In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1916, 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, 12th November 2016, 9:18 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:37 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, November 10, 1916.

The Morpeth Military Tribunal for the last two months have been engaged in an endeavour to obtain policemen of military age, who are engaged in Morpeth, either in ordinary police duty or in clerical work in the Chief Constable’s and superintendent’s offices, for service in the Army.

There is said to be ten or twelve of these of ages ranging from 22 to near 40, five of them being single men.

Correspondence with the Chief Constable having proved of no avail, the matter has been taken up with the different Government departments concerned.

The departments, however, are not remarkable for their expedition, and in view of hurrying them up the tribunal a fortnight ago signified their intention of resorting to somewhat strong measures to obtain possession of the police employees qualified for military service, and following that up we understand that at Monday’s meeting the tribunal adjourned the whole of the cases before them, and passed a resolution recording their intention to adjourn all future cases until these young policemen have either been called to the Colours or a clear understanding has been had that they soon will be.


Sir,— I was very interested and amused to read in your paper of Oct. 28th a letter from “Justice.”

He discriminates very forcibly between the action of the kind samaritan who shared his room with a boy in khaki, and the (inferred) cruel suggestion of the men at the Orde House billet that the soldier should, along with them, have a bed on the floor.

“Justice” then proceeds to denounce the authorities for caring so little for the comfort of our wounded soldiers.

It may be, but it is scarcely probably, that in this enlightened age, your correspondent is so colossally ignorant of the Army and its ways as to imagine the men are provided, or expect to be provided with feather beds and all the other accessories of home comfort.

Whilst one cannot but applaud the man who played the Samaritan, “Justice” has, shall we say, slightly exaggerated the part of the men who “passed over to the other side,” and he should remember that when our boys “join up” they willingly forego a lot of luxuries, and “sleeping on the floor” would never, by a man in khaki, be described as hardship.

Of what stuff does “Justice” think our men are made?


Morpeth, Nov. 9th, 1916


The annual meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held at noon yesterday in the Town Hall for the purpose of electing a Mayor for the ensuing year. In addition to members and officials of the Corporation there was a large and representative gathering of the townspeople.

After the minutes of the previous monthly meeting had been read the election of Mayor was proceeded with.

Councillor Charlton said he had a very pleasant duty to perform, and that was to propose Councillor J.R. Temple as Mayor for the ensuing year.

He was an old volunteer, and he hoped and trusted that he would have the honour of welcoming the lads home from the Front. It was the wish of the Council, he was sure, that peace would be declared during the new Mayor’s year of office, and no one rejoiced more than he did that it has fallen to his lot to propose Mr Temple as Mayor.

Mr Temple said that the great war overshadowed everything, and very little could be done while it lasted, but he would like to see a commencement made with the bowling green and tennis courts which they had heard so much about. Morpeth needed something of that kind.

He hoped that the war would finish during his year of office, that the bells would ring and the flags fly for victory, and that they would welcome their soldier heroes home again.

They would not have to forget the men who had fallen fighting, and he hoped that they would shortly push on with their war memorial scheme, initiated by the Town Clerk, so that they could have a suitable erection in a convenient place with all the names inscribed of those who had fallen in battle. (Applause.)

Their gratitude should go out to those men who were sacrificing so much, and they should do all they could to help them.

He next referred to the recent formation of volunteers in the town, and also to the Boys’ Brigade. He also thought it was their duty as a Corporation to express their confidence in the Government at this time in their determination to carry on the war to a decisive victory. (Applause.)


Seen At The Playhouse Morpeth

Judging from the assemblies nightly at this popular house of refined entertainment, this speaks for itself the nature of the material provided for patrons.

War is a topic above all others now, and to see it in grim reality and the manner in which our lads are thrusting back the brute on the Somme, with a lightheartedness the envy and admiration of the civilised globe, cinema-goers should not fail to drop in at the Playhouse, Morpeth, where the films of this historical fight will be projected in a manner befitting the occasion.

Taken from our now mighty army’s activities in June down to the unique positions now occupied, these real and intense scenes go to prove that grit is still abundant in the blood of the Briton when the beloved freedom of our land is challenged by a relentless and crafty foe.

