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

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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

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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.

Henry Doyleson of the Royal Field Artillery

t13909This photograph was donated by Lorraine Dayes whose Great Uncle, Henry Doyleson, is in the centre of the three men shown.

A copy of it was addressed, but probably not posted, to ‘Charles Malcolm, No. 77 Mess, HMS Queen Mary, c/o GPO London’, by his sister Mary Malcolm.  The message on the back of the card reads as follows…..

Dear Brother

Just a line to thank you for the PostCard you sent me but at the same time I thought you would have sent me one of your photos.  They have all got one but me so I hope you will send me one.  Mother got your photos Saturday morning.  Mother,  group and also the one of yourself.  Jane Garbutt got one and not Great Aunt (Fanan ?) so do not forget to send me one.  So don’t forget to send one (She repeats herself).

From Your Sister

Give Joe and Jock my best Love Mary


Charles was one of three Stockton brothers who were all stokers on HMS Queen Mary.  They were the sons of Mary and George Malcolm, 14 Union Street, Stockton-on-Tees. All three were killed at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 while serving in HMS Queen Mary. They were: – Charles Malcolm, stoker, 2655S, RNR aged 22; John Robert Malcolm, stoker, 1430S, RNR, aged 25; Joseph Malcolm, stoker, 2681T, aged 29. All are commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. John Robert and Joseph were married. John Robert had a son John G. born 1915. Joseph had two daughters, Mary Elizabeth born 1910 and Janet born 1913.


Henry Doyleson was a Stockton man and a friend of the Malcolm brothers.  He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery (regt. no. 34819) in the early days of the war.  He became a driver, responsible for driving a team of horses that pulled the big Field guns into and out of battle. His battery landed in France on 8th September 1915 in time to join the brigade as they prepared for what became known as the Battle of Loos or the Third Battle of Artois. The battle commenced on the 25th September 1915.  Henry was killed in action on the  26TH September 1915. He had only been at the front for 18 days before he was killed

Henry is commemorated on the Roll of Honour on plot/panel 3 of the Loos memorial, Pas de Calais.  The memorial commemorates 20,000 men who fell in battle and have no known graves.

t13908This is another photograph of Henry Doyleson.  It was probably taken shortly after he had enlisted and was posted from Salisbury Plain where his battery of the RFA was in training before going overseas.   The message on the back of the photograph has faded over the years but what can be read follows…..

One for Ike  and —-one for yourself.  Write back to the address we are at ——————— Salisbury.  Now firing the big guns for a week and then the  —– starts ——-with.  (Illegible words have been replaced with dashes).

Lorraine, who donated the photographs, would really like to find out more about Henry Doyleson.  He was her Grandfather’s brother but her grandfather changed his name to Dayes.  It is a big family mystery. Lorraine would also love to know who the other men in the photograph are…..  can anyone help?

Man of War c1942

t13873A view of my late father Tom Birtle in his Home Guard uniform. He joined the Thorpe Thewles detachment at the age of 16 in 1942. He looks very young in this photograph so I have to assume it was taken in the same year. By the end of his service he was a lance corporal.

The photograph was taken at Norton Junction cottages.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Birlte.