Western Front Association

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The Western Front Association’s first talk of its 2014 programme saw Alan Fiddler speak on the Tynemouth First World War Project.

The project aims to remind today’s population of the 1,700 local residents of the former borough of Tynemouth who gave their lives in the service of their country during the First World War, and to explore the social and economic consequences for the town and its inhabitants.

Some years ago, Alan and a few friends realised that between 2014-2018, inevitably, there would be an increased focus on the First World War with a series of important anniversary dates to be commemorated in communities throughout the country.

They resolved to build and encourage a pool of willing and able volunteers, to undertake a large research effort to greatly expand biographical information about as many as possible of those on the 1923 roll of honour for the borough, and almost 70 volunteers responded enthusiastically to the call for help.

When as much information as can be traced has been entered into the electronic database the public will be given availability via the internet.

The team’s task is nearing its end and Alan’s audience was treated to a brief insight as to what will be available and very impressive it was, notwithstanding a few technical problems encountered with the internet connection on the night.

The target date for making the database available to the public is June 28.

A copy of the Roll of Honour will be displayed widely and the project team has plotted the losses of men on a contemporary housing plan of the borough, which is indeed a salutary sight.

The project’s ambitious goals iclude an exhibition running from July to September 2014; The Response, a concert to be held at the Sage, on September 27, in association with the Army Benevolent Fund; and a series of prestigious lectures on the First World War by nationally renowned military historians at the University of Northumbria.

The team also aims to place individualised memorial markers on Tynemouth borough residences (where properties survive today) of men who were killed.

For more information about the project, visit http://www.tynemouthworldwarone.org

The WFA’s next formal meeting will be on Monday, February 24, when Dr Martin Farr will deliver his talk British Politics and the First World War.

WFA meetings take place at 7.15pm for 7.30pm, at Alnmouth and District Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Northumberland Street, Alnmouth.

A warm welcome awaits visitors and WFA members new to the branch. The suggested minimum donation is £2, to include a light finger supper.