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, 4th August 2018, 13:53 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, August 2, 1918.

The Military Cross has been awarded to Lieut. (Acting Capt.) Clifford Hislop Pettigrew, D.L.I., for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a daylight raid on the enemy’s trenches.

He led his men to the enemy’s third line, showing the greatest gallantry and disregard of danger. He was the last to leave the enemy lines, and remained in “No Man’s Land” under heavy machine gun fire until satisfied that all the wounded had been brought in.

Originally a private in the Northumberland Yeomanry, Acting-Capt. Pettigrew joined up at the beginning of the War, and rose from the ranks. He is a brother of Mrs Alfred Grey, of Fenwick Grove, Morpeth.


Mr George Renwick (head of the firm of Fisher, Renwick and Co., shipbuilders, Newcastle) has been appointed by the President of the French Republic, a Chevalier of the Legion of honour.

Mr Renwick has done much valuable war work, not the least of which was the initiation of the committee controlling exports to France, whereby supplies of coal have been requested and secured.


Fourth Anniversary of the War.

On Sunday, August 4th, 1918, His Worship The Mayor (Councillor James Elliott), supported by the Ministers of the town, will conduct a massed meeting for prayer and intercession, and also for the sympathetic remembrance of those who have fallen in the War.

A stand will be erected at the entrance to the Hall, on which the public are invited to place flowers as a tribute of their respect and sympathy to any of their lost loved ones. After the service the flowers will be taken to the Churchyard.

A collection will be taken on entering, the whole of the proceeds of which will be given to the Northumberland Prisoners of War Funds.

Doors open at 2pm, to commence at 2.15pm. Hymn sheets provided.


The quarterly meeting of the County Council was held yesterday, Sir Francis Blake presiding.

Ald. A.E. Bell presented the report of the Education Committee, which stated that the number of elementary school teachers now serving on H.M. Forces was 120 men and five women, of whom seven were known to be prisoners of war.

In addition 18 had been killed in action or were missing, and 18 had resumed teaching after serving with the Colours.

Ald. Bell, in moving its adoption, said the question of the supply of teachers was now a serious matter; but they were doing their best to keep all the schools going.

Sir Francis D. Blake, Bart., M.P., at the conclusion of the ordinary business, brought forward the question of Northumberland soldiers who were prisoners of war in Germany and elsewhere.

Durham County Council, he said, had voted £1,000 to the Durham Prisoners of War Fund. They could do nothing of that sort that day; but he wanted the Council to understand that if the necessity did arise it was possible now for a County Council to act in that way.

Nobody wanted to dry up the voluntary sources, but, in consequence of the very prominent part the Northumberland forces had taken in the war — there had been no great action fought without Northumbrians being in it — they had suffered very largely in the number of men interned as prisoners of war.

They had to find provisions for 2,500 prisoners, and the cost of each man was something like £40 a year. That ran into a sum of money which would affect the resources of those who, so far, had so graciously supported them.

Ald. Middleton considered that the time was not desirable for any such action. Suppose they gave something. It might easily lead to people saying it is now a question of the rate, and I need not do anything more. £1,000 was like a drop in the ocean. They wanted something like £80,000 a year.

Ald. Taylor expressed himself in favour of a grant, and pointed out that a meeting was likely to be convened in the near future with reference to a proposed public appeal.

In view of Ald. Taylor’s announcement, the question was not further debated.

The Finance Committee reported having invested a further £20,000, part of the cash balances of the Council, in the purchase of 5 per cent National War Bonds.

Ald. Taylor, in moving the adoption of the report, regretted the amount invested in War Bonds was not larger; but it was due to the delay in the payment of the rates due from local authorities. If these rates had been paid at the proper time, the £20,000 would have been invested sooner.

The report was adopted.


A Grand Flag Day will be held in Morpeth on Saturday, August 3rd, in aid of the Morpeth and District Branch of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers and Dependents Funds.

Also, a meeting will be addressed in the Market Place.

