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.
The newly-formed Morpeth detachment of the 1st Northumberland Volunteer Regiment continues to make good progress. Men are still coming forward, and the enrolments up-to-date number 92.
A meeting of the Executive Committee was held at the Town Clerk’s office, Morpeth, on Saturday evening, Mr Geo. Renwick of Springhill being in the chair.
The following were appointed as officers of the Executive Committee of the local detachment:— The Mayor (Ald. Ed. Norman), chairman; the Town Clerk (Mr Jas. Jardin), secretary; Mr R. Eltringham (London Joint Stock Bank, Morpeth), treasurer; and Dr Kunz, medical officer. The Mayor was also appointed to attend any executive meetings of the regiment.
Various matters were discussed for the future carrying on of the detachment. The subject of uniforms was before the committee, but owing to the question of equipment being under consideration by the War Office the matter was left over.
A full parade of the detachment was held in the Grange House Field, last Sunday morning, when a large number of men turned out. Captain J. Mitchell Moncrieff, Engineer Commandant of the 1st N.V.R., was in command, and under him were Ald. Wm. Duncan and Mr Hoey. The drills were very efficiently gone through. Before dismissing the men Captain Moncrieff expressed himself as highly satisfied with the numbers present and also complimented them on the way in which they had performed their drills.
A further parade was held on Tuesday night last, when Captain Moncrieff was again in command. A special drill for promotion to N.C.O.’s was also held in the Corn Exchange on Wednesday. On both occasions the men turned out in large numbers, and most satisfactory progress in squad drills was made.
A parade was held last night, Major W.E. Harle, O.C., 1st N.V.R., being in command. He also expressed his satisfaction at the progress made by the Morpeth detachment.
A full parade is fixed for Sunday morning next at the Grange House Field at 10.15, when it is hoped that all members of the detachment will turn out, and any others who desire to enrol are at liberty to attend the drill, and can be sworn in at either of the parades during the following week, which will be held on Monday and Thursday next in the Corn Exchange at seven in the evening. Those wishing to enrol should be in attendance not later than 6.40pm.
PICTURES OF EMINENCE
Devotees of the light fantastic — and their number is legion — will profit by a visit to Morpeth this weekend, where a famous troupe of Russians are performing at the Playhouse.
These descendants of a mighty nation and ally who have brought despair into the heart of the Hun, enter into the song and dance of their native land with a zest unequalled and a charm both weird and wonderful.
There will also be seen from “The Graphic” the fall of the Hun machine of frightfulness at Potter’s Bar — the fourth gas-bag.
During the remainder of the week a Vitagraph in five parts, depicting the land of Uncle Sam, is shown in that sensational film “An American’s Home,” in five reels. The war has been responsible for many thrilling stories, but this, showing where the failure is of not preparing for war in time of peace, is of a type appealing in these critical times. This thrilling story vividly reminds one that the apostle of peace and his doctrines of disarmament are of little avail against a nation whose ideals are for world domination.
FOR THE FLEET
The tea and sale of cakes held in the Town Hall on Wednesday, promoted by Mrs Ralph Spencer and Mrs L. Fenwick to raise funds to purchase vegetables and fruit for our sailors in the North Sea Fleet, realised £19 15s 7d.
Mrs Spencer and Mrs Fenwick wish to thank all those who so kindly helped them at the tea and sent cakes.
They will attend the Town Hall to receive vegetables and fruit for the Fleet on the first Wednesday in each month, starting on the first Wednesday in November (Fair Day).
ROLL OF HONOUR
Corporal Charles Furley Hill, Murton Village, Shiremoor, has been killed.
Signaller E. Mather, Choppington, died of wounds.
Private Henry Ellison, Blyth, previously reported missing, has been killed.
Private Walter Brown, 11 Simonside Terrace, Newbiggin, has died of wounds.
Mr John Tubman has received word of the death of his son, Private John Tubman, N.F., who was killed in action.
Private John Turner, 3 Arcade Glebe Row, Bedlington, was killed in action on Sept. 20th.
