This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One and we have assembled galleries of pictures, stories and mementoes in tribute to the North East men and women who lived and died during that terrible and extraordinary time.
These stories are also in the gallery above. If you want to send a story please do so using the form below. Sorry, but we can not accept letters and photographic prints.
Herbert Stanley Bynon
Herbert Stanley Bynon, who lived in Gosforth, Newcastle, served in both world wars and was lucky to survive them.
His grandson John Bynon told us: "Grandpa was an Observer in 99 Squadron Royal Flying Corps. He flew in DH9s which were the bomber fighters of their day. The plans were on his knees, the bombs by his feet, the Lewis gun by his side.
"He once shot right through the straps that held the wings together and the pilot had to make a hasty landing. Grandpa told me the Lewis gun was always jamming at height due to the cold. Parachutes were invented, however, the powers that be decided not to issue them to airman for fear they actually tried to save their lives.
"Grandpa told me his fear was fire as these 'kites' would sometimes just ignite and so he carried a revolver. Don't think I need to explain why.
"Following the war he returned to Newcastle and met up with his university mates Jonny Gilroy, famous for the Guiness posters, and artist Byron Dawson.
"They were all at Newcastle University together taking Fine Art. Grandpa got called up again in 1939 and was based up at Loussiemouth (Dambusters)."
Herbert, who died in 1982 at the age of 84, once told John: "Look here old boy, 10 years of my life were taken away and I'm one of the very lucky ones.''
William Burton sent this picture of his grandad, 16532 Private William Alfred Burton of the 8th Battalion the Northumberland Fusiliers.
He said: "He was wounded in WW1 while fighting in Gallipoli on the 07/08/1915. He was taken to Egypt where he died of his wounds on the 06/09/1915 and was buried in Alexandria Chat-by Cemetery, which William intends to visit next year, 100 years to the day he died."
George Thomson Herschel
Mary Hainey has sent this picture of her grandfather George Thomson Herschel who was in the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment. Regimental number 204157 Rank Corporal. She said: "George was born 1885 and sadly died 1929, aged 44. My Grandfather joined the British Army. He was a 1st Class Signalman. He was shot in the head and was sent to Genoa Italy for recuperation. He survived the War but died at the age of 44 leaving my Grandma a ten bob Widow."
John Arnold, of Marley Hill, Gateshead, born 1881, died 1916, aged 35, was an Army private in the 23rd (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. James Ridley Parker of Gateshead, his grandson, said: "On July 1, 1916, the Somme, supported by a French attack to the South, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from North of Gommecourt to Maricourt.
"Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. My grandfather was killed that first day. He left behind a wife, son and three daughters."
Michael Hardy sent this picture of his grandfather Phillip Hardy who was born 1885, died 1940, aged 55. He said:"My grandfather was a miner at Clara Vale Colliery pre-WW1. He entered the theatre of war in France on 22nd March 1916 as a Private with the 9th Bn DLI (Territorial Force) He saw action on the Somme in 1916 and at Arras and Passchendaele in 1917.
"In 1918 grandad was again fighting on the Somme and took part in the Second Battles of Arras and battles of the Hindenburg Line. Grandad suffered from gas poisoning.
"The photo shows grandad with men of the 9th Bn DLI from the Ryton on Tyne area training at Rothbury Schools in 1915. Top row 2nd from left Walter Ambler, Crawcrook, wounded. Top row 3rd from left Joseph Nicholls, Crawcrook, killed (aged 17 one of the youngest to die on the Somme battlefield) Top row 5th from left Robert Walker, Crawcrook, killed (Robert's brother Joseph was killed whilst serving with the Royal Naval Division. Robert's son William was killed in WW2) Middle row 4th from left Wilfred B Teasdale, Ryton, died of wounds. Front row 3rd from left William R Greener, Greenside, died of wounds. Front row 4th from left grandad Phillip Hardy, Crawcrook, gassed. Front row 5th from left Thomas Thirwell, Crawcrook, gassed. Men from the Ryton on Tyne area 9th DLI training at Rothbury Schools in 1915."
George William Johnson
George William Johnson, of Newcastle, born 1889, died 1962, aged 73. Alice Humphreys of Newcastle, his daughter, said: "He spoke very little of the War, was badly wounded and received a pension. He returned to the pits until ill health made it impossible to work underground then worked at Vickers. Retired 1954."
James Edward Denley
James Edward Denley, of North Shields, born 1899, died 1967, aged 67. He served in the 4th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, PTE36505. Linda Spence of North Shields, his daughter, said: "He was one of the very young in the First World War and was also in Second. "He got this letter from the king for his bravery and release from the miseries of war. He is at the top in the group photograph."
James Rourke, of White-le-Head, Newcastle upon Tyne, born 1876, died 1931, aged 55, was in the Durham Light Infantry. Hylton Marrs of Tanfield Lea, his great grandson, said: "My great grandfather was a pitman in Dipton. He volunteered to go to The Somme as a tunneller, to work on the four mines the BEF were working on (Lochnagar Crater for example). He was 39 and the promise of six times his salary was more than enough for a struggling miner with six children. Picture shows James Rourke in his DLI uniform."
