In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1915, as reported by the Morpeth Herald. All material is published with kind permission of the Mackay family. We thank them for their support and generosity in allowing us access to their archive.
MORPETH BOARD OF GUARDIANS
The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Board of Guardians was held on Wednesday. The Hon and Rev. W.C. Ellis presided.
A letter was received from the Board of Trade stating that owing to the number of miners who had joined the colours the supply of coal for home consumption for next winter would be less than usual, and urged the Guardians to accumulate as large a stock of coal as possible.
The clerk stated that there was no room for storage.
It was agreed to take no action.
WAR SAVINGS CAMPAIGN
A meeting was held in the Town Hall, Morpeth, on Wednesday evening, in connection with the War Savings Campaign throughout the country. The Rector of Morpeth (Canon Davies), presided, and he was supported on the platform by F. Rogers Esq., London, and H. Drysdale Woodcock, Esq., barrister, London, representatives of the War Savings Campaign. There was only a moderate attendance.
Mr Rogers, in the course of an earnest address, said their object was to interest the whole of the British people in the War Loan, and to make them feel that it was their duty to support the loan for the help of their country. In going round other parts of the country he found that the people felt profoundly that it was their duty to help at this time.
The first thing needed was a sufficient sum of money, and they had got to raise it either by tax or loan, or some other way, because they must win this war. There was no question about it.
They appealed on behalf of the Government to support the new War Loan, and if any of they had any money, they should invest it in the loan.
They were making this appeal to everybody throughout the country – male or female – for it was finance on a democratic basis.
There was a great deal of money in the country, and they asked them to invest it in the new War Loan, where they would get 4½ per cent interest for their money. It was the best investment they could get anywhere.
It was possible to invest as small a sum as five shillings by going to the nearest post office and buying a War Loan voucher, and continuing to buy more and more as they saved up the money.
The War Loan was being taken up very vigorously in a great many of the factories, and employers were making it easy for their workmen to invest in the new War Loan.
He appealed to them to take their share in the loan. They had got to support their men at the front. This was a way of doing it, and they should feel it their duty to do so. Three things were needed of them to win the war, viz., British pluck, British staying power, and British loyalty, and he thought they possessed all these.
They should deny themselves of pleasure and things they liked for the sake of the country in her hour of danger. They should save in every possible way, because when they left this war they would be many times poorer than they were before they went into it.
Mr H. Drysdale Woodcock also addressed the meeting.
Mr J.E. Johnson moved, and Councillor E. Norman seconded, that a local committee be appointed to try and carry out the suggestions of the speakers.
This was agreed to.
The following were appointed to the committee: Councillor Norman, Messrs J.E. Johnson, E.D. Soulsby, E. Noble, J. Dowson, J.J. James, J.S. Mackay, and Miss H.B. Nicholson. Mr W. Simpson was appointed convenor.
MORPETH TOWN COUNCIL
The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held on Tuesday evening. The Mayor (Councillor T.W. Charlton) presided.
The Town Clerk then referred to the question of insuring the Council’s property against aircraft.
Mr Grey moved that the Council’s property be insured against aircraft, and that the rest of the business be adjourned as a mark of respect to the late Alderman.
Mr Duncan seconded the proposal, which was agreed to.
The Army Council have authorised the formation of a special battalion of infantry in the Northern Command, to be composed of farmers and farmers’ sons, under Lieut.-Colonel the Earl of Faversham.
The battalion will be known as the 21st Service Battalion King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Yeoman Rifles). This brings back to infantry the name of yeoman, which has made itself famous in the history of the British army.
Enlistments will be on the usual terms and conditions as for the new armies — standard measurements, height 5ft. 2ins., and upwards, with corresponding chest measurements, age 19 to 40.
The battalion will be raised by platoons over the whole of the Northern Command, three platoons to be raised in Northumberland. The officer to command and raise each platoon will be specially selected by his Majesty’s Lieutenant of the County.
Recruiting is now open in this district and application should be made at the local recruiting office, 12 Market Place, Morpeth, where all particulars as to pay and allowances will be supplied.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Pte. A. Wade, 8th N.F. (late of Morpeth) wounded in the Dardanelles.
Private H. Crawford, of Newsham, has been wounded.
Private G. Wilkinson, of Cowpen, has been wounded.
A.B. Seaman T. Forster, of Cramlington Colliery, has been wounded.
Drummer H.C. Lee, 8th Northumberland Fusiliers, of Blyth, has been wounded.
Lance-Corporal J. Strong, 8th Northumberland Fusiliers, of Shiremoor, is missing.
Private J. Moscrop, Northumberland Fusiliers, of Choppington, has been wounded.
Pte. G. Strong, 8th Northumberland Fusiliers, has been wounded.
Private A.B. Norman, of Shiremoor, has been wounded.
Private J.W. Jordan, of Newsham, has been wounded.
Private J.W. Graham, of Newsham, has been wounded.
Private G. Reed, of Newsham, has been wounded.
