Events 1914


20 January

The Brigade was represented at the funeral of Dr H. F. Shepherd.

The Late Dr H. F. Shepherd of South Shields

With military honours, the remains of the late Henry Ferguson Shepherd (Lieut., R.A.M.C.), of Ogle Terrace, South Shields, were yesterday interred in Harton Cemetery. The cortege was headed by the 4th Northumbrian Howitzer Brigade, to which the late Dr Shepherd was attached, under the command of Col. U. A. Stockley, R.A., the other officers present including Major Higginbottom, Major Chapman, Capt. Armstrong, Capt. Paynter. Lieutenants Rennoldson, Anderson, Bootiman, and Brigham, Surgeon-Lieut. Scott. and Veterinary- Lieut. Crone. There was a firing party of 40 members, in charge of Lieut. C. L. Chapman.

A gun carriage, drawn by six horses, bore the coffin? which was covered with the Union Jack, and behind was led the late surgeon-lieutenant's charger. Following were members of the St. John Ambulance Association, representatives of other Territorial regiments, the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, a landau filled with floral tributes, and about a score of mourning and other carriages. The principal mourners were Mrs Shepherd (widow), the Rev W. Shepherd of Ballyrooney, co. Down (father), the Rev F. Shepherd (brother), George F. Shepherd (cousin), Mr and Mrs Kirk (uncle and aunt), Dr Graham (cousin), Mr J. H. Morton, Mr R. H. Morton, Mr J. H. Rennoldson, and Dr O'Kelly.

Major J. B. Bowman and Lieut. Hunt represented the 7th D.LJ. (T.), and Major Kendall, R.A.M.C., the 9th D.L.I. (T.), while the officers of the Volunteer Life Brigade were Capt. W. Buckland, Deputy-Capts. Harker and Buck, and Mr Allen Purvis, treasurer. Dr J. Robertson Crease represented Mr Claude Palmer, Deputy-Commissioner, and staff of the Northern District of the St. John Ambulance Brigade; Chief Constable Scott, the police ambulance division, and detachments of the Hilda and Hebburn Ambulance Corps attended, the former under First Officer W. G. Lyons and the latter under First Officer O'Hagan.

A large number of medical men were present, including Dr Crichton, Dr Martin, Dr Galloway, Dr O’Callaghan, Dr Macdonald (representing the local branch of the British Medical Association), Dr Hamilton, Dr Swan, Dr Strachan, Dr Whyte, and Dr Weir.

Representatives of the Harton Miners' Lodge were Councillor J. Howe, and Messrs John Wilkinson, James Wilkinson, Wm. Marston, and J. Richards.

Amongst others who attended were Ald J. Grant, chairman, and Geo. Brown, secretary, of the local Health Insurance Committee; Messrs W. McCallum, A. Cadle, J. S. Johnson (Newcastle), J. R. Wheldon, Geo. Scott, T. Reed, C. H. Blackwood, Corrie Grant, Jas. Grant, T. F. Sutcliffe, T. H. Duxbury, Jos. Lawson, T. A. Page, T. D. Page, E. T. Nicholson, the Rev S. H. Fullerton, H. Jacks, W. Gordon, and others.


The officiating clergy were the Revs Canon South Shields, and G. K. Wilkinson, Hebburn. At the conclusion of the service the firing party discharged three volleys over the grave.

Source: Newcastle Journal 21 January 1914


7 February

A reference is made to Mr S. Malcolm as one of the few surviving original members of the Brigade.

Mr Samuel Malcolm who presided at the annual meeting of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade the other evening, is one of the few remaining original members of the organisation. There are, we believe, only two others who joined the brigade at its formation in 1866, and are still connected with it. Mr Malcolm now the president, held office as hon. secretary for a period of 40 years, during the greater part of which time he also discharged the duties of treasurer. Although not now a resident in South Shields, his interest the work in the work of the organisation has never waned, and he is frequently to be seen at gatherings in the brigade house.

Source: Newcastle Journal 7 February 1914


27 March

The death of Gabriel R. Potts took place.

Mr Gabriel R. Potts of South Shields

The death took place, yesterday, of Mr Gabriel Rawlings Potts, at his residence, 9, South View Terrace, South Shields. Mr Potts, who was in his 74th year, was a native of Sunderland, but had resided in South Shields for 48 years, during the whole of which time he had held the position of chief bailiff in the County Court.

