Memorial Details

NEWMP Memorial Image
Photo: B. Jackson


Cenotaph 1914-18 1939-45 Roadside





Map ref

NZ 271559

Original Location

On the left hand side of the main road through Birtley going towards Durham on a site called "Constable's Garth."

Which war

a. 1914-18
b. 1939-45
c. Korea, 1951- 53
d. Gulf, 1991

Dedication, Creation or Publication date

a. Unveiled August 4th 1923 by Lieut.Col. Philip Kirkup, M.C., D.S.O.; dedicated by Rev. George Walter King.
b. Unveiled November 12th 1950 by Lord Lawson of Beamish; rededicated by the Venerable Archdeacon of Durham

Memorial Description

Cenotaph and two public shelters set in a garden entered through iron gates.
The cenotaph is square in plan, built in ashlar, with rebated panels so designed that a cross is indicated on each face. It is mounted on a circular stylobate. The arms of the cross on three faces has an enrichment in the shape of a laurel wreath and a festoon indicative of victory. The cenotaph is finished with heavy cornice and dentilled courses. The cornice is surmounted by two blocking courses. At the base of the cross on three sides is a bronze plaque with names of the fallen while above this plaque on the main facade is a memorial inscription cut in the stone.
The names for 1914-18 are carried on vertical bronze plates on each face, listed in two columns divided by a vertical line. Those for 1939-45 are on horizontal plates on each face below, the names listed in three columns. A further plate records the Gulf conflict of 1991. The lettering is in raised Roman capitals throughout.
The Cenotaph is surrounded by a circular brick wall with a stone coping and flanked by two bus shelters of timber with glazed ends open fronts.

Materials used

Heworth stone cenotaph; bronze plaques.


To the / glory of God / and in memory of / Officers, Non-Commissioned / Officers and Men / of Birtley Parish / who made the supreme / sacrifice in the / Great War / 1914-1918 / for God / King and Country / The / sacred cause of / Justice and the / Freedom / of the World.


Who commissioned

War Memorial Committee

How money was raised

Land was gifted by Birtley Freeholders and Mr. A.R. Fleet. See Note 5 below

Present condition

Cenotaph clean, inscription slightly weathered, gates to the garden locked at the time of visit but gardens well tended, shelters appeared to be in a good state of repair and the glass protected by netting.

Sculptor, Artist or Designer

Cenotaph designed by Messrs. Davidson & Son, Architects of Gosforth. Contractors for the work were Messrs. Bolam, Simpson & Bolam. Bronze tablets by Messrs. H. Walker & Son, Newcastle. Trees and shrubs by Messrs. Fell & Co., Hexham.


1. Other suggestions for a memorial include cottages for servicemen and dependants, but were rejected through lack of funds.

2. Pelaw Main Colliery Company offered £500 to the costs of the memorial if a further £1,000 were to be raised.

3. In a letter to the Chester-le-Street Chronicle , an ex-servicemen deplores the idea of a side chapel in the church as "ritualistic priests seizing the names of the honoured dead amongst others as pegs upon which to hang their propaganda".

4. A Souvenir Programme of the Unveiling of Birtley War Memorial was priced at one shilling.

5. To help pay for this project, Mr. G.L. Collins gave 500 War Savings certificates to be used as prizes in a draw. Fifty thousand tickets were issued at one shilling each, and were eagerly bought. The prizes in War Savings Certificates were 1st prize £100; 2nd and 3rd prizes, £50 each; four of £25 each; eight of £12 each; ten of £5 each, fifty four of £1. From the sale of tickets, donations and bank interest, the sum of £1,900 was realized.

6. Of the 1,350 Birtley men who joined the armed services in 1914-18, 189 were killed.

7. The name of William Landreth Thompson was added after 1945. See Every Name a Story

Newspaper cuttings, photos or archival material

Photos: Dorothy Hall; B. Jackson, St. Thomas More School, Blaydon; Reg Hornsby; Glynis Gawley; K. Blythe

Gateshead Library Local Studies Dept programme of unveiling ceremony.

