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.

Sunday, 28th August 2016, 09:30 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, August 25, 1916.

The mother of a bomber in the Northumberland Fusiliers has had a pleasant surprise in the shape of a letter from her son whom she had mourned as dead for the past six weeks.

The bomber was reported killed on July 1st, but in his letter, written from a German hospital, he says that after being shot through the throat in the first attack on the Somme he lay in a shell hole for a day and a night, and sustained shrapnel wounds in the leg.

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, August 25, 1916.

On trying to regain the British lines he was captured by a German patrol, but owing to the heavy shelling of the German trenches by the British he could not be moved for six days, and during that time he had nothing but a little water.


Sir.— Last Saturday I sent off 18 parcels to the Morpeth boys of the 7th N.F. somewhere in France.

The parcels contained 1,000 cigarettes, 2 gross assorted chocolate bars, black bullets, clear gums, caramels, pastes (in variety), sardines, biscuits (assorted), carriage candles, fancy soaps, thirst quenchers, foot powder, playing cards, dominoes, writing paper and envelopes, pencils, books, magazines, etc. I have to thank Miss Mackay, “Herald” Office, for her gifts.

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, August 25, 1916.

On receiving Private Andrew Davison’s acknowledgement, I will insert same in the “Herald.”— Yours etc.



Sir,— I think it will interest your readers to know that the recent air raid on the North East Coast has shown that security from the worst effects of an enemy air raid lies in:—

(1) All persons immediately taking and keeping cover in the basement or on the ground floor in preference to a higher floor and not in front of a window.

(2) All persons having a supply of water handy for immediate application to an outbreak of fire. A quantity of two or three ordinary buckets should be sufficient.

I do not add the great importance of as complete darkness as is possible, as I believe that is now quite understood by all inhabitants of these parts.— Yours, etc.,


Chief Constable of Northumberland.


The above sewing meeting was held in the Soldiers’ Institute, Bell’s Yard, on Thursday, when there was a good attendance.

Tea was kindly given by Councillor Chas. Grey and realised £1 11s. 8d.

The hon. treasurer has to acknowledge with many thanks a gift of wool and a donation of 2/- from the Misses Pattison, Houghton Place, and of socks from many kind friends.

Tea will be given next week by Mrs Elliott, Bede House, Oldgate.


Pte. J. Foster, Hartford died.

Pte. J. McHugh, Bedlington, missing.

Pte. W. Jacobs, Blyth, missing.

Private W. Ashworth, Earsdon, missing.

Private R.W. Coe, Ashington, missing.

Sergt. L.F. Donnelly, Morpeth, missing.

C.S.M. Smith, Bedlington, killed.

Corpl. J. Wheaton, Cramlington, missing.

Private J. Turner, Choppington, missing.

Private T. Todd, Seghill, missing.

Sergt. J.H. Campbell, Bedlington, missing.

Private E. Mason, Bedlington, killed.

Private E.J. Taylor, Morpeth, killed.

Private J. Harle, Barrington, missing.

Private B. French, Choppington, killed.

Private W. Todd, Seghill, missing.

Private J. Freel, Shiremoor, killed.

Private A, Wilson, Choppington, missing.

Corporal F.M. Green, Bedlington, missing.

Private J.H. Choppin, N.F., Choppington, killed.

Private J.W. Nixon, West Cramlington, missing.

Private W. Hardie, West Sleekburn, missing.

Lance-Corporal J. Crawford, of Ashington, missing.

Lance-Corporal G. Dawson, Seaton Delaval, killed.

Pte. T. Robinson, East Yorks, Morpeth, killed in action.

Pte. T. Holland, N.F., Hartford Colliery, killed.

Pte. J. Young, N.F., Blyth, killed in action.

Pte. Hugh Connell, N.F., of Blyth, killed in action.

Private T.S. Brady, N.F., of Blyth, was killed in action on July 1st.

Private Joseph Robson, N.F., of Cambois, was killed in action on July 13th. He was 23 years of age.

Mr Robert Bates, blacksmith, Morpeth, has received information that his son, Sergt. Gilbert Bates, was wounded on July 1st.

Mrs Spry, of West Cramlington has been informed that her husband, Pte. W.S. Spry, S.L.I., has been killed in action.

Pte. Joe Brown, N.F., son of Mr T. Brown, 19 Blagdon Terrace, Seaton Burn, has been killed in France.

Lance-Corporal J. Lynch, N.F., son of Mr and Mrs J. Lynch, Low Cross Row, Seaton Burn, is reported missing since July 1st.

