This feature to commemorate the First World War brings you the news as it happened in 1914 as reported by the Morpeth Herald. It is published with kind permission of the Mackay family. We thank them for their support and generosity in allowing us access to their archive.
SEAPLANE CARRIER AT BLYTH
After having remained on the stocks in an unfinished condition for several months, a vessel in the Blyth Shipyard is to be converted into a seaplane carrier for the British Admiralty.
The ship is 350 feet in length, and is to be fitted with fore and aft flying decks, from which seaplanes can begin their flight.
Originally she was ordered as a coal cargo vessel By Messrs. Stephens, Sutton, and Stephens, of Newcastle, who agreed to allow her to be completed to the Admiralty requirements in the event of the contract being secured by the Blyth Shipbuilding Company.
The Admiralty is stated to have voted £80,000 to be expended on the vessel, which is to be named the Ark Royal. She will be the first vessel of the kind built for any Government, and her completion will mark a new and important era in the history of British aviation.
A CALL TO ARMS
An addition of 100,000 Men to His Majesty’s Regular Army is immediately necessary in the present grave national emergency.
Lord Kitchener is confident this appeal will at once be responded to by all those who have the safety of our Empire at heart.
General Service is for a period of 3 years, or until the War is concluded. Age of Enlistment, 19 to 30.
Full information can be obtained at any Post Office in the Kingdom or at any Military Depot.
God Save The King.
LORD AND LADY RIDLEY’S GENEROSITY
Lord and Lady Ridley have kindly placed at the disposal of the infirmary 20 beds at Blagdon. The committee, at their meeting, gratefully accepted this generous offer, which has already been made use of. Nine patients were sent to Blagdon last Friday.
Mr R.S. Barrett, manager of Seaton Burn and Dinnington Collieries, in an intimation to the officers of the local miners’ association, states that in the present crisis the owners of these collieries regret that it will be impossible to work the pits regularly. They will, however, endeavour to work as much as circumstances will allow.
The privileges of free houses and fire coal will be continued to all those now receiving them, and also, in the case of the wives and families of the reservists, Territorials, and others who have volunteered to serve their country in any way.
In the case of men who are now in receipt of house rent and coal, this will be continued whether the pits work or not, provided that they work as regularly as they are able when opportunity offers.
MORPETH MEN CUTTING TRENCHES
Since the declaration of war, Morpeth has certainly been in the midst of the great excitement, and is doing what it can for the defence of the Empire.
Last week, the Territorials left the town for the war, and later the Imperial Yeomanry and the Territorial Reservists went off amid great enthusiasm. Besides this, the Morpeth auxiliary of the Red Cross Society turned out and went on duty at the various hospitals, which have been got ready in different parts of the town.
The quietude of Sunday morning was broken by another call for the Empire, when the Mayor (Councillor W.S. Sanderson) received a call from the military for men to dig trenches. He proceeded to the Market Place, and soon got a large number of willing volunteers, who came ready with pick and shovel.
By means of motor char-a-bancs and motor cars, the men were conveyed to their rendezvous and set to work, under the direction of the Mayor.
It was a sight never to be forgotten to see the men at work. In a wonderfully short time the Morpeth men cut three and a half miles of trenches. It was a lively Sunday afternoon, and the many different colours of the shirts – all clean – in the sunlight were very conspicuous. There were white shirts, striped shirts, checked shirts, and coloured shirts. The provisions for the men were kindly given by a number of people in the town, and conveyed to them.
The men returned to the town about three in the afternoon, much sunburnt, but well satisfied with their afternoon’s work.
