Washington County Durham


Memories of  The Great War

Washington's  WW1  Volunteers 1/2

The First Washington Men to Volunteer for WW1 Service

Volunteer Record Front Page

Volunteer Record Page 2

Volunteer Record Page 3

Volunteer Record Page 4

Drummond Richard & Forster William ( Page 2 )  -  Towers William & Tulip Samuel ( Page 3 )


Miner Samuel Tulip

( One of Washington's First Volunteers )

Sam Tulip - Pit Lad
14th Birthday & 1st Day at Washington 'F' Pit.

Sam Tulip with his Dog
Young 'F' Pit Miner

Sam was a typical Washington Lad.

[ Many thanks to Granddaughter Vivienne Bell, née Gill, for making Sam's photographs & documents available. ]

Private Samuel Tulip

( One of Washington's First Volunteers )

Sam Tulip's name appears on Tab 'First Volunteers',
Washington & District Volunteer Record, 11th September 1914.

Sam Tulip - Soldier 2
Private Samuel Tulip, Service No. 18477

Sam Tulip - Soldier 1
The Border Regiment, WW1, 1914-1918

Sam Tulip joined The Border Regiment at the age of 22.

•   •   ◊   •   •

Lulworth Camp, Dorset

( Postcard Home )

Postcard Picture: Sam Tulip at Lulworth Army Camp
Washington 'F' Pit Miners, Samuel Tulip & William Towers, at Lulworth Camp
This Group of Men were members of The Border Regiment.
Front Row:  Sam, 2nd left  -  Bill, far right.

Postcard Message: Sam Tulip at Lulworth Army Camp
Message to Sam's Mother
Post Mark:   WEST LULWORTH, 19 OC 14

Dear Mother
I am sorry I have not
written before now. But
I am still keeping well
and fit with the sea
air at Lulworth Camp.
You will know my address.
Love to all.
From Sam

Mrs Wood
1 Under Hill Terrace
Gateshead on Tyne
County Durham


[ Sam's mother married again following the death of his father. ]

•   •   ◊   •   •

Sam Seriously Wounded!

At an unknown date, during his tour of duty in France, Sam was seriously injured by a sniper's bullet.
He was shot in the right side of his neck and the bullet exited beneath his left shoulder blade.
His injuries were so severe that he was sent home to Washington to aid his recovery.
His wounds left him with heavy scarring, but his war wasn't over yet!

Sam Tulip - Army Cookery 'ticket'
When Sam recovered sufficiently from his injuries, he trained as an Army Cook.
He then returned to France to complete his service.

[ N.B. Sam's I.D. Number was 18477, not 78477. ]

Samuel Tulip

( Veteran of The Great War )

Sam and Mary Tulip
Sam & Mary Tulip of 40, Tyne Gardens
They married 3rd September 1921.

Sam Tulip (b. Blackfell, 1892-1972) with his wife Mary Ann née Robson (b. Usworth, 1898-1970).

In his retirement Sam enjoyed repairing clocks & watches and he was an expert domino player.


Private Samuel Tulip's WW1 Medals and Mary Tulip
Sam Tulip's WW1 Medals

Having been treasured by Sam's eldest daughter, Lillian Storey, the display case
and documents will be handed down to one of his great-great-grandchildren.

•   •   ◊   •   •

Certificate of Demobilization

( Transfer to Army Reserve )

Private Samuel Tulip's demobilization card

When WW1 ended, Private Samuel Tulip returned to Washington 'F' Pit where he
worked as an underground Wagonwayman.  He suffered a further
serious injury when he was caught between two tubs.
When Sam recovered he returned to work.

•   •   ◊   •   •

' A Granda To Be Proud Of '

Vivienne & Jim

William Towers

( One of Washington's First Volunteers )

Bill Towers' name appears on Tab 'First Volunteers',
Washington & District Volunteer Record, 11th September 1914.

Bill Towers and Pals
Bill Towers ( Service No. 18474 ) with his Border Regiment Pals
Camping at Wool, near Lulworth, in Dorset.

[ Tall Soldier, 2nd Left, Back Row.  Bill also appears with fellow 'F' Pit Miner Sam Tulip on the 'Soldier' Tab. ]


Born in High Usworth, Bill lived at 44, Nelson Street.  He and his new Bride Lily then set up home at Manor View East.

Bill Towers started work at Washington 'F' Colliery at the age of thirteen.  His Father had died shortly before then,
leaving his wife with six children to raise.  Young Bill was the family breadwinner.

He joined the war effort as a 'Kitchener Volunteer' in The Border Regiment ( Service No. 18474 ), as did his Pals in the above photograph.
He then joined 7th (Service) Battalion, which was the second of the Regiment's Kitchener ( New Army ) Battalions,
and was sent to Wool in Dorset.  The Battalion was sent to the Western Front on 24th July 1915.

Bill survived the First World War in spite of an injury in 1916.  When he returned to The Front, he was promoted to Sergeant.
After WW1, Bill returned to the 'F' Pit and completed fifty years of underground service as an Overman.
William Towers died at the age of ninety, while still in residence at Manor View East.