Mrs J. Cadman, 96 Cathrine Street, Hirst, has received official news that her husband, Lance-Corporal John Cadman, has died of wounds received on September 26th.
Mr and Mrs R. Buckham, Bebside, have received sympathetic letters intimating that their son, Private Robt. Buckham has been killed in France.
Mrs Armstrong, Vulcan Place, Bedlington, has been officially notified that her husband, Private J.T. Armstrong, 17948, Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds on October 8th.
Mr and Mrs Bennett, Forest Hall, have been informed of the death of two of their sons. One has died of wounds in England, and the other in a hospital abroad. Both were privates in the N.F.
Mrs Moffat, of Lee Street, Annitsford, has received official intimation that her husband Corporal R. Moffat, who had recently been awarded the Military Medal, was killed in action on Sept. 22nd. Corporal Moffat was formerly employed as a porter at Seghill Station. He leaves a wife and three children.
Mr and Mrs J, Mawson, of 102 Milburn Road, Hirst, have received official intimation that their son, Private B. Mawson, 2593, N.F., has been missing since Sept. 15th, and also that their son, Sergt. W.B. Mawson was wounded on the same date and is now in Warrington Hospital, Lancashire.
Mrs Burke, newsagent, Church Street, Blyth, yesterday received news of the death of her eldest son, Private James Burke, of the R.E., who was killed by machine gun fire whilst doing his duty.
Mr and Mrs John Charlton, Schoolhouse, Seaton Delaval, have received an intimation that their eldest son, Captain G.F.H. Charlton, has been reported wounded and missing (believed prisoner of war). Capt. Charlton is an old Morpeth Grammar School boy, and graduated at Durham University in 1913, taking his B.Sc. in mining.
Private Bob Hewitson of Blyth, the well-known League footballer, has been killed in action. After helping Morpeth Harriers to win the Alliance championship, Hewitson went into Southern League football, and won fame by keeping an intact goal for Crystal Palace in an English Cup tie at Newcastle, which was knocked out by one goal to nil. He played for several other first-class clubs. He had been at the front only about a month. His brother Harry has also fallen in action.
ROLL OF HONOUR
CLANCEY.— Killed inaction, Sept. 15th, 1916. Sergt. W.J. Clancey, N.F., beloved husband of Margaret J. Clancey. (Deeply mourned by his loving wife and children.)
ERRALL.— Mrs Errall, 22 George Street, Hirst, Ashington, has been notified that her husband, Sergt. Wm. Errall. was killed on the 1st July. (Deeply mourned by his wife and children.)
HEWITSON.— Killed in action, Private Robert Hewitson, aged 35 years, Black Watch, son of Isabella and the late Robert Hewitson, 68, Park Road, Blyth, late of Amble.
IRELAND.— Died of wounds received in action on Sept. 16th, Private William Ireland, aged 32 years, the dearly beloved son of James and Jane Ireland, 48, Middleton Street, Amble. (Deeply mourned by his sorrowing father, mother, sister, relatives, and all who knew him.)
SPROUL.— Died on October 8th, at 23 General Hospital, Etaples, France, from wounds received on action on Sept. 15th, Lance-Corpl. Robert Sproul, N.F., the dearly beloved and eldest son of James and Ellen Sproul, Gasworks Cottages, Morpeth.
JOBES.— Died of wounds received in action, on the 6th October, Private Herbert Ewart Jobes, D.L.I., youngest son of the late Robert and Margaret Jobes of North Choppington. (Deeply mourned by his brother and sister.)
RUTHERFORD.— Reported missing since July 3rd, 1916, now reported died on the field from wounds on July 11th, Private J.W. Rutherford (27770), N.F., aged 22 years and 11 months, only son of Thomas and Mary Rutherford, Eshott, now of Hepburn Bell, and only grandson of the late James and Eleanor Weallens, Crook Crossing, Rothbury. Somewhere in France there is a grave, Where lies my nephew amongst the brave; A cross with letters may mark the place, Which the hand of time will soon efface, Some day his comrades may come home, But he will be sleeping across the foam; No mother’s care did him attend, Nor over him did father bend. He bravely answered duty’s call, And gave his life for one and all. Sleep on, dear nephew, in a far-off grave, A grave I will never see; But as long as life and memory last, I will remember thee.— (Sadly mourned by his loving Aunt, I. Weallens, and friends at Rothbury.)
