Deborah Hutchinson sent us this information about her Great Uncle, 459480 Driver James McAndrew, 450th Field Company, Royal Engineers. James was the oldest boy in a family of 9 – 3 girls and 6 boys much admired by his brothers and sisters, especially by his youngest sister Kitty – her grandmother.
Born 1898 in Chester-le-Street, James
moved with his family to 11 Mary Agnes Street, Coxlodge, Newcastle upon Tyne in 1901. When he left school he worked as a coal miner in Regent’s Pit, Gosforth along with most of the community.
In 1914 he enlisted and joined the Royal Engineers as a driver. He was part of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force. He was one of the many non-battle casualties in the area due to the extreme weather and unhygienic conditions. He died of yellow fever on 10th October 1918 at the age of 22 – just a month and a day before the Armistice – it was also his mother’s birthday. He is buried in Amara War Cemetery in Baghdad, Iraq.
His name appears on the War memorial in St Charles RC Church, Gosforth. His parents, Thomas and Liza, had been active fund raisers to build this church when they arrived in the area in 1901.
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Photographic research by Stuart Hodgson. Charles Organ had a long career in the army before arriving at Richmond Depot and acting as Recruiting Officer during the First World War, as his record from our museum catalogue recounts: Born at Woolwich 13th October 1853. Charles Organ joined as a Private 13th January 1873, Corporal 11th October 1873, Sergeant 15th August 1874, Colour Sergeant 27th August 1875, promoted to RSM on the 20th April 1882 and QM 1883, Hon. Captain 8th August 1893, Hon. Major 29th November 1900. He served in Bermuda, Halifax, Malta, Egypt, Cyprus, Egypt, Gibraltar and South Africa. He was employed as the Regimental Transport Officer 12th Dec 1900 – Sept 1902. Retired on 1st September 1902 but was then appointed QM the Royal Hospital Chelsea October 1903 – 1st September 1912, Created a MVO by King Edward July 1905. He served in the Nile Expedition 1885, Sudan Frontier Force, 1885-6, Boer War 1899-1902 including operations around Colesberg, actions at Paardeberg, Kitchener’s Kop, Proplar Grove and Drifontein and the occupation of Bloemfontein, was with the advance on Dewetsdorp, and action at Leuukop, in the march to Pretoria, actions at Brandfort, Kroonstadt, Vet and Zand rivers, and Johannesburg: took part in the advance eastwards, including the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast – mentioned in despatches. He served with the Depot between August and November 1914 and then appointed as Staff Recruiting Officer in December 1915 becoming the Sub Area Commander for Gosport on the 19th February 1916. Died at…
Submitted by Olivia Wallis of Richmond. Thomas Cole, son of Ben and Jane Cole, was born in Gainford, Durham in 1882, though the farming family resided in the local village of Newsham. On 9th June 1906, Thomas married Margaret Ellen Watson in St Cuthbert’s Church, Durham and, by 1911, Thomas and Margaret were the parents of Thomas, aged 3, Mary, aged 2, and Ben, aged only 11 months. Following the outbreak of war, though the exact date uncertain, Thomas enlisted at the neighbouring village of Dalton, and joined the 9th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. Throughout his time with the 9th Battalion, Thomas wrote often to his devoted wife and children. In October 1916, Thomas wrote to tell his wife that he had become teetotal, news he expected to surprise his wife, explaining ‘I can’t drink French beer!’ Perhaps more poignantly, Thomas also expressed to Margaret his hopes of the future and a hope that future generations would never suffer the horrors of war. Thomas never got to pursue his hopes, he was killed on 23rd June 1917, aged 35. The battalion war diary for 23rd June does not detail events of that day, it simply collates casualties for the month as 6 men killed, 1 wounded and 2 missing. Private Thomas Cole is buried at Dickebusch New Military Cemetery, Belgium and commemorated locally on the war memorial in Newsham village.
William was born on the 16th December 1894 in the village of Murton in County Durham. At 14 he would follow his father down the pit at Mutton Colliery. At the outbreak of war he enlisted on the 3rd September, aged 20, into the Yorkshire Regiment, The Green Howards, and was posted to the 8th (Service) Battalion. The Battalion travelled to France in August 19115 as part of the 69th Brigade, 23rd Division. It was during the Somme offensive in 1916 that William would win his first Military medal, having gone out into no-man’s-land to rescue a wounded officer. The following year during 3rd Ypres, generally known as Passcheandaele, he received a bar to his Military Medal, again recuing men wounded or buried under shellfire. In late 1917 he was part of the detachment of British and French troops sent to the Italian front to bolster the Italians after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Caparetto. In October of 1918 the allied advance culminated in their victory at the Battle of Vittorio Veneto paving the way for the total defeat of the Austrian Army. It was during this battle that William received the Victoria Cross having put to flight the enemy and capturing a machine gun. William left the Army in February 1919 and returned to life down the pit at Murton Colliery. He married and would father 6 children. In 1940 he joined the Local Defence Volunteers in Murton and the following year served in the Durham Home…