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, 1st September 2018, 11:10 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, August 30, 1918.

The death in action of Regimental-Sergeant-Major M.A. Halliday, instructor to the Northumberland Hussars Yeomanry, has caused wide-spread regret.

Mrs Halliday, who resides in Newgate Street, Morpeth, received the news on Monday in a letter from Q.M.S. Jas. Elliott, of Rothbury, who is with the Yeomanry in France.

The letter read as follows:— “Dear Mrs Halliday,— I hardly know how to convey to you the very sad news. Your husband was killed this morning (August 22nd), shot through the heart.

“I am deeply grieved at the loss of a comrade and a great friend, but more so on your behalf and your dear family. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy, and may God sustain and comfort you in this sudden sad loss.

“My heart is full with grief. We have had a bad day.”

R.S.M. Halliday was a man of fine physique and commanding appearance, and although only 41 years of age he had almost completed 25 years’ military service.

He joined the 12th Royal Lancers when 17 years of age, and he soon gained rapid promotion.

Nine years ago when he came to Morpeth as instructor to the Northumberland Hussars he held the rank of sergeant-major in the Lancers.

He went through the Boer war and was twice wounded. He possessed both the Queen’s and King’s Medals for that campaign.

After the Boer war he proceeded to India with his regiment, and in his home at Morpeth there are numerous trophies which fell to his rifle when game shooting out there.

He was very popular and highly esteemed by officers, N.C.O.s and men of the Lancers and the Hussars.

It is interesting to note that on the occasion of his marriage in 1907 he was presented with a handsome clock by Major Wormald, officers, N.C.O.s and men of B Squadron of the 12th Royal Lancers.

In October, 1914, he went with the Yeomanry to France, and it will be remembered that they were the first Territorial regiment to go into action. It was shortly afterwards that he was awarded the Military Cross.

The deceased officer, amongst his many thrilling experiences in France, had horses shot underneath him on two occasions.

In December last year he was, along with other two local officers, publicly presented with a wristlet watch by the Mayor (Councillor James Elliott), who made the presentation on behalf of the local War Heroes Fund.

The deceased was a keen sportsman. He was an enthusiastic follower of all kinds of games, and a great lover of football and cricket. Prior to the outbreak of war he frequently played for the Hartford and Asylum cricket clubs.

He was home on leave only two months ago. Much sympathy is felt for his widow and family (two boys and one girl) in their sad and irreparable loss.


A general meeting of members was held in the Club Rooms, Old Queen’s Head Yard, Morpeth, last Sunday.

The following resolutions were passed:— “That this branch strongly condemns the so-called increase in separation allowances as totally inadequate to meet the increased cost of living; resents the fact that no addition at all is made to the allowance of a wife; draws attention to the anomaly by which wives with children receive less the more children they have; protests against the continued injustice to the dependents of apprentices, and the postponement of any payment until October, and calls upon the Prime Minister and the Government to make the proposed increases payable at once and to forthwith revise their scheme with a view to further substantial additions.

“That this branch condemns root and branch the proposal of the Minister of Pensions to establish a voluntary fund of £3,000,000 to dispense charitable aid to discharged men, regrets that such scheme has received Royal patronage, and calls upon the Prime Minister and the Government to revoke the fund and immediately make adequate provision for the rehabilitation of discharged men in civil life.

“That the branch protests against the homeless children of our fallen comrades being placed in workhouses and other similar institutions.

“As their fathers gave their lives for the State, it is the duty of the State to provide suitable homes and not allow them to be left at the mercy of charity or workhouse.

“The branch will use its full power to obtain accommodation for the orphans of our fallen comrades.”


Under ideal weather conditions a large number of people journeyed to Meldon Park last Saturday afternoon to attend a rummage sale in aid of the Northumberland Prisoners of War Fund.

Mrs Cookson’s untiring efforts for war suffers was well rewarded by the cheerful response of so many willing buyers and helpers.

