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.

Saturday, 22nd December 2018, 11:20 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, December 20, 1918.

Private J.W. Stanners, 3rd N.F., who has been a prisoner of war in Germany for two and a half years, arrived home at Stobhill, Morpeth, last week.

He had rough treatment at first, but has returned home in fairly good health.


The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Rural District Council was held on Wednesday. The Hon. and Rev. W.C. Ellis presided.

The Clerk read the following letter which the Chairman had received from the secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland.—

“I am instructed by the Lord Lieutenant to inform you that the Army Council has decided to distribute rifles, carbines, bayonets, pistols, and packs, as well as a limited number of machine guns and trench mortars throughout the country, and the Lord Lieutenant is requested to forward a list of those places in the county of Northumberland to which it is recommended that these arms and equipment should be sent.

“In order to assist the Lord Lieutenant in drawing up this list, I am requested that you will forward at your earliest convenience a list of the places in the rural district to which you consider a distribution should be made.

“In selecting these places it is suggested that those in which munitions and material of war have been manufactured have first claim to consideration; but there may be other localities which have by some other service on His Majesty’s forces, taken a prominent part of the war.”

Members were asked to send in a list of places which they thought should be supplied, and the Clerk was instructed to write to Parish Councils and ask them to consider the matter and send in applications.


Private Archibald Summers, D.L.I., second son of J. Dawson Summers, Bebside, was killed in action on October 17th, 1918. Before enlisting, about nine months ago, he was employed in the mine by Bebside Coal Company.

Mr N. Hudson, of 58 Jubilee Terrace, Annitsford, has received news that his son, Driver Nat. Hudson, R.N.D., has died of influenza in France on Nov. 29th. Deceased joined the R.N.D. in 1914. He served at the Dardenelles, Egypt, and Salonica, and afterwards went to France. Prior to joining the Navy, he worked at Seghill Colliery.

Mr and Mrs Crooks, 24 Portland Place, Pegswood, have received news that their son, Pte. G. Crooks, Machine Gun Corps, was admitted to the 16th Philadelphia U.S.A. General Hospital, France, suffering from fever.

Pte. C. Lowery, M.G.C., of West Stobswood, who was dangerously wounded and gassed on the 1st Nov., is in hospital in France, and is recovering. This is the second time he has been wounded.

Pte. John Crosby Angus, West Yorks Regiment, whose parents reside at 12 East Terrace, Bomarsund, Stakeford, was killed in action ten days previous to Armistice Day.

Pte. T.J. Felton, A.S.C. (attached R.A.F.), Blyth, has died in a Woolwich Hospital. Before enlisting he was employed by the North Eastern Railway Company for some time, and latterly by the Prudential Insurance Company.

Mrs Brown, of Hauxley, has received information that her husband, Sergt. T. Brown, was killed in action on the 4th of November, 1918.

Mrs Wintrip, of Turner Street, Amble, received the information from the War Office that her son, Sergt. John Wintrip, was killed in action on the 25th October. He joined up on the first day of the war.

News has been received that Pte. T.W.M. Battensby, 1st Batt. Coldstream Guards, has been killed in France. Pte. Battensby was the son of Mr Thomas Battensby, formerly champion cyclist.

Mr and Mrs Brown, of 14 Jordan Street, Amble, have been informed by the military authorities that their son, Pte. Adam Brown, of the Grenadier Guards, was killed in action on November 6th, 1918.


TUBBY.— Killed in action in Italy on October 27th, 1918, Pte. E. Tubby, 10th N.F.— Ever remembered by his dear sister, Jane Kemp, Morpeth.

CAIRNS.— In France, from wounds received on November 2nd, 1918, Hugh, dearly beloved son of George and Elizabeth Cairns, late of Ashington. Very highly respected.

QUEEN.— Sergt. Charles Queen, Northumberland Hussars.— Deeply mourned by his sister and brother-in-law and two nieces, of 92 North Row, Bedlington Colliery.

TUBBY.— Drowned in action in Italy, October 27th, 1918, Pte. Edward Tubby, M.M., 10th N.F., the dearly beloved son of Mary Ann and the late Wm. Tubby, of Choppington.— Deeply mourned by his only brother and sister-in-law.

DAVISON.— Killed in action in France, November 4th, 1918. Corporal J.J. Davison, 14563, 2 Platoon, “A” Company, 2nd Battalion, N.F., beloved son of Mrs Caroline Howey, 14 Sycamore Street, Ashington.

PITT.— At Chiseldon Camp Hospital, Wilts, on November 25th, from influenza, following gassing in France, aged 27, Corporal Bertram Reginald Pitt, 25th City of London Cyclists.


