Proud Carol pays tribute to the men who gave their lives

Albert Greig never talked about the First World War.

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 10:00 am
Grandfather Albert Greig.

Like many others of his era, it was a taboo subject when it was all over. But his bravery, and that of other Hartlepool relatives, has been highlighted by his granddaughter Carol Greig.

Carol, who lives in London, will be in Hartlepool on November 10 to lay a wreath at the war memorial where her relatives are recognised.

Carol's dad Norrie Greig in 1952 at RAF Hednesford.

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But she also wanted to share details with the Mail of Charles Robson, Billy Gibbin and Gunner Joseph Greig who all lost their lives in war, as well as Albert who survived.

Her father is Norrie Greig, who died in June 2015. He has two relatives named on the memorial. Norrie’s maternal Uncle Charles Robson, of Eden Street, enlisted for the war effort in late February 1915 with his pal Billy Gibbin, of Alice Street.

They joined the 11th Durham Light Infantry.

Carol added: “In December 1915, they had been in France less than 6 months when Billy was killed in action and Charles was injured. Billy was only 15 years old and its said that he was one of the youngest to be killed in the First World War.”

Carol's dad Norrie Greig in 1952 at RAF Hednesford.

Less than three years later, in October 1918, Charles was wounded in the back and died a few hours later. Carol said: “He was nearly 22 and had been in France for three years and four months. He was one of the Christ Church Lads Brigade, and had been employed at Elwine’s, which I believe was a blacksmith’s shop at Longhill.”

He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium where 9,901 members of the Commonwealth Forces are buried.

Born in 1897, he was the eldest son of a dock labourer Charles Robson and Betsey Maria Holmes. He had 6 brothers John, James, Frank, Joseph, Norman and William (Billy).

Carol added: “His elder sister Mabel was my grandmother.”

Tragedy came to the family again in the Second World War when Gunner Joseph Greig, 33, - her father’s paternal Uncle - was killed in action in the Middle East on July 9, 1942. “He was serving with the Royal Artillery at El Alamein in Egypt and is buried in the cemetery there,” said Carol.

The Northern Daily Mail stated at the time: “Gunner Greig, an old pupil of Oxford Street School, was called up nearly two years ago and was posted abroad early this year. In civil life he was employed at Messrs Wilson’s sawmill for 17 years.”

The news of his death was given to his brother Thomas William Greig of Westmoreland Street. Their parents were William Bertram James Greig and Annie Margaret Davidson, formerly of Devon Street.

William was brother to Albert Edward Victor Greig who was Carol’s grandfather. Yet unlike many of his family, Albert survived the First World War.

“What happened to him during the war we’ll never know as my Dad said he never ever talked about it, as many other survivors didn’t,” said Carol.

“I never knew him as he died 2 years before I was born.”