[ Information & Photograph: Thanks to Bill's Grandaughter, Hilary Sly, née Towers. ]

Private William Forster

( One of Washington's First Volunteers )

William Forster's name appears on Tab 'First Volunteers',
Washington & District Volunteer Record, 11th September 1914.

Inscription - William Forster
The Last Resting Place of Private William Forster - St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France.
William lived at 25, Pattinson Town, Washington Station.

[ Thanks to Photographer: Peter Welsh ]

William Forster was born at Barmston, enlisted at Washington Station and became Private 14003, 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.  The Washington and District Volunteer Record printed a list of local men who had volunteered by 8th September 1914 - see Tab 'Volunteers 1/4'.  One of these men was William Forster of 25, Pattinson Town.  He arrived in France on 26th August 1915, died of wounds in No 1 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, on 14th August 1916 and was buried in St Sever Cemetery, location: B 31 20.

The Illustrated Chronicle of 4th September 1916 reported the death of Private W. Forster, Yorkshire Regiment, and on the 6th, stated that he had died of wounds and was a resident of Washington Station.  William left a widow, Ellen, living at 25, Pattinson Town and his 1915 Star, War and Victory medals would have been sent to her.  In the list of Soldiers’ Effects, released in 2016, the army noted that Ellen, William’s widow, received £4.3.8d on 24th November 1916 and a further war gratuity of £9 was paid on 1st October 1919.  The average payment was £10.35, equivalent to £929 in today’s money.

The 1891 Census recorded the Forster Family as living at 3, Pattinson Town i.e. Joseph, Jane, Amelia, John and William (aged 1).  The 1901 Census recorded the Forsters still living at 3, Pattinson Town - Joseph (39), a cooper in a magnesium factory (Washington Chemical Works), his wife Jane (36), John (14), working as a cartman, and his young brother, William (11). Mr and Mrs Forster were born at Felling and Whitehaven, respectfully.  In 1911 the family, minus John, but with the addition of Amelia (25), were living at 8, Pattinson Town, Washington.  John doesn’t appear to be listed in the 1911 Census.  William was a general labourer at the Chemical Works.

Given the enormous extent of the fighting in July 1916 it’s hard to say with any certainty when William Forster was wounded.  The 8th Yorkshires were in and out of the line on the Somme front, near Albert, early in August; working parties were provided and some of that work was in salvaging equipment.  They also had a spell in billets in Rue Bapaume, Albert, and had a day off with 'bathing', which wasn’t always in a sweet smelling bath house or well-appointed pool.  On the 5th they were back in the line and under orders to capture 100 yards of Munster Trench and to clear Torr Trench.  The attack was regarded as 'quite successful'.  William died on 14th August 1916, aged 26.  By the 17th August his regiment had been transferred to Bailleul and then Steenwercke, near Ypres.

The Roll of Honour drawn up for Washington and Barmston Parishes included William Forster and gave his address as 25, Pattinson Town.  This seems to be the list from which the names on the Washington War Memorial were carved.

[ William's name appears on Page 2 ( Tab 2/4 above ) of the Washington & District Volunteer Record, dated 11th September 1914. ]

[ I'm reliably informed that there’s going to be a street at Teal Farm named after Private William Forster. ]


Private John Douglas Forster

( William's Older Brother )

Inscription - John D. Forster
The Last Resting Place of Private John Douglas Forster - Dozinghem, Belgium.
John lived at 8, Pattinson Town, Washington Station.

[ Thanks to Photographer: Peter Welsh ]

John Douglas Forster was 14 years old and working as a cartman, when the 1901 Census recorded him living at 3, Pattinson Town with his father Joseph, mother Jane and younger brother, William (11).  He doesn’t appear to be listed in the 1911 Census.

John enlisted in Shiney Row as 14376, Reserve Cavalry Regiment but was transferred to the 5th Dorsetshires and, as Private 13518, died of wounds in Belgium on 18th August 1917, aged 29.  He had arrived in the Balkans on 14th September 1915 and survived that campaign.  John is buried in Dozinghem Cemetery, Location IV B 8, in Belgium.  He was awarded the 1915 Star and the War and Victory medals.  The CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) states that his parents were Joseph and Jane of 8, Pattinson Town. In the list of Soldiers’ Effects, released in 2016, the army noted that Joseph, John’s father, received £13.9.7d on 21st December 1917 and a further war gratuity of £14 was paid on 13th November 1919.

The Battle of Langemarck (16th to 18th August 1918) was part of the Battle of Passchendaele, aka Third Ypres. Wet weather had turned parts of the battlefield into a quagmire which frustrated any hope of a breakthrough.
In the main attack, on August 16th, some things went very seriously wrong.  In the wake of a 'creeping barrage' 8 British Divisions attacked at 4.45 a.m. on a front of 12,000 yards.  There was limited success in the north but costly failure, with heavy casualties, in the centre and the south.  The British barrage had failed to destroy German batteries and barbed wire.  The Germans responded with devastating artillery and machine gun fire from pill boxes and fortified farms.  British casualties were around 15,000.

