Princess to unveil memorial to Durham Light Infantry

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A MEMORIAL in honour of one of the country’s best-known military regiments is to be officially unveiled.

The Durham Light Infantry (DLI) monument will serve as a permanent reminder of the sacrifices of those who served in the regiment.

It features a bronze statue of a DLI bugler dressed in the combat uniform of the Korean War and standing on a stone plinth, bearing an inscription of the words of Field Marshal Montgomery: “There may be some Regiments as good, but I know of none better”.

It will be unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, later this month.

Guest of honour at a Service of Dedication will be Her Royal Highness The Princess Alexandra, who was made Colonel in Chief of the DLI on her 21st birthday and later of the Light Infantry into which it was merged before evolving ultimately into The Rifles.

The patron of the DLI Association is expected to be joined by hundreds of veterans at the event.

Brigadier Robert MacGregor-Oakford, a DLI trustee who served in Korea, said: “The DLI made a major and almost unique contribution to the defence of its country for over 200 years.

“DLI soldiers and their families endured huge sacrifices in doing so, with 12,000 losing their lives in the First World War.

“The regiment was awarded 11 VC’s and was acclaimed wherever it went.”

The appeal to raise the £75,000 needed for the memorial was launched in 2011 after two former DLI soldiers – former regimental signaller Keith Straughier and former bugler Richard Softely – visited the Arboretum, which is part of the Royal British Legion’s family of charities and home to more than 200 memorials.

On discovering that the DLI was not represented at the site, they were determined to put it right.

The statue, originally modelled in clay by sculptor Alan Herriot, in Howgate, near Edinburgh, is based on a photograph of the then 18-year-old Colour- Sergeant Brandon Mulvey, from Chester-le-Street.

Brandon, the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for County Durham, posed in original Korean War combat uniform, symbolic because it was a platoon of 1 DLI buglers who sounded the ceasefire in Korea in 1953 from a hilltop on the front line.

Korea was also the regiment’s last Battle Honour.

Colonel Arthur Charlton, DLI trustee and appeal co-ordinator, said: “We are so proud that our regiment is now commemorated at the Arboretum and this incredible statue is a fitting tribute to all who served in the DLI.

“Fund-raising is now under way for a duplicate statue to be erected in Durham City” he said.

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