Boldron in World War 1

Four men from Boldron died in the 1st World War.  Their sacrifice has not been forgotten by the people who live in our village today.  

They were Oliver Cook, John William Hewitson, George Strong and Robley Strong.  George and Robley Strong were brothers.

Boldron Parish History Group would love to find out more about these brave young men.  Some villagers visited France and Belgium in the summer of 2013 and placed poppy crosses in remembrance of them.

There were three other men from Boldron who served in the War.  Albert Woodhams was the only one who returned without physical wounds, although his experiences must have affected him.  He was the landlord of the George and Dragon from 1912 until he died in 1923.  He served with the Yorks and Lancs Regiment (3rd Battalion) and the Royal Defence Corps (162nd Company).  The two men who were wounded were James Aislabie who served as a Private with the Northumberland Fusiliers and Joseph Hardaker who lived at Thornberry Cottage and served as a Sapper with the Royal Engineers.

A poppy growing in Boldron

Oliver Cook

Private Oliver Cook died on the 30th October 1917.  He was killed in action whilst serving with the 17th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, the North East Railway Pioneers Battalion.

He was born in York in 1895 and was living in Great Ayton, Yorkshire in 1901, the son of John and Isabella Cook.  He enlisted at York.

The Teesdale Mercury of 14 Feb 1917 reported that:-

Private O. Cook, of the North Eastern Railway Battalion (Northumberland Fusiliers) has returned to France, after spending ten days’ leave with his parents at Boldron.

The Teesdale Mercury of 7 Nov 1917 reported that:-

Mr and Mrs Cook, of Boldron, have received an intimation of the death of their son, Private Oliver Cook, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, in France. The deceased soldier up to the time of enlistment, worked at Hulands Quarry

He is remembered with honour at the St Julien Dressing Station Cemetery.

Headstone of Oliver Cook

John William Hewitson

Private John William Hewitson died on the 18 September 1918.  He was killed in action whilst serving with the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) aged 22.

He was born in 1897 in Boldron.  In 1911 he was living with his family at Roods House and working at home on the farm. He enlisted at Barnard Castle and was originally in the Yorkshire Regiment.

The Teesdale Mercury of 16 Oct 1918 reported that:-

Roll Of Honour

HEWITSON-In loving memory of John William (Jack) No 79999, Royal Fusiliers, dearly loved son of Robert and Isabella Hewitson, of Hill House, Boldron, killed in action in France September 18th, 1918.

In health and strength he left his home.

Not thinking death so near;

It pleased the Lord to bid him come.

And in His sight appear.

He is remembered with honour at the Vis-En-Artois Memorial.

World War 1 Memorial at Vis en Artois

George Strong

Private George Strong died on the 15th April 1918.  He was killed in action whilst serving with the 2nd/6th Battalion North Staffordshire Regiment.

He was 19 years of age and was born in 1899 near Castleside in County Durham. In 1911 he was still at school.  He enlisted at Startforth.

The Teesdale Mercury of 22nd May 1918 reported that:-

MRS STRONG, of Boldron. has received official intimation from the lnfantry Records

Office, Lichfield, that her son. Private G. Strong, of the North Staffordshire Regiment

had been reported missing after an engagement in the field on the 16th April.

He is remembered with honour at the Ploegsteert Memorial.

World War 1 Ploegsteert Memorial

Robley Strong

Gunner Robley Strong died on the 30th September 1917.  He was killed in action whilst serving with the D Battery, 18th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, aged 23.

He was born in 1894 near Castleside in County Durham and in 1911 was working as a farm worker at Street Side Farm on the A66 near Boldron.  He enlisted at Richmond, Yorkshire and first served in France on 26 September 1915.

The Teesdale Mercury of 24 Oct 1917 reported that:-

Mrs Strong, of Boldron, has received an intimation from Second-Lieutenant G. Proctor of the North Staffordshire Regiment, that her son, Private R. Strong, has been killed in action. The writer expresses the deepest sympathy of himself and all the officers, and adds: “I was sitting just outside the officers’ mess when suddenly a shell hit the cook-house, about five yards away, and your son was killed instantly. He always did his duty well, and was a brave fellow. His death has upset us all very much.” Second-Lieutenant Kenneth P. Sawyer says: “Private Strong was a favourite of both men and officers, and had always shown the greatest coolness and courage. His body was buried in a proper grave, and with military honours.”

