Archive for Northumberland Archives

This Week in World War One, 21 September 1017






Two brothers in the Northern Cyclist Batt., John and James Scott, residing at Richardson Stead, Scremerston, are spending a few days well-earned leave far from the noise of battle. Both lads joined up shortly after war began, and after training went to France in July, 1916. In civil life they were employed as ploughmen at New Heaton, Cornhill. We trust good luck will attend them.

Private Andrew Scobie, R.G.A., is here on hospital leave. He is the son of Rev. R. Scobie, The Manse, Tweedmouth, and previous to enlistment was employed as a clerk by the Scremerston Coal Company.

We are pleased to see this week on our midst, Private Robert Hendry, N.F., home on  hospital leave, and he is looking fit and well and in the best of spirits. He is the husband of Mrs Hendry, Murton Farm, Berwick.

Lieut. Bart. Turnbull, M.C., Castlegate, Berwick, has been home in the town enjoying a well-earned leave. He returns with our best wishes.

Pleased to see Private Henry Richardson, London Regiment, son of Councillor Peter Richardson, home on a few days leave.

Private George Rutherford, N.F., son of Mr Rutherford, Spittal, and a former employee at the “Advertiser” Office, is spending an all too brief ten days’ leave from France, renewing old acquaintanceship. He returns with our best wishes.

Berwick Advertiser 21 Sept 1917 Advert Grand Evening Concert



The funeral of Lance-Corporal Michael Hynds, K.O.S.B., took place from the Military Hospital, where he died some days ago, to the place of interment at Berwick Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon. Military honours were accorded the procession being headed by a firing party and Depot Band, under Bandmaster Wilson. A large gathering lined the route and there was every manifestation of public sympathy.

© Copyright Graham Robson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

The coffin, which was covered by the Union Jack, was borne to its last resting place by a transport lorry. At the graveside the service was conducted by the Rev. Father Smythe. Three volleys were fired over the grave, interspersed with a few bars of “Peace, Perfect Peace,” after which the last post was sounded by the regimental trumpeter.




Norham War Hospital Supply Depot. – This depot continues doing good work for our wounded soldiers and sailors, and during the last month the following articles have been despatched :- 1160 round swabs, 920 moss dressings, 12 rest pillows, 80 face sponges, 26 tray cloths, 16 towels, 32 jug covers.

The above were sent to Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild, 2 Cavendish Square, London, W.

Other comforts comprising 12 knitted eye pads, 410 eye pads, 240 eye swabs, 114 roller bandages, 6 knitted face cloths, 10 capilines, 2 feather pillows, 8 pairs bed socks, 71 rest cushions were despatched to the 2nd London General Hospital. Also 239 roller bandages were forwarded to Eden Hall Hostel.

The depot has also acted as a collecting station for the National Egg Collection, and since its inception by Mrs W.H. Askew in November, 1915, the following numbers of eggs have been collected :- from November, 1915, to June 1916, 6719; from July, 1916, to December, 1916, 2864; from January, 1917, to August, 1917, 3010, making a total of 12,593 eggs.

The last quarterly statement shows the depot to have £21 11s 7d in the bank, and £2 1s 3d in the treasurer’s hands.




A complaint has been made to us that one or two of the naval men going along Ness Street, and thence along the Pier, in order to rejoin their ships at night, are sometimes a little inclined to be noisy. This was specially noticeable on Sunday night, and when the men are doing such self-sacrificing work during the day it is a pity that there should be this unnecessary entry on the other side of the account.

© Copyright David Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License, Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.




Before J. McNab and C. Forsyth, Esqs.



Private Edward Simm, K.O.S.B. was charged with being a deserter from his regiment in France, by having overstayed his leave 21 days.

The Chief Constable stated that Simm was apprehended on Saturday and handed over to the military, but they asked the he should be brought before the magistrates, and handed over to an escort by them.

P.C. Smith said that about 9.40 on Saturday, when he was on duty in Marygate, he received information about accused, whereupon he proceed to 1, Narrow Lane, and asked him if he had overstayed his leave. He admitted that this was the case, and was taken to the Police Sstation.

The Chief Constable – The leave ended on August 14th, according to his pass.

Defendant – On the 13th -, sir.

The Chief Constable – Oh, all right, the thirteenth!

Defendant was remanded to await an escort.

Private William Curry, Scottish Rifles, was charged with being a deserter from his regiment in France, having overstayed his leave by 15 days.

