CUT through the streets behind Westoe Road in Shields and head across to Asda and you’re following a route Frank Spowart would have known well.
He’d have heard the wagons on the nearby railway line, and the Town Hall clock chiming as he made his way to work at St Hilda Colliery from his home in Robinson Street.
This was the ‘before.’ The ‘after’ was the killing field of Gallipoli, on which the 20-year-old died.
The point being that there are human stories behind that terrible roll call of names of those lost in the ill-fated campaign in the Dardanelles in 1915.
It’s one made by Joy Brodier, who has recently been in touch, following recent pieces on the sacrifices made by the Royal Naval Division (RND) at Gallipoli, based on extensive research by Jarrow man Peter Hoy.
Joy is the author of a book on her great uncle, George Tinsley Loveley, who fought with the RND at Gallipoli and eventually died on the Somme.
Says Joy: “I was very pleased to read your article. My great uncle was from Boston in Lincolnshire, and in the Benbow Battalion.
“I have written a slim book about him, his life in Boston and the background information that is often missing from books by male authors – what they wore, their kit, the food, rest camps, illnesses and treatments, and entertainment etc.
“We live in France so it was very interesting to visit the sites where the RND last fought and to try to find the place where my great uncle fell.”
To return to Frank Spowart, he was one of at least 18 South Shields men identified by Peter Hoy as having been killed with the RND at the Third Battle of Krithia on June 4, 1915.
The overwhelming majority of them were serving with the Collingwood Battalion of the Division.
Several were as young as 19,
You can hear more from Peter on the RND at Gallipoli at this Saturday’s South Tyneside Remembers Day at South Shields Library. He will be giving a talk between 12.30pm and 1.30pm, followed at 2pm by James Mulholland, on the subject of the Man With The Donkey, John Simpson Kirkpatrick, about whom he has written a book.
Also taking part, among others, will be Beamish Museum, the North East War Memorials Project and Jarrow and Hebburn Local History Society.