Roll Of Honour

STRONG.-Killed in action on September 30th, 1917, Gunner Robley Strong, R.F.A., aged 23 years, dearly beloved son of George and Mary Strong of Boldron, Barnard Castle.- Deeply mourned by father, mother, brother, and sisters ” Thy will be done.”

He is remembered with honour at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery Extension, Bailleul.

Robley Strong's Memorial stone

Excerpts from the Teesdale Mercury about Boldron During World War 1

16 December 1914

Startforth: For King and Country

The following names, connected with this parish, are added to those already published :

James Aislabie (Boldron), Oliver Cook (Boldron), and Benjamin Leask (Bridge End, Low Startforth), North-Eastern Railway Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers Regiment; Alfred Donald (son of Mr Robert Donald), Royal  Garrison  Artillery ; Alfred Jefferson (Pole Ratch), A. Lendrum (Bridge End, Low Startforth), and Thomas Smiles (Bridge End, Low Startforth), 6th Batt Territorials, Durham Regiment


27 Jan 1915

Social at Boldron

A social evening was held at Boldron on Saturday last, which was presided over by Mr W Peverley. An entertaining programme was rendered as follows:—Pianoforte solo and duets, Miss A. and Master J.  Furness; songs Mr Furness, Mrs  Furness, Mrs Tinkler, Mr J Buck, Miss A. Furness, Miss V. Heslop, Miss N. Buck, Miss S Buck, and Miss J. Mitchell; readings and recitations, Mrs Taylor, Miss E. Donald and Mr L. Metcalfe. Refreshments which were kindly given by the members and friends of the neighbourhood, were handed round to about one hundred guests. Games were afterwards indulged in, and altogether an enjoyable evening was spent.


10 Feb 1915

Concert at Boldron

On Saturday evening a very enjoyable concert was given in the above place, which was presided over by the Rev. C. H. Lightfoot. Pianoforte solos were rendered by Miss Furnass and Master J. Furnass ; songs by  Mrs Furnass, Mrs  Tinkler, Miss E. Donald, Miss N Buck, Miss S. Buck, Miss  V . Heslop.  Miss J Mitchell, Miss V. Raine, and Master J Furnass ; humorous readings by Miss Donald and Miss Heslop; and humorous dialogues and recitations by  Mrs Taylor,  Mr Tinkler, H. Leslie, S. Thompson, H. Cook, E. I. Plews, R. Plews, and M. Stokoe.  Refreshments were afterwards provided, and, in spit e of the unfavourable weather, there was a fairly large gathering.


3 Mar 1915

FOR SALE, Pure White Wyandotte Cockerels, or would exchange same for Rhode Island’s.—Apply, Cook, Boldron.


7 Apr 1915

Primitive Methodist Church, Boldron


The anniversary services of Boldron Primitive Methodist Church were held on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and were very successful. —On Good Friday a public meeting was hold, presided over by Mr C. B. Martin, J.P., and appropriate addresses were given by the Rev. C. H. Lightfoot and Mr Wm. Nelson. The church was  well filled, and,  with few exceptions,  all stayed to the ham supper which followed the meeting — Special servlces were held on Easter Sunday, when excellent sermons were preached by  Mr John Dowson, of  Arkengarthdale .  There was special singing by the choir.


14 Apr 1915

EGGS for Hatching. Single comb Rhode Island, massive birds, good colour; also White Wyandottes, and Duck Eggs.—Cook, Boldron,

Social at Boldron

On Thursday last a social was held in the above place, presided over by M r J. Peverley. The following programme was well rendered —Pianoforte solos and duets by- Miss A.Furnass,

Miss L. Kyle, and Master J. Furnass; songs by Mrs Furnass, Misses S. Tallentlre , A.Shepoerd. ? Furnass, J. Mitchell, V. Raine, and L. Kyle Mr R. Tallentire , and Master J. Furnass ; and reading and recitations by Mrs Taylor,Miss V . Heslop, and Master T. Grady. Refreshments were handed round, after which games were indulged in, and altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent. The proceeds were handed over to the Red Cross Fund.


19 May 1915

Bowes and Boldron Water Rates.

