William Henry McDonnell, H.M.S. Calliope 1916

t14949This photograph shows my Grand-Uncle William Henry (Ernie) McDonnell in a Dunfermline Photographic Studio, before he joined the Light Cruiser H.M.S. Calliope in July 1915.

Ernie born c. May 1897 at 30 Maritime Street in Stockton-on-Tees, was the first son of George and Maria McDonnell. 5′ 4″ William Henry grew up in the old Quayside district of Stockton, living variously at 12 Smithfield, 26 Garden Place, 8 Commercial Street, 10 Tees Street and by 1914 at 3 Paradise Street.

He was a Stoker in the Royal Navy during the Great War; he served from July 1915 aboard HMS Calliope, a modern, oil fired, light cruiser, which was hit by shellfire from German battleships at The Battle of Jutland in May 1916. He was awarded chevrons for his part in the battle and was granted his 1st Good Conduct Badge in July 1918 for 3 years ‘VG’ conduct in service.

Photograph and details courtesy of Anthony Pearson and the McDonnell family of Stockton.

Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918, Thornaby Methodist Church

Thornaby Methodist Church on Mandale Road was the second largest chapel in the Stockton Methodist Church Circuit, seating 800 people. Thirty-one men associated with this chapel were killed during the 1914- 1918 war. Lance-Corporal Lumsden died on the final day of the war. Further details of some of these men may be found on the 1245 Sunflowers website.
Pte. N. Anderson 3/1 Essex Yeomanry
Sgt. R Blake [1/5th Bn.] Durham Light Infantry
Carpenter’s Crew T.T. Bainbridge Royal Navy
Pte. J.T. Bradley 1/5th Bn. Durham Light Infantry
Sgt. W. Bradley 5th Bn. Durham Light Infantry
[Sgt.] A. Brogden [12th Bn, Yorkshire Regt.]
Pte. N. Brown 10th Hussars
Pte. R. Brown Machine Gun Corps
Pte. Roy Brown 22nd Drms
Pte. T.R. Donnison 2nd Bn Yorkshire Regt.
Pte. R. Franks Machine Gun Corps
Company Sgt. Major J. Harrison 2nd Bn. Yorkshire Regt.
[Pte.] W. Heal [18th Bn King’s (Liverpool Regt.]
Pte. M. Huitson [2nd Bn.] Durham Light Infantry
2nd Lieut. W. Hunter Royal Naval Division
Sgt. L Jones. Northumberland Fusiliers
Gunner A. Leeson Royal Field Artillery
L/Cpl. W.T. Lumsden [1/5th Bn.] Durham Light Infantry
Pte. G. Marshall 5th Bn. Durham Light Infantry
Pte. H. Mustard [1/5th Bn.] Durham Light Infantry
Sgt. W. McCulloch [16th Bn.] King’s Royal Rifle Corps
Pte. N. Raper [7th Bn.} Yorkshire Regt.
[Sgt.] H.H. Reed [Machine Gun Corps]
Pte. J.R. Sharp [8th Bn.] Yorkshire Regt.
[L/Sgt.] Reg Simpson [13th Bn.] Rifle Brigade
[Pte.] Ray Simpson [6th Bn] Yorkshire Regt.
Cpl. W. Tanfield 10th Bn. Yorkshire Regt.
Pte. R. Thompson Grenadier Guards
[Pte.] J.G. Wales [9th Bn.] Yorkshire Regt.
Pte. C. Wood 8th Bn. Leicestershire Regt
S. Wood Royal Engineers

Information source derived from information provided by Philip Thornborow, the Methodist Church website. Courtesy of Bob Wilson.

Fife and Drum Band, 1/4 Battalion. Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment c1914

This photograph shows my Great Great Grandfather, Sidney Alfred Duckett. He lived in Henrietta street in Thornaby and he was in the 1/4 Battalion Alexandra, Princess of Wales”s Own  Yorkshire regiment. He is at the very front of the photo in front of the drum. Sydney was the oldest person found to date to have served with the 4th Yorks Battalion during the War. His Battalion number indicates that he was among the first to join up when War was declared and probably sailed with them to France in April 1915. He suffered Injuries in WW1 and was brought home but sadly died. He left a wife and 10 children, one of which was my nana.

Photograph and details courtesy of Sue Horn.

Light and Shadows: The End of the Great War

Join us for a commemorative event marking 100 years since the end of The Great War. Local historian Martin Peagam will talk about Stockton in 1918 as four years of conflict came to an end and reflect on the impact the war had on the town.

Friday 9 November, 3.30pm at Stockton Central Library (Jim Cooke Conference Suite). Tickets £2 per person. Book a place on 01642 528079 / reference.library@stockton.gov.uk

Henry Doyleson of the Royal Field Artillery

t13909This photograph was donated by Lorraine Dayes whose Great Uncle, Henry Doyleson, is in the centre of the three men shown.

A copy of it was addressed, but probably not posted, to ‘Charles Malcolm, No. 77 Mess, HMS Queen Mary, c/o GPO London’, by his sister Mary Malcolm.  The message on the back of the card reads as follows…..

Dear Brother

Just a line to thank you for the PostCard you sent me but at the same time I thought you would have sent me one of your photos.  They have all got one but me so I hope you will send me one.  Mother got your photos Saturday morning.  Mother,  group and also the one of yourself.  Jane Garbutt got one and not Great Aunt (Fanan ?) so do not forget to send me one.  So don’t forget to send one (She repeats herself).

