“THAT’S my grandad,” said Tony Allen with some surprise when he saw the picture of the Durham Pals resting at the frontline during the First World War.

“I have exactly the same photograph of the six soldiers. The chap on the right is my grandad, Harold Moore, from Tudhoe. He scribbled on the back of it, “Somewhere in France. Taken Sunday 10th September 1916. 8th Platoon B Company” – he knew where he was in France, but they weren’t allowed to write it down.”

Our photograph came from Trina Cloughton, of Thornton Rust, near Aysgarth, whose great-uncle, Sgt Ernest Moore, is at the back, smoking a cigarette. He was Harold’s older brother.

Spennymoor military historian Harry Fairish was able to provide more details.

“Ernest and Harold lived at 42, Front Street, with their parents and younger brother Gerald,” he said.

The brothers enlisted on the same day with the 18th (Service) Battalion Durham Light Infantry: Ernest was number 1131, and Harold 1136.

On December 5, 1915, they sailed from Liverpool for Egypt, their liner, Empress of Britain, colliding with a French troopship on the way, and being missed by two torpedoes fired by a German U-boat.

The brothers fought through Egypt until March 6, 1916, when they sailed from Port Said to Marseilles in southern France, from where they were moved by train to the Somme region in the north, ready for the tremendous battle which began on July 1.

The 18DLI – known as the Durham Pals – was shattered by the Somme. It started out with 800 members and lost 500 wounded and 70 killed. The six in our photo were the lucky ones, resting during a lull in the fighting, which lasted from September 9 to 15, before the British began rolling out tanks at the Germans.

Both brothers survived and were promoted to be sergeants, but both sustained serious injuries in early 1918. On May 19, Ernest, 23, was struck by shellfire and never recovered. He was buried in France, near the border with Belgium.

The battalion chaplain, Reverend CR Chappel, wrote to his parents: “His death removes from the battalion one of the best and strongest characters, one devoted to his duty, and one who was always brave and fearless.”

His commanding officers, Lt-Col WW Lowe and Major Ince, wrote of how they had known Ernest since the battalion was formed.

“I do feel for you and his brother, Sgt Harold Moore, now in hospital in Cheshire. I can honestly say that there are not two finer fellows,” said Maj Ince.

Harold did survive, and in peacetime moved with his wife, Emma, from the coalfields to set up a hardware shop in Thornaby. He died in Billingham in 1972, when his grandson, Tony, was 17.

“He didn’t talk much about his war time experiences,” said Tony, who lives in Darlington. “He once showed me his wounds in his side, a little entry wound and a big exit hole. I wish I had asked more!”