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.
A gathering took place in the White Swan Hotel, Morpeth, in connection with the Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Federation.
The principal speaker was Mr W.E. Chesworth, provincial organiser of the Federation, who graphically discussed the objects of the society, viz., to watch over and promote legislation on behalf of the discharged and demobilised men and the dependents of deceased soldiers and sailors. Mr Chesworth was ably supported by Mr Thorborn, secretary of the Blyth and Bedlington branches.
A branch was formed, and a committee appointed:— Mr W. Dodds, president; Mr J.W. Bushby, secretary; Mr T. Wade, treasurer; Messrs French, Sherry, Carman, Matthews, Thompson, Laidlaw, West and Mitchinson as committee.
Mr Dodds was in the chair, and moved a vote of thanks to the speakers, and also expressed his appreciation of such a large attendance.
CONCERT BY BLIND MUSICIANS AT MORPETH
Great interest was manifested in the concern given by the Blind Musicians (attached to the National Institute for the Blind), held in the Playhouse, Morpeth, yesterday afternoon, in aid of St Dunstan’s Hostel for our soldiers and sailors blinded in the war. It being their first appearance in Morpeth, a large audience was present, who greatly appreciated the high standard of music rendered.
At the interval, Mr Avalon Collard, director of the concert party, gave an interesting address, assisted by lantern slides on the work of our blind soldiers and sailors at St Dunstan’s. He said that when the soldiers or sailors entered the hostel a new vista was revealed to those who had lost the most needed organ of the body.
It was easier for those who had lost other limbs to adapt themselves to other trades, but the blind were more severely handicapped by the want of their sight. It was well know that pensions were granted to these brave men, but they themselves did not wish to feel that they were depending on other people.
At St Dunstan they were taught different occupations, among which massage had now become the most prominent. For this, special courses of instructions were given, and after the pupil had passed the required examinations they were able to augment their allowance from the Government, besides making life more pleasant. Other professions were taught which enabled the blind to take their place among the business community.
A food deal had already been done, but yet there was a great deal more to do, and he hoped that Sir Arthur and Lady Pearson would receive the necessary help to enable this noble work to be carried on and help to renew the interest in life for those brave men, who had sacrificed the most delicate nerve for their country’s sake.
On behalf of St Dunstan’s Hostel, he wished to thank the Mayor of Morpeth; Mrs Fullarton James, who had so kindly acted as hon. secretary to the concert; the proprietor of the Playhouse; and Mr Tinsley for the assistance he had rendered that afternoon.
A SOLDIER’S THANKS
Private G.W. Purvis, attached to a Labour Company in France, writes:— “I will be greatly obliged if you will allow me a little space to thank the kind friends in my old town for having sent me papers and books of all sorts, which my chums and myself have so thankfully received and have spent many a happy hour away in our spare time.”
The work in connection with the Morpeth Company is being carried on with vigour, and the week night drills are being well attended.
Last Sunday the men had a long route march. On Tuesday evening the men received further instruction on mounting guard and also company drill.
The under-mentioned have passed all their tests and have been posted as efficient volunteers:— E.V. Tweedy, A.W. Young, S.J. Relph, C. Ridley, A.G. Marshall, W.T. Baker, J.G. Brodie, J. Ions, S.R. Rea, G.C. Hall, T. Pringle, Wm. Dodds, J.L. Graham, Jas. Gibbs, Wm. Hills, C.W. Smiles, Luke Strong, G. Kennedy, F. Nichols, J.W. Wade, and J.D. Scott.
Tonight (Friday) a whist drive and dance will take place in the Drill Hall, and, judging by the number of tickets sold, a handsome sum is going to be raised on behalf of the Company funds.
A successful concert was held in the Drill Hall, Ashington, last Friday, when there was a good company of N.C.O.s and men. Mr W. Wilson occupied the chair.
It was suggested to hold these entertainments more frequently, so as to create greater interest and enthusiasm among the men, and, if possible, to bring home to the people the necessity of men joining the Volunteer Force.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mr and Mrs Muckle, 5 Beeswing Yard, Mopeth, have received official news that their son Private W. Muckle, was killed in action on 26th October.
