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Remembered Today:

Durham Light Infantry shoulder titles


P.B.
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I've recently been studying photos of my great-grandad's unit, 13/DLI, taken during WWI. A series of shots taken during the battle of the Menin Road Ridge in 1917 seem to show a variety of different shoulder titles being worn:

The standard curved "DURHAM" in brass.

Curved "DURHAM" together with a brass bugle.

The woven white-on-khaki "DURHAM" and bugle, sewn on the very top of the sleeve.

Does anyone know which version was "correct" for 13/DLI -I'm presuming that the "DURHAM" plus bugle, in either brass or cloth is correct, but in that case is the bugle and lettering actually joined together (like some examples I've seen) or are the "DURHAM" and bugle actually a two-piece badge?

Many thanks in advance for any help on this one, very best regards

Paul.

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Paul,

It would appear that the original one piece Bugle/Durham was first introduced in c.1885 in two slightly different patterns for wear on the K.D. jacket.

These were replaced in 1907 by the seperate Bugle/Durham which is more commonly found. However a third title was introduced during WWI, which again was a one piece Bugle/Durham, but of a different pattern to those found on the KD.

This final pattern can also be found in whitemetal, chrome and silver anodised aluminium as it was re-adopted in 1952.

The white on khaki Bugle/Durham was a late introduction, WWI economy cloth title, which should have actually been worn on the shoulder strap, but as with other units it was often to be found being worn on the upper arm.

Graham.

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Paul,

Any of those titles would be correct. The worsted titles came out in 1916. They were made to be slipped over the shoulder straps but the BEF mandated on 13 Feb 1917 that they be sewn to the shoulder IAW the photos you describe.

Joe Sweeney

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Graham and Joe

Many thanks for your input on this one. I've frequently seen the woven "DURHAM" plus bugle titles on dealer's tables and on eBay, so I'm assumming that ths particular title is now widely faked.

All the best

Paul.

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Paul

I don't think these titles are fakes. Well over 20 years ago someone turned up a huge quantity of white-on-khaki cloth shoulder titles, all unissued, mostly still bundled together with string and with varying degrees of mothing. DLI was the most common of the lot - before then, that particular cloth title was extremely scarce.

I think this is still the residue of that big find being trickled out. The other ones that I recall as being in quantity were Hants (don't seem to see that one anymore), TC (ditto), RGA, RFA, 3H, Suffolk, and Border, but a number of units were also present in smaller quantities, such as RAMC, KOYLI and others. I've got examples of most of these and I'm happy with all of them - incl. the DLIs.

If you decide to get a pair, make sure they are properly paired ie. 1 bugle facing right, one left.

Regards,

Ted

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Ted

Thanks for that -it's an interesting point about the "find" of these cloth titles -I also recall seeing the TC and RGA titles appearing with some regularity over the years, so this seems to bear out the story of certain cloth titles being found in bulk.

All the best

Paul.

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  • 1 month later...

I picked this lot up today for not much money. I'm particularly interested in the pair of titles at the top -they are brass, and of the one-piece "Durham/Bugle" variety. I notice that they are a little smaller than the two-piece version (a wartime economy design?) and wonder if anyone could tell me when during WWI they were introduced, or indeed anything else about them.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

Paul.

post-2041-1149443728.jpg

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Paul,

The top pair are the one piece title introduced during WWI. The seperate brass bugle/Durham were introduced in 1907 to replace the earlier pattern one piece titles. The white metal bugle/Durham was worn by both the Militia & Volunteers/Territorials, which would have been worn with either numeral 3 or 4 and also 1/V; 3/V; 5/V & T/5; T/7; T/9.

However there is some debate over the curved Durham in whitemetal as in your illustration, which is believed to be probably worn with "blues". This pattern takes me back to my days as an S.J.A.B. Cadet in Brandon Colliery. When the S.J.A.B. was being wound down at the Colliery Institute, a box full of these whitemetal Durham titles were found in the Stores, and I got around half-a-dozen. In later years enquires made among old S.J.A.B. members showed that no such title was ever worn by the S.J.A.B., which was plainly of a military pattern.

Further and much later research did infact show that the Institute had at one time been the location of section of Durham Artillery Volunteers and that the titles may have actually belonged to them. Being of a universal pattern these titles would also be worn by the D.L.I.

Graham.

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Graham

Many thanks for that, and the interesting point about the title being worn by the Artillery Volunteers. If anything it's shown how little I know about shoulder titles...time for a reference book purchase, I think.

All the best

Paul.

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Bill,

This one looks like the Indian made pattern of the original one piece title first seen on KD in 1885, which originally had strings rather than the ribbons as seen on this title. However these Indian pattern titles were supposed to have been cast in brass, whereas this one looks like a stamped title, but I'm only going off your illustration. If it's not an Indian cast badge then it could be of an unrecorded stamped pattern, based on the cast Indian one. It's certainly doesn't look like a repro.

Graham.

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Bill,

This one looks like the Indian made pattern of the original one piece title first seen on KD in 1885, which originally had strings rather than the ribbons as seen on this title. However these Indian pattern titles were supposed to have been cast in brass, whereas this one looks like a stamped title, but I'm only going off your illustration. If it's not an Indian cast badge then it could be of an unrecorded stamped pattern, based on the cast Indian one. It's certainly doesn't look like a repro.

Graham.

Graham, many thanks for the reply, not sure how to tell if its cast or stamped, but the bugle is quite `thick` or solid ? rather than pressed, if i could post a better photo what would be a good angle?

Regards,

Bill

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