The Mayor has kindly supplied us with a list of the names of the trench cutters:– James Gilroy, Wm. Burgess, Jas. McEwan, Jim McCarthy, Chas. Challoner, John Ratcliffe, T. Noble, J. Nichol, R. Niven, W. Nichol, R. Weatheritt, C. Kane, J. Houghton, C. Watson, A. Watson, T. Hogarth, W. Gibbins, R. Allison, J. Gibb, T. Manners, J. Froud, R. Peart, J. Hill, J. O’Hare, W. Price, W. Watson, R. Walker, J. Hopper, J. Blackhall, J. Cairns, W. Chapman, T. Douglas, J. Woodford, R.N. Armstrong, Hugh Nelson, J. Clark, A. Weightman, A. Drummond, A. Thompson, J. Thompson, A. Smailes, J. Forster, T. Nicholson, H. Taylor, W. Swinhoe, J. Swinhoe, J. Davison, J. Wilson, T. Maddison, T. Holleywell, G. Bates, E. Lawson, J. Hedley, E. Lamb, C.F. Lamb, J. Stewart, A. Purdy, C. Martin, T. Garvie, G. Aspin, J. Robinson, T. Shell, J. Evans, N. Brown, T. Welsh, J. Green, J. Goldstraw, J.W. Duncan, J. Stevinson, C. Banks, O. Stewart, J.J. Lock, J. Nichol, J. Layton, C. Seabrook, S. Seabrook, R. Fraser, W. Guy, E. Richardson, J. Lazenby, L. Strong, J. Lock, J. Athey, A. Davison, A. Dowson, A. Marshall, J. Parker, M. Dowson, Allon Burn, J.A. Turnbull, H.S. Giles, J. Banks, R. Lawan, J. Davison, E. Potts, W. Potts, J. O’Hair, Thos. Gunn, G.W, Harle, M. Cameron, J. Dempsey, G. Hedley, M. Knight, J. Challoner, A. Robson, G.R. Potts, S. Overend, W.L. Norman, M. Robson, T. Reay, Sid Whittle, G.W. Cairns, Jos. Foster, Nicholas Murray, R. Noble, T. Tait, O. Elliott, J. Wade, T. Todd, T. Young, S. Storey, J. McHenry, J. Bell, J. Murphy, R. Proctor, W. Holland, T. Telford, J. Ryle, R. Gibb, A. Blackhall, R. Gray, J. McCarthy, F. Rowe, H. Morrison, J. Thompson, J. Shannon, J. McCarthy, W. Caisley, A. Bowman, J. Brotherton, Wm. Davison, W.H. Foggerty, R. Douglas, A. Brown, J.H. Dixon, R. Hamilton, E. Stivenson, Joe Grey, R. Allen, G. Ainsley, Jas. Aspin, S. Wood, W. Oliver, E. Thompson, Ed. Dance, Joe Peters, Geo. Wilson, Robt. Hall, John Whinham, R. Alder, A. Todd, F. Murphy, H. Dinon, J. Dowson (registrar), Sergt. Tully, Capt. Evans, the Mayor of Morpeth, J. Pape, J. Scott, W. Lee, G. Boutflower, T. Common, C. Robson, C. Young, E. Weatheral, T. Smith, H. Walker, G. Douglas, C. Flannigan, J. Patterson, J. Whigham, C. Cooper, R.V. Baylis, J. Clark, Turner, P. Norman, Stoker, J.N. Armstrong, E. Armstrong, R. Oliver, R. Cooper, R. Harper, G. Gray, J. Purvis, Stevenson, J. Jewit, B. Waterson, W. Straughan, Russell, J. Familton, G. Jackson, D. McCarthy, Slassor, R. Middlemas, J. Gilboy, C. Lamb, Nichol, J. Dixon, W. Cornell, W. Lawson, F. Robertson, E. Garvie, W.R. Soulsby, I. Toshack, R. Dixon, Woodward, N. Johnson, W. Little, M. Birkett, S. Birkett, W. Robson, Simpson, J. Norman, A. Nichol, C. Emerson, J. Tully, R. Nicholson, T. Dodds, W. English, Temple, T. Payne, R. Dagnan, J. Bell, D. Marshall, C. Howe, J. Armstrong, F. Seabrook, J. Naseby, T. Robson, J. Harvie, N. Stobbart, T. Ward, W. Lowther, D. Dixon, J. McAndrews, J. Williams, L. Appleby, J. Challoner, J. Marshall, V. Lawson, E. Brady, W. White, R. Pagon, C. Bates, W. Wright, O.C. Wood, Jack Dunn, D. Douglas, G. Waterston, G. Dodds, J. Davison, John Jas. Adamson, John Thos. Adamson, W.S. Scott, F. Nicholson, W. Dunn, W. Stirling, John Smith, R. Bird, J. Noble, F. Phillipson, J. Gebhard, J. Dodds, Jos. Purvis, A. Hutchison, L. Haig, J. Garvte, A. Adams, W. T. Watmore, R. Pagan, C. Young, J. Marshall, J. Wetheral, J. Davison, and others.
