Archive for Northumberland Archives

This Week in World War One, 16 November 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 26 NOVEMBER 1917

 

FROM TRENCHES TO HOMELAND

LOCAL LADS ON LEAVE FROM THE

BATTLEFRONT AND TRAINING CENTRES

 

Trooper J. Bainbridge, N.H., West End, Tweedmouth is home on a few days leave. Prior to enlistment he was employed in the grocery department, Tweedside Co-operative Stores. His brother Ted, is also serving.

We are pleased to see home from France on a few days leave, Pte. John Patterson, K.O.S.B., attached to R.S. He was wounded in the hand some time ago, his photo appeared in our columns at that time. Pte. Patterson has been 15 months in France. We wish him the best of luck.

Corporal R. Blackhall, N.F., West End is here on a few days leave. Previous to enlisting he was employed by the Border Brewery Coy.

Private John Wood, H.L.I., here from France on a few days’ leave, has been once wounded. Previous to enlistment he was employed by the Maypole Diary Company at Berwick.

Another local lad home on leave from France this week is Private Thomas Short, who resides in Kiln Hill, Tweedmouth. He joined the N.F. about two years ago, and after training at Alnwick proceed to France. He is now in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment. Previous to enlistment he was employed at the pipe factory, Tweedmouth. His brother George who is a Sergeant in the N.F. is training Volunteers at Hull.

Lance-Corporal J. Burgon, 18 Kiln Hill, whom we reported last week as being home on short leave is in the 2nd Gordon Highlanders, and not in the K.O.S.B.’s The  gallant Corporal is a splendid athlete, and is the proud possessor of five silver cups which testify to his prowess in the field of sport. He is no less keen in the discharge of his military duties, and on three occasions has received the thanks of his commanding officer for distinguishing himself by good service in the field.

Lance-Corporal James Dowens, A. and S. Highlanders, Berwick has spent a short leave in his native town before leaving for Oxford, where he will sit for his examinations for a commission. He was in Africa when war broke out and left a splendid position to come home and enlist. Twelve months ago he was wounded in action, after having been some four months in France, and since then he has been in hospital. We wish him the best of luck.

 

THE PASSING OF HARRY DEMEE

A TRUE SON OF THE SEA

 

Our many readers will be sorry to hear of the death of Harry Demee, one of the oldest and best known characters about this town of Berwick-on-Tweed. Young and old, rich and poor, all knew Harry.

He was a sailor by profession, but his connection with the sea, however, was not confined to coasting, for in his younger days he visited Europe, Asia, Africa, and America and filled all the positions on board shop, from cabin boy to skipper.

Many old Berwickers will remember him one of the crew of the Clippers, and steward on board the steamboat which traded between Berwick and London.

The Berwick to Spittal ferry which Harry Demee would have worked on. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 1887-33-3.

Since retirement from the sea he has led a very active life. For many years he was a well-known figure on the ferry between Berwick and Spittal.

In winter time when the “Soup Kitchen” was called into being, Harry was there as cook.

As Church Officer at Chapel Street Church he was favourite with parson and layman alike, and had a cheery remark for all, and the bairns who attended the Sunday School all knew “Old Harry.”

For the last two years he has acted as green keeper for the Working Men’s Bowling Club, and many of the players who frequent the sunny spot in Upper Ravensdowne will recall his yarns told in a way which defied all imitation.

 

MILITARY WEDDING AT BERWICK

LIEUT. FEDDEN, R. F.C.- MISS SHENA FRASER.

 

The marriage was solemnised in the Parish Church, Berwick, on Wednesday, between Lieut. Cecil Olcher Fedden, 22nd Punjabis, att. Royal Flying Corps, son of Mr F. Player Fedden, Glenthorpe, Barnet, and Miss Shena Lennox Fraser, eldest daughter of Lieut-Colonel C. l. Fraser (T.) R.A.M.C., J.P., Elder House, Ravensdowne, Berwick.

Pictured is Elder House, Ravensdowne, Berwick, the residence of the bride Shena Lennox Fraser.

The happy event had been fixed to take place on Monday, 3rd December, but owing to the bridegroom, having been offered an important appointment abroad, matters were arranged within the short period of twenty-four hours.

The ceremony was performed by the Vicar of Berwick, the Rev. R. W. de la Hey, and there were a great many friends and well-wishers present.

