THE First World War witnessed rapid improvements in technology.
But the fragile nature of the newly developed radio communication and telephones was susceptible to the damage caused by artillery bombardment.
Communication between the troops at the front and commanders to the rear was always subject to the vagaries of broken telephone lines and the destruction of forward control posts with radio installed.
The only remaining methods of passing information were the use of pigeons or runners; men who risked life and limb to carry messages back and forward between those in command in the trenches and the staff at battalion, brigade and divisional HQs.
The man at the front had only the Standard Issue Field postcards – on which nothing could be written and only a selection made by deleting words from a number of pre-printed phrases.
Or the writing of letters, which would be subject in most cases to being censored by his immediate officer and again by the military.
April, 1917 saw the beginning of the campaign the Battle of Arras.
Another large scale attempt to break through the German lines that would bring the heaviest daily casualties of any campaign in its official duration from April 9 to late May.
The bitter fighting took the life of a local man shortly after his award of the Military Medal.
The newspaper reported this and the subsequent presentation of the medal to his mother
Shields Daily News, May 12, 1917: PO G HALL, MM, KILLED. Mrs ME Hall, of 41 Cardonnel Street, North Shields, has received official word that her son, PO George Hall, Royal Naval Division, was killed in action on April 24.
Shields Daily News, January 24, 1918: Before the usual business of the council ... the mayor presented three medals, awarded by the King to local heroes. The first was presented to the late Petty Officer George Thompson Hall, Royal Naval Division, of 41 Cardonnel Street, North Shields. The mayor pinned the medal to the breast of Mrs Hall, the deceased’s mother, who was much affected by the ceremony. A brother, Alexander E Hall, deck hand, RNR, (trawler section), returned thanks. He said that his brother volunteered in the great rush of 1914, but was turned down and sent back to work. In the early part of 1916 he again offered, and was accepted. The only record they had of his action was that he went out to clear a German trench along with some of his comrades.
The Tynemouth World War One project benefits from wide-ranging news and social media which bring useful and unusual facts to light.
Two weeks ago it reported the burial of a local man in Brazil.
A man living in Rio de Janeiro began following the project’s Twitter site @tynemouthWW1 and made contact.
He is going to try to find Bolton Bradley’s grave in the ‘Cemterio des Ingleses’ in the Camboa area of the South American city.
The season of talks continues at the Low Lights Tavern on Tuesday, April 30, when Dr Dan Jackson will discuss the pre-war state of a Britain, which was racked by strikes, suffragette agitation and Irish rebellion.
Tickets (free) are available at Keel Row book shop, the project workroom B9, Linskill Centre, and The Low Lights Tavern.
Anyone with information on this week’s casualties or anyone killed or died as a result of the war is asked to contact the project.
The project workroom 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.
THIS week’s casualty list gives details of men from the former Tynemouth Borough who were killed or died in the month of April , 1915 to 1918.
English, Charles, Private, 2nd Battalion East Yorks Regiment, KIA, 23rd. Menin Gate Memorial. Details needed,
Hogg, Robert Henry Dunn, age 40, Private, 9th Battalion NF, KIA, 24th, 10 Chirton West View, son of William George and Mary Ann, husband of Sarah A Rowntree Hogg.
Glayes (Glaves), John Edward, age 18, AB, RND, DOW, 10th, Barrasford Street, East Howdon, son of John and Mary Ann, born Suffolk and previously resident in Harrogate (1911).
Holden, Robert Nixon, age 35, Fireman / Trimmer, MN ss Sowwell, torpedoed, LAS, 19th, 1 Trinity Place, son of Thomas and late Isabella, (served under name of Nixon), husband of Mary Isabella Holden (nee Towns).
Hall, George Thompson, MM, age 27, Petty Officer, RNVR, RND, Hawke Battalion, KIA, 24th, 30 Billy Mill Lane, son of Robert and Mary Jane (nee English), his brother, DOW, July 1918. See story
Dyson, Arthur, Private, 24th Battalion NF, (Tyneside Irish), KIA, 28th, a former Wellesley boy, born Huddersfield. Details needed
Henderson, William John, age 26, Lance Corporal, 21st Battalion NF (Tyneside Scottish), DOW, 28th, son of Mary Ann, of Middle Engine, Percy Main, buried Leicester, Welford Road Cemetery.
Evans, John age 42, Fireman, MN, ss Upcerne (London), torpedoed UC 40, LAS, 28th, son of Bartholomew and Rosina, born Glasgow. Details needed.
Forbes, Frederick William, age 38, Chief Engineer, MN, ss Myrtle Branch (Sunderland), torpedoed by UB 73, LAS, 11th, son of James and Anne Forbes, husband of Alice Elizabeth Caroline, 3 Bamborough Terrace and Laurel Cottage, Magherafelt, NI, uncle of John Dobson, RND killed March 25, 1918.
Gray, George, age 35, 2nd Mate, MN ss Upcerne (London), torpedoed, LAS, 28th, 22 Stanley Street West, son of the late George and Annie, husband of Beatrice Gray (nee Swan). Tower Hill Memorial.
KIA – killed in action
DOW – died of wounds
LAS – lost at sea
NF – Northumberland Fusiliers
DLI – Durham Light Infantry
RND – Royal Naval Division
RNR – Royal Naval Reserve
RFA – Royal Field Artillery
n Anyone with information on this week’s list or who wants to find out more about the project, should visit www.tynemouthworldwarone.org, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project, c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields, NE30 1AR.