‘Shot at Dawn’ South Moor Remembers a Horrible History

Two hundred and thirty three miners are named at the gates of South Moor’s First World War Memorial Park. Behind each name is a tragic story of loss and bereavement but perhaps none more so than that of Lance Corporal Peter Goggins who volunteered for Kitchener’s Army in 1915. Goggins, like many Durham miners of short stature was recruited to a ‘Bantam’ Battalion of the DLI as a specialist tunneller. Keen to leave the mines of South Moor he saw action at Ypres and the Somme winning promotion to Lance Corporal and marrying his South Moor sweetheart in 1916.
Goggins fortunes would change on the 26th of November 1916. Isolated in a forward location as a German detachment advanced to over-run his trench his Sergeant ordered a withdrawal, jamming his rifle across the trench to slow the attack. Goggins left his position rapidly falling back. On re-joining his company he was immediately questioned, accused of desertion and jailed.  Court martialled on Christmas Eve he was sentenced to be shot by firing squad, in spite of supporting evidence from his Sergeant. At dawn on the 16th January 1917 Private Peter Goggins was executed alongside 2 other DLI comrades.
Now residents and visitors can walk round a South Moor and Quaking Houses First World War heritage trail that marks the homes and collieries of the fallen miners such as Goggins. The trail funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Stanley Town Council links to a dedicated website www.southmoorheritage.org.uk hosting the individual stories of all two hundred and thirty three fallen miners and documents life in South Moor at the time of the First World War.
In remembrance of Peter Goggins and his miner comrades Horrible Histories Author Terry Deary and Derwentside Athletic Club have organised The ‘Goggins Comrades Run’ starting at 9am on the 11th November at the Haven on Pine Street. Fun runners from across Durham will join Terry on the 5 mile route around the rural heritage trail finishing in The South Moor First World War Memorial Park. ‘The story of South Moor and Private Goggins is the story of every mining village and every mining family in Durham. None escaped tragedy and loss in the First World War. Sunday’s armistice  centenary is testament to the wars lasting impact and I am delighted to support this tribute to Goggins and his surviving family’
Terry Deary’s latest book ‘Terrible Trenches’ uncovers the hidden horrors of the First World War. Relatives of miners named on the South Moor memorial, including Peter Goggins, are invited to attend the South Moor Park remembrance service at 10.45am  on the11th November. Organisers are also so keen to add the stories, photographs and  letters of South Moor soldiers to the website contact Adrian Cantle-Jones project manager by emailAdrian.cantle-jones@durham.gov.uk or telephone 03000 265259.
Picture: Horrible Histories author Terry Deary pictured with junior members of Derwentside Athletics Club

Remembrance Events in Stanley November 2018

Details of the Remembrance Events being held on Sunday 11th November around Stanley are as follows:

Annfield Plain

1.45 Tesco Car Park meet up.
2pm Service at Annfield Plain Central Methodist Church.
2.30pm March from Church to Memorial in Park
2.45 approx Wreath laying in Park at Memorial

Also in Annfield Plain, ceremonies are held at the Memorial in the Avenue, Greencroft, at 11 am and at the Loud Bank Memorial, also at 11 am.

Catchgate

6.45pm “Battles Over” Beacon Lighting Ceremony on Catchgate Village Green (adjacent to the Crown & Thistle)

Craghead

10.45 at the War Memorial

South Moor

10.45 Memorial Park

Stanley

9.45 Service at St Andrews Church
10.45 at the Memorial in St Andrews Church

6.45pm “Battles Over” Beacon Lighting Ceremony on Stanley Front Street

Tanfield

9.00am for service at St Margaret’s Church with wreath-laying.

 

Stanley Beacon of Light to remember fallen heroes…

Stanley Beacon of Light to remember fallen heroes…

A BEACON of remembrance will be lit in Stanley on Armistice Day to remember those lost in World War I.

Stanley will be illuminated by a Beacon of Light – one of over 1,000 that will be ignited at 7pm on November 11, across Britain – as it falls silent to honour the millions who fought and died in the conflict, which ended 100 years ago.

