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.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mrs Richardson, 5 Corporation Square, Morpeth, has received the following communication from Captain H.R. Smail, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers:– “It is with great regret that I have to inform you of the death of your son, Pte. J. Shepherd, No. 1 Company, 7th N.F. He was in the first list posted as missing after the action on the 26th April, but his effects were handed in to headquarters on the 7th inst. from the burial party. I always found him a clean, well-behaved soldier. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your loss.” Pte. Shepherd was well known in Morpeth, and for five-and-a-half years before enlisting was with Messrs. J. Proctor and Co., grocers, Morpeth.
Word has been received by Mr E. Lyons that his son, Pte. F. Lyons, has been killed in action. Mr Lyons received the following communication from Captain H.R. Smail, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers:– “It is with great regret I have to inform you of the death of your son, No. 2295, Pte. F. Lyons, No. 1 Coy., 7th N.F. He was in the first place posted as missing, but we have now definite information of his death. Please accept my deepest sympathy in your loss.” Pte. Lyons, who was 31 years of age, was well known in the north, He enlisted at Felton, and went into the firing line three weeks ago, the official notification of his death being received on the 15th inst. He was well known in football circles as a goalkeeper, and in cricket as a wicket-keeper – in fact, he took a great interest in all kinds of sport. The Rev. G.A. Brown, vicar of Felton, made a sympathetic reference to the deceased soldier at the close of his sermon on Sunday evening. Before enlisting, Pte. Lyons was employed at the Co-operative Store, Felton.
Word has been received that Company Sergeant-Major Robert C. Hedley has died of wounds. C.S.M. Hedley, who was 34 years of age, was a native of Morpeth, and he was engaged in the postal service all his life. He was a widower and leaves three young children.
Mr John Wylie, of Second Row, Ashington, has received word that his son, who is serving in the Dardanelles with the Naval Marines, has been wounded in action.
Intimation has been received stating that Private John Davidson, of Ashington, a married man, has died as a result of inhaling poisonous gases whilst at the front. He was in the Northumberlands.
Mr Jos. Campbell, Myrtle Street, Hirst, has received news from the Admiralty that his son, Pte. Henry B. Campbell, has been wounded in the Dardanelles, and that he is now in hospital at Alexandria doing well.
Pte. Thomas Johnson, 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, of New Square, Seghill, was wounded in action on April 27th. His parents have now received official information.
Private Thomas Turner, who was serving in the Portsmouth Battalion with the R.M. Brigade of the R.N. Division, was wounded in action near the Dardanelles on Saturday, May 8th. Private Turner resided at 54 Front Row, Annitsford.
Corporal J.C. Robson, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, of Ashington, has been wounded in the foot, and is now in hospital in Boulogne.
Official news has been received by Mr Frank Platten, Hazelrigg, that his son, Pte. Leslie Platten, 5th N.F., has been wounded, and is in hospital in Sheffield.
Mrs Jones, of 28 Field Street, Gosforth, has received word that her son, Lance-Cpl. Henry Jones, was killed in action on May 2nd. Lance-Cpl. Jones, who was 31 years of age, served throughout the Boer War. Prior to rejoining the colours, he was employed by the Electric Supply Company, Pandon Dene.
Mr Robert Randall, of Portia Street, Hirst, has received information from the Admiralty that his son, O.S. John George Randall, had ben wounded at the Dardanelles.
Mrs Crowe, 31 Portia Street, Hirst, has been informed by the Admiralty that her son, Private Donald Crowe, of the Howe Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, has been wounded at the Dardanelles.
News has been received by Mr J. Walker, 8 Melton Terrace, Seaton Delaval, that his son, Ernie Walker, of the Royal Marines, has been wounded at the Dardanelles.
Mr Joseph Cooke, of 30 Dene Row, Bates Cottages, Seaton Delaval, has been informed that his son, George Cooke, Tyneside Naval Division, has died of wounds at the Dardanelles.
