Archive for August 2017

This Week in World War One, 24 August 1917






Berwick Runner’s Success – Sergeant Robert Burton, R.E., Tweedmouth, has recently competed in Army Sports Meeting, in the open half mile and open quarter, and entered a team of 4 for re-lay race; and managed to bag the two races, and also help the team to pull off the re-lay. He also had the pleasure of winning the prize presented by the General for the individual champion of the meeting, so, altogether, he has every reason to be quite pleased with his afternoon’s work. Hearty congratulations to Sergeant Burton, our Border Champion, who is the son of Mr Burton, Tweedmouth. Sergeant Burton married the daughter of Mrs Alex. Lounton, Hawick, and formerly of Tweedmouth.

Music at Railway Station – A few evenings ago, residents in the vicinity of Berwick Station were charmed with selections played on an English concertina by a passenger in the 8.45pm Edinburgh to Newcastle express. Crowds on the Railway Bridge listened to a musical treat, the like of which it is not customary to hear outside of music hall circles. What left a deep impression on the assembly was the fact that the musician was an Australian soldier, who, poor fellow, had lost his sight in the war. Although destined to live in perpetual darkness, here was this brave lad still doing his bit to cheer comrades returning to the battlefield.

Soldiers at Berwick Railway Station WW1, some of whom appear top be Australian. (c) BRO 2349-52-001

Those who were privileged to see and hear his efforts to promote good cheer, will not marvel that such spirits remain unquenched by the hellish rain of high explosives in Flanders.

Morris Dances – On behalf of Berwick Patriotic Fund the pupils of Mrs Wilkinson, Spittal Council School, gave on Thursday, at Bell Tower School, Berwick, their clever display of Morris, Old English, and National Dances, which were recently such a great success at Spittal that many people were unable to obtain seats. There were two performances, at 3pm and 6pm. Dancing is now strongly recommended by Board of education as a part of the course in physical exercise for girls, and all who saw the display came away full of unstinted praise and appreciation.




Before D. Herriot, T. Purves, Chas. Forsyth, and D. H. W. Askew, Esqs.




Euphemia Whitelaw, Loughend, Berwick, married woman, was charged with having between 4th and 11th June made a false statement and thereby obtaining a quantity of sugar from Messrs Renton, merchants, Berwick.

R.W. Smeaton, Inspector of Weights and Measures, deponed that he examined the books of Messrs Renton, merchants, and found that the defendant had applied for one cwt. of sugar from that firm. She obtained 56 lbs. As witness thought this was rather a large quantity, he examined defendant’s garden to ascertain what fruit bushes she possessed. The sugar was supplied under orders of the Sugar Commissioners for preserving purposes. He found that there were no fruit bushes in the garden, and she admitted that she had received the sugar all right. The form issued by the Sugar Commissioners, and signed by defendant, bore a declaration which had to be signed that the sugar was to be used for preserving purposes and only for fruit grown by herself.

Mr Murray, foreman to Messrs Renton, proved that the defendant received four stones of sugar, but admitted that she only signed on one occasion for two stones. He filled in the declaration for the sugar at the defendant’s dictation.

Defendant said that Mr Murray told her to put down her name for 112 lbs so that she would be sure to get as much as she wanted. She admitted she had no fruit bushes, but hoped that Messrs Renton would see their way clear to give her six stones.

On oath she stated that she wrote a letter to London to the Secretary of the Sugar Commission, in which she stated that, while not a fruit grower, she received supplies of fruit every year, and it would be very unfortunate if she did not obtain the sugar. She made sufficient jam to last her from one season to the following. If the Secretary saw his way to give her six stones she would be much obliged.

Mr Herriot said that the Bench found the defendant guilty, but would deal with her leniently for more reasons than one. She would be fined 10s only, but they would like to give this warning that if any further cases came up they would be very much more severely treated. Another reason for leniency was that the bench were not quite satisfied with the conduct of Messrs Renton and Company in this case. It seemed to the Bench that to a certain extent the defendant had been led into the fault she had committed.




Three schoolboys were charged with the larceny of a quantity of herrings, value 1s, from a box on the quay the property of Robert Croan, fish buyer, on 21st August. They pleaded not guilty.

It appeared that there had been many complaints of thefts of this nature from the quay, that the police were greatly annoyed by this, and so numerous were the offences that it would require a constable specially appointed to patrol the harbour to watch such juveniles.

(c) BRO 1636-5-10 Berwick Quayside 1905

For the defence a herring fisher named John Brown, deponed that he had given the boys a dozen of herring and mackerel. He could not say that such thefts had been numerous, but was quite willing to believe that there had been complaints. He pointed out also that after herrings had been a time in a box there appeared to be less than were originally put in owing to the fish sinking down. He had eighteen years’ experience as a herring fisher.

