St. Helen’s Auckland, West Auckland, Etherley/Toft Hill, Evenwood, Cockfield, Butterknowle, Copley and Woodland are villages located to the west of Bishop Auckland, County Durham in the north east of England. The river Gaunless flows through the locality and into the river Wear to the north of Bishop Auckland. The area is sometimes referred to as “the Gaunless Valley.” When coal was king, it was part of the Great Northern Coalfield, the Auckland Coalfield and prior to the Great War, 1914-1918, the vast majority of men worked in the pits and coking plants. These villages were pit villages, the men were pitmen and their wives dutifully served their husbands and children. All was to change.
There are 266 names on these village war memorials, some of whom are commemorated on more than one memorial, Behind every inscription there is a man who was a son or brother, husband or father and the purpose of this website is to tell their story. It is hoped that many will be able to connect with these men which will go some way to ensure that they will never be forgotten.
The general idea is to provide details of the servicemen commemorated on each of the war memorials located in St. Helen’s, West Auckland, Etherley, Evenwood, Cockfield, Butterknowle, Copley and Woodland.