One Sunderland street, five heroes to pay tribute to on Remembrance Day

One Sunderland street has five heroic stories and PCSO Jim Tuckwell was keen to share them.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 12:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 11:08 am

Beachville Street in Sunderland is a small terrace of just 26 houses, but despite the size the road had five families affected by the Second World War.

Mary Thompson, who lived at 22 Beachville Street received two telegrams during the war. One informed her that her son Private Joseph Thompson was “missing, believed captured.” The other told her that her other son, Sergeant John Usher Thompson, had been “killed in action.” He was one of over 700 men killed in two attacks in December 1941.

Private William Ayre lived at number 26 and was missing in the Middle East. In June 1942, he was imprisoned by Italians at Campo 70. In 1943, he escaped and reached safety.

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Keen historian PCSO Jim Tuckwell with a picture of his late father, who enlisted with the DLI. Photo: Northumbria Police

Eileen Coates lived at number four and received news that her son, Harland Coates was missing in North Africa. He was alive but also in Campo 70.

Finally, Ernest Nelson lived at number 20 and was a gunner captured in Singapore. He became a prisoner until late 1945.

For Remembrance Day, Sunderland PCSO Jim Tuckwell has been sharing stories of veterans who lived on the streets he patrols, including Beachville Street.

PCSO Tuckwell researched the end of the First World War to 1946.

Beachville Street, Sunderland

His uncle was killed in June 1944 serving with The Durham Light Infantry and his father also enlisted into the DLI.

PCSO Tuckwell said: “By doing something like this, it reinforces the message that our communities are more than bricks and mortar – and that we all walk in the footsteps of heroes every single day.

“I walk the same streets that those men and women walked all those years ago and many of us are unaware of what went on during those times or the debt that we owe those people today.

“Hopefully this project can inspire others to want to find out more about relatives who served or about ex-servicemen and women who previously lived in their streets or houses.”