was posted to the 9th Battalion DLI at Rugeley, where it was rebuilding after Dunkirk. 9 DLI later moved to the South coast of England on defence duties but in May 1941, after the threat of German invasion had faded, 9 DLI sailed as part of the 50th Division,to the Middle East. After a short time in Egypt, 9 DLI was sent to Cyprus and then on to Iraq.In February 1942, 9 DLI was in North Africa at Gazala. When the German and Italian forces threatened to trap the Allied troops there, they broke out and headed east towards Alamein in Egypt. In the confused action, Frederick Welsh was wounded and taken prisoner. Frederick Welsh was first taken to a prisoner of war camp in Italy but then in September 1943, after the Italian surrender, he was taken north to a camp in Austria.Freds PoW number was 39102 and he was held at Stalag XVIIIA Wolfsburg Austria..
In early 1945, Frederick Welsh was marched westwards by German guards away from
the advancing Russian forces. He was eventually freed by US troops and flown home to England. Back home, as his health had been badly affected by his years of imprisonment, Frederick Welsh was medically discharged from the Army in May 1945.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4449764 Pte William Bateman 1st/2nd/6th/9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4449764 Pte William Bateman 1st/2nd/6th/9th Durham Light Infantry
William Bateman was born in January 1913 at Tindale Crescent, near Bishop
Auckland. After his father was killed in the First World War, William was raised by his grandparents. When he left school, he went to work at North Bitchburn Colliery. He was 14 years old. His brother, also a coal miner, was killed in a colliery accident. In November 1932, William Bateman joined the Regular Army and, after his basic training at Fenham Barracks, was posted to the 1st Battalion DLI at Catterick. In December 1933, 4449764 Private Bateman was sent,
as part of a draft, to join the 2nd Battalion DLI in India. There he joined the Signal Platoon. After service in the Sudan, William Bateman was posted to 1st DLI and sailed for China. When the Second World War began, 1st DLI moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong and then to Egypt to defend the border with Italian-held Libya.William Bateman served with 1st DLI during both the British Army’s advances against the Italian forces and then its retreat in the face of the German Afrika Corp’s offensive.Back in Egypt, 1st DLI was ordered into action in Syria against the Vichy French forces there. In October 1941, 1st DLI moved to Tobruk before sailing for Malta to help defend the island.
In October 1943, after 10 years overseas, William Bateman was sent home to England, having completed his full service entitlement abroad. In early 1944,
after months spent at the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth, William Bateman joined the 9th Battalion DLI, then in training for the invasion of Normandy. He landed with the Carrier Platoon on D-Day and then fought with 9 DLI through France and Belgium and into Holland.
In November 1944, when the 50th Northumbrian Division was broken up, William Bateman left 9 DLI and returned to England, joining the 6th Battalion DLI at Skipton. He was finally demobilised in November 1945. After the war, Bill Bateman worked as a Post Office telephone engineer. He died in April 2003.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4455423 Pte/L/Cpl William Ridley 9th/6th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4455423 Pte/L/Cpl William Ridley 9th/6th Durham Light Infantry
William Ridley was born in February 1919 at Pelaw, County Durham. When William’s father lost his job as a ship’s carpenter, he found work in a colliery and the family moved to Felling. William left school when he was 14 years old and began work as an errand boy in a local shop. He also joined the Boy Scouts.
In May 1939, William Ridley joined his local Territorial Army unit and was still
training with the 9th Battalion DLI, when the Second World War began. After war training in the Cotswold`s, 9 DLI sailed to France in January 1940 with the 50th Division to join the British Expeditionary Force. In May 1940, 4455423 Private Ridley fought with his battalion at Arras to halt the German advance before retreating via Dunkirk to England. Bill recalled at the time how his ship entered the harbour at Dover and began to manoeuvre around for one horrible minute his eyes welled up with tears as he thought he was going back to
France.On its return from Dunkirk, 9th DLI were first sent to the south coast of England on defence duties but, after the threat of German invasion faded, the battalion sailed for the Middle East in May 1941. Over the next year, L/Cpl William Ridley served in Egypt, Cyprus, Iraq and the Western Desert. During the fighting at Mersa Matruh and Gazala on the 27th June 1942, he was severely wounded in the arm he was convinced he would be captured and took off his watch put it around his ankle and fastened up his gaiter,Bill was not captured but the wound in his arm was bleeding heavily he knew at least one artery had been severed,using his first aid training from the boy scouts Bill placed the heel of
his hand into the open wound in a bid to stem the blood flow he was evacuated to hospitals first in Suez and later in Scotland. William Ridley finally left hospital in 1943 and, after a short time with 6 DLI in England was medically discharged from the Army and returned to his civilian work.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4457510 Pte Alan Hughes Watcham 10th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4457510 Pte Alan Hughes Watcham 10th Durham Light Infantry
Alan Hughes Watcham was born in July 1918 at Tantobie, a small coal mining village in County Durham, where his father worked as a schoolmaster. After Alan left the local grammar school in 1937, he began to train as a Physical Training teacher at Bede College in Durham. At Bede, he joined the Officers Training Corps. In September 1939, Alan Watcham was conscripted into the Army and was posted to the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth Castle for his basic training. At the end of this training,4457510 Private Watcham was posted to the 10th Battalion DLI at South Shields and joined ‘B’ Company.10 DLI left for France in April 1940 to join the British Expeditionary Force. As the battalion was neither fully trained nor equipped it was put to work building air strips.When the German forces invaded Belgium and France in May 1940, 10 DLI was thrown into the battle and suffered many casualties in the confused fighting near Arras. Alan Watcham was taken prisoner and was sent to a prisoner of war camp in Poland. He spent the next five years in camps, often working as a camp interpreter as he could speak German. In early 1945, Alan Watcham was freed by advancing US forces and flown home to England. His health had deteriorated so much whilst he had been in the prison camps that he was demobilised from the Army in late 1945. Alan Watcham returned to teaching after the war, though no longer as a PT teacher,and eventually retired as a Headmaster in Consett
Those Who Proudly
Served 4444811 Sgt Patrick Gallogly 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4444811 Sgt Patrick Gallogly 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Born in Ireland 27th May 1907, he was a chemical worker before he enlisted in 1925 in the 2nd Battalion DLI at Middlesbrough. He saw active service in 1930 on the North West Frontier of India against the Mahsuds and was wounded.
He joined the Reserve in 1933 but was recalled in 1939. Captured in 1940 with 2
DLI in France, he spent three years in German POW camps before escaping. He then rejoined the Army and fought in France and Germany from October 1944 to early
Discharged from the Regular Army in 1950 as a Colour Sergeant, he immediately joined the Territorial Army joining 437 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment (T.A.), 16 May 1960; served with Territorial Army until finally discharged on 31 March 1961, aged 54, finally retiring in 1961, after 36 years service. Patrick Gallogly died in 1976
below;- 4444811 Sgt Patrick Galloghy seen in France 1940 shortly after his capture (third
right looking at the camera)
Those Who Proudly
Served 4452536 CSM Leslie Thornton 2nd DLI /16th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4452536 CSM Leslie Thornton 2nd DLI /16th Durham Light Infantry
Leslie Thornton was born in 1916 at Haverton Hill in County Durham. His father was killed in the First World War and his step-father worked as a riveter in the shipyards.
After Leslie left school, he had a number of jobs before he joined the Regular Army in June 1937. After basic training at the DLI’s Depot at Fenham barracks at Newcastle upon Tyne, 4452536 Private Thornton was posted to the 2nd Battalion DLI at Woking. Promoted to Lance Corporal, he returned as an instructor to the DLI’s Depot and moved with the Depot from Fenham to its spiritual home at Brancepeth Castle in September 1939.
In June 1940, Sergeant Thornton was posted to the Special Training Centre at Lochailort in Scotland until August 1942,when he returned to Brancepeth and the 4th Infantry Training Centre before joining the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion DLI at Westwick Camp at Barnard Castle.
In August 1943, Leslie Thornton sailed for North Africa and was then posted as a Company Sergeant Major to the 16th Battalion DLI serving with `C` Company, fighting in Italy. He also served in Palestine and Greece before returning to the Italian campaign shortly before the end of the war and was Mentioned in Despatches.
During his time in Italy CSM Thornton recalled one soldier who told him he could`nt go up the line because he knew this time he would`nt come back. CSM Thornton took the man before Major Casey who said to the boy if you do`nt go who will do your job? The Major pointed his pistol at the young soldier and said`You will go up the line`The lad went up the line and was killed almost immediately by shell fire.Sgt Thornton often wondered whether or not he should have sent the boy or put him on the sick list? History nor CSM Thornton does not remember the name of the lad who died.
After time spent in Austria with the Army of Occupation, Leslie Thornton went back to the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth, where he stayed until 1948. After service at The Light Infantry Depot, he fought in the Korean War with the 1st Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
After Leslie Thornton left the Army in 1962 Leslie Thornton worked as a school caretaker. He died in August 1999
Those Who Proudly
Served 5950691 Sgt Charles Herbert Bray 16th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 5950691 Sgt Charles Herbert Bray 16th Durham Light Infantry
Charles Bray was born in Buckingham in November 1919. Charles Brays parents resided at The Woolpack Hotel.After leaving school `Bert` as he was known to his
family went to work in a solicitor’s office,Town Clerks office and also served as a volunteer fireman. When war began in 1939, he hoped to join the Royal Navy, but instead joined his local Regiment and was posted to 6th Battalion Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment. In July 1940, 5950691 Lance Corporal Charles Bray was transferred to the newly-formed 16th Battalion DLI where he served with `D` Company and, during the next two years, helped train the new
recruits for war.
In December 1942, 16 DLI finally sailed from Liverpool for active service in North Africa and, at the beginning of March 1943, the inexperienced soldiers went into battle at Sedjenane, south of Tunis. After a failed counter-attack and much confused fighting, Sergeant Bray, along with many other soldiers from the battalion, was taken prisoner. Their German captors soon passed the prisoners over to the Italian Army and they were transferred first to Campo 98 on Sicily then to a camp in Italy Campo 53.
After the surrender of Italy in 1943, the Germans took over the prisoner of war camps and Charles Bray was moved north by rail to a new camp in Bavaria and then on to Gorlitz.Charles Herbert Bray was imprisoned in both Stalags 17B and 8A given the Pow Number 155266. By early 1945, the Russian Army had advanced west, so the prisoners of war were forcibly marched west. Eventually Charles Bray was liberated by British troops and flown home to England. After time spent in hospital, Charles Bray returned to active duties before he was finally demobilised in 1946 and returned to civilian life.His brother served in the RAF whilst his three brothers-in-law all saw service during the war.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4465566 L/CPL THOMAS ATKINSON 16th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4465566 L/CPL THOMAS ATKINSON 16th Durham Light Infantry
Thomas Atkinson was born in June 1920 at Hendon in Sunderland. His father was a bottle-maker but was often unemployed. Thomas left school when he was 14 years old and began working on his brother’s market stall selling gramophone records. In July 1940, Thomas Atkinson was conscripted into the Army and joined
the newly formed 16th Battalion DLI, then based near Edinburgh. Training of this new battalion lasted until December 1942, when 16 DLI sailed from Liverpool for Algeria and service overseas.