Stanley Town Council, which has funded the Beacon in Front Street, will light its brazier as the last post is played by a bugler.

Council Leader, David Marshall, himself a veteran, said: “Every year, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and honour them with silent prayer. With 2018 marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, we felt it was appropriate to join with cities, towns and villages across the country in lighting a Beacon, not only of remembrance, but also of hope for a peaceful future.  The Beacon of Light will symbolise the ‘light of hope’ that emerged from the darkness of war.  The four-metre Beacon will become a permanent fixture on Front Street, only moving during the December weeks when we light-up and display the town’s Christmas tree.”

The service will also feature a dedication to the memory of Private Michael Heaviside, a Craghead pit hewer who was awarded the Victoria Cross for valour during the conflict.

The 36 year-old soldier crawled 60 yards across No Man’s Land under heavy fire to bring water and first aid to a wounded soldier lying in a shell hole during the Battle of Arras, risking his life to bring him back to the trenches.

On July 12, 1917, Stanley ground to a halt as locals afforded him a hero’s welcome. Days later, the Durham Light Infantry soldier was presented with his Victoria Cross by King George V.

Stanley Town Mayor, Alexander Clegg, said: “Stanley and the surrounding villages lost many good people in World War I, and while we remember them all, it’s also important we do the same for those who exhibited extraordinary heroics in the face of grave danger. It will be an honour to stand alongside the descendants of Michael Heavisides and recognise the act of uncommon valour of someone who saved a life by putting his own at risk.”

Over 1,000 councils, communities and other organisations nationwide have confirmed their involvement by lighting WWI Beacons of Light.

Everyone is invited to the Remembrance Sunday event, which will take place on Stanley Front Street (in front of the old board school) from 6:40pm on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Full Council Agenda 23rd October 2018

Linked below is the agenda and supporting papers for next week’s Full Council meeting of Stanley Town Council. Business being discussed includes Feedback from the Council’s funding of the SHAID Homelessness Support service, Review of the Council’s Medium Term Plan and a proposal for a heritage plaque to mark the birthplace of Matthew Kirtly.

All Council meetings are open to the public. The meeting will be held at the Civic Hall from 6.30 pm.

‘-Full Council Agenda 23rd October 2018

Council October 2018 Supporting Papers

Louisa Morrison Pit disaster Memorial moved…

IT WAS almost midnight on August 22, 1947, when tragedy struck a North Durham town, costing the lives of 22 men and shaking a community to its core.

The two dozen miners were underground in the “fourth north district”, between the Louisa Pit and the Morrison North Pit, in the area of Kyo bogs when a huge explosion of firedamp, most likely a pocket of methane gas, ripped through the pit workings.

Of the 24 men working the coal seam, 22 were killed, including two “Bevin Boys”.

The two pits were linked underground, so the men were from both collieries and had descended from both ends of the shaft.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster, and remember the men lost that day, local historian Jack Hair and then vicar of St Aidan’s church, Annfield Plain, Revd. DE Jenkins, raised funds for a permanent memorial in the grounds of the church, which was dedicated with family members and descendants of the deceased present on August 23, 1997.

However, the memorial was placed under threat, when it was announced in February 2016 that St Aidan’s church was to close.

Stanley Town Council moved quickly to honour the men who died in 1947 and save the memorial. Following lengthy discussions with the church and with help from Mr Hair, whooriginally commissioned the stone, the Council is funding the relocation of the stone, which will now sit outside the Louisa Centre, near the site of the old Louisa Colliery.

Town Mayor Alex Clegg said: After almost two years of negotiations, we finally got the green light to relocate the stone, just in time for the 71st Anniversary of the disaster and it is fitting that now sits so close to where some of those hardworking men made their final journey underground.

“This disaster was an important part of our area’s mining history and it’s right that the men should be remembered.

