Sydney Slome, 5th Durham Light Infantry

My grandfather Sydney Slome – 1st on the left, sat down was a soldier in the 5th Durham Light Infantry c1916.

I composed this poem in his memory;

 

He went to War
A soldier true
For King & Country
That’s all he knew

The Great adventure
He fought hard and long
When day was done
He would recall
The sweat and smell
Under a setting sun

He looked afar
Now all was green
The distant cries had all but gone
Yet in his mind
A soldiers’ song

He went to war

Photograph and detail courtesy of Tony Slome.

Stockton Remembrance 2017 – The Tributes and the Poppy Truck

The ‘Poppy Truck’ was very impressive and travelled from it’s base near Hull to attend several events in the north east over Remembrance weekend. The wreath for Private Ernest Taylor of the Grenadier Guards had featured recently on Picture Stockton as had Major Edward Cooper VC whose wreath was laid by Neil Schneider on behalf of the Council.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Thornaby Remembrance Parade and Service, Sunday 12 November 2017

Pictures taken at the Thornaby Remembrance Parade and Service on Sunday 12 November 2017. The two gents stood in front of the Cenotaph on Acklam Road are Thornaby boys F/L Allan Huitson RAFVR(T) and Derek Brittain who were pupils together at Westbury Street Junior School.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Remembrance Service for Ernest Taylor

The Remembrance Service for my Grandfather Ernest Taylor was held at St Peter’s Church, Stockton on Thursday 12 October 2017, 100 years to the day he was killed in action. The service was attended by 20 descendants and close friends. We were also pleased to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress at the service.

The wreath was laid on the memorial board by his great great grandchildren Betsy and Dylan and will eventually be transferred to the cenotaph in Stockton.

Photographs and details courtesy of Ken Oliver.

Memorial Stone dedicated to First World War hero on 100th Anniversary

A service of dedication was held on Wednesday 16 August to honour the heroic actions of Sergeant Edward Cooper in the First World War.

A memorial stone was unveiled at the Cenotaph next to Stockton Parish Church to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sgt Cooper’s bravery at the battle of Langemark, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V.

Yarm 1914 and The Battle Of Passchendaele, 16 July 2017

On Sunday 16 July Yarm1914 held a ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’ event on Yarm High Street to commemorate The Battle Of Passchendaele .
The event was held around the Town Hall and ran from 10:30am until 4:30pm with exhibitions about home life, working in the fields, a horse drawn WW1 field ambulance (without the horses), a WW1 Working blacksmiths forge as well as displays by Preston Hall Museum, the Heugh Battery from Hartlepool and The Royal British Legion.

There will also be a short service of remembrance on Monday 31 July, 10:45am at the Town Hall war memorial, to mark the start of The Battle Of Passchendaele which began on the 31 July 1917. All are welcome to attend.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

William Henry McDonnell, H.M.S. Calliope 1916

t14949This photograph shows my Grand-Uncle William Henry (Ernie) McDonnell in a Dunfermline Photographic Studio, before he joined the Light Cruiser H.M.S. Calliope in July 1915.

Ernie born c. May 1897 at 30 Maritime Street in Stockton-on-Tees, was the first son of George and Maria McDonnell. 5′ 4″ William Henry grew up in the old Quayside district of Stockton, living variously at 12 Smithfield, 26 Garden Place, 8 Commercial Street, 10 Tees Street and by 1914 at 3 Paradise Street.

He was a Stoker in the Royal Navy during the Great War; he served from July 1915 aboard HMS Calliope, a modern, oil fired, light cruiser, which was hit by shellfire from German battleships at The Battle of Jutland in May 1916. He was awarded chevrons for his part in the battle and was granted his 1st Good Conduct Badge in July 1918 for 3 years ‘VG’ conduct in service.

Photograph and details courtesy of Anthony Pearson and the McDonnell family of Stockton.

Charles Whitehead, HMS Iron Duke c1915

t14918The sailor in the center of the photograph is my great grandfather Charles Whitehead. In 1915 he was living at 6 Denmark Street, Thornaby-On-Tees. From 1915 to 1919 he served as a stoker on the battleship HMS Iron Duke. He was at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May/1 June 1916. The other sailors are George whitehead (no relation), right and Paddy Roy ?, left.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Dunnill.

‘Beaconsfield Soldiers & Sailors ‘Welcome Home’ Association c1919

t14553Pictured on the left is the programme of a night of entertainment at ‘The Bungalow’ in Norton which was held on Wednesday 16 April, 1919 to celebrate the safe return of two local men from the Great War.

The associated poem was written by the Beaconsfield Soldiers & Sailors ‘Welcome Home’ Association Chairman Mr J Lillystone and printed on small cards which were given to those who attended.

Images courtesy of Vicky Cooper.

t14552

World War One ‘Soldier’s Penny’

t14206This ‘Soldiers Penny’ was given to my Uncle Billy Bonner’s family.

98 years ago on the 23rd April 1917, William Bonner was killed. Billy was serving with the Durham Light Infantry when he was killed at the battle of Arras, northern France.
As well as being St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday, the 23rd April was also William’s 21st birthday.

Photograph and details courtesy of Anthony Bonner.

 

Stockton Man’s Great War Diaries

Roger Stamp PSRoger Stamp was born in Stockton in 1895.  He lived in Russell Street and attended Bailey Street School before working as a plater in Ropner’s shipyard.  In 1913, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the 5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.  When the Great War broke out he, with the rest of his battalion, was at the annual summer camp.  The territorials were recalled to their depot in Stockton where they all volunteered for service overseas.

On 17th April 1915 the 5th DLI left Newcastle for Folkestone from where they sailed for France.  On the day he left for the front Roger began to keep a diary (much frowned upon by the Army) and continued to do so until he was invalided out of the army in 1918 after, in August 1917, being wounded for the third time.

He recovered from his injuries and after the war he emigrated to America where he worked as a gardener in Los Angeles.

Roger's DiaryNow, precisely one hundred years to the day that the events were first recorded, Stockton Library Service will be serialising Roger’s diary, day by day, exactly as he himself wrote them.  The diary gives a rare insight into the everyday life of a British infantryman in and out of the line in France and Flanders during the Great War.  You can see Roger’s diary as it unfolds at www.heritage.stockton.gov.uk

We are indebted to a relative of Roger, Linda Patterson, who originally transcribed the diaries and has very graciously given us permission to publish them.  We would also like to acknowledge the work done by Durham County Record Office and Durham at War in making these diaries accessible. The Durham at War project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.