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.
News has been received of the death of Sergt. Robert B. Clark, the husband of Isabella Clark, and son-in-law of Edward Dodd, 90 Wansbeck Terrace, Ashington. He was the eldest son of George and Ellen Clark, Hillgate Street, Morpeth, and one of three brothers on active service. He was the eldest grandson of the late James McAllister of Morpeth.
The late Sergt. Clark won the Military Medal for bravery on April 1st.
Mrs Clark has received the following letter:— “Dear Madam,— I cannot tell you how deeply I regret to have to inform you of the death in action of your husband, Sergt. Robert Batson Clark.
“He was killed by a shell whilst we were going into the trenches on June 30th. He only lived for a few minutes after he was hit. His last words showed his thoughts for others.— ‘Leave me sir, I’m done’.
“The battery has lost one of the finest men I ever met. And every officer and man is deeply sorry, and his behaviour will always be an example to us.—Yours, etc., Captain William Datchilder.”
NORTHUMBERLAND VOLUNTEERS CAMP
Sir,— Captain Barnes informs me that it is intended to take the members of the Northumberland Volunteer Force into camp over the August Bank Holiday, viz., from 6pm on the 3rd to 6pm on the 7th, and asks me to use what influence I may have as Mayor to induce employers to facilitate the attendance of such of their employees as are attached to the Force.
The recent revival of air raids in an intensified form and in daylight has brought home to us all the imperative necessity for an efficient home force, and no means of obtaining that efficiency can excel the continuous training obtainable in a four days’ camp, which, in time alone, is equal to two months of the ordinary training to which volunteers are subject, viz., 14 single hour drills per month. The continuity of the training may be said to enhance its value to probably that of three months under everyday conditions.
I have great pleasure in following the excellent lead of the Lord Mayor of Newcastle in appealing to employers for their co-operation in the laudable endeavour of the Volunteer officers to bring this important branch of His Majesty’s Forces up to a standard of efficiency, which will do credit to their native county, and I trust the Morpeth and district detachments will not suffer in a comparison with the other sections of the Northumberland Volunteer Regiment.
Volunteers should, if possible, be in camp at 6pm on the Friday, and resume their business punctually to time on the Wednesday morning.—
JOHN R. TEMPLE,
Mayor of Morpeth
MORPETH MARKET AUCTION COMPANY
Owing to the state of the Cattle Trade at the present time, there will be no sale at the above Mart until further notice.
T. RAINE, Auctioneer.
R.S. TURNBULL, Secretary.
LOCAL SOLDIER’S PROTEST
Sir,— In your issue of the “Morpeth Herald,” dated June 22nd, I notice that my name is amongst those of whom the Recruiting Officer seeks information, and I would be under an obligation to you if you could see your way to insert this letter in the next issue of the “Herald.”
For some considerable time I was resident in the Morpeth district, where I made many friends, and in due fairness to myself I might mention I have been on active service for 15 months, having joined the Royal Garrison Artillery in October, 1915.
I considered it but my duty to “do my bit,” and would not like the idea of my name appearing amongst the absentees,— Yours, etc.,
British Expeditionary Force, France
A LOCAL APPEAL CASE
Mr Henry Smith, 2 Granby Buildings, Morpeth, writes:— “I notice in last week’s ‘Herald’ a report of the cases of appeal before the County Tribunal at Alnwick, in which I am stated to have lodged an appeal with that body on domestic and conscientious grounds. This is not so.
“My only appeal before that or any other tribunal was for re-examination before the Central Medical Board at Leeds, owing to the unsatisfactory and doubtful conditions under which I was given a Class A certificate.
“I was summoned under the Review of Exceptions Act on the 16th May, 1917, to present myself for re-examination. On this date I claim to have been totally rejected, and this was my grounds of appeal, which is supported by medical testimony.”
MORPETH BOARD OF GUARDIANS
The monthly meeting of the above was held on Wednesday, The Hon. and Rev. W.C. Ellis presided.
A resolution was received from the Wrexham Union asking the Morpeth Guardians to support a resolution urging the Government to allow free access to all rivers and lakes for fishing purposes owing to the scarcity of food stuffs.— No action was taken.
