Historian's tribute to forgotten North-East First World War troops published (From The Northern Echo)
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Historian's tribute to forgotten North-East First World War troops published
6:00am Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
A HISTORIAN’S quest to find his great uncle who was killed in the First World War has unearthed secrets about a forgotten North-East Army brigade created for the conflict.
Philip Adams has spent ten years investigating the military career of his great uncle William Adams, 21, who was killed near Arras, France, on March 21 1918.
It led him to write Idle and Dissolute: The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery which was the unit Gunner Adams served with.
Mr Adams, 53, said: “The inspiration for the book came because my great uncle.
“He was killed in action and his body has never been found. Writing the book has been very emotional for me especially when you see diaries listing all the men who have been killed.
“I spoke to nearly 100 families whose relatives had been part of the brigade and in total I spent 20,000 hours researching the topic including viewing the original brigade war diaries.
“I found out that between 1919 and 1960 former soldiers held reunions but then they stopped too. It seems that many people haven’t heard of the brigade.
“The brigade is almost 100 years old and I hope the book reignites interest in it and the men who were in the brigade.”
In 1915 the Mayor of Sunderland was requested to create an artillery brigade by the War Office.
Recruits came from Wearside and across County Durham and it went to France in 1916. It took part in several major battles including the Somme, Arras and Passchendaele.
They helped stem the great German offensive in early 1918 but the brigade was disbanded in 1919 and the men, many of them miners, went back to their jobs.
Captain Herbert Pitt, the grandfather of Donald McDonald, 79, of Sedgefield, County Durham, and his cousin George McDonald, was in the 160th.
Despite being injured Capt Pitt survived the war and he went onto become the first chairman of the joint Tyne Tunnel Committee.
Donald McDonald, 79, said: “This is of a very great interest to me. We’ve been able to make a contribution to the book.
“I’m looking forward to reading this book to find out about the men involved.”
Idle and Dissolute is £24.99 and it has the isbn 978-1-84104-539-9. It is on sale through The Memoir Club with details via 0191-3731739 or email email@example.com.
*To win a copy of the book answer the following question: The First World War took place between which years?
Post your answers, together with your name, address and telephone number, to Ian Noble, at 127 Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7EN by Friday, August 30.
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