An event later this month will give County Durham’s budding family historians the chance to delve into the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) archive.

The event – at Durham County Record Office – will be centred around a talk, which will introduce the DLI collection and explain how to find documents within it.

The DLI archive contains thousands of photographs, in addition to official records and pieces of personal correspondence which tell the stories of individual soldiers.

The hour-long talk will also refer to some of the highlights of the archive, such as the documents that tell the story of Jimmy Durham, a Sudanese boy who was adopted by the regiment in the 1880s.

The session is part of the Branching Out courses, which are suitable for people who already have some basic knowledge of family history research techniques.

Following the talk, participants can spend the second half of the session using Durham County Record Office’s research facilities, with assistance from an archivist.

Education and outreach archivist Dawn Layland said, “Since it was transferred to us in 1998, the DLI archive has become one of the Record Office’s most searched collections.”

“It is an amazing collection, containing both official records and personal documents of soldiers, including photos, diaries and letters.”

The event will be held twice on Thursday 25th April, with the sessions running between 10.00 am and 12 noon and between 6.00 pm and 8.00 pm.

The cost is £10 per person and places must be reserved in advance. You can book your place by visiting the Record Office’s online shop at or by telephoning 03000 267 619.

(The featured image – from around 1950 – shows Durham Light Infantry soldiers marching up Owengate in Durham City. The image has been supplied courtesy of Durham County Record Office and its reference number is D/DLI 2/1/280 (607).)  

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David writes about local news, thought provoking stories, and yearns to capture the community spirit with a unique writing style.


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