The Mayor (Mr W.S. Sanderson) begs to thank all those who kindly turned out on Sunday morning last to help him to carry out the orders from the military authorities.
He also thanks those who kindly lent their motor wagons, motor cars, and other vehicles as conveyances; and those who kindly provided funds and eatables for the men who were working.
The Mayor has arranged with Mr James Pape, Oldgate Street, who has kindly offered premises as an exchange for lost shovels and other implements. If anyone who did not get his right shovel or anyone who got someone else’s in mistake will communicate with Mr Pape, he will endeavour to rectify matters.
RED CROSS WORK AT AMBLE
About 130 Broomhill miners were called upon at a late hour on Saturday night to dig trenches in Druridge Bay, between Chevington and Cresswell.
On Sunday night a large meeting of townspeople was held at Amble. Mrs Cresswell, commandant of the Red Cross Society, presided. A numerous assortment of articles, bedding, etc., for Red Cross purposes, was opened. A hospital has been set up in the Medd schoolroom.
LORD LIEUTENANT’S FUND OPENED
Alnwick Castle, 11th August, 1914.
A committee consisting of ladies and gentlemen, amongst others the High Sheriff, the chairman of the Quarter Sessions, the chairman of the Standing Joint Committee, the Mayor’s of boroughs, and the chairmen of the various Urban and Rural District Councils in the county of Northumberland, presided over by the Lord Lieutenant and chairman of the County Council, with power to add to their number, has been formed to raise and distribute a fund for the following purposes: —
1. The relief of distress, if any, arising among the civil population in consequence of the war. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has inaugurated a fund for this purpose, and the committee so formed is empowered to hand over to his fund such sum as it may in its discretion seem desirable.
2. The support of the wives and families of those whose services under arms prevents their maintaining those dependent upon them. The separation allowance granted by the Government is in very many cases totally inadequate.
3. Aid to the sick and wounded.
4. Other objects of a similar nature, if need for them should arise.
It is my duty, as Lord Lieutenant and chairman of the County Council, to invite from the local inhabitants of the county of Northumberland their liberal contributions to this fund. The necessity for its formation is great and urgent if the war is to be sustained with the vigour essential to success, and with the least possible amount of suffering to the nation, and a very large sum will be needed to meet the requirements of the case.
It will be greatly to the advantage of local interests if all contributions for the objects I have enumerated are sent through the Lord Lieutenant’s fund. They should be transmitted without delay to any of the more important banks and their branches in the county, or to me.
I am, sir, yours faithfully.
The following subscriptions were promised immediately after the Lord Lieutenant’s meeting:— His Grace the Lord Lieutenant, £5,000 and £1,000 a month; the Right Hon. Viscount Ridley, £5,000 (first subscription); Mr Thos. Taylor, £5,000.
MINERS AND HOME DEFENCE
A meeting convened by Mr W.S. Legge, agent to Lord Hastings, was held at Seaton Delaval Hall on Saturday, for the purpose of forming a “town guard” for the district, and making arrangements for other work for the defence of the country. There was a large attendance.
Mr Legge presided, and said the response to his appeal in the newspapers had been overwhelming. He had received about 90 signatures, and Mr Clepham, of the Backworth Coal Company, had got no less than 326, all of whom were working in the Government trenches at 4s. a day, and were willing to volunteer for any kind of home defence. (Applause).
He had been promised 1,000 Irish National Volunteers from Tyneside, and had received numerous letters from all sorts of people in the district between Alnwick and Sunderland. (Applause).
Mr John Bell, master shifter at Dinnington, had written that a large number of miners there had consented to attach themselves to some organised body. It was an entirely voluntary movement; they could join to suit themselves. There was no stipulation for a term of years. The form of agreement was: “I hereby declare that I am prepared to serve my country to the best of my ability for the purpose of home defence.”
