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.
Major Irwin Wright of Morpeth, son of Mr N.I. Wright, who has had a distinguished career in action since the commencement of the war, has had conferred upon him the honour of the D.S.O. for distinguished services on the field.
HONOUR FOR LOCAL OFFICER
Lieut. G. Clark who was recently mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatch, as follows, is the eldest son of Mr J.S. Clark of Bothal:— “While reconnoitring on newly captured ground near — Lieut. Gilbert Clark found a wounded officer. He at once went to his assistance, and, in full view of the enemy, succeeded in bringing him to a place of safety over ground swept by rifle and shell fire and made almost impassable by mud.
“This officer has on previous occasions shown the greatest courage and devotion to duty.”
MENTIONED IN DISPATCHES
Captain G.F.H. Charlton, South Wales Borderers, son of Mr and Mrs John Charlton of the School House, Seaton Delaval — some time ago reported missing and believed to have been killed in action — was amongst those mentioned in Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatches last week.
Regimental Sergeant-Major J. Donnelly, Highland Light Infantry, of Morpeth, has been mentioned in Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s dispatches for distinguished conduct in the field.
Signs are not wanting that greater activity is being displayed at headquarters for the further development of the Volunteer movement locally. It is felt there are many men in the borough over military age who could enrol and render good service in the capacity of volunteers.
The training of the company is proceeding in a very satisfactory manner. Rifles have now been supplied, and it is expected that bayonets and belts will be served out shortly.
Last Sunday morning there was a splendid muster of the men, and headed by the Pipe Band, they had a route march and rifle drill on the Common.
On Tuesday evening the men marched to the Castle Banks, where two instructors from the Cheshires gave some useful instructions on how to use and handle the rifle.
Last night there was again a good muster. The usual parade will be held on Sunday morning first at the Council Schools.
Private E. Bell, N.F., has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the field, when he carried a wounded comrade into safety during heavy fire.
FOOD ECONOMY CAMPAIGN AT MORPETH
The members of the Morpeth War Savings Committee are doing a lot of spade work in connection with the food campaign. They have now made a house-to-house visitation and left pledge cards and also sold over 500 copies of the “Win the War Cookery Book.”
Arrangements have been made for holding another series of cooking demonstrations next week. Commencing on Monday, June 11th, the demonstrations will be held in the Council Schools, and continued on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the hour fixed for starting being 7pm. Miss Clark will conduct the demonstrations.
On Thursday afternoon next, at 2.30pm, a cookery exhibition will be held in the Town Hall, and a lecture will also be given by a lady speaker.
Under the auspices of the local committee two open-air meetings were held in the Market Place, Morpeth, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening, on Wednesday. The chairman on each occasion was the Rev. Dr Drysdale, and the speaker the Rev. T.E. Thomas, vicar of Bolam. There was a large attendance at the afternoon meeting.
At the evening meeting the chairman said they were there in the interest of food saving. What they had to do was to make the most of our food production, and to do the best they could to get the most out of the food they ate.
Mr Thomas had made a special study of the subject and he would instruct them, without any kind of serious change in their living, in food saving.
Mr Thomas treated his subject from a scientific standpoint, and clearly showed from experiments made by leading scientists that a great deal less food would be eaten if people would only train themselves to masticate their food properly.
At the close votes of thanks were accorded to the chairman, the speaker, and to Mr W. Simpson, secretary of the local committee, who had made the arrangements for the two meetings.
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.
The Clerk stated that he had received a letter from Mr Williams, secretary of the Northumberland War Savings Committee, with respect to war time cookery lessons and demonstrations.
He stated that the County Education Committee had placed their cookery centres and teachers at the disposal of local authorities for cookery lessons. Full use should be made of that offer as it was desired that the centres and teachers should be fully employed. So far the classes held in certain centres had been very popular and well attended.
He asked the Rural Council to ask the Education Committee for permission to hold cookery demonstrations.
