In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1918, 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.
The chief item of interest in the Volunteer Force is the call for 15,000 volunteers for special duties. Last night Lieut. W. Duncan, of Morpeth Company, explained the scheme drawn up with the view of obtaining members of the Volunteers to undertake military duties for a minimum period of two months or for the duration of the war.
Each company has been asked to furnish a certain number according to their strength, and Morpeth Company’s quota is six men.
At present there are 129 men connected with the Company who have signed on for the duration of the war, and the O.C. intimated last Sunday that forty young farmers would be added to the Company’s strength, with headquarters for the new detachment at Cambo.
First-class instructors are always on parade ready to give the men the best instruction possible. Instruction in shooting is having a good deal of the men’s time in preparation for the annual shooting tests for efficients and recruits, which will take place on the range on Morpeth Common in the last fortnight in June.
MINERS TO BE RELEASED FROM THE ARMY
The following letter has been sent to the Northumberland miners’ branch officers by Mr Wm. Straker, the Union secretary:
“I have received a communication from the Ministry of National Service saying that it is intended to release 25,000 miners, provided they can be spared from the Colours.
“Four hundred and fifty application forms will be forwarded to Northumberland, and in order to expedite the work of release, secretaries of our branches are requested to send me a list of their members now serving in the Army who may be desiring release, and who are in a lower category than B1, and who are now serving in the United Kingdom.
“The grades below B1 will be released as speedily as possible on the application being received by the War Office.
“The Ministry also states that a notice for posting at each pit dealing with the question of release will be sent from Sir Auckland Geddes.”
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDS
His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of the undermentioned rewards for distinguished service in connection with military operations with the armies in France and Flanders:— R.S.M. J. Donnelly, Highland L.I. (Morpeth); Sergt. T. Halligan, N.F. (Choppington); Sergt. J. Hedley, R.F.A. (Cambois).
AMBLE MILITARY MEDALLIST
We are pleased to note that Private Marshall King, R.A.M.C., Field Ambulance, has been awarded the Military Medal for gallantry and devotion to duty during the recent operations in France.
Private King was an Amble resident, but recently he had removed to Stobswood.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE BLIND
Blinded Soldiers, Sailors & Civilians
A fund has been opened at Lloyd’s Bank, Morpeth, for the “after-care” of Northumberland men blinded in the war.
The figures from the St Dunstan’s Hostel show that over 1,100 are already blind, 400 of whom are now making their own living in different parts of the Empire.
Will you help us?
Cheques payable to Ralph Crawford, Esq., hon. treasurer, Lloyd’s Bank, Morpeth.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mr Jos. Reay, auctioneer, Morpeth, has received a postcard from his son, Corporal James Laing Reay, N.F., saying that he is a prisoner of war in Germany and well.
Mr and Mrs Wm. Lawson, Brighton Villa, Morpeth, have received news from their son, Second-Lieut. A. Nelson Lawson, N.F., that he is a prisoner of war in Germany. He was officially reported killed on April 10th. Mr and Mrs Lawson thank their many friends for their kind expressions of sympathy.
Mrs McLaren, of Whinham Cottage, Morpeth, has received news that her husband Private Geo. McLaren, Duke of Wellington Regt., has been wounded for the third time and is in hospital at Le Treport.
Mr and Mrs Burn, of Tranwell House, near Morpeth, have received official notice that their son, Private J.F. Burn, Coldstream Guards, is wounded and missing since April 14th.
Mrs H. Fairbairn, 99 Newgate Street, Morpeth, has received a letter from her son, Private William Fairbairn, N.F., stating that he is a prisoner of war in Germany and wounded.
GENERAL RIDDELL WOUNDED
General Riddell, who commanded a local brigade of the Northumberland Fusiliers (Territorials), has been wounded in action.
MORPETH DISCHARGED MEN’S ORGANISATION
The principal item of business at a meeting of the Morpeth Branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Soldiers and Sailors, held in the White Swan Inn, Morpeth, last week, was to hear the report read of the proceedings at the first annual conference of the National Federation, held recently at Northampton.
The report was presented by the local president (Mr W. Dodds), who had attended the conference as a delegate.
In the course of his lengthy but interesting report, Mr Dodds referred to the fact that in Mr J.M. Hogge, M.P., the Federation had a progressive and skilful hon. president. It was very encouraging to see such a large number of delegates — 800 altogether — present, for they were a decided asset to the nation.
It was hoped that the deliberations would tend to the success of all discharged men in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
It was pointed out that the membership at the end of April in England was 60,000 with 220 branches. There were between 300 and 400 affiliated branches, and with the members of the Welsh, Scottish, and other organisations directly or indirectly affiliated to the National Federation, they had no less than 200,000 members.
