Help needed on Durham Light Infantry from D-Day landing and beyond

Discussion in 'Durham Light Infantry' started by Zunami, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Zunami

    Zunami New Member

    Hi All,
    I am new to this forum and I am desperately trying to trace the steps my grandfather made in WW2. I am planning to travel to France and walk his story but I have very little information so far and would really appreciate any help. My grandfathers name Was Lieutenant Peter Davison White. Im fairly sure he was in the 6th Battalion of the 50th Division of Durham light Infantry. I also think he led the B platoon but Im hazy on how these military groupings work. He wrote a short memoir but didnt say many places or names but did mention taking TILLY and HOTTOT. He was with his group at Les Plessis-Grimault around Mt Pincon on 9th August 1944 where his entire platoon was KIA by shell fire. He was the sole survivor but left for dead by the Germans and fortunately found by a french resistance group who managed to get him to a hospital. Thats about all I know. I would love to know how I can find the path that they took to get to Les Plessis and just incase anyone has come across it, I would love to find out the name of another pressumable lieutenant he was friends with only mentioned as Toddy. Also I would like to find the name of his batman. Does anyone have information on this platoon or guide me with how to find it.
    Ps Im in Australia so im unable to physically go to museums etc.
  2. Lotus7

    Lotus7 Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum Zunami, good luck with your research and also your travel to France. Just a thought do you have his army records, always helpful if you have. Also do you have any photos you could post here.

    Best of luck
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    AS I recall the 6th DLI were part of the 151st Brigade of 50th Division from El Alamein - across the desert - Tunisia - Sicily

    before being transferred to the Uk to prepare for D Day along with 51st Division and 7th Armoured - but all that is the past and

    obviously - he joined them before landing in France - so the most helpful idea would be to get hold of the Regimental Diary for the
    period June - September '44 from Drew or others - which will give you more…

  4. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum, Zunami.

    I can confirm that your grandfather appears to have served with the 6th Bn Durham Light Infantry. As Tom mentions, they were brigaded with the 8th and 9th Bns Durham Light Infantry, in 151st Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. No British Infantry Division had a longer or harder war and the 151st Infantry Brigade were with the Division from the start on 3 September 1939 until 30 Novenmber 1944, when the Division was sent home (minus the 9th Bn Durham Light Infantry) as a Training Cadre.

    Per the battalion history 'The Faithful Sixth' (H Moss), page 299, it states:

    "...At 11 am on the 9th [August 1944], the battalion left the assembly area and began its march over Mont Pincon and to the Start Line south of Le Plessis-Grimault. [They] were shelled and mortared all of the way. The bombardment grew to a crescendo as the marching troops came into full view of the German observers on the road leading down the southern slopes of the Mont. Les Plessis-Grimault was also under heavy bombardment as [they] passed through. A German Tiger Tank, the largest and latest German tank, lay wrecked at the cross-roads in the centre of the town. The progress to the Start Line had been slow and there was little time to get organised for the advance. However, this was completed on time and at noon the forward companies passed over the Start Line. 'A' Company was on the right, inclusive of the road, 'B' Company was on its left, with 'D' and 'C' Companies in reserve... Lieutenant PD White and four other ranks had already been wounded and evacuated."

    La Cannardiere was reached at 2.30 pm. The objective appears to have been a prominent feature near here - probably a hill or high ground.

    Do you have your grandfather's service records from the MOD?

    I trust this asists.


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  5. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Hi and welcome to the forum Zunami,

    I think you should get some helpful advice and info cascading here :)

    I've been following the 24th Lancers and the Sherwood Rangers and the DLI often come up as crossing their path.

    One of the first things (for me) that I saw was France has quite a few Tillys (including a very famous French chateau of that name far elsewhere as I recall (much nearer to Rouen in Eastern Normandy) the Tilly that you're after would be Tilly-sur-Seulles (I assume) as that figures large in the history of the DLI.

    There are a lot of great books written about the many battles there and at St. Pierre and Hottot etc. and indeed many of the villages there abouts.

