Relatives being sought for blue plaque events

The Ethelwulf but with an earlier crew, not those who were lost.
The Ethelwulf but with an earlier crew, not those who were lost.

The project’s programme to place blue plaques to mark the homes of men killed in the First World War – where a house still stands – has completed arrangements for the fixing of more than 100 memorials with many already in place.

And on Sunday, June 14, a special event will be held to place plaques for the crews of two local trawlers lost on December 1, 1918, three weeks after the end of the war when they struck mines whilst out with the Shields fleet fishing to meet the needs of the population for food.

The Steam Trawlers T W Mould and Ethelwulf were sunk with the loss of all hands, leaving dozens of grieving relatives to face a bleak future as the first peacetime Christmas approached in five years.

The project hopes relatives of the crews of the two vessels will join them as they place plaques in Princes Street, Washington Terrace and Coburg Street, where four of their former homes still stand.

All 13 crew members will be remembered in the Memorial Garden at the Linskill Centre, which the project hopes to complete over the coming year.

Five plaques will also be placed in Edith Street, Tynemouth, where the Tombling family lost three members, and where Richard Simpson lived, a survivor of the sinking of HMS Hampshire and the loss of Lord Kitchener. Sadly Richard was lost 14 months later.

The project is pleased that representatives of the families of three of the men lost on the trawlers will be joining them, but they would be delighted if anyone related to the any of the following crew members for whom the project has some details could get in touch and arrange to join the event.

They are Richard Ellis Angus, of 128 Church Street, was the father of John, Mary, Leslie and Angus; John Dodds, of 42 Dockwray Square, father of Mary, Margaret Sarah, Jeanette and Ethel; Joseph Lucas, of 116 Church Street, father of Isabella, Joseph, Mary, George, Margaret, Doris and Elsie; Robert Steedman, of 42 Dockwray Square, was father to Mary, Robert Margaret, Sarah, Ethel, Janet Lily, William, Arthur, Stanley, James, Ralph and Doris; John George Watson, of 140 Church Street, husband of Polly (nee Reed) and brother of Elizabeth, Florence and Edmund, but had no children; Henry Williamson, of 44 Washington Terrace, husband to Catherine Ann (nee Coull) and brother of Alexander, Lawrence, James, Janet, George John and Bertie.

The grandson of John Tom Kennedy, of Coburg Street, is coming across form Ireland with his own grandson.

George Wales, the 97-year-old son of Alfred Frederick Wales, of Princes Street, is travelling up from his home in Cambridge to be present, and local relatives will also be in attendance from other families.

After the placing of plaques a reception will be held at the Old Low Light Fishing and Maritime Heritage Centre, at Clifford’s Fort on the Fish Quay, where members of the group formed to place a memorial to all those from the fishing industry lost will meet with relatives of the men lost on that dark day in 1918.

The project would be grateful if anyone related to or having knowledge of relatives of any of the crews of the two trawlers would contact the project as noted below.

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.

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.