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.
GALLANT MORPETH SOLDIER
A large amount of interest was aroused in a military demonstration and sports held at Alnwick to mark the outbreak of war.
The gathering took place on the cricket field for soldiers, and the athletic events were keenly contested.
During an interval in the proceedings a pleasing presentation took place.
This was the handing over by the Duke of Northumberland of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to Private Charles Martin, of the 7th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers.
It was the reward for brave conduct in Flanders, where on April 26th, Private Martin and Private Burrell brought a box of ammunition under heavy fire to the trenches.
Major J.J. Gillespie, who asked the Duke to make the presentation, said Private Burrell was still at the front and unharmed.
Private Martin had unfortunately been wounded, but had rejoined his battalion.
The Duke of Northumberland, in presenting the medal to Private Martin, said he had great pleasure in doing so.
The corps, he added amid cheers, were very proud of him, and always would be.
Two comrades then carried Pte. Martin shoulder high around the circle amid applause and cheering.
Private Martin and Burrell are both natives of Morpeth.
Sunday will be a notable day in the history of this country. It is the day fixed for the registration of every person, male or female, between the ages of 15 and 65, and in the words of Earl Grey, the manhood and womanhood of the nation will be provided with the opportunity of notifying to the whole world whether they are willing to place their services at the disposal of the State.
The true character of the nation will be shown by the way in which they make use of this opportunity provided by Parliament.
During the week quite an army of men and women, who have volunteered their services, have been busily engaged in these parts distributing amongst householders the official forms, which must be filled up on Sunday and ready for collection on the following day.
In our own immediate district scores of persons volunteered to act as enumerators, and it may be taken for granted that the work of distributing and collecting will be carried out with efficiency and despatch.
The questions set down in the official form to be answered are given in plain language and should present little or no difficulty to anyone in filling up.
For the benefit of those persons, who do not find it all plain sailing and require some assistance or guidance in the matter, the council chambers and other places in the town, each with an efficient staff in attendance, will be open on Sunday to assist any persons in filling up their forms.
HINTS ON FILLING UP THE FORMS
THINGS TO REMEMBER
The principal points which should be kept in mind for filling up the registration forms are these:-
1. – GENERAL
(1) Keep your form of questions neat and clean. Do not tear or spoil it, and if possible, avoid creasing or folding it.
(2) Write the answers plainly in the space provided. Write your surname at the head of the form in large letters, they are easier to read.
(3) If you have any doubt as to how to answer any questions, the enumerator who leaves the forms at your house and collects them will help you, if you ask him.
(4) If a form has not been left for you at the place where you sleep on the night of Sunday, August 15, you should obtain one on Monday and fill it up as soon as possible.
(5) If you are travelling on Sunday night and have received a form before starting, you should obtain one and fill it up at the place where you arrived on Monday morning. If you have received your form don’t leave it behind you.
If you leave home after receiving a form, but before August 15th, take it with you and hand it when filled up to the enumerator who calls at the address where you are temporarily stopping. The same applies if you are returning home after a temporary absence.
(6) You are asked to give your permanent postal address. By this is meant the address where you can usually be found and to which letter to you can be sent. If you are an employee “living in” (e.g. a domestic service or shop assistant) give your place of work and residence as your permanent postal address.
2. - SPECIAL POINTS TO BEAR IN MIND IN ANSWERING PARTICULAR QUESTIONS
Question 4. – In answering this question you should put down the number of children who actually rely on you wholly or partially for their food and lodging or the money to pay for it. If you are a married woman and your husband supports the home and the children from his income or earnings you should nevertheless put down the same reply to questions 4 as your husband.
Question 5. – This may have difficulties for you. In the first place, if you are married, it is intended that you should put down your wife under column 5 amongst “other dependants.” If you support your father or mother, brother or sister, or other relative, and are in fact providing him (or her) with food and lodging or the money for it, then he (or she) is dependent on you (wholly or partially, as the case may be), and the number of “such dependants” must be stated in column 5.
Notice carefully that persons in your employment to whom you pay wages (e.g. your servants) are not to be entered under column 5.
Question 6 is most important. See the footnote on the form.
In answering, be careful to state as exactly as you can just what it is that you do for a living.
Thus, for example:
Do not say “merchant,” but say “rubber merchant” or “tea merchant,” etc. Do not say “dealer,” but “clothes dealer,” or “ship’s store dealer,” etc. Do not say “farm hand,” but “cowman or carter on farm,” or “ploughman,” etc. Do not say “labourer,” but “bricklayer’s labourer,” or “agricultural labourer,” etc. Do not say “mechanic,” but “millwright,” or “brass moulder,” etc.
Above all, your answer should always show the material you work with, if any. If you are engaged in two or more distinct occupations you should state first by which one your living is mainly earned. If at the moment out of employment you should still record your usual occupation under 6.