The Chief Constable said he had received a note from headquarters that morning asking him to apprehend Curry.

P.C. Crombie said he went to the house of accused in Fraser’s Yard, Chapel Street, and apprehended him. He had a pass showing that his leave had been extended to August 25th.

Defendant – I have been ill, attending hospital and unable to travel.

Mr McNab – Well, are you able to travel now?

Defendant – Oh yes.

Mr McNab – Then that’s all we want. You are remanded to await an escort.


This Week in World War One, 7 September 1917





From Trenches to Homeland




Glad to see about the town this week Seaman Jock Burgon, Low Greens, on a short leave from his ship. Prior to the war he was a fisherman and went up for training each year with the R.N.V.R. He has been mobilised since August 4th, 1914, and is on one of H.M. patrol boats.

Sergeant J. Small, Queen’s Edinburgh, has been home on leave, looking the picture of health. He is well known in the district, having served for a time at the Depot, Berwick. We wish him the best of luck with his new regiment.

Pleased to see Lieut. Ward Davis, son of Mr Ward Davis North Terrace, Berwick, home on short leave after having qualified for a commission. He went to France as a private with the K.P.R., and after having been wounded was recommended for a commission.

Lance-Corporal John Nelson, M.G. Squadron (Cavalry) of Main Street, Tweedmouth, who has been in France for 18 months, is now on ten days’ leave in the town. He returns with our best wishes for his future safety. He is the son of Mr John Nelson, motorman with the Co-Co-Operative Society, and in civil life was employed as a gardener.

After some nine months in a Liverpool hospital, getting rid of the germs left by malaria and dysentery, Private Ernest Beveridge, N.F., Main Street, Tweedmouth, is home on a leave extending to ten days. We hope the bracing air of his native town will restore him to fitness before he is called upon to rejoin his regiment.




Robt. Blaikie, Sunyside, Tweedmouth, failed to appear in answer to a change of having ridden a cycle without a rear light on the highway at Scremerston Colliery on 23rd August.

Scremerston Colliery where cyclist Robert Blaikie, tried in vain to make his escape from the police. © Berwick Record Office BRO 515-211.


Sergeant Elliot said on the night in question while on duty on the highway, he saw the defender ride past without a rear light. Witness shouted to him to stop, and he replied that he was stopping, thereupon riding through the gate at the Colliery Yard. When witness got to the spot he discovered that the accused had cycled on and was just going out at another gate nearer to Berwick.

Mr Askew said the offence was aggravated by the attempt to evade the police and they would in this case inflict a penalty of 10s, with the alternative of seven days imprisonment.




The number of nets taken from the mouth of the river was rather remarkable. No doubt the people who thought they would make a little out of poaching were encouraged by the fact that, owing to the war, they had not the usual staff of bailiffs. At any rate it was quite a noticeable fact that the law had been openly defied. They had to face the fact that there was a good deal of sympathy with the offenders; it was quite mistaken sympathy, according to their view but it was there. It was largely due to an idea that they were sportsmen, and also due to the idea, to him it seemed quite a false one, that the Tweed Act authorised severe penalties were often imposed. This was not so. Proceedings were only taken in extreme cases and no one could think that the fines that were imposed were severe in comparison with the fines which might be imposed. He believed most of the illegal fishing took place in the close season, and there was nothing sportsman likes about that, for the men who practised it were depriving their country of a large future food supply. It was quite clear that if this went on they were killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. He hoped that no sympathy would be extended by benches or by anybody to those who deliberately took fish from the water in the close season, particularly at this time.


Captured at Longhoughton



The six German prisoners who recently escaped from the internment camp at Stobs were recaptured at Longhoughton on Sunday as they emerged from a field where they had been in hiding. It is believed the intention of the men, was to board a freight train with the belief that they could make the coast at the Tyne. At the weekend it is believed that the men passed in the vicinity of Berwick.

Longhouton, where the six German prisoners were recaptured as they emerged from a nearby field. © Copyright Graham Robson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.




A correspondent suggests removing the Maclagan Monument to a more suitable part of the town, which he does not specify, and complains of the children using it as a public blackboard, which he hopes will stop now that the children have gone back to school. He would also like to see the fountain running again. In other words, the fountain should play and the children mustn’t. Neither should they be allowed to help themselves to the school chalk- or their mother’s whiting.

The Maclagan Monument which formerly stood on Marygate and now occupies a position nearby Berwick Infirmary.