    All the best,

  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Welcome to the forum,

    Why not try Verrieres DLI web site? He has a couple of sections on the NW Europe Campaign



    EDIT:- Spoke briefly with Jim today Peter Davison White was commissioned from the ranks previously served with the Royal Engineers service number 2150802.Commision was announced in the London Gazette 17th March 1944 Peter Davison Whites new number was 304651.Serving with B Company at the end of June 1944 .Wounded Aug 9th 1944 by mortar fire on the approach to the start line in preparation for the attack on Mont Pincon listed as evacuated .Lt. P. D. WHITE (304651) relinquished his commision. on account of disability, 7th Feb. 1946,when he was granted the honary rank of Lieutenant
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2022
    Drew5233, CL1, Owen and 1 other person like this.
  7. Trux

    Trux 21 AG Patron

    I can only help with the first day of 6 DLI in France.

    H + 2½ hours. Gold/King Beach. The marching personnel land from the LCIs in which they have crossed the Channel.

    2806 is an LCI(L) carrying
    170 men with an airborne motorcycle and 36 bicycles from 6 Durham Light Infantry.
    24 men from 89 Field Company RE.
    3 men from 59 Forward Observation Bombardment RN.
    2 men with one balloon and hand winch from 54 Balloon Unit RAF.

    2807 is an LCI(L) carrying
    1man from Headquarters 151 Brigade. Padre.
    3 men with a signals handcart from 151 Brigade Signals RS.
    150 men with an airborne motorcycle and 36 bicycles from 6 Durham Light Infantry.
    27 men from ‘A’ (MG) Company 2 Cheshire Regiment.
    19 men from 149 Field Ambulance RAMC.
    2 men with one balloon and hand winch from 54 Balloon Unit RAF.

    2808 is an LCI(L) carrying
    160 men with an airborne motorcycle and 36 bicycles from 6 Durham Light Infantry.
    11 men from Headquarters 2 Hertfordshire Regiment.
    29 men from 89 Field Company RE.
    2 men with one balloon and hand winch from 54 Balloon Unit RAF.

    Vehicles landed from LCTs. This should have been at H+3½ hours but was delayed because of congestion on the beach.
    2812 is an LCT MkIV carrying
    1 Jeep and trailer with 2 crew from Headquarters 151 Brigade
    4 Carrier Universal from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    1 Carrier Universal towing a 6pdr AT gun from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    4 Carrier Mortar from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    4 15cwt GS from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    1 Jeep and trailer from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    40 men from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    1 M14 with 3 crew from 151 Brigade Signals RS
    1 Jeep Stretcher with 1 crew from Headquarters 2 Hertfordshire Regiment
    2 men with balloon and hand winch from 54 Balloon Unit RAF

    2813 is an LCT MkIV carrying
    9 Carrier Universal from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    7 Carrier Mortar from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    48 men from 6 Durham Light Infantry
    1 M14 with 2 crew from 151 Brigade Signals RS
    3 Carrier Universal with 4 crew from A (MG) Company Cheshire Regiment
    1 Jeep with 2 crew from Headquarters 151 Brigade
    1 Jeep Stretcher with 1 crew from Headquarters 2 Hertfordshire Regiment
    2 men with balloon and hand winch from 54 Balloon Unit RAF

    151 Brigade landed late, having being held back because of congestion on the beaches and inland of them. The marching personnel proceeded to the Assembly Areas and waited for their transport. When all were assembled they set off to their start line from which they were to advance to and secure the line of high ground from ref: 8181 to Vaux sur Seulles ref: 8477.

    The Brigade moved forward in two groups in mid afternoon. The right hand group was led by 9 Durham Light Infantry and it advanced along the Crepon to Bayeux road. The left hand group was led by 6 Durham Light Infantry and a squadron of 4/7 Dragoon Guards. This group advanced from Crepon to Villiers le Sec and then turned westwards along the road to Bayeux. On the way they were counterattacked but this was repulsed after some fierce fighting.

    The brigade was supported by one machine gun company and one heavy mortar platoon from 2 Cheshire Regiment, the self propelled guns of 90 Field Regiment RA and 288 Anti Tank Battery RA less one 6pdr troop.