Everybody spent a most enjoyable afternoon, and the Prisoners of War Fund has benefited to the amount of £68 15s.


Second-Lieut. G.A. Armstrong, East Lancashire Regiment, of Morpeth, writes as follows:—

“Will you kindly spare me a few lines of your valuable paper in order that I may thank all the people of the district who have so readily responded to my appeal for books.

“The first parcel has already arrived, and I am informed that several more are following.

“The books to hand are exactly what the men like, and are greatly appreciated. Allow me, therefore, to convey to all those who so generously helped the very best thanks of the officers and men of this battalion.”


A Sailors’ Flag Day will take place on Saturday, September 7 to provide comforts for the men of the Royal Navy, Mine-Sweepers, Auxiliary Fleet, Patrol Boats, Merchant Service, interned sailors in Holland, and all classes of sailors.

The Mayoress invites all the helpers on that day to sell pansies for the benefit of the above funds.

Think what England owes to her sailors, and support this effort.




BARNFATHER.— Missing since Sept. 21st, 1917, now presumed dead, Pte. James W, Barnfather, D.L.I., aged 21, dearly beloved son of Sarah (Sadie) Barnfather, of Ashington.

CARRUTHERS.— Previously reported missing since July 20th, now officially reported killed in action on that date, aged 19½ years, Lance-Corporal Joseph Carruthers (59419, 8th West Yorks), of 76 Castle Terrace, Ashington, dearly beloved youngest son of Ellen and the late John Thomas Carruthers.

JACQUES.— Killed in action, 20th August, 1918, aged 19 years, Private John Jacques, the dearly beloved son and only son of John and Jane Jacques, Stratford, London (formerly of Pegswood).

RICHARDSON.— Killed in action, June 28th, 1918, aged 19 years, Private J.R. Richardson, East Yorks, dearly beloved son of Mrs E. Richardson, Knowesgate. His elder brother, Private T. Richardson, Gordon Highlanders, is reported wounded and missing since October 28th, 1917.


Mr and Mrs Chapman, 3 School Row, Choppington, have been notified that their son, Alexander Chapman, R.N.D., missing since Dec. 20th, 1917, is now reported killed in action in Germany, 8th April, 1918.


The revision of the first register for this borough was completed on Friday, when the registration officer (Mr Jas. Jardin, Town Clerk, Morpeth), held a court at Bedlington and revised the lists for Bedlingtonshire.

There were a large number of claims, but the truce between the political parties almost entirely avoided objections.

Questions arose as to a few of the claims and with regard to conscientious objectors, but in the end these were all satisfactorily disposed of.

The number of voters will be more than double the previous register, even on the old area, but with the addition of Ashington, a parliamentary contest in the borough has become a very formidable undertaking for anyone.

It is estimated that there will be some 40,000 ordinary voters, and probably 10,000 absent voters on the lists, which are expected to be published in good time before the expiration of the period allowed.


The Education Committee has decided to offer:

(1) Ten scholarships tenable at (a) the Northern Counties Training School of Cookery, Newcastle-on-Tyne, for Cookery, or (b) the Farm School, Newton Rigg, for dairy work.

(2) Scholarships for preliminary training in District Nursing tenable at the Nurses’ Training Home, Govan.

Forms of application and further particulars may be obtained by forwarding a request with a stamped addressed envelope or wrapper to C. Williams, Secretary, The Moothall, Newcastle-on-Tyne.


The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Rural District Committee was held on Wednesday.

The Clerk reported that the committee had considered the question of a war bonus to the officials of the council — the clerk, medical officer, and surveyors.

They had recommended a war bonus in each case of 15 per cent.

On the motion of Mr C.E. Young, the recommendation was agreed to.

A resolution was received from the Castle Ward Rural Council asking this Council to adopt a similar resolution regarding extra coal allowance for the North Eastern Counties.

They asked the Board of Trade be urged to increase the allowance.

