Friday, 12 January 2018

The Great War- remembering the fallen

This year marks the centenary of the armistice to end fighting in World War One, and to mark the anniversary I will be writing about the part Hexham and Northumberland played in the Great War.

War memorials to honour and remember those men and women that have so bravely given their lives for our country in armed conflicts can be found in almost every town and village in Northumberland. But in his brilliant book, Tynedale in the Great War, the Hexham Courant's Brian Tilley tells the fascinating story of four officers of the Northumberland Fusiliers who wrote to the Courant in 1918 with a very different suggestion of how to remember the fallen following World War One. Rather than having a memorial in the town hall or in Hexham Abbey, the four officers suggested that a cottage hospital in the town would be a more practical and useful way of honouring those who lost their lives. The idea was ultimately dismissed by a local councillor though as being too expensive, especially given that the hospital nearby in Newcastle was one of the best in the country.

The proposed hospital was never built, but memorials and monuments to ensure that we remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country are still all around us today, in Hexham and beyond, and serve as valuable reminders of Northumberland's heroic past.

For more fascinating stories of our region in the Great War, I recommend getting yourself a copy of Tynedale in the Great War by Brian Tilley- available from Forum Books in Corbridge and elsewhere.