In his early years Mr Potts was associated with the volunteer movement, and sometime after going to South Shields he became a member of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, of which he for several years was one of the captains. He was connected with the brigade for about 40 years, and up to ten years ago, when he retired from active duty, had assisted in the saving of over 150 lives. His interest in the organisation was maintained to the last.

As a founder and the first captain of the South Shields Cycling Club, the deceased was one of the first to ride a high bicycle from Tyneside to London. Amongst other sports with which the late Mr Potts was associated was otter hunting, and he was a member of two otter clubs, one in Northumberland and the other in Durham.

The deceased was a member of the Hadrian Lodge of Freemasons, and was also identified with Mark and Royal Arch Masonry.

Source: Newcastle Journal 28 March 1914


12 December

The Brigade were on watch duty during stormy weather.

A South-Easterly Gale
Narrow Escape of Local Traders
Wild Scenes at the Coast

The coast, was visited on Saturday by a severe south-easterly gale, and there was a heavy sea running at the mouth of the Tyne. At high tide huge waves swept over the seaward ends of the piers, the lighthouses on which were at times invisible owing to the vast masses of spray and water by which they were every now and again enveloped.

Owing to the patrol boats being unable to be out at sea, and the difficulty of securing pilots, vessels making for the harbour could not comply with the regulations that have come into force since the war broke out. In one or two instances they entered, but generally they were warned off by the firing of guns from Tynemouth Castle, and had to remain out in the storm.

One steamer in putting about to get back to sea, when she was warned as she approached the entrance, was driven behind the south pier, and had a narrow escape of going ashore, but. fortunately, by skilful handling, she navigated out of danger.

The south-easterly gale off the mouth of the Tyne continued yesterday, and the shipping trade of the port was practically at a standstill, the sailings being entirely suspended.

Two steamers made for the harbour during the day, but, as they were not flying the regulation signals, shots were fired across their bows from Tynemouth Castle. Both ships thereupon sheered off and put out to sea again. In the offing were observed several vessels which were awaiting the moderation of the weather before approaching the port.

A watch was again kept on the south pier by members of the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade. The scenes on the coast were wild in the extreme, and attracted a considerable number of spectators.

A large quantity wreckage, including a ship's companion ladder, is reported to have been observed recently off Souter Point and Whitby.

Source: Newcastle Journal 14 December 1914

14 December

Brigade members form part of a St John Ambulance contingent.

Call to Ambulance Men

Another call has been made to the St. John Ambulance Brigade from this district to staff the Military Hospitals at Dover and Bournemouth. A contingent of five sergeants, six corporals, and 50 men will leave Newcastle to-night by the 11.19 p.m. train. These men will be drawn from divisions at Pelton Colliery, Sacriston Colliery, Throckley Colliery. South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, West Hartlepool, Harton Colliery, Addison Colliery, Hetton-le-Hole, and Consett.

Source: Newcastle Journal 14 December 1914

Annual Meeting 1914

The Committee in bringing before the Members the 48th Annual Report of the Proceedings of the Brigade do so with great Diffidence. We are not in occupation of our Brigade house we have not been able to have our Rocket Apparatus drills for the last five months, nor to have our usual practices and instruction in the use of the Apparatus nor our usual instruction classes in First Aid etc.

We had no watches in early part of the year and in August on the outbreak of War our House was required for Military purposes and taken firstly by the 9th Durham Light Infantry and afterwards by the 3rd Durham’s who still occupy it.

On October 29th 1914 we had a strong October gale from the North East which sprang up in the afternoon and continued all night. About 8 o’clock next morning a small craft was observed rounding the North Pier and was getting well within the piers when a succession of big seas caught her, tossing her about in a most merciless fashion, finally stranding her just inside the bight at the end of the South Pier, almost opposite the Titan crane.

In the meantime, the Rocket Van had been run along the Pier by the Brigadesmen and Coastguards, ably assisted by the Soldiers from the Brigade House. The ketch “William” was by that time, almost touching the Pier side, and the two men who comprised the whole of the crew were hauled up onto the Pier by life lines, both being in a very exhausted condition, having had a fearful passage from Stonehaven. They were put into the van and run back to the Brigade House by the Tyne Improvement Commissioner’s locomotive, one of them (the mate) being severely cut and bruised. His wounds dressed and they were supplied with dry clothing the mate going first to Ingham Infirmary, and afterwards both being sent to the Sailors Home, North Shields.

