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, 10 July, 2016, 09:28
HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, July 7, 1916.

First-class Stoker John R McCarthy, of the flagship, the Lion (Admiral Beatty), and son of Mr John McCarthy, Copper Chare, Morpeth, is at present spending a short furlough with his parents.

McCarthy has been on the Lion since it was first commissioned, and has been with it in all the naval engagements during the war, the Dogger Bank fight and the great naval battle off Jutland, and has come through all the fights without a scratch.

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, July 7, 1916.

In the Jutland battle he was in the turret all the time. He has brought home with him two large pieces of one of the German 12in. shells which were fired at the Lion.

He is in excellent health and spirits, and none the worse for the terrible experiences he has gone through. The pieces of the shell are being exhibited in Pentland and Company’s shop in Newgate Street.


Official news has been received at South Shields that Private George Lounton, a journalist, who was some years ago on the reporting staff of the “Morpeth Herald,” was killed in action on June 24th.

HERALD WAR REPORT: News, notices and adverts from the Morpeth Herald, July 7, 1916.

Deceased, who was a native of Sunderland, was 30 years of age, and commenced his career as a reporter on the “Sunderland Post”. He afterwards held positions in Newcastle, at Morpeth, Coventry, Ashington and South Shields. He was appointed on the staff of the “South Shields Gazette” six years ago. He volunteered for active service shortly after the outbreak of war, and joined the Durhams.


During the trek of the D Company of the 1st Line N.C.B. they had the luck to have one night in Morpeth, and they got permission to stay at Springhill, the owner (Mr G Renwick) receiving the men very cordially and treating them like gentlemen.

Mr Renwick gave the boys leave to roam about the grounds as they wished, and gave them a good supper and smokes at 10pm. In return the officers, N.C.O.’s and men gave a concert, and the company showed some good talent

Mr Renwick, who was in the chair, opened the concert with a song.

The programme was as follows: – Commercials’ Song for Tobacco, Mr Renwick; Officers’ Evensong, Compos on Trek, Lance-Corporal Hughes; Long Long Trail, Corporal J.J Hall; hornpipe dance, Captain S Renwick; When the Angelus is Ringing, Capt. C Fenwick; He’s a Rag Picker, Lance-Corporal Moffit; Litte Bit of Heaven, Lieut. Dowling; chorus song, whole company; overture on piano, Lance-Corporal Hall; duet, violin and piano, march and ragtime ditties, Lance-Corporal Defledge and Cyclist Dixon; violin solo, Cyclist Dixon. Cyclist Dixon accompanied all the singers.

A vote of thanks to Mr Renwick and family was proposed by Company-Sergt.Major Bryce.

In response Mr Renwick said he was pleased to have the boys with him.


We regret to learn that our townsman, Mr N.I Wright, has received intimation that his son-in-law, Lieut-Colonel Edgar Innes, of the 8th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, has been killed in the battle of the Somme.

Colonel Innes in May last received the honour at the King’s hands of the Order of St Michael and St George, and his regiment was amongst those specially mentioned in a recent despatch from Sir Douglas Haig.

The sympathy of all who knew him will be extended to his widow, who, as Miss Nancy Wright was well known in Morpeth, and to Mr and Mrs Wright, in their irreparable loss.


Pte. J.T Morgan, Caledonian Scottish Rifles, of Blyth, killed.

Pte. Tom Niblo, Blyth Spartans old centre forward and international, has been wounded in action in France, and is in a home hospital.

Pte. J Allan, of Dinnington Colliery, has died of wounds.

Mrs Hall, 2 Short Buildings, Burradon Colliery, has received intimation that her husband, Pte. G. Hall, N.F., has been killed in action.

Pte. T Cobbleditch, West Yorks, of Ashington, has died.

Mr and Mrs Talbert, Ashington, have been officially informed that their son, Pte. Michael Talbert, who had been missing since May, 1915, is now reported dead.

Pte. Thomas Hutchinson, son of Mrs and the late Mr H Hutchinson, of 22 Mowbray Street, Heaton, late of Chevington, has been killed in action.