From Your Sister

Give Joe and Jock my best Love Mary


Charles was one of three Stockton brothers who were all stokers on HMS Queen Mary.  They were the sons of Mary and George Malcolm, 14 Union Street, Stockton-on-Tees. All three were killed at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 while serving in HMS Queen Mary. They were: – Charles Malcolm, stoker, 2655S, RNR aged 22; John Robert Malcolm, stoker, 1430S, RNR, aged 25; Joseph Malcolm, stoker, 2681T, aged 29. All are commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. John Robert and Joseph were married. John Robert had a son John G. born 1915. Joseph had two daughters, Mary Elizabeth born 1910 and Janet born 1913.


Henry Doyleson was a Stockton man and a friend of the Malcolm brothers.  He enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery (regt. no. 34819) in the early days of the war.  He became a driver, responsible for driving a team of horses that pulled the big Field guns into and out of battle. His battery landed in France on 8th September 1915 in time to join the brigade as they prepared for what became known as the Battle of Loos or the Third Battle of Artois. The battle commenced on the 25th September 1915.  Henry was killed in action on the  26TH September 1915. He had only been at the front for 18 days before he was killed

Henry is commemorated on the Roll of Honour on plot/panel 3 of the Loos memorial, Pas de Calais.  The memorial commemorates 20,000 men who fell in battle and have no known graves.

t13908This is another photograph of Henry Doyleson.  It was probably taken shortly after he had enlisted and was posted from Salisbury Plain where his battery of the RFA was in training before going overseas.   The message on the back of the photograph has faded over the years but what can be read follows…..

One for Ike  and —-one for yourself.  Write back to the address we are at ——————— Salisbury.  Now firing the big guns for a week and then the  —– starts ——-with.  (Illegible words have been replaced with dashes).

Lorraine, who donated the photographs, would really like to find out more about Henry Doyleson.  He was her Grandfather’s brother but her grandfather changed his name to Dayes.  It is a big family mystery. Lorraine would also love to know who the other men in the photograph are…..  can anyone help?

Sydney Slome, 5th Durham Light Infantry

My grandfather Sydney Slome – 1st on the left, sat down was a soldier in the 5th Durham Light Infantry c1916.

I composed this poem in his memory;


He went to War
A soldier true
For King & Country
That’s all he knew

The Great adventure
He fought hard and long
When day was done
He would recall
The sweat and smell
Under a setting sun

He looked afar
Now all was green
The distant cries had all but gone
Yet in his mind
A soldiers’ song

He went to war

Photograph and detail courtesy of Tony Slome.

Stockton Remembrance 2017 – The Tributes and the Poppy Truck

The ‘Poppy Truck’ was very impressive and travelled from it’s base near Hull to attend several events in the north east over Remembrance weekend. The wreath for Private Ernest Taylor of the Grenadier Guards had featured recently on Picture Stockton as had Major Edward Cooper VC whose wreath was laid by Neil Schneider on behalf of the Council.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Thornaby Remembrance Parade and Service, Sunday 12 November 2017

Pictures taken at the Thornaby Remembrance Parade and Service on Sunday 12 November 2017. The two gents stood in front of the Cenotaph on Acklam Road are Thornaby boys F/L Allan Huitson RAFVR(T) and Derek Brittain who were pupils together at Westbury Street Junior School.

Photographs and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Remembrance Service for Ernest Taylor

The Remembrance Service for my Grandfather Ernest Taylor was held at St Peter’s Church, Stockton on Thursday 12 October 2017, 100 years to the day he was killed in action. The service was attended by 20 descendants and close friends. We were also pleased to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress at the service.

The wreath was laid on the memorial board by his great great grandchildren Betsy and Dylan and will eventually be transferred to the cenotaph in Stockton.

Photographs and details courtesy of Ken Oliver.

Memorial Stone dedicated to First World War hero on 100th Anniversary

A service of dedication was held on Wednesday 16 August to honour the heroic actions of Sergeant Edward Cooper in the First World War.

A memorial stone was unveiled at the Cenotaph next to Stockton Parish Church to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sgt Cooper’s bravery at the battle of Langemark, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V.

Yarm 1914 and The Battle Of Passchendaele, 16 July 2017

On Sunday 16 July Yarm1914 held a ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’ event on Yarm High Street to commemorate The Battle Of Passchendaele .
The event was held around the Town Hall and ran from 10:30am until 4:30pm with exhibitions about home life, working in the fields, a horse drawn WW1 field ambulance (without the horses), a WW1 Working blacksmiths forge as well as displays by Preston Hall Museum, the Heugh Battery from Hartlepool and The Royal British Legion.

There will also be a short service of remembrance on Monday 31 July, 10:45am at the Town Hall war memorial, to mark the start of The Battle Of Passchendaele which began on the 31 July 1917. All are welcome to attend.

Photograph and details courtesy of David Thompson.

Charles Whitehead, HMS Iron Duke c1915

t14918The sailor in the center of the photograph is my great grandfather Charles Whitehead. In 1915 he was living at 6 Denmark Street, Thornaby-On-Tees. From 1915 to 1919 he served as a stoker on the battleship HMS Iron Duke. He was at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May/1 June 1916. The other sailors are George whitehead (no relation), right and Paddy Roy ?, left.

Photograph and details courtesy of Martin Dunnill.