This Week in World War One, 30 November 1917








James Burgon, Army veterinary Corps, horse-shoer, who resides with his parents at 29 Low Greens, Berwick, arrived home on Thursday morning, 29th November, on a fortnight’s leave. Suffering from a poisoned hand some folks have concluded that he has been wounded, but happily this is not the case. Private Burgon has seen three years’ service, and was a blacksmith with Messrs Caverhill. He is a son of Mr Alick Burgon, motor ferryman.

Lance-Corporal W. Macdonald, Australians, son of Mr Henry Macdonald, formerly a baker in Castlegate, and a well-known oarsman on the Tweed in his young days, broke his journey at Berwick on Wednesday to make a few calls upon old friends. He has just come out of Hospital, this being the 2 time he has been wounded. After being wounded on the last occasion he was for a time at a Hospital in France where Nurse K. Mackay, daughter of Surgeon Major W. B. Mackay, C. M. G., is ministering.

A team of the 2nd Field Ambulance inside a makeshift hospital during World War One. Photograph taken between 1917 and 1918 in France, by Henry Armytage Sanders. © National Library NZ (No known copyright restrictions). Wikimedia Commons.

He was there during the period when the Hospital was bombarded by hostile aircraft, and his one regret is that time did not permit of his calling upon the brave lady’s mother. Lance-Corporal Macdonald served for some years in the Royal Navy, and was one of the crew of H.M.S. Berwick, when the 5th Cruiser Squadron visited this port. He with the other members of the family had been some time in Australia when war broke out, and along with his brother Henry he came to the help of the Motherland. We wish him the best of luck for the future.

We are pleased to see Driver Dick Pringle home on his first leave, he has been 10 months in the army and he has enjoyed his holiday amongst his friends. He is a native of Tweedmouth. Prior to enlistment he was employed by Mr Scott, Branxton Allotments. Driver Pringle has had two brothers in the army, one being killed and the other in France in the Tank Corps. Driver Pringle has two brothers-in-laws serving also. Driver Pringle is the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Pringle, Murton, Berwick-on-Tweed.




A social evening was held in the Mitchell memorial Hall, on Tuesday evening, under the auspices of Mr M. Ross’s Bible Class, for the purpose of providing the funds to supply comforts to serving members. Mr Ross presided, and a number of the local clergy and social workers attended. An interesting programme was gone through and occasion was taken to present the prizes o those members who had attended regularly. During the evening a silver collection was taken as a result of which about £4 will be devoted to the object in view. A few friends generously sent in 130 pair of socks which are to be distributed to the 120 Class lads serving with the colours at home and abroad. The following were awarded prizes for having made the highest possible number of attendance:- A.D. Watt, James Lee, Charles Wright, James D. Wakenshaw, James Young, Thomas Piercy, Joseph Gray, James Walkenshaw, R. Smith, John Walkenshaw, and Wm. Tait. Those awarded prizes only having missed on one occasion were, George Young, G. Hunter, G. White, Arthur Paxton, Robert Stirling, S. Longbone, and Joseph Simpson.

Excellent and fascinating films are being shown at the Queen’s Rooms, Berwick, this week. The pictures are being exhibited clearly and steadily as is now a feature of the management. On Friday and Saturday first there is to be a stirring drama, the “Mystery of the Seven Chests,” and also “Rescued by Wireless,” showing the marvellous utility of Marconi’s invention. On Monday and Tuesday the film will be “The Queen’s Double,” and “Boy Scouts be Prepared.” The later film has been screened in all the leading picture halls, and should powerfully appeal to all our local boy scouts. A children’s matinee will take place on Saturday afternoon at 2.30.





The following men, who had been granted exemption on condition they became efficient Volunteers, and who had not done so, were then called before the Tribunal.

William Bell and William Swinney, employed as potmen at the Spittal Chemical Works, stated that when their work was finished they were so exhausted as sometimes to be hardly able to walk home. They were doing four men’s work, and it was work of a most ardous nature.

Taken later, a photograph of the Spittal Chemical Works where both William Bell and William Swinney worked in 1917. Both men were brought to a tribunal for failing to become efficient volunteers. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1887-23-7.

The Military Representative – Do you know that in case of invasion you men would be sent into the country with the women and children, and men of 55 would be fighting to protect you? You are immensely better off than if we were sending you to France.

They were ordered to become efficient Volunteers, otherwise their exemption would be cancelled.

James Bryson stated he had joined the Volunteers, but Dr Fraser had ordered him to stop drilling at once. Adjourned for medical examination.

The case of Thomas Mark was adjourned to see if he was drilling regularly as a Volunteer before next Tribunal. The Military representative said that it was quite possible Mark would be in the army before next Tribunal as his exemption was really cancelled through the condition of exemption not being compiled with.

Norman Todd and William Unthank were also informed that if they did not join the Volunteers, and become efficient, their exemption would be cancelled.




The arrangements for the Free Gift Sale to be held in aid of the British Farmers Red Cross Fund are now well advanced.

British Red Cross Ambulance in French service, Northern France. © SMU Central University Libraries (No known copyright restrictions). Wikimedia Commons.

The Wooler Volunteer detachment were engaged in various exercises in the Drill Hall on Sunday morning. The detachment was inspected by Major Graham, O.C. of the Battalion, the previous day, when this officer expressed his pleasure at all he saw.

A Volunteer detachment is being formed under favourable conditions at Ford.

The weekly house-to-house collection in aid of the Wooler War Depot for the weeks Nov. 16th and 23rd realised £1 10s and £1 5s respectively.

It is reported that Corporal C. Carr, son of Mr Alex. Carr, Wooler, now in hospital, has been awarded the Military Medal.

The Volunteers are holding a whist drive and dance on Friday evening next in the Drill Hall in aid of the local War Workers’ Depot.

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