Mrs George Liddel, of 35 Middle Row, Bates Cottages, has received official information that her son, William Liddel, Tyneside Naval Division, has been wounded at the Dardanelles.
Private Nicholas S. Lindsell, R.M.L.I., of Ashington, has been wounded in action in the Dardanelles.
Private Thomas Rutter, motor-driver, of 45 Fourth Row, Ashington, who was ‘gassed’, is now in hospital at Liverpool. His life was despaired of, but he is now doing better, and is expected to recover.
Mr Thomas Donkin, 45 Tenth Row, Ashington, has been officially notified by the Admiralty that his son, Ordinary Seaman Henry Donkin, Nelson Battalion, previously reported seriously wounded on the 8th, has died of his wounds. He was in action with his division in the Dardanelles.
Official notification has been received by Mr Charles Yearham, 65 Fourth Row, Ashington, that his son, Pte. Thomas Yearham, was killed in action on April 27th. Deceased was a volunteer of seven years standing.
Private Alex McMahon, of Ashington, has been wounded, and is now lying at Ampton Hall, Bury St. Edmunds. He is suffering from gunshot wounds in the head and back, but is doing well.
William Ernest Allan, of the Royal Engineers, 9 Katherine Street, Hirst, has been killed in action.
Official information was received on Monday by Mr Matthew Goodfellow, Raikes Street, Alnwick, that his second son, Lance-Cpl. James Goodfellow, was killed in action on April 26th. He was 31 years of age, and when war broke out he enlisted for foreign service with the 7th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, in the same company in which his father had served for 40 years and was colour-sergeant for some years before his retirement.
Private George Murray, Blyth, 7th N.F., has been wounded in action.
Mrs Goodman, of Middle Row, Dudley Colliery, has received information from the Admiralty that her son, Seaman J.R. Goodman, of the R.N.R., has been wounded at the Dardanelles.
Mrs Boiston, of Knight’s Buildings, Dudley Colliery, has received intimation that her son, Private John Boiston, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, has been wounded in action in France.
Private John Oliver, Newbiggin Colliery, 7th N.F. has been killed in action.
Mrs Saint, of 47 Jackson Street, Annitsford, has just received official information from York that her husband, Private Jas. Saint, of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, has been wounded in action on April 27th.
Information has reached the headquarters of the 9th Durham Light Infantry at Gateshead that Colonel A. Henderson, commanding the 1st Line Battalion at the Front, has been slightly wounded, but is able to continue his duties. Than Colonel Henderson, Tyneside has no more efficient Territorial officer. He has been associated with the ‘Ninth’ for many years, and his many friends, both in the Army and on the Quayside and in Morpeth, where he is well known, will wish him a speedy recovery from his injury.
Mrs Bellamy, who is residing with her parents, Mr and Mrs John Dodds, at 2 Co-operative Square, Cramlington Village, has been informed that her husband, Private George Bellamy, who is serving in the 5th Batt. ‘B’ Company of the Northumberland Fusiliers at the front, has been wounded in action, and is at present lying in a Manchester hospital suffering from injuries to his right hand caused by shrapnel. Private Bellamy, prior to joining the colours, was working at the brick factory at Cramlington Colliery and only went to the front a few weeks ago, and was sent direct to the trenches.
ROLL OF HONOUR
TORNEY.– Mrs T. Davison, of 5 Hillgate, Morpeth, has received the sad news that her brother, Lance-Corpl. Torney (10715), K.O.S.B., has died from wounds in action on May 9th, 1915.
LYONS.– Killed in action, Fred Lyons, aged 31 years, youngest son of Edward Lyons, tailor, Morpeth.
ADAMS.– Killed in action on May 13th, 1915, near the Dardanelles, Adam Brown Adams, aged 22-and-a-half years, dearly beloved son of the late James Adams and Isabella Brown, Hirst, late of Morpeth.
