Good Friday 1916 football match honoured three Oxhill brothers who fell on active service
Transcript of Newcastle Journal report
Civil Parish: Kyo
On Monday 24 April 1916 the Newcastle Journal reported on a local football match as follows. “The match between Annfield Plain and West Stanley, at Annfield Plain, on Good Friday afternoon for the benefit of the brothers Hunter of Oxhill – two soldiers and one sailor – who have fallen on active service, realised £13 at the gate, while a considerable sum is expected from the sale of tickets beforehand.”
The article refers to Peter Hunter, Vender Hunter and Ernest Hunter from Oxhill. All three were coal miners and came from a family of 13 children, although two died in infancy. Of the 11 surviving children there were seven boys and four girls. The family lived at The Hill, Kyo and later at 1 Sandhole Row, Oxhill.
Peter was the first of the three brothers to die. He enlisted on 15 January 1915 and was drafted to the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) on 28 June 1915. He joined 4 Platoon of the Anson Battalion, Royal Naval Division (RND) on 18 July 1915. Whilst serving in operations against the Dardanelles he suffered a wound on 13 August 1915 which led to amoebic dysentery and his death on the hospital ship Aquitania on 20 October 1915.
Vender and Ernest appear to have spent their entire war service together. They both enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry in Stanley on 8 September 1914. They were posted to the 12 Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry as privates and their service numbers were only one digit apart as 18507 and 18509 respectively. They moved to camp in the south of England and both were charged with overstaying their pass until 12.30pm on 3 January 1915 for which they forfeited pay and were confined to barracks for 10 days.
The two brothers both landed in France on 26 August 1915 where 12 DLI spent the rest of 1915 and early 1916 in and out of the trenches near Armentieres and Souchez. On 26 January 1916 the brothers were resting with three comrades in a dugout when a German high explosive shell landed on the dugout roof killing all five. Vender and Ernest are buried side by side in X Farm Cemetery, La Chapelle D’Armentieres, Nord, France.
Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham
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