Chester-le-Street Chronicle 1921, 1922 and 1923 passim report proposals for the memorial, discontent at its non-appearance etc.

Illustrated Chronicle 06/08/1923 reports unveiling with photos;

Newcastle Daily Chronicle 31/05/1921 reports in length about the apathy shown; 04/07/1921 reports a Drumhead Memorial Service to honour the fallen.

Consett Guardian 02/06/1922 reports lack of interest on a memorial.

Stanley News and Consett Chronicle 09/08/1923 reports unveiling.

Newcastle Weekly Chronicle 11/08/1923 reports unveiling.

Durham Chronicle undated carries photograph of the 1950 rededication.

The Journal 14/01/1995 reports campaign to have Paul Atkinsonís name added following his death in 1991

Birtley Nairn and Rand; Chalford 1997 ISBN 0 7524 0366 4

External web link

Links to Source Material :

Additional Research documents (click to download)

Research acknowledgements

Ethel and Neville Armstrong, Whickham & District Local History Society; Dorothy Hall; B. Jackson, St. Thomas More School, Blaydon; Reg. Hornsby; Tony Harding; Steve Smith; Glynis Gawley; K. Blythe

Research In Progress

If you are researching this memorial please contact

Cenotaph 1914-18 1939-45 Roadside (B127.01)

BIRTLEY    Main road.       

   To the
   glory of God
   and in memory of
   Officers  Non-Commissioned
   Officers and Men
   of Birtley Parish
   who made the supreme
   sacrifice in the
   Great War
   for God
   King and Country
   sacred cause of
   Justice and the
   of the World.
Top panel
   Lt.     W.E. Avery    N.F.     L/C   J. Wilson      D.L.I.
   Lt.     A.A. Leighton          Pte.  F. Anderson    D.L.I.
                D.S.O.   R.N.V.R. Pte.  F. Alderson    D.L.I.
   2nd.Lt. J.G. Booth    W.Y.     Pte.  H.E. Alderson  N.F.
   2nd.Lt. G. Foster     R.F.A.   Pte.  R.H. Arthur    N.F.
   Sgt.Maj.E. Cook MM    D.L.I.   Pte.  T.W. Atkin     M.G.C.
   CSM     P.P. Blyth MC K.L.     Pte.  D. Atkinson    N.F.
   CSM     J. Furness    D.L.I.   Pte.  H. Barrett     D.L.I.
   Sgt.    J. Armstrong           Pte.  J. Barton      D.L.I.
                DCM. MM. D.L.I.   Pte.  F.R. Bates     D.L.I.
   Sgt.    J.A. Clasper  N.F.     Pte.  J. Baxter      A.S.C.
   Sgt.    T. Dunbar     D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Bell        D.L.I.
   Sgt.    T. Gillan     D.L.I.   Pte.  S. Birchall      
   Sgt.    M.L. Neville  C.R.     Pte.  W. Blench      R.A.M.C.
   Sgt.    J. O’Neil     D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Blyth       D.L.I.
   Sgt.    T. Lowery     D.L.I.   Pte.  T. Bowman      
   Sgt.    R. Wilson     D.L.I.   Pte.  G. Bromley     D.L.I.
   Cpl.    C.R. Eddy     E.L.     Pte.  M. Bussey      D.L.I.
   Cpl.    R. Edgar      D.L.I.   A.B.  F. Chapman     R.N.D.
   Cpl.    W. English    N.F.     Pte.  C.K. Clennell  D.L.I.
   Cpl.    T. Luke  MM.  N.F.     Pte.  A. Clifford
   Cpl.    J. Richardson C.G.     Pte.  S. Coates      N.F.
   Cpl.    S. Tulip      R.E.     Pte.  D. Collings    D.L.I.
   L/C     R. Appleby    D.L.I.   Pte.  W.A. Collins   R.F.A.
   L/C     A. Baxter     N.F.     Pte.  R. Coltman     W.Y.
   L/C     R. Baxter     E.Y.     Pte.  R. Comerford   D.L.I.
   L/C     J. Carr                Pte.  E. Connelly    W.R.
   L/C     G. Cowell     D.L.I.   Pte.  A.F. Cooper    N.F.
   L/C     G.W. Gargett  D.L.I.   Pte.  F. Cooper      D.L.I.
   L/C     L.P. Gavin    N.F.     Pte.  T.R. Corbett   R.N.
   L/C     J. Harkess    D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Corr        D.L.I.
   L/C     W.M. Riley    R.A.M.C.
Lower panel
   F/O    W.A. Smith     R.A.F.   Sgt.  E. Fawcett     R.A.F.   Cpl.  E. Wanless     Q.B.
   W/O    J.H. Diffley   R.A.F.   Sgt.  J. French      D.L.I.   Bdr.  J.W. Davidson  R.A.
   P.O.   G.E. Fisk      R.M.     Sgt.  J.W. Higdon    R.A.F.   LAC   W.R.P. Byers   R.A.F.
   P.O.   N. Kay         R.N.     Sgt.  E. Starkie     R.A.F.   LAC   F.C. McIver    R.A.F.
   P.O.   C.W. Wade      R.N.     Cpl.  R. Adamson     R.T.R.   L/Cpl F. Barnfather  D.L.I.
   Eng.   S.M. Turnbull MBE M.N.  Cpl.  J.T. Cavagan   D.W.R.   L/Cpl.J.G.W. Nesbitt D.L.I.
   C/P.   C.W. Thorp     R.A.F.   Cpl.  R. Herberson   B.W.     L/Cpl.W.G. Streeter  D.L.I.
   S/Sgt. J.E. Todd      R.A.M.C. Cpl.  P. Loughlin    R.A.C.   Pte.  T.W. Affleck   D.C.L.I.
   F/Sgt. J. Richardson  R.A.F.   Cpl.  W.E. Metcalfe  R.A.F.   Pte.  T. Alderson    S.& R.
   S/Pt.  S. Baxter      R.A.F.   Cpl.  W. Morrison    R.C.S.   Gn.   J. Attey       R.A.
   Sgt.   R. Black       R.A.F.   Cpl.  J. Scott       R.E.     A.B.  J.R. Barrass   M.N.   
Left hand face:      

