Local links to US war entry

American Flyers in Cramlington
American Flyers in Cramlington

The Northumbria World War One Project has always participated in a wide range of regional events, and for the month of May we will be particularly busy.

Local History Day will be held on Saturday, May 13, at North Shields Customer First Centre (Library), from 10am to 3pm.

The project will be present to meet anyone keen to learn about how to trace relatives in relation to World War I.

Our volunteers will be on hand to show visitors the current work we are engaged in and how they can get involved.

We will also be at St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead, on Saturday, May 20 for its Local History Day event.

The Northumbria Project has been awarded a small sum to mark the entry of the USA into the Great War in the context of north east England, and this will include a programme of work, an exhibition and talks.

The first of these, American Flyers at Cramlington, will take place on Tuesday, May 16, at The Low Lights Tavern, Brewhouse Bank, Fish Quay, North Shields, at 7.30pm.

Peter Coppack, of the project, will talk about the American trainee flyers who were based in the north east. One of these was Lt. Robert E Lee – a relative of the Confederate general from the Civil War era.

This is a change of title and speaker. Dr Dan Jackson will now give his revised and expanded talk, With God On Our Side, about the military chaplains of both sides in World War I, on Tuesday, July 18, at the same time and venue.

We are pleased to announce that Emeritus Professor John Derry, of Newcastle University, will consider the United States’ entry to the Great War in April 1917 in a lecture he will deliver at the City Campus East lecture theatres at Northumbria University, New Bridge Street (opposite Manors Metro station).

This will be a free public lecture and will take place at 6.30pm, on Tuesday, June 13.

The programme of work being undertaken, under the working title of Geordie Doughboys, includes examining draft registration cards for members of the American Expeditionary Force, which was sent to France to fight alongside the Western allies.

Preliminary investigations show hundreds, if not more, men who gave addresses in north east England as their place of birth, before emigrating to the United States in the late 19th and early years of the 20th centuries.

The exhibition of the project’s findings will be opened on July 4, hopefully by a representative of the US Embassy in London, which is funding this work.

It will show the stories of individuals, as well as the work of the north east in relation to training and supporting the US forces who came across the Atlantic to support our military efforts on land and at sea.

New volunteers are welcome to join the project. The commitment of time is entirely at your discretion.

To find out more about how to get involved contact tommy@northumbriaworldwarone.co.uk or call into the workroom at the Linskill Community Centre.

The project workroom (Room B9) at Linskill Community Centre, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for enquiries and for anyone to bring information about relatives lost in the war.

The Memorial Garden is open for public visits during the opening hours of the centre, from 8am to 5pm daily.