Family of fallen Tyneside solider pay tribute at Tynemouth war ceremony

Plaque honours fallen First World War soldier at his former home in Tynemouth as family members pay tribute

Peter Dixon Relatives of First World War soldier Thomas Stephens Charlesworth and Irish piper Joe Crane at the plaque ceremony
Relatives of First World War soldier Thomas Stephens Charlesworth and Irish piper Joe Crane at the plaque ceremony

Relatives of a fallen Tyneside First World War soldier travelled from across England to be at a touching ceremony at his former home.

Thomas Stephens Charlesworth was a second lieutenant in the Tyneside Irish Brigade of the Northumberand Fusiliers.

He was 20 when he died of wounds received on the devastating first day of the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.

Thomas, the son of solicitor Arthur Charlesworth and his wife Eliza, of Hotspur Street in Tynemouth, was a pupil of Tynemouth School, which became King’s School.

He was also a member of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade.

His home in Hotspur Street was the latest to have a blue plaque placed outside by the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project.

It aims to fix plaques honouring the fallen at 600 homes in the old borough of Tynemouth where the houses of the soldiers still survive.

Thirty plaques have been installed so far but the rest, and the completion of a memorial garden to all of those from the area who died in the war, depends on raising the £10,000 cost.

The ceremony at Hotspur Street was attended by a line up of army cadets, the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade, the Tynemouth World War One Project, staff from Kings Priory School, Newcastle Irish centre, Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell and North Tyneside Council chairman Tommy Mulvenna.

Thomas Stephens Charlesworth
Thomas Stephens Charlesworth
 

Thomas’s nephew, who was named after him and lives in Hexham, heard about the planned event and family members were altered.

Eleven relatives came from Dorset, Hertfordshire, Warwickshire, Lincolnshire and Leeds.

Julia Piercy , who travelled from Rugby in Warwickshire, said: “ I am very interested in family history and I have always known about Thomas. It has been a very emotional occasion.”

Irish piper Joe Crane, from Heaton in Newcastle, played the Irish Minstrel tune in honour of Thomas.

The house is now occupied by Philip Walker and his wife Jill Hudspeth-Walker and their two daughters.

People can contribute to the plaque and memorial garden fund on www.tynemouthworldwarone.org

Thomas was involved in the attack by the Tyneside Irish and Tyneside Scottish on La Boisselle-Contalmaison.

Of the 1,500 men who took part, 600 were killed and more than 1,500 wounded.

A newspaper report of the time said: “Great anxiety has for some weeks past been felt as to the fate of 2nd Lieut. T. S. Charlesworth of the Northumberland Fusiliers, reported wounded on the 1st July, but of whom no news could be obtained.

“It is now officially announced that he was killed in action, being found far in advance, and buried in the enemy’s front line.

“The deceased officer was in his 21st year, and of fine physique, and was educated at Tynemouth School. He had been for years a member of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade. ”

“An officer of his regiment writes: ‘He was a rattling good officer of an unassuming type.’”

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