REID.— Died of wounds at Rouen Hospital, France, October 12th, 1916, aged 29 years, Lance-Corporal James Reid, beloved husband of Annie Reid (nee Hilton), of Guide Post, Choppington.
SMITH.— Killed in action, Sept. 25th, 1916, aged 27 years, Private John William Smith, Grenadier Guards, the dearly beloved son of James and Margaret Smith, of 41 Sixth Row, Ashington. (Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving father, mother, brother and sister, and brother-in-law, Bomb. Johnson (now in France.)
At some of the local collieries strong action is being taken to suppress systematic absence from work.
At Seaton Burn and Coxlodge fines amounting to as much as £3 have been imposed, and at Morpeth Court on Wednesday workmen were ordered to pay sums of £4 and £5 for neglect of work.
These men in some cases had wilfully absented themselves from work week after week without any excuse whatever, and it cannot be wondered at that drastic action is being taken to induce men to attend work. It seem almost incredible that in view of the large wages being now made at the pits that it should have the effect of inducing laziness, for that is really what it all amounts to.
WANSBECK MUSICAL COMPETITIONS
The executive of the Wansbeck Competitions has once more decided to continue the junior contests next year, when the festival will be held in St James’s Hall on Saturday, 28th April, 1917.
This is now the third occasion of which the juniors have competed without the seniors — the competitions for the latter having been suspended each year since the outbreak of hostilities.
DRAMATIC CONCERT AT MORPETH
On Thursday afternoon a very successful concert was held in the Playhouse, Morpeth, in aid of the Red Cross Overseas.
In spite of the inclemency of the weather, the hall was well filled. The programme, which included some well-known artistes, was of a most enjoyable description, and every item rendered was received with hearty plaudits.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
A most successful meeting of the above was held on Thursday, when the tea was given by Miss Harbottle, King’s Avenue, and realised £1 12s.
Gifts of socks have been received from the Misses Athey (4 pairs), Harbottle, and Halls.
At the request of the Mayor there will be no sewing meeting next week owing to the formal taking over of the Carlisle Park.
Although it may seem rather early yet to talk of Christmas parcels for our soldiers and sailors at home and abroad, nevertheless the time has arrived for all those committees, who worked so unitedly and wholeheartedly last year, to send hampers to our gallant lads to be up and doing.
In various local centres appeals have already been issued for funds, and in the Ashington district, we notice the committee, who were responsible last year for sending thousands of parcels away, have taken up their commendable work again order to let the lads know from this mining district that they are not being forgotten by the home-folk.
Amble, never behind in good works, has also initiated a town’s scheme for the same laudable object.
As was the case last year, we have gladly consented to open a subscription list in connection with the fund inaugurated by the “Daily News.” The fund is a national one, and the object is that every British and Colonial solider in France, Flanders, Balkans, Egypt, Mesopotamia, East Africa, Malta, and Gibraltar shall receive half a pound of Christmas pudding from home on Christmas Day.
For two years the Army has received its Christmas present through the fund raised by the “Daily News.” This year the undertaking is much greater, and in view of the magnitude of the task the privilege of providing the fund has been entrusted by the Army Council jointly to the “Daily News” and “Daily Telegraph.”
As we have already stated we have decided to co-operate in this good work and help to swell the fund.
It is interesting to note that £3 3s supplies a Squadron or Battery; £5 5s a Company; £9 9s an Artillery Brigade; £12 12s a Cavalry Regiment; £21 an Infantry Battalion; £84 a Brigade; £420 a Division; and £840 an Army Corps.
Subscriptions will be received at the “Herald” Office, Bridge Street, and each week the sums received will be acknowledged in our columns.