Mrs Arrell, of Bridge Street, Seaton Burn, has been notified that her son Pte. W. Arrell, N.F., has been killed in France.

Lance-Corporal George Lowes, son of Mr and Mrs James Lowes, of Ashington, has been killed.

Gunner James E. Hills, son of Mr R. Hills, of Bates Cottages, has died from wounds received in action.

Sergt. W. Porter, 10166, husband of Mrs A.I. Porter, of Double Row, New Hartley, has died from wounds.

Piper James Phillips, of 4 Burn Avenue, Forest Hall, previously reported missing, is now reported killed in action.

Mrs Wilson, 7 Sunderland Terrace, South Cramlington, has received official news that her husband, Private George Wilson, has been reported as missing since July 1st.

Mrs Henderson, 7 Poplar Place, Gosforth, has received official news that her husband. Private James Henderson, is reported missing.

Private Richard Pentleton, of Horton St., Blyth killed in action July 27th. Deceased, who was 23 years of age, had been in France twelve months, and worked at Shankhouse as a miner before the war.

News has been received that George Blackhall, eldest son of Hannah and the late George Blackhall, Morpeth, was killed in action on July 14th.

Mr and Mrs R. Hughes of Middle Row, Dudley, have received official intimation that their son, Pte. John Hughes, N.F., has been missing sine July 1st.

Mr and Mrs McAvoy, of 11 North Terrace, Wideopen, have received news that their son, Pte. A. McAvoy, N.F., has died from wounds in France.

Mr Thomas Crozier, Sheepwash, Morpeth, has received official notice that his brother, Private Robert Ellis Crozier, has been killed in France.

Mrs Russell, of Stove Row, Seaton Burn, has been officially notified that her husband, Lance-Corporal J. Russell, has been reported missing since July 1st.

Mrs Angus, of Station Terrace, Cramlington, has received word that her husband, Pte. E. Angus, N.F., has been missing since July 1st.

Information has been received by Mrs Mitchell, 2 Bridge Street, Seaton Burn, that her husband, Sergt. J. Mitchell, N.F., has been missing since July 1st.

An official notification has been received by Mrs Smith, Walker’s Buildings, Seaton Burn, that her husband, Pte. T. Smith, has been killed in action in France.

Mrs Day, 41 Henry Street, Gosforth, has received official intimation that her husband, Sergeant James Day, N.F., has been killed in action.

Mrs Hennessey, of High Market, Ashington, has received official information that her son, Private Edward Hennessey, has been missing since July 1st.

Mr and Mrs Samuel Willcox, Alnwick Moor, have been informed that their second son, Private Samuel Willcox, N.F., was killed in action on July 1st.

Mrs M. Ross, 249 Albert Road, Jarrow, late of Barrington, has received word that her son private Joseph Ross, is reported missing since July 1st.

Mrs Sproat, 2 Crawford Cottages, Morpeth, has received official information that her husband, Lance-Corporal Roger Sproat, is missing. Information of her husband will be gladly received by Mrs Sproat.

Mr and Mrs Clarke, of 32 Front Street, Annitsford, have been officially informed that their grandson, Private T.E. J Martin, N.F., has died of wounds received in action on July 16th.

Dr G. Newstead, Blyth, has received a telegram stating that his second son, 2nd-Lieut. B.R. Newstead, is in hospital, having been wounded in the neck. It is stated that the wound is not dangerous. Dr Newstead has received a telegram of condolence from the King on the death of his eldest son, Captain F.L. Newstead, recently killed in action.

Captain H.D.R. Davies, son of the Rector of Morpeth (Canon Davies) has been admitted to the 2nd Western Military Hospital, Manchester, suffering from fever. Captain Davies went to the Front in May 1915, was made a First-Lieutenant in September, was mentioned in dispatches a short while ago, and recently received his captaincy.

News has been received by the parents of Corporal T. Gibson, of 15 Double Row, Bates Cottages, that he has been killed in action in France. Deceased, prior to enlistment was a popular member of the Bates United Football Club, acting as treasurer as well as playing as goalkeeper. His death is a great loss to the club.

Mr and Mrs Hall, 23 Dale Street, North Blyth, have received information from the War Office that their son, Lance-Corporal David Barton (better know as Hall), is reported missing. Previous to enlistment he worked at Cambois Colliery.