Private T. Moody, of Seaton Delaval, has been wounded.
Private W. Muldoon, of Bedlington, is a prisoner of war.
Private H. Tweddle, of Blyth, has been wounded.
Private J.W. Johnson of Newbiggin, has been wounded.
Pte. C. Cooper, 8th Northumberlands, of Old Hartley, has been wounded.
Pte. A. Parkes, East Yorks Regiment, of Choppington, is missing.
Pte. R.W. Dodds, 6th East Yorks Regiment, of Choppington, has been wounded.
Private T. Ridley, 7th Border Regiment, of New Hartley, has been wounded.
Corporal Norman Long, 9th West Yorks, of Newbiggin, has been wounded.
Pte. J. Robson, 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, of Netherton Colliery, has been gassed.
Pte. William Mount, the husband of Mrs Mount, of 6 Winship Street, Newsham, has been killed in action at the Dardanelles.
The death of Pte. William Lawson, 6th East Yorks, has been officially notified to relatives at Blyth. Private Lawson was killed in action.
News has been received that Private D. Moffitt, 9th Northumberland Fusiliers, has been wounded in France. Private Moffitt is the son of Mr Charles Moffitt, of 6 Howard Place, Gosforth.
Mrs Imry, of 17 Cobbler’s Row, Dudley Colliery, has received information that her son, Seaman Norman Imry of the Royal Naval Division, has been wounded in the Dardanelles.
Mrs Crawford, of Newsham, has been officially notified that her husband, Pte. John R. Crawford, of the 6th East Yorks, has been wounded at the Dardanelles. Crawford previously worked at Crofton Pit as a hewer. His brother, Harry Crawford, of the 8th Northumberlands was reported wounded some time ago. Altogether there were six of the brothers Crawford with the colours.
News has been received of the death of Lance-Corporal William Thompson, of 20 Store Row, Cambois Colliery, who died from wounds received in the Dardanelles, at the Military Hospital, Alexandria, after a stay of a few days. He was one of the first to enlist, after the declaration of war, from Cambois, which little colliery has responded so well to its country’s call.
The following is a duplicate of a letter received from the resident chaplain of the Alexandria Military Hospital, by his parents:—
Dear Mrs Thompson,— No doubt you will have had word by this time of the death of your son, who passed away at 4am today. I was with your lad several times during his short stay of a few days in this hospital. He was in the Oser-al-Waska portion of the institution. The building was originally a school and is admirably suitable for its present use. Your boy was well cared for by the nurses and doctors, and everything possible was done to help him. He died very peacefully and was buried in the afternoon with military honours in the Alexandra military cemetery. Praying that God may comfort you in this time of bereavement and help you realise that your son died in a noble cause.—
Yours faithfully, R.H. Pillowen.
ROLL OF HONOUR
NICHOL.— Killed in action at the Dardanelles, on August 10th, 1915, Lance-Corpl. John Nichol, 8th N.F., late of Morpeth. Deeply mourned by his wide Ettie and son Ernie. R.I.P.
SHIEL.— Killed in action in France, Sept. 6th, 1915, aged 27 years, Pte. John James Shiel, 9th Batt. N.F., eldest son of Agnes Terry and the late Robert Shiel, 161 North Seaton Road, Ashington, and husband of Jane Shiel. Deeply mourned.
AMPLE SUPPLY OF SANDBAGS
There is evidently no shortage of sandbags for use at the front, and we can state on the most reliable authority that the supply of bags is so ample that none from private sources are required or could be made use of if sent to the military authorities.
N.E.R. PASSENGERS’ COMPLAINTS
THE COMPANY’S REPLY
“We have been unable to appoint any summer staff either at Newcastle, Whitley Bay, Monkseaton, or other stations, and this is entirely due to our inability to get men owing to the war.”
Such is a reason given by the Divisional Supt. of the N.E.R. for arrangements at Monkseaton Station, complained of officially by Blyth Council, which has voiced the complaints of the travelling public, not only to Blyth, but travellers who travel frequently by way of the Avenue Branch to Newsham and places northward.
The letter states:— “I beg to say that it is only in the case of passengers who arrive at Monkseaton by trains from Manors North who have to travel some extra distance to join the train for Blyth.
“They have to walk from about the centre of the down platform at which they arrive to the rear portion of the platform on the opposite side of the station, and this, unfortunately, cannot be avoided if the Company is to have a check upon passengers changing from one train to the other.
“At the old station, as you are no doubt aware, it was impracticable to check passengers transferring from the electric trains to the Blyth train, and vice versa, and there were excellent grounds for believing that this was taken advantage of to a very considerable extent.
“In regard to the opinion expressed by your Council as to the arrangements being very unsatisfactory, may I be allowed to point out that while it is quite true that connections are missed it is not true that the travelling public can scarcely ever now get a connecting train either to or from Blyth at Monkseaton.
“It is admitted that during the time the necessary alternations to the lines and signals were being carried out several connections were missed, and this, unfortunately has also happened since the work was completed.
