Belford's wartime history documented in exhibition

A new exhibition about the Belford men who were involved in World War One has opened in the village's history museum.

Friday, 13th January 2017, 09:24 am
Guy Leather Leather from Middleton Hall who received the Croix de Guerre and star for single handedly shooting down a German Hydroplane.

It follows the men who were fighting in the trenches in 1917 and charts the main battles, who fought in them and who died.

Visitors will find out where they were from and their civilian occupations.

Lads who had spent their lives in a peaceful rural area with jobs based in agriculture or in the village, and who probably never expected to travel very far, spent years fighting and some dying in unimaginable conditions abroad.

On July 6, 1917 the Hall family were informed that two of their four sons had been killed.

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Eight local men were killed in the mud of Passchendaele. They included Ernest Falla, the son of the Belford slater and John Fife from Twizell Mill, who had been awarded the Military Medal for his bravery at the Somme.

During 1917, more men from the Belford area were honoured for their service to their country being awarded the Military Medal, Military Cross and even the Croix de Guerre.

These included another Hall son, William, who received his Military Cross for displaying ‘great courage in hand-to-hand fighting in an attack, personally killing many of the enemy, and led his platoon to their objectivity’, and Guy Leather from Middleton Hall who received the Croix de Guerre and star for single-handedly shooting down a German Hydroplane.

Belford Women also served. Records are scarce, but they made a vital contribution to the war effort through nursing, administration and volunteering. As more and more men left to fight the women at home took on their roles.

* Belford Hidden History Group is putting on a monthly series of World War One related events, starting on Saturday at 3pm with the film The Battle of the Somme. Made in 1916, the imagery conveys the reality of the Great War like nothing else can and shows what the Belford Men went through while away fighting.