The following article was written by Regimental Sergeant Major E Thomasson MBE for the Christmas 1945 issue of Geordie Magazine--the original heading is reproduced above. RSM Thomasson was the Regimental Sgt Major of the 16th DLI from mid-1942 and throughout its time in action. The ‘22s’ referred to in the piece is a reference to the ‘demob number’, based on age and length of service, which each soldier was issued with at the war’s end. The lower the number, the earlier the release date. In fact, RSM Thomasson stayed in the Army postwar, serving as RSM with 2 DLI from 1946 and was commissioned as a Lt Quartermaster in 1954, finally retiring in 1966.

Bearing in mind the reception which RSM's usually receive, you may smoke and sit at ease. By the way, before I commence, 'HQ' sanitary man has slung out a red hot tip that the 22's should have gone last week, perhaps we had better wait for confirmation. Twenty-two happens to be my release group, and so, with a little persuasion from the Editor, I am writing my farewell to the Battalion.

At the present moment my mind is a little confused, I have a feeling of not wanting to go--'Keep quiet at the back!'--fourteen years ago I joined the Army, but it wasn't until the war started that I realised why, and now like most of you, my thoughts are confined chiefly to active service and our Battalion.

Since our first battle in Tunisia the Battalion has stayed the distance right to the end and, on the way through many hard times, covered itself in glory. It is sad to think that this was not done without the loss of many brave men--men from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales who had fought together so well in the Durham Light Infantry. In our memory they will never be forgotten.

The ups and downs have been many, but for us who have come through to the end, who would say that it has not been worthwhile? I remember vividly one occasion in Italy when we were battling in the Calabretto Valley. We were working with the Coldstream and Scots Guards. At one stage there were seriously wounded men of the Guards waiting to be evacuated and the only road was through the area we had to clear. The RMO of the Guards was anxious to get his men away. It was then that I heard a remark of which I shall always be proud. It was for you. A Sergeant of the Scots Guards said to the MO 'Be patient sir, the Durhams will fix it if anyone can.' It was fixed.

Now the scene has changed bringing with it new tasks, and new battledress, a bit of a blow for the lovers of mud and simple pleasures. But I know you will pull through with much 'ticking' and the usual splendid effort.

In my feeling of pride for the Regiment, I copy from Mr Churchill's expression when he said: 'A man need only say, I marched with the Desert Army'. We need only say: 'I marched with the Durham Light Infantry'.

Goodbye and Good Luck to you all.

E Thomasson (RSM)

RSM Thomasson Says Goodbye to the Battalion, November 1945

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