In this feature to commemorate the First World War, we will bring you the news as it happened in 1918, as reported by the Morpeth Herald. All material is published with kind permission of the Mackay family. We thank them for their support and generosity in allowing us access to their archive.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 6th October 2018, 2:21 pm
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, October 4, 1918.
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, October 4, 1918.

A large and representative audience assembled in the Town Hall, Morpeth, last Monday evening, to do honour to two local recipients of war distinctions.

It was an interesting occasion, and the Mayor (Coun. James Elliott), on behalf of the inhabitants of the borough (as represented by the War Heroes’ Fund) presented Miss Eva O. Scofield, R.R.C., with a tea service of silver plate in commemoration of her having gained the Royal Red Cross (1st Class) for valuable and distinguished services in the field; and Captain H.E.V. Brumell, M.C., with a gold cigarette case in appreciation of his having earned the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in charge of four hotchkiss gun teams.


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Lance-Corporal Robert Ord, N.H.I.Y., who has been at the Western Front for over two years, and has just been awarded the Military Medal, is the younger son of Mr Jas. Ord, of Cavil Head, and Morwick, Acklington, a widely-known Northumbrian farmer.

As befits one engaged in agricultural pursuits, Lance-Corporal Ord was, before joining the Yeomanry in 1915, a keen horseman.

The routine in cavalry work under war conditions has in no way lessened such keenness.

And he takes an equally keen interest in his Army work as evidenced by the fact that at the first Army Horse Show held in France last year he was awarded, from among numerous other competitors, a valuable medal for the best cavalry turn-out in marching order.


On Sunday last the harvest thanksgiving services were celebrated in the Primitive Methodist Church, Howard Road, Morpeth. The interior of the church was suitably decorated for the occasion with flowers and evergreens, while in front of the pulpit a bounteous collection of fruit and vegetables were on view.

The services were conducted by the Rev. J.C. Sutcliffe, who preached appropriate sermons at both services.

The harvest event was continued on the Monday evening, when the Rev. J.C. Sutcliffe delivered a very interesting lecture, “My Second Visit to France,” before a large gathering. The chair was occupied by the Mayor (Councillor Jas. Elliott).

In the course of his lecture Mr Sutcliffe paid a tribute to the work of the Y.M.C.A. in France. His first visit, he said, was more of curiosity, but the second had been undertaken at the urgent request of the Y.M.C.A. authorities.

When he arrived in February he could not contrast the cheerfulness of our soldiers with the gloominess of the people at home, when the meat crisis was at its worst. The hut he was in charge of was the gift to the Y.M.C.A. from Christ College, Cambridge, and from time to time he received communications from the college authorities, who took an interest in their hut.

He had come across several Northumbrians, one of whom knew Q.M.S. Tom Hood, son of Alderman Hood. To use the soldier’s own words, he said Q.M.S. Hood was the most conscientious quartermaster-sergeant he had known. He was always ready to put the interest of the soldiers before his own.

In conclusion, he remarked that he attributed the present great success to three things — the bravery of our soldiers, their endurance, and the generalissimo. Not that one general was better than another, but that the whole armies should be under one head, and, so co-operate to the advantage of all.

At the close of the lecture the fruit and vegetables were offered for sale by Mr T. Clark, auctioneer.


Mr C. Appleby, High Cross Row, Seaton Burn, has received official news that his son, Lance-Corporal G. Appleby, K.O.Y.L.I. (late Tyneside Scottish), has died of wounds. Previous to joining the Colours in the early stages of the war Appleby was employed as a miner at Seaton Burn.

Private J.T. Varnham (20), North Staffs, second son of Mr and Mrs Albert Varnham, White House, Ewesley, near Morpeth, died a prisoner of war in Germany on the 13th August, 1918. He enlisted in 1916, went to France in 1917, and was wounded in June. Drafted to France in November, 1917, he was taken prisoner on the 21st March, 1918. His father and two brothers are serving in France.

Mr and Mrs Pringle, Lumsden’s Lane, Morpeth, have received news that their son, Private John A. Pringle, M.G.C., died from wounds at 20 Casualty Clearing Station, France.

Private C. Beattie, Old Institute, Cambois, has been killed in action.

Private John Nixon, Blyth, nephew of the late Mr John Nixon, J.P., has been killed in action.

Private J.W. Cannon, Maddison Street, Blyth, has been killed in action. Twelve months ago he submitted to a transfusion of blood to save the life of a comrade.

Mr and Mrs Nicol, 5 Allery Banks, Morpeth, have received official word that their son Thomas was either killed in action or died of wounds on the 22nd August. Prior to enlisting in the Norfolk Regiment, the deceased was employed as clerk in the Corporation Offices. He was a member of the Morpeth Boys’ Brigade, and was previously wounded last October.