“The explanation is the abnormally heavy traffic we are having to convey by the electric trains owing to the large number of military located in the neighbourhood of the coast, and a number of military specials having also to be run.”
MUSIC IN THE MARKET PLACE
Colonel Watson much regrets that the band of the 6th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, Third Line, will not play in the Market Place on Friday and on the Stanners on Sunday of this week, as usual, owing to being away from the district on recruiting work.
THE MAYORESS OF MORPETH’S SEWING PARTY
The hon. treasurer has to acknowledge with many thanks, £1 1s 6d from Mrs Morgan’s tea; £1 10s 6d from Mrs Creighton’s tea, and a monthly subscription of 2s from Mrs Jobling, Howard Castle.
RED CROSS HOSPITAL, MORPETH
The Commandant acknowledges with grateful thanks gifts from the following:— Mrs Burn, magazines; sewing meeting, pillow cases and handkerchiefs (per Mrs Thos. Swinney); Mrs G.W. Purdy, flowers and vegetables; some of the girls of the Council School, 2s for eggs; Miss E. Mouat, scones; Mrs Young, flowers; Mrs Clayton, Spital Hill, vegetables; Miss Appleby, Smallburn, vegetables and fruit; Mrs Burdon, vegetables and fruit; Miss Lumsden, flowers and fruit; Mrs Irwin, grapes; Mrs Brumell, flowers; Mrs Joicey, flowers, vegetables and fruit; Mrs Hudson lettuce and jam; Mrs Spaul, eggs; Miss Simpson, cake; Mr John Walton, shelf baize; Mrs Temple, salad; Mrs Jobson, bread and meat shape; Mrs Spencer, vegetables; Mrs Bainbridge, Eshott, vegetables; Mrs Atkinson, Newgate Street, eggs, butter, cakes and cigarettes; Mrs Pearson, jam; Mrs Clayton, flowers; Thos. Ellison and Fred Tuck, flowers; Mrs Southern, Newbiggin, bed jackets, shirts and towels; Mrs Cuthbertson, vegetables and rhubarb; Colonel Collis, the gift of £5.
We are not near the end of this frightful war yet — perhaps have not passed the crisis — but it will come to an end some time sooner or later. Very naturally, farmers like other people are thinking of how things will fall out then, and of what differences there may be likely to come either in the working of the land, the kind of stock and crop most required, and the prices that will be going for farm produce.
Taking the working of the land first, it is pretty certain that there will be great chances. A tremendous number of farm workers have enlisted and a large number of farms are being worked by only a proportion of the men usually required in normal times; the present writer himself, for instance, has finished a harvest of 150 acres of corn of a medium crop with only four men to do it, and there are hundreds of other farms who have been similarly short handed, yet have won through.
Naturally, as a result of this the question arises, shall we not be able in future to do likewise, and to put through the work with a half or two-thirds of the staff we have usually considered necessary!
The probability is that we shall, because the number and quality of labour-saving implements — driven by motors instead of horses — is rapidly on the increase, and very soon one man will be able to do as much as three, whether there is a war or not.
As an offset to this, however, there will probably be a quickening up and extension in the matter of production, which will necessitate the employment of more workers, so that the one thing will balance the other.
The development of cropping will be one of the outcomes of the future. When the cost of production is reduced and the value of the produce enhanced there will be every inducement to break up and that was laid away in the days of “depression,” and got in for more extensive cropping once more.
But, further there will also be every inducement to try intensive work on the extended acres, for we know more about selections of seed, manuring use to catch crops, and so on than the old days, while having better and more powerful implements to do anything.
As to prices, these will rule higher than they have been, for they were rising before the war began, and the supply will not in future be greater than the demand, as was the case in the “bad times.”
The outlook is therefore very hopeful, though farming in future will be very different from what it was in the past.
A KITCHEN GARDEN — The nation has now realised the importance of edible gardening. The possible scarcity of vegetables and fruit will not be due to enemy submarines, but to foreign land colonial countries being engaged with the sword rather than the pruning hook.
The private garden can allot the far end of the garden to vegetables. A big bed might be marked out for their culture. A side border in the flower patch could be devoted to fruit. The vegetable plot is better double dug, which procedure will be described next week.
However, simple digging will grow almost all vegetables, but omit the parsnip, and restrict oneself to “globe” beets and “stump-rooted” carrots. Crops grown for their long root stems cannot develop in unworked ground.
RECRUITING MEETINGS IN ASHINGTON DISTRICT
In connection with the recruiting campaign of the 4th Northumberland Fusiliers, a successful meeting was held at Seaton Hirst on Friday night.
The audience listened with evident satisfaction to the recruiting speeches of Lieut. Ruddock, Private Grinton, and Private Thompson, with the result that a number of recruits signed on.
On Saturday, well-attended meetings were held at Ashington, the speakers being Lieut. Colonel Maurice Moore, Private Grinton, and Private Thompson. A number of recruits were secured.