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.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 13:16 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, March 22, 1918.

A list of names of hospital workers brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for valuable nursing services rendered in connection with the war includes the following North Country women:—

Adamson, Quartermaster and Adjutant Miss E., Linden Aux. Hospital, Longhorsley; Adamson, Comdt. Miss M., Linden Aux. Hospital, Longhorsley; Galloway, Comdt. Miss J., No. 16 Northumberland V.A.D. Hospital, Ashington; Martin, Theatre Sister Miss J.A., of Ashington, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle; Sadler, Sister M.T., B.R.C.S. Military Hospital, Alnwick; Miss Maude L. Tidswell, Norwood, Longbenton, late Commandant of the R.A.C.M. Military Hospital, 41 Jesmond Road, and also of the Auxiliary Hospital, 6 Kensington Terrace, Newcastle.


The Secretary of the above fund has of late received many interesting and grateful letters from Morpeth lads who are serving their country in the far-flung battle line.

Among many who send their best wishes for the fund and brighter success are cheery missives from Captain Davies (recently decorated) Sergts. Watson, Challoner, and Lieut. M. Ogilvie.


Members of the Northumberland Guild of War Workers were presented, in the Castle Square, Alnwick, on Saturday, with badges in recognition of services as landworkers. The Duke of Northumberland, president of the Guild, presided, and made the presentations. The recipients, numbering 250, included 195 part-time helpers and 80 women of the Land Army.

The Duke of Northumberland said the war had taught us many things, but there was nothing which it had impressed upon us more forcibly than the fact that the existence of this country depended upon its food supply, and that, under pre-war conditions, that food supply was not sufficient.

He could say a great deal about the culpable neglect of agriculture in past times. But he would only say this, that of all the work which was being done for the war none had been more vital than the increase of our food supplies.

He congratulated the women on the way they had come forward at this time of crisis, and was there to convey to them the distinctions which the King and country had bestowed upon them as a recognition of their work, and of the patriotism which had induced them to make the sacrifices which they had made.

He believed that when the war was over — if it was concluded as we hoped it would be concluded — there would be no part of the population able to say that the result was due to their endeavours more justly than the women of England. (Applause.)

Miss Talbot said this was one of the most moving scenes she had witnessed. There they had, in front of the great historic castle, assembled that novel company of women farm workers — women to whom, as the Duke had said, the country owed a special debt of gratitude. That day should be one of real encouragement, as well as a day of real resolve.

Mrs Middleton said the workers of the Northumberland Guild had filled a place which could never have been filled by any other organisation. They had left their homes and friends, and were sharing in the sacrifices made by our sailors, soldiers, and airmen.

Mrs J.C. Straker proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Talbot, which was carried with acclamation.

Lord Armstrong, in moving a vote of thanks to the Duke of Northumberland, said they all felt proud to have his Grace as president.

That, his lordship remarked, would be a red-letter day. He hoped that the gathering might be the means of getting more members for the Guild and Land Army, and that the great movement which had done so much to help the country in the production of food would not only go on increasing, but that when the war was over it would still remain, and that women would go on in the way they had learnt during the war.


A very representative meeting of landowners, farmers, and others interested in the hunting of the Morpeth country was held on Wednesday at the Black Bull Hotel, Morpeth, to consider the present situation as regards fox hunting. Lieut. Colonel Wm. Orde, of Nunnykirk presided. A telegram was read from the master, Captain Atkinson, regretting his inability to be present owing to his military duties.

The Chairman said that the meeting had been convened in connection with foxhunting and its future. The Masters of Foxhounds had stopped hunting this year on March 2nd by voluntary arrangement, and whether there would be any more hunting until the war was over was rather problematical.

Some people seemed to think that there would be no more hunting. He did not agree with that view at all. England would not be England without foxhunting. It was a sport which was part and parcel of the nation. It brought people together. It was a sort of connecting link between various classes of society, and in a way which could not be got otherwise.

Foxhunting was a valuable training for Army officers. It gave a man all the qualities which were needful for active service, and it had everything to do with the superior class of horses with which they mounted their cavalry as compared with other nations.

It would be a thousand pities if foxhunting went down, but he did not believe it would. Immediately after the war people would be clamouring to ride to the hounds. What concerned them was the future of foxhunting, the stock of foxes, and the production of food. The latter, they would agree, was a very serious matter.

What they wanted to impress upon them was the necessity of reporting any damage at once. Farmers lost lambs, and did not say anything for some time afterwards. When they did that there was likely to be a continuance of the damage. With regard to the prevention of damage, they wanted the farmers to communicate at once with the huntsman, Mr Scott.

It was most important that they should lose as few lambs as possible in those times. During last season 68 foxes had been killed, so that there ought not to be an excessive quantity of foxes in the country. (Applause.)

Mr W. Younger, Hepscott, then proposed the following resolution:— “That this meeting of landowners, farmers, and others interested in the hunting of the Morpeth country offers its grateful thanks to Captain Atkinson for having so kindly and efficiently carried on the hunting of the country up to the present in spite of many difficulties, and assures him that every effort will be made to assist him to continue hunting in a modified manner, due regard being given to the food supply of the country.”

Mr Anderson, Chirn, said that the nation’s food supply should be the first consideration. He complained of the compensation paid for the loss of lambs, and asked “Are we doing our duty to stand aside and let those foxes destroy the nation’s food?”

Mr Aynsley, The Lee, said that he had a quantity of sheep, and had never lost anything worth speaking about. He had never put forward his name for compensation for many a long year. (Applause.)

