In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1916, 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.
An event of considerable interest to the town took place at Morpeth on Wednesday when the Mayor (Ald. Ed. Norman), on behalf of the Corporation, received the custody of a captured German gun lent by the War Office for exhibition purposes.
About noon the gun was hauled from the railway station to the Market Place by men of the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers, accompanied by an escort, and headed by the band. Many of the townspeople turned out to witness the interesting ceremony.
On arrival at the Market Place the gun was placed on the north side facing the Town Hall. There the troops were lined up in the form of a square. The Mayor, who was wearing his chain of office, was supported by Alderman R.J. Carr and S.W. Brown, Councillors T.W. Charlton (ex Mayor), J.H. Simpson, W. Duncan, George Jackson, Chas. Grey, Jas. Elliott, R.N. Swinney, J.R. Temple, Mr Jas. Jardin (town clerk), Mr J. Davison (surveyor), Mr G. Middlemiss (rate collector), and Mr F.D. Wood (mace bearer).
Colonel Kyle, of the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers, in a few words handed over the gun, on which is the following:— ”77 m.m. German field gun, captured at Nery, Sept., 1915.”
The Mayor, in reply, said that it gave him the greatest possible pleasure to receive from Colonel Kyle the custody of the gun. He was pleased that it had fallen to the lot of a county regiment to bring the gun from the station to this place. They were all proud of their Northumberland Fusiliers and of their achievements. He was delighted that they had been able to get one of those captured guns to exhibit in the borough.
There was not a regiment which had not some representatives of the ancient borough in its ranks, and on nearly every man-of-war they would find a Morpethian on board. He was confident that, as a town they would do all they could to help those who were fighting their battles on land and sea.
He referred to the distinguished officers and men who had come to the town from time to time, and it had been their privilege to receive and welcome two D.C.M.s in their town, and he was glad to learn that there was a third one.
In conclusion he said that he hoped they would all appreciate the honour that had been done the town and give the soldiers every encouragement.
Councillor T.W. Charlton expressed his pleasure at being present on such an historic occasion. He said that it was largely through the action of Ald. Carr, who first raised the question in the Council, that they had got the gun.
They had sent hundreds of men from this borough to the Army, and they would still find more men to fight for the Mother Country and crush Prussian militarism. He hoped that other trophies of war would be sent to the borough. It deserved one, for Morpeth had done its duty.
LOCAL OFFICER’S DEATH FROM WOUNDS
We regret to announce the death, from wounds received in action, of Lieut. Wilfrid H. Bainbridge, of the 1st line 6th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
Lieut. Bainbridge, who was wounded nearly a fortnight ago, died on the 15th inst. from his injuries, and by his death the 6th the Army loses a valued and popular officer, while the city of Newcastle is bereft of a well-known and highly-esteemed business man.
Lieut. Bainbridge was a son of Mrs and the late Mr T.H. Bainbridge of Eshott Hall. His brother, Lieut. Lindsay Bainbridge, fell gallantly in action last spring, when the local units were thrown into action almost immediately on their arrival in France.
Prior to obtaining his commission in the 6th Northumberland Fusiliers, the late Lieut. W.H. Bainbridge performed service of considerable value in many ways toward the task of the country. He was a member of the Military Committee of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, which had been instrumental in raising such a fine unit for service, and was active in the interests of that body before he joined the “6th.”
He was interested in Mission work in Newcastle and was also a trustee of the Newcastle and Gateshead Home Teaching Society for the Blind.
A MORPETHIAN’S COMMUNICATION
Sir,— I should be very grateful if you could give me a space in your valuable paper. I have often thought of writing to you, but up to now I have never had the time nor the opportunity.
It might surprise you when I say that I have often found the “Morpeth Herald” in the trenches left by someone who belongs to the dear old town or the surrounding districts, and I can assure you that it has given me great pleasure to have found same and read it.
