Skip Navigation • Access Keys • Frequently Asked Questions •

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

Book List First World War

Books about the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) at war in 1914-1918.

At the start of the Great War, the Durham Light Infantry had only nine battalions (two Regular, two Reserve and five Territorial battalions). By 1918, the DLI had grown to 43 battalions and 22 of these served overseas. Most of these new - or Service - battalions, e.g. 13th Battalion DLI, were formed of men, who volunteered before 1916 and who only joined the Army to 'serve' for as long as the war lasted.

This book list may help you research the background to a DLI soldier's service during the Great War. Sadly, not every DLI battalion has its own published history and for some battalions there is only a brief mention in a general Regimental or Divisional history.

Regimental and Battalion Histories

Ward, S.G.P, Faithful. The Story of The Durham Light Infantry (London, 1962). History of the DLI from 1758 to 1958, with detailed WW1 section, plus maps and index.

Moore, William, The Durham Light Infantry (London, 1975). Famous Regiments series. Popular history of DLI with brief WW1 section, plus photographs and battle honours.

Miles, Wilfrid, The Durham Forces in the Field, 1914-18, volume 2: The Service Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry (London, 1920). Based on war diaries, with maps & photographs. The only published source for many DLI service battalions (10 DLI to 53 DLI). Note: No other volumes published.

2 DLI: Sheen, John, The Steel of the DLI. The 2nd Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry at War, 1914-1918(Barnsley, 2009). Based on war diary & personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards, nominal rolls of officers & soldiers awarded 1914 Star.

5 DLI: Raimes, A.L, The Fifth Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, 1914-1918 (1931). Based on war diary, with maps, photographs, roll of honour, awards, nominal rolls of all officers & soldiers serving in April 1915. Also section on 2nd/5th & 3rd/5th Battalions DLI.

6 DLI: Ainsworth, R.B, The Story of the 6th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, France, April 1915 - November 1918 (London, 1919). Brief history based on war diary. Only lists officers died and officers' awards.

6 DLI: Moses, Harry, The Faithful Sixth. A History of the Sixth Battalion The Durham Light Infantry (Durham, 1995; reprinted Langley Park, 2011). History of 6 DLI from 1860 to 1968, with detailed WW1 section based on war diary and personal accounts, plus maps, photographs and index.

6 DLI: Watson, W.I, A Short History of the Sixth Battalion The Durham Light Infantry (Barnard Castle, 1939). Brief history with section on WW1. Note: The author's father commanded 6 DLI in France in 1915.

7 DLI: Dunn, Clive, The Fighting Pioneers. The Story of the 7th Battalion DLI (Barnsley, 2015). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, awards, nominal roll of officers and nominal roll of soldiers, who landed in France in April 1916, plus index. 

8 DLI: Veitch, E. Hardinge, 8th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, 1793-1926 (Durham, 1926). Based on war diary, with maps, photographs, roll of honour and awards. Also includes chapters on 8 DLI prisoners of war, plus section on 2nd/8th and 3rd/8th Battalions DLI.

9 DLI: Moses, Harry, The Gateshead Ghurkas. A History of the 9th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry, 1859-1967 (Durham 2001). Detailed WW1 section based on war diary and personal accounts, with maps, photographs, awards and index.

11 DLI: Bashforth, Martin, The 11th Durham Light Infantry in Their Own Names (Stroud, 2011). Based on war diary, with maps, photographs and roll of honour.

12 DLI: Sheen, John, With Bayonets Fixed. The 12th & 13th Battalions of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War (Barnsley, 2013). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards, nominal rolls of officers, and nominal rolls of soldiers who were serving in 12 and 13 DLI in August 1915.

13 DLI: Sheen, John, With Bayonets Fixed. The 12th & 13th Battalions of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War (Barnsley, 2013). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards, nominal rolls of officers and nominal rolls of soldiers who were serving in 12 and 13 DLI in August 1915.

18 DLI: Lowe, W.D, War History of the 18th (S) Battalion Durham Light Infantry (London, 1920). Based on war diary, with maps, photographs, nominal roll of officers and awards.

18 DLI: Sheen, John, Durham Pals. 18th, 19th & 22nd Battalions of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War(Barnsley, 2007). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards and nominal rolls of officers and soldiers.

19 DLI: Sheen, John, Durham Pals. 18th, 19th & 22nd Battalions of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War(Barnsley, 2007). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards and nominal rolls of officers and soldiers.

20 DLI: Leather, K.J.W, The History of the Locally Raised 20th (Service) Battalion The Durham Light Infantry(Sunderland, 1920). Based on war diary, with awards and nominal roll.

20 DLI: Sheen, John, Wearside Battalion. The 20th (Service) Battalion of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War (Barnsley, 2007). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards and nominal rolls of officers and soldiers.