Captain W.S. Sanderson supported the resolution. He said they had got to look after the food supply of the country. There were many gallant officers and men who loved to follow the hounds. Those men were fighting for Old England and old English customs, and he took it that foxhunting was the oldest established sport that any country could boast of. (Applause.)

Probably there would be more foxes this spring than before, and they had to arrive at the best solution how to carry out and keep up the supply of food at home. He thought they should come to some understanding with the farmers with regard to settling claims at present day prices. They wanted to see no killing of lambs going on.

He hoped that the farmers would not destroy the foxes wholesale. There was a large number of landowners who could afford to employ keepers, and they could destroy foxes where they were too numerous, for if everybody killed foxes how could they guarantee a breeding stock being left?

Mr W.C. Sample said he was well qualified to make some remarks, having been the oldest official of the hunt, and having been for thirty years hon. secretary. Hunting was entirely dependent on the goodwill of occupiers of land. In all his 30 years’ experience they had been met with nothing but goodwill and give and take. There had never been the slightest friction in any part of the Morpeth country, and if they got through this old trouble again the old feeling would soon re-assert itself.

The food question was important, but hunting could be carried on in the future as in the past.

With regard to damage, he assured them that the committee were wishful to meet the farmers in every possible way. If there was a dangerous fox in the neighbourhood let them notify the huntsman and that fox would be destroyed. Hunting went on well 30 years ago, and if they all pulled together it would go on as strongly as ever thirty years hence. (Applause.)

The resolution was put and carried unanimously.

Mr F. Straker, on behalf of Captain Atkinson, thanked the meeting for the resolution of thanks which he was sure Captain Atkinson would appreciate.

For the first time, he said, foxhunting generally had been recognised by the Government. Doubtless they had found it a very useful adjunct to their remount department. The horses had been registered, so that the War Office might be able to put their hands on them at a moment’s notice.

The hounds had been rationed, and a permit was required from the Ministry of Food for any food used by them, most of which was unfit for human consumption.

He referred to the work of the cavalry in the war, and said that it was pleasing to know that the horses they had ridden with pleasure and bred with great interest had been of such great service to the country.

It behoved all the older men who were at home and interested in the Hunt to do their utmost to assist Captain Atkinson in a modified manner. When those brave fellows returned they would be glad once again to join in the chase. (Applause.)

Mr R. Spencer proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman, which was carried unanimously.


The advent of the holidays, doubtless looked forward to by not a few, will be found, so far as relaxation and amusement in pictures obtain, that Morpeth is in the front rank. The Playhouse makes special provision by a choice and wise selection.

Sandwiched with “The Dollar,” a thriller of no mean interest is scheduled in “Steel Hearts.” The grim reality of war, with a deserter as the topic, fills the bill, along with others of various themes, so there is no lack, for those who have the leisure, to enjoy the little time at disposal during these stirring days.



Application for supplementary ration for heavy work.

To farmers and others engaged in heavy agricultural labour, and food production, notice is hereby given that all persons who are employed on heavy agricultural labour (shepherds, stocksmen, and cattlemen) must make application on forms to be obtained at the Food Office for registration.

The Committee will deal with applications when received, and cards will be issued after approval.

Dated 21st March, 1918.





Tea, butter and margarine, bacon, cheese.

Notice to householders and retailers.

This scheme will come into operation on March 25th as previously advertised. The weekly rations of the above foods, which on no account be exceeded, are:—

Tea 1½oz. per head per week. Butter or margarine 4oz. per head per week. Bacon or/and cheese 4oz. per head per week.

All householders who hold the cards of other districts, particularly of the Borough of Morpeth, must send in these cards to be cancelled at the Food Office.

Dated 21st March, 1918.




Dr. J.T. Wardle-Stafford will preach at 3pm on Thursday, April 4th, and at 7pm.

Lecture on “Miracles Of The War.”

Chairman: His Worship The Mayor (Councillor James Elliott.)


The Commandant wishes to thank those who have so kindly sent the following gifts to the hospital:— Mrs Rayne, fresh eggs and butter; Mrs Pringle of Tritlington, fresh eggs; Miss Davison, papers; Miss Betty Davies, papers; Miss Davidson, butter beans; Miss Oliver, Bridge Street, marmalade; the boys at the Council School for collecting vegetables.


WM. Burn & Sons beg to announce that owing to shortage of staff and for other important reasons, they have decided to close up their Morpeth business and have disposed of their modern stock of furnishings.

They beg to thank their clients for their patronage in the past, and regret they are debarred from the pleasure of continuing to supply their requirements.


On Thursday evening last week, a fine performance of sacred music — vocal and instrumental — was given in St James’ Church, Morpeth, in aid of Morpeth War Heroes Fund.

The church was filled to overflowing, and those who were present were given a programme of classical music, beautifully rendered, a repetition of which or items of a similar nature it is hoped Mr Wyatt and his forces will present at a not distant date.

A fine note was struck at the beginning of the service by the singing of John Oxenham’s War Hymn, and after a few introductory remarks by the Rector (Canon Davies), who said that some doubt had existed in the minds of certain people as to the propriety of holding such a service in a consecrated building.

His idea was that an act of worship was the giving of one’s best, and considered the great artistes had undoubtedly received their great gifts from God, and the interpretation of their works in such a service constituted an act of worship.

The whole performance was under the conductorship of Mr J. Wyatt, organist of St James’ Church, to whose careful and thoughtful training such a musically rendering of classical music was made possible.

The thanks of the War Heroes Committee are due to all who assisted in the performance, and especially to the Rector and church wardens for the use of St James’ Church, a building particularly adapted for the rendition of sacred music.