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Amazing stories of region's First World War heroes.

Byline: Lesley Oldfield Communities Editor community@ncjmedia.co.uk

TALES of heroism and romance have come to light as readers share the stories of their family's First World War heroes.

We asked for pictures and family stories to mark the centenary of the start of the war this year.

Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell is among those who have taken part so far. His grandfather Victor, a draper from Gateshead, died in 1917 at Flanders where he is believed to have been a stretcher bearer.

Mr Campbell said: "As a family, we cannot find out where he is buried. We are told he is probably in a mass grave, but he could be one of many that are missing."

Soldier Michael Charlton, of Framwellgate Moor, who served in Basra, shared the tale of his great aunt Alma Grant who nursed soldiers in France during the Great War ... and fell in love. Photographs of the couple summon up that remarkable era when so much was lost, and yet, in this case, was also found.

James Robinson of Wideopen told us of his grandfather, Isaac, known as Ike, who took command after the death of his officers and was responsible for the capture of 150 prisoners of war.

He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal after continuing to command while peppered with shrapnel, which took very many operations to remove after the war.

And Lisa Smithson of Ryton, Gateshead, told us how her grandad James Andrew Smithson of Benwell, Newcastle, kept a memento after being injured in a mustard gas attack and then returning to the Front after his recovery.

Lisa said: "He kept a tiny piece of wood in the dresser at home which came from Mametz wood in the Somme. I am very proud to be his grandaughter."

He was given an honourable discharge in 1918 and the certificate, along with many other remarkable pictures, can be seen in our galleries of Your WWW1 Heroes at www.thejournal.

co.uk/WW1heroes We'd love to hear about your fam-ily's WWI Heroes, whether they were a hero on the battlefield or a housewife facing extraordinary hardship at this time of war.

Even if all you have is a photograph and a name then we would be honoured to feature it in our gallery.

If you don't have a photo of them then please include a picture of any memento you may have, or of your immediate family ... the ones who remember and treasure your WWI hero's story.

A memento may be a letter or document.

Please choose a meaningful section to photograph - we cannot accommodate more than one page of writing. Or your only memento may be a picture of their name on a war memorial.

Please upload at least one picture and give us some information about your hero's war and what happened to them afterwards, using the form at www.thejournal.co.uk/WW1heroes James Robinson of Wideopen told >us about his grandfather Isaac Robinson, known as Ike. "He joined the Army in 1900 at the age of 19 and was discharged in 1906. When war broke out he re-enlisted with the 1st Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers where he reached the rank of Regimental Sergeant Major and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal not once but twice." A story in the Chronicle archives says he was responsible for the capture of 150 prisoners of war. It said: "Although his body had been peppered with shrapnel and he could hardly move, he continued to shout orders to his men until some German soldiers, amazed at his remarkable courage, carried him away." After nine months in a German prison camp he returned home and was continuously in and out of hospital having shrapnel removed from his body. He died of ammonia poisoning in 1939.

Victor Campbell , of Hood Street Gateshead, born 1880, >died 1917, aged 37. Kings Liverpool Regiment. Ronnie Campbell MP of Blyth, his Grandson, tells his story: "My grandad Victor Campbell was born 1880 in Hood Street Gateshead. Victor worked, as a Draper before he was conscripted into the Kings Liverpool Regiment in Ashington.

He died on 16 August 1917 at Flanders Belgium WW1.

My understanding my Granddad was a stretcher-bearer on the battlefield. As a family, we cannot find out where, he is buried we are told he is probably in a mass grave but he could be one of many that are missing. Victor is remembered in the Tyne Cot Memorial and on the memorial at Ashington. I contacted the War Graves Commission Victor could be in one of the many unmarked graves however, I am still trying to establish this.

Alma Grant nee McNay, of >Bearpark, born 1881. Michael Charlton, pictured far right, of Framwellgate Moor, her great nephew, tells her story: "Alma, pictured left, was a nurse at Durham County Hospital. She applied to work in France and served for several years in hospitals in France. She nursed a wounded Scottish soldier called Jack Grant, pictured right, and they fell in love. Alma and jack married during the war and lived in Fishburn for the rest of their lives. They never had any children. Photographs are dated Alma McNay 1915, Jack Grant 1915, and myself 2005 Basra."

James Andrew Smithson, of >Benwell, Newcastle, born 1895, died 1969, aged 74. Private 3438 machine gun corps. Lisa Smithson of Ryton, Tyne and Wear, his granddaughter, tells his story: "My grandad died when I was two years old, but I have always been fascinated with his life and his part in World War One. He was in the West Yorkshire Regiment and then the Machine Gun Corps. He was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, which was published in the London Gazette on 2nd April 1918. Our family were told that he left his trench under enemy fire, and crossed into no man's land to rescue an injured soldier. We know there was a citation presented to him on his return but nobody knows what happened to it. My further research showed he fought in the Somme, Arras and Ypres - battles which saw some of the worst fighting. He was injured in a mustard gas attack and sent home to recuperate, then returned to the front, before being honourably discharged in 1918. He kept a tiny piece of wood in the dresser at home which came from Mametz wood in the Somme. On a recent holiday to northern France I visited Mametz, so I could stand in the place where he had fought. Im very proud to be his grandaughter." James Andrew Smithson, inset left, his discharge certificate, left, and above with his parents and siblings.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:1105
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