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.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 18 September, 2016, 09:40
HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, September 15, 1916.

Considerable regret was felt in Morpeth last weekend when the news spread that Lieut. Douglas Stuart, of the Royal Flying Corps, and well known in local banking circles, had been reported missing and believed killed.

The following extract from a letter sent by Major Laurence, R.F.C., shows pretty conclusively that Lieut. Stuart is a prisoner in Germany:—

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, September 15, 1916.

“Lieut. Stuart went out yesterday with three other machines, the other side of the lines. They met some German machines. Lieut. Stuart was in the leading machine with his flight commander Capt. Galmond, a very good and capable pilot. The pilot of one of the other machines lost sight of them again through having to continue the fight, and when he could look again he could not see the machine anywhere.

“It is most probable that Capt. Galmond had his engine or petrol tank hit and was forced to land without himself or Lieut. Stuart being hurt, as when last seen the machine was gliding down properly under control. There is no reason to suppose that either of them was hit, and I think we may safely hope that they are no worse off than prisoners in Germany.”


Sir,— May I urgently appeal through your columns for subscriptions and donations on behalf of the Morpeth Cottage Hospital, which is at present sadly in need of funds.

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, September 15, 1916.

Owing to the war, and from various other reasons, the collections are considerably in arrear, and although an effort will be made to collect these at an early date, I should be most grateful if subscribers who have not already remitted for the year 1915 will send them to me or pay them into the North Eastern Bank at the first convenient opportunity.

It is sincerely hoped that although claims from other sources are in the present sad circumstances undoubtedly more pressing than usual those of an institution which for many years has rendered most valuable services in the town and district will not be overlooked.— Yours etc.,


1 The Grove, Morpeth,

September 14th, 1916.


The organisers of the free gift auction sale to be held at Morpeth next Wednesday in aid of the British Farmers’ Red Cross Fund are leaving no stone unturned in order to make the sale a great success.

We would draw the attention of those interested to our advertisement columns, and there they will find a list of the present entries, comprising live stock, produce, eggs, butter, poultry, potatoes, furniture, new hurdles, and various useful articles.

Donors would greatly assist the promoters if they would have their gifts forward in good time — produce, etc., for Market Place sale by 11am, and live stock for Cattle Market sale by 12.30pm. The committee appeal for further gifts in kind or cash. The order of sale is timed as follows:— Market Place at 11.30am; Cattle Market at 1pm.

In conjunction with the sale there will be a flag day for which helpers are wanted. Those in charge of the flag day are: Mrs Geo. Renwick, Springhill; Mrs R. Crawford, Stanton; Miss Renwick, Springhill; and Mrs Chris Taylor, Newgate Street, Morpeth.

The secretaries and auctioneers are Messrs Thos. Waters and Son, Thos. Clark, and R. Gray.

Previous to the auction there will be a short meeting, when the following will take part:— The Mayor (Ald. Ed. Norman), Mr Geo. Renwick, and Major R. Crawford (chairman of the committee).


Tea was kindly given at the above sewing meeting on Thursday by Councillor and Mrs Simpson.

The proceedings were of a highly successful character, and the committee acknowledge gratefully the sum of £3 14s. 6d. as the result of the tea.

An urgent appeal for 50 pairs of hand-knitted socks for the men of the 1st Line 7th Northumberland Fusiliers has just been received by the committee, who will be glad to have offers to knit or gifts of socks.


There was a moderate attendance in the Co-operative Hall, Morpeth, on Tuesday night to hear an address by Mr J. Cairns, the prospective Labour candidate for Morpeth Borough.

Mr Cairns said he had come to Morpeth that evening to say a few words to the working people. He had been approached by the Northumberland Federation of Miners to come forward as the Labour candidate at the next general election. For over thirty years he had been associated with the miners, and was interested in any question which arose concerning them.

With regard to the wage question, the working man was worse off now than before the war. The miners, he believed, has received an increase, but the ordinary working man had not. A sovereign at the present time was only worth about 12/3. Since the outbreak of war food prices had increased about 65 per cent.

He said the sailors were running as great a risk as the miners, but they had not received an increase. Why was this, when the shipowners were making so much at present?

In conclusion, he said that if the working man wanted to improve his present condition, they must not turn to the richer class, but to their own class, and seek to improve their own position by supporting the Labour Party at the next general election.