Mrs Bowman, 6 West Greens, Morpeth, has received information that her husband, who has been missing since May 8th, 1915, has now been officially reported killed.

Mr and Mrs John Allan, of Walter Street, Dinnington Colliery, who were notified that their son Private James Allan, of the N.F., has been wounded, have received a further communication that he has since died from wounds.

Mr and Mrs W Stephenson, of 13 Low Cross Row, Seaton Burn, have received a notification from the Admiralty that their son, T.E Stephenson, A.B., R.N.V.R., was lost on the “Queen Mary”. Another son, Private W.L Stephenson, of the Tyneside Scottish, has been wounded.

Mrs Cooper, of 31 Lynn Street, Blyth, has been notified that her husband, Sergt. G Cooper, has died from wounds. A Sister-in-Charge of a base hospital has written confirming the sad news: – “I am distressed to have to tell you of the death of your husband, Sergeant G Cooper, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was brought in yesterday morning to this hospital, badly wounded in the abdomen. The doctors did all they could, but his condition was quite hopeless and he passed away at 10.15pm. He was conscious when he came in and he gave me your address and sent you his love. He will be buried today in the rising ground close behind the camp. I am grieved to think of your bereavement. Your husband has given his life for his country in a just cause, and there is no more honourable death.”

Private J Wright, of North Seaton Road, Hirst, has been killed in action.

Sergt. Jos. Graham, Canadians, son of the late Mr and Mrs Graham, Guide Post, Choppington, has died of wounds.

Mr and Mrs F Hampton, of 2 Lane Row, West Cramlington, have been informed that their son Lance-Corporal Thos. Hampton, was killed on June 18th. He was 23 years of age, and prior to joining the Colours worked at the West Cramlington pit.

Mrs Holland, of 36 Mortimer Street, Hartford Colliery, has received official intimation that her husband, Private Joseph James Holland, N.F., was killed in France on June 5th. Prior to joining the Colours he worked at Hartford Colliery. He was 27 years of age, and leaves a widow and three children.

Mr and Mrs Foster, of Shankhouse Terrace, Shankhouse, have received information that their son-in-law, Private Robert Taylor, N.F., has been killed in action. Private Taylor was well known in the Cramlington district, and for a great number of years worked as a hewer at the Cramlington Ann Pit. Before joining the Colours he went to work at the Ashington collieries, where he leaves a widow and nine children.

Lance-Corporal T Macsparron, 74½ Sycamore Street, Hirst, son-in-law of Alfred Eke, late of Woodhorn, now in Australia, has died from wounds. Deceased leaves a wife and four young children.

Mrs Saint, of Plessey Road, Blyth, whose husband is in the Army, was informed by the War Office that her husband was presumed to be dead. She has now received word from her husband, who is a prisoner in a German hospital, having been wounded.


Seaman R Nicholson, of Ashington, lost with H.M.S. Black Prince.

A.B. Robert Evans, of Ashington, lost with H.M.S. Hampshire.

Able Seaman William Thomson, son of Mr and Mrs Thomson, 12 Oswin Avenue, Forest Hall, has been killed in action on H.M.S. Indefatigable.

First-class Stoker Charles Waugh, son of Mr Robert Waugh, Frulea Cottage, Forest Hall, lost with H.M.S. Queen Mary.

Mr and Mrs Robert Glenton, Ashington, have been informed that their son, Percy Glenton has been killed in the recent naval fight.

Ordinary Seaman Albert Edward Morris, son of Mr and Mrs J Morris, Cambois Colliery, has been killed on H.M.S. Shark.

Stoker John Briggs Holliday, Balfour Street, Blyth, H.M.S. Invincible, lost. He was in the Falkland Island fight under Admiral Sturdee.

John William Wood was lost in the cruiser Black Prince. He was 22 years of age, and a son of Mr and Mrs John Wood, of 25 Woodbine Terrace, Blyth, and formerly of North Shields.