Chairman: I think we shall all be willing to support that resolution. They don’t state the amount.

Mr Young: If we get more than the ration it will be acceptable.

The resolution was adopted, and the clerk was requested to forward a copy to the Coal Mines Department of the Board of Trade.


The Commandant begs to thank the following for gifts received during the week:—

Eggs, Mr Pringle, Tritlington; vegetables, Mrs Gillespie, South Field; flowers and vegetables, Hon. Mrs A. Joicey; brown loaf, Mrs J.S. Mackay; fruit, Mrs Atkinson; flowers, Mrs Rayne; cakes, bread, book, and cigarettes, Mrs Pyle and Mrs Carr.

The Commandant also wishes specially to thank Mr T.E. Whittle, Market Place, for his kindness in taking all the patients for a picnic to Newbiggin on the 22nd and also for driving them to and from Whalton on the 24th, both of which were thoroughly enjoyed by the men.


Lieut.-Colonel Tighe, R.A.M.C., Officer Commanding Gateshead War Hospital, Stannington, begs gratefully to acknowledge the following gifts received for the patients:—

Viscountess Ridley, books, games, cigarettes, tobacco, and flowers; Cambridge Hall, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, per Lieut.-Colonel Palmer, C.B.E., D.L., tobacco, cigarettes, and games; Messrs Finley and Co., Ltd., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, cigarettes; Messrs John Sinclair and Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, cigarettes; Messrs Robinson and Sons, Stockport, cigarettes.


A Red Cross Fete was held in connection with the above hospital on Saturday last by kind permission of the Commandant, Mrs Eustace Smith in the grounds of Moor House, kindly lent by Mr P. Smith.

The proceedings consisted of a jumble sale, programme of sports, and a concert. The latter item was arranged by Sergt. Thorn, and was contributed to by lady helpers and wounded from Morpeth V.A. Hospital.

That the event proved a high success is shown by the receipts, which reached a total of £32 5s.

All refreshments for tea were generously given by the inhabitants of Whalton, and the vote of thanks to all workers and donors was given on behalf of Mrs E. Smith by Private Trayes.

The above sum for the Red Cross is augmented by the proceeds of a concert held in the schoolroom, Whalton, on August 9th, which realised £3 15s.


The Commandant begs to sincerely thank the following for kind gifts during the week:—

A Visitor, 10/-; brown loaf, Mrs J.S. Mackay; papers, Miss Davidson; vegetables, Mrs Tweedy; books, Mrs Philip; teacake, Mrs Jos. Simpson; lettuce, Mrs Cairns; vegetable marrow, Mrs Allen; flowers, Mrs Hudson; eggs, Mr Pringle, Tritlington.


The date of the Garden Party & Gymkhana to be held at Springhill, Morpeth, (Kindly granted by Mr and Mrs G. Renwick), has been unavoidably postponed to Thursday, Sept. 5th, at 2 o’clock.

Exhausting Heaps On Bicycles; Wheel Of Fortune; Clock Golf; Putting; Hoop-La; Bowling; Racing; Slicing The Rabbit, etc., etc..

Morpeth Pipers’ Band In Attendance.

Tea.–6d. per head. Bring your own sugar.

Please notice that the only entrance to Springhill is by the drive past the cottages. The Abbey entrance and grounds are closed.

Admission 6d. Tickets at the “Herald” Office, J.J. James, and Members of the Committee.

A special appeal is made for contributions of bread and rabbits.


Hon Secretary.

‘The Retreat,’ Morpeth.


Will be at 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.



In conjunction with the fifth episode of ‘My Four Years In Germany,’ shown at the Wallaw Picture House, Ashington, collections were taken at the close of each performance by a number of young ladies on behalf of the fund, and as a result £34 0s 6d has been sent to the committee of this deserving object.

The management desire to record their thanks to the young ladies who assisted in obtaining this useful amount.


Prize Drawing will be postponed until 1st September, 1918, owing to books not coming to hand.