It should be remembered, too, that with a programme of such a magnitude the house opens at 6, the performance commencing at 6.30.


A most enjoyable evening was spent in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, on Wednesday, when a party of soldiers entertained their colleagues to a sing-song.

In the absence of the Major the chair was taken by Mr T.B. Waters, secretary of the Institute, who in his remarks said they were always pleased to see the soldiers.

The programme opened with a pianoforte solo by Private Cook, followed with a song by Sergt. Edge (encored), song and dance by Signaller Smith, violin solo by Private Baker (encored), comic song by Signaller J. Elliott (encored), song by Private E. Chantler (encored), monologue by Corporal Chantler (encored), song by Private Shipton (encored), song by Private Moorhouse.

By kind permission of Mr F. Tinsley, Playhouse, Mr Fred Elton sang three songs, which were greatly appreciated by all those present.

After the National Anthem had been sung, the chairman moved a vote of thanks to Mr Elton for coming and helping to entertain them; to Sergeants Edge and Lyalls, the organisers; to the artistes, and to Miss S Schofield, Private Cook, and Signalled Hunsworth, who had so ably presided at the piano.


Tea will be given on Thursday, November 16th, by the Mayoress of Morpeth, Mrs Temple, president of the Sewing Meeting, when it is hoped there will be a large attendance of members and friends.


Private A. Parkes, 2 Second Row, Choppington Colliery, has been killed in action.

Corporal Alfred Kettle, Cowpen, who had been reported missing, is now reported killed in action.

Second-Lieut. Phil.T. Read, Catham, Elgy Road, Gosforth, has been killed in action. He was, prior to the war, head of the firm of G.E. Armond and Co., Gateshead.

Mr and Mrs Hale, of 20 Doctor Terrace, Bedlington, have received word that their son, Private Alex. Hale, Machine Gun Section, Tyneside Scottish, was killed in action on July 1st.

Mr and Mrs R.W. Hindhaugh, 2 Deanery Street, Bedlington, have received official news that their son, Private George Hayes Hindhaugh, Tyne Scottish, reported missing, is now reported killed in action on July 1st.

Mrs Russell, of Store Row, Seaton Burn, has been officially notified that her husband, Lance-Corporal J. Russell, N.F., previously reported missing, is now reported killed.


BOWMAN.— Died of wounds, October 12th, 1916, Corpl. John Bowman (No. 11391), R.F.A., son of the late Thomas and Marlon Bowman, mason, formerly of Morpeth.

We think we see his smiling face, As he bade his last farewell, And left his home for ever, In a foreign land to die. But we have the consolation, He proudly did his best; Somewhere abroad our dear brother lies, A hero laid to rest. In the bloom of health death claimed him, In the pride of manhood’s days; None knew him but to love him, None mentioned his name without praise. But the hardest blow is yet to come, When the heroes do return, And we miss among the cheering crowd, The face of our dear brother that’s gone.—

(Deeply mourned by his sorrowing sisters, Kate Mary, Ann, brothers-in-law, T. Robson, T. Simm (now in France); also aunts, uncles, cousins, and all who knew him.)

DAVIDSON.— Killed in action on the 25th Sept., 1915, aged 23 years, Private William Davidson (13765), the dearly beloved husband of Maggie Davidson, No. 14th, Sixth Row, Choppington Colliery.— (Deeply mourned by his loving wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law, Isaac, and all who knew him. R.I.P.)

MILLER.— Missing since Sept. 25th, 1915, now reported killed, Private John Miller, N.F., of Bedlington, aged 25 years.— (Ever remembered by his father, mother, brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew.)

JACKSON.— Killed in action, on July 1st, 1916, Sergt. George Jackson, N.F., dearly beloved son of James and the late Isabella Jackson, of Barrington.— (Deeply mourned by his only sister, brother-in-law, and niece, Mr A. and Mrs Langley.)

MOODY.— Missing since August, 1915, now reported dead, Private John A. Moody, beloved husband of Sarah Moody, of Seaton Delaval.— (Ever remembered by his sorrowing wife and daughter.)


