Wednesday, 12 August 2015

DLI Other Ranks Army Numbers 1939-45


I've now done a major revamp on the DLI Army Numbers section of the website and added a consecutive listing of known DLI fatal casualties, POWs and gallantry awards for DLI Other Ranks who were assigned the eight figure, 14200001 and upwards, Army General Service numbers, which were introduced in mid-1942. This section begins here:

Consecutive General Service Durham Light Infantry Numbers, Fatal Casualties, Prisoners of War and known Gallantry Awards, 1942-1947.


I've also updated the landing page for the DLI Numbers section of the site and added a series of new links to existing sections, which should make it easier for novice DLI researchers to put a specific DLI World War Two Other Ranks Army number in context. The new landing page is here:

Other Ranks WW2 Consecutive DLI Numbers




Saturday, 16 May 2015

16th Bn DLI Old Comrades’ Association, 1945, Name and Address List


I've now transcribed the 1945 16 DLI Old Comrades' Association name and address booklet which was printed in Austria in 1945 and which contains the names and home addresses of over 600 officers and men who were serving with the 16th DLI in the immediate aftermath of WW2. I've also cross-referenced this with the two later editions of the booklet,1946 & 1947, which add many further names, into one unified listing.

Many of these names also feature as part of various photo captions elsewhere on the site, but many more do not.

Help in matching these names to photographs already on the site and any and all further information about these soldiers gratefully received.

I am especially keen on placing more men who were with the battalion from the start in 1940 and also those who joined as reinforcements from other DLI battalions in 1943-44.

The booklet index page starts here:

http://16dli.atspace.co.uk/page25.html

16 DLI Guestbook, Missing in Action


The 'Freebok' guest book I have been using for my 16 DLI and 16 DLI POWs websites since 2004 has suddenly disappeared as of 3/15. I'm considering installing a replacement, but in the meantime, any interested parties can contact me direct with any 16 DLI queries and comments at:

thomas.tunney@btinternet.com

Or leave a comment on this blog.


Thursday, 30 April 2015

Bad Schmiedeberg, April 30th 1945

It's now exactly 70 years since American and Soviet forces simultaneously arrived in the town of Bad Schmiedeberg. The US troops were a fighting patrol consisting of two tanks and one truck load of infantry from the 2nd Battalion, 413th Infantry Regiment of the 104th Infantry Division and Company B of the 750th Tank Battalion. The Soviet troops were from the 118th Ukrainian Division.

My father, Pte Thomas Tunney, ex-16th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry and his friend, Driver Benny Lewis of the Royal Army Service Corps, were the only two British prisoners of war left in the town by this time and witnessed their arrival and subsequent celebrations in the town square.

I had hoped, over the 11 years this website has been functioning, that somebody out there might have further detailed memories or even photographs of this event.

This hasn't proved to be the case thus far--I still live in hope! However, back in 1998, I did hire a researcher in Washington DC to find the requisite After Action Reports of the 104th Infantry Division for this day and this information, plus my father's eyewitness account, can be read beginning on this page of the site:

http://stalag4d.atspace.co.uk/page30.html

This is the exact quote from the 30/4/45 After Action Report which is also on the website:

OPERATIONS

‘The division assumed responsibility for an additional sector to the south, relieving elements of the 69th Infantry Division. All regiments patrolled east of the Mulde River, and contact with the RUSSIAN Allies was continued on the Elbe River. The division defended its sector, checked rear areas and conducted training, maintenance and rehabilitation.’

413th Infantry

‘Continued to maintain defensive position; 1st and 2nd Battalion patrolled in platoon strength motorized to Elbe River. 2nd Battalion contacted RUSSIANS, 118th Infantry Division, at BAD SCHMIEDEBERG (4554). 1st Battalion contacted RUSSIAN outposts at DOMMITZSCH (5650). No resistance going out or coming back.’

750th Tank Battalion

‘2 tanks from each platoon of Company B supported patrols from 1st and 2nd Battalions, 413th Infantry.’

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

16 DLI Mortar Platoon Photograph, 1942


A 1942 group photograph of the Mortar Platoon, HQ Company, 16 DLI is now posted on this page of the web site:

http://16dli.atspace.co.uk/page3.html


Thanks to Steven Henderson, the son of of ex-Mortar Platoon Sergeant J C Henderson, for passing on a copy of this extremely rare picture. More photographs and information on Sgt Henderson's wartime career with 16 DLI, all courtesy of Steve, can be read from this page:

http://16dli.atspace.co.uk/page2.html

The importance of this long-lost photograph is that it finally proves to me that there are other official group company and platoon photographs out there to discover of the 16th DLI taken in 1942 before the Battalion went abroad.

1942 official (that is sanctioned, organised and paid for by the battalion for distribution to Officers and Other Ranks) group photographs of

B Company,

D Company,

the Battalion Sergeants

and the Battalion Officers

have surfaced and are already on the site and can accessed from the 16 DLI Photographs Index page, here:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page51.html

Captioning these photographs is still an on-going process! All were taken by the Folkstone firm of Lambert and Weston in either Rye or Winchelsea. The photographs that are still missing and lost to 16 DLI history are:

the 1942 group photograph of:

'A' Company,

the 1942 group photo of

C Company

and the 1942 photographs of the other various HQ Company specialist platoons.

It's interesting that the Mortar Platoon photograph is taken at exactly the same location as the

1942 Sergeants' photograph,

with very distinctive bay windows as a backdrop.

16 DLI HQ Company numbered around 250, which was very large for a single group photo, so it's likely that photographs of the specific specialist platoons were taken at this same location and in the same manner as the Mortar Platoon, namely:

the 1942 16 DLI

Signal Platoon

Anti-Aircraft Platoon

Carrier Platoon

Pioneer Platoon

Administration Platoon

Anti-Tank Platoon

Again I appeal to anyone who may have any of these pictures, or who can place further faces on those already published on the site, to get in touch.

The history of the 16th DLI will be so much the richer if these long lost photographs can be shared, captioned and allowed to tell their otherwise long-lost stories.

Monday, 30 December 2013

16 DLI War Grave Photographs

Latest update to the site is a collection of over 30 large format photographs of 16 DLI war graves in Italy and Tunisia. Special thanks to Chris Craggs for taking these pictures and allowing me to post them on the site. The updated 16 DLI War Graves index page is here:

http://powbooks.atspace.co.uk/page20.html

Monday, 9 September 2013

16 DLI and the Salerno Landings


Though you would hardly know it from the BBC and much of the mainstream media's complete lack of coverage, today marks the 70th anniversary of the Salerno Landings, when 16 DLI and the rest of the British 46th Infantry Division went ashore on mainland Italy as part of the US Fifth Army in what was, to that date, the biggest ever amphibious operation.

Already on the web site are the following:

Photographs and documents relating to Major A E C Vizard, who led A Company 16 DLI into action on the first morning of the landings:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page302.html

'Prelude to Salerno', a 1945 poem about the landings by 16 DLI CSM W 'Jimmy' James:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page242.html

A copy of the beach head newspaper The Salerno Times, dated 16/9/43, which which was kept as a souvenir by Capt Gordon Harris of the Signal Platoon,16 DLI:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page284.html

Padre G Meek's memories of 16 DLI's Salerno Regimental Aid Post:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page88.html

And a brief potted history of the first days of 16 DLI's mainland Italy campaign:

http://16dli.awardspace.com/page98.html