The bride, who was given away by her father, looked charming. She wore an under dress of gold tissue, with an overdress of champagne georgette with a deep pan velvet border of the same colour. She also wore a veil with a deep border of gold lace, with a gold band fitting tightly to the forehead, and carried a bouquet of bronze chrysanthemums, presented by Mrs Adam Darling, Bondington, Berwick.

The bridesmaid was Miss N. Fraser (sister), and she was dressed in jade green georgette.

The bridegroom, who was in uniform of his unit, was attended by Lieut. Swanston, K.O.S.B., who acted as best man.

The mother of the bride was dressed in grey georgette with coloured sash, while Mrs St. John, cousin of the bride, was dressed in cerise georgette.

Mr Ballantyne, organist of Wallace Green Church, presided at the organ, and gave an excellent rendering of the customary wedding music, whike the hymns, “Love Divine,” and “O Perfect Love,” were sung.

Amongst those present were observed Mrs Adam Darling, the Rev. R.C. Inglis and Lieut. Robert Inglis (who is home on leave), Miss Clay (Ravensdowne), Mrs T. Darling, Miss Darling, Misses Darling-Robertson, Mrs de la Hey, Misses Alder (Halidon), Mrs and Miss McCreath, Mrs Macaky, Miss Pearson, Mrs Riddell, Miss Robertson, Mrs Worsdell, Miss E.F. Smail, Miss Dunlop, etc., etc.

The bridegroom’s presents to the bridesmaids were silver chain bags.

The happy couple left by the 3.9 train for York. The bridegroom, we understand, has been granted ten days’ leave subject to cancellation if his services are required sooner.

The bride’s going away dress was a long champagne coloured coat trimmed with sable fur, while she also wore a brown velvet hat to match, with Russian sable furs, the gift of her mother.

A number of friends accorded a hearty send-off and expressed their good wishes for the future happiness of the couple.

Mrs Fedden will be “At Home” at Elder House, Berwick, on the 28th, 29th, and 40th November.

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

ANDERSON – In loving remembrance of Private W. Anderson, N.F., who was killed in action on November 14th, 1916, aged 22 years and three months.

In the prime of life I was cut off,

No longer could I stay,

Because it was my Saviour’s will

To call me hence away.

No sin, no care can reach him now,

An angel’s crown is on his brow;

He’s reached the ransomed joyful band

Whose home is in the better land.

 Ever remembered by his sister-in-law, Mrs T. Anderson, Fenham Hill.

Private W. Anderson, N.F., remembered: Graves in the Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery, seen with the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, Thiepval, France. © This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Carcharoth_(Commons)

 

ATHEY – In loving memory of Lance-Corporal J.W. Athey, aged 22 years, who was killed in action in France, November 17th, 1916, the only son of Mr and Mrs Athey, Beal Station.

Although his face we cannot see, his voice we cannot hear,

We often sit and think of him, and shed a silent tear;

Friends may think that we have forgot him,

when at times we are apt to smile,

Little knowing what grief is hidden beneath the surface all the while.

Ever remembered by his loving father and mother and sisters.

 

DIGGLE – In loving memory of James, the dearly beloved husband of Euphemia Diggle (nee Curle), who died November 17th, 1916.

One lonely year has passed away

Since my dear husband was called away,

And, oh, the pain it was severe

For I little thought death was so near.

When I took around our lonely house

And see his vacant chair,

Where he used to sit with his listening ear

Until I told him all my cares.

But now he is gone, my heard is sad,

Through this dark world I tread,

But methinks I can see how he is waiting for me

In the beautiful land on high.

Sadly missed by his sorrowing wife and family and eldest son, Eddie, in France-Brinkburn, Pauperhaugh.

This Week in World War One, 2 November 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 2 NOVEMBER 1917

 

 

BELFORD LAD MAKES SUPREME SACRIFICE

 

 

We are deeply grieved to have to report that Sergt. Ernest Falla, third son of Mr and Mrs Thomas Falla, North Bank, Belford, has fallen at the post of duty in France. Prior to enlisting this young fellow was employed as footman with Mr Graham, Cartin, Carluke, Scotland, and had a most comfortable place, but his sense of duty to his King and Country was Treasurer, Mr J. Brand, Bank of Liverpool, call for help was given, so on September 3rd, 1914, he enlisted into the H.L.I., and soon after was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps and later to South African Infantry Brigade. On May the 10th, 1915, he sailed for France, and with the exception of one leave in January last has been doing his best to beat the Huns since that time. He won his stripes on the battlefield, and that is sufficient proof of the excellent way his duties have been performed. Ernest was a smart pleasant lad, and his loss is greatly mourned, and widespread sympathy is expressed for the bereaved relatives.

