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.
It is with regret that we state that the Misses Lothian, 30 North Place, Morpeth, have now received official notice that their brother Sergt.-Major Tom Lothian died of wounds in France on October 27th.
The deceased sergeant was the youngest son of the late Thomas and Dorothy Lothian, and was educated at the Council School under the late Ald. R.J. Carr. On leaving school he served his apprenticeship as a butcher, and in 1914, when he was called to duty along with the Territorials, was in the employ of Mr R.S. Turnbull, Newgate Street.
Apart from business he was connected with the Boys’ Brigade for a number of years, in which he reached the rank of sergeant. He was a keen athlete, and took an active part in all manly exercises. He was also a member of St James’s Institute.
In a letter received from Sergeant R. Pridpeath he says:— “It is with deepest regret that I am informing you about your brother Tommie. He died of wounds caused in action. He was wounded on the 24th October.
“With the help of my pals we got him into a dressing station, where he was attended to at once. He died a few days after. Tommie was our Company Sergeant-Major, and was respected by all officers, N.C.O.s, and men alike. We all join in sending you our heartfelt sympathy as a token of honour to our comrade, who gave his life for the common cause.”
In a letter to Miss M. Matheson, Regimental Sergeant-Major, T.H. Hall writes:— “I have to record the loss of another good chum, and the battalion has lost a good soldier. I mean Sergt.-Major Lothian. He was one of the very best of chaps, and his death came as a great shock to us.
“At first I was under the impression that his wounds, though serious, were not dangerous. However, he has gone beyond recall, poor boy, and all we can do is to think of him and all his good qualities. He met his death facing the enemy, as all good soldiers, whose fate it is to die, wish to do.”
Mayor’s Sunday was duly observed at Morpeth when the Mayor and Corporation attended Divine Service at the Wesleyan Church last Sunday morning.
At 10.30am the procession was formed at the Town Hall, with the Morpeth Pipers’ Band under Pipe-Major Strong, at its head.
Behind came the local company of Volunteers, under the command of Lieut. W. Duncan, Second-Lieut. Chas. Grey and Second-Lieut. T.D. Shaw also being present. Then followed Mr F.D. Wood carrying the mace, the Mayor (Councillor Jas. Elliott) wearing his robe and chain of office, and accompanied by members of the Corporation.
The Rev. Dr Stafford took his text from Galatiane, chapter 6, verse 9: “Let us not be weary in well doing,” or in other words “Let us not lose heart in well doing.”
At the outset he said that he wanted to speak about the danger of losing heart. They all stood in danger of losing heart. He that preached the gospel of encouragement undertook a work of priceless value. St Paul recognised its value.
Every man and woman at the present time stood greatly in need of encouragement. He thought that more people were lost through neglect than through excessive attention. The thing was to preserve a happy medium.
He referred to the perplexities of our industrial problems. The prosperity of the working classes was never so great as it was today.
Everywhere Christian men and women were binding themselves together, and the philanthropy of the twentieth century was for the main part Christian philanthropy. Their hospitals and other institutions were all helpful agencies for lessening the sum total of human misery, and more money had been raised for philanthropic objects during the last three years than any previous time in the world’s history.
Let them think of the great conflict in which the world had been plunged. That conflict had lasted over three years. It was forced upon us. Our sacrifices had been enormous, but the cruelties of Nero had been completely surpassed by the Kaiser, whose name would go down in posterity as the bloodiest tyrant that had ever sat on a throne. If there was a God in Heaven surely the House of Hohenzollern was a doomed house.
They lived in some anxiety from day to day. Was it to be wondered that men and women at times grew weary of the war, and in their anguish cry out “How long, O Lord, how long!”
Christian soldiers whom he had spoken to had gone and perished on the European battlefield, and all he had to say concerning those soldiers was: “That Christ is with the sleepers watching by their graves.”
Did death end all? people often asked him. All the teachings of Scriptures, all the promises of Christ said it would not be. Although during the long days the light burned dimly they knew that Christ came to give life and immortality. They believed in Christ and trusted His word that the dead would rise again, and it was that which sustained them today.
The soldiers had gone before them, but there would be a great home gathering in a better world than this.
“What about our soldier boys?” asked the Rev. doctor. “We feel that at their last moments they turn to Christ and say “Lord, remember me! I am content to leave them in the hands of one who is kindlier and more loving than any earthly father.”
The Church was more and more interesting herself in modern problems, and the Gospel of the Carpenter was being preached all over the land.
England was more the home of the free than any other land on the face of the globe. The British working man was better off than any of his brothers across the seas. Women were coming to their own and they would get by service what they failed to get by violence. They had never dreamt they had such heroes and heroines amongst them as they had discovered since the war was forced upon them.
Religion was a greater factor in the life of the nation than ever before. The Church, with all its faults, was the bulwark of the nation. Indirectly the influence of Christianity was more felt today than ever before. The churches were wakening up and revival was in the air. They had abundant reason for encouragement in the face that Christianity was not played out, and wherever there was a pulpit voice there were people to listen to him.
