Author Topic: SOUTH TYNESIDE - MAY 2019 MEETING REPORT  (Read 1049 times)

Offline Annf

  • NDFHS Member
  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 63
« on: May 22, 2019, 05:52:27 PM »
The meeting held on the 15 May commenced with the Branch AGM when all existing Officers were re-elected for the forthcoming year.  The Group also took the opportunity to discuss a proposal that the Branch visit Arbeia (Roman Fort) in Baring Street, South Shields, the cost of a guided tour being £4.00 per person.  This was agreed and arrangements are being made for Wednesday 19th June 2019, when Members/Visitors are to meet at the entrance to the Fort for the tour to begin at 2.00 pm.

The speaker was George Nairn who gave an interesting angle on the history of WW1 as seen through picture postcards.  Starting with the build up to the war with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife in Sarajevo on the 28th June 1914, the talk then turned to the recruitment and training of men, with postcard examples showing the Tyneside Scottish training in Alnwick, and some 2500 men from the Cheshire and Shropshire regiments who were billeted in Lambton Park.  Transport was commandeered and the group were shown a postcard of a London bus which had been turned into a pigeon coop, an important defense used during hostilities.  The first loss of civilian life in WW1 occurred in the North East when Hartlepool came under heavy bombardment in December 1914 when 112 people were killed, and 200 injured.  Whitby, Scarborough and other areas on the East Coast were also hit.

Other events of notoriety during WW1 which were discussed included the sinking of the Lusitania, which of course ultimately brought the USA into the war, and also the Irish Rebellion in 1916, when George explained that postcards relating to the 'Easter Rising' are very collectable.  We saw some fascinating examples of events and scenes not only from our local area in the North East such as picture cards of military hospitals e.g. Armstrong College, Brancepeth Castle, but also the destruction of towns and villages in France and Belgium plus cards depicting the strength  of the German front lines.

WW1 postcards, with which we are no doubt all familiar, are the silk cards produced in France and Belgium, which our troops sent home to their loved ones, having first been passed through the censors!!  George explained the production of such cards began as a 'cottage industry' but later they were produced by machine.

The talk continued with postcards depicting the Mauritania being used as a hospital ship, the local activities held to raise money for the troops, prisoner of war camps not only here in Weardale but also in Switzerland, Regimental cards plus the story of Edith Cavell.  The talk concluded with mention that in the North East there was hardly a town or village which did not suffer the loss of one of its residents.