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.
Sir,— May I once more encroach upon your valuable space in order to thank those ladies who have so kindly knitted socks for the 16th, 18th, and 19th Northumberland Fusiliers?
Let me say in my own name, and in that of the Ladies’ Committee, how extremely grateful we are for their help in the past, and ask them to continue their good work in the future until such time as it is unnecessary to provide them.
That the men appreciate these comforts is evidenced by the letters which are received by the committee from the officers and soldiers themselves.
The means to procure the wool is supplied by the Comforts Committee of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, and the Ladies’ Committee have endeavoured to send 100 pairs of socks per week to each battalion during the past winters. Therefore 300 pairs per week are required.
I shall be at the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, every Monday from 3 to 4pm, commencing Monday, October 8th, when I trust ladies may find it convenient to come for wool, and return the completed socks.
To any ladies at a distance who are unable to come for wool I shall be pleased to send by post. Thanking you for your courtesy— Yours etc.,
(Mrs Geo. Renwick)
October 4th, 1917.
P.M. CHURCH, MORPETH
There was a fairly large congregation at the annual harvest thanksgiving services held on Sunday in connection with the Primitive Methodists Church, Morpeth, when the pulpit was occupied by the Rev. J.C. Sutcliffe.
The pulpit and communion rails were beautifully decorated with the produce of both garden and field, while a table within the rails was heavily laden with fruit and vegetables. The choir, under the leadership of Mr J.T. Procter, organist, ably rendered appropriate music for the occasion.
At the evening service the text taken was: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” The substance of these words was the answer to a request made to Jesus by the Greeks.
It is true that life in its highest and best form can only be attained through death. This is only realised by self-sacrifice. The Greeks at that time were the standard nation of culture. They were trained from youth upwards to culture the body and enjoy themselves. It is because of this self-culture, self-enjoyment, and aspiration to the primary place in the world that has brought the German nation to what it is today.
The harvest thanksgiving festival was continued on the Monday night, when the Rev. J.C. Sutcliffe delivered a very interesting lecture on his experiences with the Y.M.C.A. in Belgium. The chair was taken by the Mayor (Councillor J.R. Temple), supported by Councillor R.N. Swinney and Dr Drysdale.
The Mayor said he was pleased to be present. At one time it was believed that there would be no harvest. The display of fruit and vegetables, however, showed that the crops were bountiful. He was especially pleased to welcome back to Morpeth the lecturer, after his noble work with the Y.M.C.A. at the Front.
The lecturer said it was rather difficult for people at home to realise that it was possible to don the khaki and take one’s place on French soil within a little less than 36 hours. He took the 9.26am train from Morpeth; at 8 o’clock on the Saturday night he was standing on French soil; and next day he was able to take his place in a hut some five or ten miles behind the front line trenches in Belgium.
On the boat he came in contact with all manner of people — British Tommies, Belgian soldiers returning, civilians, and Frenchmen.
On the Sunday he arrived at his destination, a short distance behind the firing line, where he at once noticed what was one of the outstanding features of the British Tommy — his humour — which continually came into play no matter when and where he was.
Another thing apparent was the Tommy’s unselfishness. If a strange Tommy came into the hut and wanted a particular article, it was quite common for another Tommy to buy him the necessary article if he found that the stranger lacked the necessary means to procure that article.
He would never forget the time when the great explosion of the mine took place, which marked the beginning of the great advance. From that time onwards the Y.M.C.A. workers had a very busy time attending to those wounded who could walk, as everyone who was able to walk was expected to do his best.
With the aid of numerous stories, the lecturer illustrated many interesting as well as very pathetic instances he had been called upon to witness in the discharge of his duties.
In conclusion he said one thing the war had done for mankind — it had brought man closer to man and had broken down the barrier of caste and class. It had brought them into one brotherhood, which he hoped would continue for all.
At the close of the lecture the fruit and vegetables were offered for sale by Mr T. Clark, auctioneer, when the handsome total of £7 was realised.
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.
AVENUE THEATRE, MORPETH
The continued success of the Avenue Theatre, Morpeth, is due to the fact that the management cater well for their numerous patrons. For next week they have some really first-class films to screen, which should provide excellent entertainment.
The story of a boy’s bravery in war, entitled “The Bugle Call,” an appropriate subject, will be screened on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is a five-reel Triangle drama, and the name speaks for itself.
ROLL OF HONOUR
COWANS.— Killed in action, on September 19th, 1917, Gunner Thomas W. Cowans, M.M., R.G.A., aged 33 years, of Sun Inn, Bedlington.— Remembered by his brother Joe, in France, and his sister Sally, and nephew Jackie Mather Cowans, of Tankerville Arms, Bedlington.
COWANS.— Killed in action, September 19th, 1917, Gunner T.W. Cowans, 113351, R.G.A., dearly beloved husband of Annie Cowans, Sun Inn, Bedlington (late of Burradon Colliery).— Deeply mourned by his loving wide and children and aunt, Annie Hartley.
TYRELL.— Killed in action, August 22nd, 1917, Lance-Corporal Thomas Mowat Tyrrell, Seaforth Highlanders, youngest and dearly beloved son of Thomas and Elizabeth Tyrrell, 28 Fifth Row, Ashington.
WILSON.— Killed in action August 30th, Private Andrew Wilson, of the N.F., son of Andrew and the late Mary Ann Wilson of Pegswood.— Ever remembered by his loving father, brothers and sisters.— He answered the call.
LOCAL SOLDIERS HONOURED
Corporal J. Fairholm, N.F., of Ashington, has been awarded the Military Medal.
Signaller J.S. Carrick, R.F.A., of Cramlington, has been awarded the Military Medal.
