The Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project is believed to be the most diverse programme of First World War themed commemorative activities based solely on community voluntary effort.
Starting in 2010, with only the idea of preparing a computerised listing of the Roll of Honour of local casualties of the war published in 1923, the project has expanded massively, becoming over four years a wide-ranging community venture.
The original object has been expanded into a comprehensive online database of research into the family and military story of the more than 1,700 men recorded on the Roll of Honour.
In addition, a programme of lectures, in partnership with Northumbria University, and talks at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields have been the public face of a large scale volunteer effort.
This has included interviewing elderly relatives to gain insights of life in the aftermath of the war including survivors of the men killed, a play commissioned by the project and written by north east playwright Peter Mortimer – Death at Dawn – telling the story of a local man executed for desertion, will be performed at Linskill Community Centre from September 1 to 6.
In addition the project has provided training in researching family history and have funded work in local schools with a creative practitioner Jed Grimes.
Now, as the centenary of the outbreak of the war approaches, the project is finalising preparations for a major public event in Northumberland Square on Sunday, August 3, from 10am to 4pm.
The story of this huge community effort funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund is reflected in a comprehensive exhibition telling the experience of the borough during the war.
The exhibition was opened by Coun Tommy Mulvenna, chairman of North Tyneside Council, last Saturday, and is open to public viewing on the first floor exhibition area of the Customer First Centre and library in Northumberland Square until September 20.
The project has been able, with the generous support of more than 50 local businesses and individuals, to produce a comprehensive review of our its work and highlight some of the key aspects of the war and individuals from the local community who played a part in the tremendous national struggle that claimed so many local lives and changed the world forever.
Copies of the commemorative book have now been given to all students in primary and secondary schools and colleges in North Tyneside.
The book is also available to buy (£3) at North Shields Customer First Centre, Keel Row Bookshop, and from the project’s workroom and shop in Tynemouth.
The Information Centre in Front Street, Tynemouth, will be open every weekend and on some weekdays during the school holidays until Sunday, September 7.
Two of the mini-exhibitions are on display and a wide range of second-hand First World War books is available to purchase.
Tickets for the play Death at Dawn are on sale and the animated casualty map telling the story of some of the men from Tynemouth killed in major events of the war is shown on a screen monitor.
The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 1pm each weekday for visitors and for anyone interested to learn more about the project or how to get involved.
The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.
To access the project database visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org