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.
“My German Prisons” is the title of an extremely interesting book which has been written by Captain H.G. Gilliland, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, and published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, at 6/- net.
The writer tells a plain and unvarnished take of his experiences during the two-and-a-half years he was a prisoner of war in Germany. He has dedicated the book to Mr James W. Gerard, late U.S.A. Ambassador to the Imperial Court at Berlin, to whom, he says, every British prisoner owes a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.
In his revelations he discloses the relentless and savage character of the Hun, and narrates numerous instances of his brutality to prisoners of war. In one chapter he deals exclusively with the vile treatment meted out to him and other officers in a fortress which he rightly terms “The Hell-hole of Ingolstadt.”
He gives descriptions of escapes, and also of the successful attempt made by himself and others when they jumped from a train in which they were being conveyed to another camp in order to gain their liberty.
It is quite a thrilling account of their adventurous journey across Germany attended by many trials and privations. Their eluding of the German sentries and the crossing of the frontier into Holland provides a long and exciting episode.
His companion in escape was Captain Douglas Stewart, of High Church, Morpeth, and the writer states: “A more staunch fellow in a hazard of this kind could not possibly be desired.”
Captain Stewart, on his safe return to England, married the eldest daughter of Mr R.C. Oliver, of Bowmer Bank, Morpeth, and Captain Gilliland was the best man.
A very interesting handicap shooting competition was held by the Morpeth Company of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers at the miniature range on Tuesday evening. There was a large entry.
A scratch competition was held on the same date.
All rifles and equipment must be returned to the Drill Hall immediately. Through this there will be no competition on the Common as previously arranged.
HONOUR FOR MORPETH SOLDIER
Pte. G. Richard Williamson, 4 Hamilton Terrace, Morpeth, 9th N.F., has been awarded the bar to the Military Medal.
ROLL OF HONOUR
Mr and Mrs Angus, 12 East Terrace, Bomarsund, Stakeford, have received word that their son, Pte. John Crosby Angus (No. 58858), 1-6 West Yorks, has been killed in action on Nov. 1st, 1918.
Mr and Mrs Wilkinson, of 389 Bolsover Terrace, Pegswood, have received news that their son, Stuart Robt. Wilkinson, N.F., has been wounded in Italy, and is lying in the Lord Derby War Hospital, Warrington, Lancs, suffering from gunshot wounds in the left thigh and knee, this being the third time he has been wounded. He was gassed in April last, and suffered from dysentery in August.
Mrs P. Eadington, of 46 Sycamore Street, Hirst, Ashington (late of Morpeth) has received news from the War Office that her husband, Robert Eadington, has been wounded and was admitted into the 72nd General Hospital, Truville, France, on 27th October, suffering from a gunshot wound in the left arm. Since being admitted he has been very ill with influenza and rheumatics.
Lance-Corpl. C.E. Robinson, Northumberland Fusiliers, is now lying at the War Hospital, Bangour, Edinburgh, suffering from a fracture caused by the explosion of a shell in the recent fighting near to Cambrai, and is making good progress towards recovery. Previous to joining the Army in 1914, he was employed as foreman at Pegswood Colliery. His son is at the Front.
Mrs Hall, Trewhitt Steads, Rothbury has received a report that her only son, Ephraim Hall, Hussars, died of enteric fever in Mesopotamia on Nov. 8th.
ROLL OF HONOUR
BROWN.— Died of Gunshot wounds received in action, November 4th, 1918, Sergt. T. Brown, 15065, N.F., aged 27 years, beloved husband of Isabella Brown, and only son of Thomas and E.M. Brown, Hauxley. Deeply mourned.
ANGUS.— Killed in action on November 1st, 1918, Pte. John Crosby Angus, 19 years, No. 58858 1/6 West Yorks, dearly beloved eldest son of James and Catherine Angus, 12 East Terrace, Bomarsund, Stakeford. Ever remembered.
ALLAN.— Killed in action, October 8th, aged 19½ years, Pte. Robert William Allan, D.L.I., of 13 Fifth Row, Choppington Colliery, dearly beloved son of Robert and Jane Allan. Also our son, Sergt. George Atkinson, aged 25 years, killed in action in France, and their uncle, Pte. David Atkinson, at the Dardanelles. Ever remembered.
BOISTON.— Killed in action on November 4th, in his 27th year, No. 148618, Sergt. Charles Boiston, 182 Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, B.W.F., dearly beloved husband of Mary Jane Boiston, of 7 Millars Lane, Morpeth. Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving wife and child, brothers and sisters and all who knew him.
