HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, January 14, 1916.
HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, January 14, 1916.

In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1916, 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.

Under the patronage of the Hon. Mrs Joicey, Longhirst Hall, the General Officer Commanding, and officers of the 2nd Line Welsh Border Mounted Brigade, a high-class entertainment was given in the Playhouse, Morpeth, yesterday afternoon.

The whole of the proceeds were given in aid of the local Voluntary Aid Hospital, which has done a great work since the commencement of the war.

It is interesting to note that this hospital provides accommodation for 37 patients, and was opened on the 9th August, 1914, for the treatment of troops in Morpeth and vicinity, and since its inception up to the 31st December, 1915, seven hundred and fifty-two patients have been admitted, ninety-seven of which have been wounded or gassed whilst on active service.

The patients have come from the following Territorial and New Army Units:— 1st Line Northern Cyclists Battalion, 3/6th Durham Light Infantry, 1st Line Scottish Horse, 2nd Line Welsh Border Mounted Brigade, 3/6th Northumberland Fusiliers, and the 19th Battalion (Commercial) Northumberland Fusiliers.

The seating accommodation of this commodious picture house was taxed to its utmost, and the audience showed their appreciation in no unmistakable manner of the splendid fare provided.

By the kind permission of the manager of the Newcastle Hippodrome, the following talented artistes appeared: Miss Lily Lonsdale, soprano; Miss Vera Hind, comedienne; and The Four Minums, comedy quartette. Another turn from the Hippodrome, the Great Carlton, expert juggler and card manipulator, also appeared, but was unable to perform owing to an accident sustained at Newcastle. For their efforts the above-named artistes won hearty applause.

The well-known “Cheery Chesyeos,” members of the Cheshire Yeomanry, gave a very refined entertainment of melody and mirth and kept the audience in happy humour.

Trooper W. Fowler, who acted as musical director for the entertainment, was ably assisted by Mr Luke, the Playhouse conductor and orchestra.

The turns appearing this week at the Playhouse also added to the enjoyment of the afternoon’s proceedings, namely Miss Florence Horsfield, a clever instrumentalist, and Mr Walter Wade, the Yorkshire Scot, a versatile comedian.

The programme was pleasingly interspersed with interesting films dealing with different aspects of the war.

Dr Philip, medical officer of the local V.A.D. Hospital, proposed votes of thanks to the proprietors of the Playhouse, who had gratuitously placed the hall at their proposal; to the manager of the Hippodrome for kindly allowing their artistes to appear, to Colonel Verdin of the Cheshire Yeomanry, to the Hon. Mrs Joicey who had supplied the plants for decorating the stage, to Mr Thompson of the Queen’s Head Hotel for providing the motor cars to bring the artistes, to Mr Woodhead who had kindly supplied the piano, and to all others who had contributed towards the success of the entertainment.


Sir,— With reference to the above concert, I wish to express my sincerest thanks to the Hon. Mrs Joicey for the stage decorations, the artistes from the Newcastle Hippodrome and the Playhouse, Morpeth, the Cheery Chesyeos, the Management, Orchestra, and Staff of the Playhouse, Mr Thompson of the Queen’s Head Hotel for the use of the motor cars, Mr Woodhead of Newgate Street for the piano, and Messrs Pathe Bros. for the films, those who sent subscriptions, and the many local willing workers, who have contributed to the success of the matinee held this afternoon.

All the services were gratuitous, and the piano, motor cars, and films lent for the occasion. —Yours, etc.,


Lieut-Colonel R.A.M.C. (T.),

Senior Medical Officer

2nd Line Welsh Border Mounted Brigade,

Morpeth, 13th January, 1916


Since the publication of the last report on March 26th, 1915, the following garments have been made by the ladies of the above Sewing Meeting, viz.:— 240 shirts, 700 pairs of socks, 18 vests, 88 mufflers, 107 pairs of mittens, 5 pairs of gloves, 149 helmets, 36 pillow cases, 42 pocket handkerchiefs, 12 body belts, 3 pairs of pants, 58 new garments for Belgian women, making a total of 1,460 garments, in addition to 2,200 previously reported.