In early March 1943, 16 DLI went into action for the first time at Sedjenane in
Tunisia.The battalion suffered many casualties at the hands of experienced
German soldiers and many men were taken prisoner, including 4465566 Private Thomas Atkinson who was serving with `B` Company 16th DLI.
These prisoners were loaded on to a prison ship and taken to Italy and prisoner of war camp near Capua. In September 1943, when Italy surrendered, Thomas Atkinson, along with hundreds of other POWs decided to escape before German guards took over the camp. The escaped prisoners soon split up and Thomas Atkinson and two others headed south to meet up with the advancing Allied forces. Evading German soldiers, they were helped by friendly Italians who gave them food and shelter.
In December 1943, the group escaped through the German lines and linked up with British forces. Thomas Atkinson left Italy for home on Christmas Eve 1943. He was Mentioned in Despatches for his escape. Once back in England, Lance Corporal Atkinson was re-trained as a driver with the Royal Army Service Corps and served in Italy and Austria at the end of the war. After he was demobilised in July 1946, Tommy Atkinson went back to selling records in Jackie Whites Market in Sunderland`s City Centre, which he continued to do until his retirement.
Thomas Atkinsons original `Mention` reads as follows.L/Cpl Thomas Atkinson was captured near BIZERTA on the 2nd March 1943 and was sent to Campo 66 and then Campo 53 (MACERATA) here he met 4459764 Pte T Barnett of the 8th DLI who had been captured near Mersah Matruh on the 29thJune 1942he had been sent to Campo 68 and Campo 65 before he to arrived at Campo 53.
They left the camp on the 15th September together with about a thousand other prisoners of war.On the 11th October they were captured by Germans at Montebello and taken to South of Vallentino. On the fourth night of captivity they escaped down a rope of blankets from an upstairs lavatory window.They were sheltered for about eight weeks in Pretoro by a farmer and after several unsuccessful attempts to get through the lines they eventually joined the British forces near GUARDIGRELE.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4461425 Pte Ernest Taylor 8th & 1st Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4461425 Pte Ernest Taylor 8th & 1st Durham Light Infantry
Ernest Taylor was born in January 1920 at Hendon in Sunderland, where his father
worked in a local brewery. After he left school, Ernest first worked as an errand boy but was working alongside his father in the Sunderland brewery when the Second World War began.
Ernest Taylor was conscripted into the Army in April 1940 and was posted to the Durham Light Infantry Depot at Brancepeth for basic training. At the end of this training, 4461425 Private Taylor joined the 8th Battalion DLI who had only recently returned from Dunkirk and were on coastal defence duties in south west England.
In May 1941, 8th DLI, as part of the 50th Division were posted overseas to the Middle East. Over the next two years, Ernest Taylor served in Egypt, Cyprus, Iraq and in the Western Desert. At Gazala he joined the 8th DLI`s Anti-Tank Platoon.
After the Battle of Mareth in March 1943, Private Taylor fell ill and was sent to hospital in Palestine. After he recovered sufficiently, he was transferred to the 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry then on the island of Malta G.C.
In September 1943, 1st DLI were on the island of Kos in the eastern Mediterranean, when superior German forces captured the island. Ernest Taylor was one of the many Durham soldiers taken prisoner and sent to camps in Poland and Germany.Given the PoW number of 262940 he was imprisoned in Stalag IVC .In early 1945, some of the prisoners of war in Poland and eastern Germany were marched westwards away from the advancing Russian forces. Eventually Ernest Taylor was freed by advancing US forces and flown home to England.
Ernest Taylor was demobilised from the Army in 1946 and returned to his work in the brewery.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4452660 Sgt George Henry Self 2nd & 8th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4452660 Sgt George Henry Self 2nd & 8th Durham Light Infantry
George Henry Self was born in 1920 in Bridlington. In 1937 George went to the Recruiting Office in Hull and joined the Army Reserve. He was then sent for training to the DLI’s Depot at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle upon Tyne. After training, George Self decided to join the Regular Army and in February 1938 4452660 Private Self was posted to the 2nd Battalion DLI, then at Inkerman Barracks in Woking.
In March 1939, after being promoted to Lance Corporal, George Self was sent to the DLI’s Depot as an instructor and he remained an instructor until he was sent to France to join ‘C’ Company 8th Battalion DLI in February 1940.
In May 1940, 8 DLI fought to halt the German advance at Arras. Back in Englandafter Dunkirk, 8 DLI reformed and re-equipped whist on defence duty on the south coast. In May 1941, after the threat of German invasion had faded, 8 DLI as part of the 50th Division was sent to the Middle East. Whilst on Cyprus in late 1941, George Self was wounded in a grenade accident and sent to a hospital in Palestine. After being downgraded medically, he was posted to run an officer’s mess in Cairo and later the VIP’s mess at 8th Army Headquarters.
In July 1943, following the successful invasion of Sicily, George Self was sent to the island. There he was re-graded and posted back to 8 DLI. Back in England in late 1943, 8 DLI began to train for D-Day. Sergeant Self landed on 6 June 1944 with his battalion. He then fought throughout the Normandy campaign and across France and into Belgium. During the crossing of the Albert Canal at Gheel in September 1944, George Self was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his leadership and bravery.(See NWE Section)
In December 1944, George Self returned to England and was finally demobilised from the Army in May 1946. After the war, he worked as a maintenance engineer in a colliery and later was appointed the Sergeant Major Instructor to the Durham School Junior Training Corps. George Self died in Durham in May 1994.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4449902 Pte Thomas Richard Thornthwaite 1st & 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4449902 Pte Thomas Richard Thornthwaite 1st & 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Thomas Thornthwaite was born in June 1916 in Gateshead but moved to Jesmond after his mother died, as his father worked at Vickers Armstrong. After he left school, Thomas worked as a butcher’s boy and other jobs until he decided in
January 1933 tojoin the Regular Army.
After basic training at the DLI’s Depot at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle upon Tyne, 4449902 Thomas Thornthwaite was posted to the 1st Battalion DLI at Catterick. In February 1935, he was sent as part of a draft to join the 2nd Battalion DLI in India. After service in the Sudan, he joined 1 DLI in 1937 and sailed for China.During his time in China he was stationed in Shanghai ,Tientsin and Peking as part of `D` Company 1st Durham Light Infantry.
When the Second World War began, 1 DLI moved from Tientsin to Hong Kong and then
in January 1940 to Egypt. Thomas Thornthwaite served with the battalion in Egypt and Syria, seeing action against the Vichy French,throughout Wavells Desert Campaign and then in October 1941 moved to Tobruk.
After serving with 1st DLI on Malta, Thomas Thornthwaite was sent home to England in late 1943 as he had been overseas since 1935. He then was posted to the DLI’s Depot at Brancepeth. In early 1944, Thomas Thornthwaite was posted to the 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, then training for D-Day. He landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944 and was wounded by a mortar bomb blast near Tilly sur Seulles. In 1946, Thomas Thornthwaite was demobilised from the Army and was granted a pension. Thomas Thornthwaite lived in West Denton, Newcastle upon Tyne
THOSE WHO PROUDLY
SERVED Andrew Brown The 6th Btn The Durham Light Infantry
THOSE WHO PROUDLY SERVED Andrew Brown The 6th Btn The Durham Light Infantry
Andrew Brown served with the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry,he fought with the battalion throughout the Desert campaign in North Africa and took part in the Sicily landings and the bloody battles for the Primisole Bridge in which the Durham battalions suffered horrific numbers of casualties.Brought back to England by Montgomery at the end of 1943 as part of the 50th Tyne /Tees division they commenced training in preparation for the assault on Nazi occupied Europe.On 6th June 1944 Andrew Brown now a senior NCO was part of the 6th Durham Light Infantry who splashed ashore on Gold Beach on the normandy coast and fought their way inland through the deadly bocage country.Andrew also served in Holland and ultimately Germany as part of the Regiment.He is remembered with honour by his Wife,Son ,Andrew, and family.
Andrew is photographed above (left) Photograph possibly taken in North Africa or
Sicily.My thanks to Andrew Brown for permission to use his fathers photograph
and for the information supplied
THOSE WHO PROUDLY
SERVED 4451559 Pte Gerald Harold Hall 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
THOSE WHO PROUDLY SERVED 4451559 Pte Gerald Harold Hall 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
4451559 Pte Gerald Harold Hall enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry between18
June 1934 - May 1936
It is known he traveled with the Battalion to China where in 1938 he was part
of `D` Company and is featured on the Company photograph taken at Shanghai.
Serving in Tientsin ,Peking and Shanghai `Harold` as he was known to his family traveled with the 1st battalion on the outbreak of war to Hong Kong where they embarked for the middle-east taking part in Wavell`s campaigns against the Italians The battalion fought at Fort Capuzzo and Bardia and later saw action at Tobruk and `Harold` fought with them.
In 1942 Harry and his battalion left for Malta which was under almost constant
air attack.The Siege of Malta earned a George Cross for the Island for Harold it
had a more tragic ending During a Luftwaffe bombing raid on the 4th July 1942 at the tiny village of Dingli Pte Gerald Henry Hall was killed he was just 26 years he was the son of Joseph and Mary Ann Hall, of Croxdale Colliery, Co.
Durham.Today he lies in good company in Imtarfa Military Cemetery, Malta.collective grave 3.2.10.
Harold had been one of `five brothers serving in the British Army at the time as the article on the left from The Croxdale Record testify`s.
The text reads;-
Five sons of Mr and Mrs Joseph Hall of 63 Salvin street, Croxdale are serving
with the forces The youngest son is working in the mine and the daughter is
engaged in a war factory as is Mr Hall.
The sons serving are John aged 41,of Ferryhill,The Durham Light Infantry. Victor 33 a formerly a footballer with the Consett and Stanley clubs RASC. William 29 of Spennymoor a well known cricketer and boxer RAOC. Harold 24 and Henry 22 The Durham Light Infantry. Another son Joseph was killed in a road accident five years ago.
After `Harold`s death his mother had his photograph encased in a locket .Joe
Close recalls`Harolds photos `They are in a locket and chain which have been passed from my Great Grandmother (Harolds mum) to my Grandmother, to my Mother and now belongs to my daughter` They are treasured reminders of a brave young man who was proud to serve within the ranks of The Durham Light Infantry. Remembered with Honour by Joe Close and his proud family
The Treasured Locket Today
THOSE WHO PROUDLY
SERVED 4539583 PTE JAMES ALDER 8th DURHAM.LIGHT.INFANTRY
THOSE WHO PROUDLY SERVED 4539583 PTE JAMES ALDER 8th DURHAM.LIGHT.INFANTRY
4539583 PTE JAMES ALDER 8th DURHAM.LIGHT.INFANTRY
4539583 Pte James Alder originally enlisted in the West Yorkshire regiment and served with the 1/5th West Yorkshires in Iceland as part of the 147th Infantry Brigade of the 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division (A Division of which 10th/11th Durham Light Infantry were also part) The 1/5th West Yorkshire Regt
were based in York and sailed for Iceland on the 17th May 1940.