“I’m delighted that we have not only been able to secure the future of the memorial for future generations but that we have been able to place it in a prominent location so that many more people will be able to see the memorial in the setting of the former site of the Louisa Colliery.”

Leader of Stanley Town Council, David Marshall, said: “Like most this part of County Durham, the town of Stanley was hewn from the coalface – our proud history inexorably linked to the coal mining industry.

“It is only right and proper that we continue to educate people about and pay tribute to the brave souls who gave their life down the pit. They worked for long hours in horrendous conditions for a modest income all to make sure there was food on the table for their families…we will remember them and make sure others do for generations to come.”

The Town Council is planning an event on August 23, the anniversary of the disaster to re-dedicate the memorial in it’s new setting.

Agendas for next week’s Meetings

Next week the Council is holding two Committee Meetings:

Tuesday 8th May, 6.30 pm – Projects & Initiatives

Wednesday 9th May, 6.00 pm – Finance & Governance

Both meetings will be held at the Civic Hall, Front St Stanley and are open to members of the public for attendance.  The agendas are linked below for information. Background papers will be uploaded when they are available.

‘-Finance and Governance Agenda 09.05.18

‘-Projects and Initiatives Agenda 08.05.18

Projects & Initiatives Committee 10th April 2018

The Agenda and papers for next week’s Projects Committee are linked below.

The meeting will be held at 6.30 pm on Tuesday 10th April at the Civic Hall. All meetings are open to the public.  Items to be considered:

Advice Service Specification

Youth Theatre production for Armed Forces Day

Advice in County Durham Networking Event

‘-Projects and Initiatives Agenda 10.4.18

Projects Background Papers (Public) April 18

West Stanley Pit Disaster Remembrance 16th Feb 2018

Stanley Town Council will be marking the 109th Anniversary of one of the darkest days in the town’s history where 168 men and boys lost their lives underground next Friday from 3.30pm at the Memorial outside NDA. All residents are invited to join us. This year the GMB are bringing the West Stanley colliery banner to the event and Craghead band will also be in attendance.

Securing the future, remembering the past – Pine St Improvements

A regeneration project that captures the history of its residents has been completed in South Moor.

Due to issues with flooding across the South Moor Terraces in Stanley, the Wear Rivers Trust, in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stanley Town Council, Durham County Council, Groundwork North East and contractors Seymour Civil Engineering have installed a sustainable urban drainage system, a natural approach to managing drainage and recycling water.

To do this, rain garden planters were fitted between the pavement, providing homes for five trees, each commemorating one year of fighting in the First World War.

Along with additional foliage, the trees, positioned along the length of Pine Street, act as markers within the Twizell Heritage Trail, a route which tells the story of South Moor’s origins shortly before the First World War and how the miners shaped the community. Each tree will be marked with a World War one battle insignia, remembering the hundreds of miners who lost their lives.

The project also saw the pathways fitted with block paving designed in the style of old fashioned film reel to commemorate the important role that local cinemas played in war time communications.

During both World Wars, the community surrounding Stanley depended upon the five cinemas in the area for updates from the frontline.

Town Mayor Bala Nair said: “It’s fantastic to see a project that the Town Council has invested in come to fruition. The new scheme has given Pine St a big facelift but it will also have a positive impact in reducing the incidence of flooding in South Moor, which has been a problem for years”

Adrian Cantle-Jones, the Durham County Council Project Manager, said: “South Moor residents are delighted with the wonderful improvements to Pine Street and the wider Twizzel Burn and South Moor Heritage Trail. The South Moor Partnership is looking forward to continuing the regeneration of the South Moor Terraces and Twizzel Burn Catchment”.

Keith Love from Seymour Civil Engineering, said: “As a company, we are really proud to have been a part of a project that has not only contributed to environmental improvement and flood alleviation, but has commemorated Stanley’s heritage.

Stanley Town Council invested £60,000 in the Pine St scheme, the improvements in Memorial park including the new bridges in the woods and contributes to the maintenance of the heritage trail, keeping the path clear for people to enjoy.