14 June 2009

Durham Light Infantry - 1st & 2nd Battalions


The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) was formed in July 1881. The 1st Battalion was formerly the 68th (Durham Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot, and the 2nd Battalion was formerly the 106th (Bombay Light Infantry) Regiment of Foot. This post will look at army services numbers issued to men joining the two regular battalions of the DLI between 1881 and the first half of 1914.

A search on Findmypast for Durham Light Infantry service records reveals over 87,000 results. Click the link to see the search results. 

Also see my post on Durham Light Infantry Other Rank PoWs 1914.

17 joined on 20th July 1881
286 joined on 15th January 1882
997 joined on 21st August 1883
1311 joined on 14th March 1884
1754 joined on 11th February 1885
2335 joined on 10th February 1886
2927 joined on 16th November 1887
3066 joined on 21st January 1888
3523 joined on 28th June 1889
3660 joined on 6th January 1890
4254 joined on 15th October 1891
4533 joined on 8th July 1892
5082 joined on 25th October 1893
5208 joined on 17th April 1894
5412 joined on 27th January 1895
5758 joined on 11th February 1896
6142 joined on 8th June 1897
6359 joined on 3rd May 1898
6671 joined on 18th January 1899
7157 joined on 2nd May 1900
7457 joined on 16th April 1901
7893 joined on 8th May 1902
8384 joined on 15th April 1903
8728 joined on 18th January 1904
9103 joined on 9th January 1905
9688 joined on 6th October 1906
10186 joined on 30th September 1907
10350 joined on 22nd April 1908
10818 joined on 1st October 1909
10916 joined on 7th March 1910
11131 joined on 1st February 1911
11427 joined on 2st August 1912
11542 joined on 28th January 1913
11714 joined on 26th March 1914
11775 joined on 7th August 1914

By this stage, Britain was in its fourth day of war with Germany and the new service battalions of the DLI (10th Battalion - 17th Battalion inclusive), would also allocate numbers from the same series which had, up until then, been in use solely for the regular battalions.

Service records for all of the Durham Light Infantry soldiers listed above, can be accessed from the WO 363 (Burnt Documents) and WO 364 (Pension) series at The National Archives London. These papers are also now on-line via the Ancestry website. CLICK HERE for a FREE 14 day trial.

The photo that I've 'borrowed' for this post comes from the Wikepidia article on the Durham Light Infantry and shows NCOs of the 11th DLI. The X indicates 18688 Corporal Thomas Bonney who joined the Durham Light Infantry in September 1914. Thomas was born in Birtley, County Durham and also enlisted there, giving his place of residence as Ouston, County Durham (source: Soldiers Died in the Great War). He was an original member of the 11th Battalion and went overseas with it on 20th July 1915. He appears to have remained with the battalion, rising to the rank of sergeant, until he was killed in action on 31st March 1918.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website notes that Thomas was 22 years old, the son of John and Jennie Bonney, of 200 Ouston Square, Pelton; and the husband of Elizabeth Bonney, of Institute Terrace, Ouston, Pelton, Co. Durham. He is buried in the Allied Extension of Moreuil Communal Cemetery, France; grave reference D.2.


I also offer a comprehensive, fast and cost-effective military history research service. Follow the link for more information.

Durham Light Infantry literature

The following links will take you to the relevant pages on The Naval & Military Press website:

Faithful – The Story of the Durham Light Infantry
History of the Durham Light Infantry (and its Regiment of Foot predecessors) from the 18th Century to the Korean War.

The Durham Light Infantry – The United Red and White Rose
Full history of the DLI up to the Great War. This work was originally published in 1914 and is illustrated by ten pictures showing regimental insignia and uniforms, memorials and early commanders. In addition there are twelve appendices covering rolls of officers, lists of colonels, regimental music, freemasonry and and sporting awards and achievements.



The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-1918
This history is concerned with the eleven service battalions that went on active service: the 10th to 15th, the 18th to 20th, the22nd and 29th.

The Fiftieth Division 1914-1919
The 50th (Northumbrian) Division was a pre-war Territorial (TF) division which recruited from Northumberland, Durham and the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. The infantry battalions came from the Northumberland Fusiliers, East Yorks, Green Howards and Durham Light Infantry.

A Brigadier in France
Charting the military career of Hanway Robert Cumming who was commissioned into the Durham Light Infantry in 1889, served during the Boer War and took command of the 2nd DLI in August 1916. He was murdered in Ireland in March 1921.

176 comments:

Kingy said...

My great grandad (Albert Gray) was from London but joined the Durham Light Infantry, his Regml No is 326451, does this relate to which battalion he was in?
I have some old documents but they are hard to read.

Paul Nixon said...

Yes it does, it belongs to the series in use by the 9th (Territorial Force) Battalion and dates to late July or early August1916.

Steve Pearson said...

My Grandfather 12437 A\Cpl Frank Prest was in the DLI during WW1. Would you be able to tell from his number which Bn he was in?

Paul Nixon said...

Almost certainly 10th (Service) Battalion when he landed in France as this battalion arrived in France on the day that he did. My guess would be that he was an original membber of that battalion; however, you should go to The National Archives and look at the original medal rolls by following the references on his medal index card, that may give you a definitive answer.

Steve Pearson said...

Thanks Paul! I'll certainly do that as I want to start researching both my Grandfathers who fought in WW1.

Do you have any info on the 10th Royal Hussars? Especially the number 6687.

Paul Nixon said...

Steve, 6687 must date to the time when the the line cavalry had changed to numbering by corps as the 10th Hussars hadn't reached this high when the individual regiments had their own number series. So my best guess on this would be around the 8th/9th January 1911, give or take a day or two.

Paul

Michael Richlieu said...

Great website, I’m just trying to get some SME (subject matter expert) information on my Great Grandfather’s WW1 history and service information, basically what Battalions he served with during the Great War. My Great Grandfather fought with the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) during WW1. He served from 1914 to 1920; he was wounded twice and eventually promoted to LCpl. He has three service numbers on his record card, could this be explained by each time he was wounded and sent back to the rear Regimental/Battalion/Divisional Medical Post/s, he was given a new number for the then new Battalion/s he then served with back on the front once he was rehabilitated, bearing in mind some of the Battalions were completely decimated and no longer existed, bar a handful of men after certain ‘CONTACTS’ with the ‘HUN’? His name and numbers (consecutively) was William Thomas Richlieu 4230, 201168, 103340.

Paul Nixon said...

Michael

The second, six-digit number belongs to the 5th (TF) Battalion but the four digit number does not appear to correspond with this. 4230 for the 5th Bn dates to around December 1915 but the six digit number dates to post March 1916. The second six digit number appears to be post WW1. Your best bet for a definitive answer would be to have somebody dig out the actual medal roll for the British war and Victory Medal at the National Archives as this may give a note of the battalions. To summarise though, my guess would be 1) a TF battalion other then the 5th Bn 2) 5th Bn post March 1916 3) Non TF battalion post WW1. You may also dicover, as he appeared to be serving still after WW1, that the MoD still has his service record; it would be worth writing to them to ascertain either way.

Paul

Michael Richlieu said...

Paul,

You really are the SME and I appreciate the time that you have taken to respond to my personal query. I you suggest, I will write to the medal office / MoD to achieve clarification.

God bless you and take care,

Michael R

dtgood said...

My granddad [James Cree] served with the DLI in WW1. His service number was 13390. A postcard that I have shows him to be with No 3 Platoon, A Coy, 20 Batt DLI, JE [or IE?] Force. I bought John Sheen's book, Wearside Battalion but there is no reference to JE [or IE] Force and all their service numbers begin with 20. His WW1 Medal Roll Index Card shows him as serving in France from 23 September 1915. Would he have joined 20 Batt from another and have you heard of JE [or IE] Force?

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for your post, dtgood. I've responded to it here: http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.com/2011/09/13390-james-cree-20th-dli.html

Simon Harrison said...

This is a cool blog! My gt grandfather JW Harrison served in the 7th (?) DLI from 1914-1916 and was badly wounded i think in Ypres. His service (regiment?) number is listed as 2555. His pension and service records dont come up (burned?)but i have found his medal rolls as well as the silver war badge record. In looking at the DLI site the 7th did not mobilize untill 1918 yet he fought in france before that, am i missing something? Is there a way to find out what battalion and battles he may have fought in?

