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 published lists of casualties from the seat of war, which appear from day to day, give proof of the sacrifice Northumbria has made, and is making, to aid the Empire in the great struggle in which they are engaged.
Those who have been fortunate enough to survive the ordeal to which they have been subjected bear testimony of the courage and heroism of the men from the North.
It is safe to say there is scarcely a town or a village ’twixt Tyne and Tweed that have not given its young manhood to defend right against might and to keep flying the old flag of liberty. When the roll is called, many households will be bereft of ones near and dear to them.
Some consolation will at least be afforded by the fact that they have done their duty.
We venture to suggest that whatever holiday may have been taken during the week, it will not have given the same enjoyment to participators as would accrue under normal conditions.
It matters little in whatever sphere of life we are engaged, our thoughts are focused on the huge undertaking in which the country is at present engaged.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mrs Allan, of Blagdon Terrace, Seaton Burn, has just received official intimation that her grandson, Private John Bacon, of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers (NF), has died in Boulogne Hospital, France, from gas poisoning. Prior to the outbreak of the war, the deceased was employed at Seaton Burn Colliery.
Mrs Alfred Best, of Avenue Terrace, Dinnington Colliery, has received official intimation from the Admiralty that her son, Seaman Thomas Northcote, of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, is dangerously ill from wounds received near the Dardanelles. Prior to the war, Northcote was employed as a miner at Dinnington Colliery.
Private Arthur Bowman, of the 7th NF, youngest son of Mr Fenwick Bowman, of 21 Bridge Street, Morpeth, has been wounded in action.
Private George Gibson, of the 7th NF, from Newgate Street, Morpeth, has been killed.
Lieutenant William N Craigs, son of county councillor J Craigs, of Ashington, has been wounded in the leg, and is now in Rawal Pindi Hospital, at Wimereux.
Lt Craigs was in charge of the machine-gun section of the 7th NF and has been almost continuously in action since the battalion went to France in April.
Private John Amos, of the 7th NF, only son of Mr Andrew Amos, of Ashington, formerly of Chatton and Hartlaw, Alnwick, has been returned to England wounded. Official intimation received by his father states that he was wounded in an engagement on May 27, receiving gunshot wounds in both knees and the left hand.
The parents of Joseph B Glendinning, of 129 Rosalind Street, Hirst, have received intimation that he has died from wounds received at the Dardanelles, while serving in the 2nd Royal Naval Brigade, Anson Battalion.
Mrs W Summers, of 29 Ninth Row, Ashington, has been officially informed that her eldest son, Private A Summers, of the 7th NF, has been wounded in action.
Mrs High, of 12 Mortimer Terrace, Bates Cottages, Seaton Delaval, has been officially notified that her husband, Seaman James High, of the Collingwood Battalion, Royal Naval Division (RND), is missing.
Mrs Sanderson, of 36 Double Row, Bates Cottages, Seaton Delaval, has received word that her son, Seaman WJ Sanderson, of the RND’s Collingwood Battalion, has been wounded at the Dardanelles and is now in hospital at Malta.
Official intimation has reached Mr Woodfine, of 46 Double Row, Bates Cottages, Seaton Delaval, that his son, Seaman HP Woodfine, of the Collingwood Battalion of the RND, has been wounded.
News is sought by Andrew White, of 26 Railway Row, North Seaton Colliery, of his brother, Private JH White (314), of D Company, 6th Platoon, 1st NF. Private White, who went out with the first army in August, has not been heard of since November 2, notwithstanding many inquiries made through official quarters. His friends would be grateful if any soldier can give any information concerning him.
Pc James Glendenning, of Cambois, has received word that his son, Private TH Glendenning, was wounded in the recent fighting at the Dardanelles. Private Glendenning emigrated to Australia 10 years ago and joined the first brigade of the Australian Imperial Horse on the outbreak of war.
George Scrowther, of 23 Long Row, Ashington, has been notified by the Admiralty of the death of his son, Able Seaman John G Scrowther, of the Nelson Battalion of the RND, who was previously reported wounded in action near the Dardanelles and later conveyed to hospital at Alexandria.
The deceased, who was over 6ft in height, was well known in local football circles, being a regular player at centre-half for Ashington United and he was also on the list of the Ashington North-Eastern League Club.
The death, in hospital at Alexandria, from wounds received near the Dardanelles, has been officially notified of Leading Seaman James Thompson, of Morven Terrace, Ashington, and formerly of Gateshead. He was in the Hood Battalion of the RND and also took part in the operations at Antwerp.