The Clerk also added that Mr Williams had sent a supply of literature on the subject and honour bound pledge cards and a bundle of ribbon, which they put in their buttonholes pledging themselves to carry out the regulations of the Food Controller.
To canvass the rural district as suggested, said the Clerk, would involve more work that their present staff could do.
It was pointed out that it would be impossible to hold cookery demonstrations in the parishes as suggested in the letter.
It was agreed that if any of the councillors wished to canvass the districts they represented they could get a supply of literature and the necessary ribbon from the clerk.
The Clerk read a letter from the Food Controller authorising local authorities to prosecute any cases where offences were committed against the regulations of the Food Controller.
Mr Young thought the medical officer and the inspectors should see to it.
Dr Philip said he came across a lot of cases where food was wasted and where big slices of bread had been thrown out. Should he report such cases to the police?— Chairman: Oh, yes.
Dr Philip remarked that in one case bread had been given to children and they had thrown it away. What could he do in a case like that?— Mr Young: Give them a warning in such a case.— Chairman: The inspectors could keep a watch in the course of their duties.
It was decided that the medical officer and inspectors have power from the Council to prosecute any persons for committing an offence under the food regulations.
MORPETH WAR SAVINGS COMMITTEE
Food Control Campaign. Come and see the demonstrations on war-time cookery in the council school, Morpeth.
They will be held each evening at 7, from Monday, June 11th, to Friday June 15th, 1917 (inclusive) by Miss Clark, County Council Cookery Teacher.
You will thus help to win the war.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mr and Mrs John Waterston, 277 Welbeck Terrace, Pegswood, have received news that their son, Pte. John Waterston, N.F., has been wounded and is in Leigh Military Hospital.
Mrs T. Spittle, Gill’s Lane, Alnwick, has received news that her youngest son, Pte. Thomas Spittle, N.F., was killed in action on April 28th.
Mr George Willcox, Union Court, Alnwick, has been informed that his son, Gunner G.T. Willcox, R.F.A., was killed in action on May 11th.
An intimation has been received by Councillor T.W. Charlton, Deputy Mayor of Morpeth, that Second-Lieut. H.F. de Mosch, D.L.I., has been wounded in the leg, and is at present in hospital in London. Lieut. de Mosch, who has seen much of the heavy fighting recently, was on a previous occasion sent to England suffering from shell shock.
Lance-Corporal James Elliott, N.F., son of Mr Ed. Elliott, Park Road, Blyth, is reported having been killed in action on May 13th. He was 24 years of age and a miner at Crofton before joining the Army.
Mrs Buddle, of Church Street, Amble, has received official information of the death of her son, Pte. J.R. Buddle, N.F., who was killed in action on 26th May,
Mrs Cook, Front Street, New York, Backworth, has been officially informed that her husband, Pte. Robt. Cook, East Yorks, has been missing since May 3rd.
Mr and Mrs W.A. Grey, of Grange House, Morpeth, received word from the War Office on Wednesday evening that their third son, Pte. Joseph Grey, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, died of wounds on May 23rd while serving with the Expeditionary Force in France. He was 26 years of age.
News has been received that Pte. George Tate, son of Mr John Tate, of Bebside, has been killed. Tate was in company with some Bebside lads who had just been reading a letter from Councillor Summers of Bebside when he said he was going to get something to eat. The poor lad was then struck by a shell and instantly killed.
Mr and Mrs Archibald Inglis, 21 Howick Street, Alnwick, who had been officially informed that their son, Rifleman James Inglis, of the West Yorks Regiment, was missing, have since received a letter, dated May 21st, from Major A.E. Dunbar, officer commanding B Company, stating that Inglis died in hospital from wounds received in action. “He did excellent work,” the officer added, “before he was killed, and officers and men of the company were all very sorry to hear of his death.” Previous to enlisting Pte. Inglis was employed as a miner at Shilbottle Colliery. This is the second son that Mr and Mrs Inglis have lost. The other son, Pte. Andrew Inglis, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, has been missing since July, 1916.