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks Simon. His MIC dates his enlistment to the 5th Setember 1914. Chris Baker's definitive "The Long, Long Trail" website (http://www.1914-1918.net/index.html) notes the following for the 1/7th DLI:

1/7th Battalion
August 1914 : at Sunderland. Part of DLI Brigade, Northumbrian Division. Moved to coast defences in mid August, then Ravensworth Park. Was at Newcastle by October.
17 April 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
14 May 1915 : became 151st Brigade in 50th (Northumbrian) Division.
16 November 1915 : left Brigade and converted into Pioneer Battalion for same Division.
20 June 1918 : transferred to 8th Division.
3 July 1918 : absorbed the 22nd Bn.

Good luck with you research.

Paul

James Race said...

Hi Paul,
I've been trying to find my Grandfathers WW1 Battalion for over 2 years so any clues, guidance etc you could provide would be very much appreciated. He enlisted in the DLI in late 1914. Reg number 2307.
I have his medal card and the only other real information on it is that he landed in France 20.04.1915. ( I'm aware that the Long Long trail gives the date 17/04 for the 6th, 7th & 8th battalions landings but Vietch's Book 8th Battalion DLI (1920) states the 8th landed on the 20/04/1914). I have discovered that some of his
workmates and neighbours joined the 8th Battalion. I have also found that Regimental numbers 2302, 2293, 2292, were all issued for the 8th DLI for people who enlisted in his village. It looks like only his medal index card and the 1915 Star roll survived and neither show his battalion. He was injured in late 1916 and was either discharged or sent home on sick leave, then transferred to the RFC Middle East Brigade on
10/12/1917. The RAF have not released the records for his RFC service number.
Thanks again and compliments on a very useful site
James

Paul Nixon said...

James, thanks for your query.

The number 2307 for late 1914 rules out a regular battalion or indeed a service battalion or Pals Battalion. We can also rule out the 3rd (Special Reserve) and 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalions. So this does leave us with enlistment into a TF battalion. Here are the options:

2307 for the 5th Bn dates to around 31st Aug 1914.

2307 for the 6th Bn dates to around the first week of Sept 1914.

2307 for the 7th Bn dates to the first week of August 1914.

2307 for the 8th Bn dates to around November 1913.

2307 for the 9th Bn dates to the first week of September 1914.

A clue as to which battalion he joined might lie in his residence in 1914. The TF battalions I list above were headquartered in the following locations:

5th - Stockton-on-Tees
6th - Bishop Auckland
7th - Sunderland
8th - Durham
9th - Gateshead

These were the headquarter locations of these battalions with towns and villages in and around these HQs drawing men for the 8 individual companies (numbered A to H) which made up each battalion. In the absence of a battalion being identified on the 1914-15 Star roll or the BWM and VM roll, that may be as close as you get. It's always worth checking local newspapers for the time though as you may find he gets a mention, particularly when he came home injured or wounded in 1916. Had he not transferred priot to early 1917 of course, he'd have been issued with a new six-digit TF number which would have positively identified his battalion. I hope this helps.

Paul

James Race said...

Paul. Firstly, I can't thank you enough for your time and your reply. You have provided more information and clarity than I have found in discussion with so many 'expert's' over the last two years. I had always believed he was in the 8th Battalion because of his disembarkation date and the fact that all of his work mates and mates joined the eighth. However, I had always presumed he enlisted late 1914 because of the outbreak of War but when I think about it, nobody had told me otherwise so he could have signed up in 1913. You have given my quest new impetuous, and I am hugely indebted and grateful.
Thank you
James.

Paul Nixon said...

You're very welcome James, glad to be of assistance. Out of interest, which village or town was he living in at the time he joined up?

Paul

James Race said...

He was living at Sacriston - 2 miles from Durham City. Also the fact that a lot of his pals actually enlisted into the Eighth DLI at Sacriston in 1913 would suggest the DLI held enlistment drives in the village at about the time shown in your original reply.
Thanks again
James

Paul Nixon said...

The 8th Bn is looking more and more like a good bet, James. A Coy was stationed at Gilesgate with a drill station at Sacriston. So assuming he did join up in Nov 1913, he probably joined A Company which would have been his local company.

Paul

James Race said...

Thanks for that additional info Paul - obviously it is even better if I can establish his Company. Earlier I mentioned Veitch's book on the eighth. I don't know if you've seen it but basically it's a contemporary war diary for the eighth in the Great War. Written in 1920 from a collection of officer’s diaries, its detail is quite breathtaking in that it provides trench maps, locations, dates and even times for each company. It also details all fatalities, which allowed me to identify his neighbours etc. Also, after I received your first response I discussed the detail with his daughter (my mother) and she recalls him saying that he was desperate to leave the coal mines, where he had been since he was 14, and she thinks he would have enlisted as soon as he could after his 18th birthday in July 1913. So it does all start to hang together.
Thanks again
James.

Paul Nixon said...

I don't know the book, James, but it sounds like a useful reference source. Bear in mind that the 8th was a TF battalion and so even though he may have joined in Nov 1913, he'd have still been working down the pits. His only obligation as a territorial would have been to turn out on Saturday evenings (hence their nickname as Saturday Night soldiers) and attend a fortnight's camp each year.

Paul

James Race said...

Paul..you know too much! - just when I thought it was becoming clearer!
So do you know at what stage, and how, the territorials were converted into full time soldiers, i.e. a full time battalion, and readied for France. Presumably they would be given a choice and presumably not all would go. And does that mean that if say...Joe Bloggs, Reg No 2500 dropped out, a later volunteer would be used to fill his place and inherit his number.
Thanks
James

Paul Nixon said...

The TF was a home force for Territorial service (ie service in England, Wales and Scotland) only. When war was declared men were asked if they would volunteer for overseas (or Imperial) service and the majority did. You'll often see, on early WW1 photos, TF men wearing those rectangular Imperial Service badges. Google that term and you'll see what I refer to. Not all men volunteered for overseas service but they retained their number which was unique to them. Even if they died, were discharged or transferred to another regiment, their number was not re-used, and that regulation applied to all regiments in all corps.

Paul

Truffles said...

I have my great grandad's medal rolls index card and a very distressed copy of the service record. His Durham LI reg number was 64498 (John Albert Short) can I find out what battalion he was in somewhere?

Paul Nixon said...

No, Truffles, not from the medal card, but the medal rolls may give the battalion. You'd need to check the roll references (on the card) with the original rolls at The National Archives in London.

Paul

Carol H said...

I have a John Pounder Walker joined the DLI 9 September 1914 #13508. His age was given as 30 yeasr and 5 months. I can find nothing online other than the first page of his enlistment. He was actually born in 1877 and would have been 37 at the time of enlistment. I know he died in 1927 so was not KIA.
Was there a limit on the age a person could be when enlisting at this time?
Do you have any other information on John Pounder Walker?

Paul Nixon said...

Carol, there are four pages in WO 364 which you can view online over at Ancestry. He served with the DLI, later transferring to the Royal Munster Fusiliers and then the Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Paul

floju said...

HELLO, i 'd like to have some information about private J.W.LORN DURHAM LIGTH INFANTERY.Is number was 9-7050.

TKS FOR HELP!

Paul Nixon said...

J W Lorn was a 9th Bn man who, judging by his six digit number, looks to have joined around August 1915.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,
My grandfather served with the 19th Battalion of the DLI during WW1. I think I have found the Medal Index Card relating to him, which shows a regiment number of 67026. I was wondering whether that number relates to the 19th Battalion.

Michael

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Michael

I'm afraid the number is not specific to any particular battalion and thus could relate to the 19th battalion, albeit certainly not one of the original intake as the battalion started numbering from 1 in Feb 1915. This number is from much later in the war, March 1917 onwards by the looks of things.

Paul

Paul Stevenson said...