It was also reported that the Federation had made great progress during the last few months. With regard to the work of the Pensions Department, it was shown that excellent work had been done for discharged men obtaining increased pensions and gratuities.
The following resolution was unanimously carried:— “That this council of the National Federation affirms its loyalty to His Majesty the King, its admiration of the gratitude to our comrades in the field, and our determination to support the prosecution of the war to a victorious conclusion.”
It was evident from the discussions that the Federation was determined that their members should be fully protected from any hardship or injustice.
The president was thanked for his interesting report.
WANSBECK ANGLING ASSOCIATION
In the following Mr G.D. Smith, secretary of the above, makes a special appeal, on behalf of the committee, to anglers on Wansbeck.
He says:— “The Angling Association have decided to allow all men in hospital uniform to fish their waters free, and I am trying to get the loan of spare rods and tackle to lend the men.
“Any person wishing to lend these articles, please send to V.A.D. Hospital, Manchester Street, Morpeth, or to my address, 3 Abbey View, High Stanners, Morpeth, where they will be gratefully received.”
BOROUGH OF MORPETH FOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE
As from May 31st (and until further notice) the following provisions shall apply to food retail within the Borough:—
Butter and/or Margarine — The weekly quantity allocated to each person shall be increased to 5 ounces.
Milk — The maximum prices per quart shall be reduced to 6d delivered and 5d undelivered.
Borough Food Office:
7 Bridge Street, Morpeth.
June 5th, 1918.
NEW GOOSEBERRY ORDER
The Food Controller has made an Order which came into force on Monday, restricting the price of fresh gooseberries in England and Wales, where the prohibition of picking under the present Goosberries Order terminates as from June 1st.
The new Order also controls the disposal of the crop for the purpose of securing its utilisation for jam manufacture.
The average yield of gooseberries this season is likely to be abnormally low.
The restriction as to prices does not apply to sales by retail of 5lb. or less.
THE RAILWAY BENEVOLENT INSTITUTION
The Railway Benevolent Institution, which was established for the purpose of helping railway employees and their families when in distressed circumstances, during its sixty years’ existence, helped over 200,000 persons.
To mark the completion of its sixty years’ work, it has been decided, in connection with the diamond jubilee collection of the Institution, to hold a flag day throughout England and Wales in the week commencing June 10th, as it is considered that the public would like to have an opportunity of expressing its approval of the splendid manner in which the staff of the railway service has responded to the call of duty, upwards of 170,000 railwaymen having joined His Majesty’s Forces.
It is hoped that a substantial sum will be raised for the carrying on of the good work undertaken by the Institution.
In the case of the North Eastern Railway, the flag day collection will be held on June 14th or 15th, except in a few cases where, for local reasons, these dates are inconvenient.
LOCAL TRIBUNAL APPEALS
Col. R.F. Kidd presided at the meeting of the Appeals Tribunal at North Shields.
There were 16 applications for the exemption of young agricultural workers decertified under the proclamation of April 20th.
Mr Williams, the National Representative, at the outset, pointed out that the tribunal was not bound by the fact that these men held certificates from the War Agricultural Committee. This certificate merely gave the tribunal the power to hear the cases.
The tribunal must be satisfied on four points before granting exemption, viz., that the man was a highly skilled agricultural worker, employed his whole time on the farm, irreplaceable, and essential to the cultivation of the farm. All those four conditions must be fulfilled, and it was not sufficient to show that the man was very useful on the farm.
The Chairman asked Mr Williams if he could not confer with Mr Temperley, the agricultural representative, with a view to coming to some arrangement.
Mr Temperley advised that he would be very pleased to do so, but his experience of military representatives had not encouraged him to make any effort to arrive at any understanding.
The Chairman: I am trying to encourage you both to go through the list and try to come to some arrangement.
Mr Temperley pointed out that the War Executive Committee had several cases before them in addition to those on the list, in which they had refused to give certificates giving leave to appeal. The men on the list were considered necessary for the work on the farm.
Mr Williams did not think a consultation with Mr Temperley would do much good, as if they agreed it would throw a responsibility upon him which he was not anxious to take, and if they differed the cases must still come before the tribunal. He did not think it would be worth the delay, because the county quota must be made up by the 10th, and if the quota was not made up they would have to take older men.
The tribunal decided to hear the cases and decisions were given as follows:—
John A. Jackson (20), horseman, employed by Alfred Jackson; three months.
Robert H. Brewis (22), ploughman and skilled farm hand, employed by R.W. Brewis; refused.
Mark Turnbull (21), ploughman and hedger, employed by George Turnbull; three months.
Robert Brown (22), ploughman, horseman and milker, employed by Joseph Brown; three months.
Matthew Brown (18), ploughman, etc., employed by Joseph Brown; refused.
