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.

Sir,— May I crave a small space in your column to again remind the relatives of old members of the 1st Morpeth Company of the Boys’ Brigade who are serving in any branch of H.M. Forces that I should be grateful if they would acquaint me with the fact so that their names might be enrolled on our Roll of Honour.

We propose having the complete roll printed at the end of the present month, so it would be a great convenience if those who have not already done so would furnish me with particulars at their earliest convenience.

I already have the names of over 170 present and past members who are serving their country.

I should also be glad to receive the names of old scholars of St James’ School for the School Roll of Honour, which now contains over 210 names, including three old boys who have gained the D.C.M.

Thanking you for your courtesy, Yours, etc.


8 Olympia Gardens, Morpeth,

15th February, 1916.


The annual meeting of Governors of the above Dispensary was held on Monday evening. The Rector (Canon Davies) presided.

Mr Wright presented the House Committee’s report, which read as follows:— ”At the end of the year 1914 Miss Pringle, House Surgeon, resigned her position for other work and, as no other house surgeon was available in consequence of the war, the committee is glad to report that arrangements were made with the doctors resident in the town to take over the duty of attending to the patients, each doctor taking a defined area, and this has been found to work well, and the committee desire that the most sincere thanks of the Governors be tendered to the doctors for coming forward to carry on the good work of the institution at this time when there are so many calls on their beneficent services.”


The sick and wounded at the V.A.D. hospital at Morpeth greatly appreciated the concert provided for them on Thursday afternoon last week. The concert was arranged by Mr R.J. Luke, the conductor of the Playhouse orchestra, and every item rendered was loudly applauded.

The programme was opened by the orchestra giving pleasing selections. Songs were excellently sung by Miss Violet Kelly, Mrs Luke, Miss P. Mackay, and Private Pearson. A pretty dance was given by Baby Luke, whilst Mr Potts danced to perfection. By kind permission of the manager of the Playhouse, the Bros. Geddes, comedy musicians, also appeared, and were delightfully entertaining.

On the call of Sergt. Dodds a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to the performers. The piano was kindly lent by Mr Woodhead, Newgate Street.


The annual general meeting of the above Association was held in the Bible House, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle, when Mr F. Leak, of Beadnell, presided over a large gathering of teachers from all parts of the county.

The secretary (Mr J.T. Dawson, of Newcastle) presented the annual report. He gave a resume of the work of the Association during the past year, and was pleased to state that although the activity of the Union had been somewhat crippled by the enrolment of 222 members for War Service, yet the Executive Council had been able to co-operate with the local authority in solving various educational problems; the treatment of dull and backward children, and a promotion scheme for teachers had both received special consideration.

Mr C. Nuttal, of Blyth, who represents the Association on the County Education Committee, gave a report of his year’s work. The teachers realise that in Mr Nuttal they have a tactful representative, and expressed their appreciation of his services and their thanks to the Blyth authority in very decisive terms.

Mr R. Shortridge, of Wark-on-Tyne, then took the Presidential chair. He was happy to find so many evidences of patriotism in the ranks of teachers, but pointed out that their attitude towards the war was but one more proof of the high sense of duty which actuates them in the schools. He foresaw difficulties ahead, but urged the teachers together and especially to accept loyally any decision arrived at by the majority.


Pte. Ernest Forbes, 10th N.F., of Blyth, is ill in hospital.

Signaller T. Askew, 8th N.F., of Cramlington, is ill in hospital.

Pte. G. Collingwood, 10th N.F., of Choppington, has died of wounds.

Pte. James McSloy, Blyth, of the N.F., is reported seriously wounded in the chest.

Pte. S. Futers, 7th N.F., Morpeth, has been wounded for a second time, in France.

Sergt. Tom Bell, 4th Tyneside Scottish, son of Mrs Bell, West View, Earsdon, has been wounded, and is in hospital.

Sergt. W.J. Graham, 9th N.F., son of Mr W. and Mrs Graham, Taylor Street, Shiremoor, has died from wounds.

Pte. Edward Riddle Hedley, 4th N.F., son of Mr and Mrs George Hedley, Broomhill Colliery, West Woodburn, was killed in action in France on February 1st.

Mr and Mrs Joseph Clark, of 1 West Terrace, Bomarsund, would be pleased to receive any information regarding their son, Private Henry P. Clark, 11294, 12th N.F., who as been missing since September 27th.

