Archive for November 2015

This Week in World War One, 26 November 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 26 NOVEMBER 1915

 

SEAHOUSES

 Coble in Peril

 

What might have proved a serious accident occurred to a coble named The Jeannies, owned by Mr George Fawcus, Seahouses, and others. While returning from the fishing ground under sail at about five miles per hour, the coble suddenly struck some submerged wreckage. The wreckage went through two planks, causing the coble to fill in about five minutes. The coble had about 50 stones of fish on board, and but for the fact that it was “air-boxed,” the occupants would probably have been drowned. The accident was witnessed by the coble Briton’s Pride, owned by William Rutter, who at once proceeded to give assistance. Fawcus’ crew of four were taken on board the Briton’s Pride, and they and the damaged coble were safely brought to North Sunderland Harbour. The two crews managed between them to save 20 stones of fish.

Entrance to North Sunderland Harbour, Seahouses. Phil Champion, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Entrance to North Sunderland Harbour, Seahouses. Phil Champion, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

 

“NORTHUMBRIANS’ OWN DAY.”

 LOCAL SOLDIERS AND SAILORS TO BENEFIT

 

NPG x83873; Alan Ian Percy, 8th Duke of Northumberland by Alexander Bassano

Alan Ian Percy, 8th Duke of Northumberland (1880-1930), in a Grenadier Guards uniform, photographed by Alexander Bassano before 1913 (Date of Bassano’s death). Licensed under Wikimedia Commons, National Portrait gallery –  PD-US (over 100 years old).

 

“Northumbrians’ Own Day,” is to be celebrated on Saturday throughout the county of

Northumberland, and only the generosity of the public is needed to make the undertaking a complete success. The emblem on this occasion will be an artistic medallion, on which is figured in relief one of the Fusiliers advancing with a fixed bayonet, and bearing the inscription, “Strike hard, Northumbrians.” and the date “1915.” The medallion, neatly cased in plush, is to be presented as a souvenir to the helpers who assist with the sale of these mementoes. “Northumbrians’ Own Day” is under the patronage of His Grace the Duke of Northumberland, K.G., Earl Grey, Viscount Allendale, Viscount Ridley, Lord Armstrong, and Lord Joicey, and a host of other notable and distinguished gentlemen of the North Country. The committee earnestly appeal for subscriptions, however small, knowing that this special Christmas effort on behalf of our soldiers and sailors can only be the great success hoped for through the generosity of all. A number of subscriptions have been received, including a cheque for £200, from His Grace the Duke of Northumberland. Cheques and postal orders should be crossed “Northumbrians’ Own Day” Barclay’s Bank, Collingwood Street, Newcastle. Mr Leonard Dalrymple is the chief organiser, Mr Fred Sutcliffe the hon. Treasurer, and Mr George Harcourt the hon. secretary, the central headquarters being at the Westgate Picture House, Newcastle.

 

HOLY ISLAND AND THE WAR

 

Holy Island is doing its share of work during the present time of anxiety and stress. Although the population is small, nearly all the eligible men are engaged in working for the country, either as mine sweepers or in the Army. Amongst others who have left is the schoolmaster, Lieut. Hollingsworth. He departed from the island with the best wishes of all for his welfare, accompanied by a rousing cheer from the Scouts and school children assembling to wish him good luck and a safe return after the war is over.

 

GRACE DARLING’S CENTENARY

 

There seems to be some conflict of evidence regarding the birth of Grace Horsley Darling, if one is to depend upon the veracity of the official guide to Holy Island. It is there stated that she was born on December 17th, 1815, and that she was one of a family of seven.

Darling Family Grave, St Aidan's Churchyard

Darling Family Grave, St Aidan’s Churchyard.

The grave is the resting place of Grace and several of her family members. The headstone is a copy of the original which has been preserved and is on display in the nearby Grace Darling museum.

On the other hand it would appear from more authoritative sources that the birth of the heroine is recorded as 24th November, 1815, and it would be interesting to learn how this discrepancy has occurred. It is unnecessary to enter into any lengthened story regarding the devotion and heroism of the famous daughter of the lighthouse keeper of the Longstone. It is familiar to all from their childhood days, and more particularly so in this part of Northumberland. Suffice it say that the recue from the S.S. Forfarshire which left Hull for Dundee on 5th September, 1838, took place on the morning of the 7th of that month. With the assistance of her father, Grace Darling in a frail coble, succeeded in rescuing five of the crew and four passengers. As is well known the heroine is buried at Bamburgh, where a handsome monument surmounts the grave.

