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

9th Battalion DLI: From D-Day to Berlin

Part of an online exhibition from Durham County Record Office commemorating the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe on 8 May 1945

Soldiers from B Company, 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry in Kangaroo armoured carrier, Germany, late March 1945 (D/DLI Acc: 10050)

Only one battalion of the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) was in action from the Normandy beaches in June 1944 to the final defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945 - the 9th Battalion DLI.

In 1939, the soldiers of this Territorial battalion, many recruited from Gateshead, were new to war, but after years of hard fighting in France, North Africa and Sicily, these veterans were chosen to land on D-Day, as part of the 50th Northumbrian Division.

Then, in late 1944, after months of bitter fighting across northern France and Belgium, whilst other DLI battalions were disbanded, the 9th Battalion was transferred to the 7th Armoured Division - the Desert Rats - and joined the advance across the Rhine and on into Germany. 

Soldiers from 10 Platoon, ‘B’ Company, 9th Battalion Durham Light Infantry waiting in Kangaroo armoured carriers to attack Weseke, late March 1945 (D/DLI Acc: 10050)
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Soldiers from 10 Platoon, 'B' Company, 9th Battalion DLI waiting in Kangaroo armoured carriers to attack Weseke, late March 1945. Note the 'Desert Rat' badge (D/DLI Acc: 10050).

This photograph belonged to Alan Capstick from Stockton on Tees, who served with 9 DLI in North West Europe. On the reverse, Lieutenant Capstick wrote that this photo, widely published in newspapers at the time, was of his platoon.

Captain Roy Griffiths with ‘D’ Company Headquarters, 9th Battalion DLI, Nienberg, Germany, April 1945 (D/DLI 7/273/15(10))
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Captain Roy Griffiths with 'D' Company Headquarters, 9th Battalion DLI, Nienberg, Germany, April 1945 (D/DLI 7/273/15(10)). 

Roy Griffiths, who served with 9 DLI from Sicily to Berlin, is wearing a parachute silk scarf and a pair of 'liberated' German Luftwaffe boots. After the war, he compiled an album of his war-time photographs.

Back to 'We have come through' - remembering VE Day 1945 exhibition homepage.