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.

Friday, 28th October 2016, 11:25 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Adverts from the Morpeth Herald, October 27, 1916.

The Morpeth detachment of the 1st Northumberland Regiment is not only increasing in numbers but in efficiency. Regular attendance at drills is a good point with the members.

The usual Sunday morning parade was held in the Grange House Field, when there was a very large muster. Ald. Wm. Duncan was in command, with Mr Hoey. The movements of the men are gradually becoming more efficient and the enthusiasm displayed is excellent.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Adverts from the Morpeth Herald, October 27, 1916.

After drills had been gone through the company had a short route march, headed by the local Pipers’ Band, and their smart, soldierly appearance was favourably commented upon.

The first weekly drill was held on Monday night in the Corn Exchange, Town Hall, when a number of new recruits were enrolled. The detachment now stands at 100.

Last night’s drill was also well attended.

A parade will take place in the Grange House Field on Sunday morning first at 10-15, when all recruits are expected to attend. Any others wishing to join may also parade and enrol at any of the evening parades.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Adverts from the Morpeth Herald, October 27, 1916.


Since its formation a few weeks ago the Morpeth detachment of the 1st Northumberland Volunteer Regiment has made good progress, and if the same progress be continued throughout the coming weeks then Morpeth is going to have a strong company of volunteers. The men who have enrolled so far, and they total about 120, have been most regular in their attendance at drills, which all goes to testify to their enthusiasm and to the fine spirit which is being displayed by them. It is evident from their past performances that they are determined to make progress and become efficient volunteers in the truest sense of the term. Besides they are very fortunate in a way, for they have the local Pipers’ Band, all enrolled members, to infuse the martial spirit when on the march. They were all out on a short route march last Sunday, and they presented a very smart appearance. Behind the movement there is a large and influential committee, who are taking the liveliest interest in the new formation, and we feel sure that they have every reason to be gratified at the splendid results attained so far.



The Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth , which has afforded much pleasure to the soldiers who have been stationed in the town and neighbourhood for the past two years, is in need of a helping hand. What is described as a “White Elephant” sale will take place in the building on Saturday afternoon, November 25th, the object being to raise much-needed funds for the institute. An appeal is being made to all ladies and gentlemen in Morpeth and district to kindly contribute miscellaneous articles, whether old or new, for the forthcoming sale. Mrs J. J. James is hon, secretary, and Miss Renwick, Springhill, hon. treasurer, and they will be pleased to give any information and receive contributions in money or kind. In the institute, to which all soldiers in uniform are cordially invited, there is a good supply of daily and evening papers, magazines etc., also games, and everything to provide concerts and “sing-songs.” Writing material is provided free, and refreshments at moderate charges.


At a meeting of the Alnwick Urban Tribunal in the Council Chambers on Saturday evening, Sir Francis E. Walker, chairman, stated that at a meeting held in Newcastle, to which the military representatives, chairmen, and clerks of the different tribunals had been invited by General Lawson, that officer gave an address, the drift of which was that more men was wanted for the Army, and a very large number of men, and men under 30 years of age, were of more value than those who were above that age. This had been proved.

The only way the Government could get men without any dissatisfaction was, in Sir Francis’ opinion, all men qualified for military service brought up, of the age of 25, or any age they liked to fix, should go without any appeal to the local tribunal–(hear hear)–and where there were exceptional cases the Advisory Committee might allow them to appeal to the Central Committee. At a given age they have got to go, but let that be uniform. He did not know where the Government might put them – whether on munitions or on the land, but at a given age they had got to go. The tribunals were willing to help in every possible way, but there could not be uniformity until the Government put its foot down and said what the uniformity should be.

The military representative (Mr G. G. Baker Cresswell) said he agreed with the remarks made by the chairman, but, as the military representative, he was in their hands.



A letter is being circulated amongst miners’ unions by the Miners’ Federation, in which it is stated that the Home Secretary is prepared to instruct colliery recruiting courts to revoke military exemption certificates of workmen guilty of absenteeism.


Corporal R. Moffatt, of Seghill, who had been awarded the Military Medal, is now reported killed.

Private Laurence Forster, N.F., of Hambledon Street, Blyth, has been reported wounded and missing.

Mrs Reid, of Railway Row, Dudley, has received official notice that her husband, Pte. Robt. Reid, has been killed in action.

Mrs Willis, of Jackson Street, Annitsford, has received official news that her husband, Pte. John J. Willis, N.F., has been killed in action. He leaves a widow and three children.

