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.
Last Friday morning Mr and Mrs Andrew Foster, jeweller and watchmaker, Bridge Street, Morpeth, received the sad news that their younger son, Company-Sergeant-Major Bert Foster, Northumberland Fusiliers, had been killed in action in France on the 15th September by a machine gun bullet. He would have been 22 years of age on Tuesday last.
Sergt.-Major Foster was an old Grammar School boy, and was successful in winning a scholarship at the school. After leaving school he went into the business of his father as a watchmaker and jeweller, where he was for six years.
He was three years in the Territorials and belonged to a group who had volunteered for special service. In 1914, four days before the declaration of war — while he was preparing to go with St James’ Sunday School annual excursion to Newbiggin — he was called up for military duty to guard the cable station on the coast. For many months he was engaged in that work with his comrades.
Seventeen months ago he went to France with his regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, where he did some useful work as an observer and sniper. While in France he received his last promotion, being made Company-Sergeant-Major. He declined to entertain the idea of a commission, thinking his services as company-sergeant-major more valuable to his country. Always keen on his military duties, he was and looked a splendid specimen of a British soldier.
Before the war he used to teach in St James’ Sunday School, play the accompaniments for the hymns, and assist with the savings bank. He was for some years a member of the YMCA and well known on the bowling green. His nice disposition made him very popular amongst his many comrades and acquaintances.
His only brother (Joseph), who was in Australia when the war broke out; joined an Australian regiment, and after service in Gallipoli has been in France. The two brothers have not seen each other for eight years, and although they have each tried very hard to do so, they never succeeded.
Great sympathy is felt for Mr and Mrs Foster in their bereavement.
NOTIFICATION OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Sir,— May I draw attention to the fact that large numbers of men in this district are not registering their change of address?
Men who are engaged in reserved occupations and have got exemption certificates from local tribunals, men who are badged through their being in controlled firms, and men who are exempted by the colliery courts and other authorities, seem to think that they do not come under the National Registration Act.
On the contrary, it is an offence punishable by fine if any person registered under the Act does not notify the local registration authorities of his change of address. The trouble caused to recruiting officers by failure to make such a notification is so serious that I shall be compelled to order proceedings to be taken if the Act is not complied with in future.
I am asking you to be good enough to insert this letter, so that the public may have due warning, and that no one may have cause for complaint if at a future date proceedings are taken against him.—
M. MOORE, Lieut-Colonel.
District, H.Q. Recuriting Officer.
PROMOTION OF A MORPETH MAN
In a letter from Mr John Hann, Acton, London (formerly of Morpeth), he says his son Stuart has come home from the Near East to receive a commission.
He was in Gallipoli for about a year, and after its evacuation he was some months in Imbois other islands in charge of searchlights and aircraft guns. Stuart has gone through many dangers without a scratch or even a day’s illness, although he has sometimes in the trenches been waist-high in water for several days at a time.
He is now out of the Naval Reserve, in which he was a petty officer, and is a lieutenant in the Royal Electrical Engineers.
After a short stay at home he was sent with a detachment to the coast to take charge of four searchlight stations, for which he is well qualified, because of his training in his profession as an electrical engineer and his experience in the war zone.
Mr Hann, in referring to the death of Lieut. H. Clarkson Annett (whom he knew since he was a lad), said he was very sorry to hear of the death of his old friend’s (Mrs Ralph Scott) son at the Front. His life was full of promise, and it must be a crushing blow to his mother.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Lance-Corporal A. Howes, 7 Beaumont Street, Blyth, has been killed.
Corporal R. Cockburn, Coxlodge, has been killed.
Private W. Harrison, Avenue Head, Seaton Delaval, has been killed.
Mrs Dickinson, 21 Riddle Terrace, Coxlodge, has had news that her son, Private Charles Dickinson, has been killed.
Mrs Purdy, Gosforth, has been unofficially informed that her husband, Private J. Purdy, has been killed.
Mrs Hunter has received news that her husband Private Charles Hunter, Morpeth, has been killed in action.
Private J.W. Brewis, Northumberland Fusiliers, son of Mr R. Brewis, Green Bat, Alnwick, has been killed in action.
