Friday, June 25, 2010

Gateshead Roll of Honour Reveals 4,000 of Durham's WW1 Heroes

Roll of Honour details the military careers of Gateshead’s First World War soldiers – published online at today. Collection features over 4,000 photographs of soldiers | Includes original newspaper clippings of acts of bravery and sacrifice.

(PRWEB) June 25, 2010 --, the UK’s number one family history website1, has launched online the Gateshead, Durham, England, Roll of Honour, 1914-1920, detailing the heroics of more than 4,000 soldiers from Gateshead who fought in the First World War.
The records are a collection of newspaper clippings, photographs and names of soldiers from Gateshead (then part of Durham) who served between 1914 and 1920. Most of the clippings include a portrait profile picture of the soldier, information on their unit, rank and status and whether they were wounded, killed or reported missing.

In some instances the records provide details on the soldier's service, awards and even group photographs. One such photograph features the local Gateshead police force pictured together before they went off to fight on the Western Front.

Records include Second Lieutenant Allen of the Gateshead Police Force who was awarded a sword of honour by his colleagues after receiving a commendation in 1918. Also included are commemorations for fallen soldiers, including Lance Corporal Percy Maccoy, the son of Sir John Maccoy – Gateshead’s longest serving Mayor (1912-1923).

Other notable soldiers detailed in the collection include:

Brigadier General Roland Boys Bradford V.C. – Bradford was killed in action on the 30th November 1917 aged 25, just ten days after becoming the youngest General Officer of modern times. His Victoria Cross, which is held at the Durham Light Infantry Museum, was awarded for 'conspicuous bravery and good leadership in attack'

Brigadier General Herbert Conyers Surtees – Surtees was a Member of Parliament for Gateshead from 1918 and High Sheriff of Durham in 1927

Private Jack McGurk – Known as the ‘light weight boxer of the North’, McGurk was wounded six times in battle and gassed on one occasion, according to his record

Whilst most of the soldiers in the collection are privates (2,265), the collection features all ranks, including Gunners, Brigadier Generals, Seaman, Signallers, Doctors and even Pipers.

These rolls of honour were originally compiled by a publisher who usually would have charged a fee for each entry, meaning that not every soldier will appear in the records. However, detailing over 4,000 of Durham’s First World War soldiers, this collection is one of the most comprehensive archives of this type of British Army service records available.

The Gateshead, Durham, England, Roll of Honour, 1914-1920 was transcribed as part of the Ancestry World Archives Project, which provides the public with indexing software and training support to enable them to contribute in making even more historical records available and searchable online. To date, thousands of Britons have contributed their time to this project. International Content Director Dan Jones comments: “This Roll of Honour provides personal accounts of the bravery and sacrifices made by soldiers from the region in newspaper clippings and photographs.        

“This collection is essential for anyone trying to find out more about a First World War soldier from the Gateshead area - the information they will discover will be invaluable.”


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