A Northumberland businessman spoke of his pride after walking in his great-grandfather’s footsteps on the final mile of the march of the 1st Tyneside Scottish battalion from Newcastle to Alnwick in 1915.
The parade through Alnwick yesterday marked 100 years to the day that the soldiers arrived in the town from Newcastle to Alnwick, where they set up camp in the Pastures beneath Alnwick Castle and prepared to go to war on the continent.
Andrew Charlton, from North Broomhill, is the great-grandson of a Major in the Tyneside Scottish, who fought during the First World War and survived the Battle of the Somme, then re-enlisted for the Second World War. His great-great-uncle JR Hall was one of the brigade’s founders and later became its honorary secretary.
After completing the march from St Paul’s RC School to Alnwick Castle, Andrew said: “It was a great honour to be involved because my great-grandfather did the very same walk into Alnwick from Newcastle 100 years ago this weekend. Over the last few years, I’ve been doing a project called Walking the Front where we’ve walked the Western Front and the Normandy beaches and retraced the steps of the Tyneside Scottish, so to go full circle, it was a great hour to be here and walk in his footsteps.”
Andrew, co-owner of Houghton-le-Spring-based company Exposure Events, said it was an emotional occasion: “I was really proud because I’ve read so much about my great-grandfather, sadly he passed away before I entered the world so I never got to meet him. So to be able to read about him in the history books and now finally to walk in his footsteps, it’s a great honour to do it.”
The 1st Tyneside Scottish, also the 20th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, were known as a Pals battalion, comprising men who had enlisted together in local recruiting drives with the promise that they would be able to serve alongside their friends, neighbours and work colleagues or pals.
Event organiser, Dave Barras, of the Western Front Association, said: “It was the first time the Pals battalion had left home and begun the training that would eventually take them to the Western Front and the Battle of the Somme and the tragic events of that day.
“So we thought it was quite symbolic and something that was worth remembering.”
The Tyneside Scottish is unique in British military history being the only Pals battalion still to feature in the British Army today in the form of 204 (Tyneside Scottish) Battery, 101st (Northumbrian) Regiment, Royal Artillery.
Yesterday’s parade included two detachments of the Northumbria Army Cadet Force as well as members of the the Royal British Legion, who were marching with standards