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The Story of the 6th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry France, April 1915-November 1918   By:

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First Page:

THE STORY

OF THE 6TH BATTALION

THE DURHAM LIGHT

INFANTRY

France, April 1915 November 1918

EDITED BY

CAPT. R.B. AINSWORTH, M.C.

LONDON THE ST. CATHERINE PRESS STAMFORD STREET, S.E. 1919

CONTENTS.

PAGE

FOREWORD 7

CHAPTER I. THE "SALIENT" 9

CHAPTER II. ARMENTIÈRES AND THE RETURN TO THE "SALIENT" 20

CHAPTER III. THE SOMME 25

CHAPTER IV. ARRAS 35

CHAPTER V. RETURN TO THE "SALIENT" 41

CHAPTER VI. THE SOMME, THE LYS AND THE AISNE 45

APPENDICES.

OFFICERS KILLED OR DIED, COMMANDING OFFICERS, DECORATIONS, ETC. 57

FOREWORD.

During one of the short periods of training in 1917, it was suggested that lectures should be delivered to the troops on the history of their battalions in France. Accordingly Capt. G. Kirkhouse, then Assistant Adjutant, set to work to collect material for this purpose. Owing to there being no officers, and very few men, who had served continuously with the Battalion since April, 1915, the task was not easy, and it was found impossible to complete the information in time for a lecture before the Battalion returned to the line. The material was carefully preserved, however, and was the only portion of the records which survived the disaster of the 27th May, 1918. As soon as time permitted, the task was continued, but owing to there being very few survivors of earlier days, many details have probably escaped notice. Imperfect and incomplete as the story is, however, it is hoped that the details related will serve to recall other incidents, both pleasant and unpleasant, to those members of the Battalion who have been fortunate enough to survive.

It is regretted that it has not been found practicable to include a chapter on the inner life of the Battalion which centred round the characters of some of its members. So many names occur to one's mind that a chapter would be inadequate to mention all, and the exclusion of any would have involved an invidious and unjustifiable selection.

R.B.A.

July, 1919.

CHAPTER I.

THE "SALIENT."

First Phase.

The end of March, 1915, found the 50th (Northumbrian) Division of the Territorial Force awaiting orders to proceed overseas. The infantry of the Division consisted of the 149th Infantry Brigade (4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Battalions Northumberland Fusiliers), the 150th Infantry Brigade (4th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 4th and 5th Battalions Yorkshire Regiment, and 5th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry), and the 151st Infantry Brigade (6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions The Durham Light Infantry). Early in April, when the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry were in billets at Gateshead, the orders arrived and on the 10th April Capt. F. Walton proceeded to Havre to make arrangements for the arrival of the transport section. The first detachment of men to leave Gateshead consisted of the transport and machine gun sections which, under Major J.E. Hawdon, Second in Command, and Lieut. H.T. Bircham, Transport Officer, entrained at the Cattle Market, Newcastle, on the 17th April for Southampton, en route for Havre.

Two days later the remainder of the Battalion entrained at the Central Station, Newcastle, with the following officers: Lieut. Col. H.C. Watson in command, Capt. J.W. Jeffreys, Adjutant; Major W... Continue reading book >>




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