Mr and Mrs M. Kinnaird, 80 Beatrice Street, Hirst, have received word that their son, Private D. Kinnaird, 23,126, Royal Inniskillings, has been missing since July 1st. Prior to joining the Colours, he was employed at Linton Colliery.

Mrs Mitcheson, 2 Astley Terrace, Hartford Colliery, has received news that her husband, Lance-Corporal Tom Mitcheson, Somerset Light Infantry, was killed in action on July 14th. Deceased had only recently returned to the front, having previously been wounded.

News has been received by his wife at Newsham that Private J.A. Hay, Transport Section N.F., has been killed in action. Private Hay was a native of Chester-le-Street, but has been in this district a number of years, and was working as a miner at New Hartley prior to enlistment.

The Major in command of the Northumberland Hussars, writing from Fulford Barracks, York, to Mrs Hand, of Plessey View, Blyth, of the death in hospital at York, of her son, Trooper George Hand, says:— “I deeply regret the death of your son, and offer you my sincere sympathy in your trouble. His life was full of promise, and he well and faithfully carried out his duties. His troop officer spoke of him in the highest terms to me.”— The remains of Trooper Hand were interred at Cowpen Cemetery on Saturday.

Mr and Mrs Dormand, of Cross Row, West Cramlington, have received official news that their three sons, Private Harry Dormand, N.F., Private Wm. Dormand, Somerset L.I., and Private Thos. Dormand, Somerset L.I., have all been wounded in France. Their grandson, Private George Dormand, N.F., has been killed in action.

Capt. Frederick Lisle Newstead, who was killed in action August 7th, was the eldest son of Dr and Mrs Newstead, Blyth, and was 24 years of age. Educated at Alnmouth and Durham School, he entered the University of Durham College of Medicine. After studying medicine for three years, he received a commission in the Special Reserve of Officers, and was gazetted to the 3rd D.L.I. two years before the war broke out. He went to the front in September, 1914, and was attached to the D.L.I., and was promoted to Lieutenant. He was invalided home with an injury to his knee in May, 1915, with the rank of captain. Capt. Newstead was an all-round athlete, rowing for his school at Durham, and later playing football and golf for his college.

The death of Regimental Sergeant-Major J.R. Wadge, M.C., of the N.F., has taken place at East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital, from wounds received in action. Sergeant-Major Wadge was a member of the Gosforth Urban Council and president of the Coxlodge and Gosforth Social Club. He was also vice-chairman of the Gosforth Floral Horticultural Society. He laid one of the foundation stones of the Aged Miners’ Cottages at South Gosforth on behalf of the Coxlodge miners. Just before the great advance, during a severe bombardment, he went out under heavy shell fire and rescued a number of men who had been buried in a dug-out, for which he was awarded the Military Cross.

Mr and Mrs Thos. Rutherford, Hepburn Bell, Alnwick, late of Eshott, have received official information that their only son Pte. James W. Rutherford, is reported missing between July 1st and 4th.


CURRY.— Died on April 29th, 1916, from wounds received in action in France, Private Andrew Curry, 13th Batt., N.F.

BREWIS.— Killed in action, August 1st, 1916, Driver William Brewis (19827), 10th Batt. N.F., aged 25 years, the dearly beloved and eldest son of John and Sarah Brewis, New Kennels, Blagdon.

GRIFFITHS.— Reported missing, 19th August, 1915, at the Dardanelles, since reported dead, Private Giles Griffiths, 8th N.F., in his 19th year, the dearly beloved son of Meggie and the late Giles Griffiths, late of Sleekburn, and stepson of Private Andrew Nichol, of 127 Katherine Street, Hirst.— Deeply mourned by his sorrowing mother and sisters, and brothers and friends.

HENDERSON.— In loving remembrance of Gunner J.W. Henderson, who was killed in action on July 19th, 1916, aged 28 years, the beloved son of John W. and Mary Henderson, of Hirst, Ashington, late of Longhoughton.— Ever remembered by his sorrowing mother, father, sisters, and brothers, George and Joe in France, and all who knew him.

COPPIN.— Killed in action, 7th July, 1916, Private James A. Coppin, 11th Batt., N.F., aged 21 years, the dearly beloved son of George and Elizabeth Coppin, of Rutherford Street, Guide Post, Choppington.— Deeply mourned by his loving father, mother, sisters and brothers, and all who knew him.


At the Newcastle Panel of the Northumberland Military Tribunal, Mr F.W. Dendy presiding, Ernest Edwin Hunter, I.L.P. organising agent for the Wansbeck Division, appealed against being sent to non-combatant service.