22 DLI: Sheen, John, Durham Pals. 18th, 19th & 22nd Battalions of The Durham Light Infantry in the Great War(Barnsley, 2007). Based on war diaries and personal accounts, with photographs, maps, awards and nominal rolls of officers and soldiers.

Divisional Histories

During the Great War, each DLI battalion served at home or overseas as part of a larger infantry formation called a Division. Divisional histories are an important additional resource for discovering more about a particular DLI battalion. Some of these books contain photographs and detailed trench maps.

6th Division (2 & 14 DLI): Marden, T.O, A Short History of the 6th Division. Aug 1914-March 1919 (London, 1920).

8th Division (7 & 22 DLI): Boraston, J.H. & Bax, E.O, The Eighth Division in War, 1914-1918 (London, 1926).

19th Division (22 DLI): Wyrall, Everard, The History of the 19th (Western) Division, 1914-18 (London, 1932).

19th Division (22 DLI): Author unknown, A Short History of the 19th (Western) Division, 1914-1918 (London, 1919).

20th Division (11 DLI): Inglefield, V.E, The History of the Twentieth (Light) Division (London, 1921).

23rd Division (12 & 13 DLI): Sandilands, H.R, The 23rd Division, 1914-1919 (London, 1925). 

25th Division (13 DLI): Kincaid-Smith, M, The 25th Division in France & Flanders (London, 1918).

35th Division (19 DLI): Davson, H.M, The History of the 35th Division in the Great War (London, 1926).

50th Division (5 6, 7, 8 & 9 DLI): Wyrall, Everard, The History of the Fiftieth Division, 1914-19 (London, 1939).

50th Division (5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 DLI): Baker, A.H.R. & Rust, B, A Short History of the 50th Northumbrian Division(Berwick, 1966). Includes short section on WW1.

59th Division (2/6 DLI): Bradbridge, E.U, 59th Division, 1915-1918 (Chesterfield, 1928).

62nd Division (9 DLI): Wyrall, Everard, The History of the 62nd (West Riding) Division, 1914-19 (London, nd).

Honours and Awards

McGregor, Malcolm, Honours & Awards to The Durham Light Infantry (Privately published, 2003). Details of all British and Foreign honours and gallantry medals awarded to the DLI, plus London Gazette references and citations where known. Note: Not all citations from the Great War have survived but sometimes details may be found in the relevant battalion history.

Victoria Cross

During the Great War, six DLI soldiers were awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) - Thomas Kenny, Roland Bradford, Michael Heaviside, Frederick Youens, Arthur Lascelles and Thomas Young.

Shannon, Stephen D, Beyond Praise. The Durham Light Infantrymen who were awarded the Victoria Cross (Durham 1998). Illustrated biographies of the eleven DLI soldiers awarded the VC, including the six Great War VCs.

Moses, Harry, The Fighting Bradfords: Northern Heroes of World War One (Durham, 2003). Illustrated biographies of four County Durham brothers, who fought in the Great War. Roland Bradford, who was in the DLI, and his brother George were both awarded the Victoria Cross.

Author unknown, Brigadier General R B Bradford VC MC & his brothers (London, 1929; reprinted Newport, 1997). Three of the four Bradford brothers were killed in action in WW1 - two with the DLI. The author of this book may have been the surviving brother, Thomas Bradford, who also served with the DLI.

Memoirs

Parker, Ernest, Into Battle 1914-1918 (London, 1964; reprinted 1994). The only published account by a DLI soldier, who fought on the Western Front. Ernest Parker served with 10 DLI in 1915 and fought at Loos before being commissioned in the Royal Fusiliers.

De Lisle, General Sir Henry de Beauvoir, Reminiscences of Sport & War (London, 1939). Autobiography. De Lisle, who was first commissioned in 2 DLI, rose to command 29th Division and 15th Corps during the Great War.

Poetry and Essays

Lyon, P.H.B, Songs of Youth and War (London, 1918). Lieutenant Lyon served with 6 DLI and was taken prisoner in 1918. Some of his poems had previously been published in 6 DLI's own trench magazine The Whizz-Bang.

Shepherd, Norman Robinson, Essays (Newcastle, 1923). Captain Shepherd was killed in action with 7 DLI in 1916 on the Somme near the Butte de Warlencourt. This posthumously printed book has an introduction by Captain Shepherd's father.

Officers' Biographies

McGregor, Malcolm, Officers of the Durham Light Infantry, 1758-1968, volume 1: Regulars (Privately published, 1989). Includes brief biographies of every DLI Regular officer who served during the Great War. Note: The author had researched further volumes on the officers of the DLI's Militia, Reserve, Territorial and Service battalions, but no other volumes were published.