Sergt. Henry Shaw, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, who belongs to Choppington, has been awarded the Medaille Militaire by the President of the French Republic.
Private William Elliott, Liverpool Regiment, of 1 Coronation Street, Plessey Road, Blyth, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry in action. Previous to enlistment he was a student at Durham University.
The Military Medal for bravery on the field has been awarded to the following local men:— Private W. Elliott, Liverpool Regiment, of Bebside; Acting Sergeant A. Fraser, M.G. Corps, of Morpeth; Sergeant J. McIntyre, East Yorks Regiment, of Choppington; Private J. Sidney, A. Cyclist Corps, of Blyth.
POLICEMEN’S WAR BONUS
It was stated at a meeting of the Northumberland Standing Joint Committee, held at the Moot Hall, Newcastle, on Monday, that Capt. James, chief constable of the county, would prepare a report on the question of a war bonus for the county policemen for consideration at the next meeting of the committee.
MORPETH BOROUGH UNIONISTS
A meeting of the Executive Council of the Morpeth Unionist Association was held on Saturday in the Conservative Club, Morpeth, presided over by Mr Frederic Wise, at which a representative gathering of delegates from all parts of the constituency were present.
As the party truce is till in existence, the meeting deprecated any political propaganda work carried on in the constituency until the war was brought to a successful conclusion, and further resolved to assist and support the National War Aims Committee campaign.
A flag day was organised by the members of the Red Cross in Broomhill and district. The response (considering how badly the pit has worked lately) was generous.
The sum of £20 was realised and will be handed over to the Order of St John of Jerusalem and the Red Cross Society.
WAGES FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS
The Corn Production Act, passed on August 21st, which guarantees prices of wheat and oats, also makes provision for fixing minimum rates of wages. All farm workers, and also workers in market gardens, nursery grounds, orchards, woods and osier beds, are included under the Act, which applies to boys, women and girls as well as men.
For the purpose of settling the lowest rates of wages which may be paid to workers in agriculture, a Central Agricultural Wages Board is about to be formed, consisting of 16 members representing employers, 16 members representing workers, and seven impartial persons appointed by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Wages Board will be established by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, after consultation with the Minister of Labour. It will have power to issue permits to enable workers who are infirm, or physically injured, to obtain employment at less than the minimum rates.
Nothing in the Act prevents the payment of wages at rates higher than the minimum rates.
District Wages Committees will be set up, each comprising an equal number of representatives of employers and workers, and also one or more impartial persons appointed by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries. These committees will make recommendations to the Central Board as to the rates of wages applicable to their districts.
The representative members on the Central Board will be partly elected by organisations representing farmers and labourers, and party nominated by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The President will be glad to receive suggested names of representatives of employers, submitted by the farmers’ organisations or by groups of at least ten farmers, and of representatives of workers, submitted by labourers’ organisations or by groups of at least ten agricultural labourers. From among the persons so suggested nominated representative members of the Central Board and of the District Committees will be selected.
All suggestions of names, together with the full postal address of the persons suggested, should be forwarded at an early date to The Secretary, Board of Agriculture and Fishers, 80 Pall Mall, S.W.1. Members of the Central Board and of District Committees will be entitled to an allowance of out-of-pocket expenses.
A memorandum giving fuller details of the provisions of the Act may be obtained post free on application.
CO-OPERATIVES AND SUGAR SUPPLIES
Hitherto the supplies of sugar to local tradesmen, multiple shops, and co-operative societies have been on the basis of the 1915 requirements. In many cases where retailers have had fewer customers they have been able to give above the average supplies, but the fact that co-operative societies have greatly increased in membership since the War, has, in some districts, led to a restriction that has been irksome.
The institution of the National Sugar Card System will remove that difficulty, and place all traders on equitable footing — a feature on the scheme that commends it to the co-operative societies of this part of the country.
They will be guaranteed equal supplies with other retailers proportionately to the number of persons for whom they cater, so that housewives registering with co-operative societies will be as well placed with regard to sugar as if they registered elsewhere.
RED CROSS HOSPITAL, MORPETH
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with many thanks:— Fruit and vegetables and flowers from Mrs Walker (East House, Whalton), Mrs Cookson (Meldon Park), Mrs Smith (Burt Terrace, Morpeth), Mrs Orde (Nunnykirk), Mrs Speke (Pigdon), Mrs Gillespie, Mrs Eltringham, Mrs Challoner, Mrs Bainbridge (Espley), Mrs Eustace Smith, Hon. Mrs Joicey, boys at the Council School; brown loaf from Mrs J.S. Mackay; currant loaf from Mrs Jos. Simpson; cakes and scones from Mrs Carr, Mrs Pyke, Mrs Philip Smith.
SOLDIERS’ INSTITUTE, MORPETH
A Whist Drive & Dance will be held in the above institute, on Friday, October 5th, from 7.30 till 2am in aid of the Morpeth Highland Pipe Band.
Tickets: Gents, 2/-; Ladies, 1/-. Refreshments. Moderate.
ARMY v NAVY
The Army triumphed over the Navy on Saturday in the league match at Croft Park, Blyth, securing two out of a total of three points. There was a fair attendance.
The teams were:— Worcesters: Sergt. Spilsbury; Private Swales, Lance-Corporal Whitehead; Private Prince, Private Harris, Sergt. Nunny (captain); Private Parkes, Private Elcock, Corporal Hemming, Corporal Clark, Private Osborne. Navy: Hale; Anderson, Tatton; Rimley, Roberts, Sparts; Con, Tootal, Hill, Storms, Bell.
The score at the final was unaltered, and was Worcesters 2 goals, Navy 1 goal.