Sunderland remembers the heroes who fell 100 years ago

Sunderland is turning the spotlight on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War with a major conference.

Thursday, 11th October 2018, 11:00 am
The brutal conflict which left so many dead and wounded. Photo: Press Association.

The brutal and global conflict, which caused so much struggle and loss for Wearside, comes under the attention of the University of Sunderland this Saturday.

It is hosting the event from 9am to 4pm at the Hope Street X-Change.

A soldier keeps watch over a trench in No Mans Land. Photo: PA.

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Anyone who wants to attend is welcome to come along to the conference which reflects on some of the key issues which influenced the war.

The one-day event has been convened by the School of Culture at the University of Sunderland and it is called Propaganda, Revolution and Victory.

The keynote speakers will be Peter Hart, who will give a talk on The Last Battle.

Peter is a well-known historian who was born in Stanhope and who has lectured and written several books on the First World War.

Also speaking will be Taylor Downing, who is the author of Secret Warriors, Key Scientists, Code Breakers and Propagandists of the Great War.

There are many other major figures who have also been scheduled to speak.

Dr Ingrid Sharp and Dr Corrine Painter, of the University of Leeds, will highlight the topic ‘Finding the Women: German Revolutionaries 1918-19’.

Three speakers from the University of Sunderland have been lined up to give speeches.

Dr Andre Keil will give a talk which is titled ‘The Ordeal of Victory: Demobilisation and the Crisis of 1919 in Britain’.

Dr Sarah Hellawell will put the focus on ‘Students in North East England and the Promotion of an International Community after the Great War’.

And Professor Angela Smith spotlights the issue of ‘Sympathy and Suspicion: the state’s surveillance of widows of the First World War’.

Members of the Sunderland Antiquarian Society will also be there to help with a display featuring local memorabilia and photographs.

And the society’s Trevor Thorne is playing his own part in raising awareness of the war and how Wearside marked the Armistice.

He will be presenting an exhibition on ‘Sunderland and the Great War’.

Also, Trevor has had his home-front book – which is called ‘Sunderland and the First World War’ – re-printed.

He told us this is in “extended form with improved images” and includes “a large amount of additional information which has come to light since its first printing in 2013”.

“The book will be available for sale on the day of the conference,” said Trevor.

Statistics show that more than 70 million soldiers were involved in the First World War.

But tragically, more than nine million of those were killed during the conflict.

Trevor shared some details of how Sunderland greeted the news of peace after so many years of war – although we will have more from him in the coming weeks.

“More than 25,000 Sunderland men had served during the war from a population of 151,000, of which one third were killed or wounded.

“In the summer of 1919, a National Peace Day celebration was held with a parade including representatives of the various armed forces and other groups, along with music and entertainment for the children.

“The floats paraded through the streets on a route which took it past the Town Hall.”

We will have much more from Trevor and other contributors when we take a closer look at the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice in the weeks to come.

Watch out for that in the Sunderland Echo next month.

In the meantime, interested people are being urged to book their spot for this Saturday’s seven-hour conference.

Although places are free for the conference, they must be booked in advance.

To reserve a place at the Sunderland University event, visit