Mrs Mosley, 51 Regent Road, Gosforth, has had official news that her son, Private Henry Mosley, died on October 3rd from wounds received in action.

Mr and Mrs R. Moscrop, of Netherwitton, have been officially informed that their son, Private R. Moscrop, K.O.Y.L.I., was wounded on Sept. 15th.

Mrs Stoker, of Hirst Terrace, N. Bedlington, has received official notice that her eldest son, James Ratcliffe Stoker, was killed in action on Sept. 26th.

Mr Lisle, of Station Road, Dudley has received official news that his son, Pte. John Lisle, has been posted as missing; and that his other son Pte. Matthew Lisle, N.F., has been wounded and is in hospital.

Mrs Haddock, of 40, Lee Street, Annitsford, has received news that her husband, Gunner John Haddock, R.F.A., was killed in action on Oct. 15th. Prior to enlistment Gunner Haddock was on the Newcastle Police Force.

Information has been received by his relatives in Alnwick that Private T. Young, Bedfordshire Regiment, only son of the late Mr Thos. Young, George Inn, Alnwick, was killed in action on Sept. 15th.

Private William Metcalfe, D.L.I., who was a native of Blyth, and worked as a miner at Sleekburn Colliery before enlistment, has died of wounds received in action. He had only been in the fighting theatre about four months, and was 21 years of age.

Mr and Mrs Robson, Middle Cawledge Park, Alnwick, (late of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea), have received official intimation that their eldest son, William Robson, aged 25, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, has died of wounds received in action on October 7th.

Mr and Mrs Charles Fenwick, of Bedlington Station, have been officially notified of the death of their son, Corporal C. Fenwick (16303), East Yorks, who died from wounds received in action in France on Sept. 15th.

Lieut. Melvin Leslie Studdy, N.F., So. Shields died on October 22nd from wounds received in action on Sept. 25th. The deceased officer was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs R. Studdy, 14, Urfa Terrace, South Shields, formerly of Ashington.

Mr Thomas Bennett, 53, Palmersville, Forest Hall, has received word that his eldest son, Sergt. John Bennett has been missing since Oct. 1st., 1916, and that his third son, Lance-Corpl. Henry Bennett, was wounded on Sept. 26th, 1916. He was brought to St. Albans’s Napsbury Hospital and there died on Oct. 15th.

Mr and Mrs Nicholson, of Bebside, have now received official notice from the War Office that their son, Private J. E. D. Nicholson, N.F., who was reported missing after the Battle of Loos, on Sept. 25th, 1916, was killed on or after that date.

The Rev. J. E. Good, Vicar of Longhorsley, received information from the War Office that his eldest son, W. F. Good, was severely wounded on Oct. 20th, and is in hospital abroad. Lieut. Good was educated at Newcastle and Morpeth Grammar Schools, and afterwards entered St. John’s Hall, Durham University. He was a member of the Durham University O.T.C., and obtained his commission in the Durham L.I. in March 1915. He went to the Front in October last year.

Official notice has been received by Mr and Mrs Jas. McCall, 16, Double Row, New Hartley, that their son, Corporal Wm. Potted McCall, was killed in action on the 26th Sept.


AISBETT. – Previously reported wounded and missing since September 26th, 1915, now presumed dead, aged 38 years, Private Edward Aisbett, N.F., dearly beloved and eldest son of Thomas and Mary Aisbett, River View, Bank Top, Bedlington. – (Deeply mourned.)

DAVIDSON. – Killed in action on Sept. 15th, 1916, Private G. Davidson, youngest son of Mr and Mrs T. Davidson, of Stanners Burn, Falstone, late of Amble.

EAMENS. – Killed in action, August 4th, 1916, with the Australian Forces, George A. Eamens, third son of the late William Eamens, of Meldon, and Mrs Eamens, late of Heaton and Sydney, N.S.W.

EDWARDS. – Killed in action, September 15th, 1916, Bomber J. H. Edwards (2562), N.F., aged 21 years, dearly beloved son of Sarah Gladson of Maple Street, Hirst, also grandson of the late Edward and Mary Ann Edwards, late of Longhirst. (Deeply mourned by his mother, step-father, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and comrades.)

FERGUSON. – Killed in action October 5th, 1916, aged 25 years, Private J. H. Ferguson (901), N.F. –Deeply mourned by his father, mother, brothers, sisters, and all relatives. (Gone but not forgotten.)

FORD. – In loving memory of Archibald, the dearly beloved son of James and Margaret Ann Ford, of Guide Post, who was killed in action on September 25th, 1916, aged 21 years.–(Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his loving father, mother, sisters and brother.)