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  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I have a copy of the 6 DLI war diary for 1944 and I can confirm your man was Lieutenant in B Company
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  9. Zunami

    Zunami New Member

    Wow so much info in just one day. Thank you so much everyone this means the world to me. Drew5233 what is in these war diaries? Do they document the specific 'footpath' of a unit? This might sound like a stupid question but are you able to share these files or are they confidential except to next of kin? Ive read the link to getting them but I didnt want someone to have to drive 400miles for me if not necessary ;)
    Even just getting my Grampys military number is wonderful and am starting to piece together his path. I have checked verrieres website which is where I got most of my initial info. I am hoping the diaries plot out a path that I can walk from Gold beach to Les Plessis
    Thanks again all and any other info greatly appreciated
  10. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    War diaries can contain almost anything. At the very least, they give the daily movements and most important actions of every unit. They may also contain information on casualties, message logs, rolls of officers (but not O.R.'s), maps, orders, and much else. They are available at the PRO to everyone,.and Drew5233 and some others are willing to scan them for the benefit of those who cannot get to Kew.

    For more information on the 6th DLI, I also recommend The Faithful Sixth by Harry Moses, an excellent unit history.
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  11. LittlFletch

    LittlFletch Member

    Was the supporting armour of 6DLI belonging to D Sqn 4th/7thRDG?
  12. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Think I may have copied the 6/DLI diary. Will try and confirm tonight and if I have can send you a link to download it for free.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    B or C Squadrons? both were working with the infantry according to the 4/7 RDGs war diary.

    What date are you enquiring about? The First and The Last by Stirling has the regiment supporting 69 Brigade on D-Day with B Sqn supporting 6 Green Howards and C Sqn supporting 5 East Yorks.
  14. Hi, I know I'm four years too late but my Uncle, Lt Robert Allen is listed in that except of the war diaries of the 6 DLI posted by Drew 5233. He is listed in B Company just above your grandfather. Whether he was Toddy or not I don't know, but his short name was Bob. My Uncle was eventually killed in September 1944 near Geel, Belgium. I'm named after him (born in February 1945). As a relative I've now been invited to Geel to join in their Liberation celebrations on the 21st September. Have you found any more information?

    Best wishes,

    Bob Allen
    Buteman likes this.
  15. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Welcome to the forum Bob.

    I know a former member here was also invited to Gheel unfortunately he cannot make it. He has said if you visit this page on his website

    North West Europe 44-45

    you will find your Uncles MC citation/Details and details of his death in action.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  16. Dear Kyle, that's a very interesting website thanks. It's got a lot of the information I'm looking for. If the former member needs some more personal information concerning Lt. Robert Allen please let me know and I will let him know what I have.

    Thanks again,

    Bob Allen
  17. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Hello Bob Allen,
    From experience he will be more than happy to receive any further info you may be able to provide for his site. I email him (a lot) for information hes always on the lookout for photographs etc/ I know from visiting this morning that he has a photo of your Uncle when he was first commissioned? Use either the contact form or his email on his home page.Good luck :)

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2022
  18. Fine, off on holiday tomorrow. I’ll get some stuff together when I get back in three weeks. Unfortunately I haven’t got any photos though.

    Best regards

    Bob Allen
  19. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    Now you have. :)

    Photos I took at Geel War Cemetery a few years ago. The words on the headstone were poor condition. It was a very quiet and beautiful place and parking outside is easy. I've been a couple of times. His parent regiment is on the headstone.

    DSCF3464 (2017_11_03 17_47_24 UTC) (Large).JPG

    GEEL WAR CEMETERY (Large) (2017_11_03 17_47_24 UTC).JPG

    My Sister is the way.

    DSCF2143 (2017_11_03 17_47_24 UTC) (Large).JPG

    DSCF2055 (Large) (2017_11_03 17_47_24 UTC).JPG

    DSCF3609 (2017_11_03 17_47_24 UTC) (Large).JPG
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  20. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    and another :)
    Letter to St Peters College confirming death of Robert Allen DLI.jpg


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