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.
Sergt. Clark, R.B., East Yorkshire Regiment, attached T.M.B., has been awarded the Military Medal for distinguished conduct on Easter Monday. After his officers had been killed and wounded he got the guns into action on the enemy’s strong position thus helping the infantry to get forward.
The gallant sergeant is a grandson of the late Mr Jas. M’Allister, of Morpeth, and 16 years ago he was newspaper and office boy at the “Herald” Office, Morpeth. His home address is at 90 Wansbeck Terrace, Ashington.
Another Morpeth lad has gained distinction in France, Sergt. J.B. Dodds, N.F., who has been awarded the Military Medal. Sergt. Dodds has served 18 months in France, and was also mentioned in Lord French’s last dispatch for gallantry and devotion to duty in the field.
In connection with the food control campaign a cookery exhibition, organised by the Morpeth War Savings Association, was held in the Council Chambers, Town Hall, Morpeth, yesterday. Wholesome and economical dishes were kindly sent for exhibition.
A largely attended meeting was held in the Town Hall, when an interesting address was given by Mrs Hedley, The Vicarage, Kirkwhelpington, on food economy and substitutes. Mrs Jos. Miller presided.
Mrs Miller said she was sure they would be much interested in Mrs Hedley, who had come to tell them how to solve the food problem. That was what they wanted to know.
They were very much cheered when they opened their newspapers that morning and saw there was a big decrease in the number of vessels sunk. That was something to be thankful for. She was sure that in time the submarine menace would be solved to their satisfaction. Although they had the joy of reading that there was a great decrease she hoped they would not be content to rest on their oars thinking that everything was all right. They must plod on and do their very utmost to solve the food problem.
Let them see that they did their best and persuade other people to do the same. The British women had done remarkably well in all sorts of things, and they were there to show that they could not only equal but by far surpass even the German housewife in cooking.
Let them back up the lads at the front with all their heart, soul and strength, and she was sure victory would be theirs. Let them keep brave, and not get downhearted. Let everyone do their utmost to economise in these difficult times. (Applause.)
Mrs Hedley said that economy in every possible form would help their men more than anything else. They must not on any account let the fighting men run short of food. It was for them to make the food go further and thereby disappoint our enemies which would shorten the war.
She referred to the fact that 60 stones of oatmeal arrived at a railway station for foxhounds, and in these times it was a case of children’s food going to the dogs.
MORPETH WAR SAVINGS COMMITTEE
Come and see the demonstrations on war-time cookery in the Council School, Morpeth. They will be held each day at 2pm, from Monday, 21st May, to Saturday, 26th May, 1917 (inclusive), by Miss Clark, County Council Cooker Teacher. You will thus help to win the war.
WIDDRINGTON SOLDIER KILLED
The following letter was received from Lieut. Roney, Lewis gun officer, Yorks, by Mrs Dodds, Cement Row, Widdrington:— “I was grieved to learn when I rejoined the battalion from leave that your son, Joseph T. Dodds, was killed in action.
“I know that no words of mine can allay the pain which this great blow will cause you. I must, however, assure you of the high esteem in which your son was held by all ranks, his high soldierly qualities and his continual cheerfulness under the most adverse circumstances making him one of the best known and most popular men in the regiment. All feel his loss keenly and sincerely sympathise with you in your great loss.
“I trust you will find some little comfort in the knowledge that your son died heroically for his God, his King, and his country.”
MORPETH FLYING OFFICER REPORTED MISSING
News was received last Friday by Councillor Geo. Jackson and Mrs Jackson, Bridge Street, Morpeth, that their eldest son, George William, in the R.F.C., was reported missing.
The telegram read as follows:— “Regret Second-Lieut. G.W. Jackson was reported missing, May 7th. This does not necessarily mean that he is killed or wounded.”
ROLL OF HONOUR
Pte. D. Rafferty, 626, N.F., Bedlington, killed.
Pte. G. Veitch, 1686, N.F., Broomhill, killed.
Pte. G. Hindmarsh, 749, N.F., Bebside, killed.
Pte. E. James, 35490, N.F. Seaton Delaval, killed.
Pte. C. McLean, 20,300, N.F., Seghill, killed.
Pte. G.G. Matthews, 1633, N.F. Blyth, killed.
Pte. J. Lee, 4631, N.F., Morpeth, killed.
Pte. G. Bryson, 960, N.F., Blyth, killed.
Pte. J. Gambles, 533, N.F., Choppington, killed.
Pte. W. Wylam, 932, N.F., Cambois, killed.
Pte. R. Tweedy, 3030, N.F., Cowpen Village, killed.
Corporal J. Page, 14 Hawthorn Road, Hirst, killed.
Lance-Corpl. R.D. Hedley, Killingworth, killed.
