The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry – 2nd Battalion

The order for the 2nd Battalion of the DCLI to mobilise came at 10:20 on September 1st, 1939. By 1st October, the entire Battalion had landed in France. After being evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, the 2nd spent around three years in Britain before it saw action again in Tunisia, Italy and Greece.

Official order to mobilise the 2nd Battalion during September 1939


During the early days of the conflict, the ‘Phoney War’ undoubtedly dragged on for the 2nd Battalion. That was until, it was brought to an earth-shattering end by the German assault on May 10th, 1940. The 2nd fought valiantly but as was the same for a large part of the British Army, was forced backwards to eventual evacuation at Dunkirk.


Once home, the Battalion took part in various deployments that involved recuperation, invasion preparations and battle training. On March 14th 1943, as part of a reinforcement convoy, the 2nd travelled to North Africa, landing in Algiers Bay on March 23rd. Throughout the following two years, the Battalion fought its way through Tunisia and after recuperation, training and an aborted mission, the 2nd joined the Eighth Army in Italy, landing at Naples in February 1944. For nine months the battalion fought in one of the most difficult campaigns of the Second World War. Though, as original plans for deployment were hurriedly changed, along with other British troops the 2nd was sent to Greece to prevent the country entering a dark period of civil war. As it happened, the battalion was not destined to see victory in Italy! 

Soldiers of the 2nd...