Top plaque
   Gulf Conflict 1991
   Fus.    P. Atkinson   R.R.F.
   Pte.    G. Cowell     D.L.I.   Pte.  R. Harland     D.L.I.
   Pte.    R. Cowie      D.L.I    Pte.  W. Heckles     D.L.I.
   Pte.    M. Coyle      D.L.I.   Pte.  A. Henderson   D.L.I.
   Pte.    J.K. Crawford W.R.     AB    J. Hepple      R.N.D.
   Pte.    H.W.Cresswell MDCC     Pte.  R.D. Herron    N.F.
   Pte.    W.T. Crozier  N.C.     Pte.  T.G. Herron    D.L.I.
   Pte.    T. Dawson     K.O.S.B. AB    J. Holmes      R.N.
   Pte.    J. Devonish   N.F.     StokerT.J. Holmes    R.N.
   Pte.    J.E. Dilkes   D.L.I.   Pte.  A. Hunter      D.L.I.
   Pte.    E.R. Dodds    KOYLI    Pte.  T. Hunter      D.L.I.
   Pte.    R. Donnelly            Pte.  J. Hutchinson  R.G.A.
   Pte.    C.H. Dyson    N.F.     Pte.  J. Iveson      D.L.I.
   Pte.    E.L.J. Eland   W.Y.    Pte.  T.W. Johnson   S.H.
   Pte.    C. Elliot     N.F.     Pte.  M.H. Johnstone M.G.C.
   Pte.    M. Elliot     D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Kelly       D.L.I.
   Pte.    R. Elliott    R.N.D.   Pte.  G.W. Ledger    D.L.I.
   Pte.    G. Fenton     D.L.I.   Pte.  J.J. Lee       D.L.I.
   Pte.    T. Fenton     D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Letch       D.L.I.
   Pte.    J.H. Ferguson D.L.I.   Pte.  T. Luke        E.Y.
   Pte.    J. Fisher     D.G.     Pte.  A. Maghie      D.L.I.
   Pte.    J.G. Fuller   D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Maghie      D.L.I.
   Pte.    J. Graham     Q.O.R.   Pte.  W. Maghie      D.L.I.
   Driver  R. Greaves    R.F.A.   Tpr.  H. Mallabar    L.G.
   Pte.    L. Greaves    D.L.I.   Pte.  J.E. Martin
   Pte.    F.M. Greenwood W.Y.    Pte.  W. Marshall    N.F.
   Pte.    D. Grimes     E.Y.     Pte.  J. Mason       D.L.I.
   Pte.    F. Grimshaw   D.L.I.   Pte.  J. May         D.L.I.
   Pte.    P. Grimshaw   E.Y.     Pte.  J. McAvoy
   Pte.    R. Grimshaw   D.L.I.   Pte.  S. McGinn      D.L.I.
   Pte.    F. Hammond    L.L.C.   Pte.  S. McGlory     N.F.
   Pte.    J.T. Harkes   Y.L.     Pte.  J. McIntyre    D.L.I.
   Pte.    M. Harland    D.L.I.   Pte.  J.O.G. McKay   D.L.I.
Lower panel