FOOD CONTROL CAMPAIGN
The attendance was rather disappointing at the limelight lecture given on “The Food Battle,” in the Town Hall, Morpeth on Tuesday evening. The lecture, which was under the auspices of the Morpeth War Savings’ Association, was given by the Rev. Joseph Miller, who dealt with his subject in an interesting and instructive manner.
The lecturer referred to the food crisis, and pointed out that the wheat crop of last year failed not only in the countries at war, but also in the countries at peace.
The well-to-do could best help their country by eating more meat, fish, and poultry, and less bread; but at the same time there must be no waste of meat or any other kind of food.
“Victory in the food struggle depends on our women,” proceeded the lecturer. “Rich, poor, middle class, lower middle class — all one under the direction of the women. They are the quartermasters of the home. The women must see that less sugar is used in the household. Now is the time to learn to do without sugar in our tea.”
Coming to the important question of rationing, he said that the quantities allowed were 4lb. of bread per person per week or 3lb. of flour for bread, cakes and puddings; ½lb. sugar per person per week; 2½lb of meat per person per week. It must be borne in mind that the 4lb. of bread was the average ration. It did not mean that everyone was to eat 4lb. of bread per week.
He concluded by saying that every meal was a battle, that greed and waste in any form were the powerful allies of the Prussians.
The lecture was illustrated by slides dealing with the subject. Among the slides thrown on the screen were — What we import, What we grow, German submarine alongside a sailing ship, sending bombs to destroy it; the sinking of the California, a steamer laden with wheat at the bottom of the sea and above it an enemy submarine, Tommies feeding French poor in reconquered territory, a torpedo missing a ship, a woman in a kitchen, and portraits of Haig, Beatty and President Wilson.
On the motion of Mr Walter Macnichol, a hearty note of thanks was accorded to the Rev. Jos. Miller.
BARNADO FLAG DAY AT MORPETH
The Morpeth Habitation of the Young Helpers’ League are holding their Flag Day tomorrow (Saturday) in aid of the Homes.
Dr Barnardo’s name is of world-wide fame. He was indeed the children’s friend and for over 50 years the Homes he founded have been engaged in saving the nation’s destitute children.
The institution has rescued thousands of children — fed, clothed, and educated them and ultimately made them a credit to humanity.
Over 9,000 Barnardo boys are now serving in the Army, Navy, and Mercantile Marine.
Funds are urgently needed to carry on this great work. In peace and in war time the homes have been doing work of supreme national importance.
VEGETABLES FOR THE NORTH SEA FLEET
The Morpeth Branch Depot is now open every Wednesday from 9.30am till noon, when gifts of fresh fruit and vegetables will be gratefully received at the Town Hall.
NORTHUMBERLAND VOLUNTEER NOTES
Employers all over the country are co-operating for the purpose of making the summer camps of the Volunteers as big a success as possible. This is as it should be. The onus is upon the employer and the employee alike, and the one is helpless without the support of the other.
It is no use asking men to join up if there are impediments put in their way. The State wants an efficient force, and the employer, for whose protection it is being raised, must leave no stone unturned to see that the State gets what it desires and deserves.
It cannot be too often stated that the Volunteer movement is a serious one, and the sooner everyone regards it in that light the better it will be.
What is urgent is that men should be training as rapidly as possible. Time is of the essence. Normally, a certain number of drills per month may answer, but in times like these there is room only for efficient men. Camps will speed up the efficiency in a wonderful way. It is for that reason they are being organised, and that employers everywhere are being approached.
The Under Secretary of State said: “Arrangements have been made for the attendance of men belonging to Sections A, B, and C of the Volunteer Force at summer camps. Free rations and free railway travelling will be allowed.
“I should like to take this opportunity of appealing for the co-operation of employers in giving their men facilities to attend camp. Otherwise I am afraid the arrangements will be rendered nugatory and training for the defence of the country will suffer accordingly.”
A word or two may be said so far as it concerns the individual volunteer who wants to know the shortest road to the efficient stage. Ordinarily the syllabus provides for a minimum of 14 drills of one hour per month. At these four day camps the men will get seven hours training per day, of 28 hours for the camp. This is equal to two months’ training under ordinary conditions, and of much greater value by reason of its being continuous.