The Rev. G.W. Jackson said they believed in God and prayer, and he would ask them to go their respective places of worship and pray for those who were going to battle for the country. They must, however, be ready to fight, if necessary. British pluck was recognised the world over, and they had already had an example of what even a little army could do. (Applause). He was sure they would all do their duty.
Lord Ridley subsequently addressed the meeting, explaining that important military duties was the cause of his not being present at the beginning. He understood there were many in the neighbourhood who wanted to do something in defence of their hearths and homes. (Applause).
He thought nothing could have been more magnificent than the way people had come forward to do whatever they could to help England in her moment of trial. (Applause). They must all do their share in whatever way they possibly could, and there were ways in which everybody could help. They could not all be soldiers. It meant a very considerable amount of training to be of any use as a soldier.
He did not gather that they were there to join the regular or auxiliary forces of the Crown; but he understood they all wanted to do something to defend their homes or to aid those who were defending their homes. That feeling was so universal that he believed there was not a village or hamlet in the whole of England in which it had not been expressed at that moment. Therefore he thought there should be an organised attempt to find active use for that feeling. (Applause).
All stores and munitions of war, rifles, uniforms, and military equipments would be wanted, first of all, for the soldiers, who were going abroad to fight the country’s battles; and secondly, for those who were going to defend this country against wanton invasion. But there was room in the villages to form themselves into some sort of town guards.
He was perfectly certain that in nearly every district they could find retired sergeant-instructors who knew and understood the elements of drill, so that they could at once enrol themselves into organised bodies, and, at a moment’s notice, do the necessary work. (Applause). They could distinguish themselves by wearing some sort of badge. They could also help in getting the names of those willing to enlist in the Regular and Territorial Forces. He was also certain that there was not an employer in the whole country who would not be willing to do his best for those who desired to drill or practice shooting.
There was another thing in which they could all help. Not in a few weeks’ time, but in a few hours. It was quite possible that they might find troops suddenly quartered anywhere, in their villages or in that hall — for the defence of the country. The civil population could do a very great deal for the comfort of the troops by readily placing everything at their disposal and by supplying stores — for payment, of course. Shopkeepers could do that.
But there was also a definite work for every able-bodied man to do at once, and that was to dig trenches at the seaside. He invited as many as possible to turn up at the Astley Arms, Seaton Delaval, with digging implements, and the military authorities would endeavour to have a sergeant-instructor on the spot to show them where they wanted the trenches. In that way they would be able to do something at once for the defence of the country. (Applause).
Among the forthcoming local events that have been abandoned owing to the war are Cambo exhibition and sports, Seaton Delaval show and sports, combined show of the Blagdon Tenants’ Agricultural Society and Stannington and District Horticultural Society, Coquetdale Agricultural Society’s show, Whalton and District horticulutral and industrial exhibition, Alnwick Flower Show, annual conference of the Northern Union of Mechanics’ Institutions, Warkworth Show, Angerton Exhibition, Bellingham Agricultural Show, Ellington Show, Newbiggin Show, Burradon and Whittingham Games.
ALARMING OCCURRENCE AT GUIDE POST
About 11 o’clock on Tuesday night, the residents in High Street, Guide Post, were greatly alarmed by a loud report. In a short time there was quite a crowd in the streets, but no information was forthcoming as to the cause. It is thought that some youths had discharged a quantity of gunpowder.
If, owing to the present Crisis, any Farmer in Northumberland or Durham finds himself unable to obtain manual horse, of mechanical labour, will he please apply to The Secretary, Newcastle Farmers’ Club, Newcastle-on-Tyne, or The Secretary, Northumberland and Durham Dairy and Tenant Farmers’ Association, Pegswood Moor, Morpeth.
NOTE - HERALD TELEGRAMS
We have made arrangements with the Central News Telegraph Agency, London, (who have Special War Correspondents at the front and at all the centres of interest), to receive daily War Telegrams, which we publish in a single page supplement every afternoon about 5 o’clock, and can be had gratis at the front shop.
The war cloud hanging over Europe has brought this subject to the front once more, and we are, as it were, up against it, because there is not the number of horses in reserve now that there used to be.