This Week in World War One, 10 November 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 19 NOVEMBER 1915

 

BERWICK’S OLDEST DOCTOR DIES

The Late Dr Daniel Heagerty

 

BAdvertiser 19 Nov 1915 Berwick's Oldest Doctor Dies Photo RESIZED

 

We regret to record the death, after a short illness, which occurred on Sunday, of Dr Daniel Heagerty, M.D., Medical Officer of Health for the Borough of Berwick-on-Tweed. The deceased was a native of Passage West, County Cork, Ireland, and was 76 years of age. The late Doctor was registered as a medical practitioner on May 30th, 1867, and was a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (Edinburgh, 1867), and also a Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh, 1867). For some time deceased practised in Prudhoe, and also in Bellingham. He came to Berwick 35 years ago when he purchased the practice and house of the late Dr Davidson at Tweedmouth, and five years later he succeeded the late Dr Fluker as medical officer to the Borough and also to Berwick Board of Guardians. Dr Heagerty in politics was a Unionist, and was one of the original Directors of Berwick Unionist Club. He was also an old official of Berwick Bowling Club, and a member of St. David’s Lodge of Freemasons, Berwick.

The late Doctor was married twice, and of the first marriage there were two sons and a daughter, Maude, who is married. The eldest son served his apprenticeship with Mr W. Carr, chemist in the shop now occupied by Mr N.M. Craig in High Street. *The other son was apprenticed to Mr Jas. Stevenson, architect, Berwick, but afterwards went on to the stage. Of the second marriage there is one son, who is at present serving with the Northern Cyclist.

The Doctor was known to a wide circle of friends and his sudden removal has come with surprise and regret. We are sure the sympathy of our many readers will be extended to the relatives in their sad bereavement.

*The other son mentioned in the article above, was Travers John Heagerty, born in Prudhoe, Northumberland, on the 5th of March, 1874.  Travers took the stage name Henry Travers, and went on to become a highly successful actor, making his Broadway debut in 1901.  He died in Hollywood, California, on the 18th October, 1965, aged 91.

 

BILLIARDS

 Match at Etal

 

An interesting billiard match was played at Etal on November 6th, when the wounded Tommies quartered at the Manor there played a returned match with Milfield. As will be seen from the appended list of scores, the soldiers showed that they could play billiards as well as fight. The game opened by a very closely contested trial of strength between Private Evans and Mr Wilkinson, in which the latter proved victorious only by 6. The next game resulted in a win by Private Squires over Mr Stothart by 30 points, but the Milfieldonians were far from being disheartened, seeing that their champion, P.C. Hurst, on whom their hopes they fixed, had yet his turn to come. He played next, having as opponent Private Neal. The latter proved much his superior, and the gallant policeman was only able to add a paltry 32 points as against a 100 to the soldiers’ scores. After this the Tommies had not much fear as to the result, for Private Swinburn met Mr Steel in the next game ended in another victory for the Tommies by 44 points. Then came Corporal Walker, who easily beat Mr Waugh by a majority of 54, and the last of all was played by Private Haldane and Mr Brown, in which the victors’ man proved a little successful and won by 14 points. The final scores were:-

Soldiers, 580; Milfieldonians, 404

After the game the visitors were entertained to tae by their victors, thanks to the kindness at the Manor Hospital of the Commandant, Miss Grey.

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

The Heroic Lifeboat Rescue at Berwick

 

Sir – I wish through the medium of your columns to make public the deep sense of gratitude the crew of the Lifeboat feel towards their comrades of Spittal who so gallantly came to their assistance last Wednesday morning. Four or five times had the Lifeboat tried to make the harbour, both under sails and oars, and each time was she washed out by the spate on to the Bar. The men were spent with fatigue, cold and wet to the skin, and had little strength left. When the ferry boat was seen to leave Spittal, a last effort was made, this time under double banked oars, to get closer to the pier.

Image 8 - Lifeboat - RNLB Matthew Simpson - Left to Right - Not known, Not known, Not known, John Wood, Knot known, Jack Lough, George Lough, Bartholomew Lough, Thomas Martin (possible), Not known, Not Known, Alex Patterson Lough.

Image 8 – Lifeboat – RNLB Matthew Simpson – Left to Right – Not known, Not known, Not known, John Wood, Knot known, Jack Lough, George Lough, Bartholomew Lough, Thomas Martin (possible), Not known, Not Known, Alex Patterson Lough.

