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, 27th October 2018, 12:37 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, October 25, 1918.

Longhirst Lane was sadly reminded of the price of victory on Wednesday, last week, when the remains of the late Private Thos. K.O. Tully, A.S.C., were interred with military honours in Longhirst Churchyard.

The deceased was a son of Margaret Tully, and the late Mr John Tully, late of Longwitton.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, October 25, 1918.

Deceased, who was 34 years of age, had been in the Territorials for seven years, and was mobilised at the outbreak of war. Since last year he had been serving with the army in Italy.

He came home on leave on Saturday, October 5th, but had immediately to take to his bed, and died from pneumonia a week later. Previous to the war he had been in the service of the North Eastern Railway Company for 13 years.

The cortege was preceded by a firing party from the East Yorks, six of their number acting as underbearers. The coffin was covered with the Union Jack. An impressive service was conducted in the Church by the Vicar, Rev. T.J. Parry, who also said the committal prayers at the graveside. Three volleys were fired over the grave.

Much sympathy is felt for Mrs Tully, this being the third son she has lost within the year, the other two being Pte. Wm. Tully, reported wounded and missing on October 14th, 1917, and Sergeant Alex. Tully, killed on June 29, this year. She has another son serving in Italy.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, October 25, 1918.


Mr George Renwick and his son, Major Gus. Renwick, and Major R. Temperley, of Newcastle, have just returned from a visit to the Western Front.

In a chat with a Press representative, Mr Renwick said he had not previously been in the war zone in France, and the thing that struck him the most in the course of his journeys last week, in which his party covered 500 miles, was the magnitude of the devastation. Whole town and villages had been practically obliterated by shell fire, and only names written upon boards were left to identify the places that had been destroyed.

Mr Renwick was close in the rear of the advancing British and French armies, and to be in the wake of these was to see many impressive sights, and not a few that were pathetic. We could not speak of the equality of sacrifice in war, said Mr Renwick, when actual experience was afforded of what our soldiers were going through.

It was open warfare now, and the men had no dug-outs to shelter them in bad weather. Last week there was an abundance of rain and mud, and the conditions in the field were therefore very disagreeable. The men, however, were everywhere in very cheerful spirits, and were driving the enemy before them with a vigour that was the precursor of victory.

Mr Renwick was close up to the rear of the British guns — closer perhaps than civilians hitherto have been permitted to be. German shells flew over their heads, but none dropped near to them. The enemy was retiring all along the line, but he was putting up a stiff resistance in places.

Mr Renwick was hoping to see one or more of the local battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers, but they did not have that pleasure in the course of their tour.

The devastation by shell fire was, he said, enormous. Buildings and trees were completely demolished, and the main roads, and cross roads, suffered great damage. In the repairing of the roads the labour battalions did invaluable work, and were an essential factor in the progress of the troops.

Mr Renwick was warm in his praise of the excellent work done by the huts of the Y.M.C.A., the Church Army, and the Salvation Army. As the armies went forward, the Y.M.C.A. followed with the huts, and the service that these were to the soldiers was incalculable.

He was in one, but not very far from the guns, and saw how much it was appreciated. Immediately it was opened it was filled by 300 soldiers, anxious for a cup of tea or any other comfort that was going.

Mr Renwick saw thousands of German prisoners and the great majority of them were a well set-up, well-fed looking lot of men.


The Distinguished Conduct Medal has been awarded to R.S.M. J. Donnelly, H.L.I. (Morpeth.)

He rendered invaluable service as R.S.M., and his whole-hearted energy, courage, and thoroughness have been unfailing throughout.


Under the Auspices of the above Branch, it is the desire of the committee to establish a special fund for the purpose of having a soldiers’ and sailors’ Children Day on the 29th December, 1918, when we hope to give the orphans of deceased and serving soldiers’ and also disabled soldiers’ children a bright and happy time during the Christmas festivities.

We therefore take the opportunity of asking you for a little financial assistance.

The committee fully recognise the generous support of the public in the past, and as the subject now in view is a most helpful and kind one, bringing some little pleasure to the lives of these little ones, we feel it is a duty on our part to devote some time and labour on their behalf, as we also feel that had their fathers and brothers not made the great sacrifice their position would, of course, have been much brighter.

As most of us are aware, it is impossible for the mothers at the present rate of living to even provide the bare necessities of life, and consequently we hope the public will take the human view of the little ones’ case and give of their best.