Stoker William Weatherley, 16 Wright Street, Blyth, H.M.S. Queen Mary, lost. Deceased was only 18 years of age.

Seaman W Summers, of Blyth, H.M.S. Invincible, lost.

Stoker George Hedley, Brick Row, Bebside Furnace, H.M.S. Indefatigable. He was the third son of Pte. and Mrs Hedley to give his life in the war.

Stoker T.J Weir, of Hirst, lost.

Seaman R.M Dixon, of Boathouse Terrace, Cambois, H.M.S. Black Prince, lost.

Stoker Wm. Sweet, Ashington, H.M.S Queen Mary, lost.

Stoker Thomas Bank, Seventh Row, Choppington Colliery, H.M.S. Invincible, lost.

A.B. T.E Stephenson, Seaton Burn, H.M.S. Queen Mary, lost.

A Southall, Shiremoor, H.M.S. Invincible, killed.


ADAMSON. – Missing since May 24th, now reported killed, aged 35 years, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, Arthur Surtees, beloved husband of Margaret Elizabeth Adamson, of Sheepwash, Choppington. – Deeply mourned. – He answered his country’s call.

DOUGLAS. – Killed in action in France on June 22nd, 1916, aged 23 years, Corpl. Francis Douglas (Tyneside Scottish), third and dearly-beloved son of Mr and Mrs James Douglas, 72 Newgate Street, Morpeth – Sleep on, dear son, in a far-off grave. A grave we may never see; You gave up home, love, life and all, That England should be free – Ever remembered by his loving father, mother, brothers and sister.

JOHNSON. – Killed in action, May 10th, 1916, aged 19 years 9 months, Pte. William Johnson, dearly-beloved son of John and M.J Johnson, 26 Third Row, Ashington, grandson of Mary and the late William Johnson, also the late John and Johanna Murray, Ashington. – The face we loved is now laid low, The fond, true heart is still; But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow, None but an aching heart can know. – Deeply mourned by father, mother, only brother, and all who knew him.

JEFFREY. – Killed in action, June 22nd, Pte. John George Robert Jeffrey, Northumberland Fusiliers, aged 22, the dearly beloved son of J.T and E Jeffrey, 7 Emerson Road, Newbiggin. – Deeply mourned by his loving father and mother, brothers and sisters; also his grandfather and grandmother, uncles and aunts, of 12 Castle Terrace, Ashington. – He was our first-born, Heaven’s gift; Aye, and good was he to all of us at home. – Held in esteem by all who knew him. – At his country’s call one of the first to answer and to bleed. – Deeply mourned by his dear sweetheart, Cissie Taylor.

HOLLAND. – Died of wounds received in action on the 17th June, Pte. Joseph Holland (late of Felton), 7th N.F., aged 20 years, beloved and only brother of William Holland, 9 High Stanners, Morpeth.

REDPATH. – Previously reported missing since June 20th, 1915, now reported killed, Able-Seaman Frederick William Redpath, Hawke Battalion, R.N.D., aged 20½ years, dearly-beloved son of George and Jessie Redpath, of 32 East Terrace, Bomarsund. – Gone is the face we loved so dear, Silent be the voice we long to hear, Too far away from sight or speech, But not too far for our thoughts to reach. Time may heal the broken heart, Time may make the wound less sore, But time can never stop the longing For the loved one gone before. No morning dawns, no night begins, But what we think of him. – Deeply mourned by his sorrowing father and mother, brothers and sister, (one brother in France).

WESTLE. – Killed in action in France on 17th June, 1916, No. 3812, Pte. J Westle, aged 20, eldest son of Mr Edward H and Ellen Westle, of Chevington Drift. – Not our will, O Lord, but Thine be done. The face I love is now laid low, The fond, true heart is still, The hand I clasped when saying good-bye Lies low in death’s cold chill. – He died a hero’s death. – Sadly missed and ever remembered by his loving father and mother, brother and sister, and all who knew him.

