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, 18th August 2018, 13:16 pm
Updated Monday, 13th August 2018, 10:38 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Notice from the Morpeth Herald, August 16, 1918.

The King of the Belgians has conferred the decoration Ordre de Leopold on Sergt. W.C.V. Lothian, R.G.A. (Morpeth).

The gallant sergeant has also been awarded the Croix de Guerre.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, August 16, 1918.


The following have been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field:— Private J.C. Gass, N.F. (Morpeth), Private J.G. Gibbins, N.F. (Blyth), Bomb. J.S. Gibbon, R.F.A. (Morpeth), Private T. Graham, N.F. (Ashington), Corporal J. Hills, R.F.A. (Seaton Delaval), Private G.J. Reay, N.F. (Blyth), Private J. Thompson, N.F. (Ashington).


A reference to the recent council meeting of the Northumberland Miners’ Association on the question of the employment of female labour at the pit bank is made by Mr W. Straker in his monthly circular.

“Necessity,” he states, “is the only justifiable reason for the employment of women, and the great majority of those present at the meeting refused to believe that the necessity existed.

“My fears led me to the opposite conclusion. If events prove me to be right, then the consequences might be serious.

“We must remember the position of the forces at the Front, who must get their supplies from this country. France also must be supplied with coal.

“I am in favour of peace, but I hope we shall never be in a position of having to submit to a German-dictated peace owing to our own failure to maintain the necessary supplies.”


The quarterly meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held on Tuesday evening.

Mr Fearby submitted the following resolution:

“That the Council, on behalf of the town, expresses its heartfelt congratulations to Mr Geo. Renwick on his having received from the French Government so great a distinction and so well merited; and further places on record its high appreciation of the many and important services rendered to the North of England by him during the war.”

In doing so Mr Fearby said he was sure that they would join with him in supporting that motion, which was of a congratulatory character, to their esteemed townsman, Mr Geo, Renwick.

They were all aware that he has been favoured by the French Government with the very appropriate title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. (Applause.)

They were all familiar with the prominent part which Mr Renwick had played during the present war and even before it.

They all knew that he was man of great energy, and his whole time was being devoted to winning the war.

He was sure that they felt very highly pleased when they learned that he had received that single distinction from the hands of the French Government.

It was not for him to enumerate the many excellent qualities, which had endeared Mr Renwick to the people of this town. He was certain that they would carry that motion unanimously.

Honours did not come freely to this district, but in honouring Mr Renwick the French Government had honoured one of the greatest citizens of the North of England, one of its greatest workers, and one who was ever willing to place his time and energies at the disposal of the public. (Applause.)

Mr Temple, in seconding, said that he was pleased the French Republic had honoured Mr Renwick. He was the finest example of the English gentleman they had in the neighbourhood.

The Mayor stated that he could endorse everything that had been said.

Mr Renwick was a great acquisition to the town and district, and Morpeth in particular. He was really deserving of the honour which had been bestowed upon him.

The motion was unanimously carried.

A circular letter was received from the South Shields Town Council asking the Morpeth Town Council to adopt the following resolution:—

“That the municipalities and urban authorities on the North East Coast be asked to nominate representatives (no more than four, irrespective of the Mayor or chairman and Town Clerk or clerk) to attend a meeting for the purpose of discussing the desirability, in the interests of national safety, of interning all aliens of enemy blood in the North East district, and urging the Government to take steps to have such aliens interned forthwith.”

It was agreed to support the resolution.

The following were appointed in addition to the Mayor and Town Clerk as the deputation:— Messrs Temple, Swinney, Charlton and Norman.

The Town Clerk read a circular letter from the Ministry of Food, dated July 15th, as to the expiration of terms of office and members of the committee for Food Control.

It was reported by the committee that the Town Clerk had read the Board of Trade circular of 19th July about the Fuel and Lighting Order, and submitted the Order itself, with certain proposals for its amendment.

The Mayor reported what had transpired at a conference of representatives from the municipalities within the county, held at Newcastle Town Hall on July 25th, on that subject, and of a further conference which he had attended at the request of the Lord Mayor that day, and of the invitation he had received to join the deputation to London, headed by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, to interview the Board of Trade on the 8th inst.

On the motion of Ald. Hood, seconded by Mr Fearby, it was agreed that the Mayor accompany the deputation to London, but that further action under the Order be deferred for the present, so that more information may be procured as to its application to Morpeth.

The Mayor referred to the deputation to the Councillor of Coal Mines at London last Thursday. He said that they were kindly received by Sir Guy Calthorpe, representing the Coal Controller.

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle (Sir Geo. Lunn), in his genial way, introduced the subject, and spoke especially on the different climate conditions, such as the two longer hours of darkness and longer wintry conditions with easterly winds.

The Mayor of Tynemouth proposed the postponement of the Order until October 1st.

The labour side of the question was also dealt with.

After a very careful summing up of their objections Sir Guy Calthorpe laid down very strongly the need, or rather the absolute necessity, of rationing the coal and lighting supplies in order to help the Allies.

In France the allowance to a family of five or six persons was 28 cwt. of coal a year.

In Italy no coal was permitted for domestic occupation at all.

He frankly told them that the coal was not there to increase the rationed quantities, and that he wished them to get their committees and fuel overseas appointed without delay and get the people educated as to the Order before September 11th.

The Mayor went on to say that he had a private interview with Sir Guy’s secretary, lasting over an hour, regarding their position at Morpeth.

He promised to go into the matter and send them instructions as to how they were to deal with the situation before their meeting, but up to now they had not received them.

In reply to Mr Sanderson, the Mayor said that the 28 cwt. had reference to France.

