North West Durham Battalion - The History

To condense into words 75 glorious years of continuous service of the Boys' Brigade movement within this area is well nigh on impossible. Let us look back to where it all began.

William A. Smith, a Glasgow Sunday School teacher, seeking to control the natural but unruly behaviour of his class of boys, decided to instil a code of discipline esprit de corps with his religious teaching, and to achieve this he formed with 30 Boys the first Boys' Brigade on the 4th October 1883. This newly discovered explosive idea of religion with discipline spread like a forest fire throughout the country, but it was not until 1925 that the flames reached North West Durham. Here R.W. (Bob) Birtle introduced the object of the Boys' Brigade movement to St John Methodist Church at Annfield Plain and under his leadership a company was duly enrolled on 23rd March 1926. At Consett in the Avenue Methodist Church, under the inspiration of M.W. (Matt) Atkinson another company was formed and within a year, a further six companies were operating under the initial control of an Area Council of Officers. The pattern of the movement continued and on the 3rd November 1927 the North West Durham Battalion was officially inaugurated with Mr F.B. George as President, Capt. M.W. Atkinson as Vice-President, Lieut. F.M. Bainbridge as Treasurer and Capt. R.W. Birtle as Secretary.

Over the 75 unbroken years of service, men whose names are legendary, and many more lesser known, have continued to build up a tradition on which today we are privileged to share in the celebrations of the 75th Anniversary.
The best way to preserve this tradition is to simply add to it, maintaining at the centre of our work the original "Object"

Adapted from "How it all began" by A Wilkinson
NWD Battalion - Golden Jubilee Booklet


Battalion Honours

The Battalion has three major honours that a company can gain in a session. Those are the Battalion Colours, The Harrison Trophy and The Westwater Trophy.

The Battalion Colours - The Battalion holds a drill competition each year in order to decide which Company will have the honour of carrying the Battalion Colours at the Founders Day Service the following year. The following is a list of the winners of that competition.

The Harrison Trophy - The Trophy was presented to the Battalion by Mr J.W. Harrison in 1950. The Trophy was presented to the Company making the "Best All Round Effort" during the session. It was later changed and is now presented to the Company Section that accumulates the most points throughout a session. Points are awarded to Company Sections when lads are presented with President's and Queen's Badges as well as when a Company Section takes part in competitions.

The Westwater Trophy - The Westwater Trophy was initially presented to the company that achieved the second highest points total over a session. In ???? the Battalion decided that the trophy would be presented to the Company who's Junior Section achieved the highest points total in a session. This incorporates the Junior Section competitions and the number of Gold Badges presented.

For a list of past winner click on the links below