Pte James Alder was the son of James and Mary Alder, of Bradford, Yorkshire and husband of Jessie Alder,also of Bradford he left the West Yorkshire Regt and joined The 8th Battalion the Durham Light Infantry then fighting in North Africa
alongside the 6th and 9th Durham Light Infantry as part of the famous 50th Tyne Tees Division.In November 1942 the battalion came under the command of the 9th Australian Division for a short time.From the desert Pte Alder took part in Operation Husky the Invasion of Sicily when he and his battalion landed at Jig Green beach they took up positions on the high ground both North and South West of Avola. The bloody carnage of Primosole Bridge and the bitter fighting inland were also witnessed by Pte Alder before the welcome news that the battalion were going home.Unfortunately this was not the rest and recuperation the men had hoped for,no sooner had he set foot in Blighty, Pte James Alder and the rest of
the DLI battalions in 50th Division were engaged in the rigorous training needed for the largest sea-borne invasion the World had ever seen Operation Overlord..`D` Day.
June 6th 1944 Pte James Alder splashed ,ashore ahead of him the Germans were reeling but soon they would recover and hit back.The 8th DLI were given the task of taking St Pierre a battle which would see terrible losses for the 8th Durham Light Infantry amongst those losses on 12th June 1944 tragically would be 4539583 Pte James Alder who is recorded by the CWGC as having fallen on this day. Pte James Alder lies today at peace ,and in very good company, at Ryes War Cemetery, Bazenville,Normandy,France Section VI. Row J. Grave 2
He is remembered with Honour by his loving family and especially by his son James Stevenson (Alder) My thanks to Jim for permission to use his fathers photograph here.
Those Who Proudly
Served 265864 Lieutenant John Leonard Brooker 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 265864 Lieutenant John Leonard Brooker 9th Durham Light Infantry
John Brooker was born in November 1919 in Shepherds Bush, London. His father was a chimney sweep and an ex-Army boxer, who had been awarded the Military Medal in the First World War. After he left school aged 15 years, John first worked in a shop before he joined a firm making Vaseline as a sales representative. John Brooker was also in the Boys Brigade.
In December 1939, John Brooker was conscripted and, after basic training, joined the Royal Fusiliers. After further training, he joined the Signals Platoon and in February 1942 was part of seaborne support for the daring raid on German radar station at Bruneval on the French coast.
In November 1942, John Brooker was accepted for Officer Training and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in February 1943 announced in the London
gazette 5th March 1943. He was then posted to the East Surrey Regiment and after some time spent at Shildon in County Durham, he took a draft of men out to Algeria and then on into Sicily.
In Sicily, the 9th Battalion DLI had just fought at Primosole Bridge and was in need of replacements. Lieutenant Brooker was sent to join ‘A’ Company. When 9 DLI returned home to England to prepare for the invasion of France, John Brooker was appointed as Battalion Signals Officer. The 9th DLI landed in Normandy on D-Day and Lieutenant Brooker fought with the Durhams across Normandy and on into Belgium. In November 1944, 9 DLI left the 50th Division and joined the 7th Armoured Division – the Desert Rats – and then fought on into Germany.
In April 1945, John Brooker was shot in the leg and was sent to a hospital in Belgium. He rejoined 9 DLI in June 1945, after the surrender of Germany, and served in Berlin. After he left the Army, John Brooker studied for the ministry and was ordained a Methodist minister in 1975.
Those Who Proudly
Served 189528 Lieut John Llewellyn Williams 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 189528 Lieut John Llewellyn Williams 9th Durham Light Infantry
John Williams was born in February 1913 at Blackhill, Consett in County Durham, where his father worked as a clerk in the ironworks. After John left Blaydon Grammar School, he too secured work as a clerk in the ironworks. In 1932, John Williams like many other young men in the region joined his local Territorial Army unit, 6th Battalion DLI, at Consett. When this Company converted into a Royal Artillery anti aircraft unit in January 1939, John Williams now Sergeant Williams transferred to 9 DLI at Chopwell.
When the Second World War began, 9 DLI was mobilised as part of the 50th Div and moved to the Cotswolds to train for war. In January 1940, the battalion went to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force and John Williams was sent to work on lines of communication.
After Dunkirk, John Williams rejoined 9th DLI until in March 1941 he was sent to an Officer Cadet Training Unit at Heysham. Whilst in his officer training John remembered that the junior NCO instructors took great delight in treating these Trainee` officers with great contempt often reminding them that the recruits were not officers quite yet! In May 1941, John Williams was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the DLI and joined 14 DLI at Hythe. He was then transferred to the Queen’s Own Royal West Kents when the 14th DLI was disbanded and became a Mortar Officer. John Williams saw action in Sicily and Italy from 1943.
John Williams was demobilised from the Army in March 1946 and when the Territorial Army was revived in 1947, he rejoined the 17th Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Gateshead which until recently had been the old 9th Battalion DLI.Receiving an Army Emergency Reserve commission as Captain.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4457247 Corporal Joseph William Clark 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4457247 Corporal Joseph William Clark 9th Durham Light Infantry
Joseph Clark was born in July 1918 at Hett Hills near Chester le Street in
County Durham, where his father worked as a coal miner. After he left school, he
too went to work as a miner, before he was conscripted into the British Army in
Joseph Clark first began his training at the DLI’s Depot at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle but then moved with the Depot to Brancepeth Castle in September 1939.
After training Private Clark was posted to “A” Company 9th Battalion DLI then in the Cotswolds, as part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division, preparing for war.
In January 1940, before the 50th Division sailed to France, it was inspected by
During the British Expeditionary Force Campaign of 1940, Private Clark served as a infantryman and took part in the failed counter attack at Arras.Joe Clark was interviewed by the IWM on his experiences at Dunkirk and told them this
And we got to the mole and it had been breached a few times I think and there’d been battens thrown over there. And one of the saddest things I saw then in my lifetime in France and Belgium was the lads that were dead on that mole. I can remember as we were marching along there you could see lads that had been killed and someone had put an overcoat over but you could see their feet and they were just lying on the mole. That was a sad sight.
On its return from Dunkirk, 9 DLI was first sent to the south coast of England on defence duties but, after the threat of a German invasion faded, the battalion sailed for the Middle East in May 1941. In early 1942, in the Gazala Line, west of Tobruk in Libya, Joseph Clark was seriously wounded and had a leg amputated in a Tobruk hospital. He was then sent by hospital ship to Alexandria in Egypt and then via Haifa in Palestine to Durban. In South Africa he began his long convalescence and was fitted with an artificial leg.
Joseph Clark finally returned home by ship to Liverpool in 1944. After more time in hospital in Bradford and Sedgefield, he was finally discharged from the Army and awarded a pension.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4460779 Pte Vivian Swinhoe 1st Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4460779 Pte Vivian Swinhoe 1st Durham Light Infantry
4460779 Pte Vivian Swinhoe 1st DLI, Born 1916 Died 2004
Vivian Swinhoe was born in Hepscott Village, Morpeth Northumberland England, on 21st July 1916, together with his twin sister, Jessie. They were the youngest two children of Thomas William and Elizabeth Swinhoe.
After the war broke out Vivian was called up and joined the Durham Light Infantry. His service number was 4460779. He served in France before being sent back to England and then to the Middle East, via Liverpool, aboard a troop ship with the Middle East Forces. He served in the Western Desert with the 1st DLI including ;the Tobruk campaign and General Wavells Libya Campaign.
Vivian was twice wounded, once at Fort Capuzzo, Libya, in the battle for the Halfaya Pass, where there were heavy British casualties. His mother, Elizabeth, received several letters between May and November 1941 to advise that he had suffered wounds. The letter of 27th June 1941 said he was wounded on 22nd May of that year, and was in the No. 27 General Hospital, Egypt. Vivian had suffered a gunshot wound to his right arm, causing damage to the radial nerve, in a battle in which 58 men were lost.
Here is how Vivian described the experience many years later:
“You were asking how I got wounded. Well, the DLI were making their way up the
Halfaya Pass (we called it the Hellfire Pass) into Libya, then into a place
called Fort Capuzzo. We were there for a couple of days, then the Germans
started shelling the Fort, and we made our way out and back down Halfaya Pass.
It was while waiting for the engineers to blow up the Pass, that I got wounded
in the right arm. We lost 58 men that day. The gunshot wound caused paralysis of
the radial nerve and I spent nearly a year in the 27th General Hospital, Egypt”.
A very unassuming man, Vivian never mentioned that he was wounded again, in the
hand, at which time he performed a very brave and difficult rescue, carrying
another wounded man 4 miles from the battlefield to safety. The other man, Jack
Raison, of Whitley Bay, was so grateful that he later wrote to Vivian’s mother
at her home in Throp Hill, Mitford to express his gratitude for her son’s
actions (see Middle-East Section for News Cutting)
The autograph book and some of its pages, two of them written by Vivian himself,
While on light duties recovering from his wounds, Vivian made friends with some German prisoners, one of whom painted a portrait of him, which Vivian treasured all his life. It took pride of place on his dresser in the nursing home in the final months of his life
Vivian despite his severe wounds survived the war to return to his home village of Mitford where he lived a long and fulfilling life surrounded by family and friends. He kept in contact with several of his army friends throughout his life. Vivian Swinhoe died on 10th February 2004, in Hepscott, the village where he was born 87 years and 6 months earlier.He is remembered with honour by his niece Mrs Ruth Myers who I thank for her permission to use these items of her uncles for this web-site.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4037156 WO2 John Thomas Bedford 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4037156 WO2 John Thomas Bedford 9th Durham Light Infantry
John Thomas Bedford was born in Worksop in 1916, and worked as a butcher prior to his enlistment at Shrewsbury in 1940.Initially he served with The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry prior to his transfer to the `Durhams` He served with the 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in North Africa where he was wounded
during the fierce battles around the Mareth Line after a period of convalescence he rejoined the 9th DLI in Sicily .CSM Bedford was part of `D` Company when the DLI splashed ashore on D-Day remaining with the battalion until the end of the war in Berlin. CSM Bedford was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with silver star in April 1945 for his "bravery in action" The recommendation was received by Brigade on the 4th December 1944 Approved on the 5th Dec forwarded to Division who sanctioned the award on the 9th December 1944. C.S.M Bedford`s citation recommendation read as follows;-
CSM Bedford has been Company Serjeant Major of `D` Company since landing on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day June 6th 1944.Throughout the whole of the campaign he has on several occasions set a magnificent example by his personal courage,cheerfulness and devotion to duty.On one occasion at Lingevres after two company runners had become casualties from enemy snipers trying to reach Company HQ,he went himself and led two anti-tank guns to his Coy area which arrived in
time to knock out a German tank,one of several which counter attacked the Company positions.
On three occasions CSM Bedford has taken out the Coy stretcher bearers and brought in casualties under fire in one case only 100yards from an enemy position.On all three occasions completely disregarding his own safety he undoubtedly saved the lives of the men in his company .