SCOTT. – Killed in action, June 17th, 1916, Sergt. Joseph Scott, 7th N.F., dearly-beloved son of Joseph and Jessie Scott, of 35 Hedgehope Terrace, Chevington Drift, aged 22 years.

– He left his home in perfect health And to the war he went, Not thinking of the danger there That makes our hearts lament. Death to him short warning gave, but quickly took him to his grave; His weeping friends he left behind, He had no time to speak his mind. Had we but seen him at the last And watched his dying bed Or heard the last sigh of his heart And held his drooping head Our hearts, I think, would not have felt such bitterness and grief; But God has willed it otherwise, And now he sleeps in peace. ‘Tis sweet to know that we shall meet Where parting is no more, And that the one we loved so well Has only gone before. – Ever remembered by his loving father and mother, sisters and brothers, and all who knew him.


A meeting of the Northumberland Appeal Tribunal was held at Alnwick on Friday, when 14 cases were considered. Mr D. Watson Askew presided, and the members present included Colonel R Scott, Mr E.C Haggerstone, Mr George Tate, and Mr J.R Wood; also Major E.P Cross, military representative; Mr G.G Rea, agricultural representative; and Mr J.S Tiffin, clerk.

A seedsman and market gardener of Morpeth applied for the exemption of his son, expert manager of the seed department, and other two employees, market gardeners.

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal for the son and one gardener, but granted conditional exemption for the other; also to another applicant, a market gardener, of Morpeth.

The appeal of a French polisher, etc., of Morpeth, was disallowed.

Conditional exemption was granted a Morpeth shepherd; and an appeal by a Morpeth cowkeeper was adjourned till August 31st.

The tenant of Broomhill farm applied for the exemption of a youth, 19 years, who was employed as a dairyman.

The application was refused.


The midsummer picnic in connection with the munition workers of Armstrong, Whitworth, and Co., Elswick, will be held at Morpeth on Saturday.

A popular programme of sports will be gone through on the Castle Banks in the afternoon.

Lunch and tea will be held in the Town Hall, after which the prizes will be presented by the Mayor of Morpeth (Ald. Ed. Norman).

We trust that the weather will be favourable, and that our visitors will thoroughly enjoy themselves.


The County Appeal Tribunal for Tynemouth area sat at Blyth on Wednesday. There were present: Col. Kidd (chairman), Ald. J O’Hanlon (Wallsend), Mr A.A Askwith (Blyth), Mr A Hill (North Shields), Mr Rowe (Wallsend), Ald. A.R Mason, Mr Gascoigne, and Major E.P Cross, military representative.


John Doney, draper, Newsham, appealed against the decision of the local Tribunal, which had not assented to the claim of his son. The grounds urged were shortage of staff and domestic hardship.

John Doney said his son, for whom he appealed, was married and went with a draper’s cart.

The Chairman asked if it was necessary to take draperies to people in time of war.— Doney replied that it had been commenced in normal times.

The appeal was dismissed.


R. Rutherford and Son appealed against the decision of the local Tribunal, which had decided that an older man should be found to do the work of G.H Bailey, the manager of a boot shop for Rutherford at Morpeth.

C Rutherford, who appeared, said they were unable to find a substitute for Bailey, and women could not do the work.

Asked what was the work women could not do, Rutherford said they could not do the packing.

Asked if his father could not supervise and allow witness to go to Morpeth, he replied that his father was 66 and had done enough.

The military representative remarked that the whole case was to be found in the statement of the witness that his father had done sufficient, and they did not want to be inconvenienced.

The Chairman remarked that if witness’s father had come along and taken a hand in they might have got along all right.

The appeal was dismissed.


Thomas Allen appealed against the decision regarding his son, Thomas H Allen, who had been given two months’ exemption as appellant had two other sons who could be engaged.

Mr H.T Rutherford, for appellant, said that the son was indispensable, and explained the importance of the contracting work done for military purposes, and pointed out the importance of the man’s work as general manager. The younger brother was medically unfit. The elder one, 22, was managing a farm.

T.H Allen stated that he had been doing the book-keeping since he was 13.