BARNETT.— Died from wounds October 19th, 1918, aged 24, William Robert Barnett, grandson of the late Margaret Barnett and nephew of Mrs George Aynsley, 14 West Greens, Morpeth.
MAXWELL.— Killed in action October 13th, 1918, Pte. T. Maxwell, dearly beloved brother of Bella and brother-in-law (Mr and Mrs Walton, of Barrington).
ROBINSON.— Killed in action October 24th, 1918, in his 20th year, Pte. Samuel Robinson, beloved son of Elizabeth Robinson, 2 Bridge End, Bedlington Furnace. Deeply mourned.
BALL AT MORPETH
Wishing to cheer the members on active service, the working staff at Morpeth Railway Station held a ball in the Masonic Hall last Friday evening, in order to raise funds for Christmas parcels.
The evening’s programme was pronounced most enjoyable by the 80 couples present.
DISCHARGED SOLDIERS SUPPORT CAPTAIN NEWTON
Under the auspices of the Morpeth and District Branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors, a public meeting was held in their clubroom at Morpeth last Sunday afternoon, when the members decided upon their future line of action in the Parliamentary election. There was a good attendance, the chair taken by Mr R. Carman.
Mr Wm. Dodds, executive member, after explaining the aims and objects of the Federation, said that they would be shortly called upon to register their votes in one of the most momentous elections ever known in this country.
The promises made to the men who had rendered such signal service to their country had not been fulfilled. He alluded to the inadequate pensions that were being made to discharged men and the wives and dependents of fallen men.
The Labour Party had demanded representation at the Peace Conference. Why should the men who had actually fought and gone through the whole of the war not be represented at the Peace Conference?
They wanted the Government to fulfil their pledges, and the only way was to have their own candidate in the field — men who would demand that the State must look after the welfare of the men and their dependents. He urged them all to support the candidature of Captain Gerald Newton, who had been accepted by the Federation. (Applause.) They had seven branches in the constituency, and they had the support of the wives of those men who has served.
Mr J.G. Curtis, president of the Central Council, said that November 11 — the day the armistice was signed — was a great day to them all.
There were 650 branches throughout the United Kingdom, controlled entirely by discharged soldiers and sailors in order to promote the best interests of the discharged men, widows, and orphans. (Applause.) The were out to promote the spirit of comradeship and brotherhood, and they must have unity in their ranks.
They wanted more discharged men on local Pensions Committees. If they did not get satisfaction from their local Pensions Committee then let them apply to the Northumberland War Pensions Committee, and they would get satisfaction there. That committee was out for the discharged man, every case receiving careful and just consideration.
As a federation they wanted fair representation in the House of Commons and also on all public bodies.
He urged upon the ladies to give their votes to the men who had pledged themselves to look after their interests. He appealed to the branch to organise a strong committee to further the candidature of Captain Newton. (Applause.)
Captain Gerald Newton, who attended a meeting of the Morpeth Branch of Sunday morning, was accorded a hearty welcome on his return from France.
TO THE ELECTORS OF BERWICK-UPON-TWEED PARLIAMENTARY DIVISION
As your Member since August, 1916, I have supported the Coalition Governments of Mr Asquith and Mr Lloyd George with equal fidelity and regularity.
I now offer to continue my services as a supporter of the Government to be formed under the leadership of Mr Lloyd George and Mr Bonar Law, being of opinion that a Coalition Government is at present best suited for the difficult times ahead of us. I think that the joint manifesto signed by these Statesmen fairly represents the possibilities of legislation for the immediate future and places in their proper order the measures that are necessary to secure the safety, honour and welfare of the Empire.
This war has altered values and changed priorities. Questions which in 1914 seemed to be of secondary importance have become the burning questions of the day and will be the test of statesmanship in the future. Others to which we older politicians attached first-class importance must stand aside till more pressing and vital matters have been first dealt with.
I say “vital” advisedly because the gospel of public health has been preached throughout the length and breadth of the land. Steps must be taken forthwith to provide proper houses for the people, and so to improve the conditions of life both in town and country that a healthy and contented race may be reared to safeguard the liberties which our sons have so nobly preserved for us.
This is the greatest of all, upon the right solution of which all questions of regeneration and re-construction largely depend. Along with it and part of it comes the care of those who have fought and suffered for us and for the dependents of those who have given their lives for us.
