HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, April 27, 1917.
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, April 27, 1917.

In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1917, 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 Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth have received various appeals for help from different hospitals abroad, and requests for flag days on their behalf.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, April 27, 1917.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, April 27, 1917.

One very urgently needing help is the Anglo-Russian Hospital in Petrograd, which is doing good work there and on the Russian front.

The Mayoress has arranged to hold a flag day on May 2nd (Hirings Day), the proceeds of which will be divided amongst the above and our own V.A.D. Hospital in Morpeth.


The annual report of the above association for the past year has been issued by the governors, and is as follows:—

“We very much regret that we hare to publish another annual report while the terrible work of strife continues among the nations of the world. Yet we are pleased that even in the midst of this strife of nations we have been able to make some headway and progress with our homes’ movement.

“While we are not able to say that we have been able to build any new cottages during the year (the high cost of materials and difficulties of obtaining workmen would make such attempts unwise at the present time), yet we have carried out a large number of repairs in connection with the cottages, and at certain centres additions and improvements have been executed.

“Moreover, we had had 15 of our cottage groups repainted during the past year.

“During the year we have been able to invest £1,500 at 4¾ per cent in the Co-operative Wholesale Society’s Bank. This will enable us to be ready to commence building as soon as the opportunity arises.

“Again we take the liberty of expressing our admiration for the great sacrifice that many of our former supporters are making for their country.

“The miners of Northumberland have indeed done their share and perhaps no industrial class in the country can unfurl a nobler roll of honour than the mine-workers of our northern county.

“Many, alas! have made the great sacrifice, and we tender to their relatives our deepest condolence and highest appreciation. May brighter and better times speedily come, as part return for such ungrudging sacrifice!

“We are pleased to be in a position to state that according to information we have received some provision is to be made for the widows and children of Northumberland miners who have fallen during the war.

“A gentleman has informed us that he intends to have a number of cottages erected at the end of the war for such widows and children, while the remainder of the cottages will be utilised for our aged mine-workers.”


Captain Bathurst, Parliamentary Secretary to the Food Control Department, speaking at Oxford, described the present food position as serious, and said the outlook during the next four and a half months was by no means free from anxiety.

We should have to become a more largely self-contained country in the matter of foodstuffs than we were today.

He urged that special consideration should be given to the poor in the matter of bread consumption, and he complained that there was guzzling and waste in certain directions where economy was essential in the interests of national efficiency.


The first business meeting of the newly-formed Smallholders’ and Allotments Association was held in Gray’s Cafe, Morpeth, on Wednesday evening, when the aims and objects of the association were fully explained. The Mayor (Councillor J.R. Temple) presided.

At the outset the Mayor expressed the pleasure it gave him to preside over the proceedings that night. He thought they had done the right thing in forming an association of that kind in order to encourage horticulture in every way.

They would find that gardens would become a national necessity in the days to come, and perhaps they would have to go back to the olden days and keep pigs and hens.

They had an excellent man in Mr Smith, who was acting as secretary pro. ten: He hoped their joint efforts would be attended with much success. (Applause.)


To make the drills as varied and interesting as possible in connection with the work of the Morpeth Volunteers, great activity is being put forward by those in command, and the lectures are being well attended and followed with all the interest and usefulness that could be desired.

There is a large amount of activity at headquarters taking place, and developments in connection with the local detachment may be expected.

On Sunday morning first there will the usual parade, when it is hoped there will be a large muster.

It is anticipated that a number of men from the Morpeth and Rothbury detachments will attend at Newcastle on Thursday next as part of the 5th Battalion of the N.V.R., to be inspected by the Duke of Connaught. The final arrangements have not yet been completed.


We would draw the attention to all interested to the fact that the North Eastern Railway poultry demonstration train will visit the following places on the undermentioned dates:—

Commencing today (Friday), Ponteland Station; Saturday (April 28th), Newcastle Central; Monday (30th), Alnwick Passenger Station, Carriage Dock; Tuesday (1st May), Wooler Station, North Cattle Dock; Wednesday (2nd May), Morpeth Station, Up Siding (enter from road); Thursday 3rd May), Monkseaton Passenger Station, Up Platform; Friday (4th May), Chathill Station, Depot Siding; Saturday (5th May), Tweedmouth Station, Cattle Dock; Monday (7th May), Rothbury Station; Tuesday (8th May), Scotsgap Station.