In answer to the chairman, he declined to seek some form of national service. He complained that national service was being used as a means of blacklegging and sweating.

The tribunal upheld the decision of the lower tribunal but gave leave to appeal to the Central Tribunal.


Mr John Calvert of Seaton Burn has received intimation that his brother, Pte. Harry Calvert, R.A.M.C., of Choppington, has been awarded the D.C.M. for bravey on the field on July 20th. Prior to enlistment in the early part of the war Private Calvert worked as a deputy overman at Choppington Colliery.


Although it has been frequently stated that a three-cornered contest in the Morpeth Borough at the next election is almost a certainty, it seems now more likely that there will be four candidates aspiring to the representation of the ancient Borough, which the venerable member, Mr Burt, has represented so faithfully and so well for 42 years.

Mr John Cairns is a certain candidate representing the Labour Party, and not less certain is that both Liberal and Unionist parties will bring forward a candidate when the time for the electoral struggle commences.

But a fourth candidate is stated to mean business. That is Lieut. Gerald Newton, R.A.M.C., son of the late Dr. Newton and Lady Newton of Newcastle.

This young medial man, who is at present “doing his bit” in the army service, has been approached to come out as an independent candidate, and has consented to do so, and the movement in support of his candidature, which was started in Morpeth, is rapidly spreading throughout the constituency.

In the course of a conversation with a “Herald” representative, Lieut. Newton said his military duties prevented him in engaging in propaganda work, nor would he under any circumstances engage in an electoral contest during the war, but he was emphatic in his declaration that he “means business,” and is sanguine that he can beat all comers in a contest for Morpeth.

He further remarked that after the war there would be new elements introduced into our politics, as the nation was evidently desirous of getting rid of the cancerous growths of party politics, which had been the cause of not a few blunders in the war, the effects of which had been against the interests of the cause of the Allies and the prolongation of the war.

Referring to recent political meetings, Lieut. Newton remarked that it seemed extraordinary that in a time of national crisis that the public should have inflicted upon them the same old dry-as-dust political platitudes. He said he had confidence that Morpeth Borough would uphold its traditions as a progressive constituency to support a patriotic and progressive policy.

Asked his views as to what national policy should be followed in regard to trade after the war, Lieut. Newton said he would support a policy which would give the nation security against German aggression, and such measures as would make it impossible that the people of this country should have filched from them the fruits of the gigantic sacrifices that had been made by the manhood of the nation, at the same time to take the fullest advantages likely to accrue to the working classes of Great Britain by the great changes in the new organisation of industry and the expansion of trade that must follow when peaceful industry once again entered into its long reign after the conclusion of the present gigantic war.

He remarked that the task of politicians and others must be to see to it that the lamentable years of political unrest and economic distress, the fault of unwise statesmanship after past wars, should not be experienced if political stupidity is excluded and common sense exercised.

In the task of re-building the fortunes of the nation, he remarked the workers must play an important part, and after the war, with its serious lessons, a new conception of trades unionism will doubtless arise, and the re-creation of national capital would be achieved only by capital and labour realising their respective responsibilities, and setting about in a patriotic yet at the same time sane and reasonable way to adjust differences by the exercise of common sense and goodwill.


The officer’s reference to Sergt. Norman Stoker (nephew to Mr John W. Stoker, registrar), of Seaton Delaval, who has been awarded the Military Cross, is as follows:— “15480, Lance-Corporal Norman Stoker.— This N.C.O. led bombing attacked with great courage although the enemy forces in most cases were far greater than the numbers at his disposal. Owing to his fearlessness and persistence many casualties were suffered by the enemy, and many prisoners were taken.”

Since this Corporal Stoker has been promoted to sergeant.


Private S. Gibson, N.F., of Bedlington has been awarded the Military Medal.

Sergeant George Storey, of Hartford Colliery, Cramlington, who is attached to the 8th Somerset Light Infantry, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous service on the battlefield. Prior to enlistment Sergeant Storey worked at Hartford Colliery. At a meeting of the Cramlington Urban Council it was resolved that the clerk should write to the recipient offering him their sincere congratulations.

Sapper Jim Smith, R.E., of Choppington, has been awarded the Military Medal.


The weekly report of the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen, and Clerks shows that 95 new members were enrolled last week. Interviews have taken place with employers with respect to wages in lieu of holidays, and also the operation of the minimum wage scale.

A growing number of women are now acting as branch officers owing to the male members serving with the Colours.