Following the carnage of World War 1 many of the survivors of that conflict hoped to preserve the unique spirit of friendship forged during the years of privation and danger. In the months that followed the Armistice, Comrades Clubs began to be established throughout the Nation by British Servicemen.
Here on North Tyneside the Whitley Bay and Monkseaton Comrades of the Great War Club was formed and its doors were first opened in 1920 when the first Members entered what was a converted private dwelling house at 14 The Links, Whitley Bay on the seafront.
Finance for the transformation of the dwelling house to a Club was tight and alterations were met by a loan from the Haig Fund. Records show that the opening ceremony took place a few weeks later, performed by Sir A. Kerr Montgomery KMCG, CB, DSO and Captain Appleby, VC who had been blinded during active service. The Gordon Highlanders provided a Guard of Honour.
A glance at the opening chapters of the original Rule Book explains that the objectives of the first Comrades Club were to promote, social intercourse, mutual helpfulness, mental and moral improvement, rational recreation and to advance the comradeship which sprung up whilst serving their country.
The Comrades Club has constantly remained a welcome haven for all Servicemen and indeed representatives from all ranks of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF have enjoyed the hospitality on offer.
Times have changed with British Servicemen and Women less in numbers but the present Membership of about 400 still subscribe to the original objectives and standards. Newspapers at the time record some resentment to a Club being formed in a residential area and some difficulty was encountered in obtaining a Licence and its recorded by the Licensing Justice that “The Members fought for the Licence as hard as they had on the field of Battle and it is granted” !!! Fears of Residents that there would be noise and disruption to their lives proved unfounded and happily that is still the situation today. Present day Comrades take pride in their conduct both inside and outside the Club.