I found one the other day which had in it a paragraph relating to a dance for the benefit of the boys at the Front (the 7th Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers) and I was very pleased to think that someone had thought about them as it gives the boys great pleasure to have something from home.
You should see the excitement when we get the mail in, especially when in the trenches. “Hello, Tom; anything for me?” “No, Jack; sorry. Better luck next mail” — (a sigh and a long face).
I have been here in the trenches now since October until the date of writing so I have an idea of what things are like out here. We have had a very trying time this winter, but one will always find the boys in good spirits and always ready to crack jokes in all sorts of weather.
We have a song out here which fits in very well. It runs something like this, and the title of it is: Put All Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag
Put all your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile;
Put all your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile boys, all the while;
What’s the use of worrying
As you know it ain’t worth while,
So put all your troubles in your old kit bag
And smile, smile, smile.
I have seen the boys when they have been dead beat and someone has started this refrain, pull themselves smartly together and step out with a will. This is the way we get through our work out here.
I have often wondered if anyone has even given a thought to the boys who left Morpeth on the 3rd of September 1914, all of whom were of the Morpeth Detachment of the National Reserve. I think there were about 22 of them. Some of them, I am sorry to say, have gone west.
I don’t remember all their names now, but here are some of them:— Mark Scott, J. Jewitt, D. Yule, J.W. Atkinson, T. Bowman, T. Henderson, R. Hamilton, F. Black, T. Tully, T. Dodsworth, R. Jewitt, G. Green, C. Rogers, and D. Frater — the majority of these were married men with families, and I only hope and trust that someone has given a thought to their wives and families. — I remain, yours respectfully,
SERGT. T.S. CARMAN (9085),
(Late of the National Reserve),
“D” Coy., 12th Batt. N.F.,
VEGETABLE PRODUCTS COMMITTEE
Among the many institutions which have come into existence since the war broke out to give a helping hand to our gallant defenders of our shores none are more worthy of our best support than that great organisation — the Vegetable Products Committee — with many branches all over the United Kingdom.
The work which that committee sets out to do is to provide weekly supplies of fruit and vegetables to the Fleet. It is an excellent work which these branches are carrying on, and deserve at all times to be generously supported.
We have one of these branches in our own town, and it is under the supervision of two well-known ladies, Mrs L. Fenwick and Mrs Spencer, who have a stall in the Town Hall on the first Wednesday of each month. From that depot they send regularly a consignment of fruit and vegetables to the Grand Fleet, and it is hardly necessary to add that the “goods” are greatly appreciated by the men.
We need only add that the above-mentioned ladies will feel grateful to a generous public for further supplies, and we hope that their labours on behalf of such a worthy cause will continue to receive the support it so richly deserves.
Subscriptions in money to buy produce will also be thankfully received.
COUNTY OF NORTHUMBERLAND
The Education Committee has decided to offer:—
(1) Junior Scholarships for boys and girls under 13 years of age on August 1st, 1916, tenable at Secondary Schools. Applications to be made at once to Head Teachers of Elementary or Secondary Schools.
(2) Two Scholarships for training boys for the Royal Navy or Merchant Service.
(3) Scholarships for preliminary training in Nursing.
Full particulars and forms of application of (2) and (3) may be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope or wrapper to the undersigned.
C. WILLIAMS, Secretary,
UNION OF SHOP ASSISTANTS
The monthly report of the Northern Council of the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants shows that fourteen of the branches have increased their membership. The new members were made up largely of women who have taken the places of men who have joined the Colours.
As the result of negotiations conducted by Mr H.G. Baskett, district organiser, an advance of wages and improved conditions have been obtained for women members employed in the confectionary trade.
The branches have been circulated on the question of organising men and women employed in warehouses, and a strong plea is urged to the members to bring the Union to the notice of such persons.
Carrot Culture.— Next to men and munitions of war, home-grown food is, at the present time the country’s chief need.
The Board of Agriculture say: “Those who do not bend their energies to the task of raising more produce must be classed with the man unwilling to fight for his country, or with the munition worker who restricts his output.”
