Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

John Sadler

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

John Sadler

Article excerpt

EVERY evening the Fire Brigade band from the Belgian city of Ypres, mount a simple but poignant memorial -sounding the last post in the cool cavern beneath the Menin Gate.

Sir Reginald Blomfield's vast archway is inscribed with the names of 54,896 Allied servicemen of the Great War who have no known grave and who lost their lives in the terrible cauldron of the Ypres Salient between October 1914 and the last gasp of that titanic struggle over four years later.

One of the names inscribed there is that of James Sharpe George who would have been a month or so short of his 24th birthday when he was killed in action, serving with 5th Battalion Durham Light Infantry on 20th May 1915.

His was a territorial unit serving with the York & Durham Brigade, Northumbrian Division. They had just departed for their annual summer camp when war broke out in 1914 and were at once recalled to their home base at Stockton-on-Tees.

On 10th August, they deployed to Hartlepool and were gathered in Newcastle by October. From Central Station they began the long journey to the France, landing at Boulogne on the 18th April 1915.

They saw action in the terrible Second Battle of Ypres in spring 1915. James was one of many casualties in that fight.

He was born in June 1891 and came to Netherton Park School near Morpeth in August 1906, aged fifteen. His crime was the theft of three shillings (15p) and other insignificant items, most probably from his mother.

This earned him three years in the reformatory. He was only five feet tall, weighed no more than 92 pounds and was described as being of low educational attainment.

After his time in the institution he held a number of menial jobs, working on the land, then as a fish curer before entering the mines both locally and in Wales. At some point he clearly returned to the region and joined the Territorials. The school was informed of his death in a letter from his sister on 4th June 1915.

Albert Featherstone was committed to the reformatory in October 1902 aged twelve, weighing in at just over four stones. …

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