Many of the soldiers listed in the Old Comrades' Association booklet came to the 16th DLI as reinforcement drafts in North Africa and Italy in 1943 and 1944, but a small number were with the unit from the first days in Edinburgh in July 1940 right through to disbandment in early 1946 Austria.

A second edition of the booket was published by the OCA of the now disbanded unit in the UK in 1946, with a few additional names. This edition also includes for the first time the military rank of most members, whereas the first edition is strictly name and address only.

The third and final edition of the booklet, though undated, probably dates from 1947 and includes quite a number of further additional names. Very significantly, these include the likes of Major K N Hillas and Sgt G T Walton, who were both taken POW in Tunisia in 1943, and also several officer ex-members of the battalion posted elsewhere before the unit went abroad in December 1942.

In the transcription below I have cross-referenced and combined entries from all three additions of the booklet, plus an undated loose 1940s insert 'Supplement List of Members' with over 30 more names. There are very many typing errors across the three editions and I have corrected the more obvious of these. It's also important to note that many forename initials, and some surnames spellings, are different across the three editions and where this is the case I have noted this by putting the variation in square [ ] brackets.

It's fascinating to note the huge geographical range of villages, home towns, cities and counties represented in the 16th Battalion DLI. Many were from County Durham and nearby Northumberland and Teesside, but very many were from much further afield, including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The very essence of a wartime citizen army, this listing of names and addresses of those who served in this distinguished 'hostilities only' battalion is the literal raw data of social and military history and should be of interest to all with a family connection to the 16th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry.

Quite number of 16th DLI OCA members were interviewed at great length by the Imperial War Museum in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, several of the very last with yours truly as the interviewer, and where this is the case for the names listed below, I have included the direct link to the interview, which can be freely listened to online, on the Imperial War Museum website.

Many of the officers and men listed in the booklet feature, and have already been identified, on photographs already published on my web site. For further details, put the chosen initials and surname in the site search button at above right.

Many of the others listed here have not been identified thus far. However, I'm certain that many of the names listed here can also be placed on various of the group photographs by relatives reading this.

This is one of the key areas where I still need help and this is the main reason I have published this listing here. I am particularly keen to identify more of those who served with the Battalion for the entire period of its existence from 1940 to 1946. According to 16 DLI veteran Tom Turnbull theses numbered a mere 57 officers and men in late 1945. Equally significant are the number of Other Ranks who came to the Battalion in Italy in 1943-44 after previous service with the 6th, 8th and 9th DLI in the desert

If you can match a face to a name, correct a surname spelling or provide any further information, however small, please get in touch:

thomas.tunney@btinternet.com

The 16th DLI OCA continued to attract 'new' members, who had to have served with the battalion in 1940-46, almost through to its final reunion in Durham in 1999. My own father wasn't aware of the OCA until just before his first attendance in 1973; his platoon mate George Forster, who he hadn't seen since the latter was wounded in the first Battle of Sedjenane in 1943, only surfaced for his first reunion in 1989 and there are several other similar tales of late arrivals and surprise reunions many years on from WW2. I also have the name and address OCA attendance sheet for the 1978 Reunion which list many of these later OCA members and this has now been transcribed on this page, with further notes on these postwar members who were also interviewed by the Imperial War Museum.

My special thanks to the late Alex Gray and the late Ernie Scriven for loaning me the three original 16 DLI OCA booklets from which this transcription has been compiled and from which the cover and page images have been taken.

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16 DLI OCA, 1945 SURNAME INDEX

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