Unknown Ceremonial Regalia – Can anyone help?

My sister and I have been trying to find out the meaning of our great grandfather’s ceremonial regalia.  We would love to know what club, trade council, or civic body John Bowker belonged to. Our mother (his granddaughter), has never known why he wore this uniform and it would be great to tell her.

John Bowker was born in 1868 in Skipton, and was a Master Tailor in Stockton-on-Tees, which included making the uniforms for officers. We do not have a date for the photograph, but we think he may have been about 65 years old, which brings it to 1933.

Any information about his regalia would be much appreciated.

Photograph and details courtesy of Mary Richardson.

Royal Navy Able Seaman, Arthur Edwin Brookes in 1944

A photograph of my dad, Arthur Edwin Brookes taken October 26, 1944 while in the Royal Navy (able seaman). His Service Number was PJX429760. The WW2 Medals he was awarded were: 1939/1945 Star, Atlantic Star with France/Germany clasp, Burma Star and 1939/1945 War medal. Arthur Edwin Brookes born 7/9/25 – died 16/2/2014.

Photograph and details courtesy of Peter Brookes.

1st Billingham Boys Brigade c1947

t15134This photograph shows the 1st Billingham Boys Brigade, taken outside the Methodist Central Hall on Billingham Green around 1947.

Amongst the many faces is my late husband Charles ‘Chuck’ McCorkell, Chuck and I were married in this very church in 1960, the church has long since been demolished.

Other names of the people in this photograph are:- Gordon Brown, Jackie Stoves, Harry Oliver, Harry Gilbert, Brian Kemp, George Gamesby, George Crawford, Eric Brown, David Jefferson, Alec Brown, Billy Oliver, Jim Barnes, Bill King, Skip Tinkler, Alan Dent, Bob Stewart, Terry Gilbert, George Whitehouse, Stan Calvert, George Brown, Frank Barnes, George Fleming and Harry Whitehouse.

If anybody remembers any of these names then do write in, they may be Fathers, Grandfathers or even Great Grandfathers of people still living in the Stockton area. I shall be very pleased to hear from some of Chuck’s old friends.

Photograph and details courtesy of Freda McCorkell.

German Airman’s Funeral, December 1939

t15087This photograph shows an RAF parade at the burial of a German airman in Thornaby Cemetery the picture is dated 12th December 1939.

At the head of the leftmost line of marching airmen is my Grandfather Sidney H. Leek, he has two badges on his greatcoat sleeve, one on the shoulder and one on the upper arm, he would have been around 40 years of age when this picture was taken but the company may have been reservists, my Grandfather had been in the RAF during the 1920s so he probably had reserved status.

I seem to remember that a service for the German airman was held at Thornaby cemetery a few years ago and it was well attended.

Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

St. John Ambulance Brigade, Billingham ICI Division

t15044St. John Ambulance Brigade (Billingham ICI Div.) en route to inspection in London, 1954. The St. John Ambulance Brigade had an annual inspection every year, at Sir Leonard Ropner’s estate in Bedale, but in 1954 they attended the grand gathering in London, where they appeared before the Queen in a grand march-past.  The photograph was taken on Billingham Green, before departure.  Remembered personnel are: Frank Eley (2nd. from lt.), Bob McDowell (5th from lt.), Bill Burns (7th from lt.), Alec Geddes, Div. Officer F. E. Shaw, Ralph Fernie.   Family members in the bus:  front two windows; John Fernie; your humble servant in silhouette; Mrs. Shaw, my mother and another unidentified lady; remainder unidentified.

Photograph and details courtesy of Malcolm Shaw.

Billingham Cubs c1956

t14625Here are some of the names:-

Back row from the left:- 2nd Dave Smith, 6th Tom Smith, 8th John Birtle

Front row from left:- 2nd Dave Willoughby, 5th Brian Storey, just behind him to the right is Terry Hutchinson and 8th Neville Race.

The two Smiths were twins and went to Australia in the early 1960s, Brian Storey and Neville Race were both at our recent reunion and according to Ian Dalrymple (one of your regular contributors) Dave Willoughby won the slow bicycle race at the scouts sports day every year.

The original cub hut was in Greenwood Road in Billingham backing onto our favourite play area Charltons Pond or as we called it Cowpen Lake.

Photograph courtesy of Neville Race, details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.

Freedom Parade – Armed Forces Day Event, June 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As part of national Armed Forces Week, serving troops, veterans and local residents came along to support the Freedom Parade through Stockton High Street on Thursday 25 June 2015. Men and women of 1 Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) marched through the High Street with colours flying and bayonets fixed.

St. Georges Day Parade, Stockton High Street – April 2015

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Sunday the Stockton Thornaby and District Scout Groups held their annual St Georges Day Parade in Stockton . After forming up near The Swallow Hotel the parade of Beavers, Cubs and Scouts together with their leaders were led up the High Street by The Billingham Silver Band to the Stockton Baptist Tabernacle were a service of thanksgiving for the scouting movement was held. The parade was well attended by the young people and many parents and families took advantage of the sunshine to go along and show their support. Well done to all those involved!

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

2nd Norton Boys Brigade Company c1944/45

t14088A photograph of the 2nd Norton Boys Brigade Company taken outside St. Michael’s Mission Room. I have mentioned the names of the people I can remember but I am sure some old Nortonians will be able to put names to other faces. Many of the older boys played bugle and drums in the band which paraded regularly around the streets of Norton after Sunday morning service at St. Michael’s Church, lead by Mace bearer Harry Charlton. My husband Brian was one of the side drummers and his brother Ivor played the big bass drum.

Back row; Rev. Ledgard, John Ison (Capt.), Ray Butler, Brian Hodgson, Tommy Seaman, Billy Johnson, ??, George Booth, Maurice Smith, Malcolm Wren, Matt Moses.

Middle Row: ??, ??, B. Willis, ??, ??, ??, Harry Charlton, ??, ??, ??, Ivor Hodgson, ??.

Front Row: ??, ??, ??, ??, T. Wharton, Trevor Davies, John Forsyth, ??, ??, Ken Littlefair, Stan Marwood (officer).

Photograph and details courtesy of Margaret Hodgson.

Another sort of Hero

t13913The photograph shows my uncle, Dick Starr, who was invalided out of the Royal Artillery in 1942, after volunteering for medical experiments relating to tuberculosis, in which he was injected with the disease. I am not sure what happened next, but the TB caught hold and he became very ill.

He was sent back to his parent’s house in St Annes Terrace, Portrack. Because of the fear of infection, a shed was built at the end of garden to keep him away from me and the rest of the family. Unfortunately he never recovered.



The pages from his pass book seems to confirm that he was in very good physical condition when he entered the army in 1940, where he became a gunner.

The comments section state that his conduct was exemplary. But I suppose they would have to say that. I myself have no recollection of him as I was only about two years old when he died.

Photograph and image courtesy of Fred Starr.