News has been received by Mrs Appleby, of Whalton Village, that her son, Private Robert Swan, was killed in action on the 20th September. He was the fifth son of the late Mark Appleby and Isabella Appleby, of Low House and North Farm, Whalton.


SHILAN.— Killed in action, September 2nd, 1918, Frank Shilan, Military Medal, dearly beloved husband of Ann Sittes Shilan, 120 Woodhorn Road, Ashington, second son of Mr and Mrs Shilan, political agent, Dewsbury, late of Morpeth, and son-in-law of the late Mr and Mrs T.F. Wilkinson, Ashington.

THOMPSON.— Died of wounds received in action, September 1st, 1918, aged 23 years, Ernest Thompson, 31840, 1/4 K.O.S.B., dearly beloved husband of Florence M. Thompson, Deanery House, West End, Bedlington, late of Guidepost, son-in-law of Mr and Mrs R. Metcalfe.— Will never be forgotten by his sorrowing wife and all who knew him. Sadly missed.

NICHOL.— August 22nd, killed in action or died of wounds, Thomas, the eldest and dearly beloved son of James and Annie Nichol, of 5 Allery Banks, Morpeth, aged 19 years and 9 months, of the 7th Norfolk.

WHITTLE.— Died of enteric fever in Italy, Pte. John Whittle, 11th N.F., beloved son of Mr and Mrs Whittle, of 5 Castle Street, Morpeth. Ever remembered by father, mother, sisters and brothers.

FRAM.— Died of wounds received in action on September 1st, Pte. Fred Fram, Lanc. Fusiliers, aged 19, beloved son of Frederick and Mary Fram, Herald Office Yard, Morpeth.— Ever remembered by his loving father and mother, brothers and sisters.

APPLEBY.— Killed in action in France, Sept. 20th, Robert Swan, fifth son of Isabella and the late Mark Appleby, of Low House, Whalton, and North Farm, aged 30 years.

SCOTT.— Killed in action, Corporal J. Scott, of Pegswood, on August 21st, 1918.— Always remembered by his loving pal, Pte. J.E. Crook, of Pegswood, now serving in France.

PRINGLE.— Died of wounds in the head, at 20th Casualty Clearing Station, France, 21st Sept., 1918, Pte. John A. Pringle, M.G.C., aged 19 years and 11 months, beloved son of Henry and Ellenor Pringle, 3 Lumsden Lane, Morpeth. Grandson of the late Alexander and Isabella Richardson of Cramlington Colliery.— Will ever be remembered by father and mother, brother in France, brothers and sisters and brothers-in-law, and his pal, Algy, prisoner of war.

WELCH.— Killed in action on September 3rd, 1918, aged 25 years, Pte. E.A. Welch, 46 Canadians, youngest and dearly beloved son of Sarah and the late William Welch, of Langweyy Street, Pegswood.


Sir,— May I once more make an appeal to the women of Morpeth through your popular page?

It is our intention to begin our winter meetings on Thursday, the 10th inst., at 2.30pm, when we hope to meet all our usual workers and many new ones. A rationed tea will be provided at 4 o’clock.

Donations towards purchasing shirting and wool will be very acceptable.

Thanking you for this and past favours.— Yours, etc.

Mrs F. ATKINSON, Hon. Treas.


On and from 7th October, 1918, the last despatch of letters and parcels on week-days and Sundays at Morpeth will be at 5.10pm (box clearance). Parcels should be posted at the latest at 4.45pm.

This curtailment is made for the sake of economy in fuel and light and owing to staff difficulties. It will possibly be in force for the duration of the war.


With such a good object in view as the formation of a society for the mutual benefit and improvement of women, socially, morally, and educationally, it was not surprising to find such a large attendance in the Soldiers’ Institute, Morpeth, last Monday afternoon. The meeting was convened by Mrs Geo. Renwick, of Springhill, who, in the course of a lucid and interesting address, explained her reasons for calling them together.

Proceeding, Mrs Renwick said: Can we not organise ourselves into a body of earnest women having meetings entirely free from politics and sectarianism, being equal no matter what the social position, the object being entirely the betterment of ourselves to qualify for the increased responsibilities incurred by the extension of the franchise.

Women’s influence for good was never as great. Let us see to it that we use the franchise to the best of our ability to raise and not to lower the standard of our country in the eyes of the world. Let it not be said of the women of Great Britain that when they got the Parliamentary vote they did not know how to use it.