The Maclagan Monument occupies one of the sites of the Main Guard, which stood for a time there in front of the old “Black Bull,” the landlord of which was one of those most actively concerned in its removal to the Palace, little knowing what an important item it had been in the goodwill of his house. People had formerly been able to slip in unseen for a nip.


Sad Accident at Goswick



As Acting Corporal S. H. Houghton, Lincoln Regiment, attached to a northern company of the Non-Combatant Corps, and Private H. Basnett, N.C.C., were bathing on Monday about 10.30 a.m., with a party of non-commissioned officers and men of their company, on Cheswick sands, a little south of Cheswick Black Rocks, both were drowned.

Cheswick Sands near Berwick, where the two soldiers drowned. © Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Corporal Houghton was not seen again after he entered the water. When Private Basnett was seen to be in difficulties an alarm was raised, and every effort was made by members of the Company to effect a rescue, but in vain. At the moment that his difficulties were noticed he disappeared. The bodies had not been recovered on Monday evening.

Up till the time of going to press today no word has been heard of the missing bodies.




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.

This Week in World War One, 27 July 1917







Tweedmouth Feast has come and gone once more under the shadow of war, and its attractions have in consequence been reduced to a minimum. Visions of the old days, when the festive board groaned under its load of good things, when the douce resident regaled himself with the succulent Tweed salmon, all Tweedmouth and its wife became possessed of the holiday spirit, and “the parish pump ran beer,” for those who cared to partake, have, it appears, passed into the forgotten limbo of the past. Older residents will look back with mixed feelings to the days when some local “drouth” was elected for the day as Mayor of Tweedmouth and driven round the “pubs” of his constituency in state.

A very early photograph of the West End area of Tweedmouth.


This form of cheap comedy is happily known no more, and in the interest of temperance alone it is well to be so. The amount of horse play attached to these proceedings rendered the mortal life of the “mayor” extremely precarious, for it is recorded that after having been reduced to a stage of hopeless intoxication, he was “dipped” in the Tweed and restored by his sudden immersion to a state of partial sobriety. The boat races, quoit mains, and foot races on the green at West End have also (we hope only temporarily) been allowed to lapse, but even amid it all it all there is a feeling which comes to the average “Twepie,” a feeling no doubt born of heredity and environment which sets the “Feast” down as something apart of the calendar of the year’s events.





Not only the charm which the seaside holds for all in the sweltering days of July, drew a large and gala crowd to the foreshore at the Ladies’ Bathing Pond on Monday afternoon, rather we would imagine all were brought thither in the hope of witnessing amid enjoyable surroundings, sport of a first-class character. In the latter they were not disappointed and especially in the 22 yards race for school boys between the ages of 13 and 15 years and the 44 yards race for lads over 14 and under 17 years of age, competition was keen and the finishes of an exciting character.

The ladies’ bathing pond at the Greenses Harbour, where the Swimming Gala took place in 1917. © Berwick Record Office – BRO 1636-9-42


On the whole afternoon there was few surprises packets. Scout Hawkins, as we anticipated, was on the top hole of form, and his victories were indeed popular. A promising first year competitor was Bain Dickinson of St. Mary’s School and from the form which he displayed we should imagine the last has not been heard of him in swimming circles. Young Turnbull, Less and Walkenshaw, also are worthy of note and no doubt their exhibition will have caught the lynx eye of the local handicapper. Pleasure was given to the proceeding by pleasing selections discoursed by the Boy Scouts Pipe Band under Pipe-Mayor Dumbreck, Royal Scots.

At the close of the proceedings the prizes were presented to the successful competitors by the Rev. R. W. de la Hey, who had a pleasant word for each.

Mr Broadbent moved a hearty vote of thanks to the reverend gentleman for having come forward on the absence of D. H. W. Askew, Esq., and who had so pleasingly presented the prizes.




Herring Improving – On Tuesday morning a dozen to fourteen boats arrived at Berwick with from five to fifty crans of herring. The fish were larger and of improved quality, and sold from 27s to 60s per cran

More Herrings – Ten to twelve herring boats arrived at Berwick on Thursday morning with up to 60 crans each; quality poor, and selling a from 4s 6d to11s per cran.

