Archive for May 2017

This Week in World War One, 18 May 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 18 MAY 1917

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

Berwick Bowling Club. – The green was opened for play on Thursday afternoon 10th May with the customary match between the teams representing President and Vice-President. The weather unfortunately broke down putting a stop to the continuation of the game. Mrs Black and Mrs Logan provided afternoon tea in the Club House and their hospitality was much enjoyed. There are to be no matches engaged in this season. The competition for the championship will proceed and other competitions will be duly notified on the club board during the season. Military members will be welcomed and can be introduced by members free of charge.

Agreeable Work for the Children.– The children of the country lanes and fields are asked by the organisation directed by Mrs Tennant to take their part in National Service, and during this summer to gather the tufts of sheep’s wool from the hedges and thorns of the countryside. This pure wool is much needed for warm blankets and clothing for our sailors and soldiers. As an instance of what can be done, the Hon. Mrs Carpenter and three little children the other day collected six ounces of white wool in a little more than an hour in a Hertfordshire lane down which a flock of sheep had been driven. Another child made a collection of four ounces of black wool only. It is hoped that schoolmistresses and others in authority in the villages will prompt the children to collect. The wool has a high and increasing market value and will be sold to the weavers on behalf of the Red Cross.

THE GIRL GUIDES ASSOCIATION IN BRITAIN, 1914-1918 (Q 27919) Girl Guides tend to an allotment in the United Kingdom during the First World War. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205214686

 

N.E.R. and Women Guards. – It has been decided not to proceed further with the experiment of utilising women as passenger guards on the N.E.R. If, however, owing to pressure from the Army Council to release additional men, it is again desired to renew the experiment, the mater, it is stated, will be brought before the men’s Special War Arrangements Committee.

Pictured above are a Station Mistress and two porters at Irlams O’th Height Station, Manchester in 1917. Source: This photograph Q 109840 is from the collections of the Imperial War Museums. © Wikimedia Commons – HMSO has declared that the expiry of Crown Copyrights applies worldwide.

 

BELFORD MAN HOME ON LEAVE

 

Private Robert J. Bolton, youngest son of Mr R. Bolton, Watchmaker and fruiterer, High Street, Belford, is at present home on leave which he finds little pleasure in owing to it having been granted him to attend the funeral of his dear mother. Private Bolton enlisted in October, 1914, trained till the following January at East Boldon and then was sent to France. Shortly after arrival he found himself facing the Germans which at that time far exceeded the Allies in number.

View from crater on Hill 60 towards Zillebeke, 6 July 1917

 

The brave old boy was at the taking of Hill 60 and in several other desperate fights all of which he came safely through, but being attacked by rheumatism was sent to hospital and though greatly recovered he has been found fit to go into the line again. In civil life Private Bolton was a gardener, but some little ago gave up that form of employment and went to the collieries where the rate of wages were much higher than in his own trade. He has a wife and several children all whom are eagerly awaiting the cessation of hostilities and the safe return of daddy. That their wish may soon be fulfilled is what we most earnestly desire.

BERWICK SOLDIERS HOLD A “FREE AND EASY,”

INTERESTING MEETING AND CONCERT,

 

On Tuesday night last there was a free and easy smoking concert in the Navy and Army Recreation Rooms, Hide Hill, when the Concert Hall was packed with an appreciative audience of Soldiers.

Regimental Sergeant Major Dow was in the chair and at a suitable interval presented the prizes won in the competition held during the winter months, the prizes were medals, these had been specially designed and made for the occasion. The inscription on them ran “Recreation Rooms Berwick-on-Tweed, “this surrounding the Berwick coat of arms made a pretty medal, which was highly spoken of by the lucky winners.

R.S.M. Dow, who made the presentation said, The pleasant duty of presenting these medals on the successful competitors has fallen to my lot. The Recreation Room Committee, during our stay in Berwick, have sprung many pleasant surprises on us in the way of competitions, concerts, etc., and the gift of these beautiful medals is only one more to the number. I feel sure they will be very much appreciated by the winners, not only in account of their having been successful in the competitions, but also in future years as a souvenir of their stay in Berwick-on-Tweed, either to hang from their watch chains, or, as has been suggested, to give to their best girls to wear as a brooch, (laughter and applause). My only caution is, – Be sure  that it is “the” best girl (laughter) as I feel sure  that you would be very sorry if you gave it to  the wrong one, and the medal passed out of  your possession altogether. (Laughter and applause). I think it only right that you should know that, for the medals, you are chiefly indebted to a well-known Berwick gentleman viz. Mr Redpath, who, when the subject was discussed, remarked to Mr Erskine and Mr Boal “You find the Medals and I will find the money”. (Applause).

