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Durham County Record Office: the official archive service for County Durham and Darlington

Photographs - Image of the Soldier

The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) archive collection in Durham County Record Office includes an outstanding photographic record of the regiment in the UK and overseas from the 1850s onwards.

At the start of 2016 there were over 34500 Durham Light Infantry images on our online catalogue.

About the Photographs

The Durham Light Infantry regiment and its predecessors, the 68th, or Durham, Light Infantry and the 106th Regiment, served all over the world. From the mid 1850s the soldiers and the places they visited were photographed with increasing regularity, by professional photographers and later by the soldiers themselves.

This has resulted in an exceptional photographic record of individual soldiers, their uniforms and equipment, barracks and camps, training and leisure pursuits.

There are photographs of military campaigns in:

  • Crimea 1854-1855
  • New Zealand 1864-1866
  • South Africa (Boer War) 1899-1902
  • First World War France, Belgium, Italy, Egypt, Macedonia and North Russia, 1914-1918
  • Second World War France, Belgium, Germany, North Africa, Iceland, Italy, Sicily, India, Burma and Greece, 1939-1945
  • Korea 1952-1953
  • Borneo 1965

Prisoners of war (POW) images range from a German POW camp in Northumberland to British POWs in Colditz.

Photographs of the regiment stationed overseas during peace time provide a fascinating view of British Colonial India, Burma, China, Egypt and the Sudan, including floods, plague, civil unrest, and landscape very different from today.

There are numerous photographs of County Durham and North East England, also Colchester, Aldershot and Ireland.

Where individuals are identified in photographs, all those names have been added to the catalogue.

Search the Catalogue

Image of the Soldier Project

With the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Record Office ran a two year project, Image of the Soldier, to digitise all the photographs in the DLI collection and make them available online.

When the project ended in May 2005 over 28000 photographs and drawings were added to the online catalogue.

The book Image of the Soldier contains a photographic history of the Durham Light Infantry regiment from 1855 to 1968. It was published in 2005 to coincide with the completion of the project. Now out of print, you can find copies of this in local library collections and in the Record Office.

Ordering Copies

We can supply copies of most photographs in the collection for private study and non-commercial research.

You must apply to the County Archivist in writing for permission to reproduce any documents or photographs from the collection.