The Durham Light Infantry
extracted from "The Territorial
Battalions, A Pictorial History 1859-1985" by
further details are given on these battalions in appropriate
sections of the site
The 1st Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps
was formed at Stockton-on-Tees in 1860, and in 1880
was amalgamated with other Durham corps, from Darlington,
Castle Eden and Middlesbrough, to form a battalion
of eight companies.
The 1st Durhams later became the
1st Volunteer Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry
and as such gained the battle honour `South Africa
1900-02' for the services of its members during the
The 50 was extended to three battalions
for war service in 1914. The 1/5th went to France
as part of the 50th Division in 1915 and after seeing
a great deal of action on the Western Front was reduced
to a training cadre in July 1918. The 2/5th served
in Salonika as a garrison battalion from October 1916,
while the 3/5th formed the 5th (Reserve) Battalion.
For the Second World War, the 5th
Durhams were required to serve in an antiaircraft
role, and was divided, first as 1/5th and 2/5th, and
subsequently as 54th and 55th Searchlight Regiments,
The 6th was formed in 1860 as one
of Durhams several rifle volunteer admin battalions.
Numbered as 2nd, the battalion was consolidated as
the 2nd Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1880. It consisted
of six companies and had its headquarters at Bishop
Auckland. The 2nd Corps later became the 2nd Volunteer
Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, and as such was
awarded the battle honour, `South Africa 1900-02'.
During the First World War, the 1/6th
suffered heavy casualties at Ypres and as a result
was temporarily amalgamated with the 8th Durhams to
form 6th/8th Battalion. The 2/6th, as part of the
59th Division, served in France as a garrison guard
battalion, and We 3/6th became part of the 5th (Reserve)
Battalion in 1916.
In 1940, the battalion went to France
with the BEF. It later fought at El Alamein and was
to take part in the June 1944 assault landings in
Normandy. The battalion is now represented by the
7th Light Infantry (Volunteers).
During 1860, five companies of rifle volunteers were
raised in Sunderland, and
subsequently merged as the 3rd Durham
Rifle Volunteer Corps. As the 3rd (Sunderland) Volunteer
Battalion, Durham Light Infantry, the corps contributed
a large number to the several volunteer service companies
that went to serve with the regular troop in South
In 1915, the 1/7th went to France,
where it became the pioneer battalion of the 50th
Division, and later the 8th Division. The 2/7th remained
in the UK until October 1918, when it was sent to
North Russia. The 3/7th was also formed which in 1916
became part of the 5th (Reserve) Battalion. The 7th
DLI was converted and transferred in 1936 as 47 AA
Battalion, Royal Engineers.
The 8th Durham Light Infantry was
originally the 4th Durham Rifle Volunteer Corps, which
had been formed in 1860 by the amalgamation of several
Durham rifle companies. The 4th consisted of ten companies,
many of which dated from the beginning of the Volunteer
Movement in 1859.
In 1887 the 4th Durham RVC became
the 4th Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry,
and in 1908 its C Company transferred as the Durham
University Contingent of the Officers Training Corps.
The remainder of the battalion provided the 8th Durham
Light Infantry which saw active service throughout
France and Belgium during the First World War.
In the Second World War, the battalion
served in N Africa, and in 1944 was involved in the
assault landings in Normandy. The 8th DLI is now represented
by part of the 7th Light Infantry (Volunteers).
In 1880 the 5th Durham Rifle Volunteer
Corps was formed by the amalgamation of several rifle
volunteer units from the Gateshead, South Shields,
Blaydon Burn and Winlaton areas. The 5th later became
the 5th Volunteer Battalion, Durham Light Infantry,
and in 1908 the regiment's 9th Territorial Battalion.
Members of the battalion served in
South Africa during the Boer War. In 1914 three battalions
were provided for war service, two members gaining
the Victoria Cross while serving in France.
In the Second World War the battalion
also saw service in N Africa, Sicily and NW Europe.
Another Victoria Cross was awarded to a member of
the 9th Durhams, Pte. Adam Wakenshaw, for his part
in an action at Mersa Matruh in the Western Desert
on 27 June 1942. Wakenshaw was killed that day and
is buried in the El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt.
In 1948 the battalion was converted
as the 17th Battalion, Parachute Regiment. This battalion
is now represented as part of the 4th (Volunteer)
Battalion of the Regiment.
Formed in 1939 as a duplicate of the
6th Battalion at Bishop Auckland, the battalion served
in France during 1940, in Iceland, and in NW Europe
Formed as a duplicate of the 8th Battalion
in 1939, the battalion fought in NW Europe during
1944, having previously served in Iceland and with
the BEF in 1940.
Formed in 1939 as a duplicate of the
9th Battalion DLI and desginated 12th (Tyneside Scottish)
Battalion. The title "Tyneside Scottish"
was a revival of that used during the First World
War by the several service battalions of the Northumberland
Fusiliers that were raised by Scotsmen in the Tyneside
Before the end of 1939, the battalion
was transferred to the Black Watch and re-named the
1st Battalion the Tyneside Scottish. As such it went
with the BEF to France in 1940, served in Iceland
between October 1940 and December 1941, and fought
in NW Europe during 1944. The battalion was transferred
to the Royal Artillery as 670 LAA Regiment in