The speakers are as follows:— Capt. Newton, Hon. President, Morpeth Branch; Mr Geo. Renwick, Springhill, Morpeth; Mr J. Chrisp, Organiser, Bedlington; Mr J. Lee, Organiser, Blyth; Mr Wm. Dodds, President, Morpeth Branch. The chair to be taken by Coun. James Elliott, Mayor of Morpeth.

Morpeth Pipe Band will be in attendance.

All discharged soldiers and sailors fall in at 5pm, Club Rooms. Meeting to commence 6pm prompt.

J.W. Bushy, Secretary


Lance-Corporal A.J. Robson, N.F., who recently died from fever, was one of the famous Northumbrian family of wrestlers, pedestrians, and jumpers, hailing from Longlea, Netherwitton.

In the year 1910 he reached the semi-final of the 12½ stones local event at Morpeth, and following other successes he was second in the 11 stones championship of Northumberland at Whittingham to George Common of Harbottle, now in the Royal Flying Corps.


Mr J.C. Elliott, treasurer of the Ponteland War Savings Association, reports that the investment in War Bonds and War Savings Certificates for the War Weapons Week amounted to £7,225 5s. 6d., which greatly exceeds all expectations.


In a letter to the editor appealing for books and magazines, Lieut. G.A. Armstrong would like to bring before public notice the great boon to our soldiers books, novels, and magazines are when they have a few minutes leisure on returning from duty.

A few months ago a friend had forwarded some fifty books, when Lieut. Armstrong formed a lending library, with a deposit of a few pence on each book, which was returned on bringing the book back. This was greatly appreciated by the men, but in time, through one thing and another, the number of books decreased, until now only a few are available.

Would people who have books which they have read and have no further use for kindly take them to Messrs Armstrong and Angus, Bridge Street, Morpeth, who have offered to collect them and forward them to France.


The Right Reverend Alexander Ramsay, D.D., the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of England, who is making a tour of the different Presbyteries in the North, paid a welcome visit to St George’s Presbyterian Church, Morpeth, on Tuesday evening.

Dr Ramsay is a preacher of eminence, and has made valuable contributions to the study of the Old Testament prophets, for which he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from two universities. He conducted an intercession service in the vestry and preached a beautiful sermon, basing his text on the words: “Follow thou Me.”

Alluding to the war, Dr Ramsay said that at the beginning of the hostilities there was nothing more remarkable and miraculous than when they turned the Germans back at the Marne. During the past ten days it had occurred for the second time, and what made then so confident about the future was that America was under the leadership of President Wilson, an elder and a preacher of the Presbyterian Church over there, and one whom they recognised as a true servant of the Lord. He had guided his nation and guided the world to great issues — the peace of all mankind in the world.

During the service appropriate hymns were sung and special prayers of thanksgiving were offered.

Dr Ramsay, at the outset, said that during his year of office he was going round the various Presbyteries of the Church in order to meet with office-bearers and churchworkers. He was glad to meet with Christian workers like himself. Their lot was cast, as they would all realise, in a greater day than any other generation had ever known, when epoch-making things were happening, and that in itself lent a special importance to their Christian service.

They recognised that the success of the Allies was bound up with the establishment of righteousness amongst nations, and the banishment of war, and so the cause of Jesus Christ was bound up with all that made for the moral and spiritual well-being of humanity.

He had been impressed by the remarkable number of Presbyterian soldiers in the Army. He had had occasion to test statistics in London, in Ipswich, and Birmingham, and what he discovered was that there were more Presbyterian soldiers in these centres than there were soldiers connected with all the other Nonconformist churches put together.

He remarked that President Wilson was a Presbyterian, as was also General Pershing of the American Army, and Marshall Joffre belonged to the Presbyterian Church in France.

They were looking forward to the time of victory and demobilisation and return of the men to their homes. They must be impressed with the work that lay before them. Those who had come in contact with our soldiers on active service or at home or in hospital had discovered big possibilities for good. They had in this generation a new care for social well-being. They had a new social enthusiasm coming to the front. Slums were doomed and bad and inhuman housing conditions were not to be allowed any longer.

The money they had spent in one single week of the war would have given them a new England, would have banished slums, and would have provided decent housing accommodation for most of the people.

