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, 7th August 2016, 9:21 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Adverts from the Morpeth Herald, August 4, 1916.

This has been the willing motto of the patriots who have realised the big task in hand, and will give effect to the Royal Order that the August Bank Holiday is to be dispensed with on the distinct understanding that those postponed holidays will be sanctioned as soon as the exigencies of war will permit.

The motto of all true patriots is “Get on with the war, and let holiday-making go by for the present.”


A local soldier serving at the front writes to his parents at Morpeth as follows:— ”We got back from the trench this morning (July 18th) for a rest, and we go up tomorrow night again. We had a rough shop the night before last, and we did not half give Fritz beans.

“I expect we will be in the reserve trenches this time, as I was in the firing line with my platoon last time and never out of it.

“I can tell you the Bosches are getting a ‘biffing’ just now, as our artillery are knocking the stuffing out of them, and if we continue to get plenty of ammunition the war won’t last very much longer.

“I see by the newspapers that there is going to be no August Bank Holiday, nor should there be. They talk in the factories about working seven days a week, but when they finish their work they can go to the pictures and enjoy themselves and afterwards go to bed in safety; but out here we have often to work not only seven days but seven nights as well. When you do get a night in billets you don’t know the minute you are going to be shelled out of it.

“However, we are doing our best, and giving our all for them at home, so it is only right that those at home should sacrifice a holiday for us. If the people at home could only see the sights we witness they would realise that there was a war going on, then they would not think for a moment about holidays.”

The writer goes on to say:— “We get good sport sometimes, and we are as happy as mudlarks, and I don’t think you would be able to find a cheerier lot of boys than us.

“We may have our rough times, but we also have our happy ones, and we always come up smiling every time, and can always sing ‘Are we downhearted?’ and answer in a loud voice ‘No, it will take more than that to upset us!’”


Whitehall, S.W.,

20th July, 1916.

Dear Sir,— The development of recruiting in recent months and the passing of the Military Service Acts have led to a large number of men joining the Colours whose absence from their ordinary vocations cannot but result in some dislocation of their businesses.

We feel sure that it is the universal desire that the men who are going forth to fight our country’s battles shall in their civil positions suffer as little as possible for their patriotism, and we wish to appeal to the public to help to secure this object by continuing to support the shops and businesses of men who have themselves or whose assistants have joined the King’s Forces, and by avoiding during the war the transfer of their patronage to other establishments.

May we ask you to let this appeal be circulated in your city, borough or district.

We are, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,


Home Secretary.


Acting President of the Board of Trade.


President of the Local Government Board.

Copies of this letter for displaying in shop windows can be had on application to H.W. Sample, Clerk to Morpeth Rural District Council, 15 Bridge Street, Morpeth.


To give a helping hand to worthy institutions or deserving objects various schemes have been tried, but none, we think, is more popular with all classes in these days of stress than the holding of a flower day or flag day.

In this connection we would like to mention that the Morpeth District Committee under the guidance of Mrs Chris. Taylor, Newgate Street, and Councillor R.N. Swinney have arranged for a Flower Day in aid of Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, to be held tomorrow (Saturday.)

About one hundred ladies have undertaken to sell flowers and to collect in the borough and throughout the district, including several outlying villages.

It need scarcely be remarked that the needs of the infirmary are great. At the present time nearly 600 patients are accommodated at the infirmary, including 178 naval and military cases of whom 147 are wounded British soldiers. A convoy numbering 27 was admitted to the military wards last week, part of the result of the recent severe fighting.

The work for the civilian patients is still maintained, and it may be pointed out that during last year there were admitted to the benefits of the hospital 23 in-patients and 20 out-patients from the Borough of Morpeth, and from the area, comprising the Morpeth union, 385 in-patients and 380 out-patients.

For several years the residents of this town have responded generously to the appeals for funds for the Infirmary, and it is hoped that in view of the special circumstances of the time, the result will be equally good on this occasion.

We heartily commend to the public this effort to assist the funds of such a worthy institution as the Royal Victoria Infirmary; and hope that the efforts of the ladies who have volunteered their services will be crowned with success.


We would call attention to a notice which has been forwarded to us by the Chief Constable of Northumberland (Captain Fullarton James) for publication.