These have been sent to Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild, 6th Northumberland Fusiliers (3), 7th Northumberland Fusiliers (5), 12th Northumberland Fusiliers, 19th Northumberland Fusiliers, Northumberland Hussars, Morpeth V.A.D. Hospital, Naval and Military Hospital, Belgian Relief, Serbian Relief, Red Cross, Naval Division, The Royal Sailors’ Rest (Miss Agnes Weston), The Northumberland Fusiliers prisoners of war, Durham Light Infantry prisoners of war, Army Service Corps, Northumbrian Division at the front, and parcels have been sent to individual soldiers and sailors from Morpeth in the Grenadier Guards, Horse Guards, Royal Garrison Artillery (Siege), Royal-Field Artillery, the Indian Army, Royal Engineers, King’s Own Scottish Borderers, Border Regiment, T.B. Destroyers, Mine Sweepers, Aerial Brigade, and Naval Brigade.

To the woollen comforts have been added gifts of sweets, cigarettes, chocolate, soap, insecticide, and stationery and shoe laces.

Teas have been given by the following ladies and gentlemen, beginning 1st July:— The Mayor (Councillor Charlton), Mrs Tighe, Mrs Renwick, Mrs Davies, Mrs Morgan, Mr Matheson, Mrs James Jobling and Mrs Mitchell, Mrs Fail, Mrs Browell, Mrs Tom Swinney, Mrs Creighton, Miss Oliver, Mrs Joseph Jobling and Mrs Bayliss, Councillor and Mrs Elliott, Mr Thos. Gillespie, Mrs Joey and Mrs Halls, Mr J.J. James and Mrs Harper, Mrs W.S. Sanderson, Mrs Loades, Mrs John Oliver, Mrs Macdowell, Miss Griffiths, Mrs F. Brumell.

The tea on Thursday, 13th January, was given by his Worship the Mayor (Alderman Norman) and realised £2 11s. 6d.

At the conclusion of a large meeting the above report was read by him, followed by a few remarks from Canon Davies, eulogising the work which had been done by the ladies of the town and expressing the gratitude of the men to whom gifts had been sent.

The hon. treasurer and committee have to thank Miss Legge for 5/-; 6 pairs of socks, Mrs Robson, Claremont House; Mrs Weedy, mufflers, mitts, socks; Mrs Temple, socks; and other kind friends. The tea cosy given by Mss Issie Athey realised £4 12s. 9d., and was won by No. 331 (Mrs Wastle, Bridge Street).


A meeting of the Northumberland Insurance Committee was held on Friday at the Moothall, Newcastle, Mr G.G. Rea presiding.

The report of the Medical Benefit Sub-Committee showed that there had been considered a memorandum having reference to the question of obtaining the necessary supply of men, by the Central Medical War Committee, for the services of the Army, and of co-ordinating the needs of the Army and those of the civil population, so that in selecting the doctors required for military duty undue depletion of the medical service of particular areas may be avoided.

It was stated that, taking the country as a whole, there was an ample supply of medical men of military age to meet any demands that seem likely to be made upon the profession, but that the distribution was unequal, and, therefore, it would be necessary that the provision made for carrying on an absent practitioner’s work should be settled beforehand on clear and definite lines, and the arrangements submitted to the Insurance Committee for their approval before a doctor undertakes military duty.

When a request to be released for military service is received from a panel practitioner the two main points upon which the Insurance Committee should be satisfied before giving their consent were:—

(1) That there is no likelihood that the absence of the doctor in question will render the panel service no longer efficient either generally or in any particular locality, due regard being had to the seasonal variation of sickness incidence, and

(2) That satisfactory arrangements are made for carrying out the absentee’s duties.

It was recommended that authority be delegated to the Clerk of the Committee to act on their behalf in the particular case of a doctor requesting to be released for military service upon short notice being given to the committee.

The report was adopted.

The Sanatorium Benefit Sub-Committee’s report drew attention to an intimation of the Commissioners that owing to the effect of further enlistments of insured persons upon the sanatorium funds of the committee and to the fact that the greater provision for institutional treatment would have to be made for discharged sailors and soldiers suffering from tuberculosis, it would be necessary to effect a further reduction in the number of beds retained for residential treatment, and therefore sanction had not been given by the Commissioners to the retention of the beds in Woodburn Sanitorium (Edinburgh).