My Great Uncle Robert J Forster was in the West Riding Regiment service number 23791 attached Durham Light Infantry service number 99178. What does it mean with him having 2 numbers? I know he was shot in the face during the war and sent back to England to recover before going back to the front line. I have only been able to find his medal record, would love to find out what battle he was shot in. Was told that he was a runner between trenches.
Thanks,
Paul

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Paul

Simply that he served with two different regiments and was issued with a number for each. The West Riding Regt number dates to late Feb or early March 1915. From what you say, he could have been wounded with this regiment, recovered and then transferred to the DLI. My numbers are generally less reliable the later the war progresses but this 99* number is certainly post December 1917. Very difficult to determine when he was wounded as no service record appears to survive. You might try looking at local newspapers for the time (ie the local newspaper for where he was living) to see whether he gets a mention as being a returned, wounded soldier. Checking these can be a laborious task although getting easier by the day with the online publication of the British Library's newspaper archive - see findmypast and genesreunited for more information.

Paul

Nelson's grandaughter said...

Hi Paul,
I hope ou can help me as I am going round in circles. I am trying to find out information about my Great Grandfather, James Francis Ross who rose to Colour Sergeant and was apparently one of the longest serving officers in the army 49 years. He was in the 2nd DLI but I am struggling to get any results with his service number 2801... Can you offer any advice please.
Many thanks in advance
Helen

Paul Nixon said...

I'm struggling as well, Helen. Do you know roughly when he was born, or died?

Marc said...

Hi Paul

My Great Great Grandfather Burley Lockwood Joined the Durham Light Infantry in 1915 his Reg No. 376069
could you possibly tell me what Battalion he was in?

Thank You.

Paul Nixon said...

I wish I could, Marc, but I'm afraid that the number does not give any clues as to the battalion.

Paul

Colin W said...

Hi Paul

Myself and a good frien are off to France early june to visit my uncles grave from ww2 and also to visit some of the ww1 sites.
My mates grandad was in ww1 with the DLI , he was private Birkett Reg No - 375477, then went onto Lab Corp Reg No - 589788, we cannot find anything apart from his medal card, which is where we got the information from, would you be able to tell from any of these numbers either a date range or a unit he might of served with, any help would be appreciated.

Colin

Helen said...

Hi Paul, wonder if you can help me, I'm trying to find out about my geat grandfather, his name was Reginald Whittaker Mann, he was in the Durham Light Infantry, second battalion, his service number was 6280, thanks Helen

Paul Nixon said...

Colin

I can't be of much help I'm afraid. The DLI number belongs to the range used by the 27th Bn which was formed in January 1917. I have some Labour Corps indormation somewhere which I'll dig out.

Paul Nixon said...

Helen

6280 for the 2nd DLI would mean that he had enlisted in Jan 1898. As well as serving in WW1 he also served in the Boer War with the 1st DLI and was awarded the King's South Africa Medal with the usual two clasps.

Paul

Colin W said...

Thanks Paul for your help.
I did find on the commonwealth war graves site a soldier in the DLI with the number 375471who was with the 2nd Btn so thought as the numbers were close he might of been in the 2nd.
Will have a look at the 27th Btn and see what i can find.
Thanks again.

Colin W

Paul Nixon said...

Colin

I suppose he could have served with the 2nd Bn but the number certainly falls within the range for the 27th Bn (375001-400000). I've checked my Labour Corps numbers but have not found anything useful for the number that you quote. Try getting in tiouch with Ivor Lee via the Great War Forum who is the expert on the Labour Corps.

Paul

Colin W said...

Thanks again Paul, will have a look on that site and see if theres any info on it already.

Colin

Michelle said...

Hello Paul,
I have a bit of a conundrum regarding my great-grandfather John Tomlinson who died 15.10.1916 whilst serving in the 2nd Bn DLI and I wondered if you could help throw some light on the matter. All the info I have relating to my him gives his service number as 8488...CWGC, Soldiers who Died WW1, etc..From his service records, I know that he enlisted in January 1913 as a Special Reservist in Middlesbrough (though he was from Cheshire, and we have absolutely no idea why he enlisted when and where he did) and was supposedly in the 4th Bn, ..and was sent to Ypres in August 1915. I am supposing that he was one of the men sent out to Ypres as reinforcements after the 2nd Bn lost so many men at Hooge. However, I notice that his service records give his number as something slightly different.. above what appears to be a four-digit number beginning with 8 (the rest is practically illegible on the copy I have) there is a line and above that the number 4... all written in the way we would write a fraction, if you see what I mean. I have since discovered another soldier with the number 8488, a Pte Edward Noon, prisoner of war, mentioned in the lists of the 1914 Star recipients in John Sheen's book the Steel of the DLI. So would I be right in assuming that my great-grandfather's number when in the 4th Bn was 8488 and that the "4/" was added to it when he was sent to Ypres to join the 2nd Bn in August 1915?
Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Michelle

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Michelle

I've found your grandfather's record and it's a very good example of a badly damaged document in WO 363. The answer to your question though, is simple. At the time of joining the battalion, the number was expressed as 4/8488 although this information was not committed to the medal index card which simply records his number as 8488. Perhaps he was working in Middlesbrough when he joined the Extra Reserve. Whilst men joining a county regiment as career soldiers could, effectively, hail from any part of the country (or world), the Special reserve and extra Reserve very definitley recruited locally. As for the 8488 mentioned by John Sheen,this is, as you identify, a completely different man with a number drawn from thes eries in use by the 1st and 2nd Battalions. There would, as a matter of interest, have also been an 8488 who joined the 3rd Militia Battalion (laster 3rd Special Reserve Battalion).

Paul

Michelle said...

Hi Paul,
First off, many thanks for your very speedy reply. You're right about the service record, it is very badly damaged though I do believe I have seen a slightly 'cleaner' copy (maybe when Ancestry were doing one of their freebie things and stupid me didn't download it as I already had it, albeit a mucky version). So basically the "4/.." bit does refer to the 4th Bn and it really only became necessary when he joined a battalion that already had a soldier with the number 8488?? The service record is the only place where I have seen it in relation to my great-grandfather.
As for when and where he joined up... well, it's a bit odd that he went up to Middlesbrough when he had a child back in Cheshire, though he wasn't yet married to her mother, but any number of things could have been happening at home then. What I do know is that he worked for the local salt/alkali works in Cheshire (Salt Union) and that he had an uncle living up in Stockton, who also seems to have worked for the Salt Union or related company. So my connection probably lies there, though the reasons are still obscure.
Anyway, thanks again for your reply and for your help. Much appreciated.
Michelle

Paul Nixon said...

"the "4/.." bit does refer to the 4th Bn and it really only became necessary when he joined a battalion that already had a soldier with the number 8488?"

No, not really. I doubt that that was a consideration although the prefixes were an attempt to provide clarity in regiments where you might find half a dozen men or more with the same number (bearing in mind that the same number could appear in 1) regular battalions 2) special reserve 3) extra reserve 4) TF battalion 1 5) TF battalion 2 etc.

Howevere, the widespread application of prefixes to numbers was at best random and at worst non-existent. Later in the war a directive was issued that prefixes should be used but this was not rigourously adhered to by regiments.

Paul

Tony Cross said...

Trying to find a little more information on the death of my wife's Great grandfather Joseph Durham Light Infantry PTE 3113 200380. We know that he died in Germany as a prisoner of war an is buried at Kassel, he died after the signing of the armistice on the 21st Nov 1918. What we would like to know is it possible to find details of his capture and reasons for his death before repatriation ?

Paul Nixon said...

Tony, number indicates he joined the 5th Bn in Nov or Dec 1914. As for how and when he was captured, difficult to say but you should check the battalion war diary (at The National Archives) and also look at local newspapers for the time. It's unlikely he'll be mentioned by name in the war diary.

John said...

I am looking for assistance in tracing my great grandfather: 2193 Pte Edward Morris 6DLI TF 1914-15, 23 Prov Bn DLI 1916-1917/8/9?
He was a pre-War 'terrier' and miner from Crook. Legend has it that he was gassed, but I can find no pension records or medal card, SWB etc. The only documentary proof of service is his name as informant on several birth and death certs of his children. Thank you in anticipation.

Paul Nixon said...

