70th Battalion DLI Officers, 1942

This photograph of the officers of the 70th (Young Soldiers) Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry was taken at Westwick Camp, Barnard Castle in October 1942. This image has been scanned from Major Vizard's own personal copy. However, the Durham County Records Office also holds the image (reference number D/DLI 2/34/5) with the caption as listed below. I have included some extra detail in brackets and will be adding more information on individual officers in due course.

The Young Soldiers Battalions of the British Army were formed in December 1940 and were made up from Other Ranks volunteers who were below the then conscription age of 20. However, when the conscription age was reduced to 18 in 1942, they were gradually disbanded. Many soldiers who came to the 16th DLI as reinforcements in early and mid-1943 were previously members of the 70th DLI.

Home Defence duties of the Battalion in 1941-42 included guarding the RAF bases at Middleton St George, Scorton and Catterick. The 70th also became the demonstration battalion for the new GHQ Battle School at Barnard Castle. The Battalion disbanded in August 1943.

The officers featured above are as follows:

Back row: Lt A J Halford Stuvens, Lt P May, Lt J LWalsh, Lt J G Shields, Lt V B Murray.

Middle row: Lt R D Cohen, Lt A Dixon, Capt F B Kirbell, Captain B Ellett, Capt F D Hayward (later served with 16 DLI), Capt J T McLellan, Lt B T Coates, Lt F Livesey.

Front row: Capt G T Bell, Capt R W Blackett, Maj J A Boucher, Maj J M Hanmer, Lt-Col Peter J Jeffreys (Brigade Major in 151 Brigade at Arras in May 1940, commanding 6 DLI in the retreat to Dunkirk; later served with the 81st Division in the Arakan, Burma, commanding 5 West African Infantry Brigade; commanded 1 DLI in action in Korea, awarded two DSOs), Lt D K Johnstone, Capt C Lackenby, Capt AEC Vizard, Lt (Q M) Humphreys.


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The Officers of the 70th Young Soldiers Battalion, DLI, October 1941