Private Thos. Dawson writes from France:— ”Will you kindly insert this appeal in your excellent paper that we all read out here and which is much appreciated by the boys of the Tyneside Scottish?
“Will any kind gentleman or lady please send us a box of dominoes or any sort of amusement to while away the weary hours of winter?”
The address is: T. Dawson, No. 803,102, Tyneside Scottish Brigade, Pioneer Coy., B.E.F.
BOOKS FOR TYNE GARRISON
Sir,— I shall be obliged if you will kindly allow me to appeal through your columns for books to form a travelling or circulating library for troops of the Tyne Garrison to be used during the winter, more especially by the numerous small and isolated detachments of soldiers of the Garrison located in Northumberland and Durham.
If each of your readers would send me but one new or old volume, I should have at once a splendid library. Seven penny cloth-bound editions will be most acceptable.
This scheme has the cordial approval of Major-General R.A.K. Montgomery, C.B., D.S.O., G.O.C. Tyne Garrison.
I will also gladly accept gifts of one or more new or old hockey sticks or footballs for use by the above detachments.
All gifts should be forwarded as soon as convenient to me at The Priory and Army Institute, Tynemouth.— Yours, etc.
Senior Chaplain, Tyne Garrison
SUCCESS OF A LOCAL SURGEON
We have pleasure in re-printing from French newspapers the account of a gathering where a Newcastle surgeon (Dr Saint) has been highly honoured. Dr Saint is exceedingly well known in the Morpeth and Bedlington district. His father was the late Mr James Saint, who for many years was schoolmaster at Choppington and at Bedlington Station. The young surgeon was a distinguished scholar of Morpeth Grammar School.
After finishing his college career he was with Dr R.A. Morris, of Bedlington, who is an uncle of Dr Saint. During his stay in Bedlington the doctor was very popular. Previous to the out outbreak of war Dr Saint was a surgeon in Newcastle. The inhabitants of the district will also be pleased to see that Dr Swain, who was also with Dr Morris as assistant at Choppington, has shared in the honour bestowed by a grateful people.
Translated from “Le Petit Parisien”
Passing through the streets of a French town filled with the sounds of war brutally emphasised by incessant thunderings of guns, is seen daily an aristocratic white profile who whom everyone bows with respect; it is that of Mme. Lionville, the ministering angel of the district. In the town is an old hospital for the sick and aged, which through the efforts of Mme. Lionville, is being utilised as an hospital in addition to the Red Cross. Here at her own expense she has installed an operating theatre, and demanded that, at Paris it should be recognised as a hospital for the wounded.
Mr Roy of the Canadian Department, Mr Beatty of the American Relief Clearing House, Mme. Paul Duprey of the Soldiers’ Sick and Wounded Department, Mme. Hindley Charcot of the British Emergency Fund, and others, sent money, furniture, linen and medical stores. But, Mme. Lionville did still better — she discovered and introduced to the hospital Captain Dr Saint.
Dr Saint is a young surgeon of the British Army. Out of regard for Mme. Lionville, General Porter, Chief of the Board of Health, has authorised Dr Saint, outside his official duties, to undertake the post of Chief Surgeon of the new formation, thereby greatly relieving the distinguished Dr Sampson, in charge of the hospital, who in spite of his good will, was bending beneath the burden.
The newcomer was not long in revealing the talent of a veritable master of the art of healing, the reputation of which soon spread through the whole district, accompanied by enthusiastic praises. Dr Saint not only conveys to the minds of the sick and wounded the impression of an overpowering surgical skill, but above all, his wonderful personality inspires them with hope and confidence.
Since last November the young practitioner has performed, with a success which confounds the usual statistics, 400 operations. Soldiers and civilians have benefitted, for the latter, learning that a marvellous surgeon was to be found, flocked from all parts. And many who before had never dared to reveal a humiliating infirmity or suspected tumour came to consult the clever young doctor.
This success is such that it has been found necessary to add a part of the large hospital chapel to the wards, and act of usurpation which must surely rejoice the heart of the Nazarene.