Memorial project now setting its sights wider

The Northumbria World War One Commemorative Project banner.
The Northumbria World War One Commemorative Project banner.

The Northumbria World War One Commemoration Project has now succeeded its Tynemouth predecessor as the formal name for the work of volunteers across North Tyneside engaged in expanding its original database.

The renamed project’s aim now is to commemorate all those from the other communities making up the modern borough of North Tyneside who died as a result of the Great War.

Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund has been obtained to enable us to continue our work until 2018.

The project’s much-improved and expanded website can be found at

The previous web addresses will redirect automatically to the new site.

Our popular talks on war related topics will continue this autumn at the Low Lights Tavern on the Fish Quay at North Shields.

In the future, we expect that talks will be given in other parts of the borough at suitable venues.

On Tuesday, September 22, Peter Coppack will talk about the development of armoured warfare with special reference to the tank, a euphemistic name used to hide its purpose from the enemy.

On Tuesday, October 27, Ian McArdle, a regular speaker for us, will again deliver his well-received talk on shell shock, first given in August.

The talk was a sell-out at the gallery at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre, at Clifford’s Fort on the Fish Quay, where many works of Victor Noble Rainbird, himself possibly a victim of shell shock, are on display.

This exhibition of work by the renowned local artist can be seen daily from 10am to 4pm.

It features two paintings done in France in August 1916, shortly after Rainbird arrived in France with the Northumberland Fusiliers (2nd/6th Battalion).

They were reinforcements drafted in to make up for the terrible losses suffered by the battalions of the Tyneside Scottish and Tyneside Irish Brigades on July 1, 1916.

The paintings of scenes in front of Vimy Ridge and Armentieres were done when the Tyneside Scottish were at rest in a relatively quiet sector as they refitted and recovered from their losses in front of La Boiselle on the first day of the Somme campaign.

The paintings are on display until Sunday, when the exhibition closes.

On Saturday at 11am at the gallery, David Young,who initiated the development of the Rainbird exhibition will give a talk on the artist’s time at the Royal Academy before the Great War.

He will also look at other artists who suffered from the effects of the war, as reflected in their own works.

David has been meeting the many visitors to the exhibition who have come with their own family stories of Rainbird, often bringing in paintings for inclusion in the short-term loan section of the display

All proceeds from ticket sales and purchases will be going to the fund to establish a fitting memorial at the site of Rainbird’s final resting place in a pauper’s grave in Preston Cemetery in North Shields.

So far, the sale of the exhibition catalogue and prints of Rainbird’s works has raised more than £4,500 for the fund to erect a sculpture which will remind people today of the main inspiration for his works drawn from the borough.

The project’s information centre in Front Street, Tynemouth, is open on weekends and some weekdays until the end of September.

Anyone with information about anyone killed or who died as a result of the war from homes across all of the areas of the modern borough of North Tyneside is asked to contact the project.

The project workroom at Linskill Community Centre, in Trevor Terrace, North Shields, is open from 10am to 4pm each weekday for the benefit of anyone interested in learning more about the project. Our address for correspondence is c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields NE30 1AR.