It has reference to the Defence of the Realm Regulations (Regulation 35B), and reads as follows:

“If any person, having found any bomb or projectile or any fragment thereof, or any article whatsoever which he believes or suspects to have been discharged, dropped or lost from any aircraft or vessel of the enemy neglects forthwith to communicate the fact to a military post or to a police constable in the neighbourhood, or on being so required neglects to send or deliver the same to the competent military authority or some person authorised by him for the purpose, he shall be guilty of an offence against these regulations.”

The War Office request that the public will render assistance by notifying at once to the military authorities or a police constable, the finding of any article or thing as detailed above.


Private W. Hewitt, N.F., Ashington, killed.

Private G.H. Cole, Ashington, killed.

Private T.R. Hepple, Newbiggin, killed.

Sergt. J. Boyle, Ashington, killed.

Lance-Corporal James Robinson, N.F., of Cramlington, has been killed in action.

Sapper J.W. Howe, R.E., New Hartley, killed.

Lance-Corporal D. McDonald, N.F. Ashington, killed.

Private J. Dixon, N.F. Ashington, died of wounds.

Lance-Corporal D. Robinson, N.F., Ashington, killed.

Private F.R. Moat, N.F., Shiremoor died from wounds.

Private W. Smith, N.F., Gosforth, died from wounds.

Private John Morgan, N.F., Denton Burn, killed.

Private W.P. Atkin, Pegswood, died of wounds.

Lance-Corporal M. Southern, Bedlington, killed.

Private W. Bailey, Newsham, died from wounds.

Private R. Vickers Routledge, Bebside, killed.

Lance-Corporal T. Robinson, Cramlington, killed.

Private James Jones, Tyneside Scottish, Radcliffe, died of wounds.

Private W. Dixon, Royal Sussex, Amble, killed in action.

Corporal P. Punter, Tyneside Scottish, N.F., killed in action.

Mrs Anderson, 188 Hawthorn Road, Hirst, has received word that her husband, John Anderson, was killed in action on July 18th.

Private R.E. Miners, Somerset L.L., husband of Mrs Miners of Ridley Street, Cramlington, was killed in action on July 1st.

A.S. Baggaley, of Berwick, who played for Morpeth and Gateshead Fell Crickets Clubs, has been wounded.

Corporal Dan Dunglinson, N.F., a former captain of Blyth Spartans F.C., is reported missing.

Private W. Bailey, killed in action, was the only son of Mr and Mrs Wm. Bailey, of Newsham Miners’ Homes, and was 36 years of age.

Mrs J. Johnson, 120 Sandringham Road, Gosforth, has received official intimation that her husband, Corporal Joseph P. Johnson, has been missing since July 1st.

Mr P. Herron, 23 Riddle Terrace, Coxlodge, has received news that his son, Pte Albert Herron has died of wounds received in action.

Second-Lieut. Preston, late of Whitley Bay, is reported killed. It is stated that he lost his life in a gallant attempt to reduce some of his men.

Private W.H. Spry, N.F., husband of Mrs Spry, Lane Row, West Cramlington, has been killed in action.

Private R. Cuthbert, son of the late Mr L. Cuthbert, North Seaton, has been killed in action.

News has been received by Mr and Mrs Thomas Hetherington, Alnwick Moor, that their grandson, Private Thomas Hetherington, has died of wounds.

Mrs Richard, of High Pit Row, Cramlington, has received official news that her son, Private W. Richard, N.F., has died from wounds received in action on July 1st.

Mr Thos. Johnson, of Blaketown, Seghill Colliery, has received official news that his son, Private Jas. Johnson, Somerset Regiment, has been killed in action in France.

Mrs Dunn, 9 Manchester Street, Morpeth, has received news that Private Geo. Stobbart has died from wounds received in action on July 23rd.

Information has been received that Private George Richardson, Tyneside Scottish, son of Mr and Mrs J.D. Richardson, 3 Horsley Buildings, Morpeth, has been severely wounded, and is lying in Netley Hospital.

Mrs R. Appleby, of 2 Ivy Cottages, High Pit, Cramlington, has received word from the War Office that her husband, Private Ralph Appleby, N.F., has died of wounds at the 23rd General Hospital, Etaples, France, on July 12th.

Mr James Faill, Wingates, Longhorsley, has received official notice that his son, Rifleman R. Faill, of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, has been wounded in the fighting of 11th July.

Mr John Cairns, of the Northumberland Miners’ Association, has received a letter stating that his nephew, Private Andrew Lumsden, has been wounded in the back by shrapnel, and is in the 23rd General Hospital, Leeds.

