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.
A successful recruiting campaign for Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps was held at Morpeth last Saturday. A large contingent of the corps from Gateshead, under the command of Miss Guest, visited the town, the other officers present being Miss Hingston, Miss Mitchell, Miss Smith, and Miss Boulton.
On their arrival at Morpeth railway station they were met by the Pipers’ Band, and were played to the Market Place, where they were cordially welcomed by the Mayor (Councillor Jas. Elliott).
The strains of the pipes soon attracted a large crowd of spectators, and addressing the big assembly the Mayor said that he had a presentation to make before welcoming the members of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps.
They had in Morpeth, he said, what they called the War Heroes Fund, which enabled them to present a wristlet watch to all local lads who were fortunate enough to gain military honours. They had had numerous presentation so far, and that afternoon he had to present a watch to another hero, namely, Gun-Fitter Robert Clark, a son of the late Mr Joseph Clark, of the Black Bull Hotel.
He then referred to the gallant work in a very hot corner which had gained for their soldier hero the Military Medal. It was at Messines that he distinguished himself. He kept in continuous action a gun battery through three tremendous heavy bombardments, and also went and repaired two guns belonging to another battery where the guns had been smashed and their fitter had been killed.
They would all sympathise with the recipient, for he had suffered a double bereavement lately, and was also suffering through having been gassed in action.
Turning to the brave soldier, he said: I have much pleasure in handing over this watch, and wish you long life to wear it.
Three rousing cheers followed the presentation.
The Mayor then addressed the officers, non-commissioned officers and privates of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps.
He said: “I wish to extend to you a hearty welcome to the borough. We all know how splendidly the women of England have risen to meet the emergencies of the war, and particularly I refer to the Q.M.A.A.C. We are really proud of the records standing to the credit of the W.A.A.C.s both at home and also on the Western Front.
“I am proud to give you this welcome, and I hope your purpose today will yield excellent results as far as the number of recruits is concerned. We want all the young women who desire to enrol in the corps to make their inquiries from the officers present. Now, I want to start you off on parade, and I will meet you when you have completed your route.” (Applause.)
Headed by the Pipers’ Band the members of the corps, presenting a very smart appearance, marched through the principal streets of the town, and, needless to say, attracted a good deal of attention. Later they assembled in the Y.M.C.A. rooms, where tea was kindly provided by the Mayoress (Mrs Jas. Elliott).
In the evening a recruiting meeting was held in the Y.M.C.A. Hall under the presidency of the Mayor. A special feature was the excellent programmes of music rendered by members of the corps. The hall was filled with a very appreciative audience, and the efforts of the performers were loudly applauded.
Those who contributed to the programme, which consisted of vocal and instrumental music, were: Miss Mitchell, Miss Boulton, Miss Smith (officers), Private Bennet and Private Crawford.
Miss Hingston, in making an urgent appeal for recruits, alluded to her experiences in France when connected with the V.A.D. She joined the W.A.A.C.s later. She referred to the fine works done by them in France. Out there they had concerts in their spare time. Of course, they did other things, and they wanted more people to do them.
She wanted the girls to ask themselves whether they could not do something to help to win the war — to help the men in France and at home. She wanted them all to realise how badly they were wanted. They must have the men to fight their battles, and the women could take their places.
The W.A.A.C.s were proud today of their corps, and those who had joined that day would also be proud of their corps. Their work was of a varied and interesting character. At present there was a special need for clerks, typists, cooks, and waitresses. They were well looked after at home and in France, and received the very best attention when sick.
Miss Sanday, organiser of women workers in the North, also appealed for recruits, and said that the best way they could show their gratitude to the men was to join the corps and help them. She mentioned the rates of pay and said that all recruits came before the Selection Board and were given the jobs that were best suited for them. No members were sent to France unless medically fit and twenty years of age.
She asked them to come forward wholeheartedly with the knowledge that they were serving their country in this crisis.
Mr Bowman, Howard Road Post Office, who was taking a great interest in this recruiting work, would supply enrolment forms to any persons making application during the week, and also show them how to fill them up.
