North Shields brewery launches beer in honour of Tyneside Tommies

Tyneside First World War soldiers commemorated on bottled ales produced by the Three Kings Brewery

L-R Dan Jackson, Alan Fidler and David Grey with the new Tyneside Tommy beer at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields
L-R Dan Jackson, Alan Fidler and David Grey with the new Tyneside Tommy beer at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields

A bottled beer has been launched as a tribute to the thousands of Tynesiders who served in the First World War.

Tyneside Tommy has been produced by the Three Kings Brewery in North Shields for the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project.

It is hoped that the 1,200 bottles will spread awareness of the project, which is seeking to raise £10,000 to place blue plaques on 600 houses which were the homes of soldiers from the old borough of Tynemouth who fell in the conflict and also complete a memorial garden.

Instead of labels, the bottles have dog-tag style attachments to their necks which, with a draught beer pump clip, were designed by Kimmerston Design Ltd of North Shields as part of its voluntary contribution to the fundraising activities of the project.

The tags fold out to reveal the photographs and stories of six men from served whose details are on the project’s publically-available database.

The bottles will be on sale today (Wednesday and tomorrow (Thursday) at Cobalt Business Park Christmas market in North Tyneside.

The outdoor market, organised by North Tyneside Council, is at Cobalt Central from 11am to 5pm daily.

The new Tyneside Tommy beer at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields
The new Tyneside Tommy beer at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields
 

Ewan McCann, who set up his Three Kings brewery after a career in marketing, said: “I started the brewery to do something that I love. It was a lifetime dream.

“Tyneside Tommy is a traditional English ale and it is a way of reaching an audience who may not otherwise come into contact with the project.”

Ewan also produced 18 nine-gallon casks of draught Tyneside Tommy, which sold out in North East pubs within days and he plans another brew in the New Year.

The bottles will also be on sale at a meet-the-authors event at The Net at the Old Low Light on Saturday when project co-ordinator Alan Fidler and Ruth Chittenden will be signing copies of their First world war book The Response, and at the North Shields Victorian Christmas market in Northumberland Square on December 13-14.

It is also available from Glug in Newcastle’s Grainger Market, Coppers in Gosforth and Wine Chambers in North Shields and Tynemouth.

Bottles of Tyneside Tommy with the tags commemorating fallen soldiers
Bottles of Tyneside Tommy with the tags commemorating fallen soldiers
 

The men commemorated by Tyneside Tommy are:

•  James Forsyth Fell, 18, from North Shields, who served in the Mercantile Marine on the SS Vedamore, which was torpedoed in 1917 off Ireland.

A newspaper report says: “When the vessel was torpedoed, young Fell had the forethought to bring an extra lifebelt in his hands, and when the fourth engineer came up on deck at almost the last moment, Fell put this one on him. By this the engineer’s life was undoubtedly saved.

“ Fell helped the master to lower the lifeboat, and was urged by the latter to jump into it but the lad would not think of his own safety, and seemed to think he could still help to save more lives.

“He went to join the third officer, and it is believed the two went to lower another boat, but the ship sank in another minute or two. During that time Fell was seen to give up his own lifebelt to another man. This man after swimming about, was eventually picked up by the lifeboat young Fell had helped to lower.”

* Garnet Wolsley Fyfe, 36, from West Allotment, who served with the Tyneside Scottish, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action at La Boisselle, piping the battalion into action on the first day of the battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916.

* Robert Henry Dunn Hogg, 40, a father of six from North Shield who served in the Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed by a shell burst in his trench.

His captain wrote to Mrs Hogg: “He was loved here by every one of us and was surely the coolest and most cheery man in the trenches. He was badly wounded. I took hold of his hands and asked if he knew me but he only murmured, ‘My poor wife, my poor bairns,’ and died. “

• James Wilson Gray, 40, from Cullercoats, served in the Royal army Medical Corps, Northumbrian Field Ambulance. He died from his wounds two days before it was announced that he had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

• Sergeant William Henry Grant, 35, Tyneside Scottish, killed at the Somme on July 1, 1916, near La Boisselle.

• Company commander William Godfrey Charlton, 21, from Seaton Delaval, who served in the Durham Light Infantry. He was killed in 1918 shortly after returning to active service after two years of recovery from wounds sustained in 1916.

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