First Remembrance Day of cententary approaches

The Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project was established in 2010, and after a series of public meetings its volunteers began the task of recording the stories of the nearly 1,700 men of the former borough whose deaths were attributed to the conflict.

Now, with the first Remembrance Sunday of the centenary period come around, we are concluding the final reporting of our efforts to the Heritage Lottery Fund which provided the financial support to allow the wide range of activity which was to be concluded over the summer and autumn of 2014.

All of the main objects of the project were delivered but it became apparent early in the programme of research that much more work needed to be done to include the story of more than 200 men not included on the original Roll of Honour published in 1919 and revised in 1923. That work continues and as many of us hoped, the enthusiasm of our many volunteers has not diminished.

The expansion of the project’s scope, to include the other areas of the current borough of North Tyneside will, subject to securing further funding, be undertaken in the remaining years of the centenary period.

Our ultimate aim will be a comprehensive database covering all of the communities of the current borough, which were so interdependent in the early years of the last century when mining and engineering drove the trade and port activity of Tynemouth and North Shields.

A further 3,000 local casualties of the war are estimated to have resided in the other parts of North Tyneside and we will seek to work with any local groups or individuals who would wish to see the in-depth research and publicly accessible information that exists now for those men on the Tynemouth Roll of Honour available about all our First World War dead.

Subject to funding applications we would hope to look to forming groups to research the areas of Wallsend, Whitley Bay and the former mining communities of the north west areas of the borough today.

The project has a number of Royal British Legion poppy crosses available at our workroom at Linskill Community Centre which relatives of WW1 casualties (or those from other conflicts) may wish to place in the Memorial Garden at the Centre. The garden is still a work-in-progress as we continue to seek donations towards the placing of plaques to remember all the casualties of the borough – particularly those for whom we cannot place our blue plaques at a surviving home address.

Fifty eight men of the borough of Tynemouth were killed in the first five months of the war, Two years later Private Bertie Badsey, of 16 Hylton Terrace, Coach Lane, North Shields, a junior clerk at Smiths Docks before volunteering in August, 1914, for the Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action onNovember 9, 1916 (45 men of the town died in that month – some 445 died in 1916 –10 times the losses in the five months from August to December 1914).

The series of war-themed talks will continue on November 13, at North Shields Customer First Centre when a supporter of the Tynemouth project Ian McArdle MA will deliver a talk entitled A Doctor’s experience of the Western Front. This talk follows the experiences of Charles Wilson( later Lord Moran) who served throughout the war in France and Belgium.

Ian’s previous talks at the Low Lights Tavern, some of which feature in this series were highly acclaimed. The series continues on Thursdays from November 13 to December 11. Talks (6.30-7.30pm) are free but prior booking is essential either by phone 643 5270 / e-mail northshields.library@northtyneside.gov.uk or in person at North Shields Library.

Our Information Centre on Tynemouth Front Street is open on Sundays from noon to 4pm, until spring 2015. To access the project database, visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org

Anyone with information about anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project. The workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each week day for visitors.