THE LOST GENERATION
It is beyond argument that Britain lost many talented young people and the phrase “The Lost Generation” is used to describe this loss. The term usually refers to the “young elites” who did not have the opportunity to fulfil their potential rather than the young working class men. There is no doubt that the upper class of the country provided its men for the military hierarchy, officers in the army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and its predecessor the Royal Flying Corps and when serving at the front were killed and wounded in greater proportions than men from the middle or working classes. J.M. Winter states: 
“The most severely depleted social groups were the most privileged.”
This section will examine the concept of “The Lost Generation” and pay tribute to those fine young men.
Of the 234 Gaunless Valley men researched there were only 3 officers. They were:
- Second Lieutenant T.W. Applegarth
- Second Lieutenant W. Lowther
- Second Lieutenant H.W. Summerson
Education was provided by the County Council in local village schools, some of which were “faith schools” i.e. Church of England or Roman Catholic. Schools in the Gaunless Valley were either Church of England or Council run. At this time, children attended their village school until they reached the age of 13 after which they sought work, usually at the local pit. Those who wished to secure an advanced education were required to pass an examination to permit them to enter a Grammar School. Their parents had to be able to afford the cost of this further education. Usually, upon reaching school leaving age, children were expected to find a job and contribute to the family budget therefore few of the children living in the Gaunless Valley villages attended grammar school. Bishop Auckland Grammar School was the nearest. The education of the 3 officers named above was as follows:
- Thomas William Applegarth lived at Piercebridge to the south east of the area. He was educated at Gainford, the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Darlington and then attended Emmanuel College, Cambridge, his place awarded by a scholarship. Thomas’ father was employed in agriculture, as a traction engine owner and it is probable that his income was greater than the average wage. Regardless of the family’s financial situation, funds were found for Thomas to study at Cambridge and for him to follow a path as a teacher. At the outbreak of war, Thomas was employed as a teacher at Derby. At the time of Thomas’ death, his parents lived at Evenwood. Second Lieutenant T.W Applegarth is buried at Caix British Cemetery, France and is commemorated on the Evenwood War Memorial and memorials at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Darlington and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
- William Lowther lived at Butterknowle and was educated locally. He did not attend a grammar school. William worked as a self-employed grocer with his father. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, the Butterknowle War Memorial and the memorial plaque in St. John the Evangelist Church, Lynesack.
- Herbert Walker Summerson lived at Cockfield and attended Bishop Auckland Grammar School. In 1911, he was recorded as a “law student”. Herbert’s father, Herbert William Summerson was a local entrepreneur with quarrying and coal mining interests. His company, Summersons Ltd. developed the road stone quarry on Cockfield Fell and Holly Moor Colliery located to the west of Cockfield. By the standards of the day, Herbert’s family were relatively wealthy and he was given the opportunity to advance his education at the Grammar School then university. Second Lieutenant H.W. Summerson is buried at Marfaux British Cemetery, France and the Bishop Auckland Grammar School’s Roll of Honour which commemorates 49 pupils who lost their lives in the Great War. It includes 2 men from the Gaunless Valley, the above named H.W. Summerson and Edward Maughan from West Auckland.
It is clear that the demographical composition of south west County Durham and the Gaunless Valley in particular was an overwhelmingly working class area with coal mining the only significant source of employment. To find those of a higher social class who may be regarded as suitable material for the officer class and subsequently regarded as the Lost Generation, we need to research the County’s well established land owning families and the commercial world, particularly the local coal industry in order to examine those families who had significant interest in the mining companies. Their links with the Gaunless Valley may be tenuous.
The Landed Gentry and Land Owners
Locally, the Eden and Vane families were the leading people of the day.
