Series of events about Great War

Guy Leather Leather from Middleton Hall who received the Croix de Guerre and star for single handedly shooting down a German Hydroplane.
Guy Leather Leather from Middleton Hall who received the Croix de Guerre and star for single handedly shooting down a German Hydroplane.

A series of events will take place at a North Northumberland museum related to the First World War.

The monthly series is being put on by Belford Hidden History Group at the village’s museum.

It starts on Sunday, at 3pm, with the film The Battle of the Somme.

Made in 1916, it was a documentary war film, depicting the army in the preliminaries and early days of the battle. The imagery conveys the reality of the Great War, and shows what the Belford Men went through whilst away fighting.

The film was watched by 20 million people in Britain in the first six weeks.

There is also a new exhibition in Belford Museum about the First World War in 1917.

It follows the men from Belford who were fighting in the trenches, and charts the main battles, who fought in them and who died. It shows where they were from and their civilian occupations.

Lads who had spent their lives in a peaceful rural area, with jobs based in agriculture or in the village, and who probably never expected to travel very far, spent years fighting, and some dying, in unimaginable conditions abroad.

On July 6, 1917, the Hall family were informed that two of their four sons had been killed.

Eight local men were killed in the mud of Passchendaele. They included Ernest Falla, the son of the Belford slater, and John Fife, from Twizell Mill, who had been awarded the Military Medal for his bravery at the Somme.

During 1917 more men from the Belford area were honoured for their service to their country, being awarded the Military Medal, Military Cross and even the Croix de Guerre.

These included another Hall son, William, who received his Military Cross for displaying great courage in hand-to-hand fighting, personally killing many of the enemy, and leading his platoon to their object, and Guy Leather, from Middleton Hall, who received the Croix de Guerre and star for single-handedly shooting down a German hydroplane.

Belford Women also served. Records are scarce, but they made a vital contribution to the war effort through nursing, administration and volunteering.

The programme of events continues on Sunday, February 19, at 2.30pm, with Trench Art, an illustrated lecture and display by Andrew Marriott, of Newcastle University, and on Sunday, March 5, there is The Half-Shilling Curate, a talk by Sarah Reay about the life of her grandfather, Herbert Butler Cowl MC.