NEALE.— Killed in action on 30th August, 1916 (No. 126), Lance-Corporal George Neale, 3rd Tyneside Scottish, dearly beloved husband of Isabella Neale, 112 Bowes Street, Blyth and son of the late ex-P.C. Charles and Ann Neale, Northumberland County Constabulary.— (Deeply mourned by wife and five children, sister, brother and sister-in-law.)

GRAHAM.— Previously reported missing, now reported killed in action, July 1st, 1916, aged 21 years, Private John Stokoe Graham (1388), N.F., eldest and dearly loved son of William and Elizabeth Graham, 43 Third Row, Ashington.— (Deeply mourned.)

HUME.— Died of wounds received in action, Aug. 28th, 1916, aged 18 years and 10 months, A.B. Ward Hume, (Z.T., 3562), beloved nephew of James and Jane Ann Shore, of Bates Cottages.— (Ever remembered by uncle and aunt, cousins Charlotte, May, Keren, Edward, and Sally.)


The Northumberland Appeal Tribunal (Berwick area) were engaged last Friday for five hours in hearing the appeals against the decisions of local tribunals in respect to exemption from military service, Twenty-two appeals came before them, nine of which were dismissed, four were granted conditional exemption, and the others were granted temporary exemptions.

The appeals which were dismissed were those of George James Gibson, Gubeon Cottage, Morpeth, cowkeeper; James Embleton, Earsdon West Farm, Longhorsley, working farmer; John George Miller, West Shield Hill, Morpeth, shepherd and ploughman and a time-expired soldier of the Northumberland Fusiliers (Territorials); Thomas D. Sinclair, Earsdon East Forest, Longhorsley, dairyman; Henry Luke, The Stores, Broomhill, managing butcher; Aaron Jeffrey, Felton, bootmaker; Richard Weightman, Rennington, joiner, mechanic, and village postmaster; Walter Davison, South Moor Farm, Shilbottle, byreman, etc.; and Thos. Edward Redpath (19), Wooperton, grocer, employed by the Hedgeley Co-operative Society.

Those who were granted conditional exemption were Joseph Penrose, Bede Street, Amble, assistant agent, employed by the Prudential Assurance Company; Edwin Carse, Oswald Street, Amble, solicitor; Robert Armstrong Tocker, butcher’s slaughterman, etc., employed by Mrs Grace Mackintosh, Wooler; and Andrew A. Johnston, Central House, Broomhill, manager of the Broomhill Co-operative Society.

An application for leave to appeal to the Central Tribunal by T.H. Charlton, Shilbottle, working farmer, was refused.


At The Wallaw Picture Hall, Ashington, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next will be shown the official pictorial record of the commencement of what is generally known as the “Big Push,” entitled the “Battle of the Somme.”

This hall is well known in the district for perfect projection and its reputation for clear and steady pictures is well deserved. Patrons will be well advised to book their seats early (no fee is charged for booking) to witness the projection of this wonderful war film. Everyone should see it.

Lloyd George says of it:— “This film is an epic of self-sacrifice and gallantry, and if the exhibition of this film does not end war — God help civilisation!”

The film is not a drama specially acted for the cinema, but is the war itself taken at great risk and by special permission of the British War Office that the people at home can see what our people are doing, of the great sacrifices they are making, of the hardships they are going through, of the gallantry, bravery, and true heroism with which they face death — and they do it all smiling.

We see them in all the different phases of the grimmest of struggles, we see pathetic scenes that will go deep down to the hearts of the hardest, we see scenes which make us hold our breath, and we see that undaunted spirit of Kitchener and of our noble ancestors shining in the smiling faces of our lads as the come from the trenches.

It’s a marvellous film. It is in five reels, and every inch of it helps to convey a message from our own relatives who are fighting to uphold with honour and strength Britain’s integrity.


Mrs Moffat of Lee Street, Annitsford, has received a letter from her husband, Corporal R. Moffat, who is attached to the Machine Gun Section of the Northumberland Fusiliers in France, informing her that he has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield.

This is the third Annitsford man who has won this distinction. Prior to enlistment Corporal Moffat was employed by the N.E.R. Co. as porter at Seghill station.


The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with many thanks:— Eggs from Miss Pringle, Tritlington; flowers from Miss Reed (Newton Underwood) and Mrs Rayne; fruit and vegetables from Mr Reid, Mrs Jobling (Howard Castle), Mrs Sanderson, Mrs Morrison, Mr Moffit, Miss Scott (Nedderton), and Private Hill; cakes from Mrs J. Simpson; towels from Mrs Rayne.