"Our casualties numbered 3 Officers and 143 Other Ranks.  18th: During the day our snipers continued to engage enemy snipers."  The 2 deaths recorded by the CWGC are those of John D Forster and Albert Hillyar, a Dorchester man.

The Roll of Honour drawn up for Washington and Barmston Parishes included John Douglas Forster and gave his address as No.8 Pattinson Town.

[ Thanks to Peter Welsh for contributing the above information and photographs. ]

Pattinson Town

Pattinson Town
Private John Douglas Forster and his younger brother, Private William Forster,
lived in Pattinson Town, close to Washington Chemical Works.

Pattinson Town
8 Years after The Great War - 1926
Pattinson Town (top-left)  -  Washington Chemical Works  -  Washington Railway Station

[ Note Washington Station Road, the Railway Footbridge, Cook's Pond, Wilden Terrace etc. ]

In 1834 Hugh Lee Pattinson FRS, in partnership with John Lee and George Burnett,
established a chemical works at Felling in Gateshead and afterwards
at Washington.  Info from Newcastle University website.

Tommy Donaldson

( Postcards Home from a Brady Square Volunteer )

Tommy's Postcard to wife, Mary - front

Tommy's Postcard to wife, Mary - reverse
Postcard 1 - Early Departure from Durham!

From Tommy to wife Mary, telling her about his early morning departure with 'The Advance Party'.

•   •   ◊   •   •

Tommy's Postcard to daughter, Maryeth - front

Tommy's Postcard to daughter, Maryeth - reverse.
Postcard 2 - From France

Postcard from Tommy, sending love to his daughter Mary Edith.
His pet name for her was Maryeth.


The Telegraph, 1st July 2016

Private Thomas Donaldson, Durham Light Infantry.  In memory of Grandad Tommy Donaldson, who fell at the Somme this day 1916.  He volunteered in 1915 and went to France with the ‘advance party’, never to return.  Remembered on The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of The Somme.  Every night, until his death was confirmed, Grandma Mary lit a candle in her bedroom window to guide him home.  Also his daughter Mary Edith Reay (née Donaldson), our mother.  Three years old when he went to France, she carried his photograph in her handbag until she died in 1981.  [ Ken and Harry Reay ]

Tommy was a coal miner.  He and Mary lived in 2 Clyde Terrace, Brady Square, at the time he volunteered.
Mary continued to live at 2, then 1, and finally 5 Clyde Terrace until her death in 1945.

Thomas Donaldson's name appears on the Washington Village Green War Memorial.

Tommy & Mary lived in No.2 Clyde Terrace, Washington Station.

Clyde Terrace 1
Walking along Clyde Terrace towards the Wagonway Crossing

Clyde Terrace 2
Clyde Terrace seen from Biddick School, Albert Place

[ Information & Postcards from Ken & Harry Reay - Tommy's Grandsons / Maryeth's Sons. ]

Newrick, Ralph & Thomas Crow

WW1 Volunteers and former Fatfield School Pupils
( Brothers Who Died for King & Country )

Affectionate Remembrance

Newrick Crow

The dearly beloved husband of
Maria Crow,

Who was Killed in Action,
September 18th, 1916,
Aged 30 Years.

Newrick Crow's Memorial Ribbon

Northumberland Fusiliers, Service No. 8163
Commemorated at Thiepval Memorial, The Somme

''Greater love hath no man than
that which lay down his life for
his friends''

Lord, ere I join this deadly strife,
And battle terrors dare,
First would I render soul and life
To Thine Almighty care;
And when grim death in smoke
wreaths robed,
Comes thundering o'er the scene,
What fears can reach a soldier's heart
Where trust in Thee has been.

Christ shall clasp the broken chain,
Closer when we meet again.

24  The Square


''This is a memorial ribbon for Newrick Crow who fell at The Somme. He is one of three brothers, Newrick, Ralph and Thomas Crow, my great uncles, who fell in the Great War and are remembered on the Fatfield School Memorial. On the memorial Newrick’s name is spelled incorrectly as Nurich! Newrick is also remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of The Somme. Ralph also fell at the Somme and is buried in Abbeville Cemetery; Thomas fell at Paschendale, and is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.''

[ Photographs, Information and Comments: Thanks to Dr Ken Reay.]

Ralph Crow's Gravestone

Tyneside Irish, Service No. 27/107
Buried at Abbeville Cemetery, The Somme

Thomas Crow remembered at Tyne Cot Cemetery

Northumberland Fusiliers, Service No. 18750
Commemorated at Tyne Cot, Memorial to The Missing, Belgium

[ Thomas fell at Paschendale, 26 October 1917.  Aged 35. ]

[ This page is also available in What's Where - World Wars / Memorials - Rolls of Honour - Fatfield School Pupils article. ]