We fall si­lent to re­mem­ber

Sunday Sun - - News - DAVE MORTON david.morton.ed­i­to­rial@ncjme­dia.co.uk

Nos­tal­gia Ed­i­tor IT’S Re­mem­brance Sun­day. An­other year has come and gone since we last fell si­lent to hon­our Bri­tain’s ‘glo­ri­ous dead’.

As the great wars of the past re­cede into his­tory, it’s cru­cial we con­tinue to re­mem­ber the sac­ri­fices of those who fought and died for the free­doms and way of life we take for granted to­day.

Septem­ber 2017 marked 78 years since Bri­tain en­tered World War II.

The once size­able band of vet­er­ans of that con­flict is thin­ning now.

And, of course, there is noone left alive who fought in World War I.

If this year marked the cen­te­nary of the most sav­age and bloody Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele, next year it will be 100 years since the Great War came to an end.

Those who fought are all gone, but we re­mem­ber them and sa­lute their courage and sac­ri­fice.

In­deed, we pay trib­ute to all those who have fought and fallen in the con­flicts since then, right up to re­cent op­er­a­tions in Afghanistan.

But what of the Great War which has slipped from liv­ing mem­ory to be­come an in­te­gral part of our na­tion’s his­tory?

One hun­dred years ago in an age when ser­vice to King and coun­try was ex­pected, and ad­ven­ture was prized, thou­sands of young men from the towns and vil­lages of Northum­ber­land, Durham and North York­shire rushed to en­list in the fight against the Kaiser and his al­lies.

They all op­ti­misti­cally agreed - “they would be home by Christ­mas”.

Lit­tle did they know, in the sun-drenched sum­mer of 1914, that World War One would de­scend into a mur­der­ous con­flict which would last an ag­o­nis­ing four years.

The war would have a keenly felt im­pact on fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties, vil­lages, towns and cities across Bri­tain, and our re­gion.

To­day, the abid­ing im­age of the con­flict is one of a bru­tal war of at­tri­tion and stale­mate across the trenches of bat­tle-scarred France and Bel­gium.

How­ever, it was a war that would also take place at sea Iraq and - and in the air - as well as on land.

The scope of this new “in­dus­tri­alised” mil­i­tary slaugh­ter would stretch from Gal­lipoli, in Turkey, to the deserts of North Africa, and be­yond.

Men and women from around the globe would be drawn into the con­flict, and the Bri­tish home­land it­self would come un­der fire from the en­emy.

Names like Ypres, Pass­chen­daele, and the Somme echo chill­ingly across the cen­tury since the war took place.

Thou­sands of North East men fought - and died - shoul­der-to-shoul­der at these and other cat­a­clysmic bat­tles.

Many did sur­vive, but re­turned - of­ten badly maimed - to a Bri­tain that had changed for­ever.

A cen­tury later, we sa­lute that lost gen­er­a­tion and all those who fought for our free­dom in World War One.

Our se­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs re­flects the act of re­mem­brance as viewed across our re­gion over the decades.

“At the go­ing down of the sun and in the morn­ing, we will re­mem­ber them.” Front: Re­mem­brance Day at El­don Square, New­cas­tle, Novem­ber 11, 1962

Above, Re­mem­brance Day, Black­ett Street, New­cas­tle, 1988; left, Re­mem­brance Sun­day, Al­nwick, 1981

The Peace and Vic­tory Pro­ces­sion, Sun­der­land, July 19, 1919 (Beamish Mu­seum)

Great War memo­rial, John Williamson Street, South Shields, 1919

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