TODAY, 100 years on from the most momentous of days, we remember those brave Durham men and women who fought, died or lost loved ones at the Battle of the Somme.

Amid the euphoria of 1914, thousands of North-East fathers, brothers, sons and friends answered the call and marched to war for King and country.

But on the fields of northern France, that generation of men came face to face with a cruel conflict that would decimate the continent.

July 1, 1916, stands out as a day of unimaginable horror, but also as a testament to the incredible bravery of Durham men, many of whom paid the ultimate price.

Remembering the Durham Pals on the battlefield where they gave their young lives
Help commemorate the sacrifices made by the men of the Durham Light Infantry at the Somme. In the month of July 2016, we are aiming to raise £10,000 to create a battlefield memorial to those who fell 100 years ago. To donate, either go to and make a pledge, or send a cheque made payable to Former Charities of the Durham Light Infantry to The Rifles Durham Office, Elvet Waterside, Durham DH1 3BW.

In 2016, it is difficult to imagine the sacrifice they made, but we know that their service lives long in the memories of the families they left behind.

And in County Durham, not just as it is now but across its former boundaries, including Gateshead, South Tyneside, Sunderland, Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington, there is still a strong and emotive connection to the Durham Light Infantry.

The regiment’s story – the soldiers’ stories – is central to our collective history and heritage and we are determined to maintain our “faithful” support and see them remembered with pride for generations to come.

That is why we are working tirelessly together to develop a wonderful new way of telling the DLI story, through exhibitions like Somme 1916 and the new DLI gallery at Palace Green Library, the new 1916: No Turning Back walkthrough experience at the Gala Theatre and shows and concerts like The Fighting Bradfords and the Durham Hymns.

And that is why Durham County Council, the Trustees of the DLI Collection, Durham Cathedral, Durham University and the Durham Times are looking to install a battlefield memorial to the DLI Pals both out in the Somme region of France and back home in Durham.

The Pals battalions were made up of ordinary men, who rallied together to go out to the frontline.

Other Pals battalions from around the country, who fought alongside our DLI Pals, have memorials out in the Somme but the Durham boys have nothing to mark their sacrifice and we are striving to correct that.

Today we begin a 31-day drive to raise £10,000 towards our £20,016 target, and we hope you will join us in making these memorials a reality.

Cllr Simon Henig
Durham County Council
Canon David Kennedy
Durham Cathedral
Col James Ramsbotham
DLI Trustees Professor
Stuart Corbridge
Durham University
Andy Richardson
The Northern Echo & Durham Times