There are no cab, ‘bus, and tram horses to fall back upon and to subsidise for the purpose, and motors will not do in actual war. They probably would be perfectly successful, and possibly do better, in the matter of carrying supplies and acting as transports, but the great difficulty about them is that they require a good road to run on, and cannot leave it without disaster. Horses are more mobile, and when not actually pulling vehicles of some sort or another, can be practically taken anywhere across the country.
All this means that there is a greater liability to commandeer our farm horses in the future wherever they are required. A year or two ago the police went round farms and noted how many horses and their kind could be found on every farm, for the information of the War Department, so that in the event of actual war the authorities would know where they could find horses.
It is earnestly desired that things will not go as far as this, but the fact remains that for ordinary cavalry purposes there is, and always has been, a great scarcity of re-mounts, and it may lead to a very great amount of difficulty in the near future.
LADY RIDLEY’S WORK
Blyth U.D. Council
Mr Young remarked that Lord Ridley had intimated to him that Lady Ridley was anxious to come down to Blyth with the object of organising a scheme of providing sewing classes for soldiers. His Lordship thought the Council was the proper body to take the initiative. It was unanimously agreed that the Council should convene a meeting of all interested in the movement.
Many of the pits in Ashington are working one shift per week. The result of this is that a large number of young miners are finding their way into the ranks of the British Army.
During the last week recruiting officers have been busy, and it is almost a daily occurrence to find large batches of recruits leaving the station for Newcastle.
Many of those of a more peaceful temperament are taking advantage of the splendid weather to pass their enforced leisure by the sea at Newbiggin, and the sands at our local resort have staged large crowds daily.
“UNITY” THE WATCHWORD
Mr W. Straker, general secretary of the Northumberland Miners’ Association, has addressed the following letter to the members:—
Fellow Workmen and Brothers,
The Prime Minister’s speech in the House of Commons on Thursday night has revealed more regarding the attitude of Germany than has been given previously. International relationships are difficult to handle, and much cannot be made known, but at a time like this a democratic country ought to have more of the facts given it. If this had been done, I cannot think men like Thomas Burt, John Burns, and Lord Morley, and many other leading politicians, would have declared that neutrality was the best policy.
Can it be doubted in acting as they did they were only thinking of the terrible suffering which the working class will yet be called on to pass through?
I wish I could make all our people realise what it means. Never since ancient times has our home land been tested as she is to be tested now.
Her children, as children, will have had their differences, but in a time of danger such as this she calls on us all to rally to her help. Cease all industrial, civic, and party strife; forget the terms employed and employers; forget we are rich and poor; only remember we are Britons. We may have had different views on national and international policy. There can be but one word now: “Unity” must be our watchword.
Sufferings will have to be endured — we will bear them together. As a mining community we will play our part of the hardy class we are.
For the good of all, sacrifice will be necessary. Let us endeavour to make women and children the last to suffer. Where work is slack, let the married men with families have the greater share of it. Forego, or postpone, all local disputes to a future time. The length of that time we cannot tell; neither do we know who will see the end of it.
Revelations have been given us during the last few days which have made manifest the justice of our cause. Strong in the sense of justice and right, we will undaunted fight for victory.
Let us husband carefully our resources, for the time may be long; but be it long or short, let us quit ourselves like men, “each for all and all for each”.
Yours anxiously and faithfully,
MINERS DIG TRENCHES
About 300 miners from Seaton Burn and Dinnington Collieries were on Saturday engaged in digging trenches for home defence near the coast. The party, which were conveyed to and from their destination in the colliery carriages, had a hearty send-off, and quite an enthusiastic reception on their return with pick and shovel in hand.
QUEEN MARY’S APPEAL
On the initiative of the Mayoress of Morpeth, a meeting of women was held in the Council Chamber, Morpeth, on Tuesday afternoon for the purpose of arranging sewing meetings to make garments for the sailors and soldiers at the front. The first of these meetings will be held on Thursday, the 20th inst., at the Town Hall, at 2.30 and 6.30.
