Between 1939 and 1945 DLI soldiers fought in almost every major campaign of the Second World War. In 1940 Durham soldiers fought on the River Dyle and at Arras before joining the evacuation from Dunkirk.
From 1940 to 1943 Durham soldiers fought in North Africa at Tobruk, Gazala, Mersa Matruh, El Alamein, Mareth and in Tunisia. In 1943 Durham soldiers landed in Sicily and later at Salerno on the Italian mainland and fought northwards until the end of the war. On D-Day in June 1944 Durham soldiers landed in Normandy and fought across France and Belgium and onwards until the final defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945. Meanwhile between 1943 and 1945 Durham soldiers fought the Japanese Army at Kohima in India and in Burma. During these long years of war, over 3,000 DLI soldiers were killed in action or died of wounds and many more were wounded or taken prisoner.