More ‘Tyneside Tommies’ remembered in local beer

The popular and specially brewed ale from the Three Kings Brewery has been reinforced by a new range of bottles with unique neck tags.

The tags tell of a further six men’s war stories drawn from the Tynemouth project’s research.

The popularity of the product and its special labelling with tags reminiscent of those worn by soldiers in the First World War, has been evidenced by the number of real ale fans seeking to complete a collection of the first six when they went on sale.

The new tags feature men from all backgrounds in the local community 100 years ago.

A member of the victorious Cambridge boat race crew in 1914 was Kenneth Gordon Garnett, born at Percy Gardens Tynemouth, the son of the former principal of Armstrong College, Newcastle – then part of Durham Uni.

Able Seaman Richard Simpson was a survivor the loss of HMS Hampshire when Lord Kitchener drowned en-route to Russia in June 1916 but was lost at sea only 14 months later.

Charles Edward Johnson was one of the earliest casualties. He was buried in Preston Cemetery after dying in a military hospital in Southampton in September 1914.

These men and three others feature in the latest series of tags telling briefly of their part in the great struggle that consumed the nation and many of its brightest talents over four years.

‘Tyneside Tommy’ can be found at local retailers including, The Wine Chambers, North Shields and Tynemouth; Cherry Wines; North Shields Discount Centre, Broadway; Boda Home, Whitley Bay; and at the Crescent Club Cullercoats and Oddfellows Arms North Shields.

The project was saddened to learn this week of the sudden illness and tragic early death of Jackie Fielding, 47, whose acclaimed and award-winning direction of the project’s play Death at Dawn, written by Peter Mortimer, was premiered in September last year at the Linskill Community Centre.

Peter said: “Jackie worked with Cloud Nine Theatre Company over many years, directing my plays and those of Julia Darling, Alex Ferguson, Len Barras and others. She was among the feistiest of women, single-minded in the way great directors are. We fought hammer and tongs constantly, but an unspoken creative respect for each other’s work ensured our survival.

“Her vision on Death at Dawn was fantastic, deservedly winning the British Theatre Guide regional Best Direction Award (2014).

“A framework for the play’s revival is being put together. Her premature death shakes those foundations. Yet I can hear her voice. It is saying, ‘Enough. Get on. Do it’. And we shall.”

Planning to stage the play in February 2016 will continue, but a number of challenges will now require to be overcome with the loss of a brilliant director.

The project’s information centre in Front Street, Tynemouth (adjacent to the library), is open at weekends for the spring and summer.

Anyone with information about anyone who was killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.

The project workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for visitors and anyone interested to learn more or how to get involved.

The address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.