A pleasant and enjoyable function took place at the Morpeth Conservative Club on Tuesday evening, when the members of the committee entertained their chairman (Capt. W.S. Sanderson) to supper on his return from active service. A splendid repast was served up by the stewardess (Mrs B. Logan).

After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts had been honoured, the chairman (Mr J.J. James) called upon Mr John Embleton to make the presentation.

Mr Embleton, in a racy and humorous speech, recounted the many valuable services that their guest had rendered to the club, and heartily welcomed him home after his arduous military duties.

It was a great pleasure to him to present Mr Sanderson, on behalf of the members of the committee, with a solid silver pocket flask, engraved with the following inscription.— “Presented to Capt. W.S. Sanderson (chairman of the Conservative Club), by the committee, as a mark of their appreciation of his many services. Dec. 17th, 1918.”

Captain Sanderson, in reply, thanked the committee for their kindness, and resonated, in his own inimitable style, some of the many stories and episodes during his stay in France. He also congratulated the committee on the success attending the club during his absence.


The voting returns from the Northumberland Miners’ Lodges on the Council meeting proposals have been issued. The Ellington and Woodhorn resolution on food prices and war wages was unanimously adopted.

It read as follows:— “That we demand the Government to at once reduce the food prices; and in the event of the Government refusing to do so, we ask an advance of 100 per cent on our present war wages.”

This resolution is to be sent to the Miners’ Federation for adoption.


Thanksgiving week at Morpeth has been a great success, the total amount subscribed in the borough being £63,193 0s 3d. Morpeth’s quota was £40,500.

The Morpeth rural district subscribed £22,507 15s 9d, their quota being £80,500 according to population.

A special round of praise is due to Mr G.W. Phaup, the secretary of the Morpeth War Savings Committee, who rendered such signal service during the week’s campaign at the Hut in the Market Place.


Sir,— With reference to the remarks made at the meeting of the Morpeth Town Council as reported in your current issue in connection with the appointment of an architect, may I be permitted to draw your attention to the fact that whilst the officials of local authorities during the war have not only been receiving their usual salaries but in many cases a war bonus in addition, 90 per cent of the architects — owing to Government restrictions of building operations — have had to entirely close down their offices without any compensation or redress of any kind.

No profession has suffered to the same extent or done more for the country in the hour of its need.

Its members of military age responded to the call promptly, and those over age offered their services to the several Government departments. Many men amongst the latter who had been in private practice for from 10 to 20 years have filled subordinate positions as clerks and foremen for a mere pittance.

Is it fair that these men, who have not done their bit but their best, should return to their homes and offices to find that the only work for which their services are at all likely to be required in the near future has been handed over to paid officials?

Yours etc.,


H.M. Naval Base, Invergordon,

Dec. 16th, 1918.


Under the Auspices of the Morpeth Branch of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers, a treat is to be given Dec. 28th, 1918.

To the public of Morpeth and District, the Committee of the above have decided to discontinue the house to house collection owing to the prevalence of the influenza epidemic.

Will those persons who have not been called upon kindly forward any donations or gifts to the Secretary J.W. Bushby, 7 Harbottle’s Yard, Morpeth.

Will all serving, deceased and discharged soldiers’ children from 4 to 14 years apply to Mr McSherry, at the Institute, Old Queen’s Head Yard, Oldgate Street, not later than 5pm on Saturday, 21st, and they will require their Privilege Tickets for the above.


At the Wesleyan Church Morpeth, a roll of honour, presented to the church by Councillor Jas. Elliott, was unveiled by the Rev. J.J. Ward. The roll contains 33 names including four who have fallen.

The reverend gentleman in unveiling expressed the general feeling of appreciation for the gift, and said that it would be hung in a prominent position so that the memory of those who had served their country, in some cases making the supreme sacrifice, would be kept in grateful memory.


On Monday considerable interest was manifested in a German “U” boat at Blyth, which was berthed for the inspection of the public. A charge of 10/- a head was made to go aboard, the proceeds going to local charities.

The vessel was built at the Weser yard in 1917, and is 800 tons displacement on the surface and 1,000 tons submerged. She can travel 16½ knots per hour on the surface and has a speed of 9 submerged.

The vessel is 240 feet long, 22ft beam, and 12ft draught, and is constructed to carry a crew of 7 officers and 30 men. Her armament consists of one 4.1 gun and one 22 pounder, with four torpedo tubes, two forward, two aft, and carried 16 torpedoes. She has three periscopes, two for day work and one for night work.