Question 7. – Note in regard to this question that you should give your employer’s name, business, and business address, if you are employed by him in his business (e.g. factory, workshop, shop, office, etc.). If you are not employed at all write “none” in column.
If you are employed as a domestic servant or a gardener or a coachman or a gamekeeper in a private house or grounds you need only write in column 7 your master’s name, adding his private address if you do not live in his house.
Question 8. – In answering this question those people who are working directly under and are getting their pay from a Government department will have no difficulty. But some may be doing work which may or may not be for a Government department – they may not know. In that case the answer should be “Do not know.” A moment’s though, however, should decide the answer for most people, “Yes,” or “No.” Thus, you should say “yes” if you are engaged on a piece of work, e.g. munitions work for a private firm which is executing a Government contact. You should not say “yes” if you are (e.g.) a clerk in a firm which occasionally gets a contract for a supply of (say) cocoa for the Navy, or if you are employed by a district council or other local authority.
Question 9. – Be specially careful over this question. Unless you possess practical skill in some craft or class of work outside your present occupation or employment your answer should be “No.”
Any sort of work requiring special training should be put down whether persons doing such work are usually called ”skilled workmen” or not.
Thus, for example, “skill, milling” should be put down as well as “skill, riveting.” If you have changed your occupation you should enter here the kind of work which you were formerly trained to do if you are still able to do it.
It is not easy to state here all the kinds of work in which the offer of your skill would be useful, but among the most important are the various kinds of occupation: – Engineering and metal work, woodwork, agriculture, mining, sick nursing, leatherwork, hosiery manufacturing.
If you really do not know whether your skill is of the kind for which there is a demand, you should put down your offer, but remember that there is no discredit to those who answer “none” under column 9. If, in fact, you have no real skill in work of a kind likely to be useful outside your own occupation, that is the right answer.
After you have been registered you will receive a certificate, which your must sign and keep carefully.
Do not forget that if you change your address and leave home (otherwise than temporary) you must send your certificate to the Clerk of the Council of the district where your new home is, with you new address written on the back (see instructions on the back of the certificate). The simplest way is to hand the certificate in at the post office nearest your new home.
Owing to the absence of numerous postal servants on active service and the increasing difficulty experienced in providing for their duties the 7pm delivery of letters and the collections from the town letter boxes between 2pm and 3pm, & 6pm and 7pm will be suspended in Morpeth for the duration of the war.
The collections from the head office letter box and the despatches of mails will for the present remain unaltered.
BELSAY DISTRICT EGG COLLECTION
Master Laurie Wilkinson collected 405 eggs in Belsay district in the five weeks ending August 2nd, the total for 13 weeks being 1,353.
Eggs, however few, or donations, however small, will be thankfully received on behalf of the National Egg Collection for wounded soldiers and sailors, 154 Fleet St., London, by Laurie Wilkinson, Bankfoot, Belsay.
The donors were: Mrs J. Nixon, Mrs Milvain, Miss Hall, Mrs Leiper, Mrs Walton, Mrs Carmichael, Mrs W. Pye, Mrs Richley, Mrs Wilkinson, Miss Meek, Mrs R. Bell, Mrs J. Anderson, Mrs Egdell, Mrs R. Turnbull, Mrs Reed, Mrs Black, Mrs Dodds, Mrs J. Turnbull, Mrs W. Turnbull, Mrs T. Carr, Miss Kirsopp, Mrs Potts, Mrs E. Snowball, Mrs Clennel, Mrs Robson, Mrs Johnson, Mrs A. Anderson, Mrs R. Best, Mrs Thompson, Mrs Miller, Mrs G. Pye, Mrs Bewick, Mr J. Harrison, Mr W. Laidman.
THE SOLDIERS’ FRIEND
Pte. William Norman, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers, who was wounded at the front, is at present in a convalescent hospital, near Epsom.
Writing to his friends, residing at Pretoria Avenue, Morpeth, he alludes to a poem which has been composed by a little girl who supplies soldiers with cigarettes.
In going into the shop where this girl serves she gave him a packet of cigarettes from a box and on the box appears the following lines:–
Kind friend just step this side one moment,
’Twill not cause you much delay,
Just a little earnest pleading,
I would offer you today,
Can you spare me just one penny,
Or a cigarette or two?
Tommy Atkins is so grateful
For the comfort sent from you.
See him limping, sorely wounded,
See a smoke his sorrow drowns,
Join, kind friends, with us to cheer him
In Woodcote Park close by the Downs.
(By Daisy Cook, 2, Waterloo Buildings, Waterloo Road, Epsom.)
NORTHUMBERLAND FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
NO COUNTY CUP COMPETITIONS NEXT SEASON
A special meeting of the Northumberland Football Association was held on Saturday night, at the Express Hotel, Newcastle, for the purpose of considering the question of the continuance of football in the county for the season 1915-16, and to decide what should be done regarding the County Cup competitions, etc.