Private John Easton, North Terrace, Bedlington, has succumbed to his wounds at Colchester Hospital. His body was conveyed to his home at Bedlington and was buried last weekend. He leaves a widow and several children.
Private John William Middleton, of Tankerville Yard, Glebe Row, Bedlington, has been killed in action. He was 31 years of age, and worked at the Doctor Pit, Bedlington, previous to enlistment in the Tyneside Scottish.
Private John Charles Forster, N.F., son of Mr Wm. Forster, of Crofton Arch, Blyth, is reported killed in action on October 10th. Before enlistment he worked as a miner at New Delaval. His brother, Gunner Forster, was killed in the war some time ago. Private Forster, who was 24, had been in France since Good Friday.
Private Joseph Potter, aged 32, of 18 Doctor Terrace, Bedlington, who worked at Doctor Pit prior to joining up, has been killed in action.
Acting A.B. John Robert Middlemiss, aged 22, of 10 Ninth Row, Ashington, has been killed in action. He was a member of the R.N.D.
The death of Private John Sanderson, at the age of 23, in action, is reported. He resided at Milbank Crescent, Bedlington, and was a fine violinist. He was employed as a joiner at the Bedlington Colliery.
Private R. Barnfather, of East Holywell, has been reported missing since October 4th. His brother-in-law, Corporal L. Wandlers, Earsdon Square, has also been missing since September 20th. Another brother, Private G. Barnfather, is a prisoner of war in Glessen, Germany.
News has been received by Mr and Mrs Hutchinson, of 21 Double Row, Barrington, that their son, Private John William Hutchinson, has been killed in action. He was 26, and before enlistment was engaged as a miner.
Private Andrew Dunn, 35 years of age, whose parents reside at 71½ Poplar Street, Hirst, has been killed in action.
Lance-Corporal Michael King, aged 29, of 78 Myrtle Street, Hirst, who was attached to the Yorks and Lancs., has been killed in action.
Sergt. T. Ferry, Blyth, has been killed in action.
News has been received by Miss Rebecca Scott, Alnwick, that her elder brother, Private Robert Scott, N.F., has been killed in action while doing duty as a stretcher-bearer.
Sergt. Peter Anderson, 57 Henry Street, Gosforth, was killed in action on October 26th.
C.H. Batchelor, Hunn’s Buildings, Choppington, has been killed in action.
Private David Hunter, son of Mr and Mrs Hunter, late of Eleventh Row, Ashington, who left for Australia some years ago, was killed at the Front in August.
Mr and Mrs David Robertson, of 5 Miners’ Cottages, Bedlington Station, have received official information that their son Willie, N.F., late of Watergate, Cambois, was killed in action on October 26th.
Lance-Corporal E. Bell, N.F., New Delaval, Military Medallist, has died of wounds received from the explosion of an enemy aeroplane bomb in France. Bell was married when on leave ten weeks ago.
Private Jack Huntley, A.S.C., Transport Section, of 150 Station Road, Ashington, has been killed in action.
Mr and Mrs A. Lowdon, 3 North Row, Seaton Burn, have received news that their son, Private J.W. Lowdon, N.F., has been killed in action.
Private Jacob Miller of New Delaval, son of the late Mr John Miller, deputy, has been killed in action.
Private Chas. Hopper, son of Mr and Mrs Andrew Hopper, Cambois, has been killed in action.
Lance-Corporal A.B. Hill, who before enlistment was employed by the Pegswood Co-operative Society, is at present in Edinburgh War Hospital, suffering from trench feet.
Official news has been received that Corporal Alexander Scott, R.G.A., died of wounds on November 1st, received in action on October 29th. He was the grandson of the late William and Isabella Scott, of Choppington, late of the Miners’ Houses, Bedlington Station.
Mr and Mrs N.I. Wright of Morpeth have received official information that their son, Corporal H.M. Wright, of the Canadians has been severely wounded and is now in hospital. Corporal Wright was awarded the Military Medal in September last for services in the field.
