The War Diaries of a Stockton Man – 1915 to 1918

The War Diaries of a Stockton Man – 1915 to 1918

Roger Allison Stamp was born on 20th April 1895 at 13, Allison Street, Stockton to Francis Albert and Elizabeth Annie (nee Dalkin) Stamp.

He had two older brothers, Francis Albert (known as Albert) and Thomas (Tom). He also had another brother, William, who died in infancy, and a younger sister Annie.

RSBodypicThe family moved to 24, Russell Street where he attended Bailey Street School.  On the 1911 census, at the age of 16, Roger is recorded as being employed as a shop assistant at Harrison’s Pawn Shop.  He was a member of North Terrace Wesleyan Methodist church and his faith was very important to him.

He later went to work at Ropner’s Shipyard and in 1913 he joined the Territorial Army, enlisting in the 5th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.  At the outbreak of the Great War his battalion, like many other territorial units,  was at the annual summer camp.  The men were recalled to their depot at Stockton-on-Tees where they all volunteered for service overseas. The battalion moved to Hartlepool on the 10th of August 1914, then to Ravensworth Park and were in Newcastle by October where they continued their preparation for war.

On 17th April 1915 the battalion left  Newcastle for Folkestone.  On the following day they set sail for France, landing at Boulogne where they were attached to 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.

On the day his battalion left Newcastle for the front Roger started to keep a diary (much frowned upon by the military) which continued until March 1918.

He was to be wounded three times during the conflict, the last of these being in August 1917 which resulted in him being sent to a hospital in Scotland to recuperate.  At this time he was awarded the Silver War Badge (sometimes referred to as the Wound Badge, or Discharge Badge) which was intended to recognise those men who had been wounded and honourably discharged from the armed forces.  It was to be worn on the right lapel of civilian dress to identify men who had ‘done their bit’.  Unfortunately it was 1919 before Roger received his, rendering it a bit redundant.

Roger was also awarded the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star.

Now, precisely one hundred years to the day after the events were first written down, we will be publishing Roger’s diary entries, day by day, exactly as he recorded them himself.  See Roger’s War Diaries for April 1915.

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We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Roger’s relative, Linda Patterson, who originally transcribed the diaries and who has graciously granted us permission to publish them here.

We would also like to acknowledge the work done by Durham County Record Office and Durham at War (www.durhamatwar.org.uk) , in transferring the material into an accessible format...  The Durham at War project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.  

See  http://www.durhamatwar.org.uk/material/496/  for more…