Trail to honour hundreds of North miners lost to war unveiled on Armistice Day.
A MEMORIAL trail has been launched in memory of 200 miners from a pit community who lost their lives in the First World War.
The trail was opened as part of a regeneration scheme in South Moor in County Durham.
A service at St George's Church in South Moor was followed by the opening of the South Moor First World War Heritage Trail at Twizell Burn.
Created by Durham County Council, with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stanley Town Council, the trail features panels which lead people through the area and explain its history.
The trail tells the story of South Moor's origins shortly before the First World War and how the miners shaped the community.
Next year, as part of the trail, plaques will be fixed to soldiers' homes which still stand.
These will include the homes of Arthur Seymour, from Quaking Houses, who was killed in July 1916 and Samuel Ward, from South Moor who died in 1917.
Cpl Ward, a father of six, died as a result of mustard gas poisoning.
Also commemorated will be Peter Goggins, 21, executed for alleged desertion but pardoned in 2006.
Family members of these and other former miners were among those paying tribute by laying poppy crosses at the service, and others with links to those named on the South Moor Park memorial or the area's former collieries are being encouraged to come forward.
The trail runs though the memorial park created after the war as a tribute to the fallen.
Coun Eddie Tomlinson, county council cabinet member for rural issues, said: "The heritage trail is a poignant tribute to how much our local communities sacrificed during the war."
In addition to new footpaths and bridges being put in place, an archaeological project will investigate the remains of the water man-agement system which supported South Moor colliery.
Steve Hudson, of the Wear Rivers Trust, said: "The Twizell Burn catchment is steeped in industrial heritage and, although the health of the watercourses have suffered significantly as a result, I find it fascinating to hear about the history of the area."
Miner Peter Goggins served in the 19th (Bantam) Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
On November 26 1916, as the Durham Bantams were holding part of the British front line near Arras, Lieutenant James Munday and Lance Sergeant Joseph Stones were attacked by German troops and Lt Munday was mortally wounded.
Sgt Stones was later stopped by military police, who asked him where he was going and what had happened to his rifle. Lance Corporals Goggins and John McDonald were also stopped behind the front line by military police, who found that neither was carrying a rifle.
Joseph Stones was tried by court martial for "shamefully casting away his arms in the presence of the enemy", while Peter Goggins and John McDonald were tried for leaving their posts without orders from a superior officer. All three were sentenced to death.
To see more about the work of the Wear Rivers Trust, visit www.wearrivers-trust.org.uk or to become involved in the burn restoration contact email@example.com