It was recommended that, subject to the sanction of the National Health Insurance Commission (England), five beds should be retained in the sanatorium from December 1, 1915, for the period ending June 30, 1916, at the rate of £106 per bed per annum.

The Chairman explained that if the beds were continued on the same lines as before, the total expenditure would reach £4,790, and an adverse balance approaching £300 would have to be faced at the end of the year, whilst if five beds were cut off, £550 would be saved, and they would have about £300 in hand.

Several members expressed the opinion that the County Council should be approached and asked to offer some assistance in the matter.

It was agreed to appoint a committee as a deputation to the Council.

A resolution was carried out to the effect that the attention of the Government should be called to the inadequate allowance of £10 to each discharged soldier and sailor, and that they be requested to show more generosity.

The period of treatment usually extended over three months and cost the committee about £25.


On Saturday evening the members of the Morpeth Branch of the National Master Farriers’ Association held their dinner at the White Swan Inn, Morpeth. There were 33 present, including representatives from Messrs Moffat, of Gateshead, and Robson, Sunderland, ironmongers’ firms.

Mr William Wilson, president of the Association, occupied the chair.

An excellent dinner was served under the supervision of Mrs Weallens, wife of the manager.

In proposing the toast of “The King,” the chairman referred to the fact that never in the history of the Empire was there a monarch who was given such devotion and loyalty by all classes of his subjects, and, the terrible times under which we were passing intensified that feeling of loyalty.

The toast was enthusiastically drunk, the members rising and singing the National Anthem.

The toast of “The Army and Navy” was given by the chairman, who said they were proud of their army and navy, which had performed so many noble achievements in the great and calamitous war, which had been forced upon the Allies by the German enemies of civilisation.

They were proud of their achievements, and their pride had taken something more than a passive interest for the civilian population had flocked to the colours in a manner worthy of their nation.

In their own small society they had a member serving in Salonica, and another member, Mr Watson, had four sons and a brother who had joined the forces. (Applause.)

They all hoped that before the next annual dinner came round that the war would be at an end and that the victory of the Allies would bring peace to the world for generations to come.

The toast was drunk with enthusiasm.


Will the wounded soldier who took the Bible to Barmoor, belonging to Private Thos. Blades, 2nd N.F., 8930, and missing since 21st February, 1915, communicate with Mrs M. Blades, 13, Ridley Street, Klondyke, Cramlington.


The Commandant of the V.A.D. Hospital wishes to acknowledge with thanks the following gifts:— Proceeds of Ulgham lottery, £15; Whitehouse Social Club, papers; Nurses at Morpeth Asylum, apples; Miss Ogle, Longhorsley, bed socks; Mrs Rayne, eggs; Mr J. Simpson, nuts; Miss Sanderson, games.


This fund has been even more successful than in 1914. The gross amount was £40 7s., and, deducting expenses, £38 has been forward to various funds in connection with the war.

In detail these are:— £15 to the Hon. Mrs Joicey, of Longhirst Hall, Commandant of the Red Cross Hospital. Morpeth; £7 10s. to Mr T.B. Waters, secretary of the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth; £5 to the British Ambulance Committee, 23, Bretton Street, London, W; and £10 10s. to the Serbian Relief Fund, 5, Cromwell Road, London, W.

All helpers are heartily thanked.


The remains of the late Private James Winter (20), of the 12th N.F., who resided at 68 Third Single Row, North Seaton, were laid to rest in Seaton Hirst Churchyard on Tuesday with full military honours.

The deceased, who was wounded at the battle of Loos in September last, was removed to the King George’s Hospital, London, where he died on Thursday last. The body of the deceased was brought from London to his home on the day prior to the funeral.

The cortege was headed by a firing party with arms reversed. The coffin, which was draped with the Union Jack, rested on a gun carriage drawn by six horses, followed by a detachment of the 7th N.F. The burial service was conducted by the Rev. Mr Renwick, curate of Seaton Hirst Parish Church.

