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, 24th November 2018, 14:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 17:14 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, November 22, 1918.

In accordance with a War Office Order there will be no further Sunday parades in connection with the Volunteers, and all drills in future shall be voluntary.

Commencing next month, the drills of the Morpeth Company 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers will be on Tuesday nights only.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, November 22, 1918.

At the miniature rifle range on Tuesday evening first an open handicap competition is to be held for a series of money prizes.

Members of the Company should note that arrangements are being made to hold a series of interesting events during the coming festive season.

It has been decided to hold a shooting competition on the range on the Common on Thursday, Nov. 28th, and the following Saturday.

Last Sunday the Company were photographed by Mr A. Primrose, of Morpeth, with good results. Each member of the Company is to be presented with a photograph, and any further copies can be had by giving orders to Mr Primrose.


Lance-Corpl. Arthur B. Hill, Pegswood, is at present in hospital in Scotland wounded in the right arm.

Mr and Mrs S. Gray, Lane End Farm, North Seaton, have received news that Corporal Cecil Norman was killed in action on Oct. 23rd, 1918.

Mrs Richard, of High Pit, Cramlington, has received news that her son, Gunner Jos. Richard, was killed in action on Sept. 29th.

Mr and Mrs J. Hunter, 3 Post Office Row, Burradon Colliery, has received official news from the War Office that their son, Pte. G. Hunter, West Yorks, has been missing since May 4th, and is now reported as killed on that date.

Mr and Mrs Thomas Wardle, 10 Middle Row, Dudley, have received official information that their son, Pte. Jerimiah W. Wardle, D.L.I., has been killed in action in France, on October 5th.

On Monday, Mrs Gibson, widow of Whitsun Gardens, Bedlington, received news that her son, Pte. George Gibson, who has been four years in the Army, has been killed in France.

Councillor Jas Endean, of Cramlington, has received news that his son, Pte. Jas. Endean (Yorks and Lancashires), has been wounded in action. Mr Endean’s eldest son, Pte. M. Endean, was killed in action only a short whole ago.

News has been received at West Moor that Pte. G.M. Lancaster, M.M., of 42 Cross Row, West Moor, has died of wounds received in action.

Mrs Bartlett, of East Cramlington, has been officially informed of the death of her husband, Pte. Joe Bartlett, N.F., from pneumonia in France. He had only been in France three weeks.

Mrs Spedding, of Avenue Terrace, Dinnington Colliery, has received official news that her brother, Sergeant Joseph Callaghan, of Hazlerigg Colliery, was killed in action on October 24th.

Mr and Mrs John Waterston, of 277 Welbeck Terrace, Pegswood, have received news that their son, Pte. Geo. Waterston, has been wounded and is lying in the 5th General Hospital, France, with a gunshot wound in the right shoulder.


RATCLIFFE.— In loving memory of Private Geo. Ratcliffe, eldest and dearly beloved son of William and Sarah Ratcliffe, of Pegswood, who was killed in action October 23. Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving father, mother, brothers, sisters.

YOUNG.— Killed in action October 11th, 1918, aged 38 years, Pte. Martin Young, West Yorks, dearly beloved son of Ellen and the late George Young, of Shilbottle.

ROBINSON.— Killed in action Oct. 24th, Pte. Sam Robinson, of Bedlington Furnace. Deeply mourned by his old pal, Will Cavagin. Deeply mourned by his mother, brothers and sister and sister-in-law.

HARDY.— Died from having been gassed also pneumonia, at the 4th General Hospital, Cambers, France, on November 3rd, 1918, Pte. David Hardy (63690), West Yorks Regiment, Bedlington. Deeply mourned by his mother and father, his brother Jas. also William and Gabriel who are in France.

BARNETT.— In loving memory of my dear husband, Pte. William Robert Barnett, 1st Northamptonshire Regiment, who died of wounds in 5th Casualty Clearing Station, France, on October 19th, 1918. Ever remembered by his wife Hannah and dear little son, William Robert, Guide Post, Choppington.