Present conditions most certainly call us to mobilise our gardens. We can produce some food for ourselves, and thus make our gardens save us money. Eking out the housekeeping allowance should not be the main object in growing vegetables, yet is assuredly an added inducement.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Private Thomas Bowman, 2nd D.L.I., late of Seaton Delaval, has been killed in action.
Private John Willcox, 1st Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers, has been missing since the battle of Mons, and Private Albert Coulthard, 1-7th Northumberland Fusiliers, has been missing since the battle of St Julien. Official information has been received by their parents in Alnwick that, in reply to their inquiries, no further information having been received of these young soldiers, the Army Council had been regretfully constrained to conclude that their deaths occurred at the places mentioned.
News has been received by Mrs Summerell, of Radcliffe, that her husband, Private W. Summerell, died from wounds on February 22nd. In a letter to her from one of his comrades, it tells how he was one of a party repairing the wire entanglements, when he was shot in the back by a sniper. He was taken to the hospital, where he died three hours after being admitted, never regaining consciousness. He leaves a wife and two children to mourn his loss.
A soldier of the 3/9th D.L.I., stationed at Rothbury, died here very suddenly on Saturday evening.
On Monday all soldiers stationed here followed the remains to the station, his funeral having been arranged to take place at his own home. The Rothbury Brass Band (Mr G. Gray, conductor) played the Dead March and “Lead Kindly Light.” The scene was a very affecting one.
A Grand Charity War Concert will be held in the Playhouse, Morpeth, on Thursday afternoon, April 6th, at 2.30, in aid of the
Y.M.C.A. War Emergency Fund (foreign and local).
Artistes: Miss Olive Reavell (Soprano), Alnwick. Mrs J.R. Mitchell, A.R.C.M. (Contralto), Morpeth. Lance-Corpl. Alec. McCreadie, H.L.Inf. (Tenor), of the principal English, Scottish and American Concerts. Mr John Wyatt, A.R.C.O. (Accompanist). The Hon Mrs Joicey’s String Quartette and The Morpeth Gleemen. Mr John Wyatt, A.R.C.M., (Conductor).
For particulars as to prices and bookings, see next week’s issue of the “Herald.”
RED CROSS HOSPITAL, MORPETH
The following gifts have been sent to the above:— Marmalade: Mrs Hall; eggs, Mrs C. Perceval; books: Mrs Kendall, Mrs Creighton (Morpeth), Mrs Creighton (Stannington); £1 12s. 2d: Miss A. Walton and friends; £8 per Miss Wales; cakes: Miss McDowall; books and oranges: Mrs Philip; flowers: Mrs Jennings; old linen: Mrs Turner; 1 pillow: Mrs Thompson; plant and cigarettes: Miss Simpson.
THE MAYORESS OF MORPETH’S SEWING MEETING
Tea on Thursday, the 23rd inst., was kindly given by Mrs Davison, North Place, and Miss Semple, Solway Villa, and realised £1 16s. 9d.
The hon. treasurer has to acknowledge with many thanks the gift of 2/6 from Mrs Weedy, sen., and £5 6s. 3d., the proceeds from the mat made and disposed of by Mrs and the Misses Harrison, Oldgate, which was won by No. 539, the purchase of Mr W. Gray of the Cafe; and socks from various donors.
THE SOLDIERS’ INSTITUTE, MORPETH
Last Friday evening a most enjoyable concert, arranged by Mrs J.J. James and Mrs Baylis, was given in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, before a large and appreciative audience. Mr N.I. Wright presided.
NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY NURSING ASSOCIATION
In the 9th annual report it shows that the association now numbers 75 affiliated districts and employs 116 nurses.
Seaton Delaval Colliery Association, which dissolved in 1911, and Shankhouse and Hartford Association, which dissolved in April last year, have both been re-established. Cullercoats Association closed work in February.