The Mayoress will be very grateful for any contributions of money, however small. Subscriptions may be sent to Mrs Atkinson, Wellbank, Morpeth, the treaurer.
It is hoped that all the women of the town will make an effort to attend these meetings.
PROPOSED HOSPITAL FOR CHOPPINGTON
On Saturday night, a largely attended meeting was held at Scotland Gate to consider the advisability of starting a hospital for the use of wounded soldiers and sailors.
After discussion, it was resolved to ask for the use of the old schoolroom. A large number of ladies volunteered to go round the district to seek for the necessary requisites.
Since the meeting the district has been canvassed, and a generous response has been the result. Many ladies have attended nightly at the headquarters, where they have been instructed in nursing by Dr Lees.
A meeting of men was held in the schools at Ponteland. The greatest enthusiasm prevailed, and it was decided to form a body prepared to do anything that was possible for home defence on the lines described by Lord Ridley in his recent speech.
Fifty-seven gave in their names. There will be no age limit, and all who desire to defend their homes and do what they can are requested to communicate with Mr J. Jameson, Fernlea, Ponteland.
PONTELAND LADIES READY TO HELP
In response to a notice addressed to those who had attended first-aid classes and all interested in the work, a meeting was held at the vicarage, Ponteland.
There was an eager desire to help in any nursing work in which assistance was needed. A committee was appointed to collect funds to be spent in material to be made into garments in response to Queen Mary’s appeal. The material will be cut up and a general meeting will be held in the schools on Monday next at 7pm, to which all are invited who desire to take garments to be made at home.
NATIONAL RELIEF FUND
The Mayor of Morpeth, having been requested by the Prince of Wales to form a local branch of the proposed fund for the relief of distress consequent upon the war, a meeting was held in the Council Chamber, on Monday evening, to appoint a general committee to make the general arrangements for procuring subscriptions and the distribution of relief.
There was a very representative attendance, the chair being taken by the Mayor (Councillor W.S. Sanderson).
At the onset the Mayor said that they were called that night to consider the question of raising money for the Prince of Wales’ National Relief Fund. The first thing they had to do was to trust in Almighty God, and the next thing was to be patriotic.
This was not the time for them to be excited or get into a panic. In this grave crisis they had to get their backs to the wall and act as men. They did not want to shirk their responsibilities or to put their responsibilities on others. They wanted to try and get as much money as possible to send on to the Prince of Wales’ Fund, so that all who might suffer through this war would be in some way provided for. (Applause).
The Town Clerk explained that the first thing heard of the Prince of Wales’ Fund was on receipt of a telegram on Wednesday night from a Local Government Board Inspector. This inspector called upon him on Thursday. The inspector told him that the object of the organisation was not entirely to raise money or distribute money. It had been inaugurated for the purpose of allaying panic which at one time threatened to break out in certain parts of the country, and to satisfy the poor people that there was no necessity for them to be excited or get into a panic. There was ample provision in the country for providing everybody, and it was the duty of the committees to let the people see that there was provision being made in every district for the poor during the war.
The Mayor was head of this organisation, and it was his duty to keep in touch with the clergy, National Insurance Committee, approved societies, friendly societies, and trade unions, and that others should be asked to take part in this organisation to administer this relief. Every institution in Morpeth had been invited to send representatives to this meeting.
Probably the Government might find it necessary to provide funds out of the National Exchequer towards relief of distress caused by the war. In the meantime the Government had extended the Feeding of Children’s Bill. It was only compulsory during the time the children attended the school, but to serve in this emergency the Government had passed a measure whereby the feeding would be continued during the period the children were not at school.
The local committee would as far as possible, have to discourage indiscriminate charity, and see that all subscriptions were sent to the Mayor, and then forwarded to the central fund. The Mayor mentioned that there was a certain amount of distress in the town at the present time. They wanted to get as much money as they possibly could in order to relieve distress immediately.
Mr Chas Grey proposed that the burgess roll be divided into 12 sections, and each section be given to two members of the committee to call upon each person on the roll. By that means everybody would get a chance of contributing to the fund.