The train will be open for inspection from 11am to 5pm.

Mr F.W. Parton, Lecturer on Poultry Keeping, The University, Leeds; Miss Mason, Lecturer on Poultry Keeping to the Northumberland County Council, and other experts will accompany the train.

Short address on all the branches of poultry keeping will be given, and the working of all the latest poultry appliances, which will be on exhibition, will be explained.

It is hoped that the public generally will visit the train and take full advantage of this effort to promote increased supplies of eggs and poultry.


It was reported at the meeting of the adult section of the Northumberland district of the Independent Order of Rechabites at Newcastle on Saturday last that it took £3,000 annually to pay the contributions of 3,112 members who had joined the forces, and that a special levy had been undertaken for that purpose.

The amount paid to members in hospital in 1916 was £1,355, and £2,570 had been paid as death allowances for the 248 members who had fallen.


A well-attended meeting on National Service was held in Belsay School, the Rev. R.E. Thomas presiding.

Addresses were given by Councillor March, Ponteland; Mrs Rowe, Inspector for the Board of Agriculture; and Mrs Middleton, Belsay Castle.

A committee was elected to carry on the work of canvassing and enrolling.


Private J. Marshall, Blyth, who was a N.E.R. employee, is reported killed on April 10th.

Able Seaman Joe Marsh, R.N.D., Shiremoor, was killed in action on February 6th.

Sergt. J.T.S. Bourn, Ashington, has died of wounds received in action.

Private John Davidson, Victoria Terrace, Bedlington, was killed in action on March 8th.

Private W. Bainbridge, Stone Yard, Seaton Delaval, has died of wounds.

Private G. Charlton, Cowpen Square, has died in hospital. Two brothers were killed.

Private Ed. Smart Skipsey, Coulton Terrace, Blyth, is reported killed.

Private F. Johnstone, Barrington, reported as missing, is now reported killed.

Corporal R.D. Rhodes, Cowpen Row, is reported killed.

Private David Blyth, Newbiggin, has died of wounds received in action on April 10th.

Joseph Dodds, of Forest Hall, received news on Saturday that his son, Joseph Dodds, a private in the N.F., is reported missing.

Private Frank Johnson, Routledge’s Buildings, Barrington, who was previously reported missing, is now reported killed.

Richard Braithwaite, 19 Arcot Street, South Gosforth, late of West Brunton, has been killed in action.

Signaller J.W. Nelson, Chestnut Street, Ashington, has died of wounds received in action in France.

Private T. Steel. North Seaton, Ashington, previously reported missing, is now reported killed in action.

Private W.E. Donohoe, 15 East Row, North Seaton Colliery, missing since July 1st, is now reported killed in action.

Corporal A. Broom, of Avenue Row, New Hartley Colliery, of the Border Regiment, has been killed in action. He was 20 years of age.

Private Martin Watson, New Square, Seghill, missing since July 1st, is now presumed to have been killed in action.

Private John Thomas Irving, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 10 Duchess Street, Shiremoor, has been killed in action.

Private David Blyth, who was a fireman on the N.E.R. at Blyth, has died of wounds. He leaves a widow and one child.

Mrs Wilson, Lawson’s Buildings, Newbiggin, has been officially informed that her husband, missing since Feb 12th, is now presumed to have been killed in action.

Private Thomas H. Marshall, of Craigside Terrace, Blyth, has died of wounds received in action. He was 23 years of age, and worked on the North-Eastern Railway before enlistment.

Mr and Mrs Merryweather, Railway Crossing Cottage, Annitsford, have received official news that their son. Pte. Joseph Merryweather, of the Somerset Light Infantry, has been killed in action.

Lance-Corporal Thos. Preston, of Maddison Street, Blyth, missing since July 1st, is now reported killed in action. Before enlistment he worked as a miner.

Private Walter Atkinson, N.F., of Bowes Street., Blyth, missing since July 1st, is now reported killed. His brother, Private Alex. Atkinson, was also killed on the same day.

