Durham was, and still is, one of the country's oldest and best-loved cites. The very name was synonymous with dedication, dependability and determination. Men from the city answered the call to arms with an eerie normality, no matter what their age or social class. Many had been miners before the war and had spent their working life down a pit, but just as many had been teachers. Others were students at the Durham School, one of the most prestigious in the land, going on to further greatness at Durham University. When the announcement of war was made, they all enlisted to do their duty for King and country. They asked nothing in return, despite knowing the inherent dangers of what they were about to do. They carried on regardless, selfless in their readiness to give to a greater cause. There was a similar determination amongst the city's people. For some that meant working for the local Voluntary Aid Detachment or the Durham Volunteer Training Corps, whilst still going about their day job. They knew that no matter how hard things were for them, it was much more trying for their sons, brothers, husbands, uncles and other loved ones who were fighting on the Western Front.Hundreds went off to fight in the war: men who had been born in the city, who lived and were educated in the city, and men who had worked in the city.
Some 360 of them never made it home. They are gone, but never forgotten.
Stephen Wynn is a retired police officer having served with Essex Police for thirty years. His first book, Two Sons in a War Zone: Afghanistan: The True Story of a Father's Conflict, was published in 2010. It is his personal account of his sons' first tours in Afghanistan. Both of his grandparents served in and survived the First World War.