Mr Caine referred to postal facilities at Bedlington.

People who went to the post office on Sunday had to pay 3d. whether they got letters or not. He did not blame anyone in particular, but they had Sunday deliveries at Newbiggin, Hepscott, Bebside, and other neighbouring places. He referred to what people had done in sending their men away. He moved that they ask for a Sunday delivery of letters.

Mr Pick seconded the motion, and considered it a great injustice to be charged 3d. for getting a letter from men at the front. He suggested protesting month by month until things were altered.

Mr Baker supported the motion, and said it affected Sleekburn and Bomarsund also. He suggested writing to the Postmaster-General if necessary. He thought it was a wicked imposition upon people anxious to hear from men fighting their battles abroad. If money was the object they should tax the people generally and not those who had people fighting their battles.

The motion was agreed to.

Mr Toynbee was admitted to recommend the Council to take up the work of war savings. The Chairman expressed little hope of success.

Mr Caine thought it was a waste of time. It was all very well to suggest meetings, but they had other things as important for which they could get no attention. Mr Caine remarked that people were getting large wages, but the price of living was very high. It was no use the Council taking on more duties without a prospect of success.

It was agreed that no action be taken by the Council.


A very interesting lecture on the economic outlook after the war was delivered, under the auspices of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, to a large audience in the Philharmonic Hall, Ashington, on Thursday night last week. The lecturer was Professor A.W. Kirkaldy, M.A., M.Com., Birmingham, who handled his subject in a very able and thorough manner.

At the outset Professor Kirkaldy said that the problems that would face them when the war came to an end would be greater than any economic and social problems which had ever faced any people, and those problems were so great, and their efforts were calculated to be so far reaching that it would be foolish for them to wait until peace came before they considered them.

There are some of them who were beyond military age, and they had a certain amount of time to give to the consideration of what would come after the war, therefore it was incumbent that they should accept the responsibility and do their utmost to arouse public attention and public interest so that when the war came to an end they might have more than a skeleton policy which they would be prepared to follow.

Before the war broke out there was an immense amount of friction in the industrial world, class warfare, and discontent among the working people, but he was glad that the workers were realising more and more that friction means misery, and misery attacked the workers first.

After the war Belgium would have to be reconstructed before she could compete in commerce, and the same would apply to a large portion of France, Poland and Russia. England and Germany would be the only two European nations to compete in the world’s markets.

In Germany after the war working men would work long hours, and the manufacturers would be content with small profits, while the Government would probably subsidise the various trades with bounties.

As there would be an immense amount of foreign business to do there should not be industrial friction in England if we were to be successful.

If there was sanity of judgement and statesmanship employed by people, there was no reason, when the war was over, why satisfactory wages and a moderate day’s work should not be quite possible for the people of the country as against German misery.

If they used the new equipment of their factories to the full they would be able to turn out goods for export so abundantly and so cheaply that they would be able to defy German competition. He emphasised the fact that increased production, under proper regulations, meant higher and increasing wages.

On the motion of Mr J.J. Hall, seconded by Mr Edwards, an enthusiastic vote of thanks was accorded to the lecturer.


The pictures to be shown at the Avenue Theatre, Morpeth, next week are of a varied and attractive order. In addition to another instalment of the serial, “Greed,” there will be depicted on the screen a thrilling picture taken by Lieut. Malins, the daring photographer, who took the great “Battle of the Somme” film.

It shows the destruction of a Fokker and our mobile anti-aircraft guns in action.


On Monday evening a meeting was held at the Council Chambers, Blyth, with the object of organising a flag day in aid of the dependents of the Tyneside Scottish who are in need of assistance. Mr C. Hunter presided.

Mr T.C. Blackburn explained the initial steps taken in regard to the proposal. It was proposed to hold the flag day on 23rd September.

The Chairman referred to the fact that from Blyth 400 men had gone to the Tyneside Scottish, and they were all aware what gallant service they had given at the Somme and in other battles. Mr Hunter referred to the desirability of recognising in a practical way those who needed assistance.

Mr James, Newcastle, in the course of a short address, explained what was being done in connection with the movement. They had confined their flag days to places near Tyneside and at Wallsend and at other places had held very successful flag days. They had spent £150 in aiding wives and relatives to visit the wounded in hospitals.

The committee discussed arrangements. There will be a pipers’ band and procession, in which some interesting features will be presented.