THE PROJECT

Neither the United States’ ‘late’ entry into the First World War nor its vital contribution to the defeat of the Central Powers are widely understood in the UK. This programme explores these themes by focusing on the connection of America’s fighting forces with one region of England: the North East.

Hundreds of ‘GI Geordies’ (former natives of North East England) were among the American Expeditionary Force that came to Europe in 1917–18, Tyneside dockyards repaired and maintained US Navy ships operating in the Eastern Atlantic and North Atlantic, and in 1918 a US Aero Squadron was based in Newcastle. By researching the relationships that developed between individuals, communities, and industries in the North East and US armed forces, this project will help to foster understanding in the region of this historic aspect of the ‘special relationship’.

US Navy crossing Atlantic

US Navy in the North Sea

The US dreadnoughts were formed into the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet under Admiral Rodman. Operating from Scapa Flow they undertook training cruises with the Royal Navy until fully operational.

Phillip M Payson and RS Austin

The US Army in the NE

The US Army began to arrive as troops became available in sufficient quantity. Although the majority went directly to France, some did come to Britain. Amongst these were airmen undertaking training on British combat aircraft…

Anglo-American Relations

With US entry into war, Lord Mayor of Newcastle wrote to Walter Hamm, US Consul to the city: “Your country and ours are alike fighting to preserve their ideals of liberty and freedom, not so much for themselves as for the other peoples of the world.”