Tynemouth Borough, which included the towns of Tynemouth and North Shields, was an area of strategic value to the national war effort as it contained the mouth of the river Tyne and was the entry point to the most important munitions center in Britain. Industry upriver included the manufacture of munitions, armaments, and military and civilian ships, whilst the port of Tyne was one of the busiest in the country with its internationally important coal export industry.
Away from its industrial importance the area was also a hotbed of military recruitment. In common with the rest of the north east, Tynemouth had large numbers of young men who were serving in the forces before the outbreak of the war. Its record for wartime recruitment was second to none and it lay in a key recruitment area for the local regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, who raised over fifty battalions during the war – a record. Given its location on the coast, Tynemouth also had a proud tradition of service in the Merchant Navy and many Tynemouth men had the sea in their blood, whilst North Shields was the home base of a large and active fishing fleet. Many of the men who manned the trawlers saw active service, whilst others were exposed to even greater dangers due to the war.
This engaging book is the first to look at the fascinating social history of Tynemouth during the shattering years of the Great War and charts the huge sacrifices made by the people of Tynemouth.