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.
ENJOYABLE FUNCTION AT MORPETH
A garden party was held last Friday on the Morpeth Y.M.C.A. bowling green for the entertainment of the wounded soldiers in the town. It was organised by a number of local gentlemen, who spared no efforts to ensure the success of the afternoon’s proceedings.
The wounded, belonging to the Durham Light Infantry, and the Northumberland Fusiliers, commenced to arrive shortly before 2.30. The function, by the way, had to be postponed from the previous day on account of the unsettled weather conditions, and on Friday when everything was in full swing, rain began to fall, but the wet did not prevent the guests from enjoying themselves.
There was a large number of willing helpers, and the wounded, numbering 112, were well looked after.
Among the wounded were some excellent bowlers and some interesting games were witnessed. Others again indulged in quoits and table games. At an interval strawberries and cream were served out to the soldiers. Games were then resumed, and shortly after four o’clock — it was then the rain began to fall — the men sat down to tea, the whole cost of which was generously defrayed by Mr Cuthbert Bainbridge, of Espley Hall. Through the generosity of other friends there was a plentiful supply of cigarettes for the men. The soldiers thoroughly enjoyed the splendid fare provided.
Among the visitors were Colonel Sowerby, D.S.O., D.L.I.; Lieut. and Adjutant Copeland, and Dr Philip.
The band of the D.L.I. was in attendance and rendered pleasing selections of music.
All the helpers were also entertained to tea.
At the close Colonel Sowerby expressed on behalf of himself and brother officers, and the men of the battalion, sick and wounded, and also the Northumberland Fusiliers, their sincere thanks for the kindness shown by the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr C. Bainbridge, and all the ladies and gentlemen who had contributed to the afternoon’s entertainment. He could assure them that the treat had been fully enjoyed by the men. It was very gratifying to the officers and men to find that their services were so much appreciated. He alluded to the men who had done their duty in the fighting line, and if was for them, who were being trained, to go and do likewise. (Applause).
At the invitation of Mr F. Tinsley, the manager of the Playhouse, the wounded soldiers and all those who had helped, attended a special performance. Interesting films were shown on the screen, and the Dancing Keans danced themselves into favour. Mrs J.R. Mitchell and Mr W. Bell, Bebside, each rendered two songs with great taste and to the evident delight of all present, Mr R. Luke, conductor of the Playhouse orchestra, made an efficient accompanist.
The arrangements in connection with the garden party were successfully carried out by Mr T.B. Waters, secretary of the Soldiers’ Institute; assisted by the following committee:— Messrs E.D. Soulsby, J.T. Harrison, T. Swinney, junr., Cowling, Jas. Whittle, E. Swinney, and George Middlemass.
The strawberries were kindly supplied by the Mayor (Councillor T.W. Charlton), the cream by Mr Hudson, Stobhill, and Miss Hedley, Lane End; the playing cards by the Mayoress, the cigarettes by Miss Waters, Miss Simpson, Mr Tinsley, Mr W. MacNicol, Mr E.D. Soulsby, Mr T. Waters, junr., Mr J.T. Harrison, Mr Jas. Whittle, Mr J. Morgan, and the piano by Mr George Middlemass.
The following gave their assistance during the afternoon:— The Mayoress (Mrs T.W. Charlton) and Miss Charlton, Mrs T.B. Waters, Mrs Soulsby, Mrs Harrison, Mrs T. Swinney, junr., Mrs Cowling, Mr and Mrs J.R. Mitchell, Miss Cooper, Miss Simpson, Miss Waters, Mrs J. Whittle, Mr and Mrs Tinsley, Mr and Mrs Brodie, Mr T. Payne, Mr W. MacNicol, and Nurses Soulsby, Young, Stoker, Brittain, and Wilkinson of the V.A.D. hospital.
WOUNDED SOLDIERS ENTERTAINED
Garden parties for our wounded and convalescent soldiers are all the rage just now, and those who have had the privilege of attending these functions must have come to the conclusion that a better form of entertainment, when the weather is favourable, could not be found for them.
Great interest was centred in the recent garden party held on the Morpeth Y.M.C.A. bowling green, when over 100 men in the town were entertained. Those responsible for the arrangements left nothing undone to ensure the success of the gathering, and the warmest thanks are due to all who contributed their quota towards this end. There was a happy band of willing helpers who vied with each other in their efforts to see that their gallant guests enjoyed themselves.