Nothing could be more worthy of consideration, and please remember that the stronger the financial assistance, the more likelihood there is of bringing some little sort of solace to the mothers and happiness to the children. Any donations will be greatly and thankfully received.

Thanking you in anticipation on behalf of the committee and officials of the above Branch. Yours etc.—

R. Carman, President; J.W. Bushby, Secretary; E. Short, Treasurer.

Bankers: Lloyds Bank, Morpeth. Hon. President, Capt. and Dr. Newton, R.A.M.C.


GILBOY.— Of your charity pray for the soul of George, the beloved son of Edward and Mary Gilboy, Oldgate, Morpeth, who was killed in action on 30th September, 1918, aged 29 years.— R.I.P.

CHRISTIE.— Killed in action, October 12th, 1918, Gunner Charles (Buller) Christie, R.G.A., aged 19 years, son of John and Elizabeth Christie, 11 Plessey Street, Netherton Colliery.— Deeply mourned.

GIBSON.— Died of wounds received in action, August 27th, 1918, Pte. G. Gibson, Australians, dearly beloved son of the late David and Jane Gibson, of Stannington.— Deeply mourned.

KEMP.— Killed in action on 2nd September, 1918, Corporal R. Kemp, 1/8 City of London (Post of Rifles.)— Ever remembered by his brothers, sister, sisters-in-law, and brother-in-law.

MARLEY.— On the 19th inst., died at Military Hospital, Co. Limerick, Ireland, from pneumonia, Corporal Tom Marley, A.S., C.M.T., beloved husband of Annie Marley (nee Annie Bell) of 9 Baker Terrace, Blyth.— Deeply mourned.

STRAUGHAN.— Killed in action Sept. 1st. 1918, Leading Seaman Robert William Straughan, R.N.D., M.G. Battalion, aged 21 years, youngest son of Adam and Mary Straughan, Charles Street, Hazelrigg. Also died of wounds in France, September 18th, 1918, Lance-Corporal James Straughan, 19/1040 Northumberland Fusiliers, aged 26 years, second son of the above.

LAMB.— Killed in action, Sept. 27th, 1918, Tpr. John Ridley Lamb, Northumberland Hussars, attached to 1st N.F., aged 24 years, dearly loved and third son of Mrs and the late Wm. Lamb, Coalburn Farm, Morpeth.

DUNN.— In loving memory of my dear son-in-law, Corporal Geo. Dunn, 22/246 N.F. (late Tyneside Scottish), who was killed in action on Sept. 19th, 1918, aged 40 years.— Sadly missed and deeply mourned by his loving mother-in-law, brothers-in-law, and sisters-in-law. Mrs Arkle, Sixth Row, Ashington.

POTTER.— Died of wounds received in action, October 27th, 1917, Pte. Daniel Potter, beloved husband of Annie Potter, 18 Doctors Terrace, Bedlington.— Ever remembered by his sister-in-law, Nellie.

WALLY.— Killed in action in France, Corporal W. Wally, No. 48375 Royal Warwickshire Regt., the only and dearly beloved son of William and Jane Ann Wally, 44 Sycamore Street, Ashington.— Deeply mourned.

SIMPSON.— Mrs Simpson of 15 Fourth Row, Ashington, has received news of her dear husband, Pte. J. W. Simpson, 3303 R.N.D., has been killed in action on the 27th September, 1918.— Sadly missed and deeply mourned by his loving wife, Nan and dear little son, Willie.

KEMP.— Killed in action in France, September 2nd, 1918 Corporal R. Kemp, London Regiment.— Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving wife and little daughter Mollie.


A very interesting open handicap shooting competition was held by the Morpeth Company of the 4th Volunteer Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers on the open range on Morpeth Common, last Sunday. Forty-eight men entered.

The weather conditions were very bad, as there was a nasty drizzling rain throughout the whole of the shoot. Nevertheless the shooting was, in the circumstances, very good.


The promoters of the Free Gift Sale which was held at Morpeth on Wednesday had two very laudable objects in view, and that was to give a helping hand to the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund, and to St. Dunstan’s Hostel for Blinded Soldiers and Sailors. It was very gratifying to find that the appeal made to the farmers and people generally in the district had met with a generous response.