In reply to questions he said that his father looked after buying horses and looking after the work.

The exemption until August 26th was endorsed.


Mr H.T Rutherford appeared for John Simpson, contractor, who appealed on behalf of his son, William Simpson, on the grounds that he was indispensable.

One son had joined the Army ten months ago. William had been granted two months’ exemption to find a substitute. He was 37 years of age and a married man. Mr Rutherford explained the position of Mr Simpson, senior.

In reply to the Chairman, William Simpson, in the box, said he had a brother over military age who had arranged to go to sea. Witness was general manager in a large business.

The Chairman asked why the brother was going to sea when it was so necessary to retain witness.— The latter replied that his brother has no knowledge of the management of the business.

Mr Rutherford: He only took an interest in his section of the business?

Witness: Yes.

Chairman: We cannot understand why the man wants to go to sea.

Witness: He has a fancy, and there is not much doing.

Chairman: Is that why you have only three men now? — No; but things are quiet. I expect things will come again.

The Chairman intimated that they had decided to confirm the decision of the local Tribunal.


Jacob Keenleyside appealed for John Laws, who was head packer and loader, and for J.W Webster, head warehouseman, claiming that the men were indispensable. The decision of the local Tribunal had been that the business was not of a national importance supplying foodstuffs to aliens.

The appeals were both dismissed.


Mr Carl E.E Breyen appealed for Alex Lownie, a loaded up and motor boat driver, whose claims had been rejected by the local Tribunal on the grounds that the business was not of national importance, as he was chiefly concerned in supplying foodstuffs to alien ships.

Mr F Lambert, for appellant, said the statement of the tribunal could not be ignored.

Mr Breyan, in reply to Ald. Mason, said it was a fact that he was not exporting foodstuffs from the country. They had to get a permit from the Customs in supplying neutral ships.

Conditional exemption was granted, and the same in regard to a similar appeal for C Lund and Son for Leonard Dobson.


Mr F Lambert appeared for Mr T Redhead, who appealed against decision of the local tribunal in regard to Henry Towns, who, as manager and secretary of a dry-saltery and sweet manufacturing and other business, was claimed to be indispensable.

The local tribunal had given exemption until July 14th, deciding that the business was not of national importance, and that Mr Towns’ services were not necessary.

Mr Lambert pointed out the position of Mr Towns, and explained that if Mr Towns had to go it would mean the closing of the business.

The appeal was dismissed.


In regard to the appeal of George Reay, club manager, and John Neale, commercial traveller, both of whom presented their domestic position, the appellants expressed their willingness to do munition work, and they arranged to confer with the military representative.


An appeal was made on behalf of the Sailors’ and Firemen’s Union for Roger Wood, local secretary, whose claim had been rejected on the grounds that his work could be done by older men.

Wood explained that the agent of the society could not be present, and handed up a copy of a letter from Mr Baines, secretary of the Trades’ Union Congress, intimating that it was understood that the military authorities had given instructions that the Union officials would not be called out.

The military representative said he had no knowledge of such instructions.

It was agreed to adjourn the case.


A presentation of a piano to the soldiers’ canteen for the use of the men stationed from time to time at Ponteland took place at the Castle Ward Children’s Homes.

The rooms are open every night for three hours, where the soldiers can obtain refreshment, write letters, or read, writing paper, periodicals, and newspapers being provided free, and the work of the canteen is done by a local committee of ladies and gentlemen, with Mr H.W Tuskin as secretary.

F.W Langton (vicar of Ponteland) presided at the presentation and thanked the donors of the piano — Mr Hunter of Smallburn and Mr Robson of Eland Hall — for their kind gift.

Mr Hunter, in replying, said that whatever anyone could do for the soldiers was nothing compared to what they were doing for them.

Mr Robson also replied, and promised to provide a carpet for the music room.

Mrs Langton then declared the music room open, and refreshments were served out to those present.


