1940 Christmas Card Detail
16 DLI 'Guards-style' shoulder flash

Army Numbers

Photographs

Documents and Letters

The Battle of Sedjenane

Prisoners of War

Book List, Research Resources & Links

Introduction

A Concise History

Roll of Honour

Gallantry Awards

Eyewitness Memories

Called-up from
Thornley Colliery

The Oak Tree shoulder flash, illustrated above, is the divisional sign of the 46th Division. Red for infantry, the three small 'arm of service' strips worn underneath it, and represented at left, indicate 139 Brigade (2nd/5th Leicesters, 2nd/5th Sherwood Foresters, 16th DLI). This was one of the three infantry brigades of the 46th Division. 128 Brigade (1st/4th Hampshires, 2nd/4th Hampshires, 5th Hampshires) had one strip. 138 Brigade (6th Lincolns, 2nd/4th Kingís Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 6th Yorks and Lancs) had two. Thus any soldierís photograph which shows a combination of DLI shoulder titles, oak tree insignia and three red arm of service strips has to be of a member of the 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

Other Formations: it is impossible to cover the history of one Army unit without reference to the other units it fought alongside, so there is also information and eyewitness testimony in this site concerning No 1 Army Commando, the 6th Battalion the Lincolnshire Regiment and the North Irish Horse, which all played a prominent role in the Battle of Sedjenane and the Army Film Unit which filmed that battle. Also the 70th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery and the 2nd/5th Sherwood Foresters. Plus there is much detailed information in the site on casualties and POWs from my fatherís home village of Thornley, Co Durham and the nearby villages of Wheatley Hill and Ludworth. To search for a specific name, click on the site search button above.

Site first published February 23rd 2004
Last updated February 18th 2014

The 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry 1940-46
1941 Christmas Card detail
Italy Star Campaign Medal, click for full display
Africa Star Campaign Medal, click for full display
World War II, a British focus
site map
46th Infantry Division shoulder flash


This wholly unofficial website documents the history of The 16th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry, which was formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in early July 1940. The Battalion then consisted of several large drafts of raw civilian conscripts, with most of its NCOs drawn from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment. After much training and via moves to Dalkeith, Thetford, Folkstone and Rye, the Battalion sailed away to war on Christmas Day 1942 from Liverpool aboard the MV Staffordshire, as part of 139 Brigade of the 46th Infantry Division of the First Army. Entering the frontline in the Green Hill sector of Northern Tunisia on January 17th 1943, the 16th DLI suffered grievous losses in the Battle of Sedjenane, which began for the Durhams on the morning of February 27th 1943. The 16th played a major role in the Salerno Landings of September 1943 and the subsequent gruelling campaign in Italy. In December 1944 16 DLI was flown to Greece, returning to Italy in April 1945. The 16th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry was disbanded in Austria in February 1946.

Thatís the bigger picture for the site: the smaller one is my late father Pte Tom Tunneyís war service with the Battalion. Called up from Thornley Colliery to 4 ITC at Brancepeth Camp in December 1941, (Army number 4469365) he was taken POW during the Battle of Sedjenane and was subsequently held at Camps 66 and 53 in Italy and Stalag 4B in Germany, before being assigned to a Stalag 4D work camp at Bad Schmiedeberg, near Wittenberg, where he witnessed the simultaneous arrival of Russian and US troops, the latter from the 104th Infantry Division, on April 30th 1945. Appropriately enough, given the 16th DLIís early history, he served out the last few months of his Army service as an NCO with 9th Battalion of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment in Scotland, before being demobbed in May 1946.

Site written, designed and copyright Tom Tunney, 37 St Andrews Mews, London N16 5HR, England.

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