CHILDREN’S author Terry Deary is supporting a poignant project to commemorate a horrible part of history for a North-East mining community.

Two hundred and thirty-three pitmen who died during the First World War are named at the gates of South Moor Memorial Park, near Stanley.

Now residents and visitors can walk round a South Moor and Quaking Houses First World War heritage trail that marks the homes and collieries of the fallen colliery workers.

The trail funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Stanley Town Council links to a dedicated website hosting the individual stories of all of the fallen miners and documents life in South Moor at the time of the First World War.

Project manager Adrian Cantle-Jones said: “The trail takes in all of the old colliery sites that would have been around during the First World War.

“On Armistice Day we are inviting the relatives of soldiers to come along to the memorial park to lay a wreath.

“Children are going to be planting poppy crosses in the memorial park prior to the Armistice Day ceremony.”

Behind each name is a tragic story of loss and bereavement but perhaps none more so than that of Lance Corporal Peter Goggins who volunteered for Kitchener’s Army in 1915.

Goggins, like many Durham miners of short stature was recruited to a ‘Bantam Batallion’ of the DLI as a specialist tunneller.

Keen to leave the mines of South Moor he saw action at Ypres and the Somme winning promotion to Lance Corporal and marrying his South Moor sweetheart in 1916.

But Goggins fortunes would change on the November 26, 1916.

Isolated in a forward location as a German detachment advanced to over-run his trench his sergeant ordered a withdrawal.

Jamming his rifle across the trench to slow the attack, Goggins left his position rapidly falling back.

On re-joining his company he was immediately questioned, accused of desertion and jailed.

Court martialled on Christmas Eve he was sentenced to be shot by firing squad, in spite of supporting evidence from his sergeant.

At dawn on the January 16, 1917, Peter Googins was executed alongside two other DLI comrades.

In 2006, following a campaign by his relatives and The Northern Echo, he was pardoned.

In remembrance of Peter Goggins and his miner comrades Horrible Histories author Terry Deary and Derwentside Athletics Club have organised The Goggins Comrades Run, starting at 9am on Sunday, November 11 at the Haven on Pine Street.

The five mile route follows the rural heritage trail finishing in The South Moor First World War Memorial Park.

Mr Deary, whose latest book Terrible Trenches uncovers the hidden horrors of the First World War, said: “It is a rare story among the many tragedies that so many families, in so many Durham villages, suffered.

“I fully support this poignant tribute.”

Relatives of miners named on the South Moor memorial, including Peter Goggins, are invited to attend the South Moor Park remembrance service at 10.45am on Sunday.

Organisers are also so keen to add the stories, photographs and letters of South Moor soldiers to the website.

Contact Adrian Cantle-Jones project manager by emailing or telephone 03000-265-259.