After announcing that the offertory was on behalf of the Cottage Hospital, and hoping that it would have their kindly consideration, the Rev. doctor said that he wished to express on their behalf that the Mayor would have a year of unexampled prosperity.
ROLL OF HONOUR
LOTHIAN.— Died of wounds received in action, on October 27th, Sergeant-Major Thomas Lothian, youngest son of the late Thomas and Dorothy Lothian, North Place, Morpeth.
SCOTT.— Died of wounds on November 1st, 1917, received in action on October 29th, 1917, Corporal Alexander Scott, R.G.A., dearly beloved grandson of the late William and Isabella Scott, of Choppington, late of the Miners’ Homes, Bedlington Station.
COXON.— Killed at Cape Hallas, on Nov. 18th, Thomas Aylsey Coxon, A.B., R.N.D., dearly beloved son of Philip Y. and M.E. Coxon, of 15 Prudhoe Street, Backworth.— (Ever remembered by his loving father, mother, brother and sister, and cousin Hannah, and grandmother, and all friends who knew him.)
GARVIE.— Killed in action on October 24th, 1917, Private Oswald Garvie, eldest son of Edmund and Katherine Garvie, Bridge Street, Morpeth; and dearly beloved husband of Hannah Garvie, 22 Mosdale Street, Hunslet, Leeds.
DUNN.— Killed in action on Oct. 4th, 1917, Pte. Andrew Dunn (No. 15413), N.F., late of Pegswood.— (Will ever be remembered by his loving brother Tom, sister-in-law Jennie, and little nephew Bobbie.)
LEECH.— Killed in action, Oct. 17th, 1917, Corpl. Thomas Leech (Tot), dearly beloved husband of M.E. Leech, second daughter of W. and E. Lazenby, late of Morpeth.— (Deeply mourned by his loving wife and child, any by all who knew him.) R.I.P.
COUTTS.— Received wounds on the 27th Oct., in France, died on the 28th, Lance-Corpl. James Alex. Coutts, N.F. (No. 290031), beloved husband of Jessie, and only beloved son of the late James Alex. Coutts and Tamar Ward, of Morpeth.— (Deeply mourned by his loving wife and child, sisters, and brothers-in-law.)
POTTER.— Died of wounds received in action, Oct. 27th, 1917, Pte. Joseph Daniel Potter (No. 290827), N.F., the dearly beloved husband of Annie Potter, 18 Doctor Terrace, Bedlington.— (Deeply mourned by his loving wife and two sons, father and mother-in-law, Mr and Mrs Lamb.)
MIDDLEMISS.— Killed in action on Oct. 23rd, 1917, 2nd. Lieut. Herbert Henry Middlemiss, only son of the late John Storey Middlemiss, and grandson of the late Michael Middlemiss, schoolmaster, Mitford, also grandson of the late Thomas Hemstead, fruiterer, Bedlington.— (Deeply mourned by his sorrowing mother and stepfather, A. Mavin, and sisters Emma and Betty, and rest of family.— Ever remembered by what he has done.)
WELSH.— Died of wounds on the 18th Oct., 1917, Lance-Corpl. Stephen Welsh.— (Deeply mourned by his sorrowing brothers and sisters, Ellen, Margaret, Frances, William Butler, John and George (in India).)
ROBERTSON.— Killed in action on Oct. 26th, 1917, William (Willie) Robertson, N.F., beloved son of Mr and Mrs David Robertson, of 5 Miners’ Cottages, Bedlington Station; late of Watergate, Cambois.
IN AID OF VOLUNTEER FUND
Special efforts are at present being made to assist the fund of the local company of Volunteers.
For the benefit of their fund a special programme of pictures will be screened at the Avenue Theatre, Morpeth, on Wednesday evening first, and among the artistes who have kindly consented to give their services are Sergt. Jones, Lance-Corporal G. Bodle (Shropshires), Lance-Corporal S.H. Pegg (V.T.C.), conjurer and entertainer, and Private D.C. Darrock, V.T.C. We hope to see a bumper house.
ARE YOU A WAR SAVER?
When you spend small sums on little luxuries do you ever think of how far the effects of your action may spread?
A stone thrown into a pond produces little circular waves which extend and grow fainter until they are no longer visible. But as a matter of scientific fact they eventually reach the very edges of the pond. A similar thing happens when you buy anything which is not really necessary.
The shop-assistant who serves you, the carman who brought the goods from the railway, the railway workers, the factory workers who made the article, the engineers who controlled the machinery, the miners who procured the necessary coal, the ships and sailors who brought the raw material, are all prevented from working for the country because of the demand you and others have created for these unnecessary goods.
Could you not, without hardship, forego the purchases and, with the money you would save, buy War Savings Certificates? Then you would be really helping your country and yourself at the same time.