Lance-Corpl. J. Sherrington, 43 West Road, Bebside, reported missing since July 1st, is now reported dead.
Lance-Corporal Mr Thos. Grieve, N.F., Longhoughton, killed.
Mr and Mrs P. Millar, 229 Titchfield Terrace, Pegswood, received official news on Monday of the death of her son, Pte. Thos. Miller, N.F., from wounds received in action.
Mrs Nairn, of Dunstan Hill Farm, Lesbury, has received news that her oldest son, Pte. Robt. Wm. Nairn, Yorkshire Regiment, has died of wounds.
Mr L. Wanlace, of Seaton Burn House, has been notified that his son, Private John Wanlace, Canadians, has been killed.
Mrs Rutter, of Joicey’s Row, Dudley Colliery, has received official intimation that her husband, Private Hy. Rutter, D.L.I., has been killed.
The relatives of Private Mark Laverick, Cross Row, West Cramlington, have been officially informed that he is now presumed dead. He was previously reported missing.
Mrs Straughan, 289 Rosalind Street, Ashington, has received information that her brother, Private J. Lee, was killed in action on April 13th.
Mr Geo. Short, 44 Pretoria Avenue, Morpeth, has received word that his son, Sapper W. Short, Canadian Divisional Engineers, is in the Canadian Field Ambulance, France, suffering from shell concussion and right ankle wound.
Official news has been received by Mr Thos. Matheson, Seedman, &c., Oldgate St, Morpeth, that his son, Gunner Edward Matheson, has been wounded by shrapnel in France, and is now in hospital.
Information has been received by his sister, that Lance-Corporal Wm. Cockburn, of Longhorsley, previously reported missing, is now reported badly wounded and a prisoner of war in Germany.
Mr and Mrs Henderson of Wooler have been informed that their son, Second-Lieut G.H. Henderson, has been reported as missing since April 28th.
Information has been received by Mr and Mrs David Hopkins, of 2 Double Junction, East Cramlington, that their second son, Private D. Hopkins, Staffordshires, has been killed.
Mrs I. Hindmarsh, 65 Oswin Avenue, Forest Hall, has been informed that her husband, Private James Hindmarsh, reported missing on July 1st, is now presumed killed.
Official news has been received at Blyth that Private Peter Mackin, of the Tyneside Irish, has been killed in action.
Private John Robert Taylor, Northumberland Fusiliers, son of Mr Ben Taylor, Hauxley, was killed on Easter Monday. His cousin, Lance-Corpl. Harry Taylor, also of the N.F., was killed on April 18th.
Sergt. Jos. Brown, 1 Jubilee Terrace, Seaton Delaval, missing since July 1st, is reported killed in action.
Mrs Dixon, Hartford Colliery, has been informed that her husband, Sergt. Joseph Dixon, has been killed.
Private James Coyne, N.F., a son of Mr Chas. Coyne, Cowpen Square, killed in action.
Mrs Wilson, of Bridge Street, Seaton Burn, has been notified that her husband, Private G. Wilson, N.F., has been killed.
Reported missing since July last, word has now been received by his mother to presume Pte. James Clarke, late of Tate Street, Blyth, to be dead.
Official news has been received that Private W. Cook, East Yorkshire Regiment, was killed in action in France on May 2nd. He was 34 years of age, and was the husband of Sarah Jane Cook, 5 Forrest Yard, Morpeth, and late of Ashington.
Intimation by cablegram has been received by Mr Fred Tinsley, Playhouse Manager, Morpeth, of the death of another brother in France, Pte. Archie Tinsley, of the Canadians, who fell during the recent offensive. His elder brother is still serving in France. This is the second loss Mr Tinsley has sustained within the past month, Private George E. Tinsley, of the D.L.I., having died from wounds only three weeks ago.
Mrs Willis, of 16 Jackson Street, Annitsford, has received official intimation that her son, Able Seaman Joseph T. Ingram, Hood Battalion, R.N.D., was killed on April 23rd. Mrs Willis had her husband killed in France only a few months ago.
The death has been announced of Lieut. J. Adamson, a member of a well-known North Country family. Lieut. Adamson was brother-in-law of Lieut. Campion Gunn, The Willows, of Morpeth.
ROLL OF HONOUR
BROWN.— Died of wounds, in the 11th General Hospital, at Cannes, France, Able Seaman John George Brown, X91, R.N.D., beloved husband of Margaret Brown, of Hirst, Ashington.
CAMERON.— Previously reported missing, now reported killed on July 1st, 1916, Private D. Cameron (654), N.F., dearly beloved and youngest son of James and Mary Cameron, 228, Yard Row, Netherton.— Deeply mourned by his loving father and mother, brother and sister-in-law, Will and Annie.
