How many battalions did the DLI have during the First World War?
At the start of the First World War in August 1914, the DLI had only nine battalions - two Regular, two Reserve (old Militia) and five Territorial (old Volunteers). By 1918 the DLI had grown to 43 battalions. 22 of these battalions fought overseas.
Were the DLI at Gallipoli?
Most of the DLI's 22 active service battalions fought on the Western Front in France and Belgium. Some saw action in Egypt, Italy, India, Macedonia and northern Russia but none took part in the Gallipoli Campaign.
In the First World War what were Service Battalions?
Service Battalions were battalion of volunteers originally formed in 1914-15, for example the 13th (Service) Battalion DLI. These soldiers only joined the Army to 'serve' for as long as the war lasted.
Who were the Durham Pals?
As soon as the First World War began in August 1914, thousands of Durham men heard Lord Kitchener's call for volunteers - 'Your County Needs You' - and left their civilian jobs to join a New Army. These volunteers were then formed into Service Battalions like the 'Durham Pals' (18th Battalion DLI), 'Durham Bantams' (19th Battalion DLI) and the 'Wearsiders' (20th Battalion DLI).
Who were the 'Bantams'?
During the First World War, the height limit for joining the Army was lowered, so that men between 5' and 5'3" could volunteer. Many of these men were coal miners and in County Durham the 19th (Bantam) Battalion DLI was formed in 1915.
What happened at Hartlepool in December 1914?
On 16 December 1914 German warships attacked ports on the East coast of England and Hartlepool was shelled. Some of the Durham Pals were based at Hartlepool during the attack and Private Theo Jones, a 27 year old teacher from Hartlepool, was killed. He was the first soldier of Kitchener's New Army to die in action.
What did the 1st Battalion DLI do in the First World War?
The 1st Battalion DLI was in India when the First World War began in August 1914. These Durhams remained on garrison duty in northern India throughout the war and also took part in the 3rd Afghan War of 1919.
Which DLI battalion was first into action in the First World War?
The 2nd Battalion DLI's Regular soldiers were the first of the Durhams in action at Troyon on the River Aisne in northern France in September 1914. In one day's fighting the battalion lost almost as many men (40 dead and 100 wounded) as the Durhams had lost in the Boer War.
When did the DLI's Territorial battalions first go into action in the First World War?
In April 1915, just days after landing in France, all five DLI Territorial battalions fought at the 2nd Battle of Ypres as part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division. These battalions had been training for war since August 1914 and, in just a few weeks of battle around this ruined town in Belgium, they lost almost a third of their soldiers killed, wounded or taken prisoner.
When did the DLI's New Army battalions go into action in the First World War?
The DLI New Army volunteers had been in training since the early months of the war in 1914. The 10th Battalion DLI was the first in action in the trenches in June 1915 but then in September 1915 the 14th and 15th Battalions were sent straight from landing in France into the Battle of Loos. The Durhams lost over 750 men killed or wounded in this attack.
Who was the first DLI soldier to win the VC in the First World War?
In November 1915 Private Thomas Kenny, a coal miner from South Wingate in County Durham, was awarded the first DLI Victoria Cross of the First World War.
Did any DLI's battalions attack on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916?
On 1 July 1916, the first day of Battle of the Somme, two DLI battalions took part in the attack. The 15th Battalion DLI attacked south of the Somme near Fricourt, whilst the 18th Battalion - 'Durham Pals' - were north of the river at Serre. On the first day of the battle, 'D' Company 18 DLI lost over 50 men killed advancing towards the German trenches.
When did the Battle of the Somme end?
In November 1916 the Battle of the Somme ground to a standstill in mud and rain. The DLI's last action on the Somme was the failed attack by the Territorials on the Butte de Warlencourt on 5 November 1916.
Was the DLI in action on the Western Front in 1917?
During 1917 the Durhams fought on the Western Front at Arras in April; Messines in June; and from July to November in the 3rd Battle of Ypres - better remembered today as the Battle Passchendaele. At the end of 1917, the 14th Battalion DLI also fought in the Battle of Cambrai - the first great tank battle in history.
What happened to the DLI in the spring of 1918?
In March 1918 the German Army launched a massive attack on the Somme and the 2nd Battalion DLI was overwhelmed with only 60 men escaping death, wounding or capture. Other battalions suffered heavily in the German attacks of April and May, before the German advance was halted. Four DLI battalions - 5th, 6th, 8th and 22nd DLI - ceased to exist after these battles.
Did any DLI battalions fight in Italy during the First World War?
Three DLI battalions - 12th, 13th & 20th DLI - fought in northern Italy against the Austrian Army. In October 1918 the 12th Battalion DLI took part in the final attack across the River Piave that forced Austria to surrender.
Did the Durhams play any part in the Allied victory of 1918?
In August 1918 the British Army, with its French and American allies, launched the first of its attacks on the Western Front. Battle after battle drove the Germans back and 11 battalions of the DLI took part in the advances in Belgium and France that ended with the defeat of the German Army and the Armistice of 11 November 1918.
Did any DLI battalions go into Germany after November 1918?
On 11 November 1918 the Armistice was signed and the guns fell silent on the Western Front. Three battalions - 2nd, 9th and later 20th DLI - were then sent into Germany as part of the Army of Occupation. In March 1919 two battalions of Young Soldiers - 51st and 52nd DLI - left Catterick Camp for Germany. There they took over as military guards in Cologne.
How many of the Durhams died during the First World War?
The Durham Light Infantry lost 13,000 men killed during the First World War with thousands more wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.