The Rector said it would be rather unfortunate from the point of view of the fund if the nation did not realise adequately the burdens which this fund would sooner or later have to bear. The fund must be in millions rather than in hundreds of thousands. It was not the time to give any small sums, but according to their means, in such a way as they would feel the giving.
After further discussion, the Mayor asked if several members of the committee would attend at the Council Chamber each day to deal with immediate cases of need, and the following volunteered:— Messrs R. N. Swinney, J. Elliott, G. Jackson, C. Grey, F. Brummell, and Canon Davies.
The Rector stated that he was quite willing to relieve any pressing cases from the church funds. (Applause).
The Mayor stated that what money was collected by tomorrow would be sent on to Buckingham Palace.
The Rector suggested that the Mayor might send out an appeal to the ladies of the town to make garments and other useful articles for the soldiers at the front and for needy cases at home. On the proposition of Mr Dakyns the Mayoress was appointed the head of the organisation to receive work.
PRUDENTIAL AGENTS AND THE WAR
The Prudential Assurance Company have issued the following circular to their agents:—
In the case of agents who are Territorials going on active service and naval and army reservists recalled to the colours, it will, of course be necessary to place the debit in other hands. You will be pleased to learn that the directors have decided to grant for the present an allowance, which added to the service pay, shall secure a sum equivalent to the weekly collectable salary, which amount the superintendent will be desired to pay to the wife, if the agent is married, or if not, to other dependents, but in the latter case we shall require full particulars.
The intention is to find agencies for men on their return to civil life. In the case of superintendents of district offices the service pay will be augmented to a sum equivalent to their weekly salary in the same manner, and they will re-employ them on their return to civil life.
Although it is not definitely stated that agents who had left to defend their country will find their own particular book vacant on their return, similar work will be found for them.
RED CROSS SOCIETY
Mrs Joicey and the Committee of the Morpeth Branch of the Red Cross Society, will be very grateful for any gifts in money towards the expenses of their hospital in Morpeth.
They wish to thank those who have already sent contributions of clothing, etc.
Cheques to be made payable to Lloyds Bank, Morpeth. Small amounts to be sent to the Secretary, Mrs Frank Brumell, Fulbeck, Morpeth.
The steamer Thrift, which arrived at Blyth on Friday evening from Fecamp, conveyed 14 English ladies from the French seaport, where they were stranded on account of the war, to Dover. The voyage from France was uneventful.
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE SOCIETIES READY TO HELP
The North-Eastern Federation of Women’s Suffrage Societies wish it to be known that it has suspended its ordinary political work for the time being, and is preparing to use the entire organisation of the Federation for the help of those who will be the sufferers from the economic and industrial dislocation caused by the war.
The societies throughout the area will be authorised to offer their services to the local authorities and to assist in any scheme for the relief of unemployment and distress which may be found necessary.
MORPETH TOWN COUNCIL
The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held on Tuesday night.
LOCAL POSTMASTER’S APPLICATION
The Mayor said that since the war broke out he had received a call from the Postmaster, who had asked him if the Council would have any objection to closing the post office for two hours each day and the suspension of the five o’clock delivery at night.
The Postmaster pointed out that five of his staff had been called to the front, and they were so hampered for hands that he found it impossible to carry on the business of the post office in the ordinary way.
As Mayor, he knew that the suspension of the five o’clock delivery would cause inconvenience to some, but he felt that they would feel for the officials at the post office being on duty for so many hours. He took it upon himself to grant the Postmaster’s request, in order that the staff might get their meals in a regular way.
There was a sentry stationed at the post office door to direct anyone to the side door for urgent business.
The Council unanimously supported the Mayor in what he had done.
WAR FIELD HOSPITAL
In response to an application for the use of the Council’s isolation hospital and beds for field hospital during the war with Germany, the Properties Committee recommended that the Borough Hall be offered, and that 15 of the Council’s hospital beds and bedding be lent to the authorities pending their obtaining beds of their own.
In moving the adoption of the above report, Mr Norman said they had an application before them last Wednesday night for the Isolation Hospital. The committee thought it would be more convenient, when they had the Borough Hall empty, and more convenient for the purpose, if they granted the hall. They also agreed that 15 beds be brought down next day from the isolation hospital so that the Borough Hall could be equipped immediately and made ready for any emergency.
