DLI Edinburgh.

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by Wenz, Jun 6, 2014.

  1. Wenz

    Wenz Member

    Thank you all so very much for your information.x
  2. Cpl Hadaway

    Cpl Hadaway Member

    Strange how these inquiry threads often just fizzle out. To give a kind of conclusion: RA records indicate Elinor Calder enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1938 and transferred to the DLI on 10/8/44.
  3. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    So he wasn’t with the Durham Light Infantry in the Western Desert when he earned his 8th Army clasp. He could have been with any of the live battalions.

    Need to see a copy of his service records I wonder if Wenz has them?


  4. Cpl Hadaway

    Cpl Hadaway Member

    A few thoughts. Yes, Calder's service record would certainly clear things up. In the meantime, I wouldn't completely rule out him being sent to 1 DLI in Italy after his Royal Artillery service which earned him his 8th Army Clasp. Joining up in 1938, his RA history could be quite fascinating in itself: Dunkirk? Tobruk? Malta? Probably with a heavy ack ack unit that was broken up to release men for the infantry in 1944. Very many infantry unit casualties, especially in Italy, are ex-RA in 1944-45.

    Looking at his portrait picture, from what we can see of the should title, the 'Durham' we can see looks like 'Durham LI', rather than the 16th DLI style 'Durham Light Infantry', hence he could be 1 DLI in Italy, and if not with one of the five frontline DLI battalions in NW Europe.

    In terms of his Royal Artillery Army number in consecutive sequence, the nearest known ex-RA DLI casualties to him are two 16 DLI men, though six years on from enlistment, this isn't of much use in pinpointing his whereabouts in 1944:

    Siddle, Pte Harry, 1473629, 16 DLI.
    Reported wounded, Italy, 12/9/44.
    Joined RA 1938; transferred to DLI 20/6/44.

    [Calder, Pte Elmer L, 1474410, DLI.
    (this World War Two Talk thread)
    RA records indicate 'Elinor' Calder enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1938 and transferred to the DLI on 10/8/44. ]

    Goldstone, Cpl Maurice, 1475530, 16 DLI.
    Died 27/9/44 serving with 16 DLI. Age not recorded by CWGC. Son of Max and Annie Goldstone, of Leeds, Yorkshire. Coriano Ridge War Cemetery, Italy XVIII F 4.
    Transferred to DLI 20/6/44.

    Goldstone and Siddle both transferred to the DLI on 20/6/44. I can't find any other ex-RA casualties who transferred to the DLI on 10/8/44 with Calder. However, there is this man for the same date who transferred to the Manchester Regt (there was a 46 Division battalion in Italy) before ending up in 16 DLI.

    Ackers, Pte Harold, 1717845, 16 DLI.
    Reported missing believed POW, Greece, 14/12/44.
    Previously reported missing believed POW, now reported not missing, 14/12/44.
    Enlisted RA 1940. Transferred to Manchester Regt, 10/8/44, prior to DLI.

    And this man also transferred to the DLI in Italy in 8/44.

    Arnott, Pte Thomas David, 1682685, 16 DLI.
    Reported missing believed POW, Greece, 14/12/44.
    Previously reported missing believed POW, now reported not missing, 14/12/44.
    Originally enlisted RA. Transferred to DLI 2/8/44.

    By contrast, here are two ex-RA men who went from the RA to the DLI, and then to the Somerset LI in Western Europe from 8/44:

    Lawrence, L/Cpl Edward Robinson, 1675614, DLI.
    Reported wounded, NW Europe, 19/11/44, serving with DLI, bn unspecified, attached 1st Bn DCLI.
    Corrected: unit and rank should read 7/Som LI, Pte.
    Enlisted RA 1940; transferred to DLI 12/8/44.

    Minto, Pte Gordon, 1581463, DLI
    Reported wounded, W Europe, 23/11/44, DLI bn not specified.
    Corrected: unit should read 7th Bn, Somerset LI.
    Enlisted RA 1938; transferred to DLI, 12/8/44.

    So the jury's still out I think on what DLI battalion Calder served with. The original poster said that he then went to the Highland Light Infantry after the DLI, but the HLI were also in Italy as well as Western Europe, so that's no help.

    It's a shame we haven't got a firm conclusion for Calder, since there would have been maybe 50-plus other ex-RA men in his draft to the DLI and his story could well have helped to illuminate theirs. And some of these men will inevitably be among the many ex-Royal Artillery casualties recorded over all the frontline DLI battalions in 44-45.

    The issue of surplus RA men being posted to the infantry in 1943-44 is a fascinating subject in itself. Ponder this soldier who spent over three years in the RA, and then only a month with the DLI in W Europe before being killed. Details from CWGC, 1939-45 Casualty Reports, and RA records:

    Russell, Pte Christopher John, 1830028, 9 DLI.
    Reported wounded, 4/10/44, recorded as Gnr, RA, specific unit not recorded.
    Corrected: unit and rank should read 9/Durham LI, Pte.
    Corrected: casualty should read killed in action.
    Died 4/10/44, serving with 9 DLI, aged 36. Foster-son of William and Caroline J Turner, of Trewern, Montgomeryshire. Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Netherlands, 12 A 14.
    Originally enlisted RA 1941. Transferred DLI 3/9/44.

    This IWM interview is especially insightful on this subject:

    Cameron, Cpl Albert, 1519118, 16 DLI.
    Enlisted in RA 11/39, served in 295 Bty, 96th HAA Regiment, RA, 1940-44.
    Transferred to DLI, 20/6/44.
    Served in 'A' Coy, 16 DLI, from 7/44.
    Reported wounded, Italy, 20/9/44.

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