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Tales from the Toon's trenches; Cannabis accused in court.

Byline: Tony Henderson Reporter tony.henderson@trinitymirror.com

A MAN appeared at Newcastle Magistrates' Court yesterday accused of setting up a cannabis factory in a bedroom of his Newcastle home.

Mark Rushford, of Borrowdale Avenue, Walker, is charged with producing the class B drug, after police found 28 plants, along with cultivating equipment and fans on Tuesday, September 16.

Lynn Russell, prosecuting, said: "Officers have valued each plant between PS300 and PS400."

The 42-year-old did not enter a plea.

Magistrates decided that the allegation was too serious for them to deal with at the Market Street venue and adjourned the case to Newcastle Crown Court for Rushford to answer the charge on October 15.

The defendant was granted unconditional bail to run until his next hearing.

FROM the football pitch to the trenches, the stories of former toon players in World War One have been revealed.

Jack Thomas was a professional footballer on the books of Newcastle United.

Then came the First World War and, only months later, Jack's trench was being overpowered by a German attack.

He found himself in a cattle truck for a 36-hour railway ordeal to a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

Jack escaped, using a compass hidden in a cake sent in a food parcel from his County Durham home.

home. His story is one of many from the First World War uncovered by Newcastle United official historian Paul Joannou.

His story is one of many from the First World War uncovered by Newcastle United official historian Paul Joannou.

Paul has tracked down more than 90 individuals connected with the club who served in the conflict.

Paul has tracked down more than 90 individuals connected with the club who served in the con-flict.

They include players with United when the war began, ex-players, directors and officials, and those who joined Newcastle after peace returned.

They include players with United when the war began, ex-players, directors and officials, and those who joined Newcastle after peace returned.

Jack Thomas's story is like something from a Boy's Own paper, but there are others, such as the one-time Newcastle player Donald Bell, who was the only English professional footballer to win the Victoria Cross.

footballer to win the Victoria Cross.

Paul has discovered that 15 of those linked to the club were killed in the war.

One was regular first teamer Tommy Goodwill, an outside left who made 41 appearances in season 1914-15.

One was regular first teamer Tommy Goodwill, an outside left who made 41 appearances in season 1914-15.

He hailed from Bates Cottages, near Cramlington, and had started his footballing career with He hailed from Bates Cottages, near Cramlington, and had started his footballing career with Seaton Delaval before being signed by United for PS100.

At the season's end he joined the Northumberland Fusiliers, along with other club players.

He died, aged 21, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme along with his reserve team colleague Dan Dunglinson.

One footballer who was wounded but survived the war, was outside right Jim Low, who had joined up while playing in Scotland.

Low, who had joined up while playing in Scot-He signed for Newcastle from Rangers for PS1,300 in 1921-22 and was part of the United squad which won the FA Cup in 1924, beating Aston Villa at only the second final at He signed for Newcastle from Rangers for PS1,300 in 1921-22 and was part of the United squad which won the FA Cup in 1924, beating Aston Villa at only the second final at the new Wembley stadi-the new Wembley stadium.

Jack Thomas, from Sacriston in County Durham, had played for Spennymoor before joining Newcastle.

Spennymoor Battalion Durham H e served with the 8th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry but was captured during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915.

He endured considerable privation as a prisoner, being incarcerated with French soldiers from whom he learned the language.

At one camp he put his County Durham mining knowledge to good use when, with former pitmen, he dug an escape tunnel.

He was transferred to another camp before the tunnel was ready, but eventually broke out with four French prisoners and, with the cake compass, they made it to Holland. When Jack arrived back in England he was interrogated by the military who suspected that he could be a spy whose escape had been allowed by the Germans.

Once they realised that this was not the case, he was recruited by military intelligence who wanted to use his knowledge of French and the Continent.

Jack was sent to France as a counter espionage agent, posing as a French dock worker.

Donald Bell, who had played for Bishop Auckland, was on Newcastle's books for two years. He was the first professional footballer to enlist as a volunteer in November, 1914.

Donald Bell, who had played for Bishop Auck-Auckland, was on Newcastle's books for two years. He was the first professional footballer to enlist as a volunteer in November, 1914. He won the Victoria Cross on the Somme when, during an attack, enfilade fire was opened on the company by a Ger-He won the Victoria Cross on the Somme when, during an attack, enfilade fire was opened on the company by a German machine gun.

Second Lieutenant Bell crept up a communications trench, and then, followed by two followed by two other soldiers, rushed across the open under heavy fire and attacked attacked them a c h in e machine gun, shoot gun, shooting the ing the gunner with his revolver and destro y destro y -ing the gun ing the gun and personnel and personnel shoot perform with bombs. Five days later he Five days later he died, aged 25, performdied, aged 25, performing a similar act of ing a similar act of bravery at wh at is now known as Bell's Redoubt, wherea memorial to him memorial to him was rededicated in 2010.

In the same year, his VC was auctione d and VC was auctioned and sold for a rep orted PS252,000 to the ProfesPS252,000 to the Professional Footballers ' Asso sional Footballers ' Association for display at the ciation for display at the National Football Mus eNational Football Mus e-Profes Asso Mus eum in Manchester.

CAPTION(S):

Jack Thomas pictured on a card produced |by Whitley Bay photographer Gladstone Adams

Jack Thomas |as a sergeant attached to military intelligence

The Newcastle United line-up with Donald Bell in the centre of the back row
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 2, 2014
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