POTTS.– Killed in action, on April 26th, near Ypres, in his 21st year, Private William Ogden Potts, 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, of East Molesden, eldest son of the late William Potts, formerly of Cock Hill, Morpeth.
HEDLEY.– On April 27th, 1915, at No. 10 Field Ambulance, died from wounds received in action, Company Sergeant-Major Robert Challoner Hedley, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, beloved husband of the late Catherine Hedley.
YEARHAM.– Killed in action in France, John Thomas, beloved son of Charles and the late Louisa Yearham, of Ashington, aged 22 years. Deeply mourned.
LOCAL OFFICER KILLED
The ‘Times’ regrets to announce the death of Major the Hon. Clement Freeman Mitford, D.S.O., 10th Hussars, who was killed on May 13. The official telegram adds, “he died gallantly”.
Major Mitford was the eldest son of Lord and Lady Redesdale, and married his cousin, Lady Helen Ogilvy, by whom he leaves a daughter. He was born in 1876, and was educated at Eton and Cambridge, joined the 10th Hussars in 1899, and was with the regiment in South Africa, where he was twice wounded – once severely – and received the Queen’s medal with four clasps.
He was dangerously wounded in Flanders on October 23rd, 1914, and invalided home, but returned to the Front a short time before he met his death. He was for three years adjutant of his regiment. He received from the King the D.S.O. for gallantry in Flanders on the day of his leaving London to rejoin his regiment on March 22 last.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir,– It having come to my knowledge that a report is being circulated in Morpeth and District to the effect that I am a German, and such report being naturally calculated to damage me in my profession of a Surgeon Dentist, I venture to hope that you may see your way to give space to the following facts in your next issue of the Morpeth Herald.
In the first place, I should like emphatically to state that I am not a German, nor am I a subject of any nation at present at war with Great Britain or her Allies. I am an Englishman, having been born at Preston near North Shields, on the 30th October, 1883.
My father and grandfather were both born in this country. My father, an uncle, and also a cousin are now officials of the Bank of England, and my grandfather was also for many years connected with the same Bank.
I may also add that my only brother is now a private in the Second Contingent of the Canadian Army, and that I have at present eight cousins serving in His Majesty’s Navy or Army.
The whole of the above facts can, if necessary, be verified should anyone doubt their accuracy, and I take the opportunity of expressing the hope that in face of them the public of Morpeth and district will believe that I am a loyal Englishman, and will support me in my endeavours to prevent the spread of false reports, such as I have referred to, which, I think they will realise, must have (to say the least) a very disquieting effect upon myself and my relatives in Morpeth and elsewhere.
I am, sir, yours faithfully,
LEWIS RICHTER, L.D.S.R.C.S. (England)
1 Newgate St., Morpeth.
MORPETH SOLDIER’S EXPERIENCES
Mr W. Noble, Belmont House, Morpeth, has received the following letter from L.-Cpl. T. Stafford, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, of Well Way, Morpeth. He says:–
“As we are out of the firing line for a few days’ rest I am taking the chance of letting you know how things are going with us out here.
“For eight days we have been under shell fire, and twice we have been in action with the enemy, so we have soon had a taste of fighting. Our battalion has had a good many casualties. We were inspired by Sir John French after we came back from the firing line, and he spoke very highly of what we had done.
“We are billeted at a farm, and, of course, sleep in the barn, so we manage to make ourselves fairly comfortable. We get plenty to eat. The weather is very hot, but we do most of our marching at night time and sometimes we travel by ’bus.
Lance-Cpl. Stafford also states that he is in excellent health.
GERMAN SUBMARINE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN SUNK
Captain Sutherland, of the steamer ‘Collarnie’, which has arrived at Plymouth from Blyth, states that on May 8th, when off the Northumberland coast, about three miles from the Coquet, he struck a submerged object, which he believes to have been a submarine.
