Saturday, 1 August 2015

Speed and More Speed is the Watchword of the Army Today



Further to the discussion in comments with Jim over whether the 1st DLI was an experimental machine gun battalion between 1934 and 1936 or not, a little digging has turned up two more things.

Firstly, in Faithful: The Story of the Durham Light Infantry, by S G P Ward , published in 1962, there is a similar account to that on the Durham Light Infantry 1920-1946 site - indeed almost identical, which suggests Ward's account may be the source for the web site. As Ward was writing less than 30 years after the event (a similar distance then to now and the Falklands War), and as he talked to and corresponded with a large number of ex DLI officers and men, it is unlikely that any inaccuracy in this account would have gone without notice or comment.

Second is the above clip from British Pathe news, on the Army Exercises in Sussex 1936. These are near or contemporaneous with the photograph in the Noel Ayliffe-Jones article on infantry in the Airfix magazine interwar series, and have two sequences showing the 1st Battalion DLI in MG Carriers based on the Vickers Utility Tractor - either Tractor, Light GS, Mk I or Mk Ia. These vehicles seem likely also to have been from B Company - the names Bunty, Barty and Bonzo can be seen, in addition to Bingo which appears in the Airfix magazine article, The vehicles are clearly marked Durham LI and the DLI cap badge can be seen.

This is certainly enough evidence for me that the 1st Battalion DLI was indeed an experimental Machine Gun battalion between 1934 and 1936 and for me to raise it for the wargames table.

Interestingly, if you view the film on the British Pathe site, instead of on YouTube, you have the option of viewing it as stills: The two DLI sequences are in stills 8-11 and 26-38.


2 comments:

tradgardmastare said...

I really enjoyed the pathe news today and wondered if one could use ww1 figures to represent the troops shown
Thanks belatedly for posting the tank chats- I enjoyed viewing them yesterday.
Alan

Jim Hale said...

It certainly does seem that I'm wrong... and indeed surprised at the same time. Good finds though all the same...

@Alan - The Interwar Service Dress wasn't 'exactly' the same as that of WWI, but close enough at 28mm downwards to get away with I think. In principle I think it was the material that was different in the main, the newer SD held creases better and was better tailored. The webbing and pouches will cover up any differences in the pockets that may have been evident.