The Durham Light Infantry - DLI

Cap Badge of The Durham Light InfantryThe Regiment was formed in 1758 when the 2nd Battalion of the 23rd Regiment of Fusiliers was redesignated as the 68th Regiment of Foot.

Its first engagement was raiding the French coast during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) to aid Britain’s ally Frederick the Great of Prussia. During 1764-1806 the Regiment was stationed 4 times in the West Indies, earning it the motto ‘Faithful’ for the St. Vincent Campaign during The Second Carib War (1795 - 1797). The greatest killer during this time was Yellow Fever, in one year over 700 men died.

A former officer of the Regiment, James Hackman, gained notoriety in 1779. He was hanged for murdering Martha Ray; the Opera singer and mistress of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, in a jealous rage after she spurned his affections.

In 1808 the 68th converted to Light Infantry, training with the 85th at Ashford, Kent under the tutelage of the master of light infantry training, Lt. Col. Franz Von Rothenburg. Light Infantry provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry in order to delay the enemy advance.

The Regiment moved to Spain and served during The Peninsula War (1808-1814) fighting at The Battle of Salamanca, The Battle of Vittoria, The Battle of Pyrenees and then Battle of Orthez. The Regiment was not engaged in any major actions for the next 40 years, primarily on garrison duties around the globe until it served during the Crimean War (1853-56).

In 1881 the 68th was amalgamated with the 106th Regiment of Foot (Bombay Light Infantry), which was formed in 1839 by the Honourable East India Company and served during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, to form The Durham Light Infantry. The newly formed Regiment went on to serve in India, Ireland, South Africa (1899- 1902) and the Middle East but took no part in the Boer War and then went on to serve during two World Wars.

In 1968, The Durham Light Infantry was amalgamated with the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, and the King's Shropshire Light Infantry to form The Light Infantry Brigade. In 2007 another round of amalgamations meant the Light Infantry was merged with The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and The Royal Green Jackets to form The Rifles.

Back to TOP