The Vane Family 
The Vanes carry the title Lord Barnard and owned much land between upper Teesdale and Darlington. They have at various times been known as the Barons Barnard [from 1698], Earls of Darlington [from 1754], Dukes of Cleveland [from 1833] before reverting back to Barons Barnard [from 1892? to the present]. The family lost one son, the Hon. Henry Cecil Vane [1882-1917] who was the heir apparent of Henry de Vere Vane, 9th Baron Barnard of Raby Castle and Lady Catherine Sarah and husband of Enid Victoria [nee Fane, married August 1914]. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, held a captain’s commission in the 4th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry and between 1903 and 1907 was aide-de-camp to Oliver Russell, 2nd Baron Ampthill. He gained the rank of Captain then Major in the service of the Yorkshire Hussars Yeomanry.
- Captain the Hon. Henry Cecil Vane, 298th Ammunition Col. Royal Field Artillery died 9 October 1917 aged 35. He is buried at St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen, France and commemorated on the War Memorial in St. Mary’s Church, Staindrop. 
He and his wife had no children. Henry’s younger brother, Christopher Vane inherited the title as 10th Baron Barnard in December 1918 upon the death of their father.
The Eden Family 
The Eden family held the Baronetcy of West Auckland and of Maryland in the USA, united under a single holder since 1844. The manor of Windlestone was held by the Eden family from the 17th century and in 1835, the 5th Baronet replaced the manor house with a new mansion, Windlestone Hall which is situated to the west of Rushyford, County Durham. Sir William Eden [1849-1915], the 7th Baronet of West Auckland and 5th Baronet of Maryland succeeded him in 1873. Sir William married Sybil Frances Grey [1867-1945] and they had 5 children who survived infancy:
- Elfrida Marjorie [1887-1943]
- John “Jack” [1888-1914]
- Timothy Calvert [1893-1963]
- Robert Anthony [1897-1977]
- William Nicholas [1900-1916]
2 sons fell in the Great War:
- Lieutenant J. Eden, 12th [Prince of Wales’s Royal] Lancers, killed in action 17 October 1914 aged 26 and buried at Larch Wood [Railway Cutting] Cemetery, Belgium. He is commemorated on the Kirk Merrington War Memorial. John “Jack” Eden attended Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and was gazetted Second Lieutenant, 12th Lancers 27 January 1909, promoted to Lieutenant in May 1914. He served in India then with the British Expeditionary Force in Flanders and France, taking part in the Retreat from Mons, the Battles of the Marne and the Aisne and was killed in action near Wervecq. He was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War and Victory medals.
- Midshipman W.N. Eden RN, lost at sea aboard HMS Indefatigable 31 May 1916 aged 16 during the Battle of Jutland. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial; the memorial at Sandroyd School Chapel, Rushmore, Wiltshire and the Kirk Merrington War Memorial, County Durham. William Eden was educated at Sandroyd Preparatory School, the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne, Isle of Wight and Dartmouth, Devon. He was awarded the British War and Victory medals. 
Their brother, Robert Anthony Eden was an influential Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1955 to 1957. These 2 young men clearly were making their way in life which was cut short by the war.
See also on this website “St. Helen’s Church” – commemorations to both sons are situated in the vestry.
Families with Commercial Interests
In 1913, the 11 important mining companies working the Gaunless Valley were:
- Pease & Partners Ltd at St. Helens
- Bolckow, Vaughan & Co. Ltd at West Auckland
- Stobart & Co. Ltd at Etherley and West Tees [Ramshaw/Railey Fell]
- North Bitchburn Coal Co. Ltd at Randolph and Gordon House [Evenwood and Cockfield]
- West Carterthorne Coal Co. Ltd at West Carterthorne [to the west of Toft Hill]
- Carterthorne Coal Co. Ltd at Carterthorne [to the west of Toft Hill]
- Lowson Bros. at New Morley [to the north of Cockfield]
- Summerson’s Ltd at Holly Moor [to the west of Cockfield]
- New Copley Collieries Ltd at New Copley [to the west of Cockfield]
- Butterknowle Maresfield Collieries Ltd at Butterknowle
- Cargo Fleet Iron Co. Ltd at Woodland
The heir to Summerson’s Ltd., Herbert W. Summerson has been considered above. Other family connections are outlined below.