Edward Mordue, of 14 Burn Row, East Holywell Colliery, has received official news that his son, Seaman Joseph Mordue, of the Collingwood Battalion of the RND, has died of wounds received at the Dardanelles.
Relatives living in Office Row, East Holywell Colliery, have been officially notified that Seaman J Lister, of the RND’s Collingwood Battalion, is missing.
Mrs Lowther, of 2 North Row, East Holywell Colliery, has received official word that her son, Seaman TS Lowther, of the RND’s Collingwood Battalion, has been wounded.
Private JW Slater, of the 1st NF, of Seaton Hirst, has been wounded.
Sarah Young, of Front Street, Annitsford, has received official intimation that her grandson, Private John William Allan, who was serving with the Howe Battalion of the RND, has been wounded near the Dardanelles. Private Allan was in action at Antwerp prior to going to the Dardanelles. He formerly worked at Seghill Colliery.
Private George Logan, of the 5th NF, of West Moor, has been gassed.
Private WT Glass, of the 4th Battalion NF, of Pegswood, has been killed in action.
Private Edward Straughan, of the NF, of West Moor, has been wounded.
Corporal WA Markham, of the 5th NF, of Dudley, has been wounded and gassed.
Private F Wandless, of the 5th NF, of Burradon, has been wounded.
Private Alexander Hendy, of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, has been wounded in the back by shrapnel. He is a nephew of Mrs J Lilley, of 2 East View, Bedlington Station.
Seaman JG Blair, of the RND, of Hirst, has been killed in action.
Private W Armstrong, of the 7th NF, of Newbiggin, has been reported missing.
Private GW Atkinson, of the 2nd NF, of Hirst, has been wounded.
Seaman JE Ralphs, of the RND, of Seghill, has been wounded.
Private J Craig, of the 2nd NF, of West Moor, has been gassed.
Private R Elliott, of the 2nd NF, of Hirst, is a prisoner of war in Germany.
JW Dudding, of the Royal Naval Brigade, of Ashington, has been killed in action.
Gunner T Gray, of the Royal Field Artillery, of Annitsford, has been gassed.
Mrs Barningham, of Cowpen Square, Blyth, has been notified that her husband, Able Seaman William Barningham, of the Anson Battalion of the RND, was wounded in action at the Dardanelles on April 25. He was wounded in the arm and shoulder, and after lying for some time in a Malta hospital, he left for England and is now at Chatham, Kent.
In a letter to his wife, he says they went into a deathtrap and waded ashore up to the neck in water.
In his latest letter, he expresses his desire to get back and have another go at the enemy.
Mrs Gibson, of Newgate Street, Morpeth, has received the following letter from Lt Gordon Jobling, informing her of the death of her husband, Private George Gibson, of the 7th NF. In the letter, which is dated June 16, Lt Jobling says: “It is my unhappy duty to write and inform you of the death of your husband while going up with the transport last night.
“He was wounded in the thigh by a shell, and as far as the doctors in a neighbouring dressing station could see was that he must have died from shock. His body was brought back again to our lines, and we have buried him in a quiet little field where the boys will see that his grave is properly decorated and attended to while we are here. His quiet and willing manner had made me, personally, very fond of him, and I deeply regret losing so good a soldier.
Mr and Mrs J. Barnes, Bell Villa, Ponteland, have received notice that their son, Able Seaman David Johnstone Barnes, Tyneside 1822T, Collingwood Battalion, R.N.D., has been wounded at the Dardanelles, and is in hospital at Malta.
Lance-Corporal G. Mackay, 5th N.F., of Dinnington Colliery, has been wounded.
Mr and Mrs Thomas Liddell, of 7 Cross Row East, Radcliffe, have received official intimation of the death of their son, Private Thomas M. Liddell, 7th N.F., who was killed in action in Flanders, on May 31.
Seaman Herbert H. Allison, of the Howe Battalion R.N.D., has been wounded at the Dardanelles. He belongs to Hirst.
Mr and Mrs T. Young, Pit Houses, Ponteland, have been notified that their son, Able Seaman Ridley Robinson, Collingwood Battalion, R.N.D., was missing after an action in the Dardanelles.
Mrs Nicholson, of 1 Co-operative Terrace, Seaton Delaval, has been officially notified that her husband, Seaman Joseph Nicholson, Collingwood Battalion, is missing.
Mrs Peart, 5 North Row, East Holywell Colliery, has received word that her grandson, Seaman J.H. Cartwright, Collingwood Battalion, R.N.D., is missing.