Hello John

2193 for the 6th DLI dates to, I would guess, late June or early July 1914 (2188 joined on 23rd June 1914), so he was a pre-war Terrier, just. Like you though, I failed to find a MIC for him with that number of with a six digit number beginning 250*** (his 6 digit number would, in theory, have been between 250173 and 250176). You note that he served with the 23rd Provisional Battalion. The 23rd Provisional Battalion, formed on 1st January 1917 became the 26th Bn DLI. The 23rd had been formed from Home Service personnel from the TF Bns of the regiment and remained in England throughout the war. However, there is a medal index card for 350176 Edward Morris and this number belongs to the series issued to the 26th Battalion. This man did receive a SWB - number 503926 - and his entry in the SWB roll states that he enlisted on 3rd June 1914 and was discharged as a result of heart disease (VDH) on 26th March 1919 aged 30. Not conclusive but could this be him?

Paul

mark l said...

Hi Paul, great posts,
can you help with identifying the battalion of 16396 Private George William Loades, DLI disembarked F&F 11th September 1915.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards
Mark

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Mark

Probably 14th or 15th Battalion as these both arrived overseas on 11th September 1915.

Paul

Liz@Violet Posy said...

Hi Paul,

What a great site! I'm also looking for a clue to my G Grandfather's Battalion. He was Sgj Frederick James Easter 35249

He was originally with the East Yorks having joined up in 1907. But I can't find out why or when he joined the Durham Light Infantry.

Any ideas welcome!
Best Wishes
Liz

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks Liz. Out of interest, how do you know he joined in 1907? I'm a little puzzled by his East Yorks number as, on the face of it, it's a later number and yet he was overseas by September 1915.

He could have joined the DLI having been wounded with the East Yorks and then transferred. That often happened, although without a service record to prove or disprove theories, that will remain conjecture.

Paul

alain.grint@sfr.fr said...

Good evening Paul

Here is something for you although you may have it
8574 Pte Walter Knopp

enlisted 3 November 1903

Best wishes Draperju

Middleton said...

Hi - my great uncle served with the DLI 15th battalion in WW1. His service number was 14639 and he was killed in the Somme on 16 Sept 1916. I know where his name is engraved on the Thiepval Memorial but can't find any other information. I'd like to know if he received any medals, how he was killed etc. I've no idea where to start so would just like a steer on where to look first. Not even sure if the DLI have a roll of honour that I could go and look at (their website is currently down). With thanks in advance, Janette

Anonymous said...

I have copies of an autograph book belonging to my Great Aunt who nursed at Cyngfeld Auxiliary Hospital in Shrewsbury 1917-1918. In it is a poem and signature of Pte. J.W. Cooper of the 6th DLI wounded near Manchy July 17 1917. No regimental number. Do you have any further info about this soldier? I have been trying to learn what happened to him but with no success.

Paul Nixon said...

Draperju, thank you. I didn't have him but had men either side. Now added.

Paul Nixon said...

Janette

14639 Joseph G Walton arrived in France with the DLI on 11th September 1915 as a corporal; later promoted sergeant. He was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, British War and Victory Medals. No service record survives but his medal index card gives the above information. Soldiers Died in The Great War notes him as George Joseph Walton, born and living in Middleton-in-Teesdale when he enlisted. He joined up at Barnard Castle. The War Diary for the 15th DLI will tell you what the battalion was doing on the day he was killed. His number dates to Aug/Sep 1914 so he was an early Kitchener volunteer and an original member of the 15th Battalion which landed en masse at Boulogne on 11th September 1915. Hope this helps you.

Paul

Paul Nixon said...

Re Pte J W Cooper, DLI. There are a few possibilities noted in the medal index cards but nothing that convinces me that they are the right man. Unfortunately, the name Cooper is reasonably common and so it's difficult to pin down a precise match. The silver war badge roll is also inconclusive.

Paul

David Martin said...

Hello Paul,
A great site. Can you give me the approximate enlistment date and/or the Battalion of a 251127 Sergeant Oliver Taylor of the Durham Light Infantry.
Thanks very much
Dave

Paul Nixon said...

David
Thanks for posting. The number appears to belong to the series issued to the 6th (TF) Battalion. HOWEVER, I have seen a number of men with numbers in this series who joined the 5th Battalion. I'd suggest that this man possibly attested under the Derby Scheme and was subsequently called up in 1916, although in the absence of supporting eveidece there is a good deal of conjecture.

David Martin said...

Hello Paul,

Thanks very much for your quick response, and for this information. I own this man's medals, a WW1 pair (his only entitlement), and his brother's 1914 star bar trio - who was killed in action in November 1914 with the 2nd Battalion Grenadiers Guards.

Regards

Dave

Paul Nixon said...

Great, Dave; nice groups to own.

Larry Macintosh said...

Hi
My Grandfather -
1st Durham Light Infantry - #4248 Sgt B. Salmon was severely wounded 17 Sep 1901 at Blood River Poort but apparently escaped. Not sure what his rank was at the time but believe was promoted to Lt at one point.
Is there anyway to get further info on his career?
Appreciate anything you can find.

Paul Nixon said...

Larry

You should find him mentioned in the QSA (and possibly KSA) medal roll which is available online at Ancestry.co.uk. The same site may alo have a service record for him - check service and pension records for WW1 (they include a lot of earlier records) and also check the Chelsea pensioner records on findmypast.co.uk. You can search both sites for free but you'll need to pay if you want to view the results in detail.

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul
I am researching my maternal Grandfather, Harry Palmer who served with the DLI (Terrotorial)in WW1. Fortunately, his service (burnt) records and MIC have survived and I have some information but curious as to why his MIC shows his army no; as 2243, his award of 14-15 star and entry to france on 20/4/1915 in red and another no; of 203984 and award of Victory and War medals in blue.
He did come back in 1915 to marry and went out again so why the two numbers.
He also served as a terrotorial with the DLI from April 1909 - April 1013.
Any info would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
Jim

Anonymous said...

Hello PauL
I am researching my maternal Grandfather's WW1 DLI (terrotorial) history and fortunately I have copies of his (slightly charred)service records and his MIC. On the MIC it shows his name, Harry Palmer, army No; 2243, award of the 14-15 star and date of entry into Europe, 20/4/1915 in red but then a second army No; of 203984 and award of the Victory and War medals in blue. Would you know why this would be?
He also served with the DLI terrotorial from April 1909 to April 1913.

Paul Nixon said...

Jim, thanks for your messages.

I've looked at his service record (briefly) and he saw service with a number of different regiments including the 5th DLI (which is where 2243 comes from), the North Staffs, Labour Corps and then back to the 5th DLI by the looks of thing. 203984 belongs to the series allocated to the 5th Bn when the TF was re-numbered in 1917. As for the different colours on the MIC, red pen was used for the award of the 1914/15 Star, blue for the BWM and VM; as simple as that.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul
Many thanks for the swift reponse and the explanation re the colours on the MIC for my Grandfather, Harry Palmer. Very helpful.
As I have a reasonable file on him but sadly not his actual medals I will probably purchase some quality copies so would you know which numbers would have been engraved on his originals?
Many thanks again
Jim

Paul Nixon said...

Jim

The number 2243 appears on all of the medals. The asterisk on his MIC indicates that the details to be impressed upon his BWM and VM are the same as those on his 1914-15 Star. So it would be:

2243 PTE H. PALMER DURH L.I.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul

Thank you for the information re the medal engraving, agin very helpful and very much appreciated

Best wishes
Jim

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the very informative website... Could you please advise on the flowing notations on two separate 'Medal Roll cards'....

Thomas Lavelle, DLI, Regl 18/924, (3) Egypt,

Thomas Lavelle, DLI, 85184, TR/5/118175, ~Grad Bn~

Many thanks. -Sandy jferrari@clara.co.uk

Paul Nixon said...

Sandy

The first Thomas Lavelle was an original member of the 18th DLI and his number dates to October 1914. He arrived in Egypt with the Battalion on 22nd Dec 1915, served throughout the war and was subsequently discharged to Class Z Army Reserve in (probably) 1919.
This man was almost certainly a local man.