Stobart & Co. Ltd
The Stobart family developed their coal mining interests throughout the district from the 1830’s to the 1930’s. The family was influential in the County both commercially and militarily. Colonel Henry Stobart [1795-1866] J.P. and Honorary Colonel of the Durham Militia Artillery who served in the American War 1813-15, formed the company. It was passed down to his son Henry Smith Stobart [1826-1880] and another son William Culley Stobart [1837-1899] ran the company following his brother’s death. William and his wife Frances had 14 children, some of whom died in infancy. William Ryder Stobart [a son from WCS second marriage] appears to have run the company after William’s death.
The oldest son from WCSs first marriage was Major George Henry Stobart RFA [Retired] [1873-1943]. He was 41 years old at the outbreak of war and served as a staff officer, attached to the 3rd Echelon. He entered France 16 August 1914 and was mentioned in despatches, awarded the DSO, gained the rank of temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in the War Office and was invested as a Commander, Order of the British Empire [CBE] in 1919. He had a distinguished military career, being gazetted in 1894 as a Second Lieutenant  and rose to the rank of colonel serving with the Royal Artillery. He served as Deputy Lieutenant of Durham 1924 and was Commandant of Harperley POW Camp during WW2 until his death.
The Stobart family were patrons of St. Cuthbert’s Church, Etherley and many family members are buried in the churchyard. They owned substantial properties in Etherley such as Etherley House and Red House [which was used as Etherley VAD Hospital during the Great War] and others in the locality such as Witton Towers at Witton-le-Wear and Harperley Hall near Fir Tree.
The family also owned a property called Spellow Hill, near Knaresborough, Yorkshire where 6 of William’s children were born. The youngest was John Geoffrey [1892-1915]. In 1911, he was recorded as a student, Cambridge University, single and living with his mother Frances. Other members of the family included his older brother George Herbert [mentioned above] and his sister-in-law Mary. There were 7 servants. At this time G.H. Stobart was recorded as “Retired Officer, Major, Royal Artillery.” The family lived at Harperley Hall near Fir Tree, County Durham.  The family lost 1 son.
- Second Lieutenant J.G. Stobart 6th Battalion attached to 4th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, died 15 March 1915 aged 23. He is buried at Voormezeele Enclosure No.3, Belgium.  He was gazetted in August 1914, being reported as follows, “the undermentioned Cadets and ex-Cadets of the Officer Training Corps to be Second Lieutenants.”  He was posted to the 6th Battalion, the Rifle Brigade. Second Lieutenant J.G. Stobart entered France 17 February 1915 and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals. His medals were issued to Mrs. Stobart, Clayton Manor, Hassocks, Sussex. 
John Geoffrey Stobart was born into a military family and would have been expected to “do his duty for King and country”.
West Carterthorne Colliery Co. Ltd
George Bradford, a mining engineer and agent to Henry Stobart & Co, also developed the West Carterthorne Coal Co. Ltd. After his death in 1911, it was run by his eldest son, Thomas. George and his wife Amy had 5 children:
- Thomas Andrews 1886-1966
- George Nicholson 1887-1918
- James Barker 1889-1917
- Roland Boys 1892-1917
- Amy born 1901
The boys were all born at Carwood House, Witton Park then in 1894 the family moved to Darlington. Witton Park is some 2 miles north of Etherley, situated in the Wear Valley. The Bradford boys enjoyed good schooling at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Darlington and George at the North East Counties School, Barnard Castle prior to their military education. Over 730 “Old Boys” from the Barnard Castle School went to war and 145 boys [almost 20%] and 4 masters were lost. None of the men commemorated on the Gaunless Valley war memorials and researched in this work attended Barnard Castle School. George Nicholson Bradford is probably the most well-known “Old Barnardian” being one of the famous Bradford Brothers. He was awarded a posthumous VC. Aged 31, Lieut.-Commander G.N. Bradford was killed in action 23 April 1918 during the raid on Zeebrugge. He is buried at Blankenburge Town Cemetery, Belgium. Two of his brothers were also lost in the Great War.