We have all an idea of the urgency with which men are trained to take their place in the fighting line. The strictest regard has been paid to the fact that it is no less imperative that the volunteer should be trained with dispatch as is the case with the soldier.
It will be found easy for the exceptional man to pass through his efficiency test at these camps, and that it a very important point, for once it is done a man will be able to obtain his uniform.
While it must be admitted that in point of numbers the Northumberland Volunteer Force is not so strong as it ought to be, in other directions it is making a good record. At the last quarterly meeting the Central Association of the Volunteer Regiment, held in London, it was pointed out that Northumberland held the record in the number of officers and non-commissioned officers who had sat for examination under the instructional course authorised by the Army Council.
Additional satisfaction is to be found in the reports from different areas in recruiting. In some districts it has been particularly good during the last two weeks, and there are grounds for the belief that before long a very flourishing state of affairs may exist.
The Morpeth detachment on Sunday last had a field day. The men paraded at the Drill Hall at 10 in the morning. A scheme of attack and defence of Saltwick Wood was planned by Lieut. W. Duncan, who acted as umpire.
There were sixty men on parade. A party, under Second-Lieut. Chas. Grey, was detailed for the defence of the wood, and the remainder of the men, under Second-Lieut. T.D. Shaw, made the attack.
The scouts of the attacking party reconnoitred the wood in which the defenders had taken up concealed positions. Prisoners were taken by both parties. Just as the opposing parties were getting into close contact a downpour of rain somewhat marred the excitement, and, owing to the dense growth, the men were unable to develop the attack in full force. A few men of the attacking force succeeded in getting through the wood. The result of the operations was a draw.
A very interesting and instructive day was spent by the men, who returned to headquarters at five in the afternoon.
The commissariat was in charge of Corporal Richard Elliott and Private W. Dodds, who ably carried out the duty, satisfying the appetites of men, which had been developed by the long and arduous morning’s operations. Corporal A. Young kindly provided the mineral water.
ROLL OF HONOUR
MAWSON.— Private Brian Mawson, aged 24 years, reported missing since September 15th, 1916, now reported presumed dead on the 15th or since, dearly beloved son of John and Jane Ann Mawson, late of Pegswood, now of Seaton Hirst.— Ever remembered and sadly missed by his loving father, mother, brothers and sisters (brother William now in France), and all who knew him.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mr T. Cooper, 53 Regent Road, Gosforth, has received news that his brother, Private William Cooper, M.M., was killed in action on August 13th.
Private R.F. Davidson, Taylor Street, Cowpen Village, killed in action on July 3rd.
Rifleman John Bell, London Regiment, 13 Nelson Place, Blyth, missing since Oct. 7th, is now reported killed in action on that date.
Private Anthony Morpeth, Western Terrace, Dudley Colliery, died of wounds.
Bomb. Wm. Arris, R.F.A., Lower Howick Street, Alnwick, has died in France of wounds.
Private Nathaniel Hudson, 70 Jubilee Terrace, Annitsford, killed on 26th June whilst in action in France.
After being missing since 3rd September of last year, the death in action on that date is now reported of Private Thos, Dryden, 14 Craigside Place, Blyth.
Mrs W.L. Linis, of 100 Newgate Street, Morpeth, has received news that her husband Sergt. W.L. Linis, R.F.A., has been wounded in action and is in hospital in Boulogne. Before enlisting he was assistant superintendent to the Pearl Assurance Company at Morpeth.
Missing since September 10th of last year, Private Lawrence Foster, Crofton, is now reported killed.
Flight Sub-Lieut. Donald W. Ramsay, R.N., Osborne Road, Newcastle, and The Grange, Alnmouth, reported missing since Saturday last.
Two Blyth victims were on board H.M.S. Vanguard, which was blown up by an internal explosion. One was George Davison, the other was Lawrence Jeffrey.
Private J.W. Lyle, N.F., 42 Station Road, Dudley, missing since September 15th, 1916, is now presumed to have been killed in action on or about that date.
Missing since September 25th of last year, Private Robert Elliott, whose parents were old residents at Cowpen Square, and are now living at Pont Street, Hirst, is now reported killed. It is understood that he met his death at the same time as four Blyth medallists — Blythe, Collins, Fulbeck, and Charlton — were killed.