The shock brought the crew hurrying from their quarters to the deck, and oil was seen rising to the surface of the water.
Captain Sutherland states that when the fog cleared half an hour later, they saw right ahead the steamer ‘Queen Wilhelmina’, which had ben torpedoed by a submarine, the crew having taken to their boats.
He went to the ‘Queen Wilhelmina’, and when, about an hour later, his vessel drifted over the spot where the collision occurred, oil was still rising to the surface, there being a large patch about 100 feet long by some 20 feet wide.
THE RECTOR OF
Dear Sir, – It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I write to acknowledge the splendid response which has been made to my son’s appeal for light, portable periscopes for use in the trenches at the Front.
I have already sent out to France 37 periscopes of a kind ‘approved by the War Office’, and I have promises and a small balance in hand sufficient to enable me to send out five or six more should I receive word that more would be of real use. The periscopes will be divided between the 6th and 7th N.F.
It will interest those who have so quickly and so generously subscribed, and others as well, to know that our brave lads for whom the periscopes are intended moved into the first line trenches on Sunday night. “As we were returning quietly from church they would be creeping stealthily into the firing line,” there to face death every minute of the day and night on behalf of us, who because of their defence, are able to remain safe at home.
I subjoin a list of subscribers and their subscriptions:– Mrs Geo. Renwick, £3 15s; Mr and Mrs F. Brumell, £1 7s; Messrs Armstrong and Angus, £1 5s; St James’ Day School, £1 5s; Rev R. and Mrs Proctor and Miss Wood, Longhirst Vicarage, £1 5s; Canon Davies, £1 7s; Miss Spink, £1; Mr Matthew Emerson, £1; Mr Thos. Swinney, sen., £1; Dr Philip, 13s 6d; the Mayor of Morpeth, 12s 6d; the Mayoress, 2s 6d; Dr MacDowall, 13s 6d; Mrs Dakyns, 13s 6d; Miss Whitelock, 12s 6d; Mr Ed. Noble, Newgate Street, 12s 6d; Mrs Temple, Red Bull Inn, 12s 6d; Morpethian, 12s 6d; Mr J. Dowson, 12s 6d; Mr Stickland, 12s 6d; Miss Surtees (Scarborough), 12s 6d; the Misses Arkle, Cottingwood Lane, 12s 6d; Mr Thos. Waters, Newgate Street, 12s 6d; A Morpeth Lady, 12s 6d; Mr Mitchell (Barclay’s Bank), 12s 6d; Miss Oliver (Bridge Street), 12s 6d; Mrs Oliver (Bowmer Bank), 10s; Miss Oliver (Bowmer Bank), 5s; Miss Kate Hopper, 6s; ‘K’, 5s; Mr Noble (Belmont House), 5s; Miss E.L. Graham (Belmont House), 5s; Alderman and Mrs Carr, 5s; Miss Hodgson, 4s; Mr Summersides, 3s 6d; Mrs Jackson (Sun Inn), 2s 6d; Mrs F. Coble, 2s 6d; Miss Straughan, 2s 6d.– Total, £26 5s 6d.
The periscopes, with the khaki cases, cost 13/6 each nett, and there will be carriage in addition. I am much indebted to you, Mr Editor, for your kindness in allowing me the use of your valuable paper in this way.
JOHN J. DAVIES,
Rector of Morpeth.
May 20, 1915.
For the Brave 7th Northumberlands now at the Front.
Market Place, Morpeth, Wednesday First, at 10pm.
For Sale by Auction: Nearly New Portmanteau.
The proceeds of which will be sent to the ‘7th’ in the form of cigarettes, chocolates, etc.
Thos. Waters & Son, Auctioneers.
N.B.– Further gifts for the above will be esteemed. Advice of same should be sent to the Auctioneers, Newgate Street.