- Brigadier General R.B. Bradford VC MC commanding the 186th Infantry Brigade was killed in action 30 November 1917 aged 25 and is buried at Hermies British Cemetery, France.
- Second Lieutenant J.B. Bradford MC died of wounds 14 May 1917 aged 27 and is buried at Duisans British Cemetery, France.
These 3 sons of the most remarkable and heroic Durham family are commemorated on the War Memorial in Darlington Memorial Hospital and memorial plaques in St. Cuthbert’s Church, Darlington and their parish church in Darlington. Captain T. Bradford, the oldest brother survived the war. He was awarded the DSO, twice mentioned in dispatches, promoted to Staff Captain then to Brigade Major, later knighted and in 1942 was appointed the High Sheriff of County Durham.
North Bitchburn Coal Co. Ltd.
William Randolph Innes Hopkins [1928-1920] was Managing Director of the North Bitchburn Coal Co. Ltd. which developed the coalfield around Evenwood and Cockfield, viz. Storey Lodge Colliery, Thrushwood, Tees Hetton, Randolph, Mostyn and Gordon House Collieries and associated coke works. In 1853, he established the Teesside Ironworks at Middlesbrough and had an interest in Hopkins, Gilkes & Co. One of his companies provided the iron works for the Tay Bridge which collapsed in 1879 and this company went into liquidation in 1880. He was one of the ironmasters of Middlesbrough, marrying firstly Elise, a sister of Henry Bolckow and then secondly, Everald Hustler, a daughter of the Hustlers of Acklam. There were 4 children to the first marriage and 5 to the second. These families were the most influential families in the iron [and later steel town] of Middlesbrough and their commercial interests spread throughout the North East, particularly south Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire.
William’s youngest son was James Randolph Innes Hopkins [1876-1915] who in 1904 married Doreen Maud Parker daughter of the Hon. Reginald Parker. They had 1 daughter Everald. James was educated at King’s, Canterbury and studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He served in the South African War from 1900-1901 as a trooper in the Northumberland Hussars, serving 7 years being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1901. He later worked as an Assistant Manager for a coal company but was declared bankrupt in 1906. He emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada in 1906 working as a financial agent and joined the local militia. At the outbreak of war, he offered his services and was given a commission as Captain, 5th [Saskatchewan] Battalion, Canadian Infantry, arriving in England with the first Canadian contingent 14 October 1914, entered France in February 1915 and arrived at the Hazebrook/Strazelle area, Belgium 15 February 1915. The battalion was detailed to attack a German trench and redoubt at Neuve Chapelle 24 May 1915. Captain J.R. Innes-Hopkins was killed in action aged 38. Casualties numbered 5 officers, 11 NCOs and 30 men killed and 8 officers, 30 NCOs and 174 men wounded. Captain J.R. Innes-Hopkins is buried at Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L’Avoue. He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals.
Captain J.R. Innes-Hopkins lost 2 nephews:
- Lieutenant Charles Randolph Innes-Hopkins, 2nd Battalion Cameronians [Scottish Rifles] was killed in action 18 December 1914 aged 21, is buried at Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, Laventie, France and commemorated on the Ryton War Memorial, Ryton-on-Tyne, County Durham and the stained glass window, Ryton Holy Cross Church Shrine. Charles entered France 5 November 1914 and was awarded the 1914 Star, the British War and Victory medals. He was the third son of Lieut.-Col. C.H. Innes-Hopkins, Commanding Officer, 1st Tyneside Scottish, 20th, Northumberland Fusiliers.