John Thomas Bedford was discharged in 1946 as a Company Sergeant Major. John Bedford sadly died in Worksop in 1981
Those Who Proudly
Served 4460616 Pte H Keith-Storey Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4460616 Pte H Keith-Storey Durham Light Infantry
Henry James Keith Storey was born 9th April 1916 prior to his enlistment in
the Durham Light Infantry on 15th March 1940 his civilian trade was recorded as a Jockey his home address was 26 Allendale Street,Peat Carr Estate,Hetton le Hole,Co Durham Sunderland.
Pte Storey was posted as part of 151 Brigade 50th Division to the Western
Desert fighting against the Italian Armies and Rommels Africa Korps .On the 27th June 1942 whilst serving with a DLI battalion of the 50th Division (6th/8th/9th DLI) he was captured by the Germans in the area of Gazala South of Mersah Matruh when large
numbers of DLI were either captured or killed as Rommels forces mounted a strong attack cutting off many of the British Units including the DLI brigade,it was also the day on which Adam Wakenshaw`s VC was won. Just prior to his capture Pte Storey was wounded in the leg. Henry`s interrogation by the Germans revealed he was a fluent French speaker and it was because of this that he was not sent directly to an Italian run Prisoner of War camp but was used by the Germans for a time as an interpreter in Tobruk. Pte Storey then had stays in many PoW camps .The first was Campo 82 Laterina Italy from Sept 1942-43(All responsibility for PoWs captured in the Western Desert was passed to the Italians) Campo Concentratomento P.G.82 was situated near Laterina in Italy. The camp was organised into huts about 40 yards long and 8 yards wide.
The bunk beds were in blocks of nine, that is three on the top, three in the middle and three on the bottom.The treatment of Prisoners was not good in these camps with many PoW`s suffering from the lack of basic medical attention caused by the shortage of supplies available.
Following the Italians capitulation Pte Storey was transferred to German run
camps listed below;
Stalag 8c at Sagen,Germany from 10th July 1943-20th October 1944,
Stalag 8B Techen October 44-Jan 45 employed in coalmining Arbeitskommandos
(Work Camps) coming under Stalag VIIIB at Teschen.)
Stalag 4C Tepelitz (Stalag 4C was a POW Camp at Sudentenland Treibstoff Werke, Wistritz bei Teplitz near Brüx (now called Most) in Czechoslovakia, where fuel
was synthesized from brown coal and many of the POWs including Pte Storey worked
in the mines
The final camp appears to be that of Stalag 13B Weiden from March-April 1945.Each main camp had several `work camps` Pte Storey listed on a PoW return form that he worked at several including those at Mechtal (Poland) Oct 43-Feb 1944 working in the Iron works, Satern (?) June-Oct 1944 Coal Mine and Dombrovna in the mine (Dombrova coal basin) In January 1945 Pte Storey attempted an escape on a march from Teschen with three other friends Fred Fletcher (Welsh Guards) Sid Randall and Jim Henderson (RASC). Pte Storey and Sid Randall were caught by the Gestapo and severely beaten. Pte Storey never saw Henderson and
Fletcher again. Pte Storey could offer no description of his attacker in the Gestapo and the culprit was never brought to justice.The liberation `Return` was completed and signed on the 30th April 1945.
4460616 Pte H K Storey of the Durham Light Infantry is remembered with honour by his loving family my thanks to his Grand-daughter Sharon Sheehan and her family for permission to remember him here and the photograph shown.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4755419 Cpl Phillip Henry Thorogood 1st Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4755419 Cpl Phillip Henry Thorogood 1st Durham Light Infantry
Cpl Phillip Henry Thorogood MM 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
Philip Henry Thorogood was born on 25th December 1914 in Sittingbourne, Kent. He was the son of George and Lavina Thorogood, Phillip Henry Thorogood joined the Army originally enlisted in the Yorks and Lancashire Regt he was then posted to The 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry where in Italy in 1944 he was awarded The Military Medal for Bravery in the Field.His recommendation is published in full on the section `Beyond Kos`. (above Cpl Throgood back row left with other members of 1st DLI possibly taken in Egypt just prior to moving to Italy...Thorogood Family Collection)
Many Durham Light Infantrymen owe a great debt of gratitude ,and indeed their lives,to the bravery of Cpl Phillip Henry Thorogood who was recognised for his willingness to risk his own life to help save that of his comrades his Military Medal was in recognition of only one of these brave deeds when he brought in two badly wounded signalmen despite the fact that an officer,Lieutenant Wally Howard
and his batman had been killed in their attempts .He no doubt performed many other such acts which went unrecognised .
Phillip married Edith Rose Hodsden,together they had one son Barry Stephen Thorogood and just two grandchildren - Zoe and Adam. Once married they moved to Watford, Hertfordshire and resided happily in the same house throughout his life. When he retired from the Army,Phillip became the caretaker for Chater School, Watford, where he remained until his official retirement. Sadly Philip Henry Thorogood died in June 2001.
Phillip Henry Thorogood`s Grand-daughter recalled " Grandad died about 10 years ago now, but used to love talking about the war and seemed to be like a cat with 9 lives on the very lucky escapes he had." These words were not wrote specifically about Phillip but honour all who risk all to save their comrades just as Cpl P H Thorogood did on many occasions;-
`Honour to those who battle to keep us alive. Who are willing enough and trained enough to come to our aid in the heat of battle. God protect these medics and the men they serve with. Be with them. Be their hands. Guard them from injury that they may save the injured and bring them home safe to us. They are the quiet ones, the ones who preserve life, and honour it with their dedication`
Cpl Phillip Henry Thorogood remembered always with honour by his loving family My thanks to his Son Barry,and Grandaughter Zoe for the photographs and background information and their permission to use it here.Thank You.
Those Who Proudly
Served , Rogerson `Brothers in Arms` The 1st Durham Light Infantry .
447759 Sgt John
Rogerson MM and 4269087 Cpl William Rutter Rogerson
The 1st Battalion The
Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served , Rogerson `Brothers in Arms` The 1st Durham Light Infantry .
447759 Sgt John Rogerson MM and 4269087 Cpl William Rutter Rogerson
The 1st Battalion The
Durham Light Infantry
The photograph above shows the remarkable `Rogerson` brothers who both served with honour with the 1st battalion the Durham Light Infantry.John is on the left William is on the right the above photograph is believed to have been taken during the battalions time on Malta.
William ` Billy ` Rutter Rogerson was born in Chester le Street in 1915 .He originally enlisted in the Royal Nortumberland Fusiliers but was later transferred to The 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry where his older brother John was already serving with distinction William was serving with `D` Company 1st DLI in Shanghai,China.The brothers were both with the 1st DLI on the Island of Malta GC during the great siege unfortunately the brothers reunion would be short lived .On the 24th April 1942 a delayed action German bomb exploded on the Airfield killing 4269087 Cpl William Rutter Rogerson .William
Billy` Rutter Rogerson was unmarried and lies today in good company in Imtarfa Military Cemetery, Malta.collective grave 4.1A.18. John Rogerson was a pre war regular who saw service in China quickly attaining the rank of Sergeant.John lived ,when not in barracks, at Manfield near Piercebridge here he courted and wed Gamekeepers daughter Ethel Starmer and they had 3 daughters together,the eldest daughter being born in Aldershot in 1930.
As the war clouds formed John and the rest of the 1st DLI left China for Hong Kong where after a very brief stay they were ordered to the Western Desert as part of Wavells desert army.On 15th May 1941 during his company’s attack on the ridge north of the Customs House Sgt John Rogerson saw several of his platoon lying wounded about 600yds north of the road. He went back and got one of the Company Troop Carrying Trucks brought it forward and picked up two wounded men then brought the truck back. The whole time the truck was under heavy machine gun and Breda fire and was hit several times.By his action Sgt Rogerson saved the lives of the two men as they could not have been evacuated any other way. He was slightly wounded himself whilst going forward with the truck for this daring deed he was awarded The Military Medal which was announced in The London gazette Supplement on the 19th August 1941.Sgt John Rogerson and the rest of the battalion left Malta and after a short stay in Syria found themselves on the Greek Island of Kos where out numbered and badly equipped the Durhams were overrun only a hundred or so escaping.Sgt John Rogerson is numbered as one of
those who was taken prisoner given the PoW number of 124171 and according to the 1945
British PoW roll was in camp Stalag 7A although this could have been in one of the surrounding work camps Stalag 7A was situated at Moosburg.
After his discharge from the Army John returned to civilian life in Manfield where his niece Beryl remembers him as a bit of a character who worked at lots of things in particular building and farm labouring.
John Rogerson died in his late 60's in the early 1980's he is remembered here alongside his brother `Billy` with Honour and great pride by David and Beryl Jones and family.
Those Who Proudly
Served 6215804 Pte John McDonald 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 6215804 Pte John McDonald 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
John McDonald was born on the Christmas Day December 25th 1922 the son of William and Margaret McDonald .The boy with the proud Scottish name but who always regarded London as his home town was only 18 years old when he signed up for duty under Territorial Army regulations on the 24th April 1941, yet John McDonald was already planning his marriage to Bridget Fanning of Stepney, London.
John McDonald served with his local Middlesex Regiment where he was given his army number of 6215804 Due to his young age he served initially with the 70th Battalion Middlesex Regiment at Millhill Barracks where initially he flourished
achieving the rank of Lance Corporal (albeit unpaid) on the 4th December 1941 just eight months into his Military career but John was young and an
unauthorised absence over the Christmas period of 1941 saw him reduced back to Private on the 30th December 1941.Training continued and John regained that stripe again ,briefly, on the 12th January 1942 only relinquishing it at the end of his training course on the 27th January 1942.
At this stage it is important to explain what the 70th Battalion Middlesex Regiment were, they were known as the "Young Soldiers Battalion" because they consisted of all 18 and 19 year old volunteers. In late 1941 the 70th Bn. The Middlesex Regt moved into Hounslow Cavalry Barracks. , they remained there at the barracks until they moved over the road into Beavers Lane Camp in 1942. The Middlesex Regt of course were only one of many Regiments who possessed 70th Battalions another Regiment who organised their young recruits into these formations were The Durham Light Infantry and it was to this Regiment that John McDonald found himself posted on the 11th June 1942 the moving up to join the DLI`s at their depot at Brancepeth Castle must have been a real shock for young John for he promptly deserted soon afterwards on the 12th September 1942! He did not remain absent for long and rejoined his unit on the 22nd October 1942.John was a bit of a lad his family recalled but despite his time in the Guardroom Pte John McDonald was drafted for overseas service on the 12th August 1943 his destination was Italy to join the 16th battalion The Durham Light Infantry .
John had a premonition, he had told his wife that he felt would`nt be coming home it was just a feeling he could not shake. On the 29th October 1943 Pte John
McDonald serving with `A` Company the 16th DLI was engaged in actions consolidating the crossings of the River Teano moving to attack on the left of the 2/5th Leicestershire Regiment it was quickly learnt that to follow behind the advancing Tanks merely drew more German fire towards the supporting infantry
so they attacked independently something which did not please the Divisional Commander Major General J L I Hawksworth who referred to them as`Those Wretched Durhams`. The tactics though were successful the attack of the 29th-30th October 1943 cost the lives of just four members of the 16th Durham Light Infantry... ..Sadly 6215804 Private John McDonald was one of them.John was laid to rest alongside his comrades at Minturno War Cemetery,Italy he lies at peace today in Section VIII, Row B, Grave No1.
