May to June 1919

In May the remnants of 11th DLI left Grenas to arrive at Pas en Artois on Saturday, 10 May. Five more men had gone off to Rouen on 5 May to join 63 POW Company (and another on 26 May), while on 9 May Captain GP Baines and five more men left for the demobilisation centre at Candas. They hadn’t quite finished with Grenas however – there was still plenty of clearing up to do, especially the enjoyable task of filling in the latrines. Hopefully some of those involved in that were among the 20 men who were accompanied by an officer for a day’s outing in Amiens on 16 May. Otherwise, after settling in at Pas it was more cleaning of equipment and especially the wagons parked at Mondecourt with the Divisional transport.

June 3 was given over as a holiday in celebration of King George V’s birthday. On Whit Monday, another holiday, 2nd Lt G Phillips and 28 remaining men set off for the demobilisation centre, leaving only a Unit Guard detail, who were sent off next day to guard the battalion equipment at Mondecourt. The last cadre was getting ready to head back for the UK, with material being marked up for its destination as ‘Aintree NC’. All was ready for leaving on 16 June but for a derailment at Mondecourt, so they finally set off on 18 June. Shuttled between Le Havre and Harfleur, the men and equipment finally embarked on 23 June, arriving in Southampton the next day. Lt Col Carlisle was able to sign off his last monthly battalion war diary. Apart from the laying up of colours in Durham Cathedral, the 11th Durham Light Infantry (Pioneers) was no more – except in memories.

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