The second Thomas Lavelle was a much later enlistment; probably transferred to the 52nd (Graduated Bn) in December 1917 and also served with the Training Reserve. Possibly a young soldier, born around 1899. It would be worth checking birth records to see if you can find a likely match.

John Bell said...

Grateful relief to find such a specialist in the DLI!My father Archie Bell from Stone, Staffordshire,born 1899,enlisted probably under-age, was badly wounded in France.His number was 75716. His records were destroyed at Kew. Can I trace where he was wounded, where treated from this flimsy evidence please Paul?
John Bell, Loughborough.

Paul Nixon said...

John

I'm far from an expert I'm afraid, but thanks for the compliment. I'd suggest you place a query on the Great war Forum and mark for the attention of John Sheen who is THE DLI expert and has written books on the subject. All I can tell you I'm afraid is that the number dates to 1917 (but pre October 1917) which ties in with him being a young soldier.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Excellent blog, really interesting an informative. My great grandfather was a John (Jack) Kitching, orginally from Gateshead I believe. After beginners research I have found a J Kitching Private 300494, Regimental Number 2903. Can you shed any light on this man at all?

Thanks

Lindsay

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Lindsay

2903/300494 John Kitching joined the 8th Battalion DLI in the second half of September 1914, survived the war and was disembodied, presumably in 1919. The 8th DLI was a Durham-based battalion headquartered in the city.

Hope this helps.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Thank you for the speedy reply. Do you have any other details on John Kitching, for example DOB, Place of birth, residence on enlistment etc? The reason being that I have found two John Kitchings who both served in WW1, the first being the Man mentioned previously and the other being a soldier from the Northumberland Fusiliers (Regiment no 19/404). So my great grandfather might be either or neither. A few more details I have on him are that his DOB is Sept 1897, place of birth Hexham or Wylam (Northumberland) and he eventually resided in Gateshead by 1911. His middle name was Armstrong. So both the DLI and N/land Fusiliers were in his catchment areas I guess. Again any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you again

Lindsay

Paul Nixon said...

Lindsay

Unless he withheld his middle name when he joined up, I'd expect to see that appearing on the medal index card too. The usual procedure was first name and middle initial/s for other ranks (or first initial, middle initial/s for some regiments), and first and middle name/s written in full for officers. So I would expect to see J A Kitching or John A Kitching on a medal index card. There is a John A Kithing who served with the RFA (232086) but I can't tell you anything about him other than that he arrived overseas in 1916 or later.

Paul

Anonymous said...

HI Paul
I have just found out my grandad Sidney Thomas Attwood 93036 was awarded the MIlitary Medal. There was an announcement in the London Gazette issue 31405 page 7683 but it doesn't give any details. How can I find out the battle etc.

Regards Jackie

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Jackie

Difficult, I'm afraid. Suggest you post this query on Great War Forum and also look out for Howard Williamson's comprehensive analysis of the MM, awards and citations, due to be published, all being well, in 2016.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi, my Dad was in DLI as a batman in WW1,his no was 46276,can you tell me which battalion the no belongs to,sadly his record isn't available,presume was in the burnt records.his name Albert Evans.

Paul Nixon said...

Albert

I'm sorry but the number is non-specific for a battalion of the DLI. You can rule out the Territorial Force Battalions and the 18th to 23rd Service Battalions (inclusive) but he could have served with any other battalion. The number probably dates to around August 1916.

Paul

Paul Kapke said...

I wonder if you could help, i am going to Ypres soon out of interest, in conversation it turns out my patners great grandfather died on the 5th November 1916 at The Somme, her great grandmother died of spanish flu, leaving her grandad an orphan, the siblings split and he was placed in a home.

Armed with name and date of death - John William Stokes i went to the DLI museum and they have given me his service number 2750 and he served in the 1st 9th and where he is placed at Thiepval.

I then went into the museum and to my surprise there was a whole display on the events of the 5th November 1916 and the attack on Butte de Warlencourt, i have now found his commanding officers report on the attack and i am reading up more on The Somme in the book of that name by Peter Hart. I have replayed a lot of the information to my partners Mam and whilst its a little upsetting she is very proud, she had a tear and a giggle when i mentioned the Gateshead Ghurka's.

So i was wondering what does this service number tell me ? Was he a volunteer or was he already in the army ? Any way of telling ?

Also how can i track the 1st 9th through the war to this point ? Do you have particular books that you would recommend on The Somme/DLI ?

Any information would be welcome.

I want to do my research and visit The Somme/Thiepval later this year.

Paul

Paul Kapke said...

Paul

Sorry follow up question John William Stokes is listed on the Thiepval memorial to the fallen but i cannot find his name on the Gateshead war memorials, would this be the case ? Would there be anywhere his grandaughter could visit to see his name in this country ?

Regards

Paul

Paul Nixon said...

The Imperial Museum's UK inventory of war memorials would be the logical place to search but you might have to do a bit of hunting. I understand this is due to be published online later this year.

Paul Kapke said...

Hello Paul

Thanks for the answer on John William Stokes, i did send some other information on him but not sure if it went.

He was my partners great grandfather and he died on the 5th November 1916 at The Somme, his service number was 2750 and he was a private in the 1st/9th.

From this limited information can you tell when he enlisted ? Also how can i find out where the 1st and 9th went on arrival, and are there any books out there that might help me understand more of the actions they were involved in ?

Thank You

Paul Kapke

Paul Nixon said...

Paul, the number tells me that he joined the 1/9th DLI at the end of September 1914; 30th September looks like a good bet. The battalion arrived in France on 17th April 1915 and so John Stokes was obviously part of a draft that went out later as he did not arrive overseas until 19th August that year. The war diary will tell you where the battalion was and so you should try and consult this. If it's not online already it will be by the end of the year (via The National Archives' website) or you could view the original diary at TNA in Kew.

Paul Kapke said...

Thanks very much for the information, much appreciated.

Mike Harrison said...

Paul

Very useful blog which has given me some good info.
Am researching my Uncle, James Harrison, from Stockton-on-Tees . His medal card gives Roll numbers of 2432 and then 100240 and an arrival date in France of 17/4/15. Given he was from S-O-T I presume he joined the 5th but by the time of his death from wounds on 28/5/18 he was 2/Lt(TP) in the 2nd Battalion?? He is buried in Esquelbecq cemetery near Dunkirk Can you shed any light ( or give some further research pointers ) as to his rise through the ranks and battles served in ??

Many thanks

Mike Harrison

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Mike

The number indicates that he joined the 5th DLI (headquartered at S-O-T) and it dates to between the 1st and 4th September 1914. His MIC shows that he was a sergeant by the time the TF was renumbered in 1917 and that he was commissioned on 26th June 1917. In all probability there will be a service record for him in the officers' records at The National Archives and so that's where I would direct my next line of enquiry. You can view the records yourself or commission a researcher to dig them out for you. It's highly unlikely, due to the medical notes contained within the records and because many records contain correspondence well beyond the 100 year cut-date, that these records will go on line any time soon. There are 576 Harrison officers listed and you can, if you have the patience, work your way through these. This link will help: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/looking-for-person/officerbritisharmyafter1913.htm

Paul

Mike Harrison said...

Paul
Apologies for delay in reply , I thought I had posted one very soon after your prompt, helpful response but obviously not!
Where are the records which enabled you to pinpoint his date and unit of enlistment held?.
Have now got book ' History of the 50th' which I think shows he died after the huge German offensive of 27/05/18 which decimated the 5th DLI at the Battle of Aisne as he died of wounds the following day, although Esquelbecq cemetery is a fair distance from there.
The book refers a lot to Battalion diaries , do you know where they are held and can they be viewed? (DLI museum??)
Will also be going to Kew to follow up your suggestion ( I live in Kent so that is only an hour or so away)

Thanks for your help.

Mike Harrison

Paul Nixon said...

Mike

Glad I was able to help. I identified the unit from the six digit number which is 200240 and which falls within the block 200001 to 250000 which was issued to men of the 5th DLI in 1917. Research I have done into the DLI shows that his original number, 2432, was issued between the dates I indicated.

