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, 25th August 2018, 2:35 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, August 23, 1918.

Mrs A.S. Davidson, Fairmoor, Morpeth, has received official word that her eldest son, Second-Lieut. James Davidon, N.F., attached to the D.L.I. died of wounds on the 27th May.

On leaving Langholm, the deceased officer entered the Grammar School, Morpeth, where he took a great interest in all manly sport, taking part for several years in all annual sports, where he captured one or two prizes.

After leaving school he was serving his time to be a draper with Messrs Armstrong and Angus, when war was declared.

In the early part of 1915 he enlisted in the Tyneside Scottish, and saw active service with them until 1917, when he came home and obtained his commission.

The deceased was a youth of much promise, his attractive manner winning him numerous friends, both in business and private life.


Mr J.F. Donnelly, Newgate Street, Morpeth, has received word that his eldest son Second-Lieut. J.M. Donnelly, is in a French hospital suffering from injuries received in the recent advance.

Prior to enlisting Lieut. Donnelly was educated at St Robert’s and the Grammar School, Morpeth, and on leaving the latter was serving his time as an engineer with Messrs Swan and Hunter, Newcastle, when the war was declared.

Being in the Territorials, he was one of the first to be called up. His ability won him the rank of musketry instructing sergeant at the age of nineteen, and obtaining his commission he saw active service in France in the early part of 1917.

After undergoing many adventures this is the third time Lieut. Donnelly has been in hospital.

He is a grandson of Mrs Donnelly, Howard Terrace, and the late J. Donnelly, who for many years was drill-instructor of the old Volunteers.


Among those who have been mentioned for gallant conduct and distinguished services rendered during the period from September 1917 to February 1918, in a dispatch which has been received by the Secretary of State for War from Lieut.-General G.F. Milne, K.C.B., D.S.O., Commander-in-Chief, British Salonika Force, is Sergt. Robert Sprot.

R.A.F. Sergt. Sprot, who joined in April, 1915, and has been at Salonika for over two years, is the only son of Mr Geo. Sprot, Northbourne Avenue, Morpeth.

He was formerly employed by Messrs N.I. Wright, timber merchants, Blyth.


DUNN.— Killed in action, August 8th, 1918 (42581) Pte. Anthony Dunn, aged 25 years, grandson of Mrs Sproat, 11 Tenter Terrace, Morpeth.

COLLINGWOOD.— Lance-Corpl. William Collingwood, N.F., died of wounds received in action, 9th August, 1918, aged 38 years, dearly beloved husband of Beatrice Ann Collingwood, Hedley’s Buildings, New York.

MACKENZIE.— Reported missing since Oct. 26th, 1916, now presumed dead, Pte. Jas. Mackenzie, 7th N.F., aged 27, dearly beloved husband of Elizabeth Mackenzie, (nee Spowart), of Widdrington, and eldest son of Mary Jane and the late James Mackenzie.

ROGERS.— Missing since Oct. 13th, 1917, now presumed to have died on that date or since, aged 24, Pte. George Rogers, N.F., dearly beloved son of John and the late Euphemia Rogers, 30 Doctor Terrace, Bedlington.

LYTHAM.— Killed in action at Mafauh, 23rd July, Pte. W. Lytham, Hants Regt., dearly loved husband of Belle Lytham, Ashington, and beloved second son of Mrs Thornton, Mill House, Cockerham, Lance.

WILSON.— Killed in action, John, dearly beloved son of Mr and Mrs James Wilson, 116 Chestnut Street, Ashington, aged 24. Also Albert Duncan, aged 22, missing since Dec. 20th, 1917, now reported died in Germany on 8th April, 1918.


We would draw attention to the gymkhana and garden party which is to be held (by kind permission of Mr and Mrs Geo. Renwick) at Springhill, Morpeth, on Thursday afternoon next, the proceeds being in aid of the Northumberland Blind Soldiers and Sailors and local V.A.D. Hospital.

A varied and interesting programme has been arranged by the hon. secretary, Miss Shirley Schofield, who is being ably supported by an energetic band of workers. The proceedings are timed to commence at 2 o’clock.