Mr Dent moved that a water rate of Is, 6d. for Bowes, and of 9s for Boldron, be laid, or, both the same as last year.—Mr  L o w e s: Has there been any fault with Bowes water supply in the last day or two?—The Inspector: I heard, to-day, of a bit fault  in only running one pump.


26 May 1915

Short notice

Kilmond Cottage, Boldron.

Thomas  Addison,

HONOURED with instructions from Mrs Barnes, Will Sell by Auction, on

Saturday, May 29th, 1915,

Her STOCK, FURNITURE, Etc., as follows:—

CATTLE — Grand  young roan cow, 1 month calved ; grand  roan heifer calf, and red  bull calf.

HORSE –  Grey pony, 12 hands high*, quiet in all gears.

POULTRY — 2 0 head of poultry.

IMPLEMENTS, FURNITURE, ETC. As follows – Coup cart and shelvings. market trap,  good grindstone, sheep stool, 9 hurdles, wooden hen-house, on wheels; large heap of firewood,  quantity of stakes, 2  chicken  coops, 3 large water tubs, water carrier, wheelbarrow, set of trap harness, set of cart gears,  quantity of tools, rakes, forks, iron bedstead, 2 washstands and dressing tables, 2 chests of drawers, 2 arm chairs, 4 small chairs, 2 small round tables, kitchen press, press bedstead, sofa, large kitchen table, rocking-chair, bookshelves, quantity of pictures, hearthrugs and  oilcloth, bakeboard, floor bin, 2 fenders and fireirons, quantity of crockery, pans, box churn,  milk bowls, cream pots,  caps. etc.

Sale at 1-30  p.m.

Pasture End, Bowes.


30 Jun 1915

4 SWARMS of Bees For Sale.—Lowes,  Boldron, Barnard Castle.


7 Jul 1915

Primitive Methodist Church, Boldron.

The Sunday school anniversary services this year have been most successful. On Saturday last the children enjoyed their sports in a field kindly lent by Mr N. Jackson. In the evening an interesting and instructive lecture was given by the Rev. C. H. Lightfoot (pastor), entitled, ‘ Frances E. Willard, the world’s temperance reformer,” Mr W. Nelson, Barnard Castle, being the chairman. The attendance was exceedingly good, and the supper which followed was well patronised.—On Sunday the services were continued, when the church was crowded, afternoon and evening. The services were ably conducted by Mr T. Cooper, Barnard Castle, and the audiences were delighted by the following programmes :—Afternoon Opening hymn—No. 865 ; prayer ; choir—The sunlit way ; lesson ; choir—Calling, softly calling; opening address—Lizzie Kyle recitation—The good old way—Harriet Leslie ; recitation—Little builders—Lila Aislabie recitation—Suffer little children—Martha and Jennie Croft; scholars’ hymn—Sweet Sabbath Bells ; recitation—We won’t give up the bible Sarah Thompson ; recitation—The children’s friend—Esme Thompson ; choir—Merton recitation—A country story—Olive Byers ; recitation—I am a little soldier—Gordon Soulsby ; duet—Gordon and Mary Soulsby recitation—The slave girl’s ransom—Lizzie Kyle ; collection recitation—Harriet Leslie, choir, during collective – Calling of the roll. The evening programme consisted of the opening hymn,No.255 ; prayer ; choir—Calling, softly calling; lesson; choir—Ye shall find rest; recitation—The blind boy—Lizzie Kyle ; recitation—Bless our Sunday school—Martha Croft; recitation—Be careful what you say Thomas Buck; recitation—Little builders Lila Aislabie; hymn-Sweet Sabbath bells scholars; recitation—The maiden’s  love -Violet Heslop; recitation—I am a little soldier Gordon Soulsby ; duet—Gordon and Mary Soulsby; recitation—A city tale— Olive Byers; recitation — The boy’s sermon — William Furnass; recitation—Dare to say no—Alice Furnass; recitation—Suffer little children – Martha and Jennie Croft; choir—Merton; recitation—The widow’s child—Sarah Buck; recitation — He died for me — Josephine Mitchell; recitation—Spiritual arithmetic Sarah Thompson; reoitation—His mother’s bible—Lizzie Kyle ; collection recitation Harriet Leslie; choir, during collection Evening hymn. The singing of the special hymns was also very much enjoyed. Mrs and Miss Furnass presided at the organ, the violinist being Mr W. Tallentire.—The services will be continued on Sunday next, when the Rev. T. Robson, of Shildon, will preach in the afternoon and in the evening. Recitations by the scholars will be repeated.


