John Sweeny was 22 years of age when he enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment in late 1914. He was the son of John and Mary Sweeney of Washington Station, Co. Durham.
The 8th Battalion arrived in France in late August 1915 and John is reported to have been wounded in that November. He was again wounded in December 1916 and was killed in action in August 1917. The only reported 8th Battalion casualties at this period were working as Yukon Pack Carriers, re-supplying the front line with munitions in the area of Ypres.
He is commemorated on Panel 33 of the Menin Gate at Ypres, Belgium. 144466 Private John Sweeney of ‘A’ Company was awarded the 15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
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Submitted by Jennifer Bullen daughter in law of Lieutenant Bullen. Tempest Carey Bullen was born on the 28th of May 1898 in North Shields. He is listed in the 1901 census along with his father Tempest Carey, his mother Edith, brothers William and Harry and sisters Edith Anna and Kathleen. His father’s occupation is listed as “ship broker”. The family were living in the Percy ward of Tynemouth and must have been comfortably off because they had a servant called Ada George and a nursery maid called Elizabeth Knox. By 1911 the family had moved to Woodbine Avenue in Gosforth. In the census Tempest’s mother Edith is listed as head of the family so it is likely that Tempest senior was deceased. His elder brother (aged 15) is now an apprentice Fitter. They have a boarder, Hugh Robson (an apprentice Ironmonger) and a servant called Mary Jane Malpas. Jennifer recounts that Tempest was under age when he first tried to enlist and was promptly sent home! He persisted and subsequently joined up and went on to be awarded the Military Cross in 1918 aged about 20. He survived the war and his death is recorded in 1976 in South Shields.
Phyllis was born in Dowlais, Glamorganshire, Wales in 1892, the daughter of Margaret Jane and David Thomas Jenkins. She joined the British Red Cross on the 21st of January 1918. Subsequently, she was stationed as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse in the Other Empire Force, British Red Cross, Catterick Camp. Surviving photographs imply that Phyllis was part of the dental team stationed at Catterick. Phyllis volunteered at Catterick Camp until the 14th February 1919.
Lorna Pound visited us on one of our drop-in days to share the story of her grandfather, 58755 Sapper Thomas Henry (Harry) Wright. Harry was born in Richmond on 18 October 1878. At just 14 years old he attempted to enlist with the West Yorkshire Regiment in York on the 2nd November 1892, claiming he was 18 years old. Eight days later he was discharged with a payment of £1. In the face of this set back he continued with his apprenticeship as a saddler with Mrs Rymer in Northallerton. It is likely that he re-enlisted again sometime after reaching the age of 18 years as a photograph taken in the early 1900s shows him in uniform as a Lance Corporal. In 1918 he married and was still employed as a saddler with H Myers in Richmond Market Place. On 26th December 1914 he presented himself for enlistment into the Royal Engineers. It is said within the family that he was told if he enlisted early he could keep his trade of saddler whilst serving. Sadly Sapper Wright’s papers did not survive the bombings of the Second World War and therefore it is not known which unit he originally served with but he was initially sent to Egypt on 7th August 1915. He certainly served in France for some time as numerous embroidered cards survive which he sent to his wife and children. By the end of the war in 1918 he was serving with 5 Corps Signals Company Royal…