Armistice Day: in memoriam Bede College, A Co, 8th Battalion DLI…
I cycled the Royal British Legion’s Pedal2Paris ride in memory of WLS.
He was wounded fighting in Ypres in May 1915 but unlike those commemorated by the Ceramic Poppies at the Tower of London, survived to live a long and happy life.
During the four days of the cycle ride at memorial services held in Calais, Abbeville, Beauvais & Paris, I thought a lot about WLS and his 2 best friends at college, Tutty
& Bob H
They enlisted together and I wondered about what happened to them after they marched out of Durham on their way to fight in WW1.
Since I returned, the Agent has been very busy trying to discover all that he could about A Company, 8th Battalion DLI during the time they were serving near Ypres and has volunteered to write down his findings for The Awesome Hen.
From Durham to Ypres…
Following the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, WLS enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry, joining the 8th Battalion, A Company. Although he came from Corbridge in Northumberland and his younger brother Joe joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, WLS was a student member of Bede College (now The College of St Hild and St Bede), Durham University, (Picture credit: The Collegiate Way)
and so joined the DLI with all his college friends.
The undergraduate students were formed into a Territorial Unit which became A Company in the 8th Battalion of the DLI.
Photographs show these young men who were all training to be teachers, busy enjoying every aspect of university life. The Durham Bugle which is the magazine of the DLI Friends and the DLI reproduces in its Summer 2014 Issue (28) a 1912 photograph of Bede College Rugby players and states:
The College laid great emphasis on fitness of body and mind and sporting activities fill the articles written by the students [in the College Magazine, ‘The Bede’], Soccer, rugby, hockey, tennis, swimming, cricket were amongst the games competed between juniors and seniors of the College and rival colleges.
Before they’d celebrated their 21st birthdays, WLS, Tutty and Bob H. had exchanged their football kit & cricket bats for DLI cap badges.
It is difficult looking at WLS’s Bede College Freshers’ photograph
knowing that none of the men pictured nor their families had any idea that they would all be swept up in WW1 within months of this photograph being taken .
Part 2 to follow.