 

The Spittal men laid their plans with skill and acted with daring that one could only admire and inwardly applaud. They were determined to get a line to the Lifeboat at the risk of their lives, and they did it. All honour to them! I have reported their brave conduct to the proper quarters, and do not doubt they will be suitably rewarded. The names of the men who were in the ferry boat are as follows: – Prideaux Emery, John Patterson, Barty Lough, Robert Laidlaw, John Wilks (“Laffan”), and Thomas Johnston. On the Pier, Johnston Crombie and William Emery,- Believe me, yours truly,

C.L. FRASER, Hon. Sec.

DANGERS OF BERWICK’S UNFENCED WALLS

A Fatal Fall at Cattle Market

 

Borough Coroner Wm. Weatherhead and a jury held an inquest on Friday afternoon in the Board Room of the Workhouse, Berwick, concerning the circumstances attending the death of Gordon Kenward, District Valuer of the Inland Revenue, Berwick.

BA-U10-2 SHEET , 1852 cropped. Pictured above the layout of the Berwick Workhouse, where the inquest on Gordon Kenward was held in the Board Room (centre of image). © Berwick Record Office.

BA-U10-2 SHEET , 1852 cropped. Pictured above the layout of the Berwick Workhouse, where the inquest on Gordon Kenward was held in the Board Room (centre of image). © Berwick Record Office.

 

Nelson Kenward of Waldron, Sussex, farmer, whose deposition was taken at the deceased’s house identified the body as that of his son, aged 30 years.

Leonard Purdoe, of Berwick-on-Tweed, surveyor, said he knew deceased well, and left his house with him on Sunday, 31st October, about 8.30pm. They went down the street, and he left him nearly opposite the Red Lion Hotel about 8.40.

James Alexander Miller, insurance inspector, said he saw deceased in the Red Lion on the Sunday night mentioned. They both left the hotel about 9.25pm. Deceased said good night to witness in the High Street and proceeded homewards. That was in the archway of the Red Lion. Deceased then went up the High Street. There was no mud on his clothes then.

Robert Renton, N.B. Railway goods checker, deponed that he was proceeding home about ten o’clock on the Sunday night mentioned. As he was passing the Cattle Market his eye caught something lying inside the market grounds about twenty feet from the gate and below the Ramparts. He went for the Police and P.C. Crombie returned with him to the spot. Crombie climbed over the railing, and it was discovered it was a man that was on the ground. The ambulance was summoned by a man named Marshall, and witness proceeded to get the key of the gate, Crombie remaining beside the body.

Police Constable Walter Crombie said the last witness came for him about 10.15pm at the top of West Street. From what he told him he (witness) went to the Cattle Market, climbed over the railing, and found Kenward about 18 feet from the gate. He was lying on his right hand side about four or five feet from the wall. He was bleeding from a wound above the left eye, and one on the right side of the head. The deceased got up on his feet and walked with his assistance to a sand bin. Before that witness had sent for the ambulance and the key for the gate of the Market. The ambulance removed the deceased home. Deceased’s clothes were covered with mud. When witness returned to the Market he found near to where deceased was discovered two handfuls of grass and moss.

By the Jury – Deceased asked witness where he was. Witness told him asking how he got there,. Deceased replied “I don’t know.” He wanted to walk home but could not do so.

Dr Taylor, Berwick, deponed that he saw the deceased between 1 and 2 on the morning of 1st November. He found a wound below the left jaw, another on the left eyelid, and a large excariation on the left cheek. There was a small wound on the right side of the scalp. He was partially conscious, and next day lapsed into complete unconsciousness, never regaining consciousness. Death occurred on Thursday, 11th inst., in the afternoon. The cause of death was, in witness’ opinion, severe concussion of the brain, arising from the injuries sustained through the fall.

A verdict in accordance with the medical testimony was returned.

 

 

 

 

This Week in World War One, 12 November 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915

 BERWICK ADVERTISER, 12 NOVEMBER 1915

 

MORE LIGHT

 

Mr Elder – It is now absolutely necessary to take some action to have more light in the streets of the town at night. There is a medium, but I must say we in Berwick are even far beyond the limit. It is a danger to go out at night now and I think it is high time we had more light.

