Commemorative CD released as year of events draws to close

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A year ago the project announced a series of events to mark the opening of the centenary period of the Great War.

As the year draws to a close the group can now look back on a full programme of events and a number of significant achievements.

These include the launch of an interactive database, the well-received exhibition held in North Shields library and the successful and innovative staging of Peter Mortimer’s acclaimed play Death at Dawn.

As a part of the project’s work it has tried to reach out to audiences not necessarily directly interested in the historical research of the project. To that end the group has recently launched a number of commemorative products and publications.

The latest is a CD containing renditions of well-known and newer music and verse associated with the hardships, endurance and fortitude of the ordinary soldier; and reflecting some of Tommy Atkins’ irreverent humour and sarcasm.

Far from Home is a compilation arranged and performed by Jed Grimes, a nationally well-known folk singer and artist who has worked on the project with local school pupils, alongside his professional life as a performing and recording artist.

A varied and reflective collection of songs and verse, the CD brings together the older songs of the time with some later works including Eric Bogle’s emotive No Man’s Land and a song by folk music broadcaster Mike Harding – Christmas 1914.

Jed said: “During my work over the last three years on behalf of Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project, we talked at some length about the huge variety of ways in which the Great War made such an impact on the lives of so many.

“Examples of this impact could be observed in the emancipation of women, rising as they did to replace an absent workforce: also in the grim fall-out from the loss of comrades, loved ones and family, the devastation of homes, landscape and hopes of pursuing some kind of peaceful life in familiar surroundings.

“We can only imagine the feelings of the men who answered the call to arms and were shipped abroad to fight and attempt survival amid blasted landscapes and deadly conditions on land and at sea.

“Some of these songs and poems were valued by the troops, and their loved ones at home, as a means to find humour, a moment’s relief in jollity: some are more recent compositions, reflecting on aspects of the combatants’ plight.”

The CD is available from Keel Row Bookshop, Fenwick Terrace, North Shields, for £8 and online through the project website – www.tynemouthworldwarone.org – for £10.50 including package and posting.

On Saturday, December 13, and Sunday the 14th, the project will be at the North Shields Victorian Christmas Market where its popular commemorative bottled ale brewed by Three Kings Brewery of North Shields will be available.

‘Tyneside Tommy’, featuring unique neck tags telling stories of local men, will be available, together with the recently published book The Response.

These can bought as a gift pack with bag. The CD and The Response book will also be available for the special price of £11 when purchased together.

The Information Centre in Front Street, Tynemouth, is now closed until spring 2015. The centre may open occasionally, according to volunteer availability through early 2015 and further announcements on regular opening will follow in the new year.

Anyone with information about anyone 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 workroom will close on Friday, December 19, until Monday, January 5.

The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.

To access the project database and website visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org