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.
William Thorne, of Windy Nook Gateshead, born 1882, died 26 September 1917, aged 35. Battery Sargeant Major 21917 Royal Field Artillery.
Paul Thorne of Newcastle Upon Tyne, his Great Grandson, tells the story: "William Thorne was a Battery Sergeant Major service number 21917. He served in the Royal Field Artillery. He fought in Ypres and was killed in the third battle of Passchendaele. We know his battery was in a different location when he was killed and have been led to believe he was trying to procure ammunition at the time. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is buried in the bard cottage war cemetery. I, with a few family members, have been able to visit his grave several times. Photo taken Fenham Barracks 1905."
John Sands, of Pelton Lane Ends, born 1895, died 1918, aged 23. Gunner, R.F.A. Brian Whiting of Cramlington, their Great Newphew, tells their story: "During the great push of March 1918, he stuck to his post of duty until every man in the battery but himself was wiped out. With true British bulldog tenacity he continued serving the gun until struck down and lay there for some considerable time before he was taken to the casualty station. He had been wounded, gassed and suffered from trench fever. He was sent to a hospital in France and later transferred to England where he died of his injuries. He was given a military funeral at Pelton Parish Church on 31st May 1918 aged 23 years."
William Gibson, of Gateshead, born 1874, died 1942, aged 68. Tyneside Irish, corporal demoted to private. William Gibson of Purley, Surrey, his grandson, said: "My grandfather, William Gibson was 40 years old when the war began but because of his youthful looks he got away with registering as 30 years old and enlisted in the Tyneside Irish Regiment.
"While training on the town moor he took my father then aged eight, and his comrades made an igloo for Dad with rucksacks and he remained undetected for more than a week.
"After training and on embarkation to the "killing fields" his correct age was discovered and he was demoted and reduced to looking after the horses.
"Being just situated behind the front line he wasn't under much fire but unfortunately was gassed twice, the second time very seriously and was very fortunate to survive. He was then invalided out but when well enough to walk tried to contact his former friends finding that very few of them had survived the horrific onslaughts.
"Because of the effect the gassing had on his lungs he was never able to work again and the family had to survive on a pittance of a pension and the work my Grandmother was able to bring in. He died in 1942 in the middle of a German air raid over Tyneside.
"Grandad is front, second left, in the photo, with friends before enlisting."
Michael Laurie, of Felling, Gateshead, born 25/09/1895, died 09/03/1972, aged 79. 25503 L/Sjt M.Laurie. Carolyn Firman of Gateshead, his Grand-Daughter, said:
"He was largely responsible for the defeat of a raiding party. Threw bombs with excellent effect. He had to expose himself to enemy artillery fire. Received a gun shot wound to his left shoulder. For his courage and bravery he was awarded the military medal. Seated on left side 25503 L/Sjt M.Laurie. 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry."
John Forrest, of 22 McAdam St. Gateshead, born 1874, died 1st July 1916, aged 42. Tyneside Scottish Pte 673. Edwin Forrest of Felling, his grandson, tells the story:
"Was a miner at Marley Hill, volunteered in 1914 in reponse to Kitcheners call and joined the Tyneside Scottish 23rd NF ( 4th Tyneside Scottish ).
"The regiment went to France on Jan 1916 and my grandfather was killed in action on the first day of the battle of the Somme July 1st 1916. The letter I have included was written on 23rd of June it was his last letter before they went up to the front.
"I have been to the battlefields and stood at the Lochnagar crater and looked across Mash valley where the Tyneside Scottish attacked it was very moving to think of all the men that were Killed there on both sides. When the Somme battle was over only 135 were left out of 1060 and 694 were not traced Pte John Forrest 23/673."
George Edward Smails
George Edward Smails, of Amelia Street, Teams, Gateshead, born 1892, died 1945, aged 52. The Loyal Regiment, Driver, T3-025659.
Frank Scott of Newcastle, his Grandson, said: "His army number was T3-025659, he was a driver in the Loyal Regiment. At 18 the photo was taken, he had 2yrs service & a wound stripe.
"He has a 1914 star medal, a British War Medal & a Victory Medal. Following the war he had 4 sons, Joseph, Edward, Ralph & Richard, he had 2 daughters, Anne & Frances (known as Nelly). He died at 52 from tuberculosis. My Hero Frank Scott."
John Crosby Angus
John Crosby Angus, of Choppington, born 1899, died 1st November 1918, aged 19. Private, 58858, West Yorkshire Regiment.
Graeme Nicholson of London, his Great Nephew, tells the story: "My great uncle John Angus originated from Choppington in Northumberland. Where he enlisted in the Army and joined Northumberland Fusiliers at the age of sixteen. In order to enlist he lied about his age, however, his age was discovered and fortunately he was sent back home.
"He re-enlisted at Blyth, age 17 and joined the West Yorkshire Regiment (King's Own) where he once again lied about his age. He saw action on the western front in various battles including Thiepval woods, Passchendaele and Ypres.
"The West Yorkshire Regiment engaged in battle on the 1/11/18, supporting the Canadians in an attack on Valenciennes. Unfortunately on this day he was killed in action. The poignant thing is that had he survived this battle for two further days he would have returned home safely as this was the final battle that the battalion engaged in.