At the close of the concert Miss Sanday proposed a vote of thanks to the Mayor for his splendid services that day, to the Pipers’ Band for heading the procession, and also to the Boy Scouts.— This was enthusiastically carried.
The Mayor in reply expressed the hope that their efforts to obtain recruits would be crowned with success.
A largely attended recruiting meeting was held in the Market Place, the Mayor presiding. He briefly referred to the object of the meeting and introduced the speakers.
The first speaker was Coy. Sergt.-Major Carmichael. She appealed very eloquently for recruits, and said that any girl who joined the corps would never regret it. The life was a happy one and the welfare of the girls was never lost sight of.
Miss Hingston and Miss Sanday also addressed the gathering. The latter proposed a vote of thanks to the committee of the Y.M.C.A. for having placed their rooms at their disposal and also to Mr and Mrs Cowling for their assistance. The vote was heartily carried.
Shortly afterwards the Pipers’ Band played the members of the corps to the station.
The 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers (formerly known as the 5th Battalion Northumberland Volunteer Regiment) has just completed five weekend musketry camps at Morpeth and Berwick. The attendances have been satisfactory and the shooting results good.
Over 80 per cent of the battalion have attended the camp for one or other of the weekends, and of those who attended only 3 per cent failed their musketry course. The battalion scores worked out well, the average score out of 60 being 36.
In addition to the musketry, about 300 recruits were passed out in their drill, bayonet training and extended order efficiency tests.
The annual camp will be held at Berwick on Friday, August 2nd, until Tuesday evening, 6th August. The Commanding Officer urged upon all volunteers the great benefit to be derived from at least two days’ training. The programme for camp includes a field day on the Monday, August Bank Holiday, and on the Tuesday afternoon the battalion sports will be held.
A few recruits are still required to bring the battalion up to strength. Those wishing to join can obtain full particulars from Headquarters, Drill Hall, Alnwick; at the drill halls at Amble, Wooler, Berwick, Morpeth and Ashington, or from any of the Detachment Headquarters of the battalion.
WOMEN AND WORK IN MINES
The Executive Committee of the Northumberland Miners’ Association has been in communication with the Coal Owners’ Association respecting the employment of women labour on the surface at coal mines in the county, and a special council meeting of the Union has been called for Monday next to consider recommendations by the owners.
It is thought that in view of the shortage of men’s labour, women might be usefully employed at, among other things, lamp cabin work, weigh and token cabins, store houses, and as storekeepers, timekeeping, as registrars, screening, as “wailing” and washing coal, at the colliery shops, in stacking and sawing timber, attending surface rope haulage, daubing coke over doors, in work at the exhausters on coke ovens, and generally on by-product work under suitable conditions.
WOMEN AND PIT WORK
A special delegate meeting of Northumberland miners is to be held on Monday first to consider proposals from the owners for the proposed employment of women on surface work about the pit during wartime.
Women for a long time past have been doing men’s work on railways, in factories, on the land, and in fact they have been working alongside men in almost every phase of industry, and there seems no sufficient reason why they shouldn’t be employed about the pits in order to keep the home fires burning in this critical period of the great struggle.
It would seem, however, that women are already working at collieries. At a local court this week a witness incidentally said that his wife was engaged at a local colliery “banking out,” which is a very arduous form of work.
About a colliery there are many positions where the work is much less arduous than that, for instance work on the belt screens, which would release many men for other work for which men are needed.
PRESENTATION AT LINDEN
Great interest was manifested at the Linden V.A.D. Hospital on Friday evening last, when the official presentation of the Military Medal to Corporal J.J. Smalt, York and Lancaster Regiment, took place.
The ceremony took place before a large gathering of nurses, soldiers, and friends, and when Miss Adamson, the Commandant rose to decorate the corporal she met with a cheery reception.
In a few appropriate words Colonel Adamson, C.O. of the Northumberland War Hospital, of which Linden is an auxiliary, paid a high tribute to the corporal, who had been recommended for the D.C.M., as well as the M.M., for conspicuous gallantry in the field, and to all those who were fighting for civilisation.
Among those present were Mrs Adamson, Miss Eva Adamson (quarter-master) and Mrs H.L. Pattinson, jun.