HANNAY. – Killed in action, September 26th, 1916, aged 23 years, Watson Selby Hannay, of 16, Shiney Row, Bedlington, N.F. Also his brother Tom, who was killed in the Gallipoli Peninsula on June 4th, 1915, aged 25 years. – (Ever remembered by his sister Lizzie and George Hall, Cambois; also dear brother Fred in France.)

LONSDALE. – Died from wounds received in France, October 14th, 1916, 1916, Private J. R. Lonsdale, N.F., of Bedlington, aged 28 years.–(Deeply mourned by his loving father and mother, sisters and brother, and brother-in-law (now in France.)

MAUGHAN. – Died of wounds on October 6th, 1916, at Rouen, France, aged 28 years, Private Arthur M. Maughan, eldest son of Mary and the late George Maughan, late of Amble.–(Deeply mourned by his mother, sister and brother.)

NICHOLSON.–Missing since Sept. 25th, 1916, now reported killed, Private Joseph Edward Davidson Nicholson, aged 24 years, beloved son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Nicholson, foreman mason, Bebside, and grandson of the late Edward Nailen. –(Ever remembered by his loving father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all who knew him.)

PORTER.– In loving memory of David, the beloved son of Joseph and Ellen Porter, of Guide Post, who was killed in action on Sept. 25th, 1916, aged 24 years .– (Ever remembered by his loving father, mother, and brother and sister, and friends.)



Private F. R. Daglish, of the N.F., writing from the Front to a collector of the above Fund, expresses his gratitude on receiving the welcome box of fags when coming out of the trenches. The gallant Fusilier mentions that the battalion has been in the thick of it lately, and has fought side by side with Morpeth Terriers.



The Ministry of Munitions is prepared to receive applications from women of all classes wishing to be trained as munition workers at the centres which the Ministry has established by arrangement with educational authorities in the various parts of the kingdom. It is especially desired to train persons who are not at present employed in any form or directly productive work. The training in all cases is free, the student undertaking to enter a munition factory at the end of the course. The length of the course varies in different localities, the maximum being six weeks, six days a week, four hours a day, 144 hours in all. The nature of the training varies according to the class of work in demand, every effort being made to train for a specific purpose. The course is divided into bench work at the vice and operating machine tools, e.g., lathes, milling machines, etc. Students who show marked aptitude may be selected for a further course of specialised instruction. In such cases maintenance allowances are granted. Excellent prospects are offered to students who undergo this lengthened training. Preference is given to students who are prepared after training to accept work in any district in which there is a demand. Training courses do not as a rule accept students outside the ages of 18 and 45 years.Intending students must be willing to accept the usual factory conditions, and to work on either day or night shifts, as required, and for the same hours as other women workers in the factory. One of the centres mentioned is prepared to receive students, who should apply to the official named, is the Newcastle Rutherford Technical Institute, Director, Percival Sharp, B Sc.



The grand concert and dramatic entertainment held on Thursday week in the Playhouse, Morpeth, promoted by the Hon. Mrs Joicey, Longhirst Hall, in aid of the Red Cross Overseas, realised altogether, including flags and donations, the handsome sum of £63 1s 6d, which has been sent to the proper authorities in London.


A retiring collection was taken at the Congregational Church, Morpeth, on Sunday, October 15th, which amounted to the handsome total of £4. This sum has been handed over to the Y.M.C.A. Hut Fund to assist in carrying on the good work both at home and abroad.



It was agreed, on the motion of Mr Young, seconded by Mr Dorman, that the following be appointed officers of the War Savings Committee for the Morpeth Rural area:–The Hon. and Rev. W. C. Ellis (chairman), Major R, Crawford (treasurer), and Mr H. W, Sample (secretary).

It was also agreed that the members of the Council make enquiries in their areas as to the establishment of war savings associations and communicate with the secretary.


A meeting of the panel for the Hexham area was held at Morpeth on Saturday last, for the purpose of hearing appeals from the Rothbury Urban and Rural Local Tribunals.

The Chairman (Col. J. W. Clark, V.D,) stated that before the work of the Tribunal commenced he would like to emphasise the absolute necessity of maintaining the Army at the present stage, and that it was so urgent that the authorities had decided that even at risk of lessening the production of food in the country by taking labour from farms, single men under the age of 30 engaged in agriculture must, except in very exceptional circumstances, be sent to serve the country. The Tribunal would, therefore, in dealing with such cases, even where the work on the farms might suffer, not grant exemption. The War Office order that men engaged in agriculture would not be called up before the 1st January remains in force, but after that date men who had not been exempted by the Tribunals would have to serve. Farmers should therefore lose no time in making arrangements for carrying on their farms without the assistance of any single men under the age of 30.

