THE Tynemouth World War One Commemoration project has the benefit of modern technology which allows wide-ranging comparisons to be made from the data already gathered from the basic details to be found in the published Roll of Honour from 1923 and searches made into the copies of each day’s edition of the Shields Daily News from August, 1914.
The printed lists gave little information and made no connections between men of the same name or address.
We now know that more than 150 men killed were related to others on the roll.
An example of this is the case of the three Wallace brothers, one of two families to lose three sons.
All three were killed in action, the last being Henry, aged 35, who died at the battle of Arras on May 8, 1917.
Husband of Mary Jane (nee Allison), he left five children, the eldest 12 and the youngest just six months, whom he had never seen.
Henry (Harry) had played rugby at a high standard for Northumberland and Percy Park in North Shields then moving to play for Hartlepool and Durham County before finally going to Hull where he played in the Northern Union.
It was here he suffered an injury which ended his playing career and after a long convalescence he became a joiner and settled in Hull.
Initially rejected by the army, he was only 5ft 3ins tall, he was accepted in 1916 by the Durham Light Infantry, going to France where he was killed serving with the 10th battalion.
In a letter home to a friend he remarked on his military adventure in sporting terms, which was perhaps typical of the innocence and enthusiasm of many, even at that stage of the war when hundreds of thousands had already laid down their short lives – including two of his own brothers.
“I am training for the greatest game of my life, where they do not take the dummy nor is there a blind side to the scrum,” he wrote.
His family had already suffered the loss of 2nd Lieutenant David S Wallace, a Special Reserve officer commissioned from the OTC in 1912 and transferred to the South Lancashire regiment on the outbreak of war.
He was killed on September 19, 1914, having fought in the retreat from Mons and on the Marne and Aisne battlefields.
In a letter home read out to the pupils of the Royal Jubilee School, where he was master, he remarked upon his good luck and how “he was beginning to think he was bullet proof”.
A former pupil of Tynemouth High School and a well-known player with Percy Park, a memorial meeting was held in his honour at the Memorial Methodist Church.
The second loss for the family was the death in action on the third day of the great offensive on the Somme in July 1916, which claimed the life of John Wallace, aged 37.
A veteran of the Boer War he had re-enlisted into the 12th service battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers on the outbreak of war and would have seen service in several heavy engagements before finally losing his life in France.
Their mother, Mary Anne, of Rosedale Terrace, North Shields, was the widow of William Wallace, a well-known tailor in the town.
Two of the three Wallace brothers are remembered on the memorial plaque at Percy Park clubhouse.
n THE BBC programme Coast broadcast on Sunday, May 13, featured an item about the sinking of HMS Hampshire on June 5, 1916.
The programme included details of Richard Simpson, of Edith Street in Tynemouth, one of only 12 survivors from the sinking, which claimed the life of Lord Kitchener.
Richard is the subject of an exhibition at the Low Lights Tavern, Brewhouse Bank, North Shields Fish Quay.
The exhibition can be viewed in normal hours in the Tavern.
Anyone interested to learn about the project and how to get involved can visit the Workroom at Room B9, Linskill Community Centre, from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
THIS week’s casualty list gives details of men from the Borough of Tynemouth who were killed or died in May 1917 and 1918.
Atkinson, Nicholas, age 27, 2nd Engineer, MN ss Saxon, torpedoed, LAS, May 7, 1918, son of Margaret Ann (late Spoor), formerly Scott, 20 Dock Road. Tower Hill Memorial. Details needed.
Charlton, William Jordan, age 29, Corporal, 3rd Battalion NF, May 15, 1918. Further details of death needed. Shown as KIA in CWGC records. 1 Percy Court, Northumberland Street, husband of late Elizabeth Ann, son of William and Isabella, of Morton Street, South Shields, buried Preston cemetery. As no bodies were repatriated and
he was serving in 3rd Battalion – the depot battalion based at Barrack Road, Newcastle, he must have died at home. Possibly having been returned to UK wounded.
Coleman, Frank, age 21, Private, 14th Battalion NF, KIA, May 27, 1918, son of Mrs Sarah Robson, 8 Reed Street. Soissons memorial.
Dee, William Trayhurn, Private, 27th Company Machine Gun Corps, wounded and missing in action, May 3, 1917, 15 Drummond Terrace, Arras Memorial.
Jamieson, Colin Miller, age 25, 2nd Lieutenant, 15th Battalion, London Regiment, Prince of Wales Own (Civil Service Rifles), previously with The Artists Rifles, KIA, 21st, 22 Newcastle Street, enlisted December 1913 – temporary commission. Former pupil of Tynemouth High School.
Macphie, Alexander, MN, killed by gunfire at sea, May 24, 1917, 59 Donkin Terrace. Details needed.
Mortimer, Thomas, age 19, Private, 3rd Battalion DLI, KIA, May 29, 1917, 57 Middle Street, Percy Main.
Wallace, Henry, Private, 10th Battalion, DLI, KIA, May 8, 1917, Hull, formerly of North Shields. Arras Memorial. See story.