(above) Copy of the official notice of Pte John McDonald`s death in action.
Alongside John McDonald lie his fellow Durhams who lost their lives on this day 3973761 Cpl James Bradley Section VIII, Row B, Grave No2. 4698141 Pte Eric Smith Section VIII, Row B, Grave No3 4470472 Pte Ernie Meek Section V, Row A, Grave 10.
News of John McDonald`s death was sent from York on the 24th November 1943 and confirmed on the 10th December 1943 ..15 days short of what would have been
Johns 21st Birthday.
Pte John McDonald from Stepney London who served with the Durham Light Infantry is remembered here with honour by Sean Connolly and his proud family for whom I wish to thank for the photographs and information in this section.A special thank you also to Johns proud sister Eileen Berry
Those Who Proudly
Served 4457685 Pte RONALD FREDERICK SHEPHERD 8 Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4457685 Pte RONALD FREDERICK SHEPHERD 8 Durham Light Infantry
4457685 Pte RONALD FREDERICK SHEPHERD 8th Durham.Light .Infantry
Ronald Frederick Shepherd was called up into the Army on 16th October 1939 as the war clouds gathered across Europe.Ronald was sent to France on the 7th March 1940 (His 21st birthday) and joined 9 Platoon, of "A" Company, 8th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry , 151st Brigade, 50th (Northumberland) Division .
Following the German Invasion of France and Belgium Ronald took part in the battle of Arras in May 1940 which was the only real success of the BEF campaign following the initial success of the operation the Division was steadily pushed further back towards the coast but the operation had given the BEF time to start their withdrawal and subsequent evacuation from the beaches around
During the retreat to Dunkirk Ronald "acquired" a bike and was most put out when he stopped for a toilet break and found some one in turn that someone had "stolen" it from him!Ronald made it to the coast and was transported across the channel landing at Margate.
Ronald`s son has kindly sent a copy of his fathers diary/reminiscence`s for the period they read as follows;-
All dates 1940: 16 May To Grammont. River Dendre
18 May March to Helchin, near Courtrai (was 27 miles). Refugees on road made it
very difficult to move.
21 May 151 Brigade attacked from Vimmy Ridge, advanced 8 miles then stopped in
our tracks by main force who brought up scores of dive bombers creating havoc.
Many civilians killed in villages and towns we passed through.
22 May Withdrew! Bombers everywhere.
24 May Calvin. Sheltering in house. Direct hit with bomb, door hit my back, very
bruised spine for a few weeks.
25/26 May Withdrew to Ypres area.
29 May Woeston (Belgium?) Dug-in again awaiting another attack.
30 May Dug-in on Franco-Belgium border, under continuous bombardment.
31 May/1 June On sand dunes 2 miles east of Dunkirk, waiting to be rescued by
scores of boats lying off beach. Big ships being bombed in Dunkirk harbour. Many
long lines of troops waiting for 'long-boats' to transfer to bigger ships who
couldn't get in to beach. Saw Lord Gort.
After retraining and re-equipping, Ronald was sent to North Africa with 8DLI as part of 8th Army.Leaving from Honiton, Devon in May 1941 they made their way to the Clyde where Ronald and his comrades boarded the `Duchess of Richmond` leaving the Clyde on May 23rd 1941 went via Durban, South Africa,Aden and the Suez Canal arriving in Egypt their stay was short following fears that the Germans would look to Cyprus next the battalion and Ronald found themselves posted to the Island.
Following their departure in November 1941 Ronald and his comrades found themselves in Palestine and then on to Mosul in northern Iraq in December 1941 where they celebrated Christmas
This picture taken in Mosul 24 December 1941.
4457685 L/Cpl R Shepherd (seated at front);4467735 Pte Douglas Hugh Fowler,
Birkenhead - Deceased KIA 2 November 1942 Alamein Memorial;4460263 Pte A
Callaghan, Harlepool - Prisoner Stalag 18A PoW No 6001 ;Pte P Bamborough,
Gateshead - Wounded
He fought in all of the major battles in North Africa including: Gazala, Matruh,Mareth, El Alamein and went from Egypt to Tunisia. At some point Ronald was transferred to 'HQ' Company where he drove bren-carriers and an assortment of trucks.
The 8th DLI went on to Sicily in 1943 but Ronald came home to England and began intense training for what was to become the Greatest sea-borne landing ever...D-Day The Invasion of Occupied Europe.
Ronald Shepherd found himself back with his beloved Durham Light Infantry and landed in France on D+1 (7 June 1944) driving a lorry so didn't get feet wet! He participated in the part in many major bloody battles including those for Tilly, Villers Bocage,on through to Belgium and into Arnhem and Nijmegen in Holland.(Below in his clogs Photograph courtesy Mr Ron Shepherd)
Ronald recalled to his son that he had 'lost' three rifles during his 6 years including one on 10th June 1944 when the top was blown off by shell which killed a man two feet away yet he was unscathed .Ronald recalled he was never wounded and the only injury he ever got was when a door fell in on him and he hurt his back
Transferred from DLI to RASC July 1945 Ronald ended his Military career as a driver with the RASC in Hamburg July 1946.During his Army life he found himself as a driver/mechanic and also a deadly marksman.Ronald was awarded 1939-1945 Star; The Africa Star with 8th Army clasp; The France and Germany Star; The Defence Medal; 1939-1945 Medal. Also the French 'Dunkerque 1940' medal.
Ronald Frederick Shepherd was immensely proud of being in the Durham Light Infantry and he went to many El Alemein reunions at the Festival Hall and also to some in Durham when Princess Alexandria attended.
Ronald`s proud son also Ron Shepherd recalled that they went together to the 1984 D-Day services in Bayeux and saw the Queen and the French President at the service in Bayeux Cemetery.Sadly Ronald Frederick Shepherd proud member of the 8th Durham Light Infantry died in 2000.He is remembered here by his proud family and in particular his son Ron ,who without his help and permission this tribute would not have been possible.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4458675 PTE JOHN WISE 9th DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY
Those Who Proudly Served 4458675 PTE JOHN WISE 9th DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY
4458675 PTE JOHN WISE 9th DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY
John Wise was born on the 18th October 1913 at 15 Mount St, Darlington, England he was raised by his mother and step father George McMahon with help from his Grandfather who was a Quaker following his natural fathers death , serving as a Lance Corporal with the 7th Border Regt ,William Henry Wise was killed in action on 15th February 1916 he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Menin Gate memorial at Ypres.
Young John Wise was by all accounts a very intelligent man and was offered a place at a University. However his Step dad George insisted that he started work as soon as possible in order that he pay his way. In 1927 John was employed in Darlington as Delivery Boy, delivering fish from Bank Top Station to the Market.
John joined the Durham Light Infantry in December 1939 and was given the Army no 4458675 it was whilst with the Durhams that he formed a close friendship with Fred Welsh who is commemorated in this section also. War in Europe was inevitable and John despite his Quaker upbringing was ready to serve his country.
Friends John Wise (Right) and Fred Welsh (left) both served together in the Durham Light Infantry and both were captured in North africa. Photograph courtesy of Jimmy Wise (Grandson)
4458675 John Wise was taken prisoner whilst serving with the Durham Light Infantry in North Africa. His family recalled John was serving in Libya , a massive sandstorm blew in and completely threw his section off course. The decision was made to hunker down until the storm had passed and carry on. But when the winds died and the dust settled, the men were slap bang in between Italian and German forces. Having no means of escape, they were quickly captured and sent to a prisoner of war camps, These events mirror those of the men of 9th DLI ,who were surrounded on the 27th June 1942 .In bad visibility during the night the main German Column had advanced and their forward infantry had
completely cut off elements of the 9th battalion DLI from those of the neighbouring 8th Battalion DLI.
Pte John Wise although captured by the Germans was initially under the jurisdiction of Italian Forces, under an agreement with their German allies all prisoners became an Italian responsibility and the treatment in their camps was not good. John Wise appears in the National Archives PoW list for 1943 (WO21) in this document he is listed in Campo (PG)65 which was at Gravina, Italy, (This file can be a little inaccurate at times) Following Italy`s capitulated in 1943
John reverted back to being a German responsibility he was given the German PoW number of 258323 and he was recorded in 1945 to be at Stalag 4A . The publication Prisoners of War British Army 1939-45 also states Stalag IVA This was located at Hohenstein-Elsterhorst near Dresden.
Release Certificate 4458675 John Wise Courtesy of Jimmy Wise (Grandson)
John Wise was liberated from the Prisoner of War camp in 1945 and following his discharge from the army in December gained employment as a labourer at the Railway Works Darlington before moving on to Cummins Engineering, Darlington, where he worked as a fitter up until his retirement. A family man John had married Gladys May Malcolm in 1956 and raised a family. Sadly John Wise died on 6 Aug 1991 at Haughton Village Nursing Home, Stockton Rd, Darlington. He is remembered with honour by his family especially his Grandson Jimmy Wise whom I wish to thank for permission to remember his grandfather here a man who disliked war but whom proudly served within the ranks of The Durham Light Infantry.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4467791 Pte Joseph Butler The 6th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4467791 Pte Joseph Butler The 6th Durham Light Infantry
4467791 Pte Joseph Butler The 6th Durham Light Infantry
Joseph Butler, lived at no 19 Walmsley Street,Marrabone Widnes was educated at St Maries School on leaving school Joseph found employment initially at the Alumina Works but times were hard and Joseph struggled with the lack of factory work in the years leading up to the Second World War .A very keen sportsman Joseph was often found playing football in the local area.
In September 1940 Joseph joined the Army and became 4467791 Private Joseph Butler of the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry. The 6th battalion had little equipment having just came back from Dunkirk as part of the recently evacuated BEF. Men like Joseph became the heart of the new battalion which would see some of the most fierce battles of the war, El Alamein and Mareth were but two out in the hot searing unforgiving heat of North Africa. As the tide of war slowly turned 4467791 Private Joseph Butler found himself amidst the sea borne flotilla about to land on the coast of Sicily.
On the 10th July 1943 Joseph as part of the famous 151 Durham Brigade of the 50th Division splashed ashore and proceeded inland. What exactly happened to Joseph next is unconfirmed, Josephs family believe he may have been wounded whilst delivering ammunition supplies and food to another DLI section. What is known is four days after his admission to hospital Joseph Butler succumbed to his wounds and died on the 11th August 1943.The Butler Family received the official confirmation and the sympathy of the Army Council and notification that Joseph was buried in Catania War Cemetery Sicily alongside so many of his comrades who fell in Sicily. Joseph Butler lies today in Section 3 Row B Grave No6 he was aged just 32 years of age. Joseph Butler is remembered with Honour by his proud family and especially his Great Nephew Neil Butler
The Bank of Egypt Note `adapted` by Pte Butler the girl is sadly not known to
his family.Courtesy of Neil Butler
Additional information by kind permission of Phil Jennett
Those Who Proudly
Served 4399813 CQMS Ernest Booth 6th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4399813 CQMS Ernest Booth 6th Durham Light Infantry
4399813 C.Q.M.S Ernest Booth The 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
Ernest Booth was a former member of the North-West Derbyshire Group of the Local Defence Volunteer Corps, whom he joined on the 26th June 1940.At this time Britain stood alone and the threat of a German Invasion of our little Island was very real indeed.