Official news has been received that Lance-Corporal Davidson was killed in action on Oct. 17th. He was one of the first in Morpeth to join Kitchener’s Army. He was eleven months at the Dardenelles, and was there at the evacuation. He was twice wounded in France. He was a grandson of the late Mary Hills.
News has been received by Mrs Fagan, of the Should of Mutton Yard, Morpeth, that her son, Private Albert Fagan, of the Royal Scots, (recently transferred from the Scottish Rifles), is reported missing since October 12th.
Private J.D. Gair, of Ashington, who was wounded on November 10th, has died of his wounds in France.
Mr and Mrs Reed of Sea View House, Warkworth, have received word of the death of their son, Lieut. Arthur Reed, of the Royal Canadians, who was killed in the fighting round Passchendaele. Mr and Mrs Reed have received a message of sympathy from the King and Queen, and also many letters of sympathy from the officers of the regiment.
Signaller William J. Aitchison, of Amble, has been killed in action in Palestine. He was five years clerk with the late Mr Gibson, the town surveyor. He joined up in August of 1915 in the Tyneside Commercials and was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and went to France in June 1916. In November of that year he left France for Salonica. From the latter place he went to Egypt in July of this year, and from there to Palestine, where he has been in the thick of the battles.
ROLL OF HONOUR
GAIR.— Died of wounds received in action in France, on November 11th, 1917, Private James D. Gair, Yorkshire Regiment, aged 19 years and 8 months.— Deeply mourned by his loving father, mother, brothers and sisters at Hirst.
TAIT.— Died of wounds received in action in France, September 28th, 1917, Private Thomas Tait, Australian Imperial Forces, aged 22 years and 5 months, dearly loved eldest son of Mr and Mrs James Tait, late of Chestnut Street, Ashington, and grandson of the late George and Elizabeth Mather, late of Barrington.— Deeply mourned and, oh! so sadly missed by his sorrowing father and mother and two brothers, George and Jim, Sixth Street, Weston, New South Wales, Australia.
Another pleasant evening was spent by the soldiers at the Y.M.C.A. last week, when the Morpeth Gleemen and Madame Edythe Orde appeared before a large audience. The chair was occupied by Mr J.R. Mitchell, who, in his opening remarks, alluded to the splendid work carried on by the Y.M.C.A., both at home and abroad.
At the close of the programme Corporal MacLachlan moved a vote of thanks to Mr Cowling, the organiser, Mr Mitchell for presiding, and especially Madame Orde, who had come from Newcastle, and Miss Gladys Willis, who had worked so hard as accompanist during the evening, along with the other artistes. This was carried with loud applause.
In replying Mr Mitchell said it had given him great pleasure to be present at such an enjoyable entertainment, and he would be delighted to help at any time in the future. He thought special thanks were due to Mr Cowling and family, who has worked so energetically for soldiers billeted in Morpeth since the outbreak of the war. (Applause.)
Through the kindness of Mr and Mrs Cowling the soldiers were supplied with light refreshments.
On behalf of the Y.M.C.A., Mr Cowling, secretary, wishes to thank Mrs Bainbridge, Espley Hall; Mr Whittle, Morpeth; Mr J.T. Harrison, Morpeth; Mr T. Swinney and Mr Edward Swinney, Morpeth, and others for the gift of magazines and books for the benefit of soldiers visiting the Y.M.C.A. rooms. These books are greatly appreciated by the men, and similar donations would be thankfully received.
James’ Xmas Bazaar And Showrooms will open on Wednesday, November 28th.
Mr James wishes to announce that owing to Government Restrictions he is unable to send out his usual Christmas Circulars, but hopes that his numerous customers will see this notice and come as usual to make their purchases, confident that their selections will give every satisfaction.
The showroom display will be as large and as varied as ever. The best selection of Christmas cards in the North; also calendars, books, photo frames, all kinds of leather goods, children’s picture books and annuals, photo albums, goss and other china, bibles, prayers books, etc.