The Council agreed that the committee had done the right and proper thing.
THE FOOD SUPPLY
The General Works Committee reported that the Town Clerk had been instructed to write the Local Government Board, urging Government action to put a stop to the unnecessary inflation of food prices in consequence of the war with Germany.
Mr Norman stated that the committee had met at a time when things looked very black, and they thought they ought to do what they could to try and put a stop to the inflated prices which were going on at the time. The Government had now taken action.
Town Clerk: The Board must have seen the committee’s recommendation. (Laughter).
A PATRIOTIC ACT
Mr Grey thought it would be a very kindly act on the part of this Council if all tenants of the Corporation houses who were called to the front be excused from paying rent during the continuance of the war.
Mr Swinney seconded the proposal.
The Mayor said that he had attended a meeting that afternoon, convened by the Duke of Northumberland, and that question was freely discussed. At the collieries it was reported that the owners had decided to allow the wives and families of those workmen who were called for service to remain in the houses rent free with the usual supply of coals. He had great pleasure in supporting the motion.
This was unanimously agreed to.
Our Own Column
THE WILY AGGRESOR
That the German Emperor has been the wily aggressor in this the most momentous of European wars is now proved up to the hilt. The excuse he put forward for his hot-headed and hurried interference was the local dispute between Austria and Servia. That was his ostensible plea, but it did not indicate his real motive.
His dastardly attempt to induce the British Government to agree beforehand to an arrangement whereby he would be allowed a free hand to seize all French colonies revealed his deep design. His offer, a bribe, as it ought in truth to be called, was that in return he would refrain from bombarding any part of the north coast of France. The prompt rejection of such an underhand proposal showed that British ideas and principles of international conduct are fixed on an elevated level compared with which those of the Emperor William are base and degrading.
Foiled on that point, he tried another, which disclosed him in even a worse light. If the British Government would abstain from upholding and defending the independence of Belgium, so that he could hew his way through that country, he would undertake, at the end of the war, to restore her to the position of an independent State. Prussia, like Britain, was a party to the international treaty that guaranteed Belgian independence. The Kaiser, to serve his own immediate ends, was not only ready to repudiate his bond, but did his utmost to tempt this country to take the same cowardly step. British honour could not brook the thought of it. The suggestion was contemptuously thrown back in his face.
Those two presumptuous proposals took for granted two events which it was not in his power to guarantee; he did not know if his fleet would ever get within sight of the north coast of France, and at the end of the war, he might be bereft of all power to deal with the fate of Belgium. He may be the Kaiser and a sort of high and mighty lord to the Germans, but he is not the Supreme Disposer of all events.
A CHANGED ENGLAND
When a country is at war, it is essential in the first place that those who have to defend its shores should be as amply provided for as possible. In the next place it is imperative that the people act under the direction of those who take supreme command. Thus it comes about that at the present moment England finds itself under martial law. Everything we possess is at the service of those authorities upon whom we depend, not only to guard our homes, but to maintain order throughout the land.
Happily, so far, this state of things has not inflicted any great hardship, for those who have to discharge the unpleasant duties of depriving tradesmen, farmers, and others of their horses or to billet officers and men in private houses have had every regard for the convenience of those affected by an arbitrary but needful change in affairs.
In such a case as that in which we now find ourselves, the withdrawal of military horses and baggage wagons leaves a gap which cannot be filled at once. Thus the office in command of a district gives the order commandeer all likely horses and vehicles. Immediately that is put into effect, with the result that tradesmen are without means of delivery and farmers are at a pretty pass to reap their harvest. In some districts horses have been driven off by the hundred during the past two weeks. Yet such is the temper of the country that not a single complaint is heard. Everybody seems disposed to do all they can to make the best of the situation.
Women are banding themselves into various societies for the making of linen articles, which will be of use among the wounded; others are hard at work doing what they can in gaining knowledge of nursing and ambulance duties. For many of the huge barracks are being rapidly converted into hospitals. In the late war Japanese women performed prodigies of splendid service to the wounded. English women will do as much should the occasion arise.
Morpeth Herald war leader sketch, August 14, 1914.