BARNFATHER.— Killed in action, on October 8th, 1918, aged 24 years, Petty Officer William Barnfather, M.M., Royal Navy Division, beloved son of William and the late Sarah Barnfather, of Ashington.

STOREY.— At Blandford Military Hospital, Oct. 28th, aged 22 years, Pte. James Thomas Patterson Storey, R.A.F., eldest and dearly beloved son of Eleaner Jane and the late James Thornton Storey, of Southward Edge. Interred at Longhorsley.

SCOTT.— Killed in action on September 23rd, 1918, 3rd A.M., J.A. Scott, Royal Air Force, youngest son of Margaret and the late William Scott, Ashington. Also their son, Pte. J.D. Scott, 8th N.F., missing, August 19th, 1915.

BROTHERTON.— November 9th, died of wounds received in action on October 22nd, 1918, at 1st Eastern General Hospital, Cambridge, Pte. Geo. Brotherton, 291222, 7th N.F., dearly beloved son of Christina and the late William Brotherton, of 118 Newgate Street, Morpeth. Much respected and dearly mourned by his loving mother and sisters, uncle and brother John, in France.


The remains of the late Pte. George Dennis Brotherton, N.F., elder son of Mrs and the late Mr Brotherton, of Newgate Street, Morpeth, who died of wounds received in action, at the General Hospital, Cambridge, on the 9th inst., were interred last Friday in Morpeth churchyard with Military Honours.

Deceased, who was 38 years of age, had been nearly three years in the army, and had been wounded on four different occasions, the last time being on October 26. His younger brother is in France.

The cortege was headed by a firing party, consisting of members of the Morpeth Company of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, in charge of Sergeant Geo. Brown. The Pipe Band of the Company, under Pipe-Major L. Strong, was also in attendance. Lieut. Wm. Duncan was in command.

The coffin was covered with the Union Jack. There were three mourning coaches. There were also present other friends, including soldiers and discharged men.

The service at the church was conducted by the Rev. J.L. Brodie (curate), who also said the committal prayers at the graveside. The firing party then fired three volleys over the grave, and the “Last Post” was sounded.

The floral tributes laid on the grave included one from the Morpeth Branch of the National Federation of Discharged Soldiers and Sailors, and one from the Directors and members of the Morpeth Social Club.


The Mayor and Corporation of Morpeth attended a special service of thanksgiving for deliverance from international strife, held in St James’ Church, Morpeth, last Sunday morning.

A considerable number of the townspeople assembled in the Market Place to witness the civic procession to church. The order of the procession was: The Morpeth Company of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, with Pipers’ Band, in command of Lieut. W. Duncan, 2nd-Lieut. T.D. Shaw also being present; the Motor Transport Section, under Lieut. A. Young; Morpeth Division St John Ambulance Brigade, 51 Northumberland V.A.D., Section Leader, Superintendent James Whittle, also Major J.P. Philip. Then followed the members of the Corporation.

There was a large turn out of the Morpeth Company of the B.B. Cadets, with fife and drum band, under the command of Captain Heddon and Lieut. Arrowsmith. Behind the Cadets came the Local Freemasons.

The Te Deum was finely rendered by the choir, and after the organist had played the “Marseillaise” the choir and congregation joined in singing two verses of the National Anthem.

The Rev. J.L. Brodie took his text from St Matthew, chapter 2, verse 10: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” He thought they could not find a more definite note to that day’s service. When they saw the star they rejoiced.

What was this star? It was the star of peace. It was the star which ushered in a new era of ideals. It was the star which those men of vision, of wisdom, were looking forward to the fulfilment of that time.

They needed today men of vision who would lead them to a fuller realisation of those ideals for which their lads had fought, had bled, and died. They wanted those men to lead them, but they must follow, and they muse be prepared for any emergency.

Like those wise men they must keep the vision of peace ever before them, and what that peace was going to be. In going to meet the Star of Peace, that star of hope and new ideals, they must expect to find obstacles, but they must let nothing come between them and their true ideals.

They must be men who were going to pursue those ideals and leave nothing undone until, like those men, they came into His presence, offering Him their gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, because He was worth it. That which they had sought for they had found. They must never fail to realise it, and to pour their gifts of thanksgiving at His feet.

