From the Darlington & Stockton Times of April 7, 1917

THE big news a century ago was that Britain's war effort had received an enormous boost. "The entry of America into the war this week, of course, eclipses every other event in all the theatres of operations, and we may at once say that this inevitable outcome of Germany's submarine campaign has made the victory of the Allies assured and has hastened its advent by many months," began the D&S Times report.

However, turn the page and there was the usual weekly list posted by the Recruiting Staff Officer at Richmond barracks asking for information about 150 or so named men who he suggested were dodging the draft.

He wanted to know if they had joined up, gained an exemption from military service, gained employment in a certified occupation, or moved away?


Darlington and Stockton Times: Wanted: the list of men from the D&S Times of April 7, 1917 – do you recognise any names?

Wanted: the list of men from the D&S Times of April 7, 1917 – do you recognise any names?

Many of the men's addresses were at one of the many military camps around Catterick so it looks like they had absconded, but, as you will see, a lot of the addresses were local.

It would be marvellous if anyone recognised a name 100 years later. Please email if you can.

April 8, 1967

FIFTY years ago, local elections made for quite news pages, but there was a little report of a major milestone in the history of the villages of Scruton and Ainderby Steeple, between Bedale and Northallerton.

Children there would be returning on Wednesday from their Easter holiday to find a "spick and span new school" had been built for them at Ainderby. It had room for 75 pupils, and had been constructed for £22,120 by Messrs RBA Moody Bros of Northallerton, and the first head was Mrs A Wills.

In Darlington, there had been a "close call". Remember these were days when health and safety was not the high flying issue it is today. The D&S reported: "As two 18-year-old lads, Raymond Clarke of Northgate and David Blair of Gainford, were walking past Darlington's Market Clock at midday on Thursday, the flagpole with the town's flag flying fell from the clocktower and missed them by inches. It is thought the flagpole was broken by the high wind."

April 6, 1867

A "football match" – by this the D&S meant rugby – had been arranged between Darlington and Leeds Grammar School, 15-a-side, to be played on part of the racecourse at Thirsk. Special rate return tickets had been booked through the North Eastern Railway, and Mr Pinkney had published handbills promoting the match and had arranged a substantial post-match dinner for the players.

"From the well known merits of both teams a great deal of interest was excited in Thirsk and neighbourhood, and a good afternoon's sport was anticipated," said the D&S. "Everything, in fact, seemed to have been done to secure a first class game, consequently on Saturday afternoon about 40 gentlemen, including the players, set off from Darlington, arriving at the ground about half past two, and found already congregated a large number of people to witness the match, some having come from villages a considerable distance off, even so far, we were told, as Sessay.

"The Leeds party were expected by the 3.5 train, but it may be imagined with what surprise and vexation the news was received – by the players especially – that they had not arrived, nor yet sent any explanation.

"Captain Watson immediately telegraphed, but no answer was received up to the time of leaving for home, eight o'clock. We understand they did not even proffer any explanation by letter, the secretary of the Darlington club having to write and ask for one.

"We must however confess we cannot imagine an explanation that can in any way excuse such an unheard of proceeding. We always thought that grammars schools were composed of young men of honour, but the code of honour observed at this school, we think, is of a unique description. To make arrangements for the carrying out of a certain object, the effect of which is to draw a a large number of people together from various places, causing them considerable trouble and expense and then neither to perform the part they agreed, nor vouchsafe a word of explanation or apology, is a proceeding not only altogether unjustifiable but dishonourable, and ungentlemanly in the last degree.

"The absolute good faith of a party in cases of this sort is the only stipulation to be relied upon, and wilfully break that, as these Leeds gentlemen have done, we can do nothing less than stigmatise as disgraceful."

And Theresa May wants to introduce more grammar schools in a bid to raise standards...