 

The 1848-9 Cholera Visitation

Up until the 19th Century, memorials to the dead were usually the preserve of the wealthy. The introduction of burial clubs, offered by trade unions, religious societies and friendly societies, enabled many working class people to have a proper burial. At this time, those who died through some tragedy were often commemorated by the friends and relatives to raise funds for the victim’s dependents. The etching of cheap glassware to memorialise mining disasters, and the profusion of printed material, in the form of memorial cards and silk bookmarks, was a way to remember the victim and to give charity to the family.

Very few memorials seem to have been made to remember people who died through disease throughout this period. Asiatic cholera, which caused epidemics in Britain in 1831-1833, 1848-1849, 1853-1854 and in 1866, fits this trend. However one memorial has been found, and research into the event has provided us with insight into one family’s story.

Original documentation from the 1848-1849 cholera epidemic is sketchy, so newspaper reports are often the only way to find detail on the spread of the disease.

The first mention of Cholera in Northumberland comes in August 1849 with reports of cases in North Shields. By the 8th of September the Newcastle Guardian reports “Cholera in the Mining Districts – This fearful malady has at length found its way into the mining districts of New Hartley and Delaval. It appears that there have been upwards of one hundred and fifty cases of diarrhoea and cholera together in the immediate neighbourhood. Forty four have proved fatal up to the present time”.  By the 15th September the Newcastle Guardian mentions that “At Wrekenton, Howdon, Walker, Seaton Delaval, North Shields and Barnard Castle it has been remarkably severe…Nor should the indispensable duties of mutual help and succour at this trying season be forgotten. Amid scenes of suffering and in the houses of the dying, Charity should walk fourth in all her genial influences; and whilst, with devout hearts and in the spirit of our holy religion, we look to Providence for the removal of the pestilence which in mercy or judgement He has visited our shores, let the wealthy and influential do good and communicate, as they have opportunity to their poorer neighbours and fellow-countrymen on whose families this heavy calamity may have fallen”.

An update from the Newcastle Courant on the 12th October reported “The Cholera at Seaton Delaval and Seghill, though considerably abated, has, since our last notice, been fatal to several families. In the night between the 2nd and 3rd [October] seventeen fell victims to it, and in one row of houses eleven corpses lay within a few yards of each other”.

 

1st edition [1860] Ordnance Survey Sheet 81

 

William Bell a miner from Seaton Delaval was one of those who succumbed, but was remembered in a printed silk epitaph, which now resides in Northumberland Archives. The silk states that he was”superinduced by his exertions to assist his fellow creatures during the attacks by this dreadful malady”. It is unclear who produced this silk or how many copies were made, but the two hands clasped together may indicate the item has a connection to a Trade Union.

In the publication, “Fynes’ History of the Northumberland and Durham Miners” published in 1873, states “The cholera having broke out at this time with great violence in the colliery districts, the attention of both employers and employed was turned towards the improvement of the sanitary condition of the villages, and union matters were laid aside for a time as great numbers of the workmen of the collieries were dying daily, struck down by the dire disease. Among those who fell victim was Mr William Bell, the secretary of the General Union whose death took place at Seaton Delaval.”

Seaton Delaval was at that time part of the Parish of Earsdon, William’s entry in the burial register has him aged 39 years old, and is buried the same day as his death, consistent with the directions for handling victims of contagious diseases, buried as soon as possible. A copy of his death certificate shows his death at Whitridge [Wheatridge] Row, Seaton Delaval, and the informant is Mable Bell, who was present at his death.