Mr and Mrs John Thos. Hope, of 29 West Terrace, Stakeford, Bomarsund, have received some news from the War Office that their son, Private Geo. Hope, 4063, N.F., reported missing August 19th, 1915, at the Dardanalles, was killed in action on that date. His parents have another son serving in France.

News has been received at Felton that Lance-Corporal Harry Smith, Seaforth Highlanders, was killed in action on July 10th. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Smith of West Thirston. A memorial service is to be held in Felton Parish Church on Sunday evening.

Official information has been received by Sergeant W. Forbes, Police Station, Seaton Delaval, that his brother, Private John Forbes, was killed in action on July 1st. Private A. Forbes, Royal Scots, another brother, previously reported missing since last September, is now reported killed.

Mr and Mrs Robert Thain of Ashington, whose entire family of six sons are serving with the Colours, have been notified that their son Thomas was killed in action during the great push. The deceased, who was 28 years of age, leaves a widow and one child. Prior to the war, he was employed as a coal cutter in the Bothal pit.

Mrs Oscar Earnshaw, of West High House, Hamsterley Colliery, Durham, has received the following message:— “The King and Queen deeply regret the loss that the Army has sustained by the death of your husband, Lieut. Oscar Earnshaw, in the service of his country. Their Majesties truly sympathise with you in your sorrow.” — Signed by the Keeper of the Privy Purse.

Second-Lieut. J. Hutchinson, Manchester Regiment, son of Inspector Hutchinson, of the Bedlington Police, has been killed. The unfortunate officer was only 20 years of age, and was 6ft 3in. in height. About 18 months ago he enlisted in the Life Guards, but on obtaining a commission was transferred to the Manchester Regiment. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a clerk with Mr C. Alderson, solicitor, Morpeth.

Lieut. William Hudson Milburn, of the Suffolk Regiment, is officially reported to have been killed in action. He was the second son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Milburn of Duke Street, Alnwick, and was born at Haltwhistle. At the outbreak of the war he was science master at Framlington College, Suffolk. He was a B.A. of Cambridge, and a prizeman of Emmanuel College. He got his “Blue” for football, and was captain of the College XI.

Mrs O’Brien, West Greens, Morpeth, has received the following letter:— “I am very sorry to have to inform you of the death of your son Ned. He was killed outright by a shell that burst in the gun pit. It was on the 8th of July, and we buried him the same night in a cemetery near the guns. I am requested by the officers and NCO’s and men to express their deepest sympathy to you in this sad bereavement. It is hardly necessary for me to say that he was a friend to everybody, and his valuable services will be much missed. The only consolation we have is to know that he died doing his duty. He was a good chum of mine, and I miss him very much. Again expressing my deepest sympathy.— I remain, yours.— Bombr. J. Foster.”

Official news has been received that Pte. Edward Thompson, whose father resides at 9 Cowpen Square, Blyth, was killed in action on July 7th, He was only 19 years of age.

The death is announced by the War Office having been killed in action, of Private R.H. Routledge, N.F., of Bedlington, who was a familiar figure in Association football circles of East Northumberland for many years prior to the outbreak of war. He enlisted about 13 months ago. Routledge was a warm and active supporter of the Bedlington United Football Club, and in fact was one of its founders. He was also an active worker in amateur league football, and acted on the management committee of the old East Northumberland League and was one of the vice-presidents of the old Wansbeck League.

Mrs Neill, of Bowes Street, Blyth, has received the following letter from an officer of the Tyneside Scottish in regard to her missing brothers:—

“Dear Madam,— I am only too ready to furnish you with any information at hand about your two brave brothers, but I am afraid this is only too small. So few of those who went over were left that we can only get definite information about a few. Private Alex. Atkinson was reported wounded, but as you have not heard from him, and we have not been notified of his being in hospital, I am afraid there is little hope that he has escaped alive. With regard to Walter Atkinson little was known of him, and he was reported missing. As nothing has since been heard of him I am afraid he must be gone. I am extremely sorry that I cannot send you better news, and I hope you will take it with true fortitude with the knowledge that they gave all they could to for their country.”


THAIN.­­— Killed in action, Private Thomas Thain, N.F., aged 27 years, beloved son of Robert and Ann Thain, of 48 Ninth Row, Ashington.— Ever remembered by his father, brothers, and sisters.

TAYLOR.— Killed in action, July 1st, 1916, aged 21 years, Private Lewis Taylor, 20th N.F. (No. 669), the dearly beloved son of John and Margaret Taylor, of Hollymount, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned and sadly missed by his sorrowing father and mother, brothers and sisters.