Glad that you're close to Kew. Get there early because you'll find the war diaries there and also the officer records. If I were you, I'd tackle the officer service records first because then you'll have concrete evidence which you'll need to apply in order to pull up the correct war diaries. If I were you, again, I'd aim to get to Kew on the days on which they have extended opening hours; from memory, Tuesday and Thursday, but you'd better check that. You'll also need to take some ID so that you can be issued with a reader's ticket. It's a painless procedure but again, it can eat into your time and you'll also need to find your way around there. TNA is closed on a Monday. Good luck with your research and feel free to post your findings on this blog once you've found out some more about James Harrison.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi, could anyone please help me identify my wife's great grandfathers service dates or other information from the details on his WW1 medal? His details are;

82163 Pte E Jones Durh.L.I

Many thanks in advance.

Jez and Helen

Paul Nixon said...

Jez and Helen, it's a late enlistment; post October 1917 by the looks of things.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

The BWM and VM medals of my (Sussex resident) grandfather give the following:
43953 Pte A Butler
I believe he served with the DLI in, among others, one of the battles of the Somme. Any information on his battalion, etc, would be most welcome.
Thanks,
Clive

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
I got my grandfather's service number wrong in my previous post. Correct number:
43593 Pte A Butler Durh L I
Many thanks,
Clive

Paul Nixon said...

Thanks for your messages, Clive. Unfortunately, as far as my data is concerned, the number does not tie this man down to a specific battalion. You should consult the original medal rolls at The National Archives as these sometimes do give battalions. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Paul Kapke said...

Paul

You have already given me information regards my partners Great Grandfather John Stokes who was in the 9th DLI and died at The Somme, my friend at work Great Grandfather was also in the DLI Private John William Stanton 325357, who survived the war and also won a military medal at The Somme, what info can you glean from that information. I am going to the DLI museum tomorrow to buy a book on The 9th DLI. Thanks again for your help.

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Paul

I like easy problems. He was a 9th battalion man (so, another Territorial) and he joined the battalion around the 20th October 1914 (give or take a day or two either side).

Paul

Paul Kapke said...

Paul

Thanks again, so if both people joined within 2 or 3 weeks of each other, both in the 9th, they would have served together i assume. Is there any easy way of finding in what action a military medal was won ? I will make enquiries with The DLI tomorrow as well, i know my partners great grand father died at Butte de Walencourt on the 5th November 1916, i am just seeing if i can place my friends great grandfather there as well.

Paul Nixon said...

Paul

Yes, in all likelihood they may have served together, assuming they both ended up together in the 1/9th. Mind you, with 1000 men in a battalion they may not necessarily have known each other. I'm thinking of my school here which had about 1000 pupils. I knew some of course, others I knew by sight, but there were many people who I wouldn't have even noticed.

As for the MM, it should be mentioned in the London Gazette, and the war diary for the battalion might also make a mention of this. Normally notices appeared in the Gazette around 6 to eight weeks after the event and so that might give you a rough date. In 2016, Howard Williamson is due to publish his definitive work on the MM and so you should expect to find something then if you've not uncovered anything else before then.

Hope this helps - have a good day at the DLI museum tomorrow.

Paul

djg145 said...

Hello Paul,
Fantastic blog.
My Wife's Granddad was:
15421 C.S.M William Woodhead M.M.of the 12th (S) Bn The Durham Light Infantry.
He was mentioned in dispatches on 2 occasions, I believe.Awarded the Croce Di Cuerra and Military Medal.
One dispatch message I have - refers to the River Piave on the 27th October 1918, although most painfully injured he re-jioned his Company and remained until the objective was taken.Also have a 'certificate' saying William was mentioned in dispatches by General F.R. Earl of Cavan, dated 26th October 1918. Not sure if these are for the same gallantry.Any information about this remarkable family man, would be very much appreciated. Thank you, Dave Gosling

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Dave

Easy bit first. His number dates to September 1914 and the Silver war Badge roll confirms he joined on the 10th of that month (and was discharged on 16th Jan 1919 aged 23). He joined as a private and was promoted through the ranks.

As for the awards, try the London Gazette and also have a look in the war diary for the 12th Bn as he may get a mention there. I have no other information that would be helpful but you should follow these leads - and also scour local newspapers of the day. Good luck.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul.

I am trying to gather more information on my Grandfather.....Thomas Davidson, Pte, #15725 Durham Light Infantry. I think he was attached to the 20th Battalion. He died on July 6th, 1917.

Thanks and Regards
Barry Davidson

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Barry

He was certainly serving with he 20th at the time of his death but this battalion was not formed until 1915 and his number dates to the second week of September 1914. So the likelihood is, I'd suggest, is that he joined one of the service battalions, the 10th to 15th inclusive. The medal rolls may give specific information and you should certainly check this source.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul, thank you for the information.....is there a particular site to check the Medal Rolls?

Regards
Barry

Debbie said...

Dear Paul
I am completely stuck looking for my grandfather Samuel Myer Pearlman born in South Shield in 1891. All we have is a picture of him in uniform with a DLI cap badge. We sent this to the archivist at Durham county records. SHe said it was early on in the war. We think that he was living in South Shields (although the 1911 census has him living with his sister in Newcastle). DCR said he would probably have joined the 7th Batallion (if he were in South Shields). We don't have his medals (they were stolen). All searches at the NA or via the DCR office have been fruitless. The DCR even suggested that he may have signed up under an assumed name. The only other evidence we have is the electoral register of 1917 at his parents address in South Shields that says he was in the army. Two of his brothers fought. Jacob was killed and Leslie survived.

Do you have any other ideas about how we could trace him? We would be most grateful if you could help!
thank you
debbie

Paul Nixon said...

Barry

I understand that some medal rolls will be available online either later this year or next year but for the time being you'll need to access the originals which are held at The National Archives in Kew.

Paul

Paul Nixon said...

Debbie

It's tricky without a medal index card but have you tried the British Jewry Book of Honour? It contains alphabetical lists of those killed in action, those who were awarded military honours and the nominal rolls of Jews who served, listed by service and by regiment. There are also indexed photographs of many of these individuals. I have a copy at work which I will try and remember to look at tomorrow.

Paul

Debbie said...

Hi Paul
thank you for your speedy reply!
yes I have checked the JBofH! He's not there. the story went that there was a family fall out and his parents didn't want to pay for his name to be in there (unlike his brother who was killed).

Did the DLI keep recruiting records?

Gary Martin said...

Hello, my grandfather served with the DLI during WW1. I have a copy of his medal roll and it gives him two service numbers, 2404 and then 300278. I have brief details of his records, but apart from it saying he disembarked in Boulogne on July 11th 1915 and had two postings overseas in France, I would really like to know where I can find information as to where exactly his battalion fought.
His medal roll lists him as 1/8th Duhr. L.I.
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Regards,
Gary

Paul Nixon said...

Debbie

Re recruiting records. They may have kept them but as far as I know those ledgers were sent to the MoD which ultimately decided to dispose of these. Some regiments - The Tank Corps and The Royal Artillery are good examples - subsequently claimed them back when the MoD was having a clear-out (and these are now published on findmypast)- but many did not and the records were destroyed. You should check with the DLI archive.

Paul Nixon said...

Gary

Yes, his six digit number confirms him as 8th DLI and he joined this battalion in early 1914 before war was declared. The war diary for this battalion will tell you where it served. This is available from The National Archives at Kew and may already be accessible online via a download. If not, then it invariably will be soon. The DLI museum in Durham may also have copies of the diary.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks Paul. I will follow that up now.
Regards,
Gary

Anonymous said...

Hi paul.
If possible could you please help me find out any info on my uncle who was in the 2nd bn of the durham light infantry, service number 10663, he was a bugler, died on 21-12-1915 in Belgium and is in lijssenthoek military cemetery in Belgium, and is it possible to find out any photos, is there anywhere I can go to do this, as me and my wife are going to Belgium in the summer to visit his grave. thanks very much .barry
bazwest@hotmail.com

Paul Nixon said...

Barry, your best bet is either the Great War Forum - post your query there - or the DLI museum in Durham. He was a regular soldier who enlisted in December 1908. Also check the war diary for this battalion which is held at Kew and may even be online via The National Archives' website.

barry w said...