The Bench found the charge proved and bound the defendants over for the next three months under the probation officer, and the parents would have to pay 5s costs each. The Bench were sorry to learn of these complaints, and gave warning that the next offender might be birched.

This Week in World War One, 10 August 1917








A large concourse of townspeople and visitors assembled at the Band Stand, Berwick, on Sunday, at the meeting to commemorate the third anniversary of the outbreak of war.

Mathew Ross, Esq., Sheriff, presided in the absence of the mayor who is presently on holiday, and almost all the local clergy were present.

A large united choir sustained the musical part of the programme and its efforts were heartily appreciated. The Rev. R. W. de la Hey, M.A., read a portion of the scriptures. Speaking to the terms of a resolution proposed, Rev. F. T. Williams, Spittal, gave an impressive and inspiring address. Prayer was offered by Rev. C. L. Stowe, Berwick, and Rev. R. C. Inglis, Berwick, and at the close the National Anthem was sung.

The proceedings opened with the singing of the grand old paraphrase, “O God of Bethel”, and its soothing words were most apt in the terrible times through which we are passing. This was followed by an appropriate passage of scripture read by the Vicar of Berwick (Rev. R. W. de la Hey), Rev. R. C. Inglis then leading in prayer. After a few well-chosen remarks by the Chairman (Sheriff Matthew Ross), the hymn “Onward, Christian Soldiers” was sung.


Corporal William Conway


Corporal William Conway, M.G. Corps, only surviving son of Mr and Mrs John Conway, Low Greens, Berwick, who was recently wounded in the shoulder in action in France and has been treated in hospital in this country, has been with us in the town, on leave, and wearing the ribband of the Military Medal which has been awarded for good work with the “guns” in the field.

© Wikimedia Commons, Author: National Library of Scotland, no known copyright.


Corporal Conway was one of the old volunteer company who went from Berwick to the South African War, the medals for which campaign he holds. At the outbreak of war he rejoined the army and was posed to the K.O.S.B. with whom he trained at Edinburgh. Later being transferred to the M. G. Corps, he served his course at Portland and Grantham, and proceeded into France this year. Prior to enlisting Corporal Conway was employed by Berwick Corporation. We are sure our numerous readers will join with us in congratulating him on his recovery and on the distinction which has been awarded for gallant conduct.



Another Accident on Wooler Bridge – On Sunday night another of these nasty accidents which are happening too frequently occurred on the bridge crossing the Wooler water on the main road. It seems that a motor car and motor cycle were approaching in opposite directions, where it is impossible through the bend and rise at each end of the bridge, to see any vehicle coming, the consequence was that they met in the centre of the bridge with the result that the “byke” was smashed very badly, while the rider Mr Brown of Sunderland, was considerably bruised and shaken and but for his presence of mind in throwing himself off his injuries would certainly have been much more serious. This is a really dangerous place as the numerous accidents testify and the county authorities ought to take the mater up and see if something cannot be done to lessen the danger.

Berwick Prisoners of War Committee – This Committee has now accomplished six months’ work, and thinks it may be of interest to the public, who have so generously supported the Fund, to know that during this time it has sent to the various regimental centres the sum of £171 2s 3d. Nearly all this money has gone to the support of local men, and men attached to local regiments, several of whom are wholly or partially adopted by the Fund, or adopters through the Fund. Owing to the continuance of the War, further contributions will be most welcome, and any information regarding local prisoners will be gratefully received by members Committee or the hon. secy., Mrs Plenderleith.




On Thursday last a highly successful sale of work took place under the auspices of St Paul’s Church, Spittal. A large gathering of congregation and friends assembled at the opening ceremony, which was performed by the minister pro tem (Rev. Mr Dobson).

Early photograph of St Paul’s Church, Spittal. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1887-4-3.

In a few remarks the Rev. gentleman expressed his pleasure at being present that day, and congratulated those who had so generously provided the goods for the sale. He hoped that success, would crown their efforts and that the sale would be an unbounded success. The work of the sale was then embarked upon and the well plenished stalls were soon denuded of much of their contents.

The following were the stall-holders: – Congregational Stall (plain and fancy work) – Mrs Alexander, Mrs Hall, Mrs Thew. Sewing Meeting Stall – Miss Boston, Miss E. Renton. Refreshment Stall – Mrs Douglas, Mrs Sandilands, Mrs Moffat. Dip – Misses Cairns.

During the evening a most enjoyable concert was held, and heartily appreciated by all.