News has been received of the death in action of Lance-Corporal Roy Ferguson, second son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Ferguson of 29 Lindon Road, Gosforth.
Mrs Phillipson, 16 Stanton Street, Gosforth, has received official information that her husband, Private George Hewson Phillipson, has been killed.
Mrs J. Furlonger, Bondgate Within, Alnwick, has received news that her youngest son, Private Vincent Furlonger, Grenadier Guards, has been killed in action.
Mrs Dunn, South Linton, has received word that her son, Sergt. N. Carmichael was wounded on September 15th in action and is in hospital.
Mr and Mrs Carmen, of 27 Edward Street, Morpeth, have received news that their son, D.M. Carmen, has been wounded in the chest and foot.
W.R. Robson, Longlea, Netherwitton, has received news that his brother, Rifleman J.P. Robson, was wounded in the leg in action on September 15th, and is now in the 5th Northern General Hospital, Leicester.
Mr and Mrs Fenwick Bowman, 21 Bridge Street, Morpeth have received news that their son, Corporal A. Bowman, N.F., has been wounded for the second time, and has been admitted to hospital in France.
Mrs Isabella Brown, Pottergate New Row, Alnwick, has received news that her husband, Private Frank Brown, N.F., was killed in action on the 2nd inst.
Information has been received by Mrs Hall, of Ashington, that her youngest son Lance-Corporal Thomas Hall, Northumberland Fusiliers, died in hospital on September 7th.
Mr John Grey, Broomhill, has received official information that his son, Second-Lieut. John Ivor Grey, was killed on the 15th inst. An old Morpeth Grammar School boy, he was serving his apprenticeship as a mining engineer when he joined the N.F. over a year ago, and was immediately given a commission.
Mrs Eleanor Wood, 8 Wagon Way Road, Alnwick, has received information that her eldest son, Private Robert W. Wood, King’s Royal Rifles, has died in hospital of wounds received in action. Prior to enlistment he was a booking clerk on the North Eastern Railway.
The death is announced from wounds received in action of Captain Cuthbert Pease, the son of Mr and Mrs Howard Pease, of Otterburn. The father of the deceased officer is an ex-Sheriff of the county, and has taken a wide and practical interest in the administrative, artistic, and literary affairs of Northumberland.
Mr and Mrs Thos. Maughan, of 13 Lorraine Street, Dudley Colliery, have received official news that their nephew, Corporal James Arthur King, of the Tyneside Irish, was killed in action in France on September 11th.
Mr and Mrs Wood, of Hastings Street, Cramlington, have received official word that their son, Corporal Leslie Wood, N.F., was killed in action on September 11th. He was well known as a runner, and won many prizes at Northern flower show handicaps.
The death in action is announced of Capt. J.W. Merivale, of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The deceased officer, who was 29 years of age, was the son of Mr and Mrs J.H. Merivale, of Togston, Northumberland. Mr and Mrs J.T. Watson, Newgate St., Morpeth, have received news that their son Lance-Corporal Ian Watson, Royal Fusiliers, has been wounded in France on the 15th September, and is now in the Armstrong College Hospital, going on well. He has received a battle wound in the thigh.
Mr and Mrs W. Lawson, Brighton Villa, Morpeth, have received word that their third son, Lance-Corporal A. Nelson Lawson, King’s Royal Rifles, was wounded in action on September 15th. He is lying in hospital at Glasgow.
An official intimation has been received that Captain R. Rutherford, D.L.I., was killed in action on Sept. 15th. He was 27 years of age, a son of Mr and Mrs I. Rutherford, Seaton Delaval, and nephew of Mr I. Roveby, Gosforth.
The death from wounds received in action is reported of Corporal Geoffrey Dalton Hutchinson, King’s Royal Rifles. He was the fourth son of Mrs and the late Mr Jas. Hutchinson, of Moorey Spot Farm, Dinnington. He was educated at Newcastle Grammar School, and joined the staff of Messrs Barclay and Co., Collingwood Street, Newcastle. The deceased was well known in local cricket circles, having played regularly for Woolsington Hall team, and proved himself an excellent bat. He was in his 21st year.