LOCAL MILITARY HONOURS
Mrs Stafford, of East House, Morpeth, has received the Card of Honour, which was awarded to her son, the late Private Thomas Stafford, of the Northumberland Fusiliers.
According to the official notice, dated 13th April last, he displayed great gallantry and devotion to duty in keeping his gun in action when other men of his team had become casualties.
He was seriously wounded on April 16th and died from his wounds the following day.
MR STRAKER’S OPINION OF THE LABOUR PARTY
In his monthly circular to the Northumberland Miners’ Association, Mr Straker offers some opinion of the recent Labour Party Conference.
Very largely the storm of passion engendered by the war has passed, but the waves of feeling have not yet subsided altogether, and so we could hear, ever and anon, the angry waves of feeling still breaking and fuming against the solidity of the Labour movement.
The presence of fraternal delegates shows how closely nationally and internationally the Labour movement is woven together.
After the outbreak of war there were some who sneered at the idea of internationalism, and pointed to the fact of the war as proving the idea to be merely a visionary’s dream.
These poor men with a vision reaching no further than supper-time, could not see that it was largely the growing solidarity of the working classes internationally that alarmed the militarists of the world, who were convinced that short of war nothing could prevent Labour coming into power.
German militarists declared if there was not a war soon war would be impossible owing to the growth of democracy.
In our own country it was frequently said that nothing could allay what was then called “labour unrest” but just another war.
It is one of the unlooked for results of the war that instead of internationalism and democracy being set back by the war, the war has given an impetus to them which nothing else could have done, by showing the absolute necessity of greater unity among the peoples of the world if another such catastrophe is to be prevented in the future.
The presence of these delegates at the annual conference of the British Labour Party is but a manifestation of that international fraternal spirit among the workers, without which no League of National can exist — except on paper.
ROLL OF HONOUR
HOBSON.— Killed in action on June 28th, Pte. William Hobson, West Yorks, son of James and Susy Hobson, of 31 Doctor Terrace, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving father, mother, sister, and brothers.
FERRIER.— Missing since September 9th, 1917, now presumed dead on that date, aged 27 years, Private George Ferrier, the dearly beloved son of the late James and Rebecca Ferrier.— Ever remembered by his loving mother.
MORLEY.— Killed in action, 29th May, 1918, aged 25 years, John, beloved husband of Agnes Morley, Shankhouse, Cramlington.
WILLIAMS.— Accidently drowned in the River Somme on the 1st July whilst in charge of a bathing party. Bombardier T. Williams, the beloved husband of Catherine Williams (nee McReady), and son-in-law of Robert and Margaret Smith, of 37 Beatrice Street, Hirst.— Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving wife, father and mother-in-law, and all who knew him.
DAVIS.— Killed in action, July 30th, 1917, aged 24 years, Scotch Guards, Pte. George E. Davis, beloved son of Margaret Henderson and the late George Davis, of Gateshead, and the stepson of Thomas Henderson, 26 Doctor Terrace.— Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving mother and step-father.
MORPETH V.A.D. HOSPITAL
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with many thanks:—
Mrs J.J. Gillespie, vegetables; Mrs Straughan, vegetables; Mr Pringle, Tritlington, fresh eggs; Hon. Mrs A. Joicey, fruit and papers; Longhirst Working Party, treasure bags; Miss Davison, flowers; Mrs J.S. Mackay, brown load; Miss Hudson, raspberries; Mrs Tweedy, Tritlington, fruit; Mrs Dargue, Heighley, flowers; Mrs J. Simpson, teacake; Miss Nichol, eggs and raspberries; Mrs Jos. Simpson, raspberries; Mrs Rayne, eggs, butter, fruit and flowers.
She wishes to thank the Mayor for so kindly providing a seat at the end of Manchester Street for the use of patients, and the girls at Bow Villa for washing 50 sheets, free of charge during their recreation hours as a gift to the hospital.
A Grand Flag Day will be held in Morpeth on Saturday, August 3rd, in aid of the Morpeth and District Branch of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers and Dependents Funds.
Also, a meeting will be addressed in the Market Place.