One of the principal attractions is the concert to be given by “The Musketeers”, the concert party consisting of the instructing staff of the Northern Command School of Musketry, and all first-rate artistes.

In addition there will be the wheel of fortune, clock golf, hoop la, bowling, racing, slicing the rabbit, etc. The Morpeth Pipers’ Band will be in attendance.

Tea will be provided at a moderate charge, but persons are asked to bring their own sugar.

The committee specially appeal to the farmers’ wives for contributions of butter, for which a stand will be provided in the Butter Market on Wednesday first, and to the general public an appeal is made for bread.

With such commendable objects in view, we feel sure that the townspeople will rally round the promoters and make next Thursday’s venture a grand success.

In the evening a concert will be given in the Masonic Hall by “The Musketeers” in aid of the above-mentioned funds.


Netherwitton and its neighbouring friends devoted itself to a very happy afternoon, spent in glorious sunshine, by a cricket match, concert and dance. Under the direction of the local sports committee, Miss Spencer raised a mixed team to play the wounded soldiers from Linden, and after a very pleasant match the local team were successful.

The Commandant and the Quartermaster, the Misses Adamson, garbed in their scarlet uniforms, and the soldiers in their blue uniforms, mingling with the more humble civilian attire, added considerable colouring to the happy gathering.

At 6pm the concert began. The local sports committee courteously invited the Rev. H. Muller (the vicar) to occupy the chair, which duties he discharged in his usual breezy and cheerful manner.

He had great pleasure in welcoming the male voice choir, who had kindly come over the second time to give them a real treat and to help in the worthy cause of raising funds for the Royal Victoria.

An excellent programme was enjoyed, and the choir was assisted by Miss E. Downie and Miss M. Johnson, and were most ably conducted by Mr Beaty.

Before singing the National Anthem the chairman thanked, on behalf of the people of Netherwitton, the wounded soldiers who were present by courtesy of the Misses Adamson from Linden Hall for what they had done for our country.

He also pointed out that many had gone from Netherwitton, and several had made the great sacrifice, and alas! some were already returned discharged and walking about in plain clothes.

He also wanted to thank in the name of the people of Netherwitton that wonderful body, the Sports Committee, which had made all the excellent arrangements so quietly and had given them that pleasant afternoon, and afforded all an opportunity to subscribe to that excellent institution the Royal Victoria Infirmary.

The dance began at 8pm. The Sports Committee had erected their large tent, which had not been used for four years. There was a very large gathering of the parishioners and their friends from the district, who had come to enjoy themselves, and danced heartily to the strain of the excellent music provided by Messrs T.G.E. Dunn and relatives from Bedlington.

As several of the wounded soldiers remained for the dancing, Mr and Mrs Muir very kindly entertained several to supper, which was much appreciated.

During the afternoon the following sold flags and collected:— Mrs Spencer, Miss Spencer, Miss Denleany, Miss Brady, Miss Scott, and Mrs Ina Scott. They collected the magnificent sum of £14 9s 3½d, and Mr Straughan took £10 0s 6d at the dance, the grand total being £24 9s 9½d. After deducting £2 7s 6d for expenses, the splendid sum of £22 2s 3½d was left for the Royal Victoria Infirmary.


Notice is hereby given that the retail price of milk in the Rural District of Morpeth has been raised to 2/4 per gallon delivered, 2/- per gallon undelivered, from 26th August, 1918, until further notice.

By Order.


Executive Officer.

15, Bridge Street, Morpeth.

21st August


A Grand Football Match will be held in the Grange House Field on Saturday, 24th August, 1918 for the benefit of the above funds.

Teams: Armstrong’s Naval Yard (Newcastle on Tyne) v. Discharged Team of Morpeth & District Branch.

Kick-off, 3.30pm. Admission 6d; Boys 3d.

Morpeth Team will be selected from the following:— Nichol; Turnbull; Rand; Arrowsmith Mitford; Blanch; Wade; Carman; J. Jackson; G. Thompson; F. Wilkinson; Matthews; Douglas; R. Dick; J. Gair; W. Dodds; Wm. A. Nichol, Linesman.

