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.
The Easter sports organised by the officers of the 19th Service Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers (Second Tyneside Pioneers) were successfully held in the Olympia sports field, Morpeth, on Saturday and Monday.
The arrangements, made by the hon. secretary, Second Lieut. H. Roberts, were of a perfect description and he was ably supported by Captain Renwick (chairman of the committee), Captain Fawcass, Second Lieut. McIllwaine, and Second Lieut. Scott.
Owning to the adverse weather conditions on Saturday there was not a large attendance. All the events programmed, and there was a great variety, secured numerous entries. Fine weather prevailing on Monday there was a splendid attendance of the military and public, amongst those present being Brigadier-General Hunter, Major Temperley, offices of the battalion, and Mr and Mrs George Renwick of Springhill.
Throughout the day great interest was evidenced in the sports, and each event was followed with the liveliest interest. Excellent times were registered in the foot racing, and everything was carried out in good time and without a hitch.
Mr J. Tully, the well-known handicapper, acted as referee, and Lance-corporal C.R. Nicholson was pistol firer. Mr Jas. Mackay was judge of the wrestling events.
On both days the battalion band, under the able direction of Bandmaster Cave discoursed pleasing programmes of music.
MORPETH & DISTRICT NOTES
Easter Monday was not a dull day at Morpeth.
In spite of the stoppage of the excursions by the railway company there was a large influx of visitors to the town.
During the day the main streets presented a very animated appearance. There were several attractions for the holiday seekers, and the regimental sports held in the Olympic sports field proved a very attractive one.
Brigadier-General Hunter was amongst the interested spectators, and he paid a high compliment to the battalion by congratulating the officers upon having such a fine body of athletes in their regiment.
“They are fit to go anywhere,” remarked the Brigadier, and the men were, naturally, highly pleased with the praise that was bestowed upon them.
CORPS TO BE PROVIDED WITH ARMS
Lord Desborough, the President of the Central Association of Volunteer Corps, states that the Government now intend to provide these corps with arms.
The Morpeth Training league will be very glad to have more recruits, and now that the weather is improving and the days lengthening, it is much more interesting, and it is hoped that more men, especially men over military age, will join.
The drills are still held on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Council School playground, at 7.30 p.m. Anyone desirous of joining may obtain further information from the members of the committee.
The danger of a raid on the East Coast is not by any means over, and it is still quite possible that the enemy may land a force there with the idea of doing as much mischief as ever they can before making their escape.
It would be greatly to our advantage if such contingency arose to be able to place in the field a body of volunteers trained and armed who knew the locality.
At a meeting of the Town Council held on March 31st. the Mayor reported that a troop of Boy Scouts from Sunderland, with whom was a Belgian scout from Antwerp, were expected in Morpeth the next day and would stay overnight, Mr J.R. Watson, of the New Phoenix Inn, having kindly undertaken to accommodate them in his hotel free, the members of the Council unanimously expressed their thanks to Mr Watson for his kindness and to the Mayor for having made the necessary arrangement.
On the following day the Mayor received the troop at the station, and by arrangement with the directors of Pictureland they were entertained to an advance exhibit on some of the fils proposed to be used at the opening of the new picture hall.
At the same Council meeting a report was received from the members of their collections of subscriptions towards the Hollon Sports on Easter Monday, and a programme was ranged.
Councillor Swinney having collected the largest amount of subscriptions was presented by the Mayor with an Iron Cross kindly provided for the purpose by Councillor Duncan.
MORPETH MOOR PUTTERS DISPUTE
“You want to do a bit of thinking my lads,” remarked Mr John Cairns, who came out from the Burt Hall to address a meeting of the putters of Morpeth Moor Colliery, whose notices were put in to enforce a demand for an advance of 6d per score price.
Mr Cairns proceeded to appeal to the lads to realise what a stoppage of work means at this serious crisis.
“Have you any brothers in the trenches?” Mr Cairns enquired, and answering his own question he said, “I know you have, but few of us know what provocations they are enduring bravely and cheerfully,” and he concluded, “Don’t do anything that would be calculated to interfere with their heroic work or to dishearten those who are making such sacrifices for the common good.”
The lads eventually decided to withdraw their notices for the time being, and to keep the pit going, meanwhile Mr Cairns undertook to negotiate with Mr Summerside, the manager, with a view of obtaining what advance was possible under the circumstances.
SOLDIERS’ INSTITUTE, MORPETH
There was a large attendance at the sacred concert given in the Institute on Sunday evening.
The following contributed to the programme:— Miss Hood, Sergt. Bennington, and Private Chadlers. Mr E. D. Souslby presided and Lance-corporal Luke was the accompanist.
Through the kindness of Mr G. Renwick, the Coxlodge Silver Model Band rendered a programme of music in the Institute last Sunday afternoon and evening.
When the Institute opened on January 24th they had in stock 20,000 envelopes and the last of same was used on April 4th.
Mr I.C. Blackburn, of Blyth, has kindly presented to the Institute the following flags: Union Jack, French and Russian.
7TH BATTALION N.F., 2ND LINE
There has been quite a boom in recruiting during the last week for the 2nd line of this battalion.