Captain Rolland Ellis, 10th Northumberland Fusiliers, son of the Hon. and Rev. W.C. Ellis, rector of Bothalhaugh, Morpeth, was severely wounded in the trenches near Armentieres, on Jan. 29th.

Mrs Elsworth, Dryden’s Buildings, Forest Hall Road, Forest Hall, has received word that her second son, Petty Officer First-class Stoker John H.L. Elsworth, has been injured in an accident. Thus all her three sons are lying in hospital.


BELL.— Killed in action on the 7th ult. Pte. J.A. Nell, 2nd Battalion Black Watch, youngest son of Elizabeth and the late Thomas Bell of Bedlington.

COLLINGWOOD.— Killed in action in France.— In loving memory of Private George Collingwood, No. 19531, beloved son of Charles and Annie Collingwood, of Fountain Yard, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned by his loving father, mother, brothers and sisters, and many friends. For king and country he did his best; May God grant him eternal rest.


On the occasion of the recent air raid in the Midlands, the transmission of official messages of urgent importance was seriously interfered with at several places by the inconsiderate and unnecessary use of the telephone by private subscribers, to call up the police and other public officials.

The Postmaster-General earnestly appeals to the public to use the telephone as little as possible on such occasions and on no account to call up the police or other public officials on unimportant or merely personal matters.

If this warning is not regarded it many become necessary for the Postmaster-General to curtail the facilities afforded to private persons on occasions of public emergency.



A free-gift auction sale on behalf of the above fund will be held at the above mart on Wednesday First, February 23rd, commencing at 1pm prompt.

Mrs George Renwick, Springhill, has kindly consented to open the sale, assisted by other ladies.

Chairman: His Worship The Mayor Of Morpeth (Ald. E. Norman).

The entries comprise:— 50 prime fat sheep, 10 veal calves, 5 pork pigs, 2 donkeys, H.B. mare, dogs, half ton new land hay, 100 fresh eggs, barley and wheat, poultry, ducks and game, peacock and pea-hen, flour, potatoes, etc., etc.

Sundries: Medicine chest, Whitechapel trap, pair blacksmith’s bellows, garden seat, new wheelbarrow, Blue Willow soup tureen, arm-chair, Geo. III. pound piece, Geo. III. crown piece, 2 pairs gold ear-rings (1 pair of Indian make, native workmanship), gramophone and records, gent’s cycle, billiard cue, scales and weights, and picture screen, books, and plants, etc., etc.

It is requested that all stock, farm and dairy produce, etc., should be delivered at the Mart by 9.30am or as soon after as possible on morning of sale.

Further entries will be thankfully received up to the time of sale.


T.B. WATERS, Auctioneers.

J. LONGSTAFF, Secretary.

Mart Office, Morpeth


Since the inauguration of the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund a wonderful task has been accomplished by those under whose direction this fund is administered. Their operations extend to all theatres of war.

As announced in our news columns a further cheque for £40,000 has been forwarded from headquarters to the Red Cross Society and that substantial sum of money has been disposed of as follows:— £10,000 for winter comforts for our sick and wounded soldiers, £20,000 for hospital work in connection with the sick and wounded of our Expeditionary Force in the Persian Gulf, and £10,000 for further motor lorries and touring cars for use in France and Belgium.

In this connection we would call attention to the agricultural and jumble sale to be held at the Morpeth Auction Mart in aid of the Farmers’ Red Cross Fund on Wednesday first. Some months ago it will be remembered a similar effort was attended with gratifying results.

Naturally the promoters, who are putting all their energy into the forthcoming sale, are looking forward to the generous support and patronage of the farmers and public generally, and considering the worthy object for which it is organised. We hope that the anticipations of the most sanguine of the promoters will be fully realised.

So far their appeal to the public has met with a gratifying response, and we are asked to state that all intending consignors or subscribers should kindly forward their entries or subscriptions to the auctioneers at the Mart on or before the date of the sale.

Mrs George Renwick, of Springhill, has kindly consented to perform the opening ceremony which will be presided over by the Mayor (Ald. Ed. Norman). The sale will be conducted free of charge, and the proceeds handed over to the fund. Arrangements have also been made to hold a “Tag Day” on the same date.



In connection with the free-gift sale held at the above mart, a Tag Sale will take place on Wednesday first, commencing at 9.30.

Tags will be sold by numerous influential ladies of the town and district, who have kindly offered their services. Intending Helpers please come early and take up their duties.