RECRUITING CHANGES

 

As has already been announced by the Minister of National Service, Great Britain will, for the purpose of recruiting, be divided into 10 regions, at the head of each there will be a civilian Director of Recruiting.

The Director for Scotland is Mr C.D. Murray, K.C., and his region will include the whole of Scotland, except the town of Berwick. Mr Murray is a well-known advocate at the Scottish Bar.

The Director for the counties of Northumberland, Cumberland, Durham, and Westmorland, with the Cleveland District of Yorkshire, and Berwick, is Mr D. H. L. Young, a member of the firm of Messrs James Templeton and Co., of Glasgow. He has had experience of administration of the Military Service Acts as a member of an appeal tribunal.

THE NEW CATEGORIES

According to an Army Council Instruction just issued by the War Office, it has been decided to abolish the distinction between categories B and C in the classification of men by categories. As to men fit for service overseas in categories lower than A, the Instruction points out that this will be provided for by special medical examination when the men are required to proceed abroad. The new classification comes into force on November 1.

Category A is for men fit for general service in any theatre of war, from the point of training, as well as good physical and mental condition, and who are able to stand active service work.

Category B will consist of those who are not fit for general service, but will do for home service. There are three sections in B (i.) men fit for field units (at home only) or garrison duty (ii.) in labour units, (iii.) sedentary work.

These are followed in the Instruction by category D for men who may be deemed temporarily unfit for service in categories A or B, but who are likely to become fit within six months.

Category E provides for those who are unfit for services in categories A or B, and who are not likely to become fit in six months.

Category B (iii.), it should be added, also comprises those who, if skilled tradesmen, are able to work at their trades.

Category D is temporary, so far as reserve units are concerned, and a man in a higher category will automatically come under D3, if under medical or dental treatment, rejoining his original category until transferred either upwards or downwards, as the case may be, by the medical officer or travelling medical board.

 

AGRICULTURE

 

WOMEN AND SCHOOL CHILDREN HELP

 

This year real service has been rendered in work of this class by school children, also women. Many of the rural school boards have risen well to the occasion this year in the way of granting leave. Farmers generally are grateful, not only for the assistance which they have got in this way, but also for the help which women and soldiers have rendered. Many increased their potato area this year to meet as far as possible national necessity, and it is not easy seeing how the crop could have been handled but for the extra help that has been obtained in this way.

 

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

The marriage which has been arranged between Lieut. Cecil Olcher Fedden, 22nd Punjabis attached to the Royal Flying Corps, eldest son of Mr F. Player Fedden, Glenthorpe, Barnet, and Miss Shena Lennox Fraser, eldest daughter of Colonel C. l. Fraser, V.D., Berwick, will take place quietly on Monday, 3rd December, in Berwick Parish Church. Lieut. Fedden has seen a good deal of active service, and fought on the Indian frontier in 1911 in the Abor expedition.

Berwick Parish Church. © John Box – Friends of Berwick and District Museum and Archives website.

He was fourteen months in Mesopotamia at the beginning of the present war, being badly wounded at the battle of Ctesiphon. He made his escape out of Kut the day before it was besieged – 3rd December, 1915. Miss Fraser is well known for her good work in Berwick and district. She acted as Secretary for the Berwickshire Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Family Association and worked enthusiastically for the cause, while she also took an active interest in her work as a member of the local War Pensions Committee.

 

D.S.M. FOR HOLY ISLAND MAN

A.B. Robert Lilburn

 

We are pleased to announce that the Distinguished Service Medal has been awarded to Able Seaman Robert Lilburn, R.N.R., for bravery in saving the lives of the crew of a mined ship in December last. Seaman Lilburn, who is a Holy Island man, and a son of the late Mr James Lilburn, who was drowned many years ago at the Island under distressing circumstances when piloting a steamboat into the harbour, has seen two years’ service with the mine sweeping sections of the Fleet, and has been regularly at sea since then. In civil life he followed the calling of a fisherman. His many friends will heartily congratulate him upon the honour just awarded.