   AB      J. Belshaw   R.N.     Stk.  J.T. Charles     R.N.    AB   T. Ford      R.N.
   Stk.   R. Betts       R.N.     Pte.  J. Cordon       M.R.    Pte.  J. Forster     K.R.
   Pte.   F. Bolton      G.H.     Pte.  J.R. Cowell     D.L.I.  Gn.   R. Gargett     R.A.
   Gn.    T.P. Bolton    R.A.     Pte.  J.A. Dennison   B.W.    Stk.  S. Gough       R.N.
   Pte.   F.L  Bowater   D.L.I.   Pte.  R.T. Douglass   D.L.I.  Gn.   J.W. Gradon    R.A.
   Pte.   E.E. Brown     D.L.I.   Pte.  J.W. Fawcett    K.O.R.R.Pte.  R. Gradon      D.L.I.
   Stk.   T. Burns       R.N.     Pte.  R.H. Fawcett    B.R.    Rfl.  H. Grimwood    C.A.M.S
   Pte.   W. Cavanagh    D.L.I.   AB    A.T. Fellingham R.N.    Pte.  N. Huscroft    D.L.I.
   Pte.   J.D.Chambers   R.A.O.C. Pte.  E.A. Fenwick    D.L.I.  Fus.  N. Huthart     L.F.
   Pte.   R. Redshaw     D.L.I.   Stk.  J.   Fletcher   R.N.    Cpl.  J. Pinkerton   K.S.L.I 
                                                                         Korea 1951
Right hand face
   Pte.   R. Mitchenson  D.L.I.   Pte.  T. Smith       D.L.I.
   Pte.   C. Mowbray              Pte.  A. Sowerby     D.L.I.
   AB     J. Mulcahy     R.N.D.   Pte.  C. Speed       R.F.A.
   Pte.   T. Neville              Pte.  W. Stobbart    N.F.
   Pte.   T.S. Newmark   M.G.C.   Pte.  R. Suddick     D.L.I.
   Pte.   F. Newman      D.L.I.   Pte.  W. Taylor      D.L.I.
   Pte.   G.S. Nicholson D.L.I.   Pte.  H. Thompson
   Pte.   A. O’Neil      N.F.     Pte.  R. Tiplady     N.F.
   Pte.   P. O’Neil      N.F.     Pte.  W. Todd        D.L.I.
   Pte.   T. O’Neil      D.L.I.   Pte.  F. Toner
   Pte.   J. Page        D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Toner
   Pte.   W. Page        D.L.I.   Pte.  W. Tunnah      W.G.
   AB     T. Parker      R.N.D.   Pte.  J. Turnbull    D.L.I.
   Pte.   W. Pickering   R.E.     Pte.  W. Turnbull    R.N.
   Pte.   T.P. Poole     L.Y.     Pte.  T. Wade        R.F.
   Pte.   D. Potts       N.F.     Pte.  W. Wakefield   N.F.
   Pte.   A. Proudfoot   D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Waller      D.L.I.
   Pte.   J. Rice        D.L.I.   Pte.  J.W. Ward
   Pte.   C.H. Robinson  R.N.D.   Pte.  T.N. Watson
   Pte.   J. Robinson    N.F.     Pte.  R. Weddle      D.L.I.
   Gnr.   W. Robson      R.F.A.   Pte.  C. West        R.N.D.
   Pte.   W. Robson      D.L.I.   Pte.  D. West        R.N.D.
   Pte.   T. Ross        D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Whalen      D.L.I.
   Pte.   T.H. Rowe      D.L.I.   Pte.  J. Whitfield   C.G.
   Pte.   W. Rowntree    E.L.     Pte.  P. Whitmore    K.O.Y.L.I.
   Pte.   W. Sables               Pte.  E. Whitmore    D.L.I.
   Pte.   T. Sanderson   N.F.     Pte.  J. Winn        L.R.
   AB     G. Shipley     R.N.D.   Pte.  J. Wild        W.Y.
   Pte.   C. Small       R.F.A.   Pte.  J. Wilson      D.L.I.
   Pte.   E. Small       R.F.A.   Pte.  J. Wilson      N.F.
   Pte.   C. Smith       R.N.D.   Pte.  R. Wilson      N.F.
   Pte.   F.  Smith      D.L.I.   Pte.  G. Worthington M.G.C.
  Lower panel