Herring Boats discharging their catch at the Carr Rock, Spittal, in the early 20th century. © Berwick Record Office – BRO 1887-25-1

Salmon Fishing – The salmon catches during the past week have been most unsatisfactory. This is due to the continuous fine weather, which is not conducive to good fishing. River continues in a foul sate. A flood is urgently needed to clean the river. Prices during the week have risen, and on Thursday morning salmon was quoted at 2s 5d per ls; grilse, 2s 2d; and trout, 1s 9d.


Blyth Bathing Disaster 1917

The late Second-Lieut. Kenneth Brown of a Warwickshire Regiment and son of the late Dr D. W. Brown formerly Mayor of Preston was buried at Horton, Northumberland with full military honours. The deceased officer was one of nine victims of the Blyth bathing disaster. Capt. the Rev. Mr Vecschoyle, chaplain to the battalion who was highly commended for his gallantry in attempting to rescue the deceased officer, assisted the Rev. H. P. Cutter in the service. [Taken from the Morpeth Herald 31 Aug. 1917.]

The following has been extracted from the Morpeth Herald following the inquest.

Hundreds of soldiers were bathing at a spot between the West Pier and Gloucester Lodge. There was a strong southerly wind and a heavy hash on the sea. The tide was at a low-ebb, making the spot very dangerous for bathers. At this spot there were deep water channels cut in to the sand by the currents and the water rushes with an irresistible force. The soldiers had not been in the water long when some of them got into difficulties and were washed out seawards, in spite of their struggles. A number of comrades rushed to their assistance until at the fatal spot 13 men were seen struggling and evidently drowning.  Soldiers formed a human chain by joining hands and wading as far they could into the fast ebbing tide. They succeeded in saving 5 of their comrades, three of whom were very exhausted, when they got ashore that they were immediately rushed off by car.

A statement by an old fisherman who knew every foot of the beach remarked. ”To bathe there was almost suicidal”.

The inquest into seven of the men was held on the Monday by the Coroner H. T. Rutherford. The recovered bodies were – Sgt. John Riley aged 25, Private Fred Shale 18; Thomas Forty; Edward G Beavan 19; Ed Noy 18; Harry Southern and W. W. Henderson. The other two missing were Private Blunn and Lieut. Kenneth Brown.

Sgt. James Dowling of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment identified five of the bodies. He was present bathing when the accident happened between 10 & 11 o’clock on the Friday morning.  Private Leonard James identified the body of Private Harry Southern and was a witness at the time of the accident. He stated that he had never bathed in the sea before and went out about 30 yards and it took him all of his time to get back. He also stated that he had never seen the sea before! Police Sgt. Hill gave his account of the recovery of the 5 bodies. Private Southern was taken out of the sea by a Boy Scout belonging the 8 1/2 Maple Street, Hirst and Private Noye was rescued by a Boy Scout called Johan Gowans of 97 Pont Street, Hirst. Private Fortey was rescued by H Malston of Kimberley Terrace, Cowpen Quay the other bodies were got by the soldiers.

Lieut. Colonel Frank Martin Chatterley of the Warwickshire’s was the Commanding Officer and expressed his deepest sympathy to the relatives of the deceased and wanted also to recognises the great gallantry shown by the Chaplain Captain G. J. F. Verse Hoyle who tried to save Lieut. Brown and also to Sgt. Riley who lost his life whilst trying to save his comrades.

The soldiers left camp at 09.30 on the weekly route march. Arriving at Blyth sands about 11.30. He give the men a rest of 20 minutes to allow them to cool down and afterwards extended them along the sands in the usual place where the battalion had bathed several times before. This is the exact place civilians and children bathe. Chatterley issued orders to the detachment. Strong swimmers had to be taken out first and the ranks were warned not to go beyond their depths. About 600 men then went in to the sea.Chatterley remained on his horse and watched as the men went in to the water. He then decided to have a bathe himself. He undressed and went into the water and was in the water for about 6-7 minutes. As he came out of the sea Major Burn galloped up to him, informing him that someone was in difficulties towards the pier.

He ordered Major Burn to gallop off and arrange for a boat which he did and the steam launch ‘Water Witch’ was there within 10-12 minutes. Chatterley went into the water where he saw the chaplain had swam out to Lieut. Brown who was 70-80 yards out and in extreme difficulties. The chaplain was supporting Lieut. Brown and Chatterley shouted to the chaplain to encourage him, but the chaplain had to relinquish the Lieut. and had the greatest of difficulty getting back. Indeed he would not have reached the shore if others hadn’t assisted him. The witness added there was a terrific current on the right flank.