HOLY ISLAND

 

Gallant Lifeboatmen – A pleasing ceremony took place at Holy Island. Mr A. Logan, of Berwick, acting on behalf of the Swedish Government, presented handsome cups to Coxwain George Cromarty and Second Coxwain Thomas Kyle, and a sum of £2 to each of the crew of the Holy Island No.2 Lifeboat, for the rescue of the crew of the Swedish barque Jolani, in Nov. 1916.

An early photograph of the Holy Island lifeboat crew, pictured left to right are Tom Kyle, John Markwell, George Cromarty, Tom Stevenson and Robert Henderson. © Berwick Record Office, BRO 2421-018.

The rescue took place under exceptional difficulties, the wind blowing a gale from the east. The two coxswains expressed their thanks to Mr Logan, and through him to the Swedish Government, Mr Kyle declaring that all the members of the crew had done equally well. On the suggestion of Mr Logan a collection was taken for the Royal Lifeboat Institution, to which all responded heartily.

This Week in World War One, 19 October 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 19 OCTOBER 1917

 

FROM TRENCHES TO HOMELAND

 

LOCAL LADS ON LEAVE FROM THE
BATTLEFRONT AND TRAINING CENTRES

 

Private Fred Laidlaw, Black Watch, Station Cottages, Tweedmouth, is presently home on a few days’ leave. Two of his brothers serving in the same regiment have fallen in the war.

Private George Skelly, R.F.A., Man Street, Tweedmouth, is home from France on a well earned leave. Before joining up he was employed by the G.P.O. on the Royal Mail van. His brother James is serving in the Northumberland Fusliers.

Another Tweedmouth lad home on leave from France is Private William Colthard, Dock Road. He joined the Northern Cyclists shortly after the outbreak of war. Private Colthard was employed by the Scremerston Colliery Company as a miner previous to enlisting.

British bicycle troops Brie, Somme March 1917 (c) Author: Ernest Brooks.

We are pleased to see home on leave, Private James Fairbairn, Black Watch. He resides at Falloden Terrace, Tweedmouth.

Corporal Harry Mason, K.O.S.B, is home on leave this week from France. He has come through some heavy fighting, and has been on active service practically since war began. He is looking hale and hearty despite having been wounded four times. He resides in West End, Tweedmouth. We wish him the best of luck.

Priv. Yourston, Main Street, Tweemouth, is among those home on a few days’ leave. He is in the Northumberland Fusiliers, and gained the D.C.M. about a year ago.

Delighted to see among us this week, Articifer Alexander Arnott, R.N., who is home for a few days’ leave from his strenuous duties. His parents reside in Blakewell Road, Tweedmouth. Previous to enlisting he was employed with Messrs Wm. Elder and Sons, implement makers, Berwick.

Private Joseph Clark, Tyneside Scottish, Parliament Close, Tweedmouth is home from France on leave. He joined the Northern Cyclists shortly after the outbreak of war. Previous to enlistment he was employed at Tweed Saw Mills.

May the best of luck attend Shoeing-Smith G.S. Lindsay, Royal Canadian Dragoons, who has been with us enjoying his well-earned ten days leave. Altogether he has been in France two and a half years. Good luck to this young fellow who is looking so healthy, and may he return all safe when peace is proclaimed.

Artificer G. Younger, Knowe Head, Tweedmouth is home on leave. Two of his brothers have fallen in the war. He was employed by the Scremerston Colliery Company as a miner.

Pleased to see Seaman Robert Havery, Berwick, home on leave for a few days, looking fit and well. He enlisted shortly after war broke out into the R.N.R. Previous to that he was employed by the N.E.R.

 

A NORHAM HERO

 

Private Wm. Burns of the K.O.S.B., son of Mr and Mrs Wm. Burns, Norham, has again been wounded, for the fifth time. He got his right leg blown off by the knee. He has been in France four times, suffering once from rheumatism in feet and legs, and got to Blighty for a time for arrest; his other wounds were not serious enough to send him home. He volunteered at the outbreak of war in August 1914. We wish him a speedy recovery.

British official photographs from the Western Front (c) Author: Ernest Brooks, National Library of Scotland. Source Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

“Lodon Opinion” for October 20th, gives us this extract from German Wireless :- “Whilst operating in the North Sea (no date given, one of our gallant submarines successfully attacked and dispersed a large cargo of monkey nuts” There is a full page picture of the Commanders of the submarine, one with his binoculars to his eyes surveying a sea of nuts extending almost as far as from Holy Island to Coldingham.

