History of the Northumbrian DA

Northumberland and Durham D.A. came into being in the year of 1910. When the country was divided into regions, it joined with Teesside D.A. to form the North East Region.From that time on both D.A’s flourished and in the mid sixties owing to the fact that Northumberland and Durham D.A. was getting quite large (and that it did not permit dogs at any weekend meets) a group led by Ossie Carter decided that it would be more sensible to create a new D.A. based on Co. Durham, thus providing three geographical areas within the region and an additional choice for members each weekend.
Application was made and permission granted for the formation of Durham D.A.This created a situation of two D.A’s including the word “Durham” in their titles. Headquarters instructed us to change our name and at repeated committee meetings over a period of about a year, we prevaricated, mainly I have to say out of bloody mindness. Ronnie Philipson (Chairman) and Celia Gladstone (Sec) waffled every time we received another letter from H.Q. until finally in 1969 we bowed to their request.
At a meeting held in a corner of the Dunstan Hill Club Site members of the D.A. debated the title of our new unit. Someone suggested the obvious Northumberland, I suggested Northumbria
(sneakily realising that the ancient kingdom of that name included Durham within its boundaries) and Frank Tweedale suggested Northumbrian which was finally adopted. A competition was held to design a new D.A. pennon, which I was delighted to win and we had a large version hand painted on canvas in time for the N.F.O.L. which the North East Region was staging that year at Wynyard Park.
The theme for our entry in the fancy dress parade as it was called in those days, was “the Romans”. A cart full of ‘stones’ for the ‘wall’ was being hauled by Ancient Brits, whipped on by Roman Soldiers, behind the ‘cart’ a mob of Brits carried placards objecting to the building of the wall.
To symbolise the end of the old D.A. we headed the parade with our old Northumberland and Durham D.A. pennon followed by a full size coffin carried by four mourners in black top hats ( god only knows what the neighbours thought as I lay in it in the back garden to get the proportions right ). On the top of the coffin was mounted a model of the Tyne Bridge, our old D.A. symbol.
Behind this the new pennon carried by Fred Bloomfield wearing only a white towel fastened as a nappy and sucking a large dummy symbolised the birth of Northumbrian D.A.
Thus the North East Region under its ‘Cock of the North’, Teesside D.A. under its ‘Rocket’, Durham D.A. under its ‘Cathedral’ and Northumbrian D.A. under its ‘Roman Soldier’ march forward.

Bob Oliver