Though the weather did not prove altogether kind, everything passed off with great eclat and to the satisfaction of all who participated in the afternoon’s proceedings.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Second-Lieutenant John Parker Norfolk Simpson, son of the late Mr J.P. Simpson and Mrs Simpson, of Ravensmead, Alnwick, has died in hospital as a result of wounds sustained in the fighting around Ypres. The deceased officer was in the 5th Royal Fusiliers, and attached to the 3rd Battalion at the time of his death.
Private George Borthwick (19), was killed in action in France on June 16th. He belonged to a soldier family, being a son of the late Sergt.-Major James Borthwick, of Montrose, nephew of Q.M.S. John Borthwick, R.E., and the son of Mrs Young, 100 Juliet Street, Hirst, Ashington. He was killed while serving with his brother, Corp. James Borthwick.
Private John Appleby (2282), D Company, has been missing since May 24th. His wife, Mrs Minnie Appleby, of 52 Oswin Avenue, Forest Hall, will be glad of any news concerning him.
Second-Lieut. Nixon has sent a letter from the front informing Mr T. Hall, gamekeeper, Hedgeley, that his son, Private Richard Mather Hall, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action on July 1st and was buried at night behind the trenches, together with two comrades who had also fallen. Private R.M. Hall was in his 24th year.
Private W. Jarvis, R.M.L.I., of Cambois, is reported missing.
Sapper James Carlyle, son of Mrs Carlyle, of West Allotment, near Backworth, was killed in France on July 9th.
Private R. Fryer, Royal Marine Light Infantry, Cambois is missing.
Pte. Joseph Whitfield, 1st N.F., of Hirst, has been killed.
Mr and Mrs Patton, of Coomassie Road, Blyth, have received word to the effect that their son, Signaller Harry Patton, who was attached to the Royal Engineers, was wounded in both legs on Wednesday last. In a letter he said he was cycling at the time, and hearing a shell coming he dismounted to seek cover. Before he could do so, however, the shell burst a few yards away, and he was struck by the flying fragments.
Two Ashington men, Pte. W, Nelson and Pte. J.J. Whitfield, are reported killed.
Seaman J.E. Bell, Choppington, has been wounded.
Private William Nelson, of 21 Ninth Row, Ashington, was killed in action in France on June 23rd. The deceased soldier was married, and was 23 years of age.
Mr and Mrs Jas. Taylor, 89 Rosalind St., Hirst, have received official information that their son, Pte. Matthew Taylor (3008), 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, is reported missing, and believed to be killed, from April 29th. If anyone at home at present can give any further information as regards him, his parents will be very grateful for same. He worked at the Ashington colliery before the outbreak of war.
Private T. Bowman, D Company (8938), 2nd Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, of 6 West Green, Morpeth, has been reported missing since May 8th. Any information regarding him by soldiers home from the front will be gratefully received by his wife, at the above address.
FROUD.— Pte David Froud, son of Mr T. Froud, Morpeth, 15th Royal Scots, killed in the Dardanelles on 19th of June. He only enlisted in January, and was previous to that, employed as gardener with Mr Murie, nurseryman, Lady Road, Edinburgh.
He was 32 years of age, and leaves a widow and five young children. A pathetic coincidence is the fact that the youngest boy was born the same day that his father was killed. He resided at 40 North Richmond Street, Edinburgh.
SAILORS’ DAY AT MORPETH
We would draw attention to the special effort that is to be made by the Mayoress of Morpeth to raise funds to provide comforts for the sailors who are guarding our coasts on the patrol boats, mine sweepers, and merchant service.
With this laudable object in view, Mrs Charlton has made arrangements to hold a “flower day” in the town on Saturday, July 31st, but she wants to enlist into her service for that one hundred sellers, and it may be pointed out that the success of this effort will largely depend upon the spontaneous and hearty co-operation of those ladies who can find time and opportunity to render real tangible service to our gallant sailors who may have to endure another winter’s campaign.
Now, if all those who would like to assist the Mayoress by selling flowers would send their names to her on or before Monday first it would facilitate matters greatly. The Mayoress, desiring that the old town school should look as bright as possible, on the occasion referred to, the public might respond to her request to put out as many flags as possible.