It was agreed to defer the subject until a reply was received from the secretary at London, and then they could consider in detail the whole question.


The Food Production Department report that the Army Council has decided to release several thousand soldiers on agricultural furlough for harvest work.

These men will be distributed among the counties where labour assistance for the harvest is most needed.

Farmers requiring additional labour to gather the harvest should apply at once to their County Agricultural Executive Committee, who will arrange with the Commandant of the local distribution centre.


The Ministry of National Service in conjunction with the Ministry of Food have been considering the position of certain “key-men” engaged in the production and distribution of food, who, in the event of mobilisation of the volunteer force, would be called up for military service.

It has been agreed that, under certain conditions, such men should be relieved of this obligation.

The Firms engaged in the production and distribution of food stuffs in Northumberland and Durham who have employees so situated, and whose mobilisation would seriously affect the carrying on of their business, are advised to communicate with the Divisional Food Commissioner, Trades Exemption Department, Tilleys Buildings, Newcastle-on-Tyne.


The Whalton branch of the Girls’ Friendly Society held a successful draw for goods, which they had made in the past few months.

The sum realised was given to the following funds:— The G.F.S. Huts at Scotswood, £10 10s., and Lord Roberts Memorial Fund, £9 9s.


A jumble sale will be held at Meldon Park on Saturday, 24th August in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund.

Sale opens at 3pm.

Tea provided, 1d per cup, visitors to bring their own food.


In aid of the Northumberland Blind Soldiers and Sailors and local V.A.D. Hospital, a Garden Party and Gymkhana will take place at Springhill, Morpeth, (Kindly granted by Mr and Mrs G. Renwick) on Thursday, August 29, at 2 o’clock.

A great attraction at 3 o’clock is a concert by The Musketeers, The Concert Party of the Instructing Staff of the Northern Command School of Musketry (by kind permission of the Commander).

There will be a Wheel of Fortune, Clock Golf, Putting, Hoop La, Bowling, Racing, Slicing The Rabbit, etc., etc.

Morpeth Pipers’ Band will be in attendance.

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

Admission 6d.

Tickets are available at the “Herald” Office, or from J.J. James, and Members of the Committee.

At 7.30pm, a Grand Concert will be held in the Masonic Hall in the evening, in aid of the above, by The Musketeers.

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, August 28.

To the general public we make an appeal for bread.

Would all desiring to contribute, kindly send a p.c. stating amount to myself.


Hon. Secretary

‘The Retreat’, Morpeth



A local agent to receive and rail fruit picked will be appointed in each place in Northumberland and Durham where a school is situated.

Apply to:—


Assistant Food Commissioner,

6/7 Collingwood Buildings,

Collingwood Street, Newcastle-on-Tyne,

for full particulars of remuneration and duties.


The Morpeth Branch of the Vegetable Products Committee will be at The Town Hall, Morpeth, every Wednesday, from 9am to 12 o’clock.

The Committee would be very grateful if people would bring fresh vegetables to send to the Sailors.



The Commandant wishes to thank those who have been kind enough to send the following gifts:—

Hon. Mrs Joicey, flowers and vegetables; Mrs Orde, cucumbers; Mrs J.J. Gillespie, cucumbers; Mrs J.S. Mackay, brown loaf; Mrs Rayne, eggs and flowers; Mrs Straughan, vegetables; Mrs Givens, potatoes and lettuce; Mrs Dargue, eggs and 2 quilts; Mrs Simpson, Hepscott, milk and flowers; Mrs Murray, vegetables.


The list of gifts received at Whalton V.A.D. Hospital during the week ending 13th August, 1918, are as follows: —

Mrs Marshall, £1; Mrs Clayton, Rothley Crag, vegetables, rabbits and fruit; Miss Taylor, scones; Miss Watson, chocolates; Mrs Crisp, scones; Mrs J. Robson, vegetables; Mrs Watson, a tin of salmon.

G.E. SMITH, Commandant.


It has been decided to release a limited quantity of cotton cake for dairy cows in milk, in respect of which priority certificates are not at present in operation.

For the present it is not possible, in view of the short supply of feeding stuffs, and of the desirability of conserving supplies as much as possible for the winter months, to issue certificates for more than ½cwt. for each cow in milk.

If it is necessary later on in the year to strictly ration feeding stuffs, any quantities so issued will be taken into account in any amounts then to be allocated.

Application for priority certificates should be made to the Live Stock Commissioner for the area before September 1st, 1918.


ADAMSON.— Died July 16th, 1918, through an accident received in France, Sapper Thos. W. Adamson (Tot), 458991, R.E.— Ever remembered by his loving brother and sister-in-law, Annie and Willie Savage, 20 Maple Street, Hirst.

NUNN.— Wounded and missing since October 26th, 1917, now presumed to have died on that date or since, Corporal John Arthur Nunn, 80 Seventh Row, Ashington.— Ever lovingly remembered and deeply mourned by his father and mother, sisters, and three brothers in the Army.



The Mayoress (Mrs Jas. Elliott) has up to date received the sum of £76. As all the collecting boxes have not yet been returned a further sum will be to add later.

The Mayoress wishes to thank all the ladies and gentlemen who so willingly helped in the collection both in Morpeth and the district, including Mrs Cookson, of Meldon; Mrs Chrisp, Whalton; Mrs Haggies, Netherwitton; Moss Yeaman, Choppington; Miss Thurston, Pegswood; Mr Harrison, Netherton; also Mesdames Armstrong, Temple, Turner, Evans, Burn, Heddon, Robson, Wyatt, and Waterston, and Misses Ayre, Harrison (2), Hopkinson, and Matthews, who canvassed the town.

Any lady or gentleman who has not yet subscribed may do so to the Mayoress within the next few days.