On Saturday (March 14) a new exhibition telling the story of the Tyneside Irish Brigade will be on display at a ceilidh and fundraising evening in the Linskill Community Centre, North Shields.
By the early years of the 20th century the Irish community in the north east was a vibrant and significant segment of the local population.
It was natural, therefore, when the Scots of the region sought to form units with a Scottish identity that the local Irish would seek to do the same.
After some reluctance on the part of the authorities in London had been overcome, the Tyneside Irish Battalion was sanctioned and ultimately a brigade of four battalions was formed.
They fought with distinction throughout the war alongside their Scottish counterparts as two thirds of the 34th Division.
And they went on to suffer with them the highest casualties of any brigades in the disaster on the Somme in July 1916.
The new exhibition will be installed in the Low Lights Tavern, North Shields, on the evening of Tuesday, March 17.
Unfortunately the display by young Irish dancers from the Tyneside Irish Centre planned for this Saturday evening has been prevented after the group become aware at the last minute of regulations which restrict the appearances of children and young people at any entertainment performance or sporting event.
Even though theyoungsters were only planned to appear for a maximum of 30 minutes early on the Saturday evening, regulations, from which no exemption would be granted, require a separate five-page licence application for each child up to age 17 be submitted to Newcastle City Council (where all the children are resident) including answering a complex questionnaire with medical evidence and details of any other performance by the child subject of the application in the previous 12 months.
With only ten days to the performance and the need to have all parents agree to completing the complex enquiry form,s as well as providing two new passport photos and photocopies of passports or birth certificates, it was impossible for the project to get the necessary applications completed and countersigned for processing by city council officials.
The project is hoping people will still want to attend the event, which has Jed Grimes and Five Strung Out – well-known musical performers – playing.
The event includes an auction and raffle with some unusual and interesting items.
The aim is to raise funds for Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project to support its expansion across the borough.
Jed Grimes will be performing music from his recent CD Far from Home, produced by the project, which tells the story of the courage and endurance of the local men who answered their nation’s call.
Five Strung Out will set feet tapping as an evening of traditional music with an Irish flavour will get St Patrick’s ‘weekend’ off in grand style.
Tickets, priced at £6, can still be purchased from Keel Row Bookshop, Fenwick Terrace, Preston Road, North Shields, and from the Linskill Community Centre –including by telephone on (0191) 257 8000.
Anyone with information about anyone who was killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.
The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.
The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.