We hope that her effort on behalf of such a good cause will be attended with the success that it deserves.
ENJOYABLE FUNCTION AT WEST COTTINGWOOD
Through the kindness of Councillor and Mrs Charles Grey about 150 wounded soldiers, now in Morpeth, in addition to a number of friends, were entertained at a garden party held at their residence, West Cottingwood, yesterday.
On arrival the soldiers were met by the hostess, who extended to each one a hearty welcome.
The company included Mr and Mrs W. Dodds, Jesmond; Miss Helen Dodds, Preston; Mr and Mrs Smurthwaite, Rev. F.C. Hardy and Mrs Hardy, Mrs W.S. Sanderson, Mr and Mrs E.D. Soulsby, Mr T. Swinney, junr., Mr Ed. Swinney, Mrs T.B. Waters, Mrs Brodie, Mr and Mrs Payne, and the Matron from the Red Cross Hospital, and the following nurses: Misses Hood, Mouat, Brumell, Middlemiss, Morrison and Robinson.
Splendid arrangements were made by the host and hostess for the entertainment of their gallant guests. The lawn presented a very animated spectacle when they were all gathered together. It is hardly necessary to add that the men thoroughly enjoyed themselves, music, games, and refreshments being provided. The gardens were in full bloom, a feature being the lovely borders of roses which were greatly admired by the visitors.
During the proceedings Miss Mary Grey went round the soldiers and kept them supplied with chocolates and cigarettes. About 4.30 tea was served, and the good things provided were greatly enjoyed by all.
A varied and interesting programme having been arranged for the men’s entertainment, the different items rendered were much appreciated. Among the entertainers were Will Mackay and Andrew McManus, from the Avenue Theatre, comedians; Four Mackinnons, from the Playhouse, dancers and singers; and Private Siddle and Private Bartley, vocalists. The accompanists were Mr Luke (piano). and Mr T. Payne (violin).
By kind permission of Colonel H.J. Sowerby, D.S.O., and officers, the band of the 6th Durham Light Infantry was in attendance. The programme of music rendered by the band was of a most pleasing description, including such items as “Sparks from the Anvil,” “Queen of Hearts,” “Bohemian Girl,” “Reminiscences of Ireland,” “Light Barque,” etc.
The host and hostess were heartily thanked for their great kindness and generosity.
NATIONAL REGISTRATION ACT, 1915.
MORPETH RURAL DISTRICT
THE council of the Rural District of Morpeth, the local Registration Authority under the above-mentioned Act for the area of their district, require the voluntary assistance of persons (Male or Female) to act as Enumerators at Broomhill, Red Row, Widdrington Colliery, Stobswood, Ulgham, Longhirst, Pegswood, Ellington, North Seaton, Hepscott, and in the rural parishes.
The President of the Local Government Board believes that this work will be done gratuitously by persons willing and anxious to take a part in a work of national importance.
The persons engaged as Enumerators will be required to distribute the necessary forms in their respective districts during the 6 days before Sunday, 15th August 1915, the date when the forms are to be filled up, and to collect the signed forms on Monday, 16th August, 1915, and the two following days so that the collection is finished by the evening of Wednesday, the 18th August, 1915. The Enumerators will require to have knowledge of their districts and of its industries, and, if male, are to be above military age.
Offers of voluntary help, stating qualification for the work and nature of present employment (if any) and the district desired, and other details should be made by letter to the undersigned before Wednesday, the 28th July, 1915.
Clerk to the Council,
15, Bridge Street, Morpeth
1ST LINE, 7TH BATT., NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS
Mrs R Scott, Newton House, appeals to all friends for comforts for the above Battalion at present serving abroad.
The garments most required are flannel shirts, under-vests, pants, socks, mufflers, jerseys, and mitts or gloves. The socks should be of thick wool, and the mufflers and mitts must be khaki in colour.
The list of donations will be gratefully acknowledged fortnightly in the Alnwick, Berwick and Morpeth newspapers. If cigarettes, soap etc., are enclosed in the parcels, it is particularly requested that they are not sewn up in the socks. Parcels may be addressed to Mrs R. Scott, Newton House, Christon Bank.