Main Street, Spittal showing an early lamp standard - © Berwick Record Office BRO 1887-8-1

Main Street, Spittal showing an early lamp standard – © Berwick Record Office BRO 1887-8-1

 

Mr Blench – Why should we in Berwick be darker than any other town? Not only need we more light on the streets but in the shop windows. In Newcastle, Edinburgh, and even Blyth, which is right on the sea, the shop windows are lighted. In Berwick the police have taken matters into their hands to put us into darkness, and I think they are going a little too far. On the suggestion of Mr Dixon the matter was referred to the Lighting Committee for consideration.

 

COURT-MARTIAL AT STOBS

 

A military court was held at Stobs on Wednesday at which there were tried the German prisoners of war Gustav Beblein and Alfred Joksch, who made their escape from Stobs Concentration Camp on 26th ult. The former was recaptured at Granton, and the latter at Leith Docks. The Court was composed of Major J.M/ Hunter, 2-4th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers, president; and Captain W.F. Cochrane, 2-4th Battalion K.O.S.B., and Captain A.P. Oliver, 2-4th K.O.S.B. The prosecutor was Lieutenant F.W. Hancock, and the interpreter Lieutenant H. W. Farrell. The decision of the Court will be given later.

Stobs military camp at Hawick (1903-1959) was used to train men for war. © Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Stobs military camp at Hawick (1903-1959) was used to train men for war. © Copyright Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

 

DESTRUCTIVE FIRE AT TWEEDMOUTH

Pipe Manufactory Completely Gutted

 

About 2am on Wednesday morning fire broke out in the pipe manufactory of Mr R. T. Tait, at Tweedmouth, which caused the whole of the works to be completely gutted. The outbreak was first discovered by Miss Wood, a niece of Mr Tait’s who was wakened by the sparks blowing against her bedroom window. She immediately gave the alarm and the fire brigade was summoned. By this time the window frames and doors of Mr Tait’s dwelling house were ablaze, but with the assistance of his brother-in-law, Mr W. Trainer, they managed to prevent the flames from spreading in the house by the aid of chemical fire extinguishers. When the fire brigade arrived the flames had taken a good hold and the whole of the factory was blazing furiously.

Clay Pipes - © Author Simon Speed - Wikimedia Commons

Clay Pipes – © Author Simon Speed – Wikimedia Commons

Owing to the situation of the premises difficulty was first experienced in getting the engine into a suitable position to pour water on the burning buildings, and also owing to the fact that the horses refused to face the showers of sparks which were sweeping Main Street. With the strong gale fanning the flames it was impossible to quench the fire, and the main efforts were directed in preventing the conflagration spreading to the adjoining properties. This was the wisest course as the properties in this quarter are so congested that there was every possibility of the fire spreading to the properties in Kiln Hill and Main Street. On Tuesday the kiln had been working and it is thought that with the strong gale the fire had started from that part of the works. The factory comprises a warehouse, offices, finishing shop, packing shop, despatching room, moulding shop, clay house, drying house, engine house, with electrical plant and saw mill, all of which have burnt out, and only the walls remain, and even in some cases these have collapsed. So furious was the fire that even the sockets of the beams in the walls of the building were burnt clean away. As already stated, the office was amongst the rooms destroyed. This was a first storey room but the furniture and safe crashed through to the ground floor. The safe, which is fireproof, withstood the terrific heat well, but the papers within were quite brittle. The loss is put at £1,000 and is partly covered by insurance.

 

LOCAL NEWS

Harvest Thanksgiving at Norman Hall

 

On Sunday evening the Gospel temperance meeting at Norman Hall, Tweedmouth, took the form, of a choral harvest festival. The hall was artistically decorated for the occasion with a wealth of autumn bloom and the fruits of the soil and made a very effective picture. Mr John Anderson of “Tweedside” Lodge of Good Templars presided over the gathering, with Miss Stokoe at the piano. Succeeding the brief preliminary address from the chair appropriate to the occasion, the service was entirely musical, and comprised some choral numbers by an augmented choir and solos by Mrs Johnston, Miss Macdonald, Miss Davidson (Scremerston), Mr R. Elliot, Sergt. Clark and Sergt. Davidson of the Royal Scots, a duet by the Misses Davidson lending variety to a finely sustained programme. The Chairman, in the name of the Lodge, thanked all who had sent gifts of flowers, fruit and vegetables which the decorators had displayed to such excellent advantage and the contributors to the musical service. The festival concluded with “God Save the King.”