Mr Ed. Charlton, 8 Streatham Terrace, South Gosforth, has received official news that his son, Private J.Ed. Charlton, who has been missing since July 1st, is now reported killed.

Private F. Fortune, of 7 South Parade, Choppington, who was reported missing on September 16th, is now reported killed in action. Before enlisting he was manager for the Cash Clothing Company, West Stanley.

Official news has been received by Mrs Willison, 4 Oswin Avenue, Forest Hall, that her husband, Private John Thomas Willison, who has been missing since July 1st, is now presumed dead.

Private George Ellison, Canadians, of the Arcade, Belsay, has been severely wounded in the leg by shrapnel in France, and has been admitted into hospital in London. This is the second time he has been wounded.

Mrs Redfern, 12 Windt Street, Hazelrigg, has been notified that her husband, Private J.T. Redfern, R.A.M.C., British East Africa, died on April 12th from malarial fever. The deceased was formerly employed at Dinnington Colliery. He leaves a widow and four children.

Mr Thomas Hedley, of Killingworth, builder and contractor, received news on Saturday last of the death of his brother, Robert Hedley, a private in the N.F., who was killed in France. Previous to enlisting, Private Hedley was employed by the Seaton Burn Coal Coy.

Mrs Pearcy, of New Square, Seghill Colliery, has received official intimation from the War Office that her husband, Private Jos. Pearcy, N.F., who has been officially reported as missing since July 1st, has been presumed as having been killed on or about that date.

Official information has been received by Mrs Stringer of 5 Corving Row, East Cramlington, that her husband, Private David Stringer, is now presumed dead, after being reported missing since July last. Private Stringer worked as a miner at the Ann Pit, Cramlington.

News was received on Sunday last by Mr F. Tinsley, Playhouse manager, Morpeth, of the death of his brother, Private George E. Tinsley, of the D.L.I., who was severely wounded last July in the great offensive. The deceased since that time had been a patient of several hospitals in the country, but succumbed to his terrible injuries on Sunday last at the War Hospital, Gosforth.

Mr and Mrs W.A. Grey, Grange House, Morpeth, have received official news that their son, Trooper George Grey, of the Hussars, was killed in action in France on the 11th inst. The deceased was the fifth son of Mr and Mrs Grey, and would have been 22 years of age three days after he was killed. He was a bank clerk in the Morpeth branch of the London and Joint Stock Bank, and joined the Hussars shortly after the outbreak of war. He was a young man well known in Morpeth, and was greatly respected by his many comrades. Mr and Mrs Grey have four other sons in the Army.

Private Edmund Anderson, known as a local pedestrian, is reported killed in France.

News has been received at Blyth of the death of Private James Coyne, of Cowpen Square, Blyth.

Corporal William Turnbull, of the D.L.I., son of Mrs Turnbull, a widow of Front Street, Cramlington Village, has been killed in action.

Private A. Foster, N.F., husband of Mrs Foster of Railway Row, Annitsford, has been killed in action. Prior to enlistment he worked at Burradon Colliery.

Private Benjamin Kirkup, Somerset Regiment, husband of Mrs Kirkup, of Varley’s Buildings, Dudley Colliery, has been killed in action. Prior to enlistment he worked at Dudley Colliery.

Company-Sergt.-Major Septimus Topping, who was attached to the Durham Light Infantry, and who was recently awarded the Military Medal, husband of Mrs Topping, of Jackson Street, Annitsford, has been killed in action.

Mrs Robinson, of Levin Street, Hazelrigg, has received official intimation that her husband, Gunner A.N. Robinson, R.G.A., has died from wounds received in action. The deceased was well known in the Dinnington and Hazelrigg districts and leaves a widow and one child.

Mrs Forbester of 3 Park View, Wideopen, has received official news that her son, Private J. Mayberry, was killed in France on April 9th. The deceased joined the colours in the early stages of the war, was thrice wounded and was awarded the Military Medal and Card of Honour for bravery in the field.