Probate of the will of the late Mr Henry Richardson Smail, proprietor of the “Berwick Advertiser” and “Berwickshire Advertiser” newspapers, Berwick-upon-Tweed, has been granted to his executors, Messrs Thomas Purves and Alexander Darling, of Berwick-upon-Tweed, and Mr Frank P. Hamilton, of Darlington. The Testator’s estate has been sworn at £16,192 13s 10d gross, and, subject to a gift of £500 to his sister, Miss E.F. Smail, passes to the Testator’s son, Major H.R. Smail, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers (T.F.).

 

BELFORD AND DISTRICT NEWS

BELFORD

 

The many friends in Belford of Private Wm. Hilton (Billy) will be grieved to learn that he is wounded and a prisoner in Germany. On Saturday last, Mr Sanderson, West Street, Belford, received a post card presumably from a chum of Billy’s informing him of the sad events. The postal address given on card is Geldrieben den, Strenlager Wake, Germany, and the unfortunate little boy’s number is 23396. We are taking the liberty of giving the full address as some charitably disposed person may be anxious to send him a parcel. He is a native of Leicester, but spent 9 months in Belford in Signalling Section of Northern Cyclists, and went to France three or four months ago, was transferred to R.O.Y.L.I. He was a great favourite with the lads of his Company as well as with many of the villagers. We tender our sympathy and wish he may have a quick recovery and early return to Blighty

 

 

This Week in World War One, 5 October 1917

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 5 OCTOBER 1917

 

WAR NEWS

BRAVERY OF A SPITTAL GUNNER

SEAMAN G. AINSLIE RECEIVES AWARD

FROM ADMIRALTY

GALLANT WORK IN MAGAZINE OF

BURNING SHIP

 

It gave us pleasure in January last to record the good work performed by Gunner Geo. Ainslie, R.N.V.R., Spittal, and we are sure our readers will join with us in congratulating him on his latest exploit, which is worthy of the traditions of the noble Service to which he belongs.

The gallant deed was performed in the magazine of a burning ship, and is described in the undernoted letters which have been received by his parents.

He writes under date of August 23rd, as follows. Seaman Ainslie is a born letter-writer, and we give his racy narrative practically as he wrote it:-

Dear Mother and Father and Sisters,

Just a few lines to let you know that we are leaving —– on Wednesday for —– in —–. I hope we go to —– to get taken off this ship – it is a dirty one. If Jane and Nellie goes to France I hope they will have a safe voyage across the English Channel. There was another ship on fire here last night, and it was a very big fire, and they all left the ship just the same as they left our ship. So me and my mate went over to it and tried our best. It was just starting to the magazine when I had to burst the door open, and we got over one hundred rounds of shell out of it. Another two minutes and the ship would have been blown up. I was there from 7 o’clock last night till 12 o’clock, and all the head men here took my name and ship’s address, and I gave them my home address as well, so if anything comes you know what to do with it; and all the head blokes come down this morning again and asked me everything about it, so I told them all, and they said they were going to write to the Admiralty about me saving the ship. The Admiralty has not decided about our ship yet, but when they hear about me again they will be quite pleased as well. I don’t know how I will come on this time, but if I do get to hear I will let you know as soon as I can. So I will draw my short letter to a close. With best love to all from your loving son, George. Good-night all. Write soon, you can tell them all —E—– and the Master – to this address.

 

A later communication dated Sept. 11th, 1917, says:-

Dear Mother and Father and Sisters,

Just a few lines to let you know that I have been rewarded £50 for saving the ship from being blown up. I am getting it on Friday morning, so I will let you know as soon as I get it, and I am getting a new suit of clothes as well, and I have to see the Admiral as well sometime next week. I was all day yesterday at the inquiry about the fire. The Commander sent for me twice yestered.(sic) He said that I had done very good work and I was risking my life to save the ship, he said, and I was at another inquiry to-day as well, and if I don’t come home I will send all the money to you and you can put it away for me. I hope I soon get leave; if so I will bring it home with me. So I will draw my short and sweet letter to a close.

From your ever-loving son,

GEORGE.

Few readers hear of the many brave actions performed by our sailors, and while actions worthy of the highest commendation are of daily occurrence, little is heard of them from the columns of our public prints. Amongst these acts of gallantry the deed of Gunner Ainslie ranks in the forefront.