John Arnold, of Marley Hill, Gateshead, born 1881, died 1916, aged 35, was an Army private in the 23rd (Tyneside Scottish) Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. James Ridley Parker of Gateshead, his grandson, said: "On July 1, 1916, the Somme, supported by a French attack to the South, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from North of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. My grandfather was killed that first day. He left behind a wife, son and three daughters, pictured."
Albert Proud, of 36 Matilda Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, born 14th December 1892, died 1977, aged 80. No: Tyneside z/2516. Michael Mein of Benwell, his great grandson, tells his story:
"Albert was born and lived his whole life in Benwell and entered the North East Sea Service on 2/1/1915 where he became an Able Sea Man. He spent much time training and then on 1/4 1916 he embarked on HMT Ionian across to Marseilles.
"He was then transferred across to another Battalion who were attached to the 4th Army Corp, went to Training School on 24th June 1916 for light trench Mortar Training. Little info was then available for the next couple of months until we found that in fact Albert had been wounded on the 29th August that year.
"He had been shot in his hand where the the second finger in his left hand had been shot off! Albert's hand at that time needed to be operated on under the control of the Kings Doctor where his finger was replaced by one of his toes. A very unusual but brilliant operation then took place.
"Following Albert's return to England to stay at Manchester's 2nd West Hospital and The Beaufort War Hospital down in Bristol for treatment he eventually returned to the North East. Here he married his young girlfriend Janet Farnell at St James Church in Benwell. Picture shows Granda Albert Proud nursing his shot and damaged arm and finger."
Charles McNulty, of Gateshead, born 1896, died 1816, aged 20. Private, 27th Battalion (4th Tyneside Irish) Northumberland Fusiliers. Diane Patten of Gateshead, his great niece, said:
"I was told by my father that Uncle Charlie died on the Somme, aged 20, and that he was "buried alive". His brother (my grandfather) was also on the Somme and he came home safely after the war.
"The brothers were both in the Northumberland Fusiliers, Charlie in the 27th Bn (4th Tyneside Irish) and I think grandad was in the 24th Bn. I am researching the family history and have found out that Uncle Charlie is buried in the Adanac Military Cemetery in Miraumont, France.
"This cemetery was made after the Armistice and graves were brought in from the surrounding battlefields around the villages of Miraumont, Pys and Courcelette. The 27th Bn was formed in January 1915 and after training the soldiers landed in France in January 1916. Charlie died on 4th September, 1916."
Heather Jones has sent a picture of her great Uncle Matthew Twizells final resting place. She said: "Matthew was a Private who's number was 45839. Matthew was in the 6th Battalion, Princess of Wales Own (Yorkshire Regiment). Sadly he was killed in action. He is buried in Loos cemetry, in France."
Anne Hastings Sadler the granddaughter of Matthew Swinburne, of Cowpen, Blyth, said:
"Matthew served in the 9th Northumberland Fusiliers 5th army and took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, France. At some point he was transferred to the Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment.
"He was twice wounded, the second time proving fatal after being shot in the chest. He died due to lung damage just weeks before the end of WW1. Matthew was born 1882, died 1918, aged 36.
"He is buried in Valenciennes (ST. Roch) War Cemetery France. His third son and fourth child (my father William Heslop Swinburne) was born three months after his death. His wife Dinah Heslop Swinburne died shortly afterwards and all the children (Matthew, Thomas, Ann and my father) were sent to separate foster families under the care of the army.
"I know that Matthew married Betty and had a son David. Thomas married Edna and had a son I think named Michael, and a Daughter Margaret. Ann (Annie) married (Haswell) and had two daughters and a son David. My Dad married Henrietta and my brother Leslie and I were born. It was my brother who researched Matthew, but he passed away before he was able to visit the site. I visited in 2008, 90 years after Matthew's death."
Fenwick Emerson Dixon
Thomas Edward Dixon sent this picture of his Uncle Fenwick Emerson Dixon who was born 1893, died 1947, aged 54. He said:
"He was in the army and taken prisoner of war in Germany and he was made to work down the German coal mines. Not sure how the photograph found its way home but relatives thought he has lost an arm as his photo was taken with his arm behind his back. He came home after the war and continued farming at East Farm, Earsdon, then later at East Farm, Prestwick, while his brother managed Grange Farm, and Westfield Farm, East Holywell. He died of peritonitis following appendicitis while he was at Prestwick."
What is your family's story?
Many people are now interested in researching their family history so we are hoping for a few more details than would otherwise be expected.
But even if all you have is a photograph and a name then we would be honoured to feature it in our gallery.
Your relative may have been a hero on the battlefield or they may have been a housewife taking extraordinary measures to feed and protect her family during this time of war.
If you don't have a photo of them then please include a picture of any memento you may have, or of your immediate family ... the ones who remember and treasure your WW1 hero's story.
A memento may be a letter or document. Please choose a meaningful section to photograph - we cannot accommodate more than one page of writing. It may be simply their name on a war memorial.
Please upload at least one picture and give us some brief information about your hero's war and what happened to them afterwards, using the form below.
Instead of a family tree , please tell us your relation to your hero, for example, whether you are their great granddaughter or great great grandson.
Tell us about your WW1 hero below: