Teesdale’s World War 1 In Pictures

BC 17th DLI draft for the front , marching up Galgate to station WW1-judith Barnett

Many pictures taken in Teesdale during World War 1 tell fascinating stories. With thanks to Gary Marshall of Ye Olde Teesdale Tales and Pictures who has kindly given permission for these to be used.

We start with a picture of the 17th battalion of the DLI marching down Galgate in Barnard castle. The 17th battalion were formed in Barnard Castle in September 1914.

Jack Beadle, Poster Boy

The story of the poster boy of the “To Serve King And Country” project is well illustrated by a number of pictures showing his time in the war.

John Robert Beadle’s image has been used to promote the First World War project and to encourage others to come forward with stories of the role the people of Teesdale played in the Great War.

Having worked as a locomotive fireman at Bank Top Station, Darlington, the 18 year old John Beadle enlisted for active service in Scarborough on 1 August 1916. He served with the Northumberland Fusiliers in France between December 1916 and January 1917, and again between December 1917 and March 1918. He was discharged on 9 February 1919.

Beadle 1Beadle 3

Beadle’s military career was blighted with illness. He was twice hospitalised during service with bronchitis and then heart trouble. His recuperation took place in Sheffield and Horton War Hospital, Epsom.

Beadle, known as Jack, was a tall man at 6′ 3″. He was the youngest child of Henry and Mary Beadle. Henry was the Head Gamekeeper for Egglestone estate.

After the war, John Beadle returned to Egglestone and followed in his father’s footsteps to become a gamekeeper on Egglestone Estate. Items of his gamekeeper’s clothing were donated to The Bowes Museum.

In 1934, Jack married a local girl from the village, Freda Bainbridge, whose father worked on the estate as a woodsman. He went on to take charge of the Egglestone Home Guard in World War Two and was awarded a long service medal from the Country Landowner’s Association.  He died on July 4 1979 after a heart attack.

The memory of John Beadle is kept alive by the many photographs of his role in the First World War. Particularly striking is the picture above of Beadle on horseback with full hobnails on boots in stirrups. Please contact us if you have similar stories to Jack’s.  If you are able to contribute to the World War One Commemoration Project, please contact: libraryandarchives@thebowesmuseum.org.uk


Beadle 2  Beadle 4

Football Favourite George’s Memorable Match

A community’s sorrow and support for a Teesdale First World War widow is witnessed in the story of a New Year’s Day football match in honour of Barnard Castle soldier George Stout.

A popular Teesdale football player, a football match was organised in George’s honour as a means of supporting his widow and three young children.

Corporal George Stout of the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry was born in August 1887. He lived in Thorngate, Barnard Castle, in what is now The Blue Bell Inn and worked as a miner. Although just 5 foot 3 inches tall, he was also one of the stars of Barnard Castle’s football team.

Stout lost an arm in 1916 and was discharged from the army on the grounds of “being no longer physically fit for war service”. George’s discharge card can be seen below (Thanks to David Charlesworth, Teesdale postal historian)




George took a job as a postman, but his injuries unfortunately caught up with him. Sadness was felt in Barnard Castle on Christmas Day 1918 as George, affectionately known as “Pompy”, passed away after a short illness.

Hoping to avoid destitution for George’s widow and children, the local community rallied to create a fitting tribute to George: a football match. Local people were said to be “anxious to give a helping hand” to George’s widow and their “kindness of heart” was praised in the Teesdale Mercury. Local players worked speedily to organise a match, which took place on New Year’s Day 1919 in Barnard Castle. The Teesdale XI played against soldiers from the York and Lancaster Regiment, who were fitter and stronger and ran out 4-0 winners.

As the final whistle blew, the community were able to gift Mrs Stout and her children the sum of£15 from a well-attended event organised at short notice. George Stout’s name can be seen on the Bowes Museum’s war memorial.

WAVE at Yorkshire Sculpture Park


On Tuesday 1st December, I was lucky enough to accompany a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the installation ‘Wave’.  The trip was organised as part of the museum’s First World War Commemoration Project, ‘To Serve King and Country’. 

‘Wave’ is one of the iconic poppy sculptures that were erected at The Tower of London for the centenary of the outbreak of the war.  The trip was particularly poignant for me, not only because of my connection with the project at Bowes, but because I volunteered to plant the poppies at The Tower last summer.  It was an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime.  I found it almost impossible to fathom that each brittle ceramic poppy represented an equally fragile human life, and that the beautiful expanse of red in front me symbolised a much darker reality. 

Sarah B closeup of poppies

While the poppies at YSP only constituted a small fraction of those at London, I was so impressed by the impact of ‘Wave’.  The bright uniformity of the poppies at The Tower was more naturally arranged at YSP, where they beautifully complimented the rustic Yorkshire countryside. Despite being a flash of red on an otherwise grey and drizzly winter’s day, the poppies seemed a perfectly natural part of the landscape, since they were partially submerged in water and surrounded by wild vegetation.  This seemed fitting, given that ‘To Serve King and Country’ is a project designed to explore the local impact of the War in Teesdale.  It was, therefore, particularly special to see ‘Wave’ looking so natural as it poured into my own Yorkshire landscape.

Sarah B poppies cascade to water  Sarah B distant view - dark

By Sarah Boddy

Forced Into Death Part II


The brave cowards,

Loyal deserters,

And the wide awake men

Who slept on their watch.

All lined up,

All stood still,

All the same,

All with the will

Of mercy,



But they were lost.




Blindfolded at dawn.



Never to see another morn.



The gun was primed,

A pause,


Before the funeral bells chimed.


The friend turned,

The master became evil,

The leader was an enemy

But then again, still,

It’s just a job,

A mere shot,

A mere shot,

Whether directed at an enemy or not.

By Nicholas Mackay

Forced Into Death Part I


A man who lived

A life so free

Was forced to join


They said there was

A rightful cause

The others were

Just breaking laws


But there were two of them fighting,

Both taken up, both unwilling

Both afraid of the threat filling

Their hearts, their heads, their lives.


The threat, the danger

Came not just from the stranger,

But from the friend,

Who was supposed to protect

From the danger so bleak,

To calm, to speak,

To him, to help him

To be his friend,

His ally,

This person killed him but he was not

A spy.


There were many causes,

Many reasons,

Many excuses

For the executions


The forced fled,

The conscripted, counted their remaining days,

Before coming,

To the conclusion,

That war,

Was an illusion,

War was not worth the death of,

A soul,

A human,

Theirs or their enemy’s.


Sense was seen as betrayal,

Cunning as disloyalty,

They were running from death

To death

By Nicholas Mackay

My Little Boy

I’m teary now recalling the time

my son went off to the hateful front line

his jacket and boots in hand

he went to fight the German band,

of soldiers that were the same as him

in the same place, with the chocolate tin

a friend, wife or children’s gift

exactly the same as my poor kid


But are they the same? I highly doubt it

Thought of as “the boche” “there’s nothing cruel about it”!

But there is that harshness in their voice

as they go over the top shouting “let’s kill ’em boys”


The harsh reality of the war

seen by us at home as a trivial thing

but out there in Ypres they have wet socks to wring

At home we use it as an advertising slogan

but there they hear “missing in action”


I dream every night of that fatal day

When I receive that letter that will say

“If you are reading this I’m dead”

The words ring eternally in my head

It wrenches my organs up inside

I wish my son would never die


But this is the same for both boche and us

the world is unfair, destroys your trust,

in the leaders and officers that lead our boys

but shoot them if they don’t want to suffer the noise

that they hear each day

but they shouldn’t pay

for protecting our nation from enemies

who’s aggression was caused by a little sneeze

of misjudgement and a silly blank cheque

and transformed into four years of life-changing wreck


Alone, alone, so alone

My son travelled with friends to the battlefield

So young yet so old

so innocent yet so wise

so naive yet so… so…


Too young to die he was

“Missing in action” they said that day

The very thing that I was most afraid of

You can only imagine how I felt

The “knock, knock” on the door

You have no idea what it meant

I lifelessly dropped to the floor

As they said

“Your son is dead”


I will never forget those two days

The three and a half years imbetween are just blurs

Like black spots on a page

Lost in time like my son

I watched as his name was engraved on the memorial in town

Each stroke was etched on my heart

And it will be forever

Even until I die after my own little boy.


By Nathan Baker, Barnard Castle School

The Spirit of War

The Spirit of War

 Issued to another man, I prepared to relive the cycle of the battlefield. For days on end, I clung to the soldier, trembling and waiting in the trenches. The sense of fear descended on the soldiers, soaking me with broken emotions. Down the line, I saw more men, reflections of the ongoing horrors. Each, armed like clones. An anonymous army.

 I was drowning. Suffocated by the stench of war. The invasive, toxic, unending smell of the battlefield. The sites couldn’t be considered better. Screaming, howling cries of enraged fighters. I harboured more than my soldier. I had to come home to many more than just men. Infected by thousands of lice, fighting my own little war.

 Day through night, the Sun spectated be hellish sights on earth. Time called by, it seemed an eternity. The painful cries of the soldiers, comparable only to the Damned souls in hell.

 Then in a single second, it changed. My soldier. My fighter. He felt lifeless from the wall. His grip reduced to nothing. A bullet past through the both of us. Blood stream from his shoulder as he fell. He had lost his war. It was time for someone to replace him.

 Another spirit of war.

   By Michael Liu


First World War Sharing Event

Writers and poets of the future took part in the latest event of the Bowes Museum First World War project, “To Serve King And Country”.

The First World War Sharing Event took place at the Barnard Castle School on October 9, showcasing reflections by young people on the First World War. It included students’ reflections from a three-day workshop experience at the Bowes Museum in July, where students from Barnard Castle and Teesdale schools explored how people in Teesdale were affected by the war.

In 1915, Owen Scott, curator of The Bowes Museum, tried to create a Roll of Honour to record Teesdale individuals who served in the First World War. The project was never completed. One hundred years on, Rupert Philbrick, Community Coordinator for the World War One project “To Serve King and Country”, has taken on the task of fulfilling Scott’s dream. The latest part involves engaging young people from Teesdale in the story of their forebearers.

Mr Philbrick said educating and working with young people is part of the project’s brief – to make the First World War a “living history” for them. “We want to enhance their learning experience. This event was a chance to showcase students’ work, as well as the successes of the project so far,” Mr Philbrick added.

Sifting through papers from the First World War in the Bowes Museum archives, youngsters were inspired by the immediacy of the events they were researching. Barnard Castle Year 8 pupil Evie Brenkley said: “It struck me how local it is. We read that billeting was going to happen at the Bowes Museum. You feel as if you are there. Feeling the articles in your hands at the Bowes Museum really strikes you.”

Several First World War themes were explored in the writing, such as the five stages of grief, the arrival of Belgian refugees, the response of a father to his son who has died and the emotional response of stretch-bearers after they have found a dead body.



Several pieces of poetry and creative writing were recited, which moved the enthusiastic  crowd  gathered at Barnard Castle school. Year 8 pupil Esia Forsyth focused on the suffering that the Belgian refugees had left behind before they came to Britain, a fact which was ignored by the British press. She said: “The nasty bits were not really shown in newspaper articles; only the bits where England helped the Belgian refugees and took them in were shown. The nastier aspects were covered up”, before reciting her poem, entitled Houses Rich And Statues Grand.

Rachel Elphick, Year 11 pupil at Barnard Castle school, produced an emotional and captivating piece of creative writing on the theme of stretch-bearers, in which, on discovering a body, a stretch-bearer discovers that person who has died is his own brother. She said:  “Stretcher bearers are not well known. I wanted to find something about the war that was not typical.  I have been an avid reader since I was very small. I do a lot of drama, so it was not much of a big deal when I stood up there. When I grow up, I would like to be a writer or be in the police force.”

Amanda Gorman and Cassie Flint, English teachers at Barnard Castle and Teesdale schools respectively, hailed the evening as a success. Mrs Gorman said: “Rupert Philbrick has inspired these young people to produce this work.” Mr Philbrick highlighted the contribution of the young people. He said: “One way of gauging the success of the project is the fact that, since the workshop ended, several students are now volunteering at the museum in their own time to undertake further First World War research.”

The next event for the “To Serve King And Country” project is a volunteer meeting at the Bowes Museum on October 20 between 1:30 – 2:30 pm, which is an opportunity to learn more about how the project has developed over the last 12 months.

By Andy Drozdziak


Lieutenant Oswald Walton of Bowes

One young man whose name is not on the World War 1 Bowes Museum Memorial is Oswald Walton. Although he lived in Bowes for a short time as a child, his family had a deep connection with the parish,at least to the middle of the 17th century. His father, Rev. John Milner Walton, was born at Lowfield, attended Bowes School, and, thanks to the Parkin Scholarship, went on to study at Pembroke College Oxford, eventually taking Holy Orders. He was curate at Bowes between 1894 and 1898, during which time he organised the fundraising for the Church clock, installed to mark Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. During the time at Bowes, Oswald’s brother Brian was born.

Lieutenant Oswald Thomas Walton of 18th Squadron Royal Flying Corps died on 12th April 1918, aged 24. At the time of his death his father was rector of Langton-on-Swale, Northallerton where the family had lived for a number of years.

 The 1901 census shows Oswald, aged 7, at Langton with younger brother, Guy. Oswald’s birthplace is given as Darlington but Guy had been born in Bowes, in 1896. By 1911, there are five children living at home. Brian the oldest is 19, born at Kirby Ravensworth, he was presumably away at school in 1911. Oswald’s birthplace is narrowed down to Croft Spa. Guy has been joined by a younger brother Alan aged 5, born at Langton. The year of Guy’s birth in Bowes coincides with a flyer, signed by his father, distributed around the Parish. Funds were being sought to erect a clock in St.Giles’ Church to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.Oswald was a pupil at Worksop College and is remembered on the War Memorial there.

Oswald was buried in the H.A.C cemetery in Ecoust-St.Mein. The enemy positions from Doignies to Henin-sur-Cojeul, including the village of Ecoust, were captured on 2 April 1917, by the 4th Australian and 7th Divisions. This cemetery was begun by the 7th Division after the battle, when 27 of the 2nd H.A.C., who fell (with one exception) on 31st March or 1st April, were buried in what is now Plot I, Row A. After the German counter-attack near Lagnicourt on the 15th April, twelve Australian gunners were buried in the same row. Rows B, C and part of D were made in August and September 1918, when the ground had been recaptured by the 3rd Division after five months enemy occupation. The 120 graves thus made were the original H.A.C. Cemetery. However, after the Armistice graves were added from the battlefields of Bullecourt and Ecoust and from a number of smaller burial grounds, there are now nearly 2,000 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site.

By Ann Hughes