11 Aug 1915

Boldron Water Trough.

A discussion took place between Mr W. Furnass and the Inspector with regard to the removal of the watering- trough at Boldron, and eventually  it was decided to postpone the matter for another  month. In the meantime Mr Furnass intended to consult the Boldron ratepayers on the subject.


6 Oct 1915

SMALL H A Y – S T A C K (old hay) – For Sale Boldron. For situation apply, Mr T. Lowes, Boldron.—Tenders (as to which the Vendors reserve to themselves the right to reject the highest or any other) to be sent to Mr Mudie, Solicitor, 64, Northgate. Darlington.


20 Oct 1915

Boldron Harvest Festival.

The harvest thanksgiving service was held on Sunday night. The mission-room was tastefully decorated by Mrs and Miss Lowes, Mrs Cook and Miss M. Raine.—Mr Raine, preaching to a large congregation, from the words, “Be thou faithfull unto death, ” emphasised the need of faith  in the present national crisis.—Mr Bailey read the lessons, and  Mr Cook presided on the harmonium. A special hymn was sung for absent friends, and those serving their King and Country.  A t the close of the service the national anthem was sung.


10 Nov 1915

Concert in the Primitive Methodist  Church, Boldron,

A concert was given in the above place of worship, on Saturday evening, under the presidency of  Mr J. A. Peverley, when the following programme was  well rendered to a large and appreciative audience :—Pianoforte solo—Miss A. Furnass; song—We are just plain folks—Mrs Tinkler; recitation—Dick’s resolution—Mrs Taylo r ;  vocal duet—Oh! no, John—Miss J. Mitchell and  Mr J. Buck; pianoforte solo—Miss  L. Kyle ; sang—Daddy— Miss  N . Buck; song—When the harvest moon is shining, Mollie dear—Master J. Furnass; song—A boy’s best friend is his mother—Miss Shepherd; reading—An evening spent with an old friend—Miss V . Heslop ; song— Mountains of Mourne — Mr W. Furnass; pianoforte duet—Miss A. Furnass and Master J. Furnass; song—Grace Darling—Miss  V . Raine ; recitation—The poultice— Miss S. Buck ; reading—A  midnight  mystery — Mr L. Metcalfe; song  – W h e n mother says good-bye —Miss L.  Kyle; song – The pardon came too late—Miss A. Furnass; song— The old rustic bridge by the mill — M r J. Buck; recitation – Let the lasses alone—Miss E. Donald; song— I was standing at the corner of the street— Mr R.  Tallentire (encore); song—Come back to Erin — Miss J.  Mitchell; song—Border marching song—Miss V. Heslop and Mr W. Furnass (encore), Miss Furnass ably presided at the piano. Refreshments were afterwards provided, which brought an enjoyable evening to a close.


24 Nov 1915

Boldron Band of Hope.

A n entertainment in connection with the above was given  in the  Primitive Methodist Church, Boldron, on Saturday last, commencing a t 5 p.m. with a free tea for the junior members, and at 7 o’clock the following programme was gone through, every item being well received and  highly appreciated by a large audience: -Pianoforte solo—The harp  in the valley— Mrs C o x ; recitation—A false patriot; Roy Plews; song—Don’t go near the bar-room, brother— Miss E. Donald ; pianoforte solo—Memories— Miss L. Kyle; recitation  I’ll take what father takes—Harriet Cook; duet—Come  drink from the fountain—Misses N. and S.  Buck ; song— Boys in khaki, boys in blue—Miss J. Mitchell; reading—A tiff—Miss  V. Heslop; recitation— A  little chatterbox—Ida Plews;  song – The volunteer  organist — Miss N. Buck; reading— Putting his foot  in it —Miss E. Donald ; song— What the old folks say— 8 juniors; recitation —The ruined man—Miss S. Buck ; recitation— Mary’s bonnet—Miss Peacock; song—Your King and country need you—Miss Furnass; song  – Soldiers and sailors—Miss A.  Kyle; recitation—Instead of mother — Eva  Plews; recitation—A cold day—Mrs  Taylor; song —Are we down-hearted? – Mr R Tallentire; song—Silver threads among the gold—Miss L Kyle; reading—Mrs Taylor; duet – Give me the drink that sparkles ever—Miss J. Mitchell and Master J. Mitchell. Mr G. McDonald ably presided, and Miss Furnass was the accompanist—A supper brought a very successful gathering to a close.