At the annual conference held at Alnwick Castle in February, it was resolved to issue a special appeal for increased financial support in order that means may be forthcoming to train an adequate number of nurses to meet the demand which is steadily growing, whilst the supply of nurses already trained gradually decreases owing to so many being on military duty.
The response to the appeal has been most gratifying. Some regular subscribers have increased their subscriptions, whilst there have been several new subscriptions and donations.
The Executive Committee applied to the War Relief Committee of the Lord Lieutenant’s Fund, and have received £100. The following districts have been helped:— Radcliffe, £20; Scremerston, £20; Dinnington, £10; and Forest Hall, £14. The Duke of Northumberland has given £30 for first and second year grants to the association.
For the purposes of the county appeal tribunal, it was decided at a meeting of Northumberland Appeal Tribunal, held at the Moot Hall, Newcastle, on Tuesday, to divide the county into four areas as follows:
(1) Comprising Newcastle and the urban districts of Ashington, Bedlington, Gosforth, Longbenton, and Newburn.
(2) Tynemouth area, comprising Tynemouth, Wallsend, and the urban districts of Blyth, Cramlington, Earsdon, Seaton Delaval, Seghill, Weetslade, and Whitley.
(3) Berwick area, comprising Berwick, Morpeth, Alnwick, Amble, and the rural districts of Belford, Glendale, Morpeth, and Norham and Islandshire.
(4) Hexham area, comprising the urban districts of Hexham, Prudhoe, Rothbury, and the rural districts of Bellingham, Castle Ward, Haltwhistle, Hexham, and Rothbury.
Mr C.E. Layne was appointed clerk to the Newcastle panel, which will meet at Newcastle Education Offices on March 29th, 30th, and 31st, at 4pm.
ROTHBURY BOARD OF GUARDIANS
The monthly meeting of the above authority was held at Rothbury on Monday. Mr B Clayhills presided.
A letter was received from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in which reference was made to the practical interest which the Board took in the society’s work.
The war had imposed many extra duties, and they were co-operating with the War Office in looking after necessitous children of soldiers. The local inspector had investigated 532 cases, and had paid 917 visits of supervision. Having regard to these activities they trusted the Board would continue their subscription.
Clerk: We have been giving the society £1 a year.
Mr Fenwick-Clennell moved that the Board give a donation of £1.
Rev. C E. Blackett-Ord seconded the motion, which was agreed to.
“BIDDY,” THE PRIZE DONKEY
The above-named has been the means of taking hundreds of pounds for Red Cross purposes.
The last time it was “drawn” it made the sum of £114 in the Ashington district. The late winner, Mr Carter, market gardener, Newbiggin, sold his prize for a nominal sum to a Newbiggin gentleman, who decided to offer the turn-out for a further “drawing” for charity’s sweet sake.
The result should have been announced last Saturday, but the committee, on account of the atrocious weather, had been unable to get “her ladyship” round to the appointed districts, and were thus reluctantly compelled to postpone the result of the “draw” till April 29th, on which date the result will be found in the columns of the “Morpeth Herald”.
BROOMHILL FLOWER SHOW
The Annual Show will be held on Saturday, August 12th, 1916.
Vegetables to be given to the Navy.
OLIVER YOUNG, Secretary
Most agricultural authorities at various times during the last twenty years have pointed out that sooner or later this country would suffer for its neglect of agriculture, and that a great European war would bring matters to a head.
All this has come to pass, and now that the deficiency in food produced at home and in the numbers of a rural population to supply the army are being realised, we may hope for a more sensible policy in future, and that no obstacles will be thrown in the way of developing farming.
It is being commonly said that after the war we shall have to copy Germany in many things; it is because of their tremendous organisation in every detail that she has held out so long. The longer she holds out the greater the punishment meted out to her, and Belgium has to be avenged, but it is in her rural policy and her treatment of agriculture that her strength has lain, and it is in this that we are weak.
We have recently been hearing what some of our leaders have written or said on the point, and we will be wise to take note.
