41st National Defence Company/13th Battalion The Durham Light Infantry

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As will be noted from the War Diary of the 70th Brigade HQ, the men of the National Defence Company were the first of the local units to be mobilised, even before the Territorial Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry, and were initially headquartered with 70th Infantry Brigade and, effectively, came under the command of the Brigade.

These men were older former servicemen - generally over 45 years of age - and were employed in guarding vulnerable points.

To read an article summarising their status and background please click here.

The 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, a Home Defence Battalion, was formed from the Durham Group (No. 41) National Defence Company in December 1939. The War Diary for the Battalion for 1939 and for the part of 1940 it was associated with 70th Infantry Brigade is set out below. It was divided into the 1/13th and 2/13th (Home Defence) Battalions in September 1940. The 2/13th Battalion was renamed as the 18th Battalion in March 1941. The 1/13th Battalion merged with the 18th Battalion to form the 30th Battalion in November 1941.

Thanks to the co-operation of the staff at the Durham Record Office access was gained to the DLI Regimental Newsletter, formerly of a classified status, and the January 1943 issue described the disbandment of the 30th Battalion DLI, drawing attention to the fact that it had originally been 41st NDC, with an average age of around 48 and a Medical Category around "C". At the time of the 30th Battalion's disbandment the average age had reduced to 27 and some 80% of the personnel were graded A1. The Battalion had been re-classified from a Home Defence Unit to an A1 Counter-Attack Battalion and therefore the news that they, and some 20 similar units, were being disbanded was a sad blow. Personnel were not, as expected, moved to other Infantry Units but, as requirements had altered, were transferred to some 50 different units - ranging from Anti-Aircraft to Royal Corps of Signals.

At the time of disbandment only one Officer from the 41st NDC list below was serving with 30th Battalion - namely Lt Col Boys-Stones - Commanding Officer.

In researching the contents of the McGregor Card Index of DLI Officers, held at the Durham County Record Office, cards were traced of those Officers who had been members of the 41st (Durham) Group, National Defence Company at the time they were under the command of 70th Brigade, and therefore they have been listed here in the same format as their younger colleagues in the second-line Infantry Battalions of the Brigade.

Work will continue to try and identify the "other ranks" of 41st NDC and 13th DLI.

War Diary

War Diary of the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, 1939.

War Diary of the 13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry, 1940.

Personnel of 41st (Durham) National Defence Company/13th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry.

Archer E W Lieutenant
Boys-Stones Richard Major 51695
Coleby Lieutenant
Gideon Lieutenant
Giles A J Lieutenant
Henderson CSM
Hobson J F Captain
Hodgson J C 2/Lieutenant
Jacques W E Lieutenant
Kitchingman A Lieutenant
Kraft RQMS
Madgin James Pearson 2/Lt 102096
Mauchley Captain
McLachlan Thomas Lt 96226
Milburn George Robert Pte 4444858
Moore G E Lieutenant
Morton Smith R Captain
Newton Edward 2/Lt 106396
Palmer W F 2/Lieutenant
Perkins W G Lieutenant
Potts Wardill Lt
Ramsden Edward Captain 59106
Ramsden R Captain
Reed Charles Lt 98144
Ripley Edgar William Frederick Lt
Robinson Lieutenant
Sewell Lieutenant
Shougnell G K Lieutenant
Sinclair B Lieutenant
Smith Charles Sandeman Lt 99053
Smith Frank Martin 2/Lt 107161
Sowerby Godfrey Laird Lt 93493
Stafford John Edward Lt Col
Thomas John Sergeant
Thomson Robert Lt 23929
Tully James Stephenson Lt 50692
Turvey Frederick Lt 96931
Warwick S W Lieutenant
Wilby Ronald John Major 79246
Williams B M Captain
Yeo A J Lieutenant
Young Thomas Lt 7167