NORTHUMBERLAND FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
The annual general meeting of the Northumberland Football Association will be held at the Crow’s Nest Hotel, Newcastle, tomorrow, commencing at four o’clock. In the financial statement of the past season’s working a loss of £42 12s 3d is shown, this being mainly attributed to the falling-off in cup receipts. A provisional list of Senior, Minor, Junior, and Mid-week Cup dates has been arranged, but this is subject to further consideration, while the meeting will have before it important proposals regarding alterations to rules.
In the 32nd annual report the secretary says:–
We have finished a memorable season, and one that will live in all our memories while life lasts. Our arrangements were all made when war was declared in the early days of August and we could not have stopped without a serious dislocation of interests, which were of great importance. The needs of the country, however, were of greater importance, and the call for volunteers was magnificently responded to.
Our record of players and officials (1,745, including 29 referees) who have joined the colours is no mean one, and if it were possible to get a complete return I hold the opinion that it would reveal to us that fully 2,000 all told have joined the army or Navy. Forty-three clubs have failed to make a return, largely on account of being disbanded and the responsible officials being on service.
It can never be said that the vast majority of footballers in Northumberland shirked their duty, and we know now that many have suffered in our country’s cause. I am hoping to be able to compile a list of those brave comrades of ours who have fallen and suffered in the war, and will much appreciate any help you can render me in this respect.
The future is ‘wropt in mystery’. We cannot tell yet what may or will be done. The Football Association will decide that for us in July, and until then we shall have to bear our souls in patience. In the meantime it is the duty of us all to do what in us lies towards the successful prosecution of this terrible war. Many of us cannot be soldiers to fight, but we can do other things to help. If there are any young men left, however, who can join the Army or Navy, it is their privilege to do so, and I feel certain they will take their part in this great struggle.
The August practice games resulted in the sums of £223 8s 3d being collected, and of this sum £158 5s 8d was contributed to the Prince of Wales’ War Relief Fund, the balance being distributed among local charities.
LIEUT. HON. W. WATSON-ARMSTRONG – “A BRAVE CHAP”
The following letter has been received by Mrs John Soulsby, of Rothbury, from her brother, who has been wounded. In his letter he states:–
“I have just been through an operation, a bullet having been removed from my neck. I am sorry to hear of your son Jack also being wounded, but they are wonderful doctors in the hospitals and no doubt will soon put him right.
“The Northumberland Fusiliers suffered heavily at St Julien. I lost 21 men by casualties the first day there (Sunday, 25th April), and when we attacked on the Monday afternoon I do not know how many I lost. Both my junior sergeants were killed, and as my officer was knocked out the day before, I had to take charge of the remainder of the men. As we were charging I got knocked out, but I ordered them to push on, and I crawled into a ditch and lay there for hours, but I got away with a Canadian. The bullets and shells were flying like hail, but we got out of it.
“Rothbury should be proud of Lieut. the Hon. W. Watson Armstrong, who was also wounded in the chest. If you had seen him. With revolver in one hand and carrying a rifle in the other, he went among shells and bullets as if it was a pleasure trip to him. He is certainly a brave chap.”
THE SALT WATER CURE
Corporal W. Bird, an ambulance man attached to a West Riding Regiment, writing to a local resident, says:–
We have been busy since April 18th, at Hill 60, and we have just had another dose of their gases. I thought my number was up. I had a few mouthfuls, but I made myself sick with salt water, and that, I think, saved my life for the present. I was still a bit seedy, but stuck with the remains of the regiment.
We had a shock, I can tell you, before Hill 60 went up. We have been on the go all the time, and I don’t know what they are going to do with us now. This is the second time in three weeks I am pleased to say, I escaped with only a touch of gas, but it is bad enough. I am one of the lucky ones.
THE ANGRY MOB
Riotous scenes were witnessed at Blyth on Saturday evening, and the shops of two pork butchers were smashed.