Henderson Dixon (21), horseman and stacker, employed by Dixon Bros.; three months.
Fenwick O. Dixon (19), horseman, employed by Dixon Bros.; refused.
Thomas Hy. Metcalf (23), farm manager and ploughman, employed by Mary A. Metcalf; three months.
Arthur Taylor Metcalf (21), ploughman and general farm worker, employed by Mary A. Metcalf; three months.
Septimus Wilkinson (22), steam plough driver and ploughman, employed by Robson Urwin; three months.
Ernest Wilson (22), stallion leader and ploughman, employed by Robson Urwin; refused.
John Reid (18), horseman, employed by R. and T. Reid; refused.
William Hunley (22), ploughman and horseman, employed by R. Reid; three months.
Arthur Foster (22), head ploughman, employed by J. A. Elwen; three months.
John Buglass (29), ploughman and general farm worker, employed by Edward Hall; refused.
Arthur Armstrong (22), ploughman and horseman, employed by Ann Wardle; refused. It was stated that this man had joined up under a misapprehension.
On the application of Mr Temperley, the tribunal exempted the agricultural workers from the obligation to drill with the Volunteers.
RED CROSS HOSPITAL
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with many thanks:—
Socks, A Friend; potatoes and eggs, Misses Anderson, North Lynd; books, 4th Res. Battalion, Oxford and Bucks. Light Infantry; 10/-, Anonymous; rhubarb, Mrs Straughan and Mrs Berkley; eggs, Mrs Pringle; beans and books, Miss Davidson; brown loaf, Mrs J.S. Mackay; vegetables and books, Mrs Joicey; flowers, eggs, and butter, Mrs Charles Rayne; sack of potatoes, Mrs John Paton; and various other donors for vegetables collected by the boys of the Council Schools.
Also the following gifts to the Red Cross Hospital, Whalton:— Eggs, and cigarettes, Mrs Fenwick, Bracken Dene; scones, Mrs Crisp; 2 sacks of potatoes and vegetables, Mrs Buddle Atkinson; bread, Mrs Clellant, Mrs Davison, Mrs Robson, Mrs Burn, Mrs Pickering, Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Harriot, Mrs Walker, Mrs Clarke, Mrs Grieve, Mrs Whitley, Mrs Pye, Mrs Whitfern, Mrs Armstrong, Mrs Taylor, Mrs Harvey, Mrs Sanderson, Mrs Patterson, Manor House, Mrs Elliott, and Mrs Norton.
NORTHUMBERLAND EDUCATION COMMITTEE
An open-air lecture and practical demonstration on “Garden Insect Pests And Their Control” will be held in High Stanners Allotments, Morpeth, on Monday, June 10th, at 7.30pm, by Mr C.W. Mayhew, Medallist, R.H.S., and County Instructor in Horticulture.
Persons interested are cordially invited.
GOOD HARVEST PROSPECTS
Reports received by the Food Production Department as to the crop prospects are stated to be uniformly encouraging.
Never have the wheat and other corn crops in England and Wales, as a whole, looked better than they do at the present time, while grass is good, generally speaking, and roots are promising.
MR WILLIAMS’ RESIGNATION
Owing to increasing demands made upon his time in connection with new Orders, Mr Charles Williams, secretary of the Northumberland Education Committee, has found it necessary to tender his resignation as hon. secretary of the Northumberland War Agricultural Committee.
That he has done much useful work in these positions was fittingly acknowledged on Monday by Lord Armstrong, who said he did not know how the committees could have got on without Mr Williams.
WEDDING AT STANNINGTON
On Tuesday Stannington Parish Church was the scene of a military wedding. The contracting parties were Lieut. William Griffith Lewis, N.F., son of Mrs Lewis and the late Captain Lewis of Ardwyn, Cardigan, South Wales, and Miss Edith Garden McConachie, second daughter of Councillor and Mrs George McConachie, of Newcastle, and Manora Hepscott, Morpeth.
The ceremony was performed by the vicar of Stannington, the Rev. A.G. Dodderidge, and the service was fully choral. Mr Tom Dixon presided at the organ.
The bride who was given away by her father, was gowned in a dress of delicate ivory Georgette, trimmed with silver brocade, and she wore a veil of Brussels net and a wreath of orange blossom and white heather. She carried a sheaf of Arum lilies.
The bridesmaids were Misses Peggie and Georgina McConachie (sisters of the bride), and Miss Olive Jones (cousin of the bridegroom), who wore dresses of pale blue crepe-de-chine and hats to match. They carried bouquets of pink carnations and maidenhair, fern, and wore gold bracelets, the gifts of the bridegroom.
Second-Lieut. F.S. Sharland, N.F., was the groomsman.