If we form ourselves into a body of cheerful, conscientious women, prepared to drop all petty jealousies, with a perfect faith in each other, permeating the whole with Christian charity and sympathy, there is no telling what good it may bring to us and ours in the years to come.

My sole object in asking you to come here is to try and inaugurate an institution, at the meetings of which we may be addressed by women who have made a study of various subjects which are looming large in the religious, political, and social world of today. If you so decide discussion can be invited and questions asked with a view to ventilating the opinions of all our members.

But what to my mind is the most desirable work to be done at first is to prepare for the return of our men from France.

Let us set to work to make ourselves and our homes attractive with a nice, clean, tidy house, with bright, cheerful, and healthy children, and a smiling wife. If he returns to a dirty, untidy place his inclinations will be to go elsewhere to find comfort, to say nothing of the public house. I do not say that a man should not have a glass of beer. I believe in moderation in all things.

Mrs Renwick them read a striking article by Max Pemberton on “The Problems of the Young Girl: Her Perils in Wartime.” It was a problem they would have to face.


A Grand Football Match will be held in Procter’s Field, High Church, on Saturday, October 5th, 1918, at 3.30pm, between the Morpeth Discharged Men’s team and Newcastle Munition Athletic. D. Brooks, of Belfast, referee.

Team: A. Arrowsmith, G. Ran, G. Jackson, R. Manners, C. Baites, J. Wilkinson, R. Dumbell, J. Green, J. Aitkin, C. Nichol, J. Mitford,. Reserves, J. Dick, H. Jackson, E. Ward, L. Whittle.

Players meet at the Club at 2.30pm.

W.D. FRENCH, Secretary to the Committee.


Under the Auspices of the Northumberland Horticultural Sub-Committee a Public Lecture will be given in the Industrial Co-operative Hall, Ashington, on Thursday, October 10th, at 7.30pm.

Lecturer: Mr C.A. House, Editor of “Fur and Feather.”

The raising of utility rabbits as a means of supplementing our meat supply is of national importance, and persons interested are cordially invited to attend.


The Committee will be at the Town Hall, Morpeth, every Wednesday, commencing July 3rd, from 9 to 12 o’clock, and would be very grateful if people could bring fresh vegetables to send to the Sailors.



The first conference of the Provincial Council of Comrades of the Great War for the County of Northumberland was held in the Town Hall, Morpeth, last Saturday, when twenty-seven branches and posts were represented. At the outset the County Organiser (Mr E. Winter) gave a brief review of the objects of the Provincial Council.

The first business was the appointment of chairman, and Mr T.G. Carr, Newcastle, was elected to the position. On taking the chair Mr Carr thanked the delegates for the honour they had conferred upon him. Mr McAndrews, Amble, was then appointed vice-chairman, Mr Burges, Newcastle, hon. treasurer, and Mr E. Winter, secretary pro tem until such time as funds allowed to have a full time secretary.

The question of finance, and maintenance of council and headquarters was discussed at some length. It was decided that a levy of 9d per member per year be made throughout the branches and posts in the County. As regard voting powers it was agreed that one delegate for 100 to 500 members, and three delegates for 500 members and upwards.

It was agreed that the Council meet quarterly, the Executive to have power to call the Council together at their discretion. It was also agreed that the Executive meet once a quarter, and more frequently if deemed necessary.

After some discussion it was decided to establish headquarters at Newcastle, and that the Organiser be empowered to get suitable premises. Regarding delegates ‘expenses’ it was agreed that a flat rate of 10/- and third-class railway fare be paid by the Provisional Council for every meeting attended in future, and that each branch arrange for delegates’ expenses for that conference only.

It was reported that the various branches and posts in the County has a total membership of 8,000.

Mr Crindell, secretary of the Newcastle branch, referred to the work that was being done on behalf of discharged soldiers and sailors. He dealt with at least 50 cases per week, and where there were genuine grievances they had got them redressed. All difficult cases could come before the Executive and be carefully investigated.

Mr Winter proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman and to Mr Crindell as secretary pro tem to that conference. In Mr Carr they had a valuable asset. He (Mr Winter) would do everything possible to further the movement. The business that afternoon had been conducted in a very business like manner which was a happy augury for the future. (Applause.)


The Commandant wishes to thank those who have kindly sent the following gifts:— Mr Geo. Temple, large sack of potatoes and rhubarb; Mrs Straughan, rhubarb; Mrs Simpson, Hepscott, apples and milk; Mr Pringle, Tritlington, eggs; Mrs J.J. Gillespie, vegetables; Mrs Cookson, vegetables; Mrs J.S. Mackay, brown loaf; Mrs Simpson, cakes.