Mr W.S. Pattison, undertaker, Ashington, carried out the funeral arrangements.


It matters little under what conditions the Northumbrian may be placed, whether at home or abroad, the sports and pastimes of his youth cling to him tenaciously. Whenever occasion arises, or opportunity offers, he is ever ready to forget his troubles and difficulties with which he may be surrounded for the time and throw his whole being into the sport which has made him the hardy athletic and true sportsman he is today.

Strong in determination, daring in exploits, forgiving in temper, he is not the man to take a mean advantage of an opponent. In victory or defeat he shows little difference in manner. He plays the sport for the love of it and therein his pleasure lies.

Can we wonder then at the many strong appeals received from our soldiers at the front for an occasional football to be sent to them to while away a few hours in harmless recreation when relieved from the trenches. Our prisoners of war also derive a little amount of enjoyment by the introduction of sport into their internment camps.

All these tendencies are a good omen for the cause in which the country is at present engaged. Men like these seldom know defeat.

It is characteristic of the race their love of outdoor games. It has fit them in no small degree to endure the trying ordeals many of them have gone through in Flanders and the Gallipoli. In his training for active service he never loses his desire or misses an opportunity to avail himself of that sport which is so dear to him, particularly in the case of football.

While many have been and are partial to the pastime of football, other forms of sport have a strong claim on the Northumbrian. Some thirty years ago bowling was very attractive to many, and not a few could be found who were splendid exponents in heaving a bowl. For some years afterwards the interest was on the wane. Recently it seems to have revived a little, and the sport is again becoming very popular.


Private M. Metcalf, of Blyth, 10th N.F., is reported wounded.

Frank Morris, of new Hartley, is amongst those who lost their lives in H.M.S. Natal.

Private J.W. Woods, son of Mr David Woods, Salisbury Street, Blyth, is reported wounded.

Private Robert Percy, son of Mr Robert Percy, market gardener, Cowpen Village, according to a letter received, has been killed in action.
Private Harry Blyth, son of Mrs Blyth, widow, Simpson Street, has died in hospital. He was given a military funeral at Blyth, where the remains arrived on Monday.

Private Matthew Dugdale, 16th N.F., son of Mr and Mrs Dugdale, of 10 Double Row, Cowpen Colliery, Blyth, has been killed in action.

Mrs W Mulligan, of 15 Ariel Street, Hirst, Ashington, has been informed of the death in action of her brother, Lance-Sergt. Thomas Hall, of the 2nd Durham Light Infantry.

Mr and Mrs W.J. Goodman, 3 Railway Row, Dudley Colliery, have been notified by the Admiralty that their son Able Seaman J.R. Goodman, Kx/198, R.N.V.R., Howe Battalion, is in hospital at Lowland, West Mudros, suffering from dysentery.

Mr and Mrs Marshall, 70 Elsdon Road, Gosforth, have been notified that their son, Private Jas. Marshall, of the Canadian Infantry, has been wounded. Private Marshall was for sixteen years with the firm of Messrs Robinson & Co., wholesale stationers, Newcastle.

Mrs Vose, of 42 Jackson Street, Annitsford, who received intimation some weeks ago that her husband, Corpl. Geo. Vose, 2nd Batt. N.F., was missing, has now been notified that he has been killed in action. Corpl. Vose served through the Boer war and volunteered his services at the outbreak of the present war. He leaves a widow and 8 children.

Mrs Bateman, Claremont Terrace, Blyth, has received the sad message of the death of her husband, who has been killed in action in France. He leaves three young children. Private Ed. Bateman worked at New Delaval Colliery, before enlisting. Four brothers of this soldier enlisted since the war broke out. Bateman was killed on New Year’s Day.

Private W. Tweddle, whose parents live at 66 Coomassie Road, Blyth, has died of wounds. The chaplain has written a letter of sympathy to the soldier’s father, in which he says:— ”I assure it will help you to know that the doctors and nurses did everything possible for him, and the Church was with him praying for him at the last. His body lies in a soldier’s grave in the soldiers’ cemetery and the cross over it will bear his name, rank, regiment, and date on which he gave his life for his country.” Private Tweddle had just gone into action after being released from hospital for the fourth time when he was fatally wounded.


