A Recruit Training Squad of the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, photograph taken at Kempston Barracks, Bedford in early 1940. Photograph and identifications courtesy of Sgt John Lewindon MM (5951827).

The 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry was formed in the immediate aftermath of Dunkirk, in July 1940 at Frogston Road Camp, Moreton Hall Estate, Edinburgh. Suddenly cast adrift in a muddy tented wasteland, its hundreds of new recruits were all fresh from civilian life, with drafts mainly coming from the Northeast and Yorkshire, but also including a goodly number of men from Birmingham and even a few Londoners. The majority of the NCOs who trained them were posted to the new battalion from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regimental Depot at Kempston Barracks, Bedford--and thus had to learn the distinctive Light Infantry arms drill and marching pace almost literally overnight themselves before imparting these skills to their new charges! Several of these future 16th DLI NCOs feature on this 1940 photograph as Beds and Herts private soldiers.

Front row, left to right: (3), Stan Body. (4) L/Cpl Lock. (5), L/Cpl Smith. Second row: (2), Bill Pinn, transferred to 16 DLI in mid-1940, served as a despatch rider in HQ Company through to the end of the war, see also the 1944 HQ Company photograph. (4) Name forgotten, 'Sgt Bond's right hand man'. (7) Peter Griffin (transferred to 16 DLI in mid-1940. Awarded MM as Medical Sgt, 16 DLI, with the Battalion through to the end of the war, see also the 1942 Sergeants and the 1944 HQ Company photographs elsewhere on the site and his VE Day letter to his 16 DLI friend Charles Bray here: http://16dli.awardspace.com/page155.html

Back row: (1) Reggie Potton, transferred to 16 DLI in mid-1940. Part of a reinforcement draft to a DLI Battalion in the desert from mid-1942. Possibly later served with KRRC. (2) John Lewindon, transferred to 16 DLI from mid-1940. Awarded the MM while serving with D Company, 16 DLI, for his actions on the night of the 14-15th September 1943. With the Battalion until its disbandment in 1946 (5) Vic Walker (transferred to 16 DLI from mid-1940. Later a Platoon Sgt in D Company, with the Battalion through to the end of the war, see the 1942 Sergeants photograph. Are there any other future DLI soldiers on this photograph? Details most welcome.

I interviewed John Lewindon MM at great length about his wartime experiences for the Imperial War Museum in 1999. This is the direct link from which the interview can be listened to online:

Bill Pinn was also interviewed by the IWM, this is the direct link to his interview:

Beds and Herts Recruit Squad 1940