ROLL OF HONOUR
FOSTER.— Killed in action on Sept. 15th, 1916, aged 22 years, Company Sergt.-Major Bert Foster, Northumberland Fusiliers, youngest and dearly beloved son of Andrew and Jennie Foster (jeweller) 20, Bridge Street, Morpeth.
HARRISON.— Died at Reading War Hospital, on Sept. 20th, from wounds received in action, Private William Harrison, N.F., dearly beloved and second son of William and Eleanor Harrison, Avenue Head Farm, Seaton Delaval. Interred at Seghill on Sunday, 24th. Deeply mourned by father, mother, brothers and sisters; and brother Arthur, now in France.
In loving memory of Corporal C. Fenwick (16303), 6th East Yorks, the beloved son of Charles and Elizabeth Fenwick, of 27 South Row, Bedlington Colliery, who died from wounds, Sept. 15th, 1916, aged 22 years. (Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving father and mother, brothers and sisters.)
HALL.— Died from wounds received in action on Sept. 16th, 1916, aged 21 years and 9 months, Lance-Corporal Thomas Hall, the dearly beloved son of Charles and Mary Hall, of 21 Sixth Row, Ashington.— (Deeply mourned by father and mother, brothers and sister, and all who knew him.)
FORESTER.— Killed in action, at Ypres, June 14th, 1916, Private George Forester, 51st Canadians, the youngest son of George and the late Margaret Forester, 9815–76 Avenue, South Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Deeply mourned. Late of Longhirst Lane, Morpeth.
MORPETH TOWN COUNCIL
A special meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held last Friday evening. The Mayor (Ald. Ed. Norman) presided.
The War Charities Committee reported as follows: At a meeting held on September 22nd, applications for registration were submitted from Morpeth Pipe Band, Morpeth branch of the Vegetable Products Committee, V.A.D. Hospital Entertainment Committee, and these were granted subject to necessary amendments and additions to the forms of application in one or two cases.
An application was submitted from the Morpeth Soldiers’ Cigarette Fund for exemption and an intimation was received from the Morpeth Mayoress’s Sewing Fund of their intention to apply for exemption. The committee decided that both be required to register, and that no exemptions from registration be granted except in cases where it is perfectly clear that registration would be a mere formality and would not afford any necessary protection.
The committee also recommended that in lieu of making separate allowances to the Town Clerk for each instance of new additional work entailed upon him by the incidence of the war, his salary be increased by £10 a year to cover such war work as was not otherwise provided for.
Mr Fearby asked why there should be any remuneration for services given to charity. Everybody was taking a great interest in those charities, and he thought it would be quite possible to find some gentlemen in the town who would voluntarily undertake such services. He could not understand why the rates of the town should be used for such purposes. It was entirely unusual for the Council to do anything of the kind. He questioned the legality of the whole matter whether they had any right to spend rate-payers’ money in a matter regarding war charities.
Mayor: But you must remember that the remuneration is not only for charities, but for general war work done by the Town Clerk. It covers different items.
Town Clerk: I need only enumerate war charities, War Savings Fund, V.T.C., and registration as only a few incidences of the war which will go on after the war for a considerable time. There has been an immense amount of work involved which is not part of my work as town clerk, and which the Government looked to the Council to carry out. I think it is unreasonable on the part of everyone to ask me to do all these things for nothing.
The Mayor remarked that they had no idea of the amount of new work that had been done by the Town Clerk. The sum recommended was simply an acknowledgement, and not remuneration by any means for the work the Town Clerk had to do. There was a great deal of correspondence entailed.
Mr Swinney: We get a registration fee of 5/- each time which may cover the £10.
Town Clerk: This is not work which should be given to the Town Clerk. The Government made an Order that each local authority should do it. Now 16 members cannot undertake the work, and the result is that all the work, which is passed on to the Town Council in connection with the war, is passed over to the Town Clerk.
Mr Charlton: I think it is very absurd that Mr Fearby should speak in such a fashion. It is not of the Town Clerk’s seeking. He is getting no benefit from it, and I say that every man should be paid for his labour. (Hear, hear.)
Mr Fearby: Not necessary in this case.