ROLL OF HONOUR
GREY.— Died of wounds in hospital in France, on May 23rd, Private Joseph Grey, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, third son of Mr and Mrs W.A. Grey, Grange House, Morpeth.
HART.— Died of wounds received in action, May 2nd, 1917, aged 21 years, Private Thomas Hart, No. 291092 N.F., dearly beloved son of William and Mary Hart, of 82 Ninth Row, Ashington.— Deeply mourned by his sorrowing mother, father, brother, sisters, also brother in Egypt, sister-in-law and brothers-in-law, uncles, aunts, cousins and Mrs and Miss D. Walkingdon of York.
STANNINGTON CHURCH PARADE
The annual church parade of Newcastle and district wheelmen on behalf of the local charities took place on Sunday morning at Blagdon Park.
Since its inauguration over thirty years ago at Gibside by Mr Tom Anderson of Blaydon, now domiciled in the United States, the cyclists on both the north and south banks of the Tyne have annually supported the charitable movement with unfailing zeal and generosity.
In past years as many as two thousand wheelmen have paraded in the picturesque grounds of Lord Ridley. On Sunday, however, their attenuated ranks bore tribute to their patriotism in the national crisis. It was convincingly demonstrated that all the young knights of the wheel were away serving their King and country.
In their absence the Red Cross banner was nobly borne by the veteran brigade, headed by the Newcastle, Brunswick, Grainger, Benwell, Ridley, Jarrow, North Shields, Wallsend Temperance, and South Shields clubs, whose leading officials had nearly all been continuously associated with the parade for at least thirty years.
Altogether between 400 and 500 wheelmen assembled at the open-air service in Blagdon Park, and the congregation was augmented by many local residents.
The Bishop of Newcastle (Dr Wild) conducted the service for the second year in succession, and in his address took his text from the 12th verse of the 8th chapter of St John: “I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
His lordship said that day was Trinity Sunday, a date on which they always held their ordinations at St Nicholas’ Cathedral in pre-war times. The young men whom he should have ordained that day, however, were all away fighting their country’s battles. All honour to them.
At the first call, before there was any thought of compulsion, these young men left their universities and colleges and went their way. Some of those who were preparing for service in the Church God had taken for service elsewhere in perpetual obedience to His will. Others they prayed would return to them to be ordained another year.
But that day he had no ordination candidates, and therefore he rejoiced to be with them on that beautiful morning to help the cyclists in their commendable charitable movement, and to join with them in their prayers for all who had gone forth at the call of duty to bear their part in the tremendous struggle for life and freedom — a struggle which made them feel proud to be alive at that moment, and one which filled them with a sense of great dependence upon God.
The lesson was read by Mr W.D. Stephenson, and the choral portion of the service was led by a number of prominent local vocalists under the leadership of Mr E.J. Gibson.
CAPTAIN G. D. NEWTON
Captain Gerald D. Newton of Newcastle, who was removed from France to hospital in Scotland, is reported to be progressing satisfactorily. He had a very bad attack of neurasthena and shell shock, the second memento from the Germans since he went on active service.
Captain Newton hopes to be well enough by the end of next month to pay a visit to Morpeth Borough.
FARM HELPERS WANTED
The Northumberland Guild of War Agricultural Helpers are appealing for women and girls who are prepared to assist on farms where there is a deficiency of workers.
Women or girls could go for whole or part time.
All who wish to take the opportunity of helping their country in this war by assisting on farms can give their names in to Mrs Esson, Sub-Warden, Penshaw House, Amble.
Mrs Curtis of Acton House, Felton, is the warden, and applications can also be made to that lady.
It behoves everyone who can spare the time to do something for their country in this great crisis, for in doing the work on the farms they are releasing men for the Army and thus helping to win the war.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
Miss Parkins won the child’s dress made by Miss Matthewson for the above sewing meeting with No. 138.
The dress realised 17/6, for which the treasurer thanks the donor most gratefully.