Leading-Seaman Geo. Ainslie is a son of Mr and Mrs John Ainslie, 52 Middle Street, Spittal, and enlisted in the R.N.V.R. two years past in December, and has seen considerable service. Mr and Mrs Ainslie have two other sons, John and James, serving in the Navy.

Good luck to you, George, and more power to your elbow.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

A march out of the Local Volunteers took place on Sunday last and there was a good turnout. We understand that the smart appearance of the men created a very favourable impression on several who watched the parade, and this it is hoped will produce several recruits. Twenty recruits have been obtained.

An inquest was held on Monday evening by Mr P. M. Henderson, Coroner, on the death of Alice Curry, aged three weeks, the infant daughter of William Curry, of 31 Chapel Street, Berwick. The child’s father, a private in the Scottish Rifles, identified the body. Margaret Hutchison Curry, the mother of the child, said that the baby was alive and in bed with her between three and four on Sunday morning. She had two other children, who were sleeping at the foot of the bed. About eight the same morning she found that the child was lying dead in her arms. The body was quite warm. She did not know what had caused its death, unless it had taken a fit. She had spent the previous day in the house, except that she went to see Father Smythe about the christening of the child. She put the other two children to bed on Saturday evening, and about eight went upstairs to talk with Mrs Houston, a neighbour, and stayed there till ten, having the infant with her all the time. She then returned to her own house and went to bed, being quite sober. Dr Fraser gave evidence that there were no marks of violence on the child, who had apparently died by suffocation, or accidental overlaying. P.C. Watt, who went to 31, Chapel Street at one o’clock on Sunday afternoon, on account of information received, said the mother then appeared to be in a sober condition, and competent to take charge of children. The Jury returned a verdict of natural causes, supervening on suffocation.

 

VEGETABLES FOR THE FLEET

 

Twenty-six hampers of fruit and vegetables have been despatched during September from the Berwick Branch of the Committee for providing vegetables for the Fleet. The following donors are thanked for their gifts of apples, pears, cauliflowers, cabbages, and cucumbers: – The Honble. Mrs Askew Robertson, Ladykirk; Mrs Carmichael, Rosybank; Miss Gilroy, Fair Mount; Miss Gray, Bankhill; Miss Leyland, Haggerston Castle; and Mrs Herriot, Sanson Seal. Vegetables are sent to Rosyth every Saturday and from there are distributed to various flotillas.

Hettie G. Hogarth, Acting Secy.

Photograph of the Rosyth Naval Dockyard taken in 1975. The dockyard is where vegetables from the Berwick Branch of the Committee for providing vegetables for the Fleet were delivered during WW1. © Copyright M J Richardson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

This Week in World War One, 21 September 1917

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 21 SEPTEMBER 1917

 

WAR NEWS

FROM TRENCHES TO HOMELAND

 

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

MILITARY FUNERAL AT BERWICK

 

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

 

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.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

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.

 

BERWICK PETTY SESSIONS

FRIDAY

Before J. McNab and C. Forsyth, Esqs.

OVERSTAYED THEIR LEAVE

 

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

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 7 SEPTEMBER 1917

 

WAR NEWS

From Trenches to Homeland

LOCAL LADS ON LEAVE FROM THE

BATTLEFRONT AND TRAINING CENTRES

 

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.

BERWICK PETTY SESSIONS

DODGED THE POLICE

 

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.

 

NETS AT THE MOUTH OF THE TWEED

 

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

ESCAPED HUNS FROM STOBS TRAPPED

 

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.

 

MACLAGAN MONUMENT

 

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

TWO SOLDIERS DROWNED

 

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 ADVERTISER, 24 AUGUST 1917

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

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.

 

BERWICK PETTY SESSIONS

THURSDAY

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

 

OBTAINING TOO MUCH SUGAR

 

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.

 

THEFT OF HERRINGS AT THE QUAY

 

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

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 20 AUGUST 1917

 

THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR

 

IMPRESSIVE SERVICE AT BERWICK

 

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.

MILITARY MEDAL FOR BERWICK SOLDIER

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.

LOCAL NEWS

 

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.

 

SALE OF WORK AT SPITTAL

 

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

 

BERWICK ADVERTISER, 27 JULY 1917

 

TWEEDMOUTH FEAST

A QUIET CELEBRATION

 

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.

 

SWIMMING GALA AT BERWICK

PLEASING MEETING IN IDEAL WEATHER

 

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.

 

LOCAL NEWS

 

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 bbv1916@hotmail.co.uk or ring 01670368816.