The generation that had come back cared for the man who was down and were going to see that he got a chance. The was something of the spirit of Christ. There were fact to face with great opportunities to make His Church more strong and the cause to prosper in that town.

Dr Drysdale, in the name of the congregation, thanked the Moderator for his able address, and said that his visit would be of great service to them.

The proceedings closed with the Benediction.


Mr J.M. Gillians, of Ashington, president of the Northumberland Mine Workers’ Federation, presided at a meeting at the Burt Hall, Newcastle, on Monday to consider questions relating to the scarcity of labour at the colliery pit heads.

Suggestions were considered from the Coal Controller and the coalowners. The Coal Controller pointed out that at a large number of pits in the county there were large stacks of coal which were not being filled up for transit owing to the lack of labour, although the coal was urgently needed before the winter set in.

He suggested three ways of providing labour required, namely:—

1. The employment of female labour.

2. The employment of Labour Battalions.

3. The employment of German prisoners.

It was agreed that the members and half-members of the Association be allowed to volunteer to fill into wagons coal stacked at the collieries by means of overtime shifts, the terms to be arranged by the committee of the Mine Workers’ Federation and the Coalowners’ Association.

It was further decided that the proposal be submitted to the branches of the affiliated unions, the voting to be returnable by August 12th.


A point of considerable importance to miners released from the Army has now been officially cleared up.

When the present Order was issued, the question of military pensions was raised by the Northumberland Miners’ Association, and the Coal Controller was communicated with.

Mr Wm. Straker, the miners’ secretary, has received a letter from the Coal Mines Department of the Board of Trade, in which it is stated that the Release Section of the Ministry of National Service has informed the Coal Controller that no miner who is released under the scheme, to return to the coal mine, is prejudiced in the matter of his pension rights.


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

The Clerk intimated that Mr T.R. Williams, organising secretary of war savings in Northumberland, wished to speak to the members.

Mr Williams gave some figures showing what had been done in the rural districts of Northumberland.

He said that Bellingham came out on top with 666 war savings members, or one in every eight of the whole population. In Morpeth Rural District the membership worked out at one in 23 of the population. In Morpeth they has 13 associations, but he thought they ought to have associations at Longhorsley, Tritlington, Pegswood and Hepscott. Their most successful association was at Broomhill where they had now reached over £1,000.

He thought that they should revise the constitution of the committee and co-opt the secretary and chairman of the various associations. In that way they would keep in touch with the men and women who were doing the work in the different villages.

It would be an excellent thing if they met in Morpeth occasionally and discussed matters relating to the movement. He appealed to the committee to make a special effort in the autumn.

Mr Dormand stated that at Cambois they set out to get an aeroplane in one week, and they had succeeded in getting three. They got over £5,000 on one week.

The Chairman thanked Mr Williams for his advice, and said they would do what they could to further the movement in the district.


Netherwitton Flag Day in aid of the Royal Infirmary will be held on Saturday, August 10th, 1918.

Events: Cricket Match, 2pm, Netherwitton & Wounded Soldiers; Grand Concert, 6pm, Ashington Male Voice Choir, Conductor Mr Batey; Dance, 8pm, (In Large Marquee).

Admission: Gentlemen 1/-; Ladies 6d.


The Council of the Royal Agricultural Society has appointed the President (the Hon. Cecil T. Parker) and Mr John Evans as the society’s representatives on the new Central Advisory Council.

A resolution was passed asking that a supply of cotton cake shall be immediately available for dairy farmers in order that there may not be a serious decline in the supply of milk, and condemning the wholesale storage of cotton cake, as it will not keep through the hot weather.


Sir,— £40,000 must be obtained by September for the partial building and equipment of the Newcastle Military Orthopaedic Hospital in order to secure a War Office grant of £10,000.

The result of the appeal so far has brought in cash and promises say of £20,000. I feel sure that in a wealthy district like the city of Newcastle and surrounding counties, it is not too much to hope that the amount will be speedily raised.