MORPETH RED CROSS HOSPITAL
The Commandant acknowledges with many thanks the following gifts:— Butter, Mrs Rayne; eggs, Mrs Eustace Smith; milk, Mrs Simpson Hepscott; vegetables and flowers, Hon. Mrs Joicey; rhubarb, Mr Dakyns; cakes, Mrs J. Simpson; books, Mrs Wandless; flowers, Miss Hudson, Master John Dunn and Mrs Coble.
FARMERS’ RED CROSS SALE AT ACKLINGTON
At Acklington Auction Mart, Messrs T. and I. Maughan and Co., held a free gift sale on behalf of the British Farmers; Red Cross Fund, and succeeded in raising a sum of over £900. Many and varied contributions came to hand, including a Jersey heifer from the Duke of Northumberland. There was a large and representative gathering.
Mr R.D. Maughan, in opening the proceedings, emphasised the necessity of maintaining the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund. The need for it, he remarked, was greater than it had ever been, and he hoped they would all do their bit.
There was probably not a man present who had not a relative fighting at the front. He hoped that this sale would be a credit not only to the district in particular, but also to the county of Northumberland.
They started the sale with a subscription list showing a total of over £200, which was highly satisfactory. The Gateshead sale promoted by the firm realised £1,180, and he trusted that Acklington would beat even that.
The proceeds amounted to £490, apart from the sum realised by the Duke of Northumberland’s heifer, and £208 0s 9d in subscriptions, the aggregate being, as already stated, over £900.
The heifer was won by Mr Campbell, Old Felton, who accepted £30, and the animal was sold for £50, of which £20 went to the fund.
On the motion of Mr Robt. Hine, Thirston, a vote of thanks was accorded to Messrs Maughan and Company.
BOTTLES FOR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
The Food Production Department has arranged with the Ministry of Munitions of War to supply glass jars for preserving fruit and vegetables.
The price of the bottles is 52/- per gross, delivered to the nearest railway station. Orders must be for not less than 100 dozen and preferably for 400 dozen (1 truck load).
The requirements of every district must be ascertained by a responsible authority and submitted collectively. Only one order can be accepted from a locality; the orders of private individuals cannot be accepted.
The Department will shortly be in a position to meet demands to the extent of 2,000 gross of jars per week. For further particulars apply to the Director General, Food Production Department, 72 Victoria Street, London, S.W.1.
THE ECONOMY OF SPRAYING POTATOES
Among other Royal personages who are taking a keen interest in the food production movement is Queen Alexandra. Her Majesty drove to Kensington Gardens on Wednesday to see the potato spraying demonstration arranged by the Food Production Department.
The display attracted a representative gathering of persons associated with Honlon and home counties allotments, and will doubtless stimulate the purchase of sprayers and materials which are being supplied by the Food Production Department at cost price.
An exaggerated idea prevails in some districts as to the expense of spraying potatoes with the approved sprayer and Burgundy mixture (common soda and copper sulphate in due proportions). As a matter of fact, supposing 100 members of an allotment society have five poles of potatoes apiece to spray, they can do it twice — this is necessary — at an outlay of 7d. each for the chemicals for the two sprayings.
A sprayer costs £3 carriage paid; and, if the society wrote off the whole charge the first year, it would only mean 8d. per man. Thus the total cost at the most would be 1/8 for five poles 151¼ sq. yards, apart from labour.
On allotments this need entail no outlay at all, as any man of average intelligence can spray his own plot in half an hour. A knapsack sprayer, handled carefully, will last for years. Given average success in growing and spraying his potatoes, the allotment man will gain in a larger and healthier crop at least five times the cost of spraying.
It should be noted that the Morpeth Allotments Association have made arrangements to have the potatoes of their members sprayed, and it is desirable that the area of each plot should be reckoned up by the members and given in to the secretary or any of the committee, so that when the business of spraying once begins there will be sufficient chemicals to go round all the plots straight away, thereby obviating the necessity of having to wait some time for more solution to complete the work.
As is pointed out above, the cost will be very small in comparison to the benefit obtained.