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.
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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.