Coroners Recommendation

Summing up the Coroner said the accident was one of the saddest cases of drowning they had had in Blyth for many years and certainly not in his experience, which they knew was an exceedingly long one.

So far as the verdict of the jury was concerned it would be a simple one. They were drowned whilst bathing and they would join him in commending the efforts made to save the poor men, especially the efforts of the chaplain and the others who had done their best to get the men out of the sea.

But there was another matter he would like to refer to. About two years ago he had a case at Seaton Sluice where 3-4 solider went out and were drowned and he had made some rather strong comments at the time in regard to the current at that part of the coast and suggest that many of these men, had never seem the sea before and knew nothing about sea bathing. Every precaution may have been taken, but they did not have the local knowledge and should have consulted with local men who knew the beaches and could give advice.

Lieut. Brown’s brother remarked that an old sailor on the beach told him when he saw the battalion go down on Friday, that some of the men would not get out of the sea alive. They knew the currents and the dangers. Had their knowledge been at the disposal of the officers the lives of the deceased men might have been saved. The jury found that the mem were accidently drowned and they recommended that a boat be provided in case of accidents whenever large numbers of men were bathing.


Burial Register


Blyth Town Council and Blyth Battery are looking for any of the relatives of the nine men who died of drowning while on service with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment on August 24, 1917. They are putting together a commemoration for these men on Thursday August 27, 2017. If any of the relatives would like to be involved please contact them on or ring 01670368816.



This Week in World War One, 13 July 1917








Ann Paterson, Berwick, shopkeeper, 101 Castlegate, Berwick, was charged with having, on Sunday, 8th inst., unlawfully engaged in trading. She pleaded guilty, and the Chief Constable explained that there had been complaints, the shop being watched. She was discovered selling six packets of Wild Woodbine cigarettes. P.C. Smith proved the case, and stated when challenged the accused expressed her regret, and admitted that she knew she was contravening the law.

The Chief Constable stated that in future he would summon customers as well as defendants.

The defendant said she was really sorry and that the boys came from the station.

In answer to Mr Dodd’s it was explained that tobacconists were equally guilty if they sold tobacco on Sundays, and that the case was taken under an Act dated 1677. There had been about thirty such cases during the present Chief Constable’s time, and it was not usual to administer a warning, as the law was supposed to be understood.

The Bench imposed a fine of 5s, which was paid.

Mr Dodds – What about Sunday papers, Mr Nicholson?

The Chief Constable – I daresay I could take them, too, but it has never been done. I buy one myself.

Mr Dodds – War time.

Mr Hogarth – That does not make it legal.

The Chief Constable – I am afraid I could have you up too. (Laughter.)

Mr Hogarth – I am certain you could not. (Laughter.)




Boy Falls into the River – What was almost another fatal drowning accident occurred at Spittal about noon on Wednesday. A little boy, Ronnie Gibb, aged 5, son of Mrs Gibb, Main Street, and of Private Gibb, Royal Engineers, who was formerly a North Eastern Railway guard, and is now at the front, was paddling on the beach with his twin brother, and had climbed into a boat from which he fell into the water, and was rapidly washed out towards the sea. The incident was seen by a Mr Dick Piercy, a fisherman who was standing on the Bat at the Berwick side, and he shouted across to a crew of Spittal fishermen to tell them what had happened. They rowed after the child as fast as they could, and reached him near the Pier when Mr John Ainslie, master of the boat, was able to pull him out of the water. Prompt measures were taken to restore the little boy to consciousness, and his rescuers, were soon rewarded by his giving a cry, which showed that he was still alive. The boat was met by Mr Peter Patterson, railway guard, who showed the fishermen how to do artificial respiration, and the child was soon able to breathe properly and even to speak. A young member of the crew, named Patterson, then carried him home. His mother’s relief in finding he was alive may be imagined when it is known that a few minutes before he was carried home his little brother, who had seen him washed away, had run in to tell her that he was drowned.



Elder House


10th July, 1917.


Sir,- The year 1916 constitutes a record in the history of the Institution for the number of  lives saved – 1,300, and never were the courage, endurance, and seamanship of the Life-Boat Crews more severely tested than in the terrific gales of October and November last.

But while the year of 1916 has been fruitful the number of lives saved, it has, alas; been marked by the loss of 16 gallant Life-Boatmen, the complete wreck of one Life-Boat, and severe damage to others.