MORPETH SEWING MEETING
Mrs Atkinson, Wellbank, hon. treasurer for the above sewing meeting, acknowledges with many thanks the following gifts:– Miss Mackay, large bundle of linen; Mrs Price, £1; Mrs Hood 5/-; and Morpeth Hiring Committee, £5.
The tea given by Mrs Tighe, Waterford House, realised £1 6s 6d; by Mrs Renwick, Springhill, £1 9s. The tea will be given next week by Mrs T. Swinney, Castle View.
The committee desire to thank many kind friends, who gave no names, for gifts of socks.
SAILORS’ DAY IN MORPETH
A flower day will be held in Morpeth on Saturday, July 31st, 1915 to provide comforts for the Sailors who are guarding our coasts on the Patrol Boats, Mine-sweepers, and Merchant Service.
Any lady willing to sell flowers on that day will oblige by sending her name to the Mayoress of Morpeth on or before Monday, July 26th. We will need 100 Sellers and I feel I can rely upon the ladies of Morpeth doing all they can to support me in this effort.
SOLDIERS’ INSTITUTE, MORPETH
Last Friday evening a most enjoyable concert was given in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, by the members of the depot company of the 10th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, from the camp at Cramlington.
Mr George Renwick, of Springhill, presided over a large and appreciative audience. The programme, consisted of songs, dances, monologues, etc., and every item was well rendered.
THANKS FOR BLYTH
“Just a line or two to thank you on behalf of my platoon for your generous gift of cigarettes which we have received from you. This gift lets us know that the people of Blyth are still thinking of the boys who spent many happy days in your town while training to meet the Huns. I again thank you and wish you a prosperous future.”
The above letter from Sergt. W. Hodgson, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers, has been received by Miss Nancy Smith of Claremont Terrace, Blyth.
PRIMITIVE METHODIST CHURCH,
HOWARD ROAD, MORPETH
On Sunday July 25th, the Rev. J. C. Sutcliffe will preach. Morning at 10.30 and Evening at 6 o’clock. Subject: “A Message to Mourners.”
A Retiring Collection for the Comforts of P.M. Soldiers.
Mr W. J. Temple, secretary of the Barrington and Choppington Workmen’s Social Club, has received the following letters of thanks from local soldiers in the fighting line to whom parcels of good things had been sent in the name of the club:–
Lance-Corpl. J. Foster, 7th N.F., in thanking the members and committee for the parcel of cigarettes, tobacco, and pipe, goes on to say:— “Matters are rather warm out here, and the ‘Jack Johnsons’ flying about give us quite a lively time. The last trench we were in the Germans shelled us for 17 hours. We thought every minute was our last, but we got out of it all right. Our trench was simply surrounded by enemy trenches. They fired on us from all sides, but when we attacked you should have seen them run. Greyhounds could not have caught them.”
The other letters were received from Driver Wm. Charlton (Army Service Corps), and W. Harle, both of whom thanked the club members for gifts and also for their good wishes.
RUSSIAN SHIP SUNK
Captain Baris and 17 men of the crew of the Russian steamer “Balva,” were landed at Aberdeen on Saturday afternoon. The “Balva” left Blyth for Archangel on Wednesday evening with a thousand tons of coal, and at 11 o’clock on Friday morning she was stopped by two shots from a German submarine 60 miles south-east of the Shetlands.
The submarine signalled to the crew of the steamer to leave, which they did, and immediately afterwards the “Balva” was torpedoed and sunk. Two hours later the Russians were rescued by the Dutch steamer “Ocean II.”
FRENCH FLAG DAY AT AMBLE
In response to an appeal from the French Relief Fund, the scholars and teachers of the Amble Church of England Infant School celebrated French Flag Day last week.
Before commencing work in the morning, all classes assembled and sang the Marseillaise. After saluting the French flag, small flags, which has been painted and mounted by the teachers were sold to the children for a penny, and by three of the staff, Messrs Elmslie, Grey and Matthews, to many ready and generous buyers in the streets.
These young ladies who are the first to sell flags in Amble, did an excellent day’s work, and the result was that a cheque for £6 has been forwarded to the fund by Miss Gray.
On Empire Day the scholars sent 11/- to the Overseas Fund for our soldiers and sailors.