 

Memorial Silk to William Bell

 

In the 1851 census for Seaton Delaval, Mable Bell, and her family are living at 4 Whitridge [Wheatridge] Row. Mable is a widow, and the assumption is she was William’s wife. Mable is aged 37 and is claiming Parish Relief.  William the eldest son is aged 18 and is a Coal Miner, her son Christopher is 11 and is employed in the mines, daughter Mable is 8, and her youngest son Robert, is aged 3. Whitridge Row was one of the rows of tied houses for workers of the Seaton Delaval Coal Company. From this we can assume that William and Christopher are working for the Coal Company, at the time of the Census.

Reports of the disease in Seghill, Cowpen, Cramlington and other mining area throughout Northumberland seem to indicate that the disease in these areas were particularly virulent. An explanation was given by Dr John Snow, in his in his paper “On the Mode of Communication of Cholera” in 1855.

 

Wheatridge Row Seaton Delaval

 

“The mining population of Great Britain have suffered more from cholera than persons in any other occupation; a circumstance which I believe can only be explained by the mode of communication of the malady. Pitmen are differently situated from every other class of workmen in many important particulars. There are no privies in the coal pits, or as I believe in other mines, the workmen stay so long in the mines that they are obliged to take a supply of food with them, which they eat invariably with unwashed hands and without knife and fork”. “It is very evident that when a pitman is attacked with cholera whilst at work, the disease has facilities for spreading among his fellow-labourers such as occurs in no other occupation. That the men are occasionally attacked whilst at work I know, from having seen them brought up from some of the coal-pits in Northumberland in the winter of 1831-1832 after having had, profuse discharges from the stomach and bowels, and when fast approaching to a state of collapse”.

 

This Week in World War One, 4 May 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 4 MAY 1917

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

WANTED MEN AND WOMEN FOR AMBULANCE WORK

 

Port Hospital,
Berwick-on-Tweed,
May 1st, 1917

 

Sir. – May I appeal through the medium of your paper for men and women to form a V.A.D., in this most northern part of Northumberland. Last Friday evening the members of St. Andrew’s Ambulance Corps., received a visit from the Chief Commissioner for Northumberland (Mr P. B. Palmer). In a very strong appeal Mr Palmer asked for the immediate formation of both a men and a women’s detachment. The need is great. The nearest men’s detachment is at Alnwick. The nearest women’s at Belford. Mr Palmer wants at least 200 men for ambulance work, (and as many women as he can get) between Wansbeck and Tweed. We want all the men and women in Berwick, Tweedmouth and Spittal and Scremerston who have First Aid or nursing certificates, to volunteer. Others who have not certificates may join on probation.

Berwick is a long way behind in ambulance work, let us have this stigma removed, and get to the front as quickly as possible.

Mr Hetherington, High Street, or Mr J. Richardson, 25 Main Street, Spittal, will receive names of men willing to join. Women may send their names to Miss Noble, 47a Main Road, Spittal or the undersigned.

ANTHONEY

Commandant, St. Andrews Ambulance Corps.

Berwick-on-Tweed Section.

 

MORE COMFORTS WANTED FOR THE SOLDIERS.

 

Hopeville, Castle Terrace,
Berwick-on-Tweed,
May 1st, 1917.

 

Sir,- At the request of the General Committee of the Guild of Aid, I again venture to ask your valuable help, in permitting us to make an appeal through the medium of your paper, to all friends, who are willing and able to help us, in sending out much needed comforts to the men in France, who are so strenuously fighting our battles. We have an urgent request, to send as soon as possible, shirts, socks, towels, (small) and handkerchiefs (dark coloured). Owing to the large demands made upon us lately, we have a very small stock in hand, and would be grateful for any help, however small, towards meeting this request. Our hearts are all too full of the desire to send any crumb of comfort, that we possibly can, to our heroes overseas, to need any appeal, it is quite enough, we know, to state our needs for them, to have them met, we would be glad to have all articles by Tuesday, May 15th, sent either to any member of committee, or to the Town Hall, on Tuesdays, between 2.30 and 3.30. Thanking you for your courtesy.

Yours faithfully

ISABELLA H. PLENDERLIETH,

(President of the Guild)

 

RIDING OF THE BOUNDS

 

 The time honoured custom of riding the Berwick Bounds was duly observed on Tuesday, 1st May, in the usual manner. Fine weather prevailed and the proceedings were much enjoyed. The company assembled at noon at the Parade and proceeded by the customary route.