Ernest joined The Green Howard`s on the 16th April 1942 serving with this Regiment until the 1st June 1943.On the 2nd June 1943 Ernest joined The Durham Light Infantry then in the Middle-East His unit at this time had the official title and address of The Durham Light Infantry, Headquarters Company, 2 Depot Battalion, M.E. I.T.D. M.E.F., [Middle East Infantry Training Depot, Middle East Forces],
Ernest saw action with the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry in North Africa and Sicily.On the 23rd July 1943 HQ Company 6 DLI came under Artillery fire one particular shell exploded in the midst of HQ Company killing one man a Regimental Policeman(2987459 L/Cpl William Scott Alexander) and wounding Ernest Booth who was now a L/Corporal serving as a waiter in the officers mess.his parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. Booth of 25 Kershaw Streeet, Glossop, Derbyshire,waited anxiously for news of their son .The local paper reported the incident in its issue of October 1943. Ernests wounds prevented him rejoining his Battalion for the Invasion of Europe.The local paper reported the incident in which Ernest was wounded in its issue of October 1943 Instead Ernest remained in the Middle East with No. 5 Company, General Headquarters, Middle East Forces,and when he was finally discharged to the Army Reserve on the 29th March 1947 he had achieved the Rank of Warrant Colour Serjeant
Ernest Booth was awarded five medals for his service with the Durham Light Infantry these medals were donated to the DLI Museum where they were on display until its closure in 2016 .Served with Honour.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4456456 L/Cpl George Smith 10th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4456456 L/Cpl George Smith 10th Durham Light Infantry
George Smith enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry in 1939 the son of Fred and Ethel Smith, of West Cornforth Co Durham George found himself with the 10th Battalion the Durham Light Infantry formed as a duplicate battalion of the 6th DLI.The 10th DLI together with the other two duplicate battalions (11th and 12th DLI) were part of 70th Brigade they arrived at Le Havre on the 25th April 1940.It was proposed that these Battalions would perform pioneer work and 10th DLI were working at Nuncq Airfield but the events of May 1940 would soon change these plans and plunge Cpl George Smith and his comrades of 10 DLI into a desperate fight for their survival
On May 19th L/Cpl Smith took up his place in defensive positions around the railway line with C Company attached to the 1st Tyneside Scottish it was left to the remaining four companies to cover a wide front. `A` Company covered the line between Boisleux and Boyelles,`B` Company covered Bullecourt to Queant,`D` Company covered St Leger to Ecouste and `HQ` Company the area of Boyelles to St Leger.Next day the battalion were ordered back it was now that the roads packed with fleeing refugees would help determine the fate of these Durham men,Forced to alter their route several times the marching columns of DLI were set upon by German Armour in the area of Ficheaux despite heroic fighting by the DLI casualties were horrendous `B` and `D` Companies disappeared completely wiped out,dead,wounded and the survivors taken prisoner.Unfortunately 4456456 George
Smith lost his own personal battle for survival on the 20th May 1940 exactly where he fell that day is not known George Smith has no known grave and is commemorated on The Dunkirk Memorial.L/Cpl George Smith 10th Battalion the Durham Light Infantry is remembered with Honour by his nephew David Johnson.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4463290 Pte Albert Sergison 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4463290 Pte Albert Sergison 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4463290 Pte Albert Sergison 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4463290 Private Albert Sergison was the son of Joseph and Mary Sergison of High Street Gateshed he was one of six children .Albert worked in at Alfie Carrs butchers shop on Gateshead`s High Street prior to the outbreak of World War Two.
Albert enlisted in the Army and was a member of `B` Company of the 2nd Battalion the Durham Light Infantry 2 D.L.I.On 12th April 1942 the 2nd Battalion DLI boarded `The Empress of Canada` bound for Bombay in India in preparation for the planned offensive against the Japanese.
On the 19th April 1944 `B` Company were ordered to take and secure the feature known as Terrace Hill which overlooked the main Dimapur Road..The company advanced with great speed and overran the Japanese positions using bayonets and grenades they killed fifty or so Japanese soldiers unfortunately this was not without cost with six Durham Light Infantrymen killed including 4463290 Pte
Albert Sergison. He was just 24 years old when he was killed .Albert rests in peace alongside many of his comrades from the 2nd Durhams in Kohima war cemetery. He lies in good company in Section 5 Row C Grave 19.He is remembered with Honour by his family and in particular Dave Sergison
Those Who Proudly
Served 4448438 Pte George Edward Smith Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4448438 Pte George Edward Smith Durham Light Infantry
4448438 Pte George Edward Smith 1st/2nd/9th Bns The Durham Light Infantry
George Edward Smith was born on the 26th September 1915 the son of Edward and Jane Maria Smith, of Gateshead, Co. Durham .Young George Edward Smith enlisted in The Durham Light Infantry on the 6th October 1930 when he was barely 15 years
old. In 1930 the 1st Durham Light Infantry were at Catterick having just returned to the United Kingdom from Egypt where they had served for the last three years. The 2nd Battalion were on the Northwest Frontier. After a period of Home service spent at Catterick, Fenham and Blackdown in Surrey George was posted to India to serve with the 2nd Battalion of the Regiment during his time with the 2nd DLI George found himself at barracks in Bombay, Deolali (Munro
Barracks),Poonha and Purhandur spanning a total of almost two years service in the region. In September 1936 the battalion was moved to Khartoum in the Sudan further time was spent at Gebeit and Atbara before news was received that the battalion was to sail home to England .Unfortunately not all of the 2nd DLI
would be going home indeed it was to be a very long time before many of that battalion could even think of home, George Edward Smith was one of those. Selected to join the 1st Battalion along with over two hundred of his fellow `Durhams` George was one of the `turnover` men who were picked up from Port Sudan in November 1937 by the 1st Battalion on their way to Shanghai in answer to continued Japanese aggression in China.
Pte George Edward Smith joined `D` Company of the 1st DLI and served in Tientsin,Shanghai and Peking.During Georges time in Tientsin the river burst its banks and the news of the declaration of War reached a battalion whose only equipment was under water!.In 1940 whilst part of the British Army were being plucked from the beaches of France George and his comrades in 1st DLI found themselves in Hong Kong enroute to the Western Desert as part of General Wavell`s desert force against any Italian aggression in the area. In these early years of the War George was in Egypt where he met his future wife Antoinette Marie Pirally (Nina) whom he married at Port Said in 1941.
George left behind the sand and the flies and his comrades in the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry and returned once more to England where he joined the 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry who were in preparing for their part in the Greatest seaborne invasion in history-D-Day.
George fought through the horrors of the bocage and Normandy through Belgium and Holland and into the heart of Germany itself. George Edward`s wife Nina was home
in Gateshead looking after their growing family with Jeffrey (2)and Jacqueline (6 mths) and a new baby (George) on the way they waited anxiously for the war to end and the return of her beloved George. There was to be no happy ending to this story as fate dealt a cruel blow.
4448438 Pte George Edward Smith,14 platoon, C Company The 9th Durham Light Infantry were at Brochterbeck moving up at 1600hrs on the 3rd of April 1945 with the Recce troop from 5th Dragoon Guards `C` Company met stiff resistance and were caught in a fire fight .It was during this action that Pte George Edward Smith and his Serjeant ,4610792 Sjt John Frederick Thomas Giles were both killed. George Edward Smith who had served so loyaly and so bravely died at the young age of 29 barely a month later the war ended, his children would, tragically, never know their father. George was laid to rest at the REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY in Germany he lies at peace in Section 55 Row C Grave No 5.The temporary marker bearing an erroneous date of death now replaced by a more permanent headstone.
George Edward Smith is remembered here by his loving family especially his youngest child George Smith (Canada) whom he never lived to see. My thanks to George Smith and Mr Brian Pears (Gateshead) for their help and permissions to post the photographs and personal details on my site. Thank You.
Two views of the headstones in the Reichwald War Cemetery thank you to Mr
George Smith and Astrid Van Erp for allowing me to use these images here.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4456696 Private William Cornell 6th/10th/2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4456696 Private William Cornell 6th/10th/2nd Durham Light Infantry
William Cornell was born in August 1921 in Sacriston, County Durham, but grew up in Ferryhill Station, where his father worked as a coal miner. When he was 14 years old, William left school and began work as an apprentice bricklayer with a local building firm.
In February 1939, William Cornell joined “C” Company of the 6th Battalion DLI at Spennymoor, his local Territorial Army unit. When the Second World War began,
4456696 Private William Cornell was too young to serve overseas and was
transferred to the newly-formed 10th Battalion DLI and when the 10th DLI were sent overseas he again missed the fighting in France DLI as he was recovering from an Hernia operation. When the survivors of the battalion returned from Dunkirk William briefly rejoined them at Dawlish Warren, Private Cornell was briefly employed as an officers batman a role he despised and asked to rejoin 6th DLI to rid himself of this role. William did not sail with 10 DLI to Iceland in September 1940 as he was serving as a dispatch rider with 50th Traffic Control Coy Corps of the Military Police following a temporary posting to his battalions motorcycle section.He remained with this unit in England until 1943. In 1943, William Cornell volunteered for overseas service and following a short period at Brancepeth William took a train journey to Greenock. Pte Cornell sailed Greenock, to Bombay, India, aboard the Multaan to join 2nd Battalion DLI at Ahmednagar, then recovering from the setback of the Arakan campaign against the Japanese. William Cornell served with the 2nd battalion throughout the fight for Kohima and then in the long advance down through Burma to Rangoon and victory .William was wounded during these actions and spent time in Hospital at Gauhati and a convalescence camp at Shillong.
With the end of the war in Asia, Private Cornell was allowed leave in England but then returned to India and was briefly posted to the 2nd Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
Corney Cornell was demobilised from the Army in 1946 and returned to work in the
building trade. William Cornell died sadly in May 2003.
Those Who Proudly
Served Pte Kenneth Roy Hadley Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served Pte Kenneth Roy Hadley Durham Light Infantry
Kenneth Roy Hadley was born in 1922.Kenneth joined the Army close on the outbreak of war it is believed by his family that he originally joined the
Cheshire Regiment but later was posted to the DLI in 1940 .It is now clear that Roy joined the 1st Durham Light Infantry Kenneth Roy Hadley was port of `S` Company in 45-46 this has been verified with him featuring on a section photograph kindly sent in by Vivienne Evans nee Mann whose father John Patrick Mann won a MM with the Durhams.The family at the time of submission were aware that the battalion was part of an Indian Division in 1940 a detachment of the 1st Durham Light Infantry were attached to the 4th Indian division known as Selby Force (from Mersa Matruh Garrison) 1st Cheshires were also part of this unit.At this time (December 1940) the unit were participating in the desert battles against the Italians in Operation Compass during the North Africa campaign, Kenneth spoke little about his actual wartime service and his family are still trying to piece together his service details.
