2nd Consett

The Story of the 2nd Consett Company

‘Bob’ Birtle and ‘Matt’ Atkinson served in the Great War together, being members of the 19th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, (2nd Tyneside Pioneers) from January 1915 to June 1918. Both men had similar backgrounds being members of the Methodist Churches and being Local Preachers. They also lived in the same area, although Matt had moved to the Consett area after the war. Bob was discussing with Matt in 1925 of how he had come across a wonderful movement – The Boys’ Brigade. His Company was enrolled on 23rd March, 1926. He was so enthusiastic that Matt decided to form a Company, and on the 24th November, 1926, the 1st Consett Company was formed. The uniform of the boys consisting of a Pill Box hat, haversack and belt.

Things moved quickly in North West Durham, an amalgamation had been discussed since the end of the War, between the Boys’ Life Brigade and the Boys Brigade and this took place on 1st October 1926. On the 19th May, 1927 there were 5 Companies and an Area Council of Officers was formed. Then on the 3rd November, 1927, a Battalion came into being with 7 Companies which in the 1928/29 session became 15 Companies. After the 3rd November, Companies took Battalion numbers, and we then became the 2nd North West Durham (Consett) Company.

This Company has had an unbroken run of service from 1926 up to the present (2001), that is 75 years of non stop service. When the next war came (World War II) in 1939-45, in spite of frequent ‘Call Ups’, the Company ran through out the war years. With the loss of premises at the Church we obtained other premises in the town and using the senior N.C.O.’s the Company maintained its activities. During War time it played its part being Messengers, the Fire Service, etc. In the Fire Service on Pump Team was managed by the Senior Boys.

A band was formed in the early days of the Company’s life and this band remained in existence for many many years. It would take many pages to write of the numerous activities the Company has been involved in, these activities being related to the time in which it was in being. It has passed through many stages of life, good times and bad times, and has played many parts in the life of the Church, the Battalion and the town of Consett.

The Company Captain was Matthew W Atkinson for 22 years, his son Leonard followed him for 18 years, then came John T Murray, David Armstrong, Jim Severs, Maurice Hodgson and finally the present Captain Colin Carroll. The Company has taken part in all Battalion activities , winning the Battalion Colours many times. It attended the first BB camp in 1927, and has camped regularly ever since, even throughout the War years.

One could go at length over all the activities undertaken during its 75 years. Looking back over these years one can recall the hundreds of boys who have passed through its ranks. As one looks back over the 75 years of BB History, we are pleased the Company still exists , and is playing its part in the life of the town in these very different days.

Thanks to Leonard Atkinson for the History of the Company.