In response to Kitchener’s call in August 1914 for volunteers for his New Armies, the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) had, by the end of September raised six battalions which were numbered consecutively after the existing battalions of the regiment and distinguished by the word ‘Service’ in brackets after the number. Thus these new battalions became the 10th to 15th (Service) Battalions, the DLI. In addition they had also raised and completely equipped a battalion free of all expense to the Government, at first known as the County Battalion of the DLI but later (December) numbered 18th. The opening chapter in this record describes the raising of the new battalions, including those which never went overseas. This history is concerned with the eleven Service battalions that went on active service: 10th to 15th; 18th to 20th; 22nd and 29th. All of them fought on the Western Front, two of them (12th and 13th) also served in Italy.The author does not take each battalion in turn but rather tells the story of the battalions in the form of a chronological narrative, beginning in May 1915 when the first of the battalions (10th) arrived on the battlefield. and bringing in the others as they arrived in France. In his account the major battles involving one or more of these service battalions (Loos,Somme, Arras, Messines, Third Ypres, Cambrai, Italy etc) are described in detail, a chapter devoted to each and interspersed with chapters on trench warfare operations between major battles. Thus there is a chapter on Loos followed by a chapter on trench warfare from October 1915 to June 1916 followed by a chapter on the Somme, and so on. There is a very good index in which each battalion is covered separately. Miles has done a good job in making this an informative and very readable account with plenty of detail of fighting at battalion level with mention of individuals, acts of bravery (including two VCs), and casualties.
Capt. Wilfrid Miles
Usually despatched within 2-5 Days
2004. N&M Press reprint (original pub 1920). SB. xii + 380pp with 16 b/w photos and five maps
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