   Gn.    F.G. Jobling   R.A.     Gds.  W.S. Pearson   C.G.     Pte.  J. Timney      R.C.S.
   Pte.   J.H. Layfield  A.S.H.   Pte.  F. Punshon     R.W.K.   Pte.  I. Todd        D.L.I.
   Mn.    W.A. Little    R.M.     Gn.   R. Purdom      R.A.     Pte.  D.N. Tomassi   K.O.
   Pte.   R.A. Magee     A.M.P.C. A.B.  C. Ryan        R.N.     Gn.   T.W. Vasey     R.A.
   Pte.   G.R. Middleton A.A.C.   Pte.  W.R. Savage    D.L.I.   Pte.  G.A. Wiggins   D.L.I.
   Gn.    J.M. Morgan    R.A.     Pte.  J. Shields     D.L.I.   Ac    J. Winter      R.A.F.
   AB     K. Morrison    R.N.     Stk.  J.M. Smith     R.N.     Pte.  J. Witherspoon K.O.S.B.
   Pte.   T. Murphy      R.C.     Pte.  H.S. Souter    M.R.     Gds.  F. Wood        C.G.
   Pte.   M.C. Newark    R.A.M.C. AC.   J. Stonehouse  R.A.F.   Pte.  E.W. Wood      D.L.I.
   Sgt.   J.E. Bond      R.A.F.   Pte.  J. Terrell     R.A.O.C. Rfl.  W. Thomson     C.A.M.S.
At rear of memorial

   Pte.    J.W. Cryer    D.L.I.
   Pte.    T. Childs     R.N.D.
   Pte.    A. Dawson     D.L.I.
   Pte.    W. Oliver     N.F.
   Pte.    W. Pycroft    D.L.I.
   Pte.    C.S. Rivers   D.L.I.
   Pte.    W. Donnelly   D.L.I.
Names B127.01   

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Parish Notes

Every Name A Story