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11 March 2020

Commemoration of fallen Middlesbrough Ironworkers

Commemoration of fallen Middlesbrough Ironworkers

The families of former Middlesbrough ironworkers who died during the First World War have come together to commemorate their fallen relatives.

A commemoration event was held at the town's Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TeesAMP) on Riverside Park Industrial Estate to unveil a restored plaque bearing the names of the 76 men who worked at the former Newport Ironworks and died during the 1914-18 conflict.

The plaque was formally presented to the families of the fallen soldiers by Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston at a special ceremony on Monday, March 9 and will now be permanently on display at existing TeesAMP business TWI.

Mr Preston said: "To me, it's not about wallowing in the past or glorifying war it's about respecting and remembering the role that Middlesbrough people played in building a more positive future for all.

"It's really fitting that in a shiny new building for an international organisation there will be a plaque remembering people who died for freedom more than 100 years ago."

Family members of the fallen attended and brought with them historical artefacts including an official telegram permitting a worker to leave his day job to join the war effort.

One young man in attendance was Macmillan Academy pupil Jay Curtis. The 16-year-old attended with his family and brought a picture of his great, great grandfather Private John McQuade.

Pte McQuade was with the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry when he was killed in France in 1915 aged 40.

Representatives from The Royal British Legion and the Yorkshire Regiment, as well as Middlesbrough Council Armed Forces Champion Councillor Ron Arundale were also in attendance.

The team behind the TeesAMP development have worked alongside TWI and historical consultants Heritage Unlocked to restore the plaque and promote its cultural and historic importance.

Dr Tosh Warwick, of Heritage Unlocked, said: "It was fantastic that the unveiling of the newly restored memorial attracted representatives from a number of organisations and descendants of those commemorated.

"The large turnout for the unveiling and discussions with family members in attendance from across generations underlined the collaborative success of the heritage project at TeesAMP and the strong emotional affect embracing the past can have on individuals over a century on from the Great War."

Andrew Coleman, Senior Project Manager at Robertson North East - who are constructing TeesAMP, said: "We have been working on the TeesAMP project for 12 months and the history of this site has been fascinating to discover.

"The former ironworks site on the banks of the river is an important part of Teesside's history and TeesAMP heralds a new chapter.

"The Ironworks and its employees played a huge part in the community when it was in operation, and we are proud to be delivering this new manufacturing park that will not only play a significant role in the community but is now home to this restored plaque which pays homage to the employees of the ironworks who served in WW1."

Image above: Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston (R) with representatives from The Royal British Legion and the Yorkshire Regiment at the unveiling of the plaque in remembrance of the fallen ironworkers of Middlesbrough.

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