The vessel is now commanded by Lieut. T. Parkinson, who has served on the sea patrol at Blyth for the last 20 months, and has at his second in command Lieut. R.J.E. Dodds, with a crew of 13 men of all ratings.

When they took charge of her the vessel was in a filthy and neglected condition, and most of the machinery was out of order, but during the four days preceding their departure from Harwich the crew succeeded in making her spick and span, and got all the machinery in working order, except the engine, which they put right on the way round to Blyth.

The submarine was towed to within half a mile of Blyth, when the tow was slipped and the vessel proceeded to the berth under her own power.

An inspection of the interior of the vessel is somewhat bewildering. Every inch of the naturally limited space is utilised in which to pack what appears to be thousands of cranks, wheels, levers, pumps, valves, machines and engines, gas and electric motors, cables, torpedoes, etc., in what appears endless profusion, all packed in their allotted places.


The Royal Commission on Sugar Supply has appointed the County Horticultural Sub-Committee as agents for the distribution of candy or bee food to bee-keepers.

In order to participate in the supplies available the bee-keepers in Northumberland will be required to register prior to December 31st, 1918, on a special form obtainable on application to Mr C.W. Mayhew, hon. sec. Northumberland Horticultural Sub-Committee, 3 Newgate Street, Morpeth.


Out of a total electorate of 39,985, 14,782 are women. There were 7,944 absent voters.

Polling Day in Morpeth did not arouse much interest amongst the electors generally. Little or no enthusiasm was manifested at any time.

In Morpeth and Ashington a noticeable feature was the splendid way in which the women came forward and exercised the franchise.

All the candidates were well served with willing bands of workers, and also with motor-cars. There were no striking posters issued. Most of them read: “Plump for so and so,” and “Vote for so and so.” Prominently displayed on Mr Meares’ cars were the words, “Hang the Kaiser” and “Big Indemnities.”

To show how keen a woman in the Ashington area was to record her vote was brought to light at one of the polling stations. A girl of about 14 years walked into the room and said: “Please sir, I have come to vote for my mother.” The presiding officer replied: “You cannot vote for your mother. She must come herself.” The girl said: “But please sir, my mother is ill in bed, and she says if I cannot vote for her will one of the gentlemen kindly take her ballot paper up to her.” She deserved her vote.

Lack of knowledge as to the secrecy of the ballot was demonstrated when a well dressed women stalked into the room and said: “I have come to vote for Mr Meares.”

Another incident worth recalling was the curious stand taken up by a woman voter. When she got her ballot paper she read all the names over and remarked, “Well, I don’t think any of them are worth voting for.” She then placed the paper in the box without marking it.


The Commandant wishes to thank those who have been kind enough to send the following gifts:— Captain Fawcett, cigarettes; a grateful patient, 10/- to be spent for patients; Mrs C.G. Rayne, vegetables, flowers, eggs, and jam; Mrs Cookson, vegetables; Mrs J.S. Mackay, brown loaf; Mrs Joicey, vegetables; Mrs Irwin, bed socks; Miss Cairns, eggs; the pupils at Meldon Schools, 28 pairs of socks; and Mr T. Swinney for kindly providing prizes for a whist drive.


Lady Clerk Wanted. Wages 31/6 per week, rising to 37/6 and uniform.

Applicant must apply in own handwriting to Commanding Officer stating experience, and send copies of 3 recent testimonials.


An important military function took place in the reception of the colours of the 7th Batt. Northumberland Fusiliers.

When the battalion departed from Alnwick to take their part in the war, the colours of the regiment were deposited for safe keeping within Alnwick Castle, and last week they were handed over to an escort to be despatched to the battalion in France, thence to be carried on the march into Germany.

In the Castle the colours of the regiment, together with the King’s colours, were handed over by Mr R. Kyle, the constable of the Castle, to Lieut. Watts and Lieut. Annett, who were accompanied by Colour-Sergeant Marshall, Sergt. Holmes and Corporal Smith.

Headed by the Drum and Fife band from the Command Depot, and followed by a guard of about 50 Machine-Gunners, the colours were taken to the Parish Church of St Michael, where they were handed to the Rev. Canon Mangin (Vicar), who deposited them upon the altar.

The church was filled with a very large congregation of the townspeople. Holding the colours the Vicar gave a short address, after which he handed the colours to the colour part, who left the church with them.

Outside the church the military were again formed into order, and proceeded, headed by the Drum and Fife Band, playing stirring music, to the Drill Hall, where the colours were laid for a while, previous to being transmitted to the battalion in France.