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Remembered Today:

William Albert ROSE - Durham Light Infantry

Guest Paul Rose

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Hello One and All

My name is Paul Rose and I have just joined the forum after deciding to research my grandfathers war service.

My grandfather, William Albert ROSE, served with the 11th Durham Light Infantry during WW1. I have his army number, Pte. 25757 Sgn. but I am confused as to what the "Sgn." actually stands for. I thought at first it might have stood for 'signals' but have been advised that it probably doesn't. I presume the "Pte." stands for private? I would appreciate any ideas from other members of the forum as to what this may have stood for.

The information above was obtained whilst I was researching my family history and came across his army number in the Electoral Role where he was listed as an 'abentee'.

I have found his details on the National Archives site whilst seraching for any WW1 Campaign Medals and hope to get a copy of his medal card soon.

Regards, Paul

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It may well stand for "signaller", despite the advice received.

Each infantry battalion of around 1000 men had 4 companies (A,B,C &D) that made up the main fighting force of the battalion. Outside of this structure was the headquarters staff which included signallers.

Due to the technology of the time, this wasn't just a matter of using a wireless set as they were not used in any great number until the end of the war. The main way of communicating was with field telephones. This meant that signallers had to go out with the battalions to lay these lines across No Man's Land so that communication could be maintained.

They were also responsible for light signalling, carrier pigeons, messenger dogs, and semaphore flag (!) signalling.

Although they were not assault troops, the signallers were still armed with a rifle and expected to go forward with the main body of troops.

At the Division, Corps and Army level this job was taken over by the Royal Engineers, but the Battalion level men were taken from the Infantry battalion itself.

Pte. is the shorthand for Private.


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I have information on 11 DLI, including the full service record of a relative of mine who died on the Somme whilst with the 11th.

I also have a friend, Martin Bashforth, who is researching 11 DLI with a view to publishing a book in 2008.

If he can help you he will, he would also love any personal info you have on your grandfather, including photos as this is what he lacks. I'll talk to him tomorrow and ask if it is okay to pass his details to you.


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I also have a family member that I have just started researching that served with the DLI.

376697, John Henry Palmer

14/7/17, 27th DLI

23/12/17, 1/6th DLI

25/12/17 - 3/3/19, 11th DLI

Any info or diaries on these would be much apreciated. As I said this is a new one for me so I know nothing.


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Hi Sean

Thanks for your reply. I would love to be able to make contact with your friend, Martin Bashforth, and I would be very interested in placing an order for a copy of his book! As and when I get any info which your friend may find of interest, then I wouldn't have a problem sharing it with him. I know very little about where my grandfather served, what the 11 DLI were involved in etc. I am really starting with a blank canvas so I am looking for any/all the information I can lay my hands on.

Thanks again, Sean.

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Hello Paul

The 11th DLI was the Pioneer Battalion of the 20th (Light) Division, I have the history of the 20th Div from January 1916 to August 1917, if you contact me off forum I can send you a copy along with the Order of Battle.

John Milner

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Paul

Just picking up the many threads that are going around after joining the Forum last November. Feel free to contact me directly regarding the research I have done on 11th DLI, as it is almost complete at least in terms of the outline history. What I am after is the added spice of personal stories. So I am interested in any snippets you can add, and that goes for anyone else out there, such as GJB, who also has a personal interest in the battalion.

Martin Bashforth

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