O’BRIEN.— Killed in action, July 8th, 1916, Gunner E. O’Brien, aged 20 years, only and dearly beloved son of Mrs M. O’Brien, of 30 West Greens, Morpeth.— Ever remembered by his loving mother and sister, Ethel.

PATTEN.— Sacred to the memory of our dear brother, G. Patten, of Houndalee, Widdrington, who fell in action in France, July 7th, 1916. No willow weeps, no scented flowers bloom on our solider’s grave; A little white cross might mark the place for the sacrifice he made.— Ever remembered by his sister and brother-in-law, H. and W. Turnbull.

PATTEN.— Killed in action in France, July 7th, 1916, aged 22 years, George R.A. Patten, Northumberland Fusiliers (19915), youngest and dearly beloved son of George and the late Jane Patten, of Houndalee, Widdrington. A British hero to the heart, His precious life he gave; He died upon the battlefield, A noble flag to save.— Ever remembered by his loving father, and sister and brother-in-law, W. Kyle.

THAIN.— Killed in action on 7th July, 1916, Private Thomas Thain, N.F., the beloved husband of Jennie Thain, of Ashington, aged 28 years.— Ever remembered by his wife and child.

BEASTON.— Killed in action in France, July 1st, 1916, Private James Beaston, 1st Tyneside Scottish, the dearly beloved husband of Pollie Beaston, Widdrington Colliery. He marched away so bravely, His young head proudly held; His footsteps never faltered, His courage never failed, And on the field of battle He calmly took his place; He fought and died for England and the honour of his race. They miss him most that loved him best.— Deeply mourned by his loving wife.

CHRISP.— Killed in action, July 1st, 1916, Lance Corpl. John Chrisp, aged 33 years (1st Batt. Tyneside Scottish, N.F.), the beloved husband of Alice Chrisp, Chevington Drift, and third son of the late John and Margaret Chrisp, Newton-on-the-Moor.

GRAY.— Killed in action in France, Signaller John George Gray, 4th Bat., Tyneside Scottish, the dearly beloved son of Richard and Martha Gray, 11 North Row, West Sleekburn, aged 18 years and 11 months.— Ever remembered by his loving brother, Thomas, sister-in-law Nellie Gray, and niece Evelyn, and Frederick Simm.

DAME.— Died of wounds, July 22nd, 1916, Private Andrew Dane, aged 19 years, the beloved son of Margaret Ann and Patrick Dane, of 65 Katherine Street, Ashington.— Deeply mourned by father by father and mother, sisters, brothers and brother-in-law, and all who knew him.

HUNTER.— Killed in action, July 1st, 1916, Private William Hunter (418 N.F.), the dearly beloved husband of Mary Hunter, of 7 Old Colliery Row, Bedlington.— Sadly missed and deeply mourned by his sorrowing wife and 5 children, and father in Australia.

HOGG.— Killed in action, July 7th, 1916, Private P.S. Hogg (16089, N.F.)— Ever remembered by his father and mother-in-law, Mr and Mrs R. Holmes, and sister-in-law.

HOGG.— Killed in action, July 7th, 1916, Private P.S. Hogg (16089 N.F.), the dearly beloved husband of Mary Jane Hogg (Holmes), of 30 Newbiggin Road, Seaton Hirst.— Sadly missed and deeply mourned by his loving wife and two children.

MILLER.— Killed in action, 11th August, 1915, Private Thomas Martin, aged 23 years (No. 3946 N.F.), the beloved son of Thomas and Barbara Miller, of 9 Shiney Row, Bedlington.— Deeply mourned by all.

ROBINSON.— Killed at the Battle of Loos, Sept. 26th, 1915, previously reported missing, now reported killed, Private John Robinson, 8th East Yorks, late of Pegswood, and brother-in-law to Mr and Mrs Redfern, Bedlington, late of Preston. “He died that we might live.”

ROUTLEDGE.— Killed in action in France, July 1st, aged 35 years, Harry Routledge, N.F., the beloved son of Henry and Catherine Routledge of Bedlington Station. Deeply mourned.


With the shortening days we have already been given a forecast of what we may expect from our enemies, who have re-commenced their air raids, fortunately so far with but small success.

It behoves us all, however, to do our part in carrying out the regulations in regard to lighting, so that we may in no way aid the enemy.

There will be increased vigilance amongst our police — and don’t forget the “special,” whatever you do, or the consequences will be serious.