If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Norman Hall, Tweedmouth please contact Berwick Record Office email: berwickarchives@woodhorn.org.uk

 

This Week in World War One, 5 November 1915

Berwick Advertiser title 1915

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 5 NOVEMBER 1915

ETAL

 

The convalescent soldiers at Etal Manor Hospital have lately been giving a series of concerts at neighbouring villages in aid of the British Red Cross Society. As a result of their efforts a sum of over £23 has been realised, and the expenses being very few owing to the generosity of everyone approached, practically the whole of this sum will be available for the funds of the Society. The places visited were Ford, Crookham, Milfield, and Duddo, and the concerts were everywhere well received.

Etal Manor House, formerly a WW1 military hospital. © Berwick Record Office NRO 5192-25.

Etal Manor House, formerly a WW1 military hospital. © Berwick Record Office NRO 5192-25.

 

SAD ACCIDENT AT BERWICK STATION

 

About 2.10 a.m. on Tuesday, whilst Robert Buglas, 16 years of age, Church Street, Berwick, was following his employment as greaser at Berwick Railway Station and when near the turning table he was jumping on the footboard of a goods van in motion his foot slipped. Both his legs went under the wheels of the van. The wheels passed over his left leg above the ankle and his right foot across the heel. First aid was rendered, and he was conveyed to Berwick Infirmary, where he was attended by Drs Fraser and Maclagan, who found it necessary to amputate the injured limbs.

 

THE LATE MR CHRISTISON

 

Through the Christisons of Foulden and the Chirnsides of Cockburnspath district, Berwickshire has interesting links with pioneer days in Australia, one of the last of which

Panning for gold in the state of Victoria, Australia, ealry 1900s. © Wikimedia Commons.

Panning for gold in the state of Victoria, Australia, ealry 1900s. © Wikimedia Commons.

has been broken by the death of Mr Robert Christison, a nephew of Sir Robert Christison. In a recent lecture in his native village, Mr Christison related how he had met one Jimmy Nailans, who was the first Foulden post-boy, in a place named Bacchus Marsh. Mr Nailans had landed in Australia two years before. Buying a bullock team, he made money in carrying provisions for the population of 80,000 which flocked to Bendigo in the gold rush, and when Mr Christison met him he had 206 ounces of gold dust hidden in horns of cart grease. He put £2,000 into land in the outskirts of Melbourne, and thus became very wealthy. Like a good Borderer, Jimmy Nailans returned to his native soil, bought an estate, and settled there. Mr Christison, whose remains were interred last week at Foulden, was the last surviving son of Rev. Alex. Christison, for 52 years minister of the parish.

 

 

AN EXTRAORDINARY INCIDENT IN THE TRENCHES

 

Private Kenneth Alexander, of the 2nd Royal Scots, who has been at the Front for over a year and is at present home at Dunbar on several days’ furlough, narrates a most interesting one might almost term it exciting- incident, which occurred recently in the trench where he was quartered. The enemy’s trench but 15 yards distant, was occupied by Saxons. Several of the enemy happened to put their heads over the parapet of the trench; inquired if they were all “Jocks” in the British trench; where they came from- was it Glasgow? – and when did they arrive in France? The conversation concluded by warning the Royal Scots men in this trench to keep their heads down, as the Prussian Guards were located on their right, and consequently there were great risks of being sniped. They then held up a bottle of Cognac, and the Scotsmen inquired if they fancied a bottle of whisky. A hurriedly pencilled note attached to several newspapers was flung into the Saxons’ trench. We asked, said Private Alexander, in this letter if they could give us any part of their equipment as a souvenir of this interesting meeting between opposing forces. Very shortly afterwards a package of German newspapers, attached to which was a letter from one of these Saxons was flung into our trench, which on being translated read as follows:- “There are a few papers. Of course we cannot send you any part of our equipment over, and for the whisky we don’t care, but when you have new papers send them across and we will do the same. It is certainly interesting to read what the enemy believes to be able to tell their own folks. We threw already a few papers over, but too short. Perhaps you will find them to-night. Be careful in getting them. (signed) Yours, Fritz.” “If you please let us have a French journal- S.V.P.”

 

A GRAND EVENING CONCERT

Successful Venture In Aid of Berwick Branch of

Young Helpers’ League

 

The Queen’s Rooms was crowded in all parts on Thursday evening when a grand evening concert was held in aid of the funds of the Young Helpers League of Dr Barnardo’s Homes. The concert was excellent from start to finish and the term grand applied to it was a fitting description of the entertainment. The local Committee of the Young Helpers’ League, with Mr A. J. Dodds as President, were the originators of the idea to hold the concert. The management and carrying out of the concert was put into the hands of Miss Sissy Dodds, and according to its most excellent result the Committee could not have chosen anyone better to ensure the success  of the entertainment. All secretarial work was undertaken by Miss Dodds, while Miss L. Purves and Miss J. Thompson assisted her  as treasurers.