Mrs Fairley, of 1 Grey Street, Blyth, has received the following message from Mr A.J. Balfour, First Lord of the Admiralty:— ”The King commands me to assure you of the true sympathy of His Majesty and the Queen in your sorrow.”

Mrs Fairley’s son was lost in the explosion on board H.M.S. Natal.

Mrs Scrimgoure of Disraeli Street, Blyth, has received word of the death of her husband on board H.M.S. Natal. Deceased, who was a Cambois miner before joining the Navy, leaves four children.

James Summerbell, son of Mr T Summerbell, engine driver, Blyth, is amongst the saved on the Natal.


It is now definitely known that another footballer well known in East Northumberland circles has made the great sacrifice, official information having been received by his mother, Mrs Patterson, Hollymount, Bedlington, that Corporal John Patterson, of the 9th D.L.I. (Bede College Company), was killed in action between April 26th and November 23rd.

He has been missing since April last when the ‘Durhams’ were in action, and he lies buried in a little cemetery near to Roulers, in Belgium.

At college, Corporal Patterson played both Rugby and Soccer and was a keen oarsman. He assisted Wingate Albion in the North-Eastern League, and also Bedlington United and Ashington. For three years he was at Bothal C.E. Schools, Ashington, afterwards being engaged at the Bedlington Council.

For the tennis club of the “terrier toon” he was a keen worker, being mainly responsible for the erection of their pavilion and he also interested himself keenly in school football.


Seaman W. Crutchley, of Kitty Brewster, who until a brief time before H.M.S. Natal was blown up was supposed to be on board that vessel, has had a narrow shave.

Though reported missing to his parents by the Admiralty, a letter has now been received from the lad himself stating that he is safe, as he had been transferred to another vessel only two days before the disaster.


AVERY.— Killed in action in France on December 20th, Private R.G. Avery, 9480, 2nd Battalion D.L.I., dearly beloved husband of M.E. Avery, of 1 Beaconsfield Street, West Stanley, and son of W.A. and the late M.A. Avery, of Cragside, Rothbury. Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving wife and children.


Mr and Mrs Winter and Miss Tweddle, North Seaton, tender their sincere thanks to all relative and friends for their kind expressions of sympathy, letters and floral tributes sent to them on the death of their son, Private James Winter, who died at King George’s Hospital, London, January 6th, 1916.


A few kind ladies and gentlemen of the town are giving a Barn Dance, which is to be held in the Long Granary at Dogger Bank on January 30th, 1916, in aid of the Morpeth lads at the Front.

Tickets: Gentlemen, 2/-; Ladies, 1/-, can be had at S. Wood’s, Newgate Street, and also at Shotton’s, Oldgate St., Morpeth.


A most enjoyable concert, organised by Mr N.I. Wright, chairman of the Entertainment Committee, was given in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, on Thursday, last week. Mr Wright presided over a large audience.

The programme, which was of a varied and interesting character, was greatly appreciated and encores were the rule. Those who kindly contributed to the programme were Mr Criddle, Mrs Innes, Mrs H. Wright, Mrs Bayliss, and Mr N.I. Wright. The choruses, “Old King Cole” and “Good Night,” were finely rendered. Mrs Irwin Wright made an efficient accompanist. On the call of Trooper Ackerly, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the chairman and the singers.

The following kindly sent donations to the Christmas treat fund:— Miss Anderson, Mrs Batie, Mrs Drysdale, Mrs Whittle, Mr Marshall, and Mr T. Rutherford.

Mr T.B. Waters, secretary of the Institute, has received the following donations; Mr C. Heslop, secretary and treasurer of the Ulgham Christmas Fund, £7 10s.; Mr Jas. Swinney, £1 1s.; Misses Arkle, Morpeth, £1 1s.

A successful concert, arranged by Mr F. Murphy, was given in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, on Tuesday evening. Mr R. C. Oliver presided over a large and appreciative audience.