The President, Mr G.T. Milne, presided, and there was a fair attendance of the club representatives.
The chairman said that, so far as the Association was concerned, it was a matter of deciding what they should do with regard to their County Cup competitions.
The F.A. had decided that there should be no cups or medals offered for competition this season, and so the local council had decided that it would be better to call the clubs together to give them a chance of airing their opinions.
Mr T.N. Johnson moved that the action of the council be endorsed, and that there be no cup competitions during the coming season.
Mr Gellender seconded.
Mr R. Taylor, of East Tyne League, said he considered it a pity that football should be stopped at the present time.
He regarded it as a big mistake, for there were thousands of munition workers in the district, whom the Government had decided should have the Saturday afternoons off. He suggested that the cups and medals be offered for competition on behalf of the Red Cross Society, or some kindred organisation. He moved an amendment to that effect.
The chairman ruled that the F.A. had banned all cup competitions.
Mr G.E. Middleton said at the meeting of the council he had been inclined to support football, but as cups or medals could not be offered for competition, he thought it was hardly worth the game. There was the danger, however, of minor clubs becoming separated from the association, and running unaffiliated competitions on their own initiative.
Mr R.J. Carr said there were two reasons why he supported the action and decision of the council. One was the financial question, and to run cup competitions would be disastrous. The second reason was a more serious one — it was on national grounds.
It was not the time for competitive football. Thousands of football players were doing their duty in the great crisis and, it was the council’s intention not to give critics any cause for complaint. When the war was over, and things returned to normal, they would be able to say to those who might criticise that footballers had done their duty.
The motion, on being put to the meeting, was carried unanimously.
COMFORTS FOR DARDANELLES WOUNDED
Sir,— May I beg your assistance in bringing before the public the urgency of supplying the Empire’s brave sons who have been wounded in the Dardanelles, with several comforts outside the official allowances!
Hundreds of our splendid countrymen are at the moment in hospital at Cairo, Alexandria, Malta, and at the base at the Dardanelles, and they and their friends have continually asked for certain little comforts.
I have for some time past been in communication with Cairo, Alexandria and Malta, and have been successful in collecting books and magazines for our troops in these places. Altogether I have despatched through the generosity of publishers and libraries, sixteen tons of literature.
These gifts are highly appreciated by our men, but now many other things are needed, and I have undertaken to appeal to the public to give me the means of sending on such comforts immediately.
The men ask for cigarettes, jam, thin underwear (pants and vests), thin cotton shirts, handkerchiefs, pencils and writing pads, pipes, tobacco, matches, sweets, fruit (preserved and fresh), and other little luxuries, which they now find it impossible to obtain.
The importance of these articles being sent immediately is admitted on all sides, and the War Office has kindly promised to help me by giving preference in despatch to all the comforts I can gather together.
Every contribution will be publicly acknowledged. Gifts in money and kind should be sent to the offices and stores at 48 and 50 Waterloo Road, London, S.E. Cheques should be crossed: “Union of London and Smith’s Bank.” — Yours etc.,
Author of “What Germany Wants,” 48 and 50 Waterloo Road, London S.E.
RED CROSS JUMBLE SALE
Since the inauguration of the British Farmer’s Red Cross Fund an incalculable amount of good work has been accomplished, and we feel sure that the forthcoming auction jumble sale which is being organised on behalf of the fund will appeal strongly to the generosity of the farmers in this large agricultural area.
The sale is fixed to be held on Wednesday, August 25th, in the Cattle Market, Morpeth. The organisers appeal for all descriptions of live stock, garden produce, implements, and furniture, and it goes without saying that their appeal will not be in vain.
It is interesting to note what this Red Cross Fund has done to help to alleviate the sufferings of our own soldiers and the soldiers of our Allies.
It has already equipped two hospitals costing £10,000, sent £1,000 to Dr Barrie’s hospital in Serbia, equipped six operating theatres and special departments for throat, ear and eye in King George’s Hospital, London; sent £8,000 to Calais for an enteric hospital, and five motor lorries to the British Red Cross Society in France and Belgium, costing £3,550.
Funds are urgently required for providing hospital accommodation at Malta for our troops in the Dardanelles and sending a convoy of motor ambulances to the front.
BLYTH COT AT ETAPLES
Deputy-Commissioner C.B. Palmer, of No. 6 (Northern) Division of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade, has informed Miss Fenwick, commandant of the Blyth B.A.D. by letter, that the Blyth cot has been established at Etaples.
He thanks all those in Blyth who have assisted so splendidly in the raising of the sum of £2,000, and remarks that the amount which is sufficient to provide two beds, is highly creditable to all concerned. He adds that the name of Blyth will be prominent in the brigade hospital at Etaples.