On Sunday March 29th the Brigade attended the funeral of Captain G. R. Potts one of our Honorary Captains. He had retired from active duties of the Brigade some years, but maintained his interest in the doings of the Brigade to the end: both by his presence at many of our meetings and social gatherings and his donations to our funds from year to year. When in active service he was most energetic in his Brigade work, seldom or never missing a watch or drill.
On November 15th the Brigade attended St Hilda’s Church with Mayor (Councillor D Richardson). The proceedings were spoiled by the wretched weather, the Procession to Church being made in showers of rain and a strong wind. The same afternoon the alarm guns were fired, and on the Brigade assembling it was found that the steamer “Kenilworth,” not understanding or not obeying the regulations of the Port, had been fired on from the Battery, and bringing up, had drifted until she struck the Black Middens.  The wind was South East and the sea rising all the time. A watch was kept in the temporary Brigade House till 1am when the weather moderated.

On December the 11th 12th and 13trh, during a heavy gale from South East, a watch was kept part of each night. The port was closed by Military Orders, which made it very uncertain whether we should persevere in our watches or not.

On the outbreak of War in August the Military authorities requiring our Brigade House put us in a very peculiar position as regards the watches, which would need to be kept during the ensuing winter months.

We approached the Tyne Commissioners through Mr McDonald Manson, General Manager, and by his instrumentality we were enabled to occupy the upper room in the new offices at the South Pier as a temporary Watchroom, which has enabled us to be as close as possible to the spot when our services have been needed. We are much indebted to the Commissioners to Mr McDonald Manson and Mr Lothian (Engineer at South Pier) for all their kindness to us in this matter.

Our division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade has maintained its efficiency during the year. The re-examination was held on May 14th. On July 18th the division was inspected by Major MacKenzie, M.D. R.A.M.C., from York, accompanied by C.B. Palmer, Esq., Dep. Commissioner No 6 District, St. John Ambulance Brigade, and Colonel Dawson V.D. Our division together with Hilda, Harton, Marsden, Hebburn and the Nursing divisions took part in a comprehensive scheme which embraced rendering First Aid to the wounded transporting them from Westoe Road Railway Station to the Secondary Schools and delivering them to various Nursing Divisions, who then took them in hand, placing them in beds in a Hospital thoroughly equipped and superintended by the Surgeons of the various divisions concerned. In connection with this, I may mention our Division was specially commended in the speech of the Inspecting Officer.

On the outbreak of War, the division rendered every assistance in the formation of the Hospitals and up to the present the members of the division are doing orderly work at the V.A.D. Hospital, Mill Dam, which has had some 250 patients through its hands.

The Brigade decided not to hold their Annual Supper this winter.

Application was made to the Military Authorities for leave to use our Search Light for practice and for Wreck service if required, this was granted and the Searchlight section have been enabled to keep engine and light in good order.

Our members have shown their loyalty and Patriotism in a very pronounced manner.

Our Secretary


J.B. Bowman

7th D.L.I Sunderland




Royal Engineers Stokes Bay


2nd Lieut.

Allen Purvis

9th D.L.I. Gateshead


2nd lieut.

G.S. Marshall

9th D.L.I. Gateshead



Thomas Gentles

Royal Warwickshires, Isle of Wight



Alex. Robertson

St. John Ambulance Brigade Boulogne



John Campbell

St. John Ambulance Brigade Boulogne



James Werndly

5th Lancers France



Thomas Jones

Royal Artillery


Eng.. Artiff

H.H. Shields

H.M.S. Queen


Leading Signaller

J.G. Frazer

Coastguards Swanage



T.P. Dockwray

R.A.M.C. Hospital Dover



J Jameson

West Yorkshire Light Infantry

And there are six members of the Ambulance Division whose names have been submitted for Foreign Service when required.

Our Treasurer’s report shows a considerable balance in hand a good part of which will be absorbed in various payments to be made in the near future.

Source: Annual Report 1914 Published 24 February 1915