The Somme Remembered, Yarm

The Yarm 1914 Commemoration Group held a series of events to remember The Battle of the Somme including an exhibition in Yarm High Street, poignantly centred around the town hall war memorial. There were stalls with memorabilia of the period both from the war front and home front, a horse drawn field ambulance – minus the horse, an army farrier – minus the horse and a display of the modern Army by the Yorkshire Regiment – with modern motorised horses! A stage had also been set up and choirs from both Conyers and Yarm schools entertained the large crowds as did Mike McGrother and the Stockton based male voice choir, Infant Hercules whose medley of wartime songs brought the exhibition to a rousing close.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson

4 thoughts on “The Somme Remembered, Yarm

  1. Some thoughts on the 1914 -1918 war: Our sons, brothers, and uncles were never told their life expectancy was 3-weeks in the trenches, just 3- weeks, what a disgrace that war was. My granny, lost a brother, my wife two uncles, one of whom captured a machine gun nest and killed the German soldiers with it, if his act had been witnessed by an Officer it could have been a VC, no officer was present so he got the DCM, two days later he was unloading a field gun off a lorry, it toppled over and landed on him killing him outright. My father served twice, firstly the DLI: Was on the Khyber Pass, sat drinking all day with nothing to do, and returned home an alcoholic. 2nd bash, RAF, he manned a searchlight on Thornaby Aerodrome, one night we got bombed out – my mother and five children ran to the air-raid shelter – she told my sister Rita to leave me sleeping as it had taken her all night to get me to go to sleep, the Firemen had to dig me out, the Police arrived, it was a serious offence, she said she thought Rita had me, and Rita thought Mary had me and it was all a mix-up.

    You’ll love my brother Johns story, he joined up, after training he was sent to Malaya to fight the Communist terrorists, the first time out in the field the platoon sat down under some trees to have a smoke and a drink, and the lad next to him got a bullet in the forehead killing him outright, the next day brother John refused to go out, he told the C.O, it was too bloody dangerous, (imagine a Geordie accent saying to this officer – You must be f— joking) he was discharged unfit for Military Duty. We had to keep quiet about him, John White Feather. I still find it funny but he never did. Lots of regards to all from Bob, who missed the call up by one week.


  2. This Sunday, 16 July, the Yarm 1914 Group are holding another event in Yarm High Street around the Town Hall between 10am and 4:30pm. This year the group are remembering ‘The Battle Of Passchendaele’. Sad to say there was nothing on the SBC events website except for the cycling festival in Stockton but there are some details here;
    See you there!


  3. My grandad fell badly wounded first day of the battle of the Somme Robert Casey. Pte 6371,
    god knows how long he lay before being picked up and taken back behind the lines for treatment, eventually brought back to the UK for several operations and probing the wound until grandad told the doctors “enough” he was discharged 1918 from K.O.S.B.
    The wound on the Somme was his second wound, he had been hit early on when the great war broke out fighting with 2nd batt K.O.S.B {by German dum-dum bullet} between 1st and 2nd wound he was sent to Gallipoli.
    The loss so great! so sad!!
    Derek Casey


  4. The Battle of the Somme where many Teessiders were involved being in Regiments of The Durham Light Infantry, who were in the thick of the fighting. Some said they saw an Angel appear at the height of the fighting, My father said he never saw any angels but saw plenty of mud. Horses stuck in the mud up to their bellies unable to move so they had to be shot. Looking back you wonder how we ever won the War with so many Senior Officers who were totally incompetent when it came to the sharp end. In one instance British troops were told to walk over no mans land after a heavy barrage was supposed to have reduced the Germans to shreds, only to find that as they walked in no mans land the Germans rose out of their well fortified trenches and tore them to pieces with their machine guns. My father never talked much about the War but did tell me snippets when he had had a few beers. One instance in his first bayonet charge his regiment were reduced from 720 men to 120 men in a very short period of time. One of the second World Wars Great General Monty placed great store in protecting his men from needless slaughter, and as result was held high esteem by all in his command.


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