"He has no grave but he has a plaque at Vis-en-Artois Memorial situated between Arras and Cambrai, which I will be visiting in July. Unfortunately I have no photographs but would dearly love to possess one."
Hugh Dillon, of Blyth, born 1882, died 1940, aged 57. Army, RSM, 25th DACRFA, Reg No 37191. Teresa Jackson of New Hartley, his great niece, tells his story:
"Hugh Dillon joined the Merchant Navy in 1902 aged 21. After his ship was torpedoed during WWI he decided to enlist in 'Kitchener's Army'. He became a Regimental Sergeant Major in the Royal Field Artillery serving in France.
"In 1916 his young wife Rose Ann, nee Duffy, died in Blyth leaving four young children who were cared for by family during their father's war service. Hugh was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the line of duty and mentioned in Dispatches on 29th August 1917.
"After the war he re-joined the Merchant Navy but sadly was lost at sea on 14th February 1940 when Newcastle cargo ship SS Tiberton , carrying iron ore from Norway to Middlesbrough, was sunk by U23. All 33 crew members were lost. Hugh Dillon is remembered with honour on the Tower Hill Memorial, London. Pictured is Hugh Dillon with his mother Mary Ann Dillon and a 1940 newspaper report."
Joseph Simpson, of Gateshead, Stanley and Dunston , born 1885, died 8th February 1946, aged 60. Private (L/CPL) J. Simpson (18641), 4th Durham Light Infantry, B Coy.
Joseph Alan Hughes of 17 Trafalgar House, Oxford St., Tynemouth, NE30 4PR, his grandson, said: "Private Joseph Simpson was awarded a DCM for gallantry as published in the London Gazette on 25th August 1917.
"Newspaper cuttings regarding Private Joseph Simpson No. 18641 DLI:-
"He showed great coolness and skill in laying and firing his guns for several hours under heavy shell fire. Later with a small party he successfully repulsed a strong hostile counter attack which had penetrated our line, saving a serious situation by his timely pluck and initiative.
"And No.18641 Pte. J. Simpson, DLI Awarded D.C. Medal:-
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during enemy attack on our flank. He dug out his gun, which had been buried, under heavy shell fire, and again got it into action. It was then buried a second time and rendered useless, whereupon he and another gunner charged the enemy, who had penetrated into our trenches, and bombed them back again. He then established himself to protect a large bomb store, which he held with the greatest fearlessness and gallantry against repeated rallies of the enemy. Though wounded, he remained at duty till next day. (1-10-1917)
"He died on 8th February 1946 and is buried in Saltwell Cemetery close to other DLI compatriots of WW1."
John Jones, of Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, born 1899, died 26 October 1917, aged 18. Private 6th Btn Northumberland Fusiliers. Maureen Maughan of South Shields, his niece, tells his story:
"John Jones. Private. 1st/6th Bn. Northumberland Fusiliers. My story is about my uncle John (Jackie) Jones and how in 2008 I was able to have his name added to the Roll of Honour at the family parish church of St. Ann's, City Road, Newcastle.
"I am going to visit Tynecot Cemetery in July this year where John's name is inscribed on the memorial. John has no known grave. My only records are the attached extract from St. Ann's newsletter and a copy of the Roll of Honour held at the church.
"All we have is a photograph of John's mother Isabella with her daughter Mary Elizabeth Jones. Sadly we have no photographs of this young man who never returned home. Pictured is John's mother Isabella with his sister Mary Elizabeth Jones, the memorial, and the Roll of Honour held at St Ann's church."
James Rose, of Benwell , born 1897, died 1918, aged 21. Sue Welsh of Whitley Bay, his great niece, said: "Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery, Egyptian Expeditionary Force."
James Armour Lowery
James Armour Lowery of 80 Stepney Lane, Newcastle, born 1884, died 1915, aged 30. Able seaman, Royal naval reserve, Tyneside, Z/1812. Graham Ball of Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, his Great Grandson, said: "My great grandfather was a wherryman on the Tyne, he was married to my great grand mother Annie. They had four children Elizabeth, Jimmy, Mable and Mary. He was killed 4th June 1915 at Turkey, he is remembered with honour on Helles memorial Turkey."
Alfred Hogg of Gateshead, born 1893, died 1976, aged 83. Pt. Edd Hogg of Howick, Auckland, NZ, his great nephew, said: "Private North Fus, Reg,t No 21- 617 GS- 79762. Wounded 1918. Received the MM 1918. Served with his younger brother Stanley, also wounded in 1818."
James Robinson of Wideopen told us about his grandfather Isaac Robinson, known as Ike.
"He joined the Army in 1900 at the age of 19 and was discharged in 1906. When war broke out he re-enlisted with the 1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers where he reached the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal not once but twice. A story in the Chronicle archives says he was responsible for the capture of 150 prisoners of war.
"It said: "Although his body had been peppered with shrapnel and he could hardly move, he continued to shout orders to his men until some German soldiers, amazed at his remarkable courage, carried him away." After nine months in a German prison camp he returned home and was continuously in and out of hospital having shrapnel removed from his body. He died of ammonia poisoning in 1939."
We are grateful to readers for helping us build up a marvellous collection of stories and pictures in our galleries of Your WW1 Heroes this year. While we are happy to accept submissions which may be published in the future, we are no longer looking to regularly publish new galleries.