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Remembered Today:

2nd Battallion,Durham Light Infantry


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Pte Thomas Valentine Florian Harland,joined D.L.I.1905,captured Oct 20,1914.Died in captivity Oct 31,1918.Details of the movements of the 2nd battallion on the 20th October would give me a possible location for his capture.Any info would be appreciated.

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Pte Thomas Valentine Florian Harland,joined D.L.I.1905,captured Oct 20,1914.Died in captivity Oct 31,1918.Details of the movements of the 2nd battallion on the 20th October would give me a possible location for his capture.Any info would be appreciated.

Hello Broadsword,

After the Battle of the Aisne, the BEF relocated to the left of the Allied line, to shorten lines of communication with the Channel ports. For the 2nd Battalion, DLI this involved a train journey to Arques in the Ypres sector, via Ciry, Largny and le Meux. On arrival, it marched to Wardrecques where trucks were available to take the men to Hazebrouck. Vieux Berquin, which lies five miles to the east of Hazebrouck, was reached at 14:00 hours on 13 October. There, the Germans were well ensconced on the east side of a small stream called the Meterenbecque, so the battalion moved to le Verriere to find billets.

The 6th Division was tasked to secure a bridge over the River Lys at Sailly-sur-la-Lys, which had to be repaired by engineers before the battalion could cross. On 17 October it was in the line between Fetus le Touque and le Quesne, just outside Bois-Grenier. A probing attack was launched at la Vallee to determine the enemy’s strength during which Ennetières was taken.

The battalion moved into reserve only to be recalled to the frontline on 20 October, to help deal with a German counter-attack. It is now known that the brigade bore the main weight of German attacks and faced almost a whole army corps during the fighting near Fetus. Not surprisingly, eventually it was overwhelmed with heavy losses. One company lost all but twenty-three ORs. Another lost six killed and forty-eight wounded but, possibly, the greatest loss to the battalion was one hundred and seventy-seven men posted ‘Missing’. This action marked the end of the Battle of Armentières following which the battalion remained in the vicinity of Armentières until May 1915.

As a result of these actions, Roland Bradford received his first ‘Mention in Despatches’ the citation for which appeared in the London Gazette on 17 February 1915. The following day it was reported that he had been awarded the Military Cross (MC) ‘for services in the field’. In his book 'The Fighting Bradfords...', Harry Moses suggests that the event leading to that award took place on 28 October when Bradford and his platoon manned a roadblock, during which time precautions were taken to obstruct German flanking movements.

I'm afraid that my researches, a few years ago, did not come across Pvt Harland but I hope the above is at least of some help.

David T.

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Hello Broadsword,

After the Battle of the Aisne, the BEF relocated to the left of the Allied line, to shorten lines of communication with the Channel ports. For the 2nd Battalion, DLI this involved a train journey to Arques in the Ypres sector, via Ciry, Largny and le Meux. On arrival, it marched to Wardrecques where trucks were available to take the men to Hazebrouck. Vieux Berquin, which lies five miles to the east of Hazebrouck, was reached at 14:00 hours on 13 October. There, the Germans were well ensconced on the east side of a small stream called the Meterenbecque, so the battalion moved to le Verriere to find billets.

The 6th Division was tasked to secure a bridge over the River Lys at Sailly-sur-la-Lys, which had to be repaired by engineers before the battalion could cross. On 17 October it was in the line between Fetus le Touque and le Quesne, just outside Bois-Grenier. A probing attack was launched at la Vallee to determine the enemy's strength during which Ennetières was taken.

The battalion moved into reserve only to be recalled to the frontline on 20 October, to help deal with a German counter-attack. It is now known that the brigade bore the main weight of German attacks and faced almost a whole army corps during the fighting near Fetus. Not surprisingly, eventually it was overwhelmed with heavy losses. One company lost all but twenty-three ORs. Another lost six killed and forty-eight wounded but, possibly, the greatest loss to the battalion was one hundred and seventy-seven men posted 'Missing'. This action marked the end of the Battle of Armentières following which the battalion remained in the vicinity of Armentières until May 1915.

As a result of these actions, Roland Bradford received his first 'Mention in Despatches' the citation for which appeared in the London Gazette on 17 February 1915. The following day it was reported that he had been awarded the Military Cross (MC) 'for services in the field'. In his book 'The Fighting Bradfords...', Harry Moses suggests that the event leading to that award took place on 28 October when Bradford and his platoon manned a roadblock, during which time precautions were taken to obstruct German flanking movements.

I'm afraid that my researches, a few years ago, did not come across Pvt Harland but I hope the above is at least of some help.

David T.

Many thanks for the info,your piece clarifies that there were quite a few men posted missing,and one can assume probably taken prisoner,and this action was part of the Battle of Armentiere.This helps me fill in some of the missing details I have been looking for,so I am very pleased.

Regards,Andrew.

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