T.B. WATERS, Auctioneers

J. LONGSTAFF, Secretary.

Mart Office, Morpeth


Minutes of a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Northumberland Miners’ Association, issued to the branches on Saturday afternoon, contained a reference to absenteeism at the coal pits in the country.

The committee passed the following resolution:— ”That we inform the Coalowners’ Association that after fully considering all the suggestions discussed when we met them on the 5th of January as to how best to reduce the percentage of absenteeism in our pits, we propose to issue a circular specially addressed to workmen who habitually absent themselves from work; and also to ask each of our branches to appoint a small committee to visit such absentees with a view to persuading them to attend work more regularly; also, that we desire the Owners’ Association to instruct colliery managers to supply these small committees with all the data necessary regarding absenteeism.”


Whilst recognising that the Morpeth Corporations are, like other people, pressed with regard to calls upon labour, there is a matter of public interest which one might call attention to.

During the present week, owing to a severe frost, the pavements of the town and locality have been slippery and dangerous, especially that important thoroughfare leading from the station to the town. It would be worth an effort to render the station bank less dangerous by the distribution of sand in the early morning as done in other towns.


It will be remembered that Mrs Alec-Tweedie chose February in which to make a particular effort for her Y.M.C.A. Hut Scheme. People have not waited for February, however, to respond. She has already been given eight or ten entire huts within the last two months, to say nothing of donations from 1d. to £100.

The genius of the people in collecting these funds has been remarkable, and as very much more money is still required (cheques to be crossed London and Westminster Bank, and addressed to 30 York Terrace, London, W.).

“Think of the thousands of homes that daily look forward to a letter with the well-known red triangle upon its cover” says Mrs Alec-Tweedie. “But for the Y.M.C.A. centres that letter would probably never have been written, for the hut provides warmth, light, comfort, pens, ink and paper. There is even a post office and savings bank upon the canteen counter.

“If all who have received such letters were to give whatever they could afford to the hut scheme they would be increasing the possibilities of their fathers, husbands, sweethearts, brothers, uncles, nephews, or friends writing to them while on active service.”

Lord Kinnaird, the president of the National Y.M.C.A. Council, has written to Mrs Alec-Tweedie to congratulate her on the help her hut scheme has given to the soldiers and sailors.

“ I congratulate you most heartily on the wonderful list of your friends whom you have introduced to help your Y.M.C.A. Hut Scheme,” says Lord Kinnaird.

“I congratulate you most heartily upon the wonderful work you have done and the great success of your efforts to help the soldiers and sailors. The Y.M.C.A. is under a deep debt of obligation to you, and if the weather throughout the country is anything like we have had here for the past two weeks, many hearts will be opened and hands ready to sign cheques to help.

“With renewed thanks to you for all you have done and are doing; the thanks of soldiers and officers are showered on your head.”


Piper Laidlaw, V.C., was one of the artistes at a concert on Wednesday night at Prudhoe Palace Theatre given in aid of the British Red Cross Funds. He had an enthusiastic reception, and during the evening was presented with a shoulder plaid brooch by Mr J. Thompson.


The Commandant of the Red Cross Hospital wishes to acknowledge with thanks the following gifts:— Anonymous, fruit; Miss Feather, knitted wash gloves; Mrs R. Oliver, pots of tulips and cut flowers; Mrs Berkley, flowers and milk; Mrs Philip, oranges and apples; Mrs Smith, The Briggiss, Gosforth, scones, etc.; Mrs Cecil Perceval, fresh eggs; Mr Marshall, cocoa.


The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee has maintained its activities very effectively for eighteen months, but, with the approach of the appointed day — March 2nd — the Committee must be nearing the end of its labours.

The latest production of its Publication Department is a simple “Outline of the Military Service Act,” a four-page leaflet (No. 64) setting out in question and answer form the principal provisions of the Act and the preliminary steps that will be taken to put them in force.

Every eligible unmarried man should familiarise himself with the terms of the Act, and consider seriously whether he will not respond to the appeal to “anticipate its provisions either by enlisting at once, or by attesting under the Group System.”

The Committee anticipates a rush to the Colours at the last moment, and those who desire to enlist or attest in comfort are urged to do so before the rush of the closing days.

The “Outline” and a shorter leaflet, “Single Men — Serve your Country” (No. 65), can be obtained free of charge from the Publication Department, 42 Parliament Street, London. A new series of posters dealing with the Act will also be available very shortly.