Mrs George, 12 Plessey View, Crofton, Blyth, has received news to the effect that Able Seaman John Somers, has died in Alexandra Hospital from wounds received in action at the Dardanelles. Somers, who was 33 years of age, was employed as a miner at Crofton Pit. He was attached to the Drake Battalion.
George Holmes, Ashington, of the Oak Battalion of the Royal Naval Division, has been wounded in action at the Dardanelles.
Trooper E. Timmey, 1st King’s Dragoon Guards, of 5 Mary Agnes Street, Coxlodge, has been wounded.
Mrs Hartford, 25 Austin’s Buildings, Cramlington, has received official information that her husband, Private R.W. Hartford, 5th Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action in France on May 24th. Private Hartford previously resided at Annitsford, and leaves a widow and two children.
Mrs Patterson, of 12 Prudhoe Street, Backworth, has been officially informed that her son, Seaman J.R. Patterson, Collingwood Battalion, Royal Naval Division, has been wounded at the Dardanelles.
Mr J.G. Harrison, Moor Edge, Backworth, has been officially notified that his son, Seaman J.H. Harrison, Hood Battalion, Royal Naval Division, has been wounded.
Mr and Mrs Hindmarsh, Northumberland Avenue, Gosforth, have received word that their son, Seaman T.H. Hindmarsh, was killed in action near the Dardanelles. The deceased, who was 20 years of age, served in the Collingwood Battalion.
Mrs John Kirkup, of 58 Jackson Street, Annitsford, has received official intimation from the Admiralty that her husband, Seaman John Kirkup, of the Collingwood Battalion of the R.N.V.B., has been wounded in action near the Dardanelles, and is now lying in a hospital at Malta. Prior to joining the Navy Seaman Kirkup worked at Dudley Colliery.
Information has been received at Seghill that Seaman Thomas Oakley, of Barrass Row, Seghill Colliery, who was serving in the Collingwood Battalion of the R.N.V.B., near the Dardanelles, has been wounded in action.
J. Nicholson, of Seaton Terrace, has been wounded near the Dardanelles.
Seaman J. Mordue, of the R.N.V.B., of East Holywell, has died of wounds; also Seaman T.S. Lowther, East Holywell, and Seaman H.P. Woodfine, Bates Cottages, have both been wounded.
Lance-Corporal J. Wright, of the 5th Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers, has been gassed. Private G.W. Martin, of the 6th Batt. N.F., of Benton, has also been gassed.
Seaman J.E. Ralph, of Seghill Colliery, who was serving in the R.N.B., has been wounded.
News has been received at Blyth that Lieutenant Westwater, son of the Rev. James Westwater, is improving, though lying severely wounded at Boulogne.
Private Matthew Stobart, Northumberland Fusiliers, who was a leading salvationist at Blyth, has been killed in action in France.
ADJUTANT AMLETT SEEN BY MORPETH SOLDIER
The following letter will be read with interest by the many friends of Adjutant Amlett, who left Morpeth at the outbreak of the war to serve in the French Army.
Writing to Mrs Amlett, Private J.T. Little, transport section, 7th N.F., says:—
“I am taking the opportunity of writing a few lines to let you know that I was talking to a Morpeth man named William Dixon, and he was telling me that he saw Mr Amlett six weeks ago in a certain part of the line. They will not allow me to mention the part or else I would let you know.
“He told me that Mr Amlett had informed him that when he went into the German trenches he got wounded when coming back to his own lines. He went into hospital for four or five weeks. When he got better he returned to the trenches.
“In a charge he got wounded and was left for dead. When he got himself pulled round he crawled three miles to a farm place where he stayed eight weeks till he got strong again.
“This fellow, Wm. Dixon, is on motor transport and travels all over the line. He also told me that Mr Amlett introduced him to some of his pals who were on their way to the trenches at the time.”
RECRUITING FOR THE NAVY
The recruiting sergeant for the army is well known to the man in the street. Not so the man who performs similar duties on behalf of the navy. There is one in our midst in the person of Colour-Sergeant T. Chaplin, of the Royal Marine Artillery, who is at present acting as naval recruiting officer for this part of the country, and has made Morpeth his headquarters.
He is an old campaigner of 25 years’ service. In his early days he went through the Egyptian Campaign and possesses the Egyptian war medal, the Alexandra clasp and star, and the long service and good conduct medal. About 17 years ago he retired on pension, but when war was declared he, along with others, returned to the service and so enabled younger men to be released for the more serious duties connected with the fleet.