Two sales were conducted — one at the Morpeth Auction Mart for stock, which included one heifer, two sucklers, and one calf, from Captain Barnett of Whalton, which altogether fetched the handsome sum of £73 15s, together with 100 sheep and five pigs. Among the sheep was one given by Mr Thos. Potts of Witton Shield, which attracted considerable attention, it having six legs.

The other sale was held at the Corn Exchange, where gifts of poultry, butter, eggs, rabbits, fruit, vegetables, furniture, and fancy articles were disposed of.

At both places there were numerous purchasers. As the result of the untiring efforts of the two auctioneers, Mr Thomas Clark and Mr Joseph Mitchell respectively, the two funds above-mentioned will benefit considerably.

The opening ceremony at the Auction Mart was performed by the Mayor (Councillor James Elliott).

Addressing the gathering, Mr Clark said it was now two years since they had a similar sale. The entries that day were fairly good, considering the amount of calls upon the people at the present time. The cattle and sheep which had been given were given with a generous thought.

No war funds were more deserving of their support than the Red Cross and St. Dunstan’s Hostel. Money was urgently required, and all the financial support they could give would never compensate those gallant fellows for what they had done.

He hoped they would be able to send handsome sums to the Red Cross Fund and to St. Dunstan’s Hostel. (Applause.)


Lieut.-Col. Alex Leith, chairman of Northumberland County National Unionists Association, was the principal guest at a luncheon given by Mr Wise, chairman, of the Morpeth Borough Unionists Association, and Mrs Wise, at the County Hotel, on Saturday.

Mr Wise, proposing the health of Colonel Leith, said they were met to do honour to an honourable and gallant gentleman, who had played no small share in the destinies of the country in the past four years. Mr Wise, commenting on the German overtures for peace, said that there must be unconditional surrender. There must be a clean peace and reconstruction, after which they of the Unionist Party would have every confidence in going to the country with their policy of Imperial unity.

Col. Leith, in responding, dealt at some length with the necessity of organisation, emphasising the importance of unity and co-operation between the officials and the workers of the organisation.

The Colonel paid a special tribute to the women workers of the party, but pointed out that now, having a voice in Imperial affairs, their responsibilities were much greater than before. Educational work was therefore necessary.

The usual loyal toasts were honoured.


Mr F.C. Thornborough, who is an official under the Liquor Control Board, responding to a request of the Morpeth Borough Liberal Council, addressed a meeting of that body at the Reay Memorial Hall, Bedlington Station.

At the close of this address he was unanimously adopted as the Liberal Candidate for the Borough at the next election.

The speaker alluded to his work during the war of having attended over 200 recruiting meetings and afterwards war savings meetings, and other similar work until February, 1917, when he accepted a temporary appointment with the Liquor Control Board.

The speaker said Germany must acknowledge defeat, and that there was no place in the future for shining armour but a museum. (Applause.)

Speaking of a general election, Mr Thornborough said such a thing was unthinkable at the present time. He would not be a party to an appeal to the soldiers in the field at the present time.

Speaking of the need of increased production after the war, the speaker said high wages did not cure unrest, nor State ownership cure it. They had seen that during this war. He deprecated the opposition of Labour and Capital and class war.

Liberalism cut across classes and bound them together for their mutual welfare.


Sir,— We are having a second exhibition and sale of handicrafts made by patients in the Northumberland and Durham V.A. Hospitals on Thursday, October 31st, at the Cambridge Hall, Northumberland Road, Newcastle.

It is to be opened by the Viscountess Allendale at 2.30pm and Colonel Frend has kindly promised that the Band of the 4th West Yorks shall play in the hall in the afternoon.

We would again remind the public of the great benefit which the men derive from those handicrafts on occupying their minds and diverting their thoughts from their sufferings.

We are very anxious to make it a success, and hope that all who can will support this effort.—

Yours, etc., Annie Montgomery (chairman of the Executive Committee), Olive Hamilton Russell, E. Nest Newall. Penel James, Nora G. Dillon, E. Mary H. Storey (hon. secretary).



In order to ensure a supply of fuel and lighting during the next 12 months, consumers must obtain the necessary forms from their merchant or dealers as early as possible in order to allow all requisitions to be completed before October 31st.

Consumers not requiring more than 3 tons 5 cwts of coal or coke, 22,500 cubic feet of gas, and 120 B of T units of electricity, need not apply for requisitions, but must register with a Licensed Coal Dealer, from whom he intends to purchase coal, and it shall be an offence in that event to purchase from any other dealer without the assent of the Local Fuel Overseer.