8, NEWGATE ST., MORPETH
The Local Food Control Committee for Rural District of Morpeth have fixed the price of milk sold by retailers in their area for the month of December at 6d per quart delivered, and 5½d per quart undelivered.
H.W. SAMPLE, Clerk.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
The tea given by St James’ Communicants’ Union was a most gratifying success, and realised the handsome sum of £13 12s which constituted a record.
The Hon. Treasurer (Mrs Atkinson) acknowledges with many thanks the following donations:— The Misses Paton, £1; The Misses Arkle, Cottingwood Terrace, £2; Mrs Robson, Claremont House, 10/-; Mrs T.E.N. Fisher, 5/-.
The tea next week will be given by the Misses Graham, Belmont House.
NORTH-EASTERN AGRICULTURAL FEDERATION
A public meeting of agriculturists will be held in the Town Hall, Morpeth, on Wednesday, Dec. 12th, 1917, to urge the necessity of a greater spirit of combination among farmers at the present time.
Speakers will be G.G. Rae, Esq., President North-Eastern Agricultural Federation, and A.J. Hargrave, Esq., Secretary North-Eastern Agricultural Federation.
Professor Gilchrist will also give an address upon the comparative costs of feeding dairy cows in 1913 and 1917.
The chair to be taken by Cuthbert Alderson, Esq., at 2.30pm.
BOMBING FATALITY IN FIFE
BY the bursting of two bombs during practice, Lieut. H.E. Stuart was killed on Monday, November 19th.
Any friends or acquaintances desiring more particulars will get them by writing to “P.M.” c/o “Herald” Office, Morpeth.
CONCERT AT THE RED CROSS HOSPITAL MORPETH
The patients and staff at the Red Cross Hospital, Morpeth, greatly enjoyed a concert arranged by Staff-Sergeant-Major Snyder of the Shropshire Imperial Yeomanry. The accompaniments were tastefully played by Miss Willis and Private Cooper.
THE FIRST HUNDRED THOUSAND
Sir Arthur Yapp, K.B.E., the Director of Food Economy, reports that the first hundred thousand ‘ship savers’ have been enrolled in the League of National Safety, which is founded to relieve the pressure of tonnage by a voluntary carefulness in the use of food.
Thrift in food spells more ships for America’s soldiers, whose tramp, tramp, tramp across the prairies of the West is a doleful sound of bad omen in the ears of Prussia’s king.
All classes of the community, from the peer to the crossing-sweeper, are represented in the first hundred thousand. Among names chosen at random from the avalanche of membership cards at the head-quarters at Grosvenor House are those of Lord Harcourt, the Earl of Plymouth, the Dowager Countess of Guildford, Sir Frederick and Lady Pollock, the Countess of Haddo, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, the Mayor of Keighley, the presidents and secretaries of many labour organisations and there are Major-Generals and Lieut-Colonels, for the saving of food is at this stage of the war a military question, the kitchen being in the battle-line.
Local Food Committees have asked for 500,000 cards. Legions of the League are being formed. In many cases individual members have promised to enrol one thousand others and it is possible that a special badge may be designed and presented to those helpers.
Every city and village, every Church and trade-union is invited to enrol members in a Legion called by its own name. Full particulars can be obtained from Sir Arthur Yapp, League of National Safety, Minister of Food, Grosvenor House, London, W.1.
There are no membership fees, and all who enrol will be presented with a beautifully designed certificate and badge. The badge and certificate will no doubt become historic and should be in every household.
One million members are wanted before the end of November. Such a number enrolled within a short space of time will be another proof to Germany that the U-boat campaign is doomed to failure. It will be a message to sailors and soldiers of the Allies that even to the last bite of bread Britain is pledged to fight for the defeat of Prussianism.
Members of the League are pledged to abide by the new scale of voluntary rations, a generous scale in the fourth year of the war, and to avoid and discourage waste and to help forward the campaign for Food Economy.
Sir Arthur Yapp invited every citizen to become first a member and then a missionary of the League. The anchor badges are being manufactured by the million and will be ready for delivery very shortly.