Mr Charlton: You, Mr Fearby, have had a holiday. The Town Clerk has not had a holiday this year. All his time has been occupied with registration work, and the people of Morpeth and the Council have been pleased at the way in which he has carried out that work. On this occasion we voted that he should receive some remuneration. You would not like to work for nothing. You have been at the Isle of Wight, and yet you would deprive another man of his holiday.
Mr Fearby: That is not the question.
The committee’s report was put and adopted.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
Tea was kindly given by Mrs Carr and Mrs Pyle, Newgate Street, and was of a most enjoyable nature, realising £1 10s.
The committee have to acknowledge with grateful thanks the gifts of socks from Mrs R.C. Oliver, Mrs John Angus, Mrs Allen Burn, Miss Kate Hopper, Miss Harbottle (King’s Avenue), Mrs Halls and Mrs Wright (Beechfield).
There will be no sewing meeting on Thursday, October 5th, that day being the annual holiday. The next meeting will be held on October 12th.
RED CROSS SALE AT MORPETH
The free gift auction sale which was held at Morpeth last week in aid of the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund has been from all accounts a very successful affair. It is expected by the promoters that over £400 will be realised.
PONTELAND WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION
A meeting was held at Ponteland to discuss the advisability of forming a war savings association in the village, Mr J.T. March presiding.
After the method of working the scheme had been explained by Mr Jos. Henderson, it was decided to form an association to be known as the Ponteland and Prestwick War Savings Association, and Mr Jos. Henderson was appointed secretary and Mr J.C. Elliott, Barclay’s Bank, Ponteland, treasurer.
The following were elected as a committee, with power to add to their number:— Messrs Jos. Henderson, J.T. March, D. Hope, G.E. Henderson, J. Brown, W. Barrows, Ponteland, and C. Taylor and R. Stonebank, Prestwick. Mr J.T. March being appointed chairman of committee.
MORPETH RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Rural District Council was held on Wednesday. The Hon. and Rev. W.C. Ellis presided.
Mr T.R. Williams, organising secretary of the Northumberland War Savings Committee, attended the meeting and explained the National Committee’s scheme.
He asked the Council to constitute themselves into a War Savings Committee with power to add to their number in order to foster and encourage saving, and gave facilities to the people in this rural area to invest on favourable terms their little savings. The means to be adopted was by 15/6 war certificates. War Savings Associations could be established in every village, and they would be under the control of the Council’s committee.
In reply to Ald. Bainbridge, Mr Williams said that already 527 local committees had been established in the country, controlling between nine and ten thousand associations. He also remarked that one school had raised £1,492.
The Chairman proposed that the Council form themselves into a War Savings Committee. Ald. Bainbridge seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously. It was also decided to appoint the officers at a future meeting.
The Clerk stated that he had received a circular letter from the Local Government Board requesting him to make a return as to the work proposed to be executed after the war. He said that he had mentioned the proposed sewerage works at Broomhill and the water scheme there.
PUTTING BACK THE CLOCK
The Press Bureau issues the following in connection with the putting back of the clocks at the end of the present month:–
RESTORATION OF NORMAL TIME
At 3am (summer time) in the morning on Sunday, October 1st, Greenwich time will be restored by putting back the clock to 2am. The hour 2.3am (summer time) will thus be followed by the hour 2.3am Greenwich time.
All railway clocks and clocks in Post Office and Government establishments will be put back one hour, and the Government requests the public to put back the time of all clocks and watches by one hour during the night of Saturday-Sunday, September 30th-October 1st.
Employers are particularly recommended to warn all their workers in advance of the change of time.
From October 1st onwards Greenwich time will be used for all purposes.
BY ORDER OF THE HOME SECRETARY
NOTICE OF INCREASE OF RATES
The Dublin, Silloth And Isle Of Man Steamers Co., having intimated an increase in their rates for the sea portion of the journey for grain between Dublin and all North-Eastern Stations north of, and including, Morpeth, such increase being necessitated by the increased expenditure consequent upon the war, Notice is Hereby Given that the Rates for Grain between Dublin via Silloth and the Stations in the above-mentioned areas published in the books required by Act of Parliament to be kept for public inspection, will be increased by 1/8 per ton, which is the amount by which the said Shipping Company have increased their rate, and that the altered rates will also come into force on the 21st day of October, 1916.
York, 2nd October, 1916.