Hi Paul
Thanks for your help
Barry

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

I'm hoping you can help tell me which Battalion my grandfather served with in the Durham LI during WWI

His name was George Harold Greenwood and the regimental number on his medals is 15962.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Tim

Paul Nixon said...

I'm afraid that the number does not help us identify a battalion in this case. It dates to September 1914 though which suggests that he was an original recruit for one of the service battalions, the 10th to 15th inclusive. Not very helpful I know, but you can eliminate the TF battalions and the battalions from the 16th onwards. Of course, the fact that he joined one of those service battalions I mentioned does not necessarily mean that he stayed with the same battalion throughout the war; he could have been posted to another one later. I could not find a medal index card for this man.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul

Thanks for that bit of information. The Service BN bit makes sense. Are there any records at the National Archives or the DLI Museum that might indicate which BN might have issued which number?

Tim

Paul Nixon said...

Tim, probably not but it wouldn't harm to ask. I'd be looking for number patterns. So to give a hypothetical example, if numbers 15900 to 15961 and numbers 15963 to 16000 were all 15th Bn, I'd be making the assumption that 15962 was 15th Bn too. Also try posting your query on the Great war Forum under the heading "DLI number sequences" or similar.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul

Many thanks for your patience. Best regards.

Tim

Anonymous said...

I am researching my great-grandfather's war record and can only find his WWI Medal and Silver War Badge entry. His name was Christopher Crozier (1896-1934) and his regiment number was 43217 and he was listed as a pte in Durham Light Infantry Depot. How would I find out which battalion he served in? His enlistment date is given as 17/11/15. Also he was discharged on 1/8/17 reference Para.B.1 how do I find out what that means? I cannot find any further reference to him in online records, do you know if anything further would be held at Durham Records Office? Any held would be greatly appreciated.

Paul Nixon said...

Re Christopher Crozier

The medal roll for the British War and Victory Medal gives his battalion as the 14th DLI. I would guess that he was wounded or fell sick whilst serving with the 14th, was returned to England and posted to the depot prior to discharge.

The reason for discharge is given as A[rmy] O]rder] 11 of 10.8.17 which is covered on the Great war Forum and which appears to have been a misquoted reference. See here: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=48497

Paul

Paul Nixon said...

Tim, in the unlikely event that you re-visit this page I see that the BWM and VM roll gives the following information:

"10th Yorks L.I. 15962. Pte. 1/7th Durh. L.I. 86672"

Paul

Patrick Barnes said...

My late Grandfather,Lovell Barnes, served with the Durham LI, Private 78587. He was I understand captured and became a POW at Ypes? Anyway I can find out anything further. Many thanks, Patrick Barnes

Anonymous said...

Paul

Thanks so much for that info and again your persistence. I have not had much luck so your efforts are very much appreciated. I assume that the BWM stands for the British War Museum but VM? Also it looks like he would have been moved around quite a bit from starting with the Yorks LI then to the DLI 1st and 7th BN together with two different regimental numbers. Is that the correct interpretation?

Finally you mentioned the two roles (BWM & VM). Are these available for on-line? I find that a great deal of the information that remains these days seems to belong to organizations that require subscription payments.

Again thanks so much. Tim

Adrian Monck said...

My great-grandfather was Harold Monck, born in 1892 in Marske, and by 1911 married and working as an insurance agent in Sunderland.

He appears to have been in 10th DLI by his arrival in France (May, 1915).

His number was 20824. In Feb, 1918 it looks like the unit was disbanded and he joined the West Kents.

Paul Nixon said...

Tim, BWM = British War Medal and VM = Victory Medal. These two medals, issued together, warrant a single entry in the relevant medal roll. Transcriptions of these rolls are now online via Naval & Military Press's new chargeable website, here: http://www.nmarchive.com/

He certainly transferred to the DLI at some point, hence the change in numbers.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
I am trying to find out more about my Grandfather Frank Monks who joined the 2/9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in 1916. His service number was 26891. He was killed in action on 30 March 1917 and is buried at Mezingarbe.
I would really like to know any details of his service and where the action was taking place when he was killed.
Many thanks

Paul Nixon said...

Patrick

I am no longer undertaking unpaid research but I would be happy to look at this as a paid project. I outline research here:

http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/p/research.html

If you are interested I can take this research on.

Paul

Paul Nixon said...

Re Frank Monks

I am no longer undertaking unpaid research but I would be happy to look at this as a paid project. I outline research here:

http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/p/research.html

If you are interested please do drop me a line.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul

Many thanks for all your help.

Tim

Steve Allum said...

Just found this site which looks really informative.
My wife's Grandfather served with the 7th DLI which appears to have been a Pioneer battalion.
His name was Private Peter HIGGINS and his service number was 277174. He was KIA on 06/11/1917 and is buried at Langemarck Cemetery.
I believe he was recruited at Winchester, Hampshire (the family was living near Basingstoke where he worked as a Foreman Landscape Gardener at the nearby Hackwood House Estate of Lord Camrose) so I was wondering how he came to end up in the DLI and not a more local regiment?
I have a post card which shows an ornamental cross with his name and details and those of LCpl 2775572 R. GALBRAITH and Pte 77099 P. NAYLOR. All appeared to have died in the same incident.
Does anyone have any idea about this type of post card - how and by whom they would have been produced and whether this was a common practice?
Any comment or help appreciated.

Paul Nixon said...

Steve

The photo was presumably taken by a relative before the wooden crosses were replaced by the headstones that we're so familiar with now. The fact that three men are buried in the same spot suggests that they may have been killed by the same shell and that what you have are probably body parts rather than identifiable corpses; unpalatable I'm afraid, but that's the way of war. As for why the DLI, if he was a late enlistment or a conscript he would have had no say where he was posted to. The enlistment would have been for General Service and he would have been posted where he was needed most.

Paul

Steve Allum said...

Paul,
Thanks for the response, the details are helpful.
The Commonwealth War Games record for Pte Peter Higgins shows he was with the 1/7th DLI when he was killed and his grave is at Langemarck Cemetery in Belgium.
Does this mean he first enlisted with the 1st Battalion and was later transferred to the 7th? Or do the numbers mean something else.
His service number was 277174 does that help to identify his battalion?
I believe he enlisted in late 1914 or early 1915 at Winchester.
Any further info would be helpful.
Many thanks.

Paul Nixon said...

Steve, no the 1/7th means that he served with the 7th Battalion DLI. There was also a 2/7th and a 3/7th. See the Long, Long Trail site: http://www.1914-1918.net/dli.htm

The number belongs to the six digit series, introduced in 1917, which was used by the 7th Battalion.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i am impressed by your very informative site, please could you help?
i have tried online to find my great grandfathers : william finnegan and william ward who both served in ww1 and also my great uncle (williams bro) pte George Ward of durham light infantry 6-2981.
Any info regarding where they served, when they joined or even what happened to them would be much appreciated. As far as i know they didnt die in the war, but i can find no trace... Thanks, Catherine.

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Catherine, please note that I only undertake paid research but would be happy to look more for you if you follow the instructions on the RESEARCH tab. Do you have any more details, for instance, about William Ward or William Finnegan, as the names alone will not be sufficient information to trace them.

Paul

David said...

Hi
Would you be able to tell me which battalion my grandfather served in from his service number taken from his medal card, 10253. I know he was in India in 1911 but his card said theatre of war 4a date entered theatre 25/10/14.
Thanks David

Paul Nixon said...

David, I can confirm his battalion and also when he joined up but please note that there is a charge for this. See the RESEARCH tab on this blog.

Paul

John Hewitt said...

Hi Paul, I trying to find out a bit more about my Grandfather's, Robert Hewitt, military history. He was originally with DLI and his service number was 4605. My uncle remembers being told that he fought at Cambrai but was gassed. Due to his ill health he was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps on the 16/03/18, his service number then became 134605. In the Flying Corps he repaired bullet holes in the fabric of aircraft. I guess it would be interesting to know which battalion he may have been in and did other soldiers in the DLI experience similar if wounded or gassed. Many thanks John Hewitt

Paul Nixon said...

Hello John, thank you for commenting.

I can provide you with the information you seek but please note that this is a chargeable service as outlined on the RESEARCH tab on this blog. Please do drop me a line.