- 6815 Private Castell Percy Innes-Hopkins, 9th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders was killed in action 25 September 1915 aged 27 and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial, France and commemorated on the Ryton War Memorial, Ryton-on-Tyne, County Durham and the stained glass window, Ryton Holy Cross Church Shrine. Charles entered France 9 July 1915 and was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War and Victory medals. He was the second son of Lieut.-Col. C.H. Innes-Hopkins, Commanding Officer, 1st Tyneside Scottish, 20th, Northumberland Fusiliers.
The 10 fallen officers considered above are:
- Captain the Hon. Henry Cecil Vane, 298th Ammunition Col. Royal Field Artillery died 9 October 1917 aged 35.
- Lieutenant John Eden, 12th [Prince of Wales’s Royal] Lancers was killed in action 17 October 1914 aged 26.
- Midshipman W.N. Eden RN HMS Indefatigable was killed in action 31 May 1916 aged 16.
- Second Lieutenant J.G. Stobart 6th Battalion attached to 4th Battalion, Rifle Brigade, died 15 March 1915 aged 23.
- -Commander G.N. Bradford RN HMS Iris was killed in action 23 April 1918, aged 31.
- Brigadier General R.B. Bradford VC MC commanding the 186th Infantry Brigade was killed in action 30 November 1917 aged 25.
- Second Lieutenant J.B. Bradford MC, 18th, Durham Light Infantry died of wounds 14 May 1917 aged 27.
- Captain James Randolph Innes Hopkins, 5th [Saskatchewan] Battalion, Canadian Infantry was killed in action 24 May 1915 aged 38.
- Lieutenant Charles Randolph Innes-Hopkins, 2nd Battalion Cameronians [Scottish Rifles] was killed in action 18 December 1914 aged 21.
- 6815 Private Castell Percy Innes-Hopkins, 9th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders was killed in action 25 September 1915 aged 27.
The above servicemen and the 3 other officers researched:
- Second Lieutenant T.W. Applegarth
- Second Lieutenant W. Lowther
- Second Lieutenant H.W. Summerson
probably regarded their military service as an obligation and perhaps, an honour.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From “For the Fallen” Laurence Binyon [1869-1943] written September 1914
 “Britain’s “Lost Generation” of the First World War” F.M. Winter 1977
 1911 census Note: own account i.e. self-employed
 1911 census Note: I have not researched where he studied law
 Edward’s father was a coal miner and Edward went on to work as a clerk for the local gas company. Note: Percy Hood from Cockfield who was killed in action 1 July 1916 is not included of the Memorial Plaque.
 Commonwealth War Graves Commission Note: The Roll of Honour in St. Mary’s Church Staindrop records that he died of fever. The account in Wikipedia infers that he died of wounds.
 The 3rd Baronet Sir Robert Eden 1755-1794, 4th Baronet Sir John Eden 1740-1812 and the 5th Baronet Sir Robert Johnson Eden 1774-1844 and various members of their family are buried at St. Helen’s churchyard, St. Helen’s Auckland source: “St. Helen Auckland Monumental Inscriptions” Cleveland, North Yorkshire & South Durham FHS [Carol A. McLee] August 1993
 Commonwealth War Graves Commission
 De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1924
 “An Historical Atlas of County Durham” Durham County Local History Society 1992 p46/7
 London Gazette 10 April 1894
 NE War Memorials Project Note: Col. G.H. Stobart is buried in St. Philip & St. James’ churchyard Tow Law
 Etherley House may have also been known as Etherley Lodge
 1911 census and England & Wales National Probate Calendar Index of Wills & Administrations 1858-1966 1915p.339
 Commonwealth War Graves Commission
 London Gazette 18 August 1914
 London Gazette 9 February 1915
 Medal Roll
 “The Fighting Bradfords” H. Moses 2003
 Teesdale Mercury 22 October 2014 Note: research is being undertaken by the archivist Dot Jones
 King’s Canterbury Roll of Honour & De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1924
 Ryton and District War Memorials Project
 Ryton and District War Memorials Project