“Why did you and why did others,” asked the reverend gentleman, “give their gold to their nation? Why have you given so abundantly without restraint? Because you knew and you realise that all the money you gave is worth that which you are going to receive back — true manhood, true ideals, liberty, truth, peace, and happiness.

“You have given of your abundance, God wants us to give. We have held nothing back from our nation, and we must hold nothing back from the Author and Giver of all things. As we have given of our very best for the ideals which are going to make strong, healthy, clean, moral nation so let us give of our best to Almighty God.”


At Springhill on Monday, Mr and Mrs George Renwick entertained the Mayor and Corporation of Morpeth and the ministers of all denominations in the town to lunch.

Mr Renwick wished to welcome them to Springhill. It was on May 7th, 1914, that he had the honour and pleasure of entertaining the Mayor and Corporation of Morpeth, and the ministers of all denominations. Little did they think that day that they were within four months of this great and disastrous war.

He welcomed them on that occasion with even greater pleasure seeing that they were at the end of the war. Since the war started they had endeavoured to do their best to make Springhill a centre more or less where their soldier friends could call, occasionally, and see them, and he hoped that they had always striven to make them welcome. (Applause.)

No town throughout the whole of the country, according to size, had done better since the war commenced than Morpeth. (Applause.) It had given freely of its best to fight for King and Country. They had fought valiantly. Some of them had died, and some of them had been grievously wounded. They rejoiced with those who still had their sons, their husbands, and their brothers. The sympathised and felt for those who had lost their dear ones.

It had been a disastrous and devastating war. It had lasted longer than many of them had ever expected. He remembered in October, 1914, presenting the prizes at the Girls’ High School, Morpeth. He told those girls that probably many of them would be women before the war was over. He pointed to the maps on the school wall at that time. He reminded the girls that probably when the war was over they would have to scrap their maps, as they would be of no use.

They had all suffered and had their anxieties and troubles.

If there was any family that had reason to thank God it was his own family. They had sent five boys to the war, four of them enlisting in 1914, and they had been out more or less in the thick of it. The worst casualty was Major Gus, who had been blown up at Messines and had been ten months in hospital, and now discharged from the Army. His youngest son, Sep., had got trench fever and the Military Cross.

There were 17 of his own, his brothers’ and sisters’ families, three of them coming from Canada with the first contingent, and the whole 17 were still alive. (Applause.) That was a record for any family, and he thanked God for it. It was because they felt so gratified that they had asked them all to come there and rejoice with them in the near approach of peace. (Applause.) They were sorry that they had not been so fortunate as they had been.

He hoped that this was going to be a happy year for all after four years of war.

He referred to his experiences when on a short visit to the Western Front four weeks ago. He had motored through 500 miles of the devastated regions of France. They followed the retreat of the Germans and saw heaps of dead Germans and abandoned guns of all calibre. They were under the German fire. He saw scenes of great desolation and destruction.

Great as the devastation was in France, it would have been infinitely greater in this country had Germany been able to set foot on our soil. They could thank God that the country had not been invaded. Who had saved them? He replied by paying eloquent tribute to the Navy, the Mercantile Marine, and to the gallant men who went over there to fight. (Applause.)

They were there not representing any sect or party. He had asked them to come because they were all Britons.

The Mayor (Councillor Chas. Grey) said that this was a day of thanksgiving. He referred to the great part which their generous host and hostess and family had taken in helping to achieve this glorious victory. Mr Renwick had had five sons in the Army, and they had all joined up voluntarily. He was glad that four of them would return in the best of health, and that Major Gus would be nearly all right. In years to come it would be a source of great gratification to Mr and Mrs Renwick to know that in the country’s hour of need they gave all they had, and of their best energies.

He congratulated the Lord Mayor on the way that Newcastle had supported the war. Largely through Mr Sutherland and Mr Renwick’s efforts they had raised those splendid battalions of Commercials, Tyneside, Scottish, and Tyneside Irish. (Applause.) Newcastle had supplied men, munitions, and ships (A voice, “And the money.”) Morpeth had been second to none in the way it had supplied the men, the money and munitions. (Applause.)

