Men of the Signal Platoon, 16 DLI, Austria, 1945
16 DLI Signal Platoon, 1945, Austria

This photograph of some of the Signal Platoon, HQ Company, 16 DLI was taken in Austria in the early postwar period. It also appears as part of the centre-page photospread in the final issue, No 5, of the 16th Battalion DLI Magazine Geordie and on page 201 of the 1999 book The Heat of Battle. Some identifications, made for me back in 2001, are by Alex ‘Jock’ Gray, who also supplied the original photo, Ernie Scriven and Les Brown. However, in 2011, I was sent, by his daughter Linda, a copy of the late Pte Thomas Gaffney’s version of the photograph, on which, many years ago, he wrote all the names on the reverse. The annotated back of Pte Gaffney’s photo is featured on this page.

The men featured above are:

Front Row, left to right: (1) Joe Berkovich, (2) Reg Billingham, from Hornsey, London (3) Jack Roberts, (4) Pte Thomas Henry Gaffney (4466133). From West Hartlepool; enlisted 26/7/40 in the 14th DLI; part of a reinforcement draft to 16 DLI from 7/3/43; with 16 DLI through to disbandment. (5) Frank Mason, from Chesterfield.

Middle Row: (1) Jimmy Hall, (2) Alex ‘Jock’ Gray (interviewed at length by the author for the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive in 2001), (3) Danny 'Jive' Jordan, from Kingston upon Thames, (4) Bert Higgins, from Birmingham, (5) Waltsingholme, (6) Bob Longstaffe, (or Longstaff) from Tynemouth, remembered by Alex Gray as the Platoon runner.

Back Row: (1) Ronnie Elliott, from South Shields, (long interview held by the IWM Sound Archive), (2) Walter Webberley, (3) Ronnie King, from Sandle Heath, Fording Bridge, Hants, (4) Dick Craggs, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, (ex-Northumberland Fusiliers), (5) Frank 'Chalky' White, (6) Ernie Kershaw, (7) George Burton, (8) Ernie Finny (or Finney?), (9) 'Taffy' Richards.