Memorial Details

Photo: James Pasby


Cross 9 D.L.I. 1916 Cathedral





Map ref

NZ 273420

Original Location

The Butte de Warlencourt until 1926 when it was brought to the Chapel.

Present Location

Cathedral Church of Christ, Blessed Mary the Virgin and St Cuthbert of Durham, Palace Green. D.L.I. Memorial Chapel

Which war


Dedication, Creation or Publication date

Erected on the Butte de Warlencourt after the Battle of the Somme in 1916

Memorial Description

Cross. It has floriated ends at the top and ends of cross piece. It stands on a three tier platform. On the cross piece is the regimental badge, with the dedication below. The dedication is carried on the front of the top platform, and details of the erection are carried on the front of the middle platform.

Materials used

Scrap wood and ration boxes.


On crosspiece:
In memory
of the gallant Officers, NCOs
and men of the 9th Battalion
the Durham Light Inftry
who fell in action Sept. 15th 19th
Oct.1st 1916.

On top step:
Dulce et decorum est

pro patria mori

On middle step:
Erected in affectionate remembrance
by their friends who fought with them and
who will ever keep their memory green



Who commissioned


Sculptor, Artist or Designer

Designed by Captain Mauchlen, 9th D.L.I.; Regimental Pioneers of the 9th D.L.I.


1. The three crosses were exhibited together in 2006 for the first time since being brought from France, when the Durham Light Infantry Museum commemorated the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The other two are in Chester le Street C105.18 and South Church, Bishop Auckland S144.03

2. The Crosses were exhibited in Durham Cathedral outside the D.L.I. memorial chapel during the summer of 2016 in Commemoration of the Battle of the Somme. This time all the crosses were in a standing position.

3. The notice alongside reads:
Memorial Cross. 6th, 8th and 9th Battalions, The Durham Light Infantry.
This wooden Memorial Cross in the Memorial Chapel of The Durham Light Infantry was originally erected on the
summit of the Butte de Warlencourt, in the Department of the
Somme, France, immediately after the severe attack which they
made there on the 5th and 6th days of November, 1916.
The Cross with its plinth was prepared at Mercatel under in-
structions of Lieutenant (later Brigadier General) R.B. Bradford
V.C., M.C., of the 9th Battalion, The Durham Light Infantry,
from a design prepared by Captain R. Mauchlen, M.C. of the
same Battalion, and was constructed by the Pioneers of the same unit under war conditions from material which was, it is believed supplied by the Royal Engineers. The Memorial remained where it was erected for nearly ten years exposed to all the varying climatic conditions of Northern France until the autumn of 1926 when at the request of the three Battalions it was brought to England and placed in the Memorial Chapel.
The Cross bears the Badge of the Regiment and the words "Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori" and the inscription:
“In Memory of the gallant Officers, N.C.O.s and Men of
the 6th 8th and 9th Battalions the Durham Light Infantry
who fell in the attack on the Butte de Warlencourt and
surrounding trenches on November 5th and 6th 1916.
The plinth bears the inscription:
“Erected with affectionate remembrance by their friends who
fought with them and who will ever keep their memory

4. The damage to the horizontal arm of the cross was caused by German shrapnel later in the war.

5. Below the cross is a plaque which records the laying up of the remnants of the colours under the Butte de Warlencourt Cross in 2002.

6. The Evening Chronicle 9/11/1957 reports: “One man will never forget the tragic story behind the wooden cross in the portico of St.Mary’s Parish Church, Gateshead. He is Mr. Ernest Mitchell of 30 Sidney Grove, Gateshead, who painted and inscribed the cross on the First World War battlefield after it had been built during the Battle of the Somme.
Mr. Mitchell was a sergeant in the 9th Battalion D.L.I. at the time and the cross was put up in France as a memorial to the men of the battalion who had lost their lives.
In six months, the 9th sustained 921 casualties, many of whom were killed.
Paint pot in hand, Mr. Mitchell walked in front of the German lines. Although an open target, he was not fired at, and painted and inscribed the cross to his fallen comrades.
“After the war the French sent it to Gateshead Drill Hall at Burt Terrace, but I claimed it as my property” Mr. Mitchell told the Evening Chronicle.
“There were two holes in the cross which had obviously been made by shells, so I filled them in and repainted it”.
It was placed in the church portico in 1926 and dedicated. “I could never forget the tragic story of the cross and all it stands for”, he said.

7. When first brought to England in 1926, the cross was housed in the Headquarters of the Durham County Territorial Army Association until it was decided to place it in the Cathedral.

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: John and Mavis Dixon; James Pasby

South Shields Gazette 22/12/1926 reports proposal to place the cross in the Cathedral “shortly”.

Copy of drawing made 1916 by Roland Bradford.

Evening Chronicle 9/11/1957 contains story told in Note No. 5 above.

Durham Cathedral and the County Regiment leaflet

External web link

Additional Research documents (click to download)

Research acknowledgements

J. Brown; John and Mavis Dixon; Cathedral staff; Michael Mulhern

Research In Progress

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Cross 9 D.L.I. 1916 Cathedral (D47.073)

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Parish Notes

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