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Three brave soldiers who fought for our freedom.

HEN the troop recruitment call came to the men of Teesside, they answered in their thousands.

WBy September 1914 more than 5,000 Teessiders had signed up to serve their country in the First World War. Many served bravely in horrendous conditions and sadly many did not return home at the end of the conflict when the armistice was declared 100 years ago. Many of Teesside's soldiers were also recognised for their bravery on the battlefield and gained high awards for their valour.

Here are the stories of just three of them: | | Tom Dresser, born in Middlesbrough in 1892. His family moved to Marton Road when he was 12 years old and he spent the rest of his working life, apart from war service, in the newsagent business.

Tom was awarded the Victoria Cross after the 1917 Western front Battle of Arras. After leaving his own lines, Private Dresser ended up in enemy trenches and he set out with two other men to bring up supplies of Mills bombs. 20 yards from their destination, he was shot in the shoulder but despite the injury, he reached his own forces and official reports refer to his act of sheer devotion in delivering an important message in spite of being wounded.

| Stockton man Sergeant Edward Cooper won the Victoria Cross during the Third Battle of Ypres on August 16, 1917. He received a rapturous reception on his arrival at Stockton railway station a month later.

Known as Ted or Ned to friends, he was born in Stockton in 1896 and worked as an errand boy at his uncle's butchers shop then as an assistant at the local Co-op.

The VC citation reads: "For most conspicuous bravery and initiative in attack. Enemy machine guns from a concrete blockhouse, 250 yards away, were holding up the advance of the battalion on his left, and were also causing heavy casualties to his own battalion.

"Sgt Cooper, with four men, immediately rushed towards the blockhouse, though heavily fired on. About 100 yards distant he ordered his men to lie down and fire. Finding this did not silence the machine guns, he immediately rushed forward straight at them and fired his revolver into an opening in the blockhouse.

"The machine guns ceased firing and the garrison surrendered.

Seven machine guns and 45 prisoners were captured."

| Thornaby's Private William Richard Colclough was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions in France in March 1918.

He ran 150 yards across No Man's Land to rescue a badly-wounded officer, dragging him back to safety and bandaging his wounds in the open under a hail of heavy German fire at Caix on the Somme.

The medals of the Green Howards private were displayed in the regiment's museum in Richmond.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Nov 10, 2018
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