You can get them at any Post Office, bank, or through your Local War Savings Association. Keep each 15/6 certificate for five years and the Government guarantees to pay you £1 for it in cash. If you need the money in the meantime, you can cash your certificates at the Post Office. They increase automatically in value year by year.
Each member of a family can hold up to 500 of them. They are entirely free from Income Tax.
Issued by the National War Savings Committee
(Appointed by His Majesty’s Treasury),
Salisbury Square, London, E.C.4.
The adjourned meeting of the Town Council was held on Tuesday evening.
An application was received from the Corporation for an increase in wages. Recommended that George Gibb receive an additional war bonus of 6/- a week, making his total war bonus to date 15/- a week on an original weekly wage of 28/-, and that a war bonus or aggregate war bonus to date at the same rate in proportion to original weekly wages be fixed in the case of every other Corporation or U.D.C. employee except salaried officials.
The Town Clerk remarked that the principle on which the committee went in the discussion last Wednesday night was trying to differentiate in the war bonus between a full-time and part-time worker. How was anybody going to decide if a man was a whole time, half-time, or quarter-time?
He thought the best thing would be to treat the wages on the Council’s valuation and act upon that. They might appoint two or three of their number to work the whole thing out and submit a report.
The Surveyor said that in adopting a scale of bonuses the present arrangement was sufficiently complicated so far as wages were concerned. Every time they had a bonus he made out a sort of ready reckoner on the new rate because the bonuses were now rated on pay.
Mr Temple: How much will it cost to pay the war bonus?
Town Clerk: About £300 a year.
Town Clerk: I think it is one of those things where you should appoint a small committee to work it out carefully, and prepare a scale showing what is going to be added to everybody. I understand the surveyor wants to make every war bonus 15/- a week.
Mr Swinney moved they give the whole time men 6/- a week extra war bonus. There was a difference in the men’s wages.
Town Clerk: That is 15/- a week war bonus altogether.
Mr Charlton seconded that they give all the same to the whole time workers. They were entitled to the bonus owing to the cost of living. With regard to the others, they could consider whether they worked whole time or part time.
Mayor: Do you intend to appoint a committee to deal with the part time workers?
Mr Charlton: Yes, we should not put one lady on a different footing to others. Make them all alike. I move that the Mayor, Ald. Norman, and Councillor Swinney be appointed to look into the matter.
Mr Turnbull: That means 6/- a week extra for all full-time employees, and part-time employees to be considered by the committee?
Town Clerk: Yes, that is what the committee is called upon to do.
Mayor: The motion is that an additional war bonus of 6/- a week be given to all full-time men in the employ of the Council, except salaried officials, and that it be referred to the committee, consisting of the Mayor, Ald, Norman, Councillors Charlton and Swinney, to consider and report to the Council as to the course to be adopted in the case of part-time men and women employees.
Town Clerk: That is 15/- a week bonus altogether.
Mr Turnbull: That is not the resolution.
Mayor: If we have it in the report 6/- a week it will be better. If we state 15/- it may be misleading. The public know that our employees have had bonuses already.
The motion was carried.
An application was received from the promoters of a dance to be held in the Town Hall on Friday evening for the purpose of providing Christmas comforts for the members of the N.E.R. staff now on active service, asking the Council to forego the hall fee in favour of this fund.
It was agreed that the fee, less the amount payable to the hall keeper, be returned as the Council’s subscription to the object.
CONCERT BY BLINDED MUSICIANS
A grand concert will be given by the blinded musicians, in aid of the sailors and soldiers blinded in the war, in the Playhouse, Morpeth, on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 2.30pm.
Tickets and plan of hall at J.J. James’, Newgate Street, Morpeth.
WAR SAVINGS AT ESHOTT
A war savings meeting was held in the Lecture Hall, Eshott. In the unavoidable absence of Mr Sanderson, Mrs Sanderson, The Cottage, Eshott, presided.
Dr Welsh, the chairman of the Felton Association, pointed out the urgent necessity of saving, and characterised the scheme as the best thing evolved for the working man since war began.
The practical working of the scheme was explained by Mr Stanley, secretary of Felton Association.
NORTHUMBERLAND WAR AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
1 — Supply of Fencing Wire.
Owners and occupiers who require round, drawn black annealed fencing wire for the protection of crops (the quantity ordered not to exceed 15 cwts.), should place their orders with any local ironmonger, who should transmit them to either R. Johnson and Nephew, Bradford Iron Works, Manchester, or to the Firth Company, Warrington.
2 — Supply of Seed Potatoes.
The Food Production Department is prepared to supply certain varieties of mid-early and main crop seed potatoes through potato dealers, general agricultural merchants, farmers, co-operative trading societies, allotment holders’ associations, etc., “approved” by the Executive Committee.
Applications for recognition as “An Approved Seed Potato Dealer” for the purposes of the Department’s scheme should be forwarded with a stamped addressed envelope to the undersigned.
9 Eldon Square, Newcastle-on-Tyne,
13th November, 1917.