Following the successful completion of the extensive programme of research into the casualties of the Great War from the former Borough of Tynemouth, the project group submitted a second application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a substantial grant to allow the widening of its scope to the other parts of the modern borough of North Tyneside.
The aim was to include communities other which also made significant sacrifices in the years from 1914 to 1919.
Now the project has learned the application has been approved with a grant of £72,400 to allow it to move on to the even greater task of seeking out the stories of an estimated 3,000 more casualties of the war from Wallsend, Whitley Bay, and the communities of the north west of the borough, from Annitsford, Seaton Burn and Wideopen, south east across Dudley, Burradon, Forest Hall, Benton, West Moor, Killingworth, Shiremoor and Backworth.
The aim is to create what will probably be the most detailed community researched database of local men killed in the Great War anywhere in the country.
The project will be holding a number of briefing meetings across the borough in local centres to describe the task ahead and to encourage new volunteers to come forward and get involved to ensure the achievement of the objects set out in the funding bid.
The project hopes that the new areas of research will produce the same response from those communities today as in Tynemouth and reveal some of the fascinating, tragic and emotive stories of the men of south east Northumberland who gave their lives 100 years ago.
The target is to complete the new project by November 2017.
This is a challenge that can only be met if the project is able to recruit local volunteers to engage with the people today who have stories of men from their families in the period of the First World War.
Anyone who wishes to get involved in the project can get in touch now through its website at www.tynemouthworldwarone.org
The local meetings to be held shortly and will be listed through this column and the website and Twitter feed, @TynemouthWW1 as well as in North Tyneside customer first centres and other public venues.
Ken Wilson, chairman of the project group (now re-named Northumbria World War One Commemoration Project) said: “We are extremely grateful for the future support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which I am sure reflects the project’s value to the local communities across North Tyneside.
“We would encourage local people to come forward and get involved in an already committed and enthusiastic group of volunteers.
“We will continue to enjoy the support of North Tyneside Council now and into the future, so please join us in this challenging, interesting but most importantly, enjoyable project.
The project’s information centre in Front Street, Tynemouth (adjacent to the library), is open at weekends for the spring and summer.
A number of small exhibitions of the project’s work and publications can be viewed and purchased.
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 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.