Robert Forster
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Forged birth certificate led to soldier's WW1 death

A Tyneside daughter had to live with the knowledge she helped send her father to his death in World War One.

Joseph Forster was too old to enlist so he asked his eldest daughter Martha to help forge his birth certificate to make him look 10 years younger.

The consequences were disastrous as he managed to dupe the recruiting sergeant only to be killed in action.

Peter Grant, Joseph's grandson, recounts how his aunt confessed she had never forgiven herself for helping her dad join up.

He died leaving a widow with six children to support and Martha would have understood the consequences of her actions.

His story is told in World War One at Home - Despatches from Tyneside. The documentary looks at the work of the Tynemouth WW1 Commemoration Project which has been collating the photographs and background to the 1,700 people on the borough's roll of honour.

By mapping their home addresses the project has created a unique insight into the effects of the Great War on one community.

World War One at Home - Despatches from Tyneside can be seen on BBC One (North East & Cumbria) at 19:30 BST on Monday, 2 June, 2014 and nationwide on the iPlayer for seven days thereafter.

  • 31 May 2014