A large number of men who have been called up by the Parliamentary Committee’s circular have signified their intention to join the 7th, and this is only natural, as they will serve with men from their own countryside and their early training will take place in Alnwick.
Apart from these, there is a steady flow of recruits from other parts of the county.
There are still many vacancies in the 7th Battalion, and it is of very great importance that they should be filled up at an early date, so that the second Seventh may go under canvas at its increased establishment.
Arrangements were made for a recruiting march this week through the north of Northumberland.
If there are any men left in the north of Northumberland and they wish to join, all they have to do is to send to the Depot, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, Fenkle Street, Alnwick, for a free railway ticket.
BOLAM FOOTBALL CLUB
A Ball will be held at Shaftoe Grange, on Friday, April 23rd, 1915, in aid of the Lord Lieutenant’s Fund. Dancing to commence at 8.30. Admission:— Gentlemen, 1/-; Ladies, 6d. Supper will be provided at a Moderate Charge.
RED CROSS HOSPITAL, MORPETH
The Commandant, No 6 V. A. Hospital begs to acknowledge with thanks the under-mentioned gifts for the use of the patients in hospital:— Cakes, P.M. Social supper; Easter eggs, Mrs Joicey, Mrs Stott, Mrs Middlemiss, the Mayoress, Mrs James; magazines, Miss Middlemiss, publishers of “Khaki Magazine,” Mrs Creighton, Miss Ayre; malted milk, Horlicks Malted Milk Co.; old linen and cigarettes, Mrs Creighton; plants and cream, Mrs Simpson; books, Mr Pattinson; fruit, Mrs F. Brummell; flowers, the Mayoress and Miss Nichol; milk, Mrs Simpson; table cloth, Miss Coble.
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the kindness of Mrs Jobling, Howard Castle, in giving hospitality to the Sister on night duty, also the gift of 10s from an anonymous friend.
BLYTH NAVAL STOKER’S DEATH
Mrs Learmouth, of Blyth, has received a pathetic communication in the shape of a letter from her son, James Gyre, a stoker on H.M. “Inflexible,” who was killed after the letter was written.
He said he would sooner be in the North Sea than in the Dardenelles. His letter concluded:— “Courage, brother; do not stumble; trust in God and do the right.”
Mr. Richardson, of Institute Row, West Sleekburn, has received news from the War Office that his son-in-law, B. Stewart, was killed in action on March 20th in France. He leaves a widow and one child.
TRAWLER TORPEDOED OFF LONGSTONE
The German submarine pirates have extended their campaign, and, not content with raiding and destroying harmless merchant ships, they are now turning their attention to innocent fishing craft.
An example of this campaign was perpetrated off the Tyne on Thursday evening, when a German submarine, which has been definitely identified as U10, destroyed three trawlers.
The one redeeming feature of the affair was that the crews were all saved and kindly treated by the German pirates.
The steam trawler Rhodesia, also belonging to Shields, was spared by the U10, in order to convey the crews of the other boats ashore.
CREW LANDED AT BLYTH
The Swedish steamer, “Tord,” arrived at Blyth on Tuesday, having on board Captain Retusen and a crew of 13 hands employed on the Grimsby trawler “Acantha,” belonging to Messrs Harrison and Chapman, fish merchants, Grimsby.
The crew report that they were returning from the White Sea with a cargo of fish value £2,000 and about 2pm on Monday morning in fine, clear weather, they were startled by rifle shots, several of which struck the trawler, and presently they saw a German submarine some 600 yards from their vessel.
The trawler continued to steam ahead and without further warning, shots were fired from a big gun, one of which struck the trawler below the water line and she began leaking heavily, whereupon Captain Paterson ordered his men to take to the boats.
Without much trouble a boat on the lee side was launched quickly, but there was some delay in launching the boat on the weather side, and things not moving quickly enough for the Germans evidently, they continued to fire at the vessel.
The men got safely into their boats and were moving away from the trawler when the rifle practice was directed to their small boats, several shots striking the boats, but happily none of the crew were struck.
The trawler evidently was not sinking fast enough for the Huns, who drew nearer to her, within 500 yards, and launched a torpedo which put the trawler down quickly, when the submarine went off. The undercraft was painted a light colour and bore no letters or figures to identify it. Some of the crew managed tom save their effects, but Captain Paterson lost everything.
They were picked up by the s.s. “Tord,” after having been one and a half hours in the boats.
Upon their arrival at Blyth the crew were taken in charge by Mr T. Smarsh (Ward and Son), secretary of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ and Sailors’ Society, and provided with the necessaries, and despatched to their homes.
CYCLISTS COLLIDE NEAR HARTFORD
Constable Young, whilst on duty between Hartford Bridge and Netherton on Friday evening at 7.30, found two dispatch riders of the Scottish Horse Trooper A.G. Cook and Lance-Corpl. A.C. Fleming lying, each with a right leg broken and other minor injuries, and their motor-cycles damaged.
They had accidentally collided near a turn whilst coming from opposite directions.
The men were removed to the army hospital at Bedlington and promptly attended to.