To the sound of the Pipes and Drums of the Tyneside Scottish – Royal Artillery (Army Reserve), the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War was commemorated in a moving service and military parade in North Shields on Sunday.
The occasion was the culmination of the work of the volunteers of the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project, who have been engaged in researching the story of the almost 2,000 men of the former borough lost to the war.
The large number attending the event included family relatives of victims of the war as well as civic guests, project volunteers and representatives of churches and community organisations.
Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Sir Nigel Sherlock, and Coun Tommy Mulvenna, North Tyneside Council chairman, addressed those present, remarking on the tragedy of the Great War and the loss it brought to the families of the borough 100 years ago.
From 10am on Sunday morning a varied range of stalls and displays in Northumberland Square informed the public on many aspects of the life of the community back in 1914, and the conflict in which they were soon to be engulfed. Musical entertainment was provided by Jed Grimes and Liam Fender, with popular songs of the wartime era sung by the Linskill Community Choir.
A wide-ranging review of the wartime era was aided by the use of a large vehicle mounted screen displaying the story of the war through the project’s acclaimed animated casualty map with narration by Dr Dan Jackson, including examples of some of the work done by local schools over the past two years aided by the project.
Project co-ordinator Alan Fidler said: “This commemoration was planned over 18 months with contributions and assistance from many organisations. Fears about the weather evaporated as a brilliant sunny day and the setting of the event in Northumberland Square ensured a fitting and respectful remembrance of the losses of the community’s families 100 years ago.
“We have received many favourable comments from family relatives and the general public on the organisation and programme of the day, and we are pleased that with the assistance of North Tyneside Council the borough today has marked the centenary of the outbreak of the war appropriately.”