W. Mccracken (Newcastle United), Referee.

Donations will be thankfully received by the Secretary, J.W. Bushby.


National Federation Of Discharged And Demobilised Sailors And Soldiers (Morpeth and District Branch).

A Quoit Handicap will be held on Saturday, August 24th, in aid of the above funds, when £1 0s 0d will be added to the entrance fee of 1/-.

Entries close 22nd August. No more than Two Lots allowed.

“Peddlar” Green and Steve Relph, Handicappers and Referees.

J.W. BUSHBY, Secretary


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 could bring fresh vegetables to send to the Sailors.



The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Board of Guardians was held last week.

In accordance with notice given Mr Reavley moved that the Board increase all outdoor relief by 6d. per week per person, boarding-out children included, at the next revision. The reason he proposed the motion was because it was common knowledge that the cost of living had increased 100 per cent.

Since the war commenced they had put on 1/6, when the relief was standing at 2/6 and 3/- respectively. They now stood at 4/- and 4/6. His motion was to increase the outdoor relief to 4/6 and 5/-. That would make an increase of between 70 and 80 per cent.

Then the price of coal was going up, and the poor people would suffer. If the Board would agree he would withdraw his motion for 6d. and increase it to 1/-. He made a special appeal for the sake of the children. They were being urged by the Government to look after the children.

Mr Colvin said he could second the proposal in the same spirit as Mr Reavley. He felt that 6d. was not sufficient when they took into consideration the fact that eminent physicians stated that to keep people from destitution needed from 7/- to 8/- at the least. Even if they raised the relief to 5/- it would not be sufficient.

Those facts showed the inadequate payments by Boards of Guardians to destitute people. He was not so much concerned with the older people as he was with the children. The children were an asset to the nation and would be a greater asset in the future. It was their duty to recognise the children. He was in favour of the 1/- increase, and he hoped the Board would agree to it.

The Chairman informed Mr Reavley that he was quite in order. He would ask the Board to sanction Mr Reavley’s alteration to make the increase 1/- instead of 6d. This was agreed to.

Mr Craigs said he was certain that the Board was in sympathy with Mr Reavley’s resolution, especially when they took into consideration what he had correctly stated that the cost of living demanded a further increase by the people who needed it.

He thought that there should be some differentiation between those who need and those who did not. They could not forget the fact that they had on their books cases where, if a closer investigation was made, they would find the money going into the house which would altogether dispel the allowance they were making.

Legal obligations of relatives of those receiving relief ought to be considered. Legal obligations could only be considered properly where there was close investigation, and that could not be done unless done by the relieving officers.

So far as their relieving officers were concerned, they did their best, but they had not sufficient time to go carefully and fully into each case. To help the relieving officers he thought local committees should be set up. They would take a greater interest in each case that came before the Board for relief. They had meetings once a month, and the relieving officers brought their books and they were gone through. If local committees were set up in the various places to go closely into each case that came before them they would have a better and more equitable way of distributing relief.

Mr Hunter got up again to speak, and Mr Craigs remarked: Don’t interrupt; exercise a little commonsense. I hope the Board will pass this resolution as proposed by Mr Reavley, and the Board might take into consideration the setting up of committees, and give adequate relief where it ought to be given.

Mr Hunter agreed with Mr Craigs as to the setting up of local committees. He also agreed that there were cases that were not deserving of so much relief if properly inquired into. He thought the recommendation for local committees should be made a separate motion.

Mr Reavley said he favoured the setting up of local committees.

Chairman (to Mr Reavley): Mr Craigs accepts your motion of 1/- and wishes to add a rider that the Board recommend the setting up of local committees to go into each case. Mr Reavley said he would accept that.

The Clerk explained that the motion could not be passed en block. Each case would have to be taken separately.

The motion carried was to the effect that outdoor relief to adults and children be increased by 1/- head per week, the increase to take effect from a month today, and each case to be considered on its merits.

Mr Craigs said that if the district committees were agreed upon now it would be a tremendous help to the relieving officers.