It was for them to see that the housing conditions were improved. In Morpeth they had built 73 houses for the working classes, and if the war had not put the clock back the Corporation had intended to build houses on six acres of land. They would, however, be one of the first Corporations to build additional houses for the working classes.

He hoped that this war would not been fought in vain, and that this country would be a better place to live in. (Applause.)

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle also replied. He hoped that seeing the “boys” had done so much for them that they would all do their best to make this world worth living for.


The Workhouse at Morpeth was the scene of a very happy gathering, when, through the generosity of Mr and Mrs George Renwick, the inmates and the children at the Homes were entertained to a knife and fork tea, followed by an excellent concert.

Tobacco and pipes for the men and tea and sugar for the women were provided; also fruit for the boys and girls at the Homes. The Master and Matron (Mr and Mrs S. Hoey) and staff made excellent arrangements for the tea, and several happy hours were spent by all. Mr C.E. Young (Guardian) presided over the proceedings.

Mr Robert Allison said:— “On behalf of the inmates of this Union, I return a very hearty and sincere thanks for the very excellent treat which we have thoroughly enjoyed. This Great Victory Treat, in honour of our brave troops, is given by Mr and Mrs Geo. Renwick, our respected friends and kind benefactors.

“I have also the honour to congratulate Mr Renwick on the great honour lately received from the President of France — the Chevalier and Legion of Honour — and we sincerely wish him long life and health to wear it. We may hope it is only the forerunner of other honours awaiting him in the near future. (Applause.)

“We all feel proud of the great part the men, and women too, of Northumberland have so honourably taken in this great victory, and all have deserved well of their King and Country. (Applause.) We feel justly proud for some of the boys from our Cottage Homes who have honourably acquitted themselves and gained their claim to share in the glory of the great victory.

“We are pleased, too, to have some of our friends with us today who are to give us a concert tonight. We thank the kind ladies and gentlemen for their presence and kind assistance, and we owe a hearty vote of thanks to our respected Master and Matron for their very efficient service, also the whole of the official staff.” Three cheers for Mr and Mrs Renwick followed.

Mrs Renwick assured them that it was with the greatest pleasure that they had come there. They felt the greatest sympathy for them and wished them all happiness. She hoped they would all have good health and strength to carry on and do good works for each other. She thanked Mr Allison for the kind things he had said, and added that it was always a pleasure to her to come and give happiness to others. (Applause.)

Mr G. Renwick, in a happy speech, said he hoped that they would again have the pleasure of entertaining them on New Year’s Day, the same as they had done on previous occasions. They would meet under brighter and happier circumstances than they did last year. He related some of his experiences when on a visit to France recently, which were listened to with rapt attention. (Applause.)

An excellent concert followed, the large dining hall being filled with a very appreciative audience.


In keeping with the circumstances a special thanksgiving service was held at the Congregational Church, Dacre Street, Morpeth, last Sunday forenoon, the Rev. Joseph Miller being the preacher. Suitable hymns were sung.

The sermon was throughout an expression of thanksgiving to God for the glorious deliverance realised by the armistice, which was a victory for our armies.

Mr Miller referred to his experiences in Germany after war broke out and mentioned several things which the Germans had said about the victory they hoped to gain in this war, and the contrast they has seen in the defeat of despotism.

In particular he asked his congregation to thank God. First, for our statesmen who had decided to go to war to defend the right, the weak, and the wronged and who had guided and inspired them to go on to victory. He referred to the Prime Minister, Mr Asquith, and others who had contributed to the well-being of the nation.

Secondly he thanked God for the soldiers, sailors and airmen, and those who had given their loved ones and who were mourning their loss quietly and heroically.

Thirdly he thanked God for His vindication of the right. He was in full sympathy with many, if not all, who had spoken to him respecting the campaign when they said that our victory was providential, and by references to the course of the campaign he showed that the hand of God had been in it. They had been instrumental as God’s servants respecting this triumph.