The concert realised £58, and Miss Dodds is to be warmly congratulated in that her management has been so successful.

The programme was as follows:

PART 1

Piano Duet-“Spanish Dance, “ ( Moszkowski) Miss Katherine Vincent and Mr Ernest Warrington

Songs – (a) 2 The Rebel” (b) “ Son of mine” (Wallace), ………  .  Mr Ernest J. Potts

Violin Solo – “ Gipsy Dance,” ( Sarasate)                                       Mr Ernest Sharp

( Encore)

Recital – “A Question of Identitiy” ( an excerpt from “Comedy and Tragedy”), by W.S. Gilbert………………Mr Hugh Miller.

(Encore – “Mon Ami.”)

Songs – (a) “ Rose in the bud” ( Forster) (b) “Until,” (Sanderson),  Miss Katherine Vincent

(Encore – “Waltz Song.”)

Humorous Sketch – “Curates” (Warrington),  Mr Ernest Warrington.

(Encore)

PART 11

Duet – “Awake,” (Pellissier), Miss Katherine Vincent and Mr Ernest J. Potts.

Violin Solo – “Valse Caprice” (Wieniawski), Mr Ernest Sharp

(Encore)

Song – “Galloping Dick” (Fletcher), Mr Ernest J.Potts

(Encore – “Go to sea my lad.”)

Recital – “Gunga Din” ( by Rudyard Kipling), Mr Hugh Miller

(Encore – “Once more into the breach, once more,” from King Henry V., Act 2 and 4).

Songs – (a) “A fat I’il feller wid his mammy’s eyes, “ ( Gordon) (b) “Sincerity” ( Clarke), Miss Katherine Vincent.

(Encore – “Caller Herrin’.”)

Humorous Songs – Selected Dialects,. Mr Ernest Warrington.

(Encore.)

Interval for Soldiers’ Sing-Song.

Sketch – “The Peacemaker,” a comedy in one act, by E. M. Bryant.

 Characters:-

Elizabeth Lavender            Mrs Waldron

       Joyce Harford                    Miss Sissy Dodds

   Dr Burton                         Mr G. P. Boyd

  Richard Harford                    Rev. J.R. Bentley

     Parsons                              Miss Katie Mackay

Scene – Elizabeth Lavender’s Flat in Kensington.

 GOD SAVE THE KING

 

For Bravery

On the night of Monday 26th March 1917, the Ashington Coal Company hosted the first of four presentations to reward employees who had won great distinction in the First World War. On this occasion twenty-three men were honoured, for their bravery and their gallantry in their respective theatres of war, three of the men had been killed in the line of duty.
The presentation took the form of a silver cup, individually engraved with the recipient’s name and a few words of appreciation from the Ashington Coal Company. This ceremony was later repeated a further three times in February 1918, July 1919 and finally in February 1922, with 91 silver bowls, presented to the men or to their families. The men had gained the following distinctions: two men were awarded a Military Medal and Distinguished Conduct Medal; twelve men were recipients of the Distinguished Conduct Medal; one man received a Military Medal and bar; one man received a Serbian Gold medal, and seventy-five men were recipients of the Military Medal.
In September 2015 at the beginning of the ‘Weeping Window’ poppy exhibition we were approached by a lady who asked if we would be interested in a rose bowl for the collection. The family belief was that her grandfather was presented with this bowl for saving the life of the son of an official from the Ashington Coal Company during the First World War, but as he never spoke of it, they could not be certain.Silver Cup 2

On the night of 6th February 1918, 132670 Sapper James Smith of the 254/7 Tunnelling Corps, Royal Engineers, was presented with his silver bowl at the Harmonic Hall in Ashington. The newspaper report in the Morpeth Herald published two days later on the 8th gave this account of the reason behind his reward “Sapper James Smith, Tunnelling Coy., Strong’s Buildings, Choppington, M.M. For saving three men’s lives in a mine explosion in France”. The bowl was presented in appreciation of his bravery, in saving the men’s lives.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to Derek Holcroft whose painstaking research found reference to these presentations taking place and to Deborah Moffat for supplying this article for our Northumberland At War Project.