What they do know is Pte Hadley saw service in the Italian campaign and later the Greek Civil War ( the picture of him with his bren gun carrier was taken in Greece) He was apparently offered promotions and even a Commission but turned then all down.Kenneth could possiby have ben involved in the disastrous Dodecanese campaign of which only the 1st Durham Light Infantry were present on Kos in 1943. Although only the 16th DLI were present in Greece at the time of the uprising of the ELAS the Actual Greek Civil War is recognised as between 1946-1949 and it was the 1st DLI who were sent to disarm a Greek Brigade who had mutinied again the 1st Durham Light Infantry were at Xanthi in 1946.Kenneth Roy Hadley was eventually demobbed in 1947.As more details become available this profile will be updated.
(Photograph of Pte Hadley infront of a Bren carrier converted to carry a flame thrower) ( Restored Version of Photograph)
He is remembered with Honour by his family in particular his son Robin Hadley for whom I am grateful for the photographs and his permission to display them here
Those Who Proudly
Served 4435642 COL. SGT. H.T. RITSON. Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4435642 COL. SGT. H.T. RITSON. Durham Light Infantry
4435642 Colour Serjeant Henry Thomas Ritson 1st Durham Light Infantry (Depot)
Henry Thomas Ritson enlisted as a Band Boy in 1916 during hight of the First Great War he was given the Army number of 26168 and posted to India where he joined The 1st Durham Light Infantry . He served on the North West Frontier during the Great War and was awarded an India General Service Medal .In the immediate post war era a new set of regimental numbers were issued to all ranks thus Henry became 4435642 L/Cpl H.T.Ritson. Henry Thomas Ritson remained with the 1st DLI until 1934, when he was posted to the Durham Light Infantry Depot at Fenham Barracks in Newcastle. He remained with the Depot at Fenham and, later
when the Depot moved to its Durham County home at Brancepeth Castle. He remained until 1943, when he joined the 15th Durham Light Infantry who became the 155 Royal Armoured Corps (DLI). He returned to the Depot in 1945, retiring as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant in 1946,despite serving throughout WW2 he was never posted overseas. During his time with the Durham`s Henry Ritson was awarded the Long Service Good Conduct Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. Henry Thomas Ritson died at Otley West Yorkshire in 1981, he was aged 80 years.
Those Who Proudly
Served 14412825 Private Harry Lodge 11th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 14412825 Private Harry Lodge 11th Durham Light Infantry
14412825 Private Harry Lodge The 11th Battalion The Durham L Inf
Harry Lodge joined the General Service Corps given the number 14412825 Private Harry Lodge was posted to the 11 th Durham Light Infantry on the 10th July 1943 at that time as part of 70th Brigade of the famous 49th (West Riding) Infantry Division (`Polar Bear` Division).It was envisaged at the time that these troops would form the spearhead of any future invasion of Europe and training for this role was in full swing when young Harry joined them.By the time the invasion came on June 6th 1944 Montgomery had decided to bring back the 50th Division in the spearhead role and Harry and the Polar Bears landed as support troops in the second wave who came ashore on 12th June 1944.
Pte Harry Lodge was involved in Operation Martlet around the village of Rauray up against the 12th SS Panzer and 26th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiments prior to
this bloody battle Harry filled out his `Will` in his pay book naming his mother,Mrs D Lodge 72 Kirkeate,Hanging Heaton Batley Yorks as his next of kin.On the 27th June 1944 11th Durham Light Infantry were committed to the attackbecause of the loss of seven tanks earlier that morning no armour support was allocated to the battalion.
Copies of the Will from Harrys Paybook
In a scene reminise of WW1 Harry Lodge and his comrades from the 11th DLI advanced line abreast bayonets fixed into a withering hail of Spandau and mortar fire.`B` Company on the right of the attack were particularly hard hit suffering grevious casualties in both officers and men only fifty men of the original company strength reached their objective .D Company on the left and a platoon of C Company allocated to `mop up` were also badly mauled.After the battle it was found that a German observation post was barely 200yrds from 11th DLI`s Hq in which the occupants would have had an un obtructed view of the preparations for the attack which would have been relayed via the telephone which was also found within the post.At least 20 Hitler Jugend snipers were killed many of them lashed themselves to tree branches and were heavily camouflaged.The 11th DLI lost 48 men killed on the 27th June 1944 14412825 Private Harry Lodge was wounded in the action and was evacuated back to England.Harry was in hospital in
Meanwood Leeds, before rejoining the 11 th Durham Light Infantry on the 13th August 1944.Shortly after his return it was announced that 70th Brigade of which 11th DLI were part were informed on the 19th August 1944 that they were to be broken up with their men going as replacements to other regiments/battalions.
14412825 Harry Lodge found himself now posted to the 2nd East Yorkshire Regiment where he continued the fight against Germany being wounded again in the closing battles of the war.Further service with the East Yorkshires followed in Palestine before Harry was finally demobbed in 1947.14412825 Harry Lodge`s son has visited Rauray and those cemeteries that hold Harry`s comrades who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the struggle against Nazi Germany. Harry Lodge formerly of The
11th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry is remembered here with Honour by his proud son Philip of whom I am most grateful for copies of photographs and documents shown here.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4447017 Sgt. G. LOWERY. Durham Light Infantry.
Those Who Proudly Served 4447017 Sgt. G. LOWERY. Durham Light Infantry.
4447017 Sgt George Lowery 2nd and 11th Durham Light Infantry
George Lowery served with the 2nd Battalion DLI at Razmak in India 1930-31 on the North West Frontier of India and was awarded the India General Service Medal.
On the 26th June 1937 George was promoted to Corporal at this time The 2nd Durham Light Infantry were stationed in the Sudan.
In 1940, now promoted to Sergeant George Lowery was taken prisoner during the German Blitzkrieg of 1940 which ultimately led to the British being evacuated from Dunkirk, at the time he was serving with with the 11th Battalion DLI,
George spent the rest of the war in a German Prisoner of War camp.Given the prisoner of war number 10115 George was listed as being imprisoned in Stalag 383 The camp was situated at the foot of the Bavarian Alps, Hohenfefs, Parsberg nr Munich
After the war, George continued to serve within the Durham Light Infantry until the 20th June 1949.In August 1949 George and his family moved from the family home in East Bothy Brancepeth and emigrated to Canada,where George continued to serve with the Canadian Forces. George served with The Midland Regiment, The Royal Canadian Regiment George and Canadian Intelligence Corps he was awarded a Canadian Forces Decoration to accompany his India General Service Medal,Long Service Good Conduct Medal,39-45 Star and War Medal.Georges family still reside in Canada.
Those Who Proudly
Served 164872 (T)Capt Geoffrey Bartlett Beattie M.C Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 164872 (T)Capt Geoffrey Bartlett Beattie M.C Durham Light Infantry
164872 Captain Geoffery Bartlett Beattie MM The 9th Durham Light Infantry
Geoffery Bartlett Beatie enlisted originally into the Scots Guards he enlisted on the 18th July 1940 on his arrival at the Guards Depot he was given the number of 2698970.On the 13th September Geoffery was posted again to a training battalion six days later he achieved the rank of unpaid Lance Corporal.
Geoffery`s time in the ranks was coming to an end on the 28th September he was on the move once again this time to 161 OTC at Sandhurst where he received a Kings Commission on the 20th December 1940 just one day later he was posted to the 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry now recovered from their ordeal in the fields and on the beaches of France the battalion was once again preparing for overseas service.Lt Beattie joined his new unit on 2nd January 1941.
Geoffery is pictured above (centre) with Comrades Atkinson (Left) and Wood
On the 19th May 1941 he embarked for the Middle East arriving in Egypt on the 17th July 1941 The envisaged confrontation was delayed for Churchill feared the Germans would attack Cyprus and 151 Brigade including the DLI battalions were moved to the Island in November 1941 the German invasion never materialised and Geoffery and the rest of the Brigade returned to Egypt via Iraq and Palestine.Once back in Egypt Geoffery was promoted again to Temp Captain this would not be his last promotion but by the time that came in April 1944 he had seen much combat against both the Italians and Rommels Africa Korps.Distinguishing himself as a leader and fearless soldier Geoffery Bartlett Beattie was awarded a hard earned Military Cross in the fighting at El Alamein.
Geoffery saw service with the British North Africa Force ,The Central Mediterranean Force and even saw service with the Americans.In 1946 just prior to his return to England Major Beattie Commanded the Troops on the SS Hai-Lee it was his last command before his return to England in February 1946.On leaving the war he was granted the honorary rank of Major.Geoffery Bartlett Beattie is remembered with Honour by his Grandson David Broad
Those Who Proudly
Served 4034232 Cpl Sydney Eales Oughton Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4034232 Cpl Sydney Eales Oughton Durham Light Infantry
Sydney Eales Oughton, born Whichurch, Shropshire in 1918.He enlisted in the British Army initially joining The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry where he was given the army number 4034232. Syd left the KSLI and joined the 6th Battalion the
Durham Light Infantry part of two drafts received between the 31st October 1939 and the 23rd November 1939 serving with the Signal section in 1939-40.
Prior to his move to France Syd and the 6th DLI signals section were billeted around the Chipping Norton ,Hook Norton and Kingham areas.Following the BEF campaign Syd Oughton served in the Middle East leaving The 6th Battalion and joining The 1st Durham Light Infantry .
Syd Oughton was promoted to Corporal and was wounded in the actions of the 7th December 1941 near El Duda being listed in the battalion casualty returns for that date.In photographs kindly sent by his son Tony ,Syd appears to have served on Malta with the 1st DLI it is not known as yet if he travelled with the battalion to Kos if he did he was not made a PoW like so many of his Comrades. Syd Oughton returned home safely after the war.The official casualty lists show a S E Oughton 4024232 RASC this could be a reference to Syds wounding?
Those Who Proudly
Served 817643 Pte Richard Ayre 10th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 817643 Pte Richard Ayre 10th Durham Light Infantry
817643 Private Richard Ayre 10th Battalion The Durham Light infantry
Richard Ayre was a former member of the Royal Artillery who joined the Durham Light Infantry born in 1916 Richard was the son of Richard and Ann Ayre of West Hartlepool brother to Stanley Ayre who served with the Pioneer Corps.Richard also had four sisters Ivy, May, lily and Dorothy.
During his time with the Durham Light infantry Richard Ayre served with the 1st and 2nd DLI Richard served in India and China. When war came he was serving with the 10th Battalion DLI which was. formed as a sister or duplicate battalion to the established 6th DLI. Richard saw action in France with the BEF and was evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940 The 10th DLI were part of 70 Brigade sent to France with little equipment they distinguished themselves in France despite heavy losses often sniping at tank commanders who were foolish enough to raise their heads above their turrets.Evacuated,re-equipped the 10th DLI and Richard Ayre found themselves in Iceland in 1941.In 1944 the 10th would once again see action in the fields of France.Sadly Pte Richard Ayre would not be one of them.