Here is one:— ”German statesmen have recognised that a prosperous industrial community is not so good for the State as a prosperous agricultural community is, and hence the German State has done all in its power to assist agriculture in every way, by subsidising sugar and other exports, by tariffs, by fair railway rates, and a thoroughly efficient agricultural education.”
Some of the above are debatable political matters, but the point is that in this country we had adopted a contrary general policy, and the result we are now realising.
Corn growing only supplies one-fifth of the bread we require, the rural population has dwindled by a third in thirty years, and thousands of the best men have emigrated to the colonies because they had no chance of betterment on the land here.
If the war teaches our Government that a State depends on its agriculture and not on its manufacturers it will not have been in vain, and the immediate future will probably see everything about land cast into the melting pot to be reconstituted on methods which will stimulate the production of food and men.
A very successful “At Home” was held in the Wesleyan Schools, promoted by the Radcliffe Wesleyans. Mr and Mrs Thomas Scott were the host and hostess, who extended a hearty welcome to the guests. In the absence of Mr J. Earnshaw, through illness, Mr Scott presided, and a long and varied programme was gone through.
The chairman said that it must be a source of pleasure and gratification to the members of the Radcliffe Wesleyan Church to find that such a large number of people had gathered together to help to make the function a success. In such troublesome times as these through which they were at present passing, calls were made upon them for help and assistance for worthy and deserving objects, but he did not think they should allow their religious institutions to suffer.
It behoved them all to rally round and support them by more strenuous efforts to enable those institutions to weather the storm, and when peace was declared, and those who had gone forth to fight the battles and uphold the honour and tradition of their great Empire returned to their homes, they would find that their places of worship and Sunday Schools had been working with that zeal and assiduity which had so often marked them. (Applause.).
Those who contributed to the musical portion of the programme were Misses Hogg, Ballantyne, and Robinson, and Messrs Aisbett, Moorhead, Tait, and Atkinson. A successful item of the programme was a duet, entitled “The Battle Eve,” which was well rendered by Messrs Aisbett and Moorhead. The accompaniments were played by Mrs Atkinson, Broomhill, and Mr J.T. Robinson, Amble.
On the proposition of Mr Bailey, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr and Mrs Scott and all those who had contributed to the harmony of the evening. The proceedings which were of a highly satisfactory character, were brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.
ROTHBURY RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
By a majority of one–six for and five against–it was decided to insure the workhouse buildings against aircraft.
The Surveyor said that he was pleased to report that he hoped most of the groups of roads had been contracted for again, and the committee would meet to consider the contracts. Most of the old contractors had tendered, but prices were all up. The leading would be a great difficulty.
Everybody knows that we and our Allies in this war have drawn on the United States for our supply of horses. American farmers and others concerned in the supply are greatly interested in this, and naturally the farming papers on the other side of the Atlantic have much to say on the subject.
Some of the items of information cannot fail to interest us here as well. The “Breeders’ Gazette” of Chicago is the principal paper of its kind, and from it the following items were taken.
The horses preferred were those of 1,300 to 1,400 lb. in weight; from 15 hands to 15.3 for riders and 15.1 for gunners; the former to be strong-backed, straight-going saddle type, and for the latter “chunks” were selected, wide at both ends and thick barrelled, but showing some blood.
Approximately some twenty millions of pounds has been spent in U.S.A. by the British and French, of which fourteen millions has actually reached the farmers — the producers, and for this half a million “good” horses have been obtained; this means an average of £40 per horse it has cost the Allies — a price not out of the way.
Further, it seems we have got just the very horse the American farmers were best able to spare, so that everybody is pleased, and the breeders over there have to thank the war for a market.
“The growers have pouched the bulk of the money,” to quote the writer of the report.
Most of the horses selected were sound, but slight blemishes were passed. Curbs, sandcracks, bad eyes, and wind, bad backs, and crossing the feet were absolute bars, however. Full age was also insisted on; five years was the limit, and even “rising five” was rejected, and many up to ten and even twelve years old were accepted if passed as sound.