Sixteen cases were then disposed of. In three cases short periods of exemption were granted to tradesmen on the ground of serious hardship. All the other appeals were dismissed, and on the application of the military representative the certificate of exemption held by a single man aged 19 employed on a farm was directed to be withdrawn.

The following cases in the Morpeth district came before this court at Alnwick on Monday last:–

Mr Alderson, solicitor, Morpeth, appealed for the exemption of George Jennings, 7 Burnside, motor mechanic, employed by his father. It was stated that George Jennings, 27 years of age, was granted six months’ exemption by the Morpeth tribunal, on condition that in the meantime his brother went to the Army. By some means not clearly proved, this brother escaped and now the tribunal thought that George ought to serve instead of his brother.

Mr Alderson said he could not argue with that statement. The two men were both before the tribunal, who granted six months’ exemption to George Jennings and refused William, his brother. Subsequently an official waited upon him from the Minister of Munitions, who told him that skilled men were wanted, and the result was that he went to the munitions and was now in one of the departments at West Hartlepool in charge of 35 women. Mr Jennings had two sons in the Army, and William was willing and preparing to go, when the representative of the Minister of Munitions took him away. Now Mr Jennings was left with only one son, George. The office staff was now composed only of girls, nine men having gone to the Army and four to the munitions, If Mr Jennings could possibly arrange by any means to get a skilled man then he was perfectly willing that his son George should go.

The appeal was dismissed.

Lancelot Walton, farmer and quarryman, Longdyke, appealed for George Walton, his nephew, and employed by him as a carter.–The appeal was dismissed.

The military representative appealed against the decision of the Morpeth Rural District Tribunal granting temporary exemption to William Harding (31), stockman, etc., at Needless Hall Moor, employed by Wm. Coley, farmer, who was present in his behalf.–It was stated that there were two shepherds and a stockman on the farm. Mr Coley’s only son joined the Army to enable the other men to be retained on the farm.–The military representative held that the man was not indispensable on the farm.–The tribunal upheld the appeal of the military, the chairman remarking that Harding must serve, but he would not be called upon until January.

William Temple, Rothbury, appealed on behalf of his son, James Temple (25), Folly House, Netherwitton, joiner, etc., and shepherd, against the decision of the Morpeth Rural District Tribunal, who did not consider him indispensable–Applicant said he had already one son in the Army, and this one for whom he appealed had been certified as only for for home service. His work was in an agricultural district, and no one could be got to take his place.–The appeal was dismissed.–Appellant asked if he could have do redress,. and was told by the chairman that the decision was final; they could not grant leave to go any further with the case.

An appeal was made for the exemption of J. H. Ashby, an attendant at the County Asylum. It was claimed that Ashby was married and second in charge of the most important ward in the asylum. He had been specially training for the work, and it had been found impossible to get another man qualified to discharge his duties adequately, having to look after the most serious cases of male patients. When his senior was absent Ashby had charge, and there were about 900 patients. With the exception of four, including Ashby, all the attendants had been cleared out through the war. Ashby had passed fit for general service.–The case was adjourned for the asylum authorities to being the circumstances before the Board of Control.

Mr T. D. Shaw, solicitor, Morpeth, appealed on behalf of John N. Piper, Prospect Terrace, Pegswood, grocer, etc. It was stated that Piper, in addition to the grocery and provision business he carried on a tobacconist’s shop, in which he sold newspapers and confectionary.–It was alleged that he was also a bookmaker, and on that ground the certificate was withdrawn.–Piper denied that he was a bookmaker and that he took an active interest in quoit matches.–The military representative asked for the case to be adjourned till next meeting, on the 30th October, to which the tribunal agreed.


An appeal to the lodges of the Northumberland Miners’ Association has been issued by the Executive Committee for support of the movement for funds to maintain and extend the work of the Y.M.C.A. among soldiers and sailors. Of the Y.M.C.A. Mr Straker observes in a letter accompanying the appeal, “Their debt becomes our debt, as we recognise with gratitude all they are doing.” It is thought that the colliery lodges may help by donations from their funds, by the promotion of flag days and concerts, and in other ways that may promise substantial aid in the provision of huts, the need of which is emphasised by Mr Rowland Lishman, joint hon, secretary of the Y.M.C.A. campaign, in a letter to Mr Weir, the Northumberland miners’ president.