COCKERTON is fund-raising to build a war memorial dedicated to those who have given their lives during conflicts.

Unlike many village communities, Cockerton does not have a memorial on public view, and its Community and Business Group is trying to right that wrong.

It has raised £5,000 out of the £8,000 needed. It has been granted planning permission to place the memorial, which will be made out of sandstone from Witton Fell near Leyburn, on the edge of the village green, and renowned local stonemason, David France, has been engaged to construct it.

To move the project closer to its goal, a Justgiving page has just been created. Go to the website, and search the name of the project leader, Kay Sandham, to find the page.

It is hoped to have raised enough money for the memorial to be put in place during the summer.

As well as collecting money, they are collecting stories of the people who have died in conflict. So far, they have researched the names of eight First World War soldiers and two Second World War sailors.

The Northern Echo:

There is a board in St Mary’s Church which lists the names of 39 men but doesn’t give their ranks or regiments, and doesn’t say whether died or survived. It is therefore proving difficult to research these stories, so if you have a casualty with a Cockerton connection in your family tree, the project manager, Steve Hill, would love to hear from you. Email

Here are some of the Cockertonians who are going to be remembered by the new stone:

Pte Alfred William Collingwood, 22

Alfred lived with his grandparents in Auckland Road and worked as an apprentice compositor at the Echo. He joined the DLI, landed in France on April 17, 1915, and lasted until March 24, 1918, when he was killed in Flanders.

Pte Walter Harry Graham, 21

A Spennymoor lad, his father, Thomas, was a steel smelter and the family lived at 53, Forcett Street. Harry was an apprentice in the moulding shop of Ord & Maddison, the quarry company. He joined the DLI and was killed on the Somme on August 24, 1918.

The Northern Echo:

Able Seaman Joseph Henry Hoggett, 20

Joseph served in the Second World War aboard HMS Puckeridge, a destroyer. On September 6, 1943, the ship was sailing to Oran in Algeria, carrying important messages, when it was hit by two torpedoes fired by submarine U617. It sank 40 miles off Gibraltar. Although 129 crew members were rescued, 62, including Joseph, drowned.

Pte Leonard Lucas, 23

A Londoner, he was boarding in 1913 in Brookville in Cockerton with his aunt, Mrs Poulson, as he was working as a carriage cleaner with the North-Eastern Railway. He enlisted with the Northumberland Fusiliers, arrived in France on July 1, 1916, and was wounded on August 5 in the Battle of the Somme. He was treated at a field ambulance for shell shock, but returned to duty on August 7. He was killed two months later on October 8.

The Northern Echo:

Sapper Thomas Edward Nicholson, 28

Born in Cockerton, he lived at 6 North terrace with his family and worked as a plumber. He joined the Royal Engineers and died near Bailleul in northern France on May 24, 1917.

Pte Bertie Shaw, 20

Also born in Cockerton, Bertie lived at 17, Forcett Street with his parents and two sisters. He worked at Bond’s the jewellers in Darlington. He joined the Royal Fusiliers and was killed near Arras, in northern France, on August 21, 1918.

Pte Walter Spencer, 25

Walter lived at West Bridge with his aunt, and worked as a florist’s cartman. He enlisted with the Northumberland Fusiliers and arrived in France on August 25, 1915. He was killed on July 7, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.

The Northern Echo:

Pte Herbert Sturgeon, 40

After a spell working on Tyneside as a ship’s riveter’s holder-up, Herbert returned to his home town of Darlington, married Hannah, and moved to 4, Sunny Terrace in Cockerton, where they had four daughters.

He worked as a coal dealer and initially joined the Royal Army Medical Corps but ended up with the Bedfordshire Regiment. His battalion was sent to Burma in March 1918 to guard Turkish Prisoners of War.

The Meiktila camp was rife with dysentery, malaria and tuberculosis, and Herbert died on August 6, 1918. His body was one of eight moved from Meiktila in the 1960s and he now lies in Taukkyan Cemetery in Yangon in Myanmar.

Sick Berth Attendant William Basil Weddle, 20

He was onboard HMS Fiona, an armed boarding vessel, when it came under air attack on April 18, 1941, and sunk near Sidi Barrani in Egypt. Basil, who had an unusual rank, died in the action.

Cpl William Wilson, 32

He lived with his wife, Ellen, and twin daughters, Alice and Elsie, in The Cottage on Cockerton Green. A gardener, he joined the DLI on January 18, 1915, and died of wounds in northern France on June 26, 1917.