The speakers are as follows:— Capt. Newton, Hon. President, Morpeth Branch; Mr Geo. Renwick, Springhill, Morpeth; Mr J. Chrisp, Organiser, Bedlington; Mr J. Lee, Organiser, Blyth; Mr Wm. Dodds, President, Morpeth Branch. The chair to be taken by Coun. James Elliott, Mayor of Morpeth.
Meeting to commence at 6pm prompt.
WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION
At a committee meeting of the Bolam and Belsay War Savings Association, Mr Kirksopp, the treasurer, reported a result of the effort in Weapon and War Week — £1,601 10s was invested — £1,400 in War Bonds and £201 10s in Certificates.
Mr J.C. Elliott, treasurer of the Ponteland War Savings Association, reports that the investments in National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates for the week amounted to £7,225 5s 6d, which greatly exceeds expectations. Thanks are due to the Girl Guides of the district.
The Northumberland Miners’ Association has received a letter from the Coal Controller urging upon the miners of the county not to exceed one day’s holiday at August Bank Holiday.
The Executive Committee of the Union has therefore intimated to the members the advisability of resuming work on Tuesday morning, following the Bank Holiday.
MORPETH RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
The Household Fuel and Lighting Order, 1918.
Notice is hereby given that the undersigned clerk to the above council has been appointed Local Fuel Overseer for the Rural District of Morpeth, and that the address to which communications relating to the supply and distribution of fuel and lighting to consumers within the district should be sent is
H.W. SAMPLE, ESQ.,
The Rural District Office,
15, Bridge Street, Morpeth.
All companies and persons concerned in the sale or delivery of coal in the Rural District of Morpeth must apply for registration and licensing as Coal Merchants or Dealers at once on forms to be obtained at the above address.
Dated 24th July, 1918
A concert will be given on Friday evening, the 26th inst., at 7.30, in the
Masonic Hall, Morpeth, by “The Snappers,” in aid of funds of the Morpeth V.A.D. Hospital.
Admission: 2/6 & 1/-
Pay at the door on entering, or tickets can be purchased fro Mr J.J. James, Newgate Street, Morpeth
MORPETH GAS LIGHT CO. (1902), LIMITED
In consequence of the recent advances in the price of coal, and other material, increase in wages, etc., the Directors of the Company are compelled to increase the cost of gas.
Dating from the next inspection of meters the price of gas to consumers through ordinary meters will be 5/- per 1,000 c.ft. less the usual discount.
The price of gas to consumers by prepayment meters will remain as at present but the discount hitherto allowed will cease.
18th June, 1918
WHALTON V.A. HOSPITAL
The Commandant wishes to acknowledge with thanks the following gifts:— Miss Atkinson, Gallowhill, butter; Mrs T. Robson, cucumber; Mrs Clayton, Rothley Crag, cucumber; Mr Hoyle, Northern Counties Club, playing cards; Mrs Atkinson, Gallowhill, shirts and socks; Mrs J.B. Robson, cabbages; Mr F. Straker, rabbits.
MORPETH RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
Potatoes Order (No. 2), 1917
Amendment Order, 1918
Notice is hereby given that the 10th August next has been fixed by the Food Commissioner as the date on or before which claims must be rendered in order to entitle the claimant to a subsidy under the above order.
No claim will be admitted unless lodged at the Rural District Food Office on or before that date.
Rural District Office,
15, Bridge Street, Morpeth.
MORPETH BRANCH OF THE VEGETABLE PRODUCTS COMMITTEE
Will be in the Town Hall, Morpeth, every Wednesday, commencing July 3rd, from 9 to 12 o’clock, and would be very grateful if people would bring fresh vegetables to send to the sailors.
HALF-PENNY BUSINESS POST
Many persons are affixing penny stamps to postal matter which is admissible, under the provisions of the “printed paper” rate, for one halfpenny.
All commercial or business papers of a formal character may still be posted at the halfpenny rate, if under one ounce, under the “printed paper” head.
Ordinary halfpenny postcards may be used for many business purposes, including receipts for money, if the words “post card” are deleted and the words “printed paper rate” inserted in the top left corner.