Mr and Mrs John Cairns, 8 Castle Street, Morpeth, have received official word that their eldest son, Trooper Wm. Cairns, of the Household Cavalry, was severely wounded by gun shot in the left arm while in action in France on the 10th inst. and is lying in a general hospital in France. Before joining the Army Trooper Cairns was a miner, and was well known in Morpeth. Mr and Mrs Cairns have three sons in the Army in France and one in the Grand Fleet.


CURRY.— Died of wounds, April 28th, 1916, Pte. Andrew Curry, N.F., aged 21, dearly beloved son of James and Isabella Curry, Ulgham Manor Cottages.— Ever remembered by his loving father, mother, brothers and sisters, and brother Willie, in France.

FERGUSON.— Reported wounded and missing since July 1st, 1916, now reported killed on that date, Private George Henry, eldest son of Mark and Elizabeth Ferguson, of Netherton Colliery, late of Hirst, aged 24 years.— Deeply mourned by his father, mother, brothers and sister Bessie.

HARLE.— Previously reported missing, now reported killed in action, July 1st, 1916, Private James Harle, N.F., the beloved son of Peter and the late Mary Harle of Barrington Colliery.— Deeply mourned by his father, brothers, and sister.

HEDLEY.— Died of wounds, April 4th, 1917, in the 1st Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, France, aged 34 years, Private Robert Hedley, No. 620 T.S., Northumberland Fusiliers, dearly beloved husband of Ellen Hedley, 120 Newbiggin Road, Seaton Hirst, Ashington, was joiner at Three Mile Bridge, Gosforth.— Deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and little son, Robbie, also his father, sister, brothers and mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, and all who knew him.

GIBSON.— Reported missing since July 1st, 1916, now presumed dead, Private Samuel Gibson, N.F., eldest son of Stephenson and the late Ann Alice Gibson of Choppington Colliery.— Ever remembered by his loving father and sister.

GREY.— Killed in action, in France, on 11th inst., in his 22nd year, Trooper George Grey, 10th Hussars, fifth son of Mr and Mrs W.A. Grey, Grange House, Morpeth.

KNOX.— Missing since July 1st, 1916, now reported dead, Private Nicholas Knox, 639 T.S., aged 20 years, beloved son of James and Isabella Knox, Ravensworth Terrace, Bedlington Station.— Deeply mourned by his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, grandfather and grandmother, uncles and aunts, and all who knew him.

SCURFIELD.— Missing since July 1st, 1916, now reported killed, aged 30 years, Private James Scurfield, 201, N.F., (T.S.), dearly beloved son of George and Margaret Scurfield, 3 Ridge Terrace, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned by his sorrowing father and mother, brothers and sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.


A variety entertainment in the Theatre, Mitford Hall, was given by Captain and Mrs Mitford on Saturday last in aid of the V.A.D. Hospital, Morpeth, and was a great success. The entire proceeds, amounting to £7 12s 6d, were handed over to that institution.

The performance began with a pretty ceremony. When the curtain rose eight young ladies were disclosed, each holding aloft a flag of an allied nation — the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes in the centre, and on either side the French, Belgian, Russian, Italian, Serbian, and Roumanian flags. On the first note of “God Save the King” the flags were lowered in the Royal Salute, in which position they remained while the audience rose and sang most heartily the National Anthem. After this the performance proceeded.

Mr Michael Welsh of Newcastle appeared in selections of his humorous songs and recitations. Two duologues were given by Miss Gladys and Miss Violet Mitford, and a duologue by the Misses Rhodes, in all of which the acting left nothing to be desired.

Mrs Fullarton James sang most charmingly, and the Misses James performed brilliantly on the piano. Miss V. Mitford and Miss Macleod gave violin solos, and Miss Frances Marshall danced a Highland Fling in costume.

Previously in the afternoon there was a performance free for the wounded soldiers, which was well attended, and much appreciated, after which they were entertained to tea and smokes.


Some misunderstanding appears to exist as to the making of bread of flour other than that authorised by the Manufacture of Flour and Bread Order.

The Ministry of Food points out that, in addition to bread so made, bread, cakes, scones, buns etc., may be made of any cereal such as barley, maize, oats, or rice.

With the view of economising the consumption of wheat, it is highly desirable that the use of bread, cakes, scones, etc., which contain no wheaten flour, should be encouraged.