War memorial project secures volunteer base

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THE project to research the casualties of the First World War from the former borough of Tynemouth has secured a base for its volunteers.

The project will occupy a space in the Linskill Centre in North Shields to carry out the large-scale programme of research into the family and personal history of the 1,700 local people who lost their lives in the conflict, which started almost 100 years ago.

At a second public meeting, of the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project on Tuesday evening, a large number of local people heard how the group has attracted support from a significant number of local individuals and public organisations.

The backing is vital as the project begins three years of work in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War in August, 1914.

By August 2014 the group hopes to have created a comprehensive record of the impact of the war on the local community and the loss suffered by hundreds of families.

The group will move into its Linskill base in Trevor Terrace in June, where teams of volunteers will carry out the investigation of the family and military history of the 1,700 casualties and the wider story of the impact of the war on the borough.

With support from North Tyneside Council the group has been able to establish its working base in an accessible location, where volunteers will be able to meet and arrange the programme of activities.

The project room will be equipped with facilities to carry out online research of databases of information about casualties of the war as well as providing space in which to assemble the vast amount of information which will eventually be recorded in an accessible database providing as comprehensive as possible the personal histories of the casualties.

The project will also be carrying out work at local and regional archives and collections, searching information about the town and its residents during the war and its immediate aftermath.

The first in a series of introductory sessions is to be held in the Local Studies section of North Shields Library in late June, where volunteers will learn about the rich sources of local history and biographical information that can be accessed to aid the project’s work.

Project co-ordinator Alan Fidler said: “We are pleased that we can now begin the real work of the project.

“There is an enormous task before us but we are encouraged by the level of support from all quarters for the work we plan to do in establishing a fitting record of the sacrifice of the community almost 100 years ago.”

The meeting was reminded of the impact of the war, which touched the wealthy and the poorer sections of the community alike.

As an example, the list of casualties listed this week (see below) include the son of a well-known businessman and local public figure – Alderman Richard Irvin JP, whose family had significant interests in the local fishing industry and at that time was active also in the whaling industry.

Thomas William Irvin was one of two surviving children of Alderman Irvin.

He died of wounds on May 22, 1916, while serving as a lieutenant with the 5th Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders.

He is remembered on the family memorial in Preston Cemetery.

His wife Christiana survived him until 1965 and his brother had taken over the running of the family business when Alderman Irvin died in 1919.

Richard Irvin CBE JP was a leading member of Tynemouth Council prior to its absorption into the North Tyneside borough in 1974.

He died in November 1970 at the age of 93, by which time the local fishing industry was in decline and the large deep-sea trawlers the firm had operated were being taken out of service.

The former family home, Clementhorpe, is the imposing mansion at the north west corner of Preston Park, which to this day has its own direction signpost at the entrance to the park in Preston Road, North Shields.

THIS list is drawn from the men of the borough who were killed or died in the month of May, 1915-1918.

Atkinson, George, age 23, Pte, 8 Bn East Yorks Regt, KIA, 18th, 1916, 49 Grey Street, son of George And Anne.

Clark, Charles, LAS, killed in a minesweeper, 13th, 1918.

De la Cherois, George Samuel, died in hospital, 17th, 1918, Preston.

George, James S, DLI, KIA, 20th, 1915, 46 Park Crescent East.

Gregg, Thomas J, KIA, 19th, 1918.

Hall, Pearson, age 20, Pte 5th/6th Bn Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), KIA, 20th, 1917, 7 Linskill Street, husband of Florence Bainbridge (formerly Hall ) 91 Bewicke Street, Howdon.

Holmes, Herbert Walter, age 21, Pte, 1st/5th NF, DOW, 12th, 1915, Base Hospital, Boulogne. Back Shipley Road, son of George Walter and Mary Anne (nee Harvey).

Irvin, Thomas William, age 32, Lieut, 5th Bn, Gordon Highlanders, DOW, 22nd, 1916, son of Alderman Richard Irvin, Clementhorpe, Preston Park.

Miller, Mark, age 30, L/Cpl, 15th Bn, West Yorks Regt, KIA, 22nd, 1916, 23 Norham Terrace, Percy Main, son of James and Margaret Jane.

Muller, M, Cpl, West Yorks Regt, KIA, 22nd, 1916, 29 Northumberland Terrace, Percy Main.

Ruddy, James William, age 38, fireman, LAS, ss Modenwood (Middlesbrough), 18th, 1917, 8 King Street, son of late Francis P and Mary, husband of Mary Elizabeth (nee Watson).

Selley, George, age 34, AB HMS Goliath, torpedoed, 13th, 1915, 40 Gardner Street, son of William Henry and Mary Ann, of Sidmouth Devon, husband of Bella Selley, 10 Laet Street.

Shannon, William T, RGA, DOW, 18th, 1917, 6 East Percy Street, Tynemouth.

Sharp, Alfred, NF, KIA, 14th, 1915, 13 Camden Lane.

Steedman, Richard, Sgt, 54th Field Company Royal Engineers, KIA, 13th, 1915, 32 Sibthorpe Street.

Storey, David, age 22, Pte 2nd Bn NF, KIA, 26th, 1915, 2 Back Row, Cullercoats, son of Frank and Ellen – shown on Roll of Honour as RND.

Trafford, John Wilson, Captain, Border Regt attached RFC, killed in flying accident, 21st, 1917.

Taylor, Thomas Dawson, age 21, Pte, 1st Bn Border Regt, KIA, 19th, 1917, The Lodge, Tynemouth Park, son of George and Isabella.

Key:

KIA – killed in action

DOW – died of wounds

LAS – lost at sea

NF – Northumberland Fusiliers

DLI – Durham Light Infantry

RND – Royal Naval Division

RNR – Royal Naval Reserve

RGA – Royal Garrison Artillery

Anyone with information on this week’s list or who wants to find out more about the project, should visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org, e-mail contact@tynemouthworldwarone.org or write to Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project, c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields, NE30 1AR.