Colour-Sergt. Chaplin knows everything about our first line of defence, and anyone who is desirous of joining the navy need only call at his office, 45 Bridge Street, and he will furnish all particulars as to length of service, rates of pay, etc.
It appears there are splendid openings for men and boys for either long or short service, or for the duration of the war, and there is also a demand for seamen and stokers, who are very much needed at present.
His most difficult task, he tells us, is to obtain boys for the navy. The boys are willing to join, but parents refuse to give their consent, and without the parents’ written sanction the boys cannot don the sailor’s garb.
By the way, Colour-Sergt. Chaplin has two daughters both trained hospital nurses who are nursing the wounded in military hospitals.
MORPETH SOLDIER’S LETTER
Mr and Mrs Joseph Carman, of 75 Newgate Street, Morpeth, have received the following communication from their son, Dvr. A.E. Carman, of the 1st N.F.A., R.A.M.C., who is at the Front. In the course of his letter he says:
“I am in the pink and so tanned that you would scarcely know me. The weather out here is glorious. It is very hot, but one has just to keep plodding along. Many a time I feel sorry for the fellows who have to hoof it.
“Since last writing, we have moved and may do so again at any moment. Our stay here has been the longest since we arrived; just fancy, a whole fortnight. Still, our men have been doing excellent work in the trenches at night.
“We have had many narrow squeaks from shell fire. You can quite imagine the noise that these whistlers make, almost deafening. I have seen a whole house crumble up after an explosion, but thank goodness our engineers put the tin hat on one of these Jack Johnsons by blowing it to smithereens.
“Yesterday we had a church parade in a field, and a nice service it was. It does seem strange to be at prayer amid all the rattle of the guns; but one gets used to it. While acting as mounted orderly, carrying messages from one place to another, I witnessed another aeroplane duel. Our aviator proved victorious.”
HUSSARS MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES
The good service which the Northumberland Hussars have done at the Front is further testified to by the mention in dispatches of three more members of the regiment — Colonel Backhouse, Captain the Hon. J.N. Ridley, and Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant J. Elliott. Captain Ridley is a brother of Lord Ridley. Quartermaster Sergeant Elliott is a well-known Rothbury man, who has been connected with the Hussars for many years.
WAR MEETING AT MORPETH
Sir,— I should be grateful if, through the medium of your columns, I may be allowed to call attention to an open-air war meeting advertised in your issue of today.
At the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury and York, and of the Presidents of the Free Churches, and I believe, Cardinal Bourne, meetings are being held all over the country in which war problems are being discussed by the leaders of religious thought in different localities.
At our Morpeth meeting in the Market Place next Sunday evening I hope to speak upon “The Issues Involved”; Dr Drysdale will take as his subject “Why does not God stop the War?”; The Rev. Joseph Miller will speak on “The Winter of Life”; and the Rev. J.C. Sutcliffe upon “The Unitarian Conception of Society”.
I feel sure that the thoughtful people of Morpeth will take advantage of this important gathering and that they will attend in very large numbers.
JOHN J. DAVIES,
Rector of Morpeth.
WANTED TO BE A DRUMMER
The recruiting officer at Blyth tells an amusing story of a would-be recruit of ten whose brother had joined the Army that day. Some time later the boy approached the officer with the ribbons and gravely suggested that he should be taken as a drummer. He was dismissed by the amused officer with a small gift and a kindly word.
PATRIOTIC HIRST FAMILY
Another fine family record has come to light at Hirst.
The five brothers Alderson are now serving with the colours as follows:— James Alderson, 4th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers; Ralph Anderson, naval instructor; Sergt R. Alderson, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers; Fred Alderson, 4th Tyneside Scottish; Thomas E. Alderson, 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
WORKMEN’S TRAIN FROM BLYTH
The North-Eastern Railway Company have arranged to run a workmen’s train from Blyth to Newcastle, with stoppages at Newsham, Hartley, and New Delaval, if a guaranteed number of 200 munitions workers living in these districts can be secured for work on Tyneside.
QUEEN MARY’S NEEDLEWORK GUILD
The Mayoress of Morpeth desires to inform the ladies of the town that the working parties for the soldiers will be resumed on Thursday, July 1st, at 2pm, in the Soldiers’ Institute, which has been kindly lent by the Institute Committee. Tea will be provided by His Worship the Mayor. Gifts of money or materials, and offers of teas, will be gratefully accepted by the Hon. Treasurer, Mrs Atkinson, Well Bank.