Remembering the 107 Sunderland men who gave their lives at the Battle of the Somme

British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered winter landscape along the River Somme. Pic: PA.

British soldiers negotiating a shell-cratered winter landscape along the River Somme. Pic: PA.

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It was the battle of all battles - the one in which 20,000 British soldiers died on the first day alone.

And among the fallen were 107 brave men from Sunderland who lost their lives in the opening day of the Battle of The Somme, 100 years ago today.

As Britain pays tribute to those heroic men, commemorations were being planned across the North East.

They include Murton man Tom Moreland who was today holding a memorial service for his grandfather - Northumberland Fusilier, Robert Christopher.

Robert was the only man at his gun battery post when it was hit by enemy artillery. His descendants will gather at the Murton War Memorial to pay tribute.

Elsewhere in today’s Echo, we remember the families back home who faced the nightmare of trying to survive after the deaths of their loved ones.

One widow, Mary Elizabeth Holmes of Back Nile Street in Sunderland, lost her husband Gunner John Porter Holmes who died of his wounds while serving with the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

Mary was left to bring up five children.

She had to bake bread and sell it for a penny a loaf on the streets to make ends meet.

Read more of her harrowing story - and the way she never forgot her hero husband - in today’s Wearside Echoes feature on pages 26 and 27.

July 1, 1916 was the bloodiest in the history of the British Army. A controversial decision to order British troops to walk slowly towards the German trenches left 20,000 dead and 60,000 injured.

It took just 15 minutes for some regiments to lose three quarters of their men.

By the end of the four-month battle in northern France, more than a million soldiers had been killed and wounded on both sides of the fighting.

The First World War would drag on for another two years.

The UK was due to fall silent for two minutes to remember the sacrifices of all those who fought and lost their lives.

The Queen and senior royals were due to lead the nation in commemoration by attending services in both the UK and France.

The Wearside soldiers who gave their lives were:

John Robert Adamson

William Airson

Edward Alcock

William Aldridge

Andrew Anderson

Thomas Backhouse

John C Barrow

James Beaston

Arthur Osborne Bell

Robert Bittlestone

John William Bresnan

William Brewis

Edward Allport Brown

Stanley Brown

John Cummings Brydott

George Burlinson

James William Burn

Alfred Burns

Edward Cain

George Cain

James Campbell

Robert Cassidy

John Chapman

John George Corrigan

Arthur Cowan

Samuel Dagg

Frederick Dickens

Alexander Dodds

Wallace Dorward

George F Downs

John Duncan

Albert George English

Thomas Evans

Wilson Ferry

Bartholemew Foley

Tom Gardner

William Gatenby

James R Gibbon

James Gibson

Wilfred Goldsborough

Francis Joseph Goodall

Robert Victor Graham

George Hagedorn

Percy Hampton

Robert Hilton

John Hogg

John Howe

Richard Howe

Edward Harper Jackson

Frederick Jacques

Joseph Jamieson

Henry Johnson

James Johnson

George King

George Knight

Leonard Lamb

James Laverick

John George Lawson

Robert William Lees

William Lister

James Martin

Thomas Martin

Robert McArdle

Michael McCable

Anthony James McGeoch

William McPherson

Richard McQuillan

Dominic McShane

Mathew Metcalf

Adolphus Miller

Thomas Byers Mordall

John Newton

John Pallace

John Frederick Pearson

Philip Phipps

Harry Price

Ernest Priest

Charles Rathbone

William Rathbone

Joseph Rayhill

Robert Newton Renton

Thomas Richardson 24th NF (Tyneside Irish)

Thomas Richardson 27th NF (Tyneside Irish)

John Telford Robinson

John Robson

Robert Henry Robson

Frederick Rooks

Robert Wrightson

John William Rutter

Robert William Sanderson

Andrew Scott

William Scott

William Sefton

John Edwin Simpson

Robert Smith

Robert T Stephenson

James Todd Stewart

Ernest Stoddart

Stanfield Sutcliffe

Frederick Trewhitt

Lawrence Waters

Herbert James Webster

Charles Wheldon

David Willis

George Edward O Wilson

William W Wilson

Charles Ernest Woods

Ernest W Wright

James William Young