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.

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