Cruel cost of Somme awakens memories

THE details of casualties in the list provided by the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project this week is drawn again from the 74 men of the borough killed in the first day of the campaign launched on the Somme on July 1, 1916.

Since the publication of details last week, of those from the Tyneside Scottish battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers lost on that fateful day, a number of readers have contacted the project to provide information about relatives, and the difficult consequences for those left widowed and orphaned by the tragedy that befell many in the community.

July 1, 1916, shattered the illusions of those who had rushed to volunteer in the heady atmosphere of patriotic fervour that engulfed the whole country in the autumn of 1914.

Many of those who volunteered were well beyond the age for normal enlistment in pre-war days and often joined up together to serve in what they believed would be a great adventure.

Two brothers-in-law from Preston village are typical of that group who left their peacetime employment to serve in the local battalions being raised to fill Kitchener’s new armies.

John Glaister and George Thompson were employed at Ritson’s colliery in Preston and both enlisted in the Tyneside Scottish.

Both were killed on July, 1, 1916, and are noted on the family headstone just inside the main gates of Preston cemetery, in the first row of headstones behind the hedgerow, facing towards Walton Avenue.

Aged 39 they were typical of many family men swept away in the slaughter that day.

The project would like any information about them to add to the growing collection of fascinating memories and materials of the consequences of the war.

The group continues to recruit new volunteers and now has its own base in the Linskill Centre, which is open at present from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

The project hopes this will be expanded shortly to include evenings from 4pm to 8.30pm to allow those unable to get along during daytime to get involved.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the project or with information about anyone who served and died as a consequence of the war should contact the addresses shown in the list of casualties published each week.

THIS week’s list is the men of the Tyneside Irish and other battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers who were either killed or reported missing on July 1, 1916, and subsequently listed as presumed dead.

Tyneside Irish: 24th Battalion

Joyce, John, age 29, Private, A Company, Bird Street.

25th Battalion

Coyne, James Patrick, Lance Corporal, 193 Stephenson Street.

Dawson, A H, Corporal, son of A H Dawson, of 130 Brinkburn Street, Byker.

26th Battalion

Cole Daniel, Private, details needed.

Donohoe, William Edward, Private, details needed.

Graham, William Alex, age 34, Sergeant, son of Mrs Martha Elizabeth Graham, 22 Wellington Street.

Grant, Maurice, age 32, Private, husband of Mrs Rankin (formerly Grant), of 21 Baird Avenue, East Howdon.

Phelan, Frank, age 31, Private, husband of Ellen Coxon (formerly Phelan), 61 Norfolk Street.

27th Battalion

Bean, John, Robert, Private, 4 Tyne Street.

Shuttleworth, James Anthony, age 31, Private, son of James and Mary Jane, of 11 Reed Street.

Other battalions

Downie Phillip, age 22, Private, D Company 6th Battalion (enlisted 16th Battalion), son of George and Hannah, of 64 Grey Street.

Campbell, George, age 25, Private, 12th Battalion, husband of Mary Isabella, 1 The Nook, Chirton.

Rayhill, Joseph, Private, 12th Battalion, 31 Elsdon Street.

Barrie, John Arthur, Private, 14th Battalion (enlisted 18th Battalion), 47 Cleveland Road, buried at Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovillers La Boiselle.

Dixon, Richardo George Milton, age 24, Lance Corporal, B Company 16th Battalion, son of John Milton and Elizabeth Dixon, 71 Park Road.

Herriot, Allan Morton, Private, 16th Battalion, details needed.

Lithgow, Curzon Coningsby, age 26, Sergeant, 16th Battalion, son of Robert James Lithgow, Albert House, Seaton Carew, former pupil Tynemouth High School.

Riddle, Charles William, age 23, Private, 18th Battalion, son of Mr and Mrs C Riddle, 7 North Terrace, West Allotment.

Garrett, B, formerly of 68 Camden Street, details needed.

O’Neill, John Thomas Private, 20th Battalion, Tyneside Scottish, 37 Simpson Street.

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