I regret to add that the income of the Institution was £21,000 less than in 1915; and it must be remembered that the service is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions.

Berwick Lifeboat and crew 20th century (c) BRO 2001-8

The Life-Boat Service is national in the truest sense of the word, and is playing an active and noble part in the War. It is hardly realised by the Nation that many hundreds of lives have been saved from H.M. Ships and other vessels which have fallen a victim to the mine or the torpedo, or other causes directly arising out of the War; and that over 2,600 lives have been saved for Britain and her Allies since August, 1914.

But, in these times, there is also a personal aspect; for there is surely no British man or woman who has not some relative or friend who is obliged to cross the seas in carrying out his duty to King and Country; and any of these men may need the services of the Life-Boat.

These brief facts are the reason of my earnest appeal to you not to gorget [sic] the Life-Boat Cause, even amidst the many claims to your generosity which the war involves, and I feel sure that I can rely upon your sympathy and support for one of the noblest forms of national activity, which can now point to over 54,600 lives saved.

Yours faithfully

C. L. Fraser

Hon. Secretary, Berwick-on-Tweed Branch.

Royal National Life-Boat Institution.

In aid of the Life-Boat Cause an entertainment will be held in Berwick at end of August or beginning of September: Particulars later.

This Week in World War One, 29 June 1917








The accompanying photo is of Private T.H. Pattison, whose wife has just received information, that he has been admitted into the casualty clearing station in France suffering from wounds in the arm and back. Before enlisting he carried on the business of painter, having succeeded his father the late Johnson Pattison. He joined up on September, 1916, and was put into the 3rd K.O.S.B’s at Duddingston. After some time there he went to Dreghorn and attached to the A. and S. Highlanders. He was brought back to Duddingston and transferred to the Seaforths, from there to Blairgowrie, then to France, where he has been for 4 months. We trust that his wife may soon receive favourable news of him. His wife is the youngest sister of Mr Thomas Grey, Tweedmouth, and resides at 12 Parade, Berwick.




Berwick Volunteers – Good progress continues to be made in rifle and other drill by the various platoons, while the physical exercises are also being enthusiastically taken up by the younger members. At the close of one of the last drills Capt. C. L. Fraser, V. D., commanding officer, took occasion to advert to the irregularity in attendance of many of the younger members, expressing the earnest hope that due attention would be made to remedy this fault. He also trusted that every effort would be made to increase the membership of the Berwick Company. Good as the response had been for the Borough, it was still evident that there were a goodly number of men of military age who had not identified themselves with the Corps. He hoped every member would taken it as an instruction form him to personally interview eligible men who up to the present had not identified themselves with the Company, and insist on a reasonable and a satisfactory explanation for their failure to join up.

Scremerston Band’s Patriotic Work – On Sunday afternoon last, by permission of the Local Authority, Scremerston Brass Band discoursed a programme of scared music at Berwick Band Stand, on the Walls to a large and appreciative audience.

The Scremerston Colliery Band 1910. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1753-2a.

A collection was taken up on behalf of Berwick Patriotic Fund, the sum of £6 3s 6d being realised. We trust that this will only be a forerunner of many other musical treats provided by Bandmaster Whitfield and his highly trained instrumentalists.

Early Potatoes – Several allotment holdiers in the town and district have been digging the first earlies from their potato plots during the past week, and for size and quality the young tubers are well up to standard. It will be another month, however, before potatoes, to any great extent, are on the market from local growers. The new allotments at Violet Terrace are looking exceptionally fine, and should all well produce an abundant return.

Grammar School Rambling Club – On Saturday, June 23rd, the Rambling Club cycled to Wooler. There the party of fourteen divided, seven visiting the “Happy Valley,” and the rest setting out to climb the Cheviot: this was prevented by mist, but a good height was reached and the climbers had a fine view over the surrounding country, and the mountain provided plenty of scope for nature study.

Street Accident – About 4.50 on Wednesday afternoon Mary Fryer, widow, residing in Narrow Lane, Berwick, was cycling down Church Street, and in trying to avoid a boy she swerved on to the pavement. She had the misfortune to knock down Mrs Colin Campbell, and continuing her course she went through a plate glass window of Mr Campbell, tailor, situated in the ladies’ department.

Church Street, 1906. BRO 0426-338 (C) Berwick Record Office.