Anyone wishing to obtain fuel immediately pending the issue of the ordinary supply certificates, must apply to the Local Fuel Overseer for an Interim Supply Certificate.

By Order,


Local Fuel Overseer


Greatly appreciating the noble stand the Serbian Army have made against overwhelming numbers, and wishing in a small way to relieve the sufferings of these heroic people, the children of Morpeth Congregational Sunday School had a special collection on Sunday, 29th Sept., which amounted to £3 11s.

This sum was forward to the Serbian Relief Fund, along with several toys for the poor Serbian children.

In reply Miss B. Simpson, treasurer, has received a letter of thanks along with a certificate, which reads as follows:

The Serbian Relief Fund.

Patroness: Her Majesty The Queen.

Children’s Branch.

This Certificate has been awarded to Morpeth Congregational Church Sunday School who, appreciating the bravery of our Allies the Serbians, has contributed the sum of £3 11s 0d. for ameliorating the distress of the Serbian children in servitude or exile. The name will be inscribed upon the Roll of Sympathy to be presented to His Majesty the King of Serbia.— (Signed) A. F. London, President.


The first meeting of the Advisory Committee on Memorials was held at the Church Institute, Newcastle.

It was resolved that meetings of the Committee to be held on the first Monday of each month. Incumbents and others who desire the advice or assistance of the committee are asked to let the secretary have their communications at least ten days prior to the meeting, at which the same are to be considered.

The applications for advice were dealt with by the committee.

The Committee wishes to urge the desirability of instituting well-considered general schemes for the memorials in parishes where applications for the erection of memorials are likely to be received.

The committee considers also that donors contemplating the erection of memorials would increase the value of their benefactions by suitable consultation with regard to the form which a gift should take instead of limiting such consultation to the actual design.

The address of the secretary of the committee is:— Mr Garforth Drury, Roseworth, Gosforth.


The Coal Controller’s postbag contains many letters from housewives dealing with the domestic fuel problem. The writers fully realise the urgency of cutting down consumption and generally the economy suggestions they make are practical and well worth attention.

The following are a few extracts from housewives’ letters:

“I lay the fire on top of the dead fire of the previous day and only rake out the bottom ashes at the front. I then light it in the ordinary way. In time the fire space is half filled with red hot ash. I keep the back part of the fire banked up with rubbish all day, only putting on coal in front. I estimate that by doing this all the winter saves quite half a ton of coal.”

“The scullery copper is filled every morning; the fire is lit in the ordinary way with coal and maintained during the day with cinders, garden and kitchen refuse. Hot water for baths and cleaning is always available. In the wooden lid of the copper two round holes about 6½ inches diameter are cut. Into these are sunk an enamel saucepan and a basin. Milk puddings, porridge and fruit are cooked, rice is steamed and water is boiled for tea and coffee in the saucepan and basin.”

“Lighting the fire from the top will save half the quantity of coal otherwise necessary. A fire so treated will burn five hours like a bright furnace and must not be touched with the poker or re-arranged.” Directions:— Fill the grate with coal; place paper and wood or a firelighter on top; then place a few small coals on the top of the kindling and light. This plan is most useful for fires wanted for only part of the day.”


A very successful tea was given at the above sewing meeting on Thursday, 17th inst., by Mrs Middlemiss, Homeside, which realised £2 5s.

The hon. treasurer gratefully acknowledges the following donations:— Mrs Hood, Spring Gardens 5/-; Mrs Harvey, Castle Dairies, £1; Miss Brett, Norse Villa, £1; Mrs Moffatt, socks; Mrs Tom Swinney, socks; Mrs Hutton, 1/-; Mrs Dakyns, £1m and socks.


Under the Auspices of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers & Sailors (Morpeth and District Branch), a public meeting will be held in the Avenue Theatre, Morpeth (By kind permission of Messrs Grey and Payne), on Tuesday, 29th October, 1918, at 5.45 o’clock prompt.

Chief Speaker: Ex-Trooper Pemberton Billing, M.P., supported by W. Dodds, Executive Member; R. Carman, Local President, J Curtis, President N.C.C.

Chairman: The Mayor (Councillor J. Elliott.)

Collections on behalf of Branch Funds.