The Commandant acknowledges with many thanks the following gifts:—

Socks, Mrs Cookson, Miss Clark; books, Miss Waters, Mrs Cookson, Mrs Harrison, Mrs Temple; cigarettes, Mrs Rayne, Miss Brumell; eggs, Mrs Pringle, Tritlington; flowers, Miss Hudson, Miss Brumell; prizes for whist drive, Miss Soulsby, Mrs Coble, Dr. Phillip; cakes, Mrs Jos. Simpson; 5/-, Mrs Harding.


For two years in succession through the enterprising efforts of the “Daily News” assisted by various newspapers and commercial houses in the country, the troops of the various expeditionary forces were provided with a plum pudding on Christmas Day.

Last year we did our little bit to help to collect funds for such a good object. Our efforts on that occasion were so successful that we feel confident that our present appeal will be no less successful.

We, therefore, make a special appeal to our readers to assist us in raising money in this part to swell this laudable fund, and thereby show Tommy that we, who are privileged to stay at home, are not unmindful of him.

The fund has been jointly organised by the “Daily News” and “Daily Telegraph,” with the object of providing every British and Colonial soldier in France, Flanders, Balkans, Egypt, Mesopotamia, East Africa, Malta, and Gibraltar with a Christmas pudding from home on Christmas Day.

Hundreds of men from Morpeth and the surrounding districts are serving in the various regiments in the places mentioned, and they will be included in the general scheme of distribution, and we would earnestly ask our readers not to miss the opportunity of helping to brighten the lives of our gallant lads.

The following table shows what contribution is required is required to provide for one or more guests at this great trench party on Christmas Day:— 6d, one man; 2/6, five men; £1 1s, fifty men; £1 11s 6d, a platoon; £3 3s, a squadron or battery; £5 5s, a company; £9 9s, an artillery brigade; £12 12s, a cavalry regiment; £21, an infantry battalion; £44, a brigade; £42, a division; £850, an army corps.

Subscriptions will be gratefully received at the “Herald” Office, Bridge Street; Foundry (Swinney Bros.), and the Social Club, Market Place, Morpeth, and the Portland Printing Co., Ashington.


Grand high-class concert (under distinguished patronage) in the Playhouse, Morpeth, on Thursday, 7th Dec., at 2.30pm.

Full details later.

MR JOHN WYATT, Musical Director.


The sum of £13,560 10s 5d has been subscribed to the Northumberland Fund under the Naval and Military War Pensions Act in aid of disabled and discharged sailors and soldiers and the wives and dependents of those fallen or serving.

The miners of the Ashington federated group of collieries have contributed, per Mr J. Harrison, secretary, £330; the Bellingham Union Gift Sale and Show, per Mr E.E. Johnson (first contribution), £200; and Mr Anthony Wilkinson Clennell, Rothbury, £100.


The annual meat tea to the annuitants under the Mary Hollon Annuity and Coal Fund took place in the New Phoenix Hotel, Morpeth, on Monday evening.

Excellent arrangements were made for the interesting event, which has now been an annual one for at least 35 years.

Proceeding Dr. Drysdale said that one could not but look with no ordinary respect and reverence, in some ways upon the annuitants. They had a great many years to look back upon. They were in the midst of something indescribable, something the world had never seen before. They could think of many wars.

Their memories would go back to the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, and the American Civil War.

All wars were a calamity. There was something very heartrending about a civil war; but the American people rejoiced in it, because it was a question whether a nation was to be constituted on the basis of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was a far-seeing man, and he recognised then that the time for settling that question had come, whatever the length of time or sacrifice had to be made. It was settled for all time, and never again should there be on the face of the earth a people permitted to set up a nation based on slavery.

The Americans had found that that terrible calamity of civil war was now becoming, and had accordingly become, more and more a blessing to America and to the whole civilised world. The people were seeing that that calamity was worth enduring and that the greatest sacrifice was worth making.

He supposed that it would make the present war more or less terrible than it would have been if the most frightful calamity that had ever happened on such a scale on the surface of this earth turned out to be, and very likely it would develop into a blessing, although the blessing in the meantime was a blessing in disguise.