8 Dec 1915

LOST, 7 Scotch Ewes, B on near side, rud on head.—Information, Jackson, Boldron, Barnard Castle.


5 Jul 1916

Boldron Primitive Methodist Sunday School Anniversary.

On Saturday afternoon a free tea was provided for the children of the Boldron Primitive Methodist Sunday school. On account of  the inclement weather the usual pic-nic could not be held  in  M r Jackson’s field, but each child was presented  with a prize and sweets,—  I n the evening the Rev. C.  H, Lightfoot delivered an interesting lecture on the subject, “Humorous incidents in the life of Peter  Cartwright, the backwoods preacher of America, ”  which was much appreciated.—Mr W. Nelson, of Barnard Castle, ably presided, and special hymns were rendered by the choir.—Supper was afterwards provided, and partaken of by a large number of people.—On Sunday special services were held both afternoon and evening, presided over by the Rev. J. Hawkins. Recitations were given by Mary Esme Thompson, Ethel Hardaker, Lila Aislabie, Roy Plews, Harriet Cook, Annie Hunt, Willie Plews, Josephine Mitchell, George Donald, Lizzie  Kyle , Hilda Hunt, Ida Plews, John G. Allison, Sarah Thompson, Gordon Clark,  Violet Heslop, Sarah Thompson, Jessie Walker, William Plews, and  William Furnass. Dialogues were also rendered by the children, and the choir assisted with the singing of the anniversary hymns. The lessons in the afternoon and evening were read by the Rev. J. Hawkins and Miss Alice Furnass respectively. —The services were highly satisfactory and encouraging. The attendances were good, the church being crowded in the evening, and many were unable to gain admittance.  Mrs and Miss Furnass were the organists, and Mr W. Tallentire the violinist. — The evening service will be repeated next Sunday, under the presidency of the Rev. C. B. Lightfoot.


1 Nov 1916

GOOD HOUSE, Garden, and two Grass Garths To Let at Boldron — Apply , Mr Alderson, 2, Klng Street, Barnard Castle.


22 Nov 1916

Concert at Boldron.

On Thursday evening, October 26th, the concert which was given on October 9th, was repeated along with other additional items. Dr. Leishman in an able and most generous manner, presided over the gathering, and read the roll of honour. The following programme was well rendered, and greatly enjoyed by a crowded audience:—At even ere the sun was set — choir; prayer by the Rev. C. H. Lightfoot; duet— If Jesus goes with me— Misses J. Mitchell and E. Bendelow; solo—As you go – Mrs Tickler; duet—Dearest of all -Mr and Mrs Metcalfe; recitation—Answer “No” – Lila Aislabie; quartette- Sailing Home -Misses S. Thompson, H. Cook. I. Plews and E. Hardaker;  Solo — Every step with Jesus—Miss J. Mitchell; Trio-In the shadow of His wings-Misses  L. Oliver, R. Young and D Plews; duet—Friendship—Misses L.  White and A. Furnass; solo —Do something for some­body—Miss J. Walker; recitation – Only a button—Mrs Taylor; pianoforte duet—Miss A. and M r J. Furnass; duet – Close to Thee— Misses V. Heslop and E. Bendelow; solo — Into Thy hands – Mrs Metcalfe; solo—When you come home—Mr J. Furnass; The old song— Misses V. Raine, J. Walker, G. Oliver  and A. Mawson;  solo – Consider the lilies—Miss A Furnass; trio—Sunshine—Misses  J. Mitchell, A. Sowerby, and E.  Fowler; solo—Onward let us go –Miss G.Oliver; quartette I will about His praise in glory – Mr, Mrs and Miss A. Furnass and Miss V. Haslop.  After the collection was taken the national anthem was rendered. The pianists were Misses White and Furnass.  The evening’s collection amounted to

£2 7s, which sum is to be devoted to the soldiers who have gone from this district.