The total cost of the scheme is estimated at £150,000, and the outlay will effect an extension to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, which will be an invaluable asset to the institution in serving the needs of the great industries of the district.

The immediate purpose of relieving and reconstructing the disabled soldier deserves the support of the North of England. I appeal for a generous and prompt response.

Donations may be sent to the Lord Mayor at the Town Hall, or to the Financial Secretary of the Orthopaedic Centre at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, and will be acknowledged in due course by the hon. treasurer, Mr J.E. Woods, J.P., Barclay’s Bank Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.— Yours, etc.,

GEORGE LUNN, Lord Mayor,

Chairman of the Committee.


The Commandant wishes particularly to thank Mr R. Elliott, of The Grey Bull Yard, Morpeth, for so generously carting 20 loads of wood from the station to the hospital free of charge, as a gift to the institution.

She wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with very many thanks:— Fruit and fish, Mrs Rayne; vegetables, Miss Davison; vegetables, Mrs J.J. Gillespie; gooseberries and lettuce, Mrs Bainbridge, Espley; fruit and vegetables, Mrs Joicey; tea cakes, Mrs J. Simpson; beetroot, Mrs Murray; cigarettes, Mrs Cowen; fresh eggs, Mr Pringle, Tritlington, and Mrs Sam Brewis, Tritlington.


The Commandant gratefully acknowledges the following gifts:— Mrs Whitley, raspberries; Mrs Robson, Low House, butter; Mrs Clayton, rabbits and potatoes.


ADAMSON.— Died July 16th, 1918, through accident received in France, Sapper Thos. W. Adamson (Tot), 458991, R.E., dearly beloved husband of Williamson Adamson, of 20½ Maple Street, Hirst.— Ever remembered by his loving wife and mother-in-law.

RUTTER.— Reported missing October 26th, 1917, now reported killed on that date, Pte, Joshua Hedley Rutter, 117161, N.F., aged 21, beloved son of Joshua and Isabella Rutter, 45 Fourth Row, Ashington.— Deeply mourned by all.

WOOD.— Reported missing March 26th, 1917, now reported killed on that date, Pte. Thomas Dodds Wood, N.F., aged 22, beloved son of Isaac and Margaret Wood, 48 Newbiggin Road, Ashington.— Deeply mourned by father, mother, brothers, sister and brother-in-law, and all who knew him.

ADAMSON.— Died from wounds accidentally received on July 16th, 1918, at 1st Australian Dressing Station, France, Sapper T.W. Adamson, dearly beloved son of Mark and the late Hannah Adamson, also beloved stepson of Ruth Adamson, of 42 Fourth Row, Ashington.


There are now over a million and a quarter allotments in England and Wales, and as most of them have been skilfully cultivated there is naturally a great harvest of vegetables. In most cases the grower’s family cannot possibly consume all the vegetables, and arrangements for general distribution have been made in many districts.

But even when family, friends and neighbours are supplied from an allotment there are sure to be some vegetables which will probably be wasted if steps are not taken to preserve them. We cannot afford to waste one cabbage, or one carrot. In the midst of our plenty we must look ahead to the lean months, and make provision against the bare and hungry winter.

Every vegetable gardener should be making arrangements — if he has not already done so — for preserving his superfluous vegetables for the winter.

And, if he has not already had experience, he will find some very useful help in the leaflet, “Stock Your Larder from your Garden,” a new edition of which has been issued this season by the Ministry of Food, and which can be obtained, free of charge, on application to the Ministry of Food, 35, Park Street, W.1.


The Ponteland War Food Society held their early potato show in the Council Schools.

The following were the prize-winners:— Kidney potatoes: 1st, Mr W.T. Laws and special for best stand in the show; 2nd, Mr A. Hall; 3rd, Sergt. W. Riccalton. Round potatoes: 1st, Mr M. Brown; 2nd, Mr Edward Jameson; 3rd, Mr F. Hope.

The judges were Messrs C.W. Mayhew, Morpeth; R. Garbutt, Birney Hill; and J. Page, Kirkley Hall.

The whole of the exhibits were sent to the Northumberland War Hospital.