By kind permission of the Soldiers’ Institute Committee, the Morpeth Communicants’ Union held a tea in the Soldiers’ Institute, Bell’s Yard, on Thursday to raise funds to provide comforts for the Morpeth soldiers serving at the front. There was a large gathering present when the Rector (Canon Davies) said the Blessing.

After the first sitting, the Rector took the opportunity of addressing the assemblage. He said they all knew what that tea, promoted by the communicants of St James’s Church, was for. It was to provide comforts for Morpeth men, who are serving at the front; not only those belonging to the Northumberland Fusiliers, but also for those who had joined other regiments, and it was to send something to every Morpeth man on active service.

That fund, he knew, would be very inadequate, very insufficient to do anything like justice to such a worthy object, so he invited those who were not honoured by having any relations representing them in this great struggle, and not sending parcels out to anyone in France, to supplement the proceeds of that tea by contributing towards that fund in order that every man from Morpeth might receive something from the town.

There was another thing he should like to mention, and that was, a year ago, as they would remember, he sent out an appeal for subscriptions to provide periscopes for the men at the front. In answer to that appeal the sum of £48 was raised, and a large number of periscopes were forwarded to the soldiers.

Now a small balance was left over from that fund, and with the consent of a few of the larger donors, he was going to hand over the sum of £2, which was the amount, to that new fund, thus closing the periscope fund.

He also thanked the committee of the Communicants’ Union, and all those who had subscribed in connection with that tea, and also the large number who had patronised the tea. (Applause.)


A farmer living in the neighbourhood of a military camp can apply direct to a Commanding Officer for military labour which he requires at short notice and for a period not exceeding six working days. In all other cases the farmer is directed to apply through the local Board of Trade Labour Exchange.

The committee has now, however, been informed by the military authorities that local committees of the War Agricultural Committee can obtain parties of about twenty soldiers under a non-commissioned officer for farm work.

If the men are provided with board and lodgings each solider, except at the corn harvests, would be paid by the farmer 2/6 a day.

Where accommodation cannot be provided by the farmers the military authorities are prepared to arrange for the parties of soldiers to bring their own tents, bedding and rations. The local committee would be required to select suitable sites for the tents where three or four farms could be supplied, and would allot the men according to requirements.

The local committee would also have to be answerable for payment of the men’s wages, and for leading coals, rations, etc. The pay (except at corn harvest) for each man under these conditions, will be 4/- a day.

Applications may be addressed to any Board of Trade Labour Exchange, to the hon. secretary of the War Agricultural Committee, The Moothall, Newcastle-on-Tyne.


In response to appeals for garments from the Army and Navy the above sewing meeting will be resumed in the Soldiers’ Institute, Bell’s Yard, on Thursday, July 13th, when the tea will be given by Miss Chinney, and it is earnestly hoped there will be a good attendance.

Time, 2.30pm to 5pm. Tea price 3d. Offers of teas will be gratefully accepted by the hon. treasurer or hon. secretaries.

Through the exertions of Miss L Aisbett, Bede House, Oldgate, a large parcel of cigarettes was recently sent out to the Northumberland Fusiliers in France. These have been most warmly appreciated by the lads from the town , and acknowledged by Sergt. J.S Jobling and Sergt.-Major Bertie Foster, by whom they were distributed.


The Rev. Joseph Miller made reference to the above on Sunday morning last and spoke in general terms of the fact that there was much both in thought and sight to weigh them down.

It was sometimes difficult to have clear and confident opinions respecting the providential rule of God. But they had to choose between the Divine Sovereignty and blind fate, and their presence at Church suggested that they held to the former, and as Christian people they believed in the goodness and love of God, and that His will was best.

In alluding more particularly to the case of their young friend and brother whose early death they lamented, Mr Miller said: “It is once again my painful duty to refer to the death of one who attended our Sunday School and was otherwise attached to our community practically all the days of his life.

“Corpl. R.T Lowes is another added to the list of those of our young men who have laid down their lives for their King and country and for the cause of righteousness and the Kingdom of God, as we are informed his body was laid to rest on Sunday evening in the presence of his Commanding Officer and a number of his comrades.”