Veterans of Durham Light Infantry convert their surplus silver to bronze

The Advertiser Series: Julian Thomson of Anderson and Garland with silver punch bowl Julian Thomson of Anderson and Garland with silver punch bowl

VETERANS of an illustrious North-East regiment will convert their surplus silver to bronze when their tableware falls under the hammer this month.

The ornate silverware and cutlery, that once the graced tables of the Durham Light Infantry’s officers’ mess, will be auctioned to help raise cash for a new bronze memorial statue in their home county.

Featuring a range of items, from solid silver punch bowls, through to meat skewers, posy vases, sets of knives and forks, rose bowls and salvers, the silver is expected to realise between £40,000 and £60,000 when is sold at Anderson and Garland, in Newcastle, on March 27.

An appeal for a DLI memorial in Durham City, backed by The Northern Echo, has reached nearly £4,000.

Appeal co-ordinator Colonel Arthur Charlton said: “The regimental trustees want to support the campaign as much as they can and this is unused silver put to its best purpose.

“What we would like to do is ensure that everyone who served in the regiment are aware of the auction and get the opportunity to buy a piece of their history.”

The silver is mostly from the 3rd and 4th Militia Battalions of the DLI - forerunners to the Territorial Army - and the 68th Regiment of Foot, which became the DLI. Some of the tableware would have accompanied the regiment on campaigns and been used in the field.

Julian Thomson, director at Anderson and Garland, said: “Rather than sell it together we have decided to split it into digestible chunks.

“There are 132 lots valued at from £30 to several thousand pounds. There will be ex-DLI soldiers all over the world who may want a keepsake.”

Mr Thomson said one of the most impressive pieces was a late Victorian punch bowl made by the London firm Charles Stuart Harris and presented to the officers of the 4th DLI by Colonel JJ Allison on vacating his 18-year command of regiment. It is expected to realise at least £2,000.

Mr Thomson said: “I particularly like the claret jugs, showing off Victoria silver craftsmanship at its height with lovely hand chasing and embossing.”

When the DLI was disbanded in 1968 much of its silver went to the Light Infantry regiments and some to the freedom towns of the region.

Anderson and Garland’s Fine Silver Sale will be held from March 26 to 28. The sale catalogue is expected to be published on March 15 and placed online a few days earlier.

Any personal contributions should be addressed to The DLI Memorial Appeal, The Rifles Office, Elvet Waterside, Durham, DH1 3BW, with cheques made out to the Regimental and Chattels Charity of the former DLI.

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