The programme, which was of a highly entertaining character, was given as follows:— Pianoforte solo, “Commercials’ March.” Mrs Francombe; song, “Blow blow, thou Winter Wind,” Mr Francombe; duologue, “Geese,” Mrs Bayliss and Mrs Francombe; solo, “The Admiral’s Broom,” Mr C.F. Murphy; monologue, “Spotty,” Mrs Francombe; song, “A Little Bit of Heaven,” Mrs Bayliss; song, “The Yeoman’s Wedding,” Mr Francombe; and recitations, “Henry King” and “Rebecca,” Miss Francombe.

An interesting sketch entitled “Our At Home Day,” was given, the parts being taken by:— Mrs Snobson — Mrs Bayliss; Henrietta (her daughter) — Miss Murphy Sabina (the maid) — Mrs Francombe.


The first war honours that have fallen to Blyth have been earned by two men who, until the outbreak of the war, were miners, and for their bravery they have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

The recipients are Private John Stephenson, 9 Robert Street, Crofton, Blyth, and Private William Clark, 19 West Row, Cowpen Colliery, Blyth, and they are both members of the 10th Yorkshire Regiment.

The incident which led to the men receiving this distinguished award occurred on December 19th, when two of their comrades in the Yorks were entrapped in a buried dug-out and were in imminent danger of losing their lives.

“Under very heavy fire,” as stated in the official record of the act, Stephenson and Clark went to the rescue of their comrades and brought them safely back to the British lines.

Subsequently Stephenson was home on leave, and on returning to the front found a communication awaiting him signed by the Major-General commanding the 21st Division and bearing the following message:— ”Your name has been brought before me for exceptional good work in December 19th, 1915, and I shall have great pleasure in submitting it to a higher authority.”

This Stephenson sent home to his wife with a suggestion to have it framed, under cover of a letter dated January 5th. In this letter Stephenson said he and Clark were paraded before the Commanding Officer and the other officers. The Commanding Officer made a speech, in which he said he was pleased they had won the D.C.M., and pinned the ribbon for their medals on their tunics.

Clark’s wife has received a modest letter from her husband saying he has won the D.C.M., and as he is expected home on leave he will probably convey the card vised by the major-general referring to his “good work.”

Both men are married, Stephenson having a family of two boys and Clark one little girl. They are in the early thirties, and before the war were companions. They both joined the Colours on September 16th, 1914. Clark up to enlistment was a hewer at the North Pit, Blyth, and Stephenson followed the avocation of stoneman at the Isabella Pit.

Their wives have been the recipients of many congratulations on the distinctions earned by their husbands.


Amongst the many sad and thrilling stories of the war in the experiences of local men none is more so than the story of the death of a brave soldier, Alex. Locke, son of Mr Joshua Locke, of North Seaton.

He was a local schoolmaster, who was well known as a secondary school student here, whose athletic prowess and fine manly proportions attracted attention at the annual competitions here, where he was ever successful.

He joined the Army, and after a big fight in France was amongst the missing, and no tidings could be heard of concerning him. The story of his death, however, has been told, and it is an heroic one.

The platoon in which he served was severely pressed by the enemy who were advancing in great numbers and was ordered to retreat, whilst Locke was engaged in ministering to Private Blanchflower, a comrade who also belonged the scholastic profession, who had his femur shattered. The officer called upon Locke to retreat, but he could not leave his wounded comrade. The Germans were then within a hundred yards of him, but he went on bandaging his friend’s thigh.

The brave fellow was shot through the back and he fell dead over this prostrate friend. For two days Blanchflower lay there in that predicament, when some Germans came and immediately set about appropriating the few valuables belonging the dead solider. When brought round, Blanchflower asked that he might have Locke’s belongings to send home to his parents, but the Germans only gave him a watch chain and a pocket knife, retaining the purse and other things.

Poor Locke’s body was buried in a shallow grave. Blanchflower was taken to a German hospital, where he was robbed of what had been given to him. He was subsequently interned, and eventually sent to England in connection with an exchange of permanently disabled soldiers.

Such is the story of a noble fellow’s death, whose epitaph well may be — ”Greater love than this no man hath then who gives his life for his friends.”