Agriculture, which is the greatest industry in this Division, deserves a special word. If it is necessary in the public interest and for the safety of the Realm to control and regulate farmers in the management of their affairs, they are entitled to be guaranteed the prospect of a reasonable profit on the capital they have invested so long as they comply with the demands that the State makes upon them.
By this means they will be enabled to pay the higher wages to which the Farm Servants are justly entitled and they will be encouraged to increase the productiveness of the land they farm.
It is useless to write about terms of peace, for there any many nations concerned besides ourselves who whose views consideration must be given. It is more important that we should see that the right man should go to represent us at the conference, and I would like to hear that Viscount Grey of Falloden will be one of our number.
A League of Nations is a splendid conception, and no one is better suited by training and temperament to give practical effect to it than President Wilson, backed by Viscount Grey.
I think the Kaiser and his advisers should be tried at the bar of International Justice for the barbarous crimes and inhumanities of which they have been guilty.
I earnestly appeal for a renewal of your confidence and support.
28th November, 1918
MORPETH BOROUGH ELECTION
On Saturday last, at a meeting at the Empire Picture Palace, Blyth, Mr Clive H. Meares made an interesting announcement. After coming out as official candidate, he declared that “subterranean influences” had been at work, and his party had agreed that he should come out as Unionist Coalition candidate. The Chair was occupied by Mr F. Wise.
The Chairman remarked that during the past fortnight there had taken place a memorable event in the signing of the armistice which had brought the German Fleet to absolute surrender without firing a gun. (Applause.)
What was that victory going to do for them? It was going to make them the greatest empire the world had ever seen. With the Crown Colonies and Dominions they would be the greatest co-operation as an Imperial Empire that had ever been known, and it would be some time before any power would dare attempt to fight Great Britain again.
“But the world,” remarked the chairman, “was going to be different. They were going to have great changes, and they needed changes.”
Mr Meares wishes to say that amongst the important questions to be considered would be those in regard to restitution and reparation. At the Peace Conference it should not only be a question as to the material damage the Germans had done. The greatest damage they had done was the loss of the lives of our brave lads. He saw no great financial difficulty in exacting a strong indemnity. They could take hold of German industries, railways, shipping, etc., until they carried out their obligations to us.
The speaker went on to urge that the first charge made upon the indemnities from the Germans should be to aid maimed and wounded soldiers and sailors and their dependents, and also war widows, and that allowance should be over and above that given to them by the State.
The present allowance to wounded soldiers and wives and dependents of soldiers was woefully inadequate, and the allowance to a widow of 13/9 a week should be considerably increased. Wounded men should have £2 10s a week and war widows £2 a week. (Applause.)
A word in regard to the Hun criminals. They had heard again that they should be brought to justice. He was sorry to see that it had not been dealt with in the armistice terms. The Kaiser and his satellites should be brought to justice. They were practically and definitely responsible for the murderous and acts and outrages committed on our poor lads, and every one of them should be hung. (Applause.)
If returned, he would use every effort to see that justice was meted out to them. They had scuttled like rats from a sinking ship into neutral countries, and they must put before those neutral countries the demand to give up the criminals. If they were allowed to be at liberty they might be certain that they would set about making efforts to fight the war over again. Let them be taken by the throats and such a thing made impossible. (Applause.)
Councillor Dalby asked if Mr Havelock Wilson was to be asked who were to be the representatives for going to a peace conference; did Mr Meares approve of Mr Wilson’s dictation and preventing representatives from going to a peace conference?
Mr Meares said he was quite in agreement with Mr Havelock Wilson and the merchant seamen when the refused to carry Germans or pacifists to France or anywhere else. (Applause.)
Councillor Dalby asked who was responsible for the miserable allowances to soldiers’ dependents.
Mr Meares said he did not know at the present moment as there was no Government. But he could tell him who would be responsible and that was Parliament. The was no one who would push the claims of soldiers’ dependents further than himself.
Mr B. Routledge asked if this candidate was in favour of exempting discharged soldiers from income tax.
Mr Meares: Yes, I am absolutely. I don’t see the reason of paying these men with one hand and taking it away with the other. (Applause.)
Mr Clifford asked if the candidate was in favour of trained soldiers being recognised by trades unions. Mr Meares said he was,
Mr Clifford asked if Mr Meares believed in sending food to Germany, whilst our prisoners starved.