EARL.— In loving memory of Pye. John Earl, B Company, 2nd Tyneside Scottish, beloved son of Samuel Heatley and Agnes Earl, Gladstone Terrace, Bedlington, killed in action April 29th, 1917, aged 33 years.— Ever remembered by his father, mother, brothers, and sister, and all who knew him.
GLASPER.— Killed in action in France, April 9th, 1917, Private Alex Glasper (37564), 26th Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers, aged 30 years, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Glasper, 43 Third Row, Ashington.— Ever remembered by his father, mother, brothers and sisters, and all his friends.
SHADFORTH.— Killed in action on April 23rd, 1917, aged 22, Sergt. James Shadforth, West Yorks, second son of John and Frances Shadforth, 26 North Terrace, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned by his sorrowing father, mother, brothers, and sisters, and brother-in-law, also his brother, John Willie, now serving in France.
STIRLING.— Killed in action, April 18th, 1917, aged 24 years, Pte. Robt. Stirling, Northumberland Fusiliers, dearly beloved and only son of Ed. and Margaret Jane Stirling, 25 Sycamore Street, Hirst.— Ever remembered by his aunt and uncles and cousins and all who knew him.
WOOD.— Killed in action in France on April 9th, 1917, aged 23 years, Private Robert Wood, Tyneside Scottish, of Guide Post, Choppington.— Ever remembered by his loving sister, Chriss.
THE NEED FOR ECONOMY
Sir,— I am invited to call attention to the appeal which has been made to all of us for economy in the consumption of bread, and especially of bread and breadstuffs.
The high prices which have of late prevailed have, no doubt, inflicted a strain on some households, but this is nothing to what we shall be subjected to unless we are able to meet the requirements of the Government.
The enemy hopes to starve us out, and, indeed, in this lies his best chance at this moment of rendering all the sacrifices of life and of money we have made and are making abortive. His efforts to destroy the ships, which carry food to this country, are assisted by the fact that owing to bad weather conditions and other causes the grain supply of the world is exceedingly meagre.
The danger is so great that our Government is preparing measures for compulsory rationing for all of us should it be impossible to secure economy in any other way. It would necessarily be very intricate, troublesome, and expensive, and could hardly be enforced fairly among all the classes without the issue of food tickets, domiciliary visits, an army of paid officials, and an inquisitorial system very foreign to the tastes of the freeborn Englishmen.
Is there a man in this country who would not rather show his patriotism by voluntary sacrifices in the hour of his country’s need? Should he hesitate, let him consider how what is demanded of him compares with the sacrifices of his own countrymen on the battlefields of France and Flanders, Gallipoli, and Mesopotamia, or with the sufferings endured by the civil population in Belgium, France, or in Poland, and remember that nothing but our ability to secure peace on our own terms can obviate the danger of a like fate to ourselves, which is the avowed object of the enemy to inflict upon us.
We are within a few hundred miles of countries whose population — man, woman, and child — have been subjected to every kind of ill-treatment inflicted in the dark ages of the world’s history by the conquerors on the vanquished; whose places of worship have been destroyed; whose farms and cottages have been reduced to ruins; whose soil has been so scarred by shot and shell, as well as marred by mere wanton methods, that its fertility has been destroyed for years to come, and whose manufactories and mines have been completely wrecked.
To the same, or if possible to a worse condition, Germany hopes to reduce us, and they make no secret of the fact that their animosity towards us exceeds that which they entertain towards our Allies, and though our determination that the gigantic sacrifices we have already made shall not be thrown away may be relied upon to enable us to face any stress, it is manifest that a grave shortage of food would protract our naval and military operations, and augment the concomitant expenditure of life, money, and material, and might compel us to accept unsatisfactory terms of peace.
In what way the required economy can be effected is a matter of detail with which I cannot attempt to deal with in this letter, but numerous leaflets containing useful suggestions have been issued by the Food Controller’s Department, and can easily be obtained from the War Savings’ Committee. — Yours, etc.,
Alnwick Castle, May 8th, 1917.
The training of the Morpeth Company is progressing satisfactorily, and no efforts are being spared by those in command to see that the men receive such instructions as will tend to their greater proficiency and usefulness.
The week-night drills and Sunday morning parades are, on the whole, being well attended. Company drill in the open is being largely indulged in.
Preparations are being pushed forward for the holding of a trek during the Whit weekend to Longframlington. The march should provide a fine test for the men, and we understand that an interesting programme of work has been arranged for the time the men are away.
By the end of the month, owing to the departure of the military, the company will make the Masonic Hall the headquarters, and this will greatly facilitate the instruction of the men, more particularly in musketry, as there is ample accommodation there to keep rifles.