Paul

KhalSir said...

Hello, i'm trying to find some information about Private Thomas Wall, Regimental Number 203719. Durham Light Infantry. Originally from Sunderland. Died 26th June 1917.

He is the Grandfather of my elderly neighbour. It seems his medals were awarded to him posthumously. However, can anyone inform me as to how he died?

Paul Nixon said...

He was Killed in Action, as opposed to dying of wounds or as result of accident or disease. No service record survives for this man and so you're unlikely to find out exactly how he died, although gunshot or being blown to pieces by heavy artillery must rank as strong possibilities.

KhalSir said...

Thank you for your quick reply Paul. Understandable that not much is known. After his death his wife married again, so it seems he was forgotten in time.

Yesterday i found out he was born in Birkenhead. Probably or Irish ancestry. He later moved to Sunderland. Marrying in 1909. He had 4 children. One of which was my friend's Mother who shares the same name as Thomas Wall's wife.

Never Forgotten. His grandaughter said there was a story going around that he might have died in the trenches during a mustard gas attack. He was evacuating his fellow soldiers when he was shot and killed in action.

Thank you.

Paul Nixon said...

You should also check the war diary for the date that he died. Many of these are now available on line, at a small cost, from The National Archives website. Google that and then key in the regiment and battalion to bring up the results. He is unlikely to been roomed by name but the diary might give some indication of what happened.

Paul Nixon said...

"Mentioned" not "roomed". Perils of mobile phone keypads and predictive text.

KhalSir said...

Thanks. I think i have the Diary

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354725

Reference: WO 95/2837/2
Description:
5 Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Date: 1914 July - 1918 Jan.
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record

Is "5 Battalion Durham Light Infantry" the same as 1/5 Durham Light Infantry" ?

Thomas Wall's Death Date is 26/06/1917.

The MOD Medal Office also got back to me today saying his next of kin received his medals. Hoping to reunite some lost families.

Paul Nixon said...

Yes, that is the correct diary got that battalion.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I wonder if you can help me. I am trying to find out info regarding my Grandfather Bertie Soulsby (DLI 200540 and Labour Corps 423855). He served 1914-1920. His medal index card only records that he received the Victory Medal and British Medal; absolutely no other details apart from reference no: LC/101B155 15761. I would be very grateful if anyone could let me know which battalion he may have belonged to and where he may have served. He didn't talk much about the war until just before his death in 1971, but he was a great motorbike enthusiast and I understood that he was a despatch rider, however the only info regarding despatch riders appears to suggest they were always Royal Engineers. Can anyone shed light on this additionally? Thanks so much. Carolyn

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Carolyn. The number 200540 indicates service in the 5th Battalion. If you would like more detailed information please drop me a line to the address on the RESEARCH tab.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
Thank you SO much for your reply; you have really made my day! I am so grateful for the info regarding which Battalion he was a member of! I am going to do some further research myself, but expect to come back to you at some later date once I have exhausted all leads. I have discovered additionally that the Labour Corps was formally formed by The Royal Engineers in 1917 initially from a number of Infantry battalions and amazingly, we discovered a uniformed group photo in my mothers possession (including my Grandad) dated on the back April 1917, Darlington, and which appears to have been taken at Darlington "Feetham's" Football Ground which included telescopes and theodolites and may be the point at which he joined the Labour Corps. All so fascinating! Once again, thanks so much! Carolyn

Lynda Peacock said...

Hi Paul

I am trying to find out about my great uncle JOHN LOWREY who died in the battle of Loos on either 25 or 26 Sept 1915. He was in the 15th Durham Light Infantry - Lance Corporal Number 21697. Is it possible for you to tell us where on the battlefield he died?

Any other information regarding his service would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Lynda

Paul Nixon said...

Hello Lynda

Please note that this would require further research but even then, pinpointing a precise death location would be all but impossible, although it could be narrowed down to include some possible locations. Please see the RESEARCH tab on this blog.

Paul

Chris Tearney said...

Hello Paul, I have found you blog most fascinating. You seem to be a font of knowledge. I came across it when trying to trace details of my Great Uncle, James William Tearney. All I have is his short service attestation dated 7 Sept 1914 with 8/9/14 added at the top next to his number 19946. He was from Gateshead, can you glean any more from this information. He survived the war and lived till 1963,.

Paul Nixon said...

Chris

I'm not sure why 8/9/14 is written there. Everywhere else, the attestation date is clearly given as 7/9/14. He was discharged medically unfit in October 1914 and so did not see service overseas.

Paul

Viv said...

Looking for the Battalion of DLI my husband's grandfather served with. His medals card says service no.1411 DLI, then 425672 Labour Corps. I'm trying to find out where he was during WW1. I know he was gassed at some point.
Viv

Paul Nixon said...

Please see the RESEARCH tab, Viv.

Chris Tearney said...

Paul,

Thanks for your swift response, this information is very useful. I needed this information in the process of elimination in tracing the history of my grandfather, also James William Tearney, of RASC. I have his medal card but not linked to his DOB so need confirmation that JWT the senior had not transferred.

Thanks again, your help is most appreciated.

Regards

Chris

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul, I am researching my Great Uncle Ernest Jennings who joined the 2nd of the 9th of the Durham Light Infantry in 1916 as a private. The only records I have found do not mention that he was a POW in France in WW1 which he told me before he died. His service numbers seem to be 301687 and 6022. Is there any way I can found out about his POW experience. I have tried the Red Cross site but he is not mentioned. Any further info you can tell me from his service no etc would be great. Many thanks. John

Paul Nixon said...

Hello John

The ICRC site is not easy to use and I can't believe that there are only two Jennings recorded for the DLI. Either there are more names that have been indexed incorrectly, or more names to come, or names that have been lost, but with such a common name as Jennings, to see so few recorded is suspicious.

The 2/9th Battalion was a second-line Territorial Force battalion and I could tell from his numbers when he joined up and possibly when he arrived overseas. This would be a research project however, and so if you wish to pursue this, please drop me a line via the address on the RESEARCH tab on this page.

Best wishes

Paul

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Can you give any service info on the following soldier please?

Clark, Alexander, G - Private, DLI, DLI 78500. 258th Training Reserve Battalion, 5/14188.

WO 372/4/124935

Thanks in advance

Lindsay

Paul Nixon said...

I'd need to research this so please follow the instructions on the research tab if you'd like to take up this option.

Paul

Anonymous said...

My Great Grandfather was Cannon, J W 25583, 1st/9th Bn., Durham Light Infantry who died at Battle of Havincourt on 12 September 1918. Our family don't have any photographs of him. Should there be military photographs someone of him? How do I find more information about where his unit fought before his death? Appreciate any advice. Steve from Downunder.

Paul Nixon said...

Steve, finding a named photo of him will be tricky, if not impossible. The best bet might be a newspaper report in whatever his local newspaper would have been at the time. Some papers published obituaries, with photos, of men who had been killed, but even so, the chances of finding a piece on your great grandfather will be slim.

Ancestry has recently published many war diaries on its site and the diary for the 9th Battalion can also be downloaded from The National Archives' site here: http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C7354732

Downloads cost £3.30 each.

Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul,

Just a quick question, a member of my family, Tom Naylor, had the DLI regimental number 67373. I have not been able to determine what Batt he was in as it is not stated on either MIC or Medal rolls. He arrived in France on 19th March 1917. DO you have any idea which Batt he might have served in?

regards,
Stuart Price.

Halpin said...

Hi Paul. My grandfather James Halpin 4/9725 Durham Light Infantry was awarded military medal for bravery by General Haigh October 1916 and mentioned in dispatches January 1917. Can you tell me where in France he fought.

Paul Nixon said...

Happy to help, Halpin, but it would be a chargeable RESEARCH project. See RESEARCH tab.

Eddie Nichol said...

Hi - my grandfather had two regimental numbers on his records - 8744 (private); 200883 (corporal). Can anyone tell me why two and what battalion he served in

Unknown said...

Hi ive just found my great grandfathers service no, Thomas Lydon 4/9182 i know he died dec 1915 aged 35 years be grateful for any help

Paul Nixon said...

Please see here: http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/p/research.html