Two brothers, Geo. and Edward Shy, who were born in this country of German parents, and who have lived nearly the whole of their lives in Blyth, have pork shops in Regent Street, Cowpen Quay.
The crowd gathered about 9pm around the shop of George Shy, which is near to the station. There were a number of people in the shop at the time, which was promptly closed. Stones were hurled through the plate glass windows, and a move was made to Edward Shy’s shop, the window of which was broken.
The shop window of Mr S. Mole, cycle dealer, which is next to the shop of Edward Shy, was also broken.
There was a strong body of police and special constables, who soon had order restored,
The crowd moved towards another pork shop in the Market Place, but it was closed, and no damage was done there.
Two men, one a soldier, were arrested by the police.
Later in the evening a huge stone was thrown through the window of Mr Thomas Pill, in Marine Terrace, the missile having evidently been intended for Mr Shy’s house, which is next door.
MAGISTRATES AND WINDOW SMASHERS
Mr T.C. Heatley, chairman of the Blyth Bench, on Tuesday, intimated that whilst they had sympathy for excited people in these critical times yet they had no sympathy for the feeling that took the shape of smashing people’s property, and the four men who were convicted of smashing windows in an anti-German demonstration on Saturday evening were ordered to pay £4 17s 6d each in damages and to be bound over to keep the peace for six months.
The sentiment will find a response in the minds of the judicious public. The four young men who were convicted were all capable of fighting real German enemies in a much more effective way than smashing windows from the fancied security of a crowd.
From a patriotic, as well as economic point of view, we strongly advocate the cultivation this year of vegetables.
Some readers may say, “What difference can I make in the national food position by producing the small quantity of vegetables possible with my garden?” It must not be forgotten that many people do not possess gardens at all, and these are, therefore, dependent upon the products of others.
It may be taken for granted that all vegetables will be considerably enhanced in value this year, owing to the war, which means that people who are unable to produce vegetables themselves will either have to go without, or pay largely increased prices for them.
If those who possess gardens, however small, were to lay themselves out to produce vegetables, they would not need to draw all their supplies from the public stock offered for sale, and the result would be that people without gardens would be able to obtain an adequate supply at a reasonable figure.
A LESSON TO
The action of the Blyth magistrates on Tuesday in inflicting fines of £2 on tradesmen for disregarding the orders of the authorities to reduce their illumination of their shops should act as a deterrent to others prone to defy the authority in this important matter, for the safety of the public lies in the rigid observance by every individual of such orders.
Nor is there likely to be any real loss to tradespeople if all loyally abide by the instructions given them.
There are still places in the town – and prominent places – where only thin white blinds are used, and enough light emitted to serve as a target to the enemy.
One may well hope that this will put an end to a very foolish and dangerous offence, and we gladly give to the matter the publicity requested by the Bench.
A sentry on Blyth pier on Sunday was accidentally shot whilst on duty. He was removed on the police ambulance to hospital, where he was attended to by Dr Newstead.
We seem to be on the eve of still higher prices for live stock produce.
Up to the present the butchers have not very materially raised their charges, but they must do soon, for the price of butchers’ beasts has risen enormously – almost double what they were a few years ago. It is said that the figures are now as high as 1874, or during the Crimean War.
It does not follow that farmers are making excessive profit out of it, because they have not the animals to sell; indeed it is because of this scarcity that the prices have risen.
There is not the beef or mutton in the country that there used to be, and there is not the supply coming from abroad.
The seas are quite open to the trade in meat, but there does not appear to be much to send, while it is reported that the Government has commandeered the supplies from South America.
ARMY RECRUITS EXTENSION OF THE AGE LIMIT
The Secretary of the War Office announces in connection with Lord Kitchener’s appeal for more men, that it has been decided that recruits enlisting into the Regular Army for the duration of the war shall be accepted up to the age of forty years, and that the minimum standard of height for such recruits shall be 5 feet 2 inches for infantry. This decision applies also to enlistments into the Territorial Force.