Dominion Geordies

Dominion Geordies is a Living Legacies-funded project with the Tynemouth World War One commemoration project as the principal community partner along with Northumbria University.  As an introduction to the project, Alan Fidler will talk about the role of the Dominion armies in WW1 and their willing participation in the war.

Marie Caffrey will cover the issues of how men with local connections to the North East serving in the Dominion forces of Australia, Canada and New Zealand (we did not cover South Africa) were traced, usually through Dominion war archives. Over 7200 individual records of men and women who served were added automatically to the database.  Volunteers in the UK and across the world came forward to assist with researching individual names following a press release by the University in the Dominion countries and local press stories here in the north east.

Marie will also comment on the issues of variable skill levels of volunteers working remotely from the project across multiple time zones. The concept of this research was ‘crowd sourcing’ of volunteers to work on a major project which is well beyond the capacity of a small group.  There may be useful lessons for us to learn from this project.

We know that several Teesdale men served in the Dominion forces, and hopefully we’ll learn more about them.

For information on cost and booking for this talk, please click here.

Elizabeth A Waine

By June Parkin, Volunteer

WW1 saw women taking over many activities formerly the responsibility of men. Here 20 year-old Miss Elizabeth Annie Waine white-lines the rinks at Barnard Castle Bowling Green in 1914.

Elizabeth Waine was the daughter of prominent townsman Walker Waine. In the 1911 Census the family are at 52, The Bank and Walker is a Stonemason while his daughter works in a laundry. Walker, his brother Watson and many family members were mentioned frequently in the ‘Teesdale Mecury’ , taking part in musical activities in the town. Both Walker and Watson played the organ and their daughters sang and acted in various entertainments. Walker Waine was also on the board of the Teesdale Guardians and was Vice-President of the Barnard Castle Co-operative Society.

When Elizabeth’s grandmother Phillis Waine died at the age of 80 in 1915, her obituary in the ‘Mercury’ mentioned her pride in the enlistment of her son Watson, four of her grandsons and one great-grandson. Perhaps it is fortunate that she did not live to hear the news of the deaths in action of two of her grandsons, George Graham Waine in 1916 and William Watson Waine in 1917.

Elizabeth too, in this picture, was not aware of the fates of her brothers and cousins, but saw the need for women to contribute where they could. She married John W Robinson in 1915 and they had four children John, Annie, Ernest and Grace.

Bowling still thrives on the same site in the Bowes Museum, although the ladies section is no longer expected to prepare the green and the rinks are not marked out with white lines.

Religion and the War

By Judith Phillips

Saturday saw the first in this year’s series of talks, starting with a double-bill!  Reverend David Youngson has been supporting the project since its early days, and I have profited from his immense knowledge of Army chaplains in particular – David is very generous with his time and support.  Introducing himself as ‘that mad blind vicar from Billingham’ – a description frequently used, apparently, when he contacts organisations asking for and offering information – he kept the audience listening attentively and appreciatively.  I bet he must preach a very good sermon!

Taking up the theme of ‘religion and war, we were fortunate to have another project supporter as Dr. Denise Coss looked at how Christian church authorities, particularly the Church of England, responded to the outbreak and continuation of the war, including a hope that this could trigger a religious revival.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take notes on all of the talks as a couple of badly-timed bouts of coughing meant I had to leave both talks for part of the time.  So, please bear with me, and I will write up fuller reports with the help of the speakers and of members of the audience.  For information about future talks and events, please read Dates for your diary.

Dates for your diary April – November

The next talk is on Saturday 29th April at 2.30 when Alan Fiddler and Marie Caffrey will introduce us to their current project ‘Dominion Geordies’.  Some Teesdale examples will be included , which will add to the interest – we already have a couple of ‘dominion’ Teesdalers on our Roll of Honour database and it will be great to find out more about how they come to be there.  I know a little about this project and it’s ambitious and fascinating! 

On Saturday 27th May at 2.30 we welcome the WWI Red Cross from North Yorkshire.  The Red Cross administered a range of hospitals throughout the country, often in converted accommodation – from stately homes to school buildings.  We’ve already found out about the Bell-Irving ladies from Rokeby and know about the Museum’s sending tomatoes for convalescent soldiers, so this is an opportunity to learn more about the organisation behind them.  For this talk we are also promised a hands-on session with some of the equipment used during the war.

All the above events can be booked online at or by telephoning Reception 01833 690606.

In the autumn, we will have talks on Conscientious Objectors and the Richmond Castle project (9th September) and Poppies, Women and War coupled with the opportunity to attend a photography workshop (4th November).  In between, we’ve organised a drop-in event that should appeal to all generations in the family, involving food and art, on 7th October.  We’ll publish more details about these events individually on the Events section of this website and on the main museum website.

A Modern Act of Remembrance

By Judith Phillips

Last Saturday saw the launch of A Modern Act of Remembrance, a collection of pieces of creative writing by three Northumbria University students.  They were responding to WWI material in the archives and on loan for the project, and also to objects and spaces in the museum and the park.  Two of the students and their tutor read an extract each, and I have to confess that I found the pieces very moving.  Copies of A Modern Act of Remembrance will be available in the museum for visitors to borrow and read during a visit (please return them after use – there’s only a limited supply).

The launch was part of the morning’s event which was part of a series of Open meetings throughout the project’s lifetime.  Volunteers talked about their experiences of doing online and more traditional research, and inputting information into the database, and people attending were given a quick preview of talks and events planned for 2017 (see Dates for your diary.)