At the age of just 26 he was found with a fatal head injury by a roadside in Wales on February 14th 1942 he died later that day in Hospital Richard is at rest in Hartlepools Stranton Cemetery the exact cause of his injury I have yet to establish but Pte Richard Ayre is not forgotten Remembered here with honour by his family especially second cousins twice removed Phillip and Sue Parker of Thaxted, Essex.My thanks to them both for their permission to post Richards photograph here on this website.My thanks to Clifford and Grendav of WW2 Talk for additional information.
Those Who Proudly
Served 4451820 Cpl Thomas Stanley Pout 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4451820 Cpl Thomas Stanley Pout 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4451820 Cpl Thomas Stanley Pout 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
4451820 Cpl Thomas Stanley Pout was a member of the 2nd Battalion The Durham Light Infantry who fought in the bitter Far East conflict against the Japanese `Stan` took part in the bloody battles around Kohima and although his children, were all used to him telling stories about his time in Burma on a Sunday lunchtime ,and his eldest Grandaughter`s knew all the Hindi words for salt, bread etc ,they never realised until they went to the Kohima Memorial Day with him in York what a vicious battle the Durhams had endured. During `Stan`s` time in the Jungle`s of the Far East he was hospitalised with Malaria. Throughout those grim days Stan managed to keep a diary recording details of those far off days, a snapshot of History from one who was there, the bitter struggle for life over death a struggle which many of Stans friends sadly lost .Their details recorded as a poignant reminder within the pages of his Diary.The Diary is soon to find a new home in York the home of the Kohima Museum .4451820 Cpl Thomas Stanley Pout would have been 97 years old this year(2012) He is remembered with honour here by those who knew and loved him especially his Grandchildren and his daughter Gwenda Cullen (nee Pout) whom I wish to thank for allowing me to use information and photographs of `Stan` on this site
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Served 4459641 Pte J N Hume 1st Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4459641 Pte J N Hume 1st Durham Light Infantry
4459641 Pte J N Hume The 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
James was born in November 1919 in Bedminister,Bristol. He was called up on the 15th Feb 1940 and was posted to the Durham Light Infantry. Kitted out Brancepeth Castle he underwent his basic training near Spennymoor at this time he was billeted in St. Andrews Hall. Late in 1940 following the BEF`s withdrawl from the beaches of Dunkirk James found himself in the port of Liverpool preparing to sail on the SS Otranto tojoin The 1st Durham Light Infantry who were then part of Wavells Desert Force.
The Convoy sailed in late summer possibly as Part of Convoy WS2 which sailed initially to Freetown then Cape Town and finally to their destination of
Suez. Pte James Hume having been posted to HQ Company 1st DLI recalls once at Port Taufiq they were put on trucks to continue their journey to Mersa Matruh, Egypt where elements of the battalion were in action near Bardia After James joined his battalion he was quickly in action being part of the attacking forces at Solum near Halfaya Pass where he was wounded in leg (1941)
He spent 3 months recovering at a hospital in Ismailia . Once sufficiently recovered he rejoined his battalion at Aleppo, Syria.As part of the force sent to relieve the Australians at Tobruk in October he remained in the Middle East until January 1942 when the 1st DLI were posted to Malta then under constant seige. James now one of the Company Buglers was wounded again in April 1942
In Sept 1943 he and the rest of 1st DLI were sent to Kos where after a brave rear guard action he was captured by the Germans and sent to Stalag IVB and then on to a work camp at Halle / Salle building underground complex / shelter.Towards the end of the war James escaped following an air raid and meet up with the advancing American forces.After a de-brief in Brussels he was then shipped home landing at Tilbury. After Recuperating in Richmond James was demobbed late 1945 in York. I wish to thank James personally and his son, John, for the supply of information and Photographs which he has kindly allowed me to use on this site.
4462050 Pte KENNETH
WALLACE BEEDEN 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4462050 Pte KENNETH WALLACE BEEDEN 2nd Durham Light Infantry
4462050 Pte Kenneth Wallace Beeden The 2nd Durham Light Infantry
Kenneth Wallace Beeden was born on the 21st March 1920 at Marlborough Road Morecambe and was the son of Amy E.J. and George William Beeden. As as a young lad he initially attended Sandylands Primary and Junior Schools moving on to (Euston Road) Technical School taking evening classes in woodwork and Technical Drawing. At the age of 14 years Kenneth started work for Robinson and Sons
(Builders) of West End Road Morecambe as a Trainee Joiner.This no doubt influenced his interest in one of his hobbies that of making wooden toys,. Kenneth was also interested in motorcycle racing.
Kenneth joined the army in 1940 joining the Durham Light Infantry and was given the Army number of 4462050.
He married Mary Ridehalgh in September 1941 at St John's Church Morecambe The 2nd Durham Light Infantry boarded `The Empress of Canada` on the 12th April 1942 bound for Bombay in India in preparation for a planned offensive against the Japanese.
Kenneth Wallace Beeden was involved in some of the most horrific battles of the second world war . At Kohima on the 27th April 1944 Kenneth was posted as `Missing presumed killed` he has no known grave and is commemorated on Face 17 of The Rangoon Memorial.His friend Stan Pout recorded his passing within the pages of his small diary the entry simply reads..Beeden missing after attack.. Remembered with Honour.
Those Who Proudly
Served 5049537 Pte Arthur Victor Williams 8th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 5049537 Pte Arthur Victor Williams 8th Durham Light Infantry
5049537 Private Arthur Victor Williams, 8th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
5049537 Private Arthur Victor Williams was born in Tipton on 22nd June 1920. An assembler from Smethwick, Staffordshire he first enlisted in the North Staffordshire Regiment on the 28th December 1938, completing his initial training on 27th June 1939. Posted to France on 17th April 1940 as part of the British Expeditionary Force in the 2nd Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment
(Prince of Wales) he was retrieved from Dunkirk beach on the 1st of June. He was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry on 21st May 1942 and arrived in the Middle East on the 22nd of June. On the 7th Jul 1942 at Mariopolis Camp rest area, he joined the 8th DLI which was in the process of being reorganised after the heavy losses at Gazala and Matruh. He fought at the 2nd Battle of El Alamein and on 2nd November 1942 took part in the DLI`s advance in which the 8th Btn suffered losses of 16 killed, 76 wounded, 34 missing plus 4 officers killed and 6 wounded.
On the 22 March 1943 during the Battle of Mareth, Tunisia he was captured and sent to Italian POW Camp 66 PM 340009 and later transferred to Stalag IV D/Z in Annaburg, Germany where he spent the rest of the war until his release by Allied forces in April 1945. On his return to England he married that same year and went on to have 4 sons and a daughter. He worked as a postman in the West Midlands and died on 30th May 1978 .Pte Williams is remembered here with honour by his loving family and in particular his son Andrew Williams whom I wish to thank for the supply of information and Photographs which he has kindly allowed me to use on this site.
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Served 4449296 Pte Joseph Miller 9th Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4449296 Pte Joseph Miller 9th Durham Light Infantry
4449296 Pte Joseph Miller 9th Durham Light Infantry.
Joseph Miller was one of those men who faced the onslaught of the German Blitzskrieg of 1940 as a Private soldier he was a member of the 9th Battalion
The Durham Light Infantry one of three territorial battalions which made up 151 Brigade of the 50th Tyne/Tees Division of the British army.4449296 Pte Joseph Miller was a native of Gateshead the husband of Blanche Evelyn Miller ,son of Edward and Ethel May Miller, also of Gateshead, Co. Durham.Josephs regimental number of 4449296 would be listed in Army form B 358 Book no 15 which covers the enlistment dates of between 1st May 1931-March 1933.Joseph Miller never returned to Gateshead he died in France exactly when is not known the CWGC hold the dates of between 31/05/1940 and 01/06/1940 whilst Land Forces Roll puts it as late as the 17th June 1940.Whatever the exact date Joseph Miller lies at peace today at Annoeullin,The Communal Cemetery is in the south-east part of the village. Josephs grave is one of three Commonwealth war graves which can be found on the extreme right of the Calvaire but the only grave from 1940 The other two
including a soldier of the 6th DLI are from 1944 Joseph Miller was 31 .
4449296 Joseph Miller is remembered here with honour by his grandson Alan and his wife Muriel Miller.My thanks to Alan and Muriel for the photograph shown here.My thanks also to Pierre Vandervelden and his Inmemories website who has supplied a photograph of Joseph Millers headstone which can be found on the`Their Guns now Silent ` section.
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Served 4449658 Cpl Charles Cowley 1st Durham Light Infantry
Those Who Proudly Served 4449658 Cpl Charles Cowley 1st Durham Light Infantry
4449658 Cpl Charles Cowley 1st Battalion The Durham Light Infantry
Charles`Chuck` Cowley was born on January 7th 1915 in Co Durham.The family home was 1 Edward Street,Harelaw, Annfield Plain,Co Durham.A Miner by trade young Charles like many young men at this time joined his local Territorial Army unit the 8th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry .Enlisting in July 1932 aged just seventeen years and 6 months the thought of an Army career must have appealed to Charles just nine months or so later in May 1933 he enlisted in the Regular Army joining 1st Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry who were then on `Home` duties.
The period of home service lasted four years and 167 days in that time Charles had became a Battalion Bugler,had served at the Coronation and got himself an
education too, gaining two Education Certificates.There was unrest in China with the Japanese threatening the Foreign concessions and units were required in that region The 1st Durham Light Infantry were part of this deployment and Bugler 4449658 Charles Cowley found himself heading overseas for his first foreign
posting.On the 16th October 1937 they boarded the Troopship Dilwara calling briefly at Port Sudan to pick up the turnover personnel from the 2nd DLI Bugler Cowley and the 1st DLI landed in Shanghai.As part of HQ Company there was a lot to contend with apart from the Japanese agression in 1939 the Rivers burst their banks and the DLI found themselves doing patrols in boats up and down the flooded streets of Tientsin.
War clouds finally broke and with the announcement in September 1939 of a new European war Bugler Cowley and his comrades readied themselves to move at a moments notice.The expected call to France never came instead the Battalion were ordered to Hong Kong then onto the Western Desert to join Wavell`s Desert
Army.Arriving in Egypt on the 7th January 1940 Corporal Cowley, as he now was, began to prepare for the coming offensive against Mussolini`s Italian Fascists.The arrival in the desert of Rommel`s Africa Korps added to the problems of Wavell`s armies .Undeterred the 1st DLI including Charles Cowley took part in the bloody battles around Capuzzo which saw the battalion lose a great many of its pre-war stalwarts .Tobruk is a name which is synonymous with the famous desert conflicts of 1941-42 and it was here on the night of December 6th/7th 1941- that Cpl Chuck Cowley`s war ended when he was seriously wounded.Charles Cowley was repatriated back to England in October 1942 but no longer fulfilled the Armys Physical requirements Charles was eventually discharged from the Army on the 17th January 1943.At this time Charles `Chuck` Cowley`s conduct was marked as Exemplary.