Memorials to the DLI

Memorials to the DLI

This work relates to the Great War and the following section will, primarily, only record memorials and commemorations of WW1.  Divisional memorials will be included.

 Durham Cathedral: DLI Chapel [1]

In 1922, the Regiment’s officers and the Cathedral Chapter resolved to create a memorial chapel in the south transept.  The Bishop of Durham, Hensley Henson dedicated the Chapel 20 October 1923.

The Colours

For 200 years, new Colours had been presented in religious services.  When disposing of the old Colours a church became their natural final resting place.  Most of the DLI’s old Colours are in Durham Cathedral but there are some in Parish Churches elsewhere such as Barnard Castle.  To past and serving soldiers the Colours lay at the heart of the regiment, the Queen’s Colour signifies loyalty and service to the monarch and the Regimental Colour represents the soldier’s duty to the regiment.  The Colours bear the battle honours from the Peninsula War to Korea.  On 12 December 1968, after a final parade on Palace Green, the 2 Colours of the DLI were laid up in Durham Cathedral.  This ceremony marked the end of the DLI.

 The Book of Remembrance

More than 12,600 names fill the book for the First World War.  The pages are turned daily as the books are in date order.  Casualties are recorded on the date they died.

The Wooden Cross

It commemorates the action of the 151st Brigade during the last days of the Battle of the Somme and the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt 5 November 1916.  Following 2 failed attempts by the British Army, the 151st Brigade – the 6th 8th and 9th DLI attacked the fortified mound.  The weather was terrible and the heavy rain turned the trenches into quagmires.  The Germans increased their counter-attacks and despite staunch and courageous resistance by all 3 battalions, they could not prevent the withdrawal of the survivors from captured trenches after midnight.  More than 800 men were killed, wounded and missing.  The horrific mud claimed many victims as they struggled to get out of the trenches.  It took another 3 months before the Butte was finally taken.

The cross was made and erected by the Regimental Pioneers of the 9/DLI using scrap wood they could find.  The cross stood on the battlefield until it was removed in 1926 and then placed in the chapel in February 1927.  Another 2 smaller crosses were erected to commemorate the 6th and 8th Battalions and they stood together on the Butte de Warlencourt battlefield until they were removed in 1926.  In February 1927, the large cross was then placed in the DLI Chapel and the other crosses were placed in St. Andrew’s Church, South Church, Bishop Auckland and the St. Mary’s and St. Cuthbert’s Church, Chester-le-Street.

DLI Memorial [2]

A column in the Norman style is located to the east of the Cathedral, within its grounds.  It is carved with designs of military artefacts such as Mills bomb, shells, steel helmets. The inscription simply states DLI 1914-1918.  It was unveiled 24 November 1928 by the Lord Lieutenant, the Marques of Londonderry.

St. Andrew’s Church, South Church, Bishop Auckland: The Wooden Cross 

 The cross was brought to St. Andrew’s and placed in the chapel 26 June 1927.  It is inscribed:

“D.L.I. in Remembrance of The Gallant Officers, N.C.O.’s & Men of the 6th Battn. The Durham Light Infantry who fell in the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt Nov. 5th & 6th 1916.”

 A brass tablet records:

“This wooden Memorial Cross of the 6th Bn. The Durham Light Infantry was originally erected on the summit of the Butte be Warlencourt in the Department of the Somme, France immediately after the severe attack which they made there on the 5th and 6th days of November 1916.  The Cross with its plinth was prepared and constructed by the Pioneers of the unit under war conditions from material which was, it is believed, supplied by the Royal Engineers.  The Memorial remained where it was erected for nearly 10 years exposed to all the varying climatic conditions of Northern France until the Autumn of 1926 when at the request of the unit it was brought to England and placed in the Church on 26th June 1927”

Western Front Association: Butte de Warlencourt, Somme, France [3]

Two memorial plaques were dedicated 30 June 1990. One plaque with an inscription in English and the logo of the Western Front Association (WFA) was unveiled by the WFA President John Terraine. The second plaque, inscribed in French and in the colours of the Souvenir Francais, faced the battlefields of the French Sixth Army. This second plaque was unveiled by M. Andre Coilliot, of the Souvenir Francais.

The inscription reads:



The 50th (Northumbrian) Division Memorial Oxford Road, Ieper (Ypres) Belgium [4]

The 55ft tall obelisk was unveiled 1 September 1929 by Field-Marshal Lord Plumer.  Ex-soldiers and relatives of men who had fallen attended the ceremony, which was held at 11 a.m, and followed by the Last Post and a minute’s silence.

The memorial is set within a low wall within a lawned area, entered by a gate set in stone pillars, somewhat similar in appearance to many CWGC cemetery entrance gates.  It was designed by Captain Mauchlen MC, 9/DLI, an officer who had served with the Division.

On the front, at the base are the words “Pro Patria”. The main inscription above reads:

 “To the enduring memory of all ranks of the 50th Northumbrian Division who fell in the Great War 1914-1918 and in memory of their comrades of the same Division who gave their lives in the War of 1939-1945 for the Liberation of France, Belgium and Holland”.

Above this is the Divisional emblem, two capital letter T’s, signifying the Rivers Tyne and Tees. A sword is engraved above, with a representation of a horse’s head looking out from laurel wreaths right at the top.

On the two sides are listed the units which made up this Division, which were the 149th (Northumberland), 150th (York and Durham) and 151st (Durham Light Infantry) Infantry Brigades, plus associated cavalry, artillery and other Divisional units. The actual battalions listed within the infantry brigades do not in fact reflect all the units that were part of the 50th throughout the Great War.

The 14th (Light) Division Memorial, Hill 60, Belgium

This memorial was moved to this location from Railway Wood, a few kilometres north of Hill 60 because of subsidence. It is now located just outside the perimeter of the Hill 60 Memorial Site next to the Australian Tunnelling Company memorial.[5]  10/DLI came under the orders of 43rd Brigade and 29/DLI 41st Brigade from June 1918. [6]

The 20th (Light) Division Memorial, Guillemont, Somme, France

The memorial to the 20th (Light) Division is at Guillemont on the Somme. 11/DLI came under the orders of the 61st Brigade until January 1915 and thenceforth was a Pioneer Battalion. [7]  There is another (obelisk) memorial at Langemarck near Ypres.

The 41st Division Memorial, Flers, Somme, France

The memorial to the 41st Division is located in the village of Flers, Somme. The village was captured by units of the division 15 September 1916. 20/DLI (Wearside Pals) came under the orders of 123rd Brigade and 124th Brigade from March 1918. [8]

The 64th Infantry Brigade Memorial, Cojeul British Cemetery near Arras, France

The memorial is to the 64th Infantry Brigade including 15/DLI officers and men who fell 9 April 1917 in capturing part of the Hindenburg Line, as part of the 21st Division. [9]


[1] “A short guide to the Durham Light Infantry Chapel and other memorials in Durham Cathedral” The Chapter of Durham & the DLI Association

[2] NE War Memorials Project

















Durham Cathedral DLI War Memorial

Durham Cathedral
DLI War Memorial

Durham Cathedral DLI War Memorial Detail

Durham Cathedral
DLI War Memorial

St. Andrew's Church Bishop Auckland

St. Andrew’s Church Bishop Auckland


St. Andrew's Church Bishop Auckland The Wooden Cross

St. Andrew’s Church Bishop Auckland
The Wooden Cross

Butte de Warlencourt Memorial WFA

Butte de Warlencourt Memorial

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial Inscription

50th Northumbrian Division Memorial