In the mayor’s carriage there were present – His Worship the Mayor, Mr M. Ross, (the Sheriff) Councillor Thomas Wilson, and the acting Town Clerk ( MR James Gibson).

In a brake there were the following – Alderman G. A. Turnbull, and Councillors Wm. Anderson, T. Bolus, Alex. Darling, Wm. J. Dixon, J. Elder, F. Richardson, and the Chief Constable.

BRO 1944/1/149/1 Riding of the Bounds, Parade, Berwick-upon-Tweed, 1952

 

The horseman riders were represented by both youth and age; youth was represented by Master Moffat, Wes Edge, a born horseman, 14 years, and this will be the fifth annual occasion on which he has ridden the Berwick Bounds; and by one who at mature years rode the Bounds 47 years ago, Mr J. Cameron, V.S,. There was also one cyclist soldier from the Borderers, a boy.

At the inn at Canty’s there was a liberal supply of refreshments dispensed, consisting of tea, coffee, biscuits, cheese, and ale.

At the conclusion of the drive home the company drove to the Town Hall before dispersing, when the Mayor in a few words formally thanked the company for their attendance at the function.

DEAD HERO PRAISED BY OFFICERS AND MEN

 

George Murray, N.F., only son of Mr Andrew Murray, formerly groom to Dr Maclagan, Berwick, and now of Akeld, Wooler, has been killed by a snipper. He served his apprenticeship with Mr Mosgrove as a shoemaker and was afterwards employed by the North British Railway Company.

Berwick Advertiser 21 Aug 1914 Mosgroves Advert

 

He was a territorial before the outbreak of war, was 23 years of age, and was in the machine gun section. Very high praise has been received of Private Murray’s soldierly bearing and courage in letters sent both by officers and men.

 

AN INTERESTING LETTER

 

This is an extract from a letter from Sergt., T. H. Grey, Machine Gun Corps., son of Mr Thos. Grey, Tweedmouth, which will be interesting:- “I had to tell you that Tom Davidson was all right, in case his people were inquiring for him, however, five minutes after, he got wounded, so I suppose by this time he is well on his way to Blightly. It was just a few minutes prior to an attack, and we were having a talk about old times before going over the top. I didn’t have the luck to see him again. We have some decent weather this last week, but the week before as you would see by the papers took some enduring. Many a time when we get wet through, we remark that had it been at home in civil life, we would have been following it up with a week in bed, whereas out here we can lie in a shell hole night and day and endure all sorts of  storms, not to mention bombardments. I fancy it must be the excitement that keeps us fit, it must be something out of the ordinary at any rate. We have celebrated our second anniversary in grand style I don’t mean by a great feast or supper, but by taking part in one of the biggest of battles and claimed to have been one of the fiercest, nevertheless it has gained for us a few days rest.

By the way, we had our Red and White roses on St. George’s Day, you see although I am now in the M.G.C., I like to consider myself still in the N.F. Those who were less fortunate than us and got killed that day were buried with their roses still pinned to their uniform. I’m sorry to say one of the unlucky ones was a very intimate friend of mine, being Sergeant in the same section as myself, it was his second anniversary in France too, and he had never until that fateful day, been either wounded or in hospital from any cause; such is the Fate that awaits the soldier on the battlefield.

 

MIRACULOUS ESCAPE OF A NORHAM LAD

 

Mr T. Robertson, gardener, Birch Hill, Norham, has received a letter from his son, Trooper J. Robertson, of the Royal 10th Hussars, who has been in the thick of the recent fighting in which he relates some stirring events.

The 10th Royal Hussars memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. © Author A Carty. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

It appears that on one occasion some of the cavalry got held up in a village, and were ordered to dismount for action. In the fight Trooper Roberson was blown up into the air, landed in a garden, and wonderful to relate escaped without a scratch. It was a pretty rough time while it lasted and as he says, “We came through it, however, with the loss of a great number of horses most of which were blown up into the air; the number of men killed, I am glad to say was not many.” Trooper Robertson has been in France since August of last year. Previous to joining the colours he was a rabbit catcher, and is well known in the district. He lost a brother, who was in the K.O.S.B. at the battle of the Somme.