Village's war history goes online

Card containing burial details for Bugler Albert Victor Lamb Credit: Bill Gray

A major community research project has grown out of a handwritten card, containing the burial details of a First World War soldier.

Bill Gray enlisted the help of friends and neighbours in Sacriston, County Durham, when he decided to find out about the card, which had been in his care for some 20 years.

The group began researching the lives of other people in their community during the war and eventually put on an exhibition showcasing their findings.

Now their efforts are to be preserved online after they donated the contents of the exhibition to the Durham at War website -

The interactive site, run by Durham County Record Office, was launched a year ago this month to map the story of County Durham and its people during the First World War.

Bugler Albert Victor Lamb Credit: Chester-le-Street Heritage Group

The group included local residents Ralph Harrison, Janet Bradley and Gary Meek and other residents.

They were supported in their work by Malcolm Smith of Chester-le-Street Heritage Group.

Their investigations revealed that the card that sparked their research project contained the burial details of Bugler Albert Victor Lamb, who was killed by a mortar shell on 27 June, 1916. He was buried at Ridge Wood Military Cemetery in Belgium.

The card would have been sent to Bglr Lamb's family by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Bill Gray and Gill Parkes Credit: Durham County Council

The group also discovered that Bglr Lamb is buried just a very short distance away from his 8DLI comrade William Pickering who he had lived near in Sacriston. The pair died just 13 days apart.

The collection, which was on display in Sacriston Workingmen’s Club, includes a wide variety newspaper cuttings, photographs and other documents chronicling life in the village during the war.

It also includes a street map featuring the names of the village’s fallen and showing where they lived.

There is also information about a medallion, which was commissioned by residents to commemorate the bravery of those who served. Six hundred medallions were produced and presented to Sacriston residents who went to war.