Mr Meares said he was not in favour of sending an ounce of food to Germany. He would let the murderous gang feel the pinch of poverty. (Applause.)
Councillor T.C. Blackburn moved a vote of thanks to Mr Meares for his address. The vote was given unanimously.
MORPETH WAR SAVINGS COMMITTEE THANKSGIVING WEEK
Dec. 2nd to 7th (inclusive), 1918.
Come to the hut in Morpeth Market Place and invest in War Savings Certificates.
You will thus help the soldiers of the Empire and show your gratitude in a practical way.
His Worship the Mayor (Councillor Chas. Grey) will open the hut at 12 o’clock.
NORTHUMBERLAND PRISONERS OF WAR, BELSAY
On Saturday, December 7th, 1918, a free Gift Sale will be held in Belsay School, proceeds in aid of the prisoners of war.
The sale will be opened at 2.30pm by Miss Middleton, of Belsay Castle. Mrs Middleton, of Belsay Castle, will give an address.
20 sheep, many poultry, vegetables, soft goods, etc., etc. have already been promised.
Mr L. Robson, Scots Gap, has kindly consented to act as Auctioneer.
Tea will be provided at 4pm. Adults 1/-, Children 6d. Songs and music in the evening.
C. SNOWBALL, Hon. Sec.
MILK ECONOMY NECESSARY
The Food Controller desires to impress upon the public the urgent need of economising in the consumption of milk during the next four months.
The winter supply of milk is always considerably lower than the summer supply. The shortage of feeding stuffs, and other causes due to the war, will reduce this winter’s supply below the normal.
The Minister of Food is taking steps to secure a better distribution of the available supplies; but there are already signs of shortage in many districts, and if the essential claims of children and invalids are to be satisfied, it is imperative that other persons should either give up using milk altogether, or restrict their use of it to a minimum.
The under-mentioned have been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War by the Chairman of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and Order of St John of Jerusalem in England, for valuable services rendered in connection with the war.
Miss J. Anderson, V.A.D. Hospital, Etal Manor, Cornhill-on-Tweed; Mr T.M. Anderson, Gateshead; Miss E.A.B. Burdon, 10th Northumberland V.A.D. Hospital; Mr A, Craig, Heaton; Mr F.W. Hepple, Longbenton; Mr W. Hoyle, 14th Northumberland V.A.D. Hospital; Mrs L. Robson, 7th Northumberland V.A.D. Hospital; Mr W. Tweedy, Gosforth; Miss L. Watson, Felton; Miss C.M. Wilkinson, 14th Northumberland V.A.D. Hospital.
The following letter was sent on the 9th inst. by Mr Frederic Wise of Heddon Hall, on behalf of the Council of the Morpeth Borough Unionist Association, to Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig.
Sir.— We, the Council of the Morpeth Borough Unionist Association, wish to congratulate you, your officers, and men on the numerous success of the great advance.
We cannot describe to you the appreciation we have for the endurance and courage of all ranks and the service you are rendering to civilisation.
Marshal Haig replied from the General Headquarters of the British Armies in France as follows:
On behalf of all ranks of the British Armies in France, and in my own name, I beg that you will accept for yourself, and convey to the members of the Council of the Morpeth Borough Unionist Association, our grateful thanks for your kind letter of congratulations.
WHIST DRIVE AT LINDEN HALL
A whist drive and dance was held in Linden Hall granary, kindly lent by Miss Adamson, for the purpose of being able to send a Christmas gift to the boys of Longhorsley Village who have joined the Colours.
The ladies of the district sent a beautiful supply of refreshments, to which everyone was able to do justice.
The proceeds amounted to £12 4s.
A concert was also held in Longhorsley schoolroom for the same purpose. The singing of the National Anthem closed an enjoyable evening. The amount taken was £11.
MORPETH WAR SEWING MEETING
Tea was given at the above sewing meeting last Thursday by the committee, and realised £1 4s 6d.
The hon. treasurer acknowledged with many thanks £1 from Mrs R. Browell, Fenwick Grove; and 2/- from Mrs Hutton, Auburn Place; socks from Miss Harbottle and Mrs Mouatt.
The committee are very much indebted to the Mayoress of Morpeth (Mrs Charles Grey) for giving tea at the above, which realised the very satisfactory sum of £2 4s. Tea on Dec. 5th will be given by Councillor and Mrs Thomas W. Charlton, Carlisle House.
Socks were received from Mrs Ed. Swinney.