When Mrs Fryer was picked up she was found to be slightly cut about the head and suffering from severe bruises to her left knee. She was attended to by Dr C. L .Fraser, V.D., at the police station, and he ordered her removal to the Infirmary. She was conveyed there in the ambulance by P.C. Watt.


This Week in World War One, 15 June 1917






Berwick Lad Seriously Injured by Motor Tractor. – On Wednesday afternoon James Swan (18), apprentice motor mechanic, residing at 21 Wallace Green, Berwick, employed by the Berwick Garage Company, Hide Hill, met with serious injuries at the farm of East Ord, while working a motor tractor plough. The lad, who is presently employed by the Food Production Department, had been doing something to the machinery while in motion, when a portion of his coat, which was not buttoned, was caught, and he was dragged in among the wheels.

Engraving of Berwick Infirmary HB1-68 late 19th Century

He sustained severe injuries before the machine could be stopped, his left arm being broken at the elbow, while his head, which struck one of the large wheels, was cut open. Dr C. G. Maclagan was driven out by Mr H. E. Blackney, manager of the Berwick Garage, and attended to the lad’s injuries. Five stitches had to be inserted in the wound on the head. The lad was afterwards conveyed to the Berwick Infirmary, where he is progressing as well as can be expected.

Grammar School Rambling Club.- On Saturday, June 2nd, a cycle run to St. Abbs took place; the party of nineteen went out by Burnmouth, Eyemouth and Coldingham, and after the ramble from the village were very kindly shown through the Lighthouse, a novel and interesting experience. After a visit to the “landing” and bathe, the return was by Ayton, the party reaching Berwick in the evening. On Saturday, June 9th, a visit was paid to Holy Island, the party again numbering nineteen, going through the Priory and Church, then visiting the caves and sands on the north shore returning from the snook.

(C) BRO 1865-17 Lindisfarne Priory

Fine weather and a merry party (including boys from Cornhill, Paxton, and Ancroft as well as from the Borough, and a master) made the excursion a most enjoyable one. The next outing will probably take place on June 23rd.

Military Wedding at Berwick.- Yesterday afternoon an interesting military wedding was solemnised in Berwick Parish Church, the contracting parties being Miss Hilda Shield, daughter of Mr and Mrs Shield, Golden Square, and Second- Lieut. Ralph Hedley of the Machine Gun Corps, youngest son of the Ralph Hedley, North Shields.The best man was the bridegroom’s brother, Captain John Herbert Hedley, of the Lincolnshire Regiment, who is presently home on leave from France, while the bridesmaids were Miss Edith Hornsby of Durham, and Miss Dora Shields, sister of the bride.

Berwick Parish Church (c) John Box

Following the ceremony the brides’ parents held a reception in the Long Room of the Corn exchange when a large number of guests were entertained. The presents received were numerous and valuable, and included several cheques.

No Trip to Spittal this Year.- The annual meeting of Sunday School teachers connected with the various churches was held in the Session house of St. John’s U.F. Church, Kelso, on Wednesday evening at the close of the intercessory service. The minute of last meeting having been read and approved, the Chairman stated that the business before the meeting was to consider whether a picnic should be provided for the children this summer. The food restrictions which had been in operation until lately would have left them no choice in the mater, but Sunday School picnics were now permissible under certain conditions. After discussion it was unanimously agreed that it would be wise, in view of all the circumstances to have no picnic this summer.

Sunday School Scholars Kindly Gift.- An interesting ceremony took place at the Berwick Public Bowling Green on Tuesday evening, when two invalid chairs were handed over for the use of wounded soldiers frequenting the green. The chairs were the gift of the Sunday school children and teachers of Castlegate Baptist Church, and bore the following inscriptions :- “For the use of wounded Soldiers, from Castlegate Baptist Church Sunday school, with gratitude and good wishes.”


The Committee wish to make it known that wounded soldiers may play on the green, free of charge, and other soldiers at the reduced rate of 1d. The well-appointed green is also open to all who care to come and watch the play.

War Time Cookery.- It will be observed from our advertising columns that a public meeting is to be held in the Queen’s Rooms, Berwick, on Thursday evening, 21st June, for the purpose of providing a course of lessons and demonstrations in war time cookery for women without payment of any fee. An address is to be given by Miss Howman, superintendent of domestic subjects under the Northumberland County Education Committee, and the Mayoress will preside to which all are cordially invited. He hour of meeting is 7pm.

This Week in World War One, 18 May 1917






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:


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.




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.




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).