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.

Saturday, 16th June 2018, 11:22 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:25 am
HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, June 14, 1918.

Sir,— The sub-joined circular will be distributed during the next week or so among the Morpeth people who are members of the Church of England. The circular explains itself.

The scheme, which is to be carried through to completion as soon as the war is over, will be of lasting benefit to the town, and not least to the gallant men who will return from the war.

HERALD WAR REPORT: Advert from the Morpeth Herald, June 14, 1918.

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There may be some outside the ranks of the members of the Church of England who would like to be associated with so excellent a plan. If so, I shall be glad to hear from then.— Yours etc.,


Morpeth Rectory, June 12th, 1918.


The monthly meeting of the Morpeth Town Council was held on Tuesday evening. The Mayor (Councillor Jas. Elliott) presided.

A letter was read from the Adjutant of the Northumberland Volunteer Regiment asking for certain privileges for the purpose of a proposed musketry camp on the portion of the Common occupied by the Mart Company.

The committee recommended that whatever the Council were in a position to grant should be granted, and that the applicants be referred to the Golf Club and Mart Company respectively in respect to the rest of their requirements.— Agreed to.


In connection with the 5th Battalion of the Northumberland Volunteer Regiment, a standing musketry camp will be held on Morpeth Common, commencing tomorrow (Saturday) and continued till the end of the month.

It is hoped that both efficients and recruits will attend the camp, the former to fire their annual musketry course and the latter to be put through their efficiency tests. Men attending for a complete 24 hours will be provided with accommodation and rations.

It is anticipated that all detachments will avail themselves of this opportunity of going through their tests. Splendid arrangements have been made in connection with the camp.

The men of Morpeth Company will parade at the Drill Hall tomorrow (Saturday) at 1.30pm for the purpose of proceeding to the musketry camp. The shooting tests will commence at 2pm, when the Morpeth Company will be taken first. The Officer Commanding hopes that as many men as possible will attend.

Those who are going to sleep over-night must take their full equipment. With regard to those men who attend the camp on the Sunday, they will parade with rifle and side-arms, and report on the Common at 8.30am.

A shooting test was held in the Riding Field, Felton Park, between members of the Felton and Longframlington Detachments of the Volunteers, with the following result:— 1st, Private Todd, Felton; 2nd, Private Sawyer, Felton; 3rd, Private Storey, Longframlington; 4th, Private Cuthbert, Longframlington; 5th, Private Wardle, Felton; 6th, Private Grey, Longframlington.

The Felton Detachment entertained the visitors to tea in the rifle range, and the day’s proceedings concluded with a church parade.


A general meeting will be held in the White Swan Hotel, Morpeth, on Wednesday, 19th June, at 6.30.

All Discharged Soldiers earnestly requested to attend.



Ration books will be substituted for the present loose cards and ration papers as from July 13th.

These books will be issued on receipt of application form properly filled up. It is most important that all the blanks in the form should be correctly filled in and the forms returned to this office immediately.

Any person who has not received an application form should apply at once at the Food Office.

By an Order of the Food Controller, dated June 8th, 1918, the maximum prices for milk are increased by 4d. per imperial gallon.

The retail prices fixed by this Committee are deemed to be increased by such Order to 7d. delivered and 6d. undelivered until otherwise determined.


Executive Officer.

Borough Food Office:

7 Bridge Street, Morpeth,

June 13th, 1918.



Notice is hereby given that the price of milk is by the above Order, raised to: 2/- per gallon undelivered; 2/4 per gallon delivered; as from 9th June, 1918.


Executive Officer


Permits for the purchase of sugar (Domestic Preserving) Order, 1918, have effect as from Saturday, 8th inst.

In view of the fact that the recent spell of fine weather is likely to result in early ripening of fruit crops, it has been decided that in any case where the special supplies of sugar that are being issued have not been received by a retailer, and where the withholding of supplies would result in fruit bring wasted, he may honour these permits out of his ordinary stocks, as far as these are available, and a General Licence to this effect is now being issued.

This privilege should, however, be used by those permit holders only who are in immediate need of sugar in order to avoid loss of fruit.


The Mayor and Mayoress of Morpeth (Coun. and Mrs J. Elliott) have great pleasure in acknowledging from Mr G.D. Dakyns the sum of £5, being a collection made at the Grammar School on behalf of the above fund, on Empire Day.

A cheque for £46 has been forwarded to Prebendery Carlisle, D.D., as the total result of the effort.


Battery-Quartermaster-Sergeant F.M. Williams, R.F.A., Morpeth, has been awarded the meritorious Service Medal.


Mr F. Straker draws the attention of men in receipt of tribunal certificates of exemption from military service to the necessity of applying for a renewal of the same, should they so desire, not later than 14 days before the expiry of their existing period of exemption.

In the case of a first application the time limit is the seventh day after being medically graded, if in Grade 1 or 2, and the seventh day after receiving a calling up notice if in Grade 3.


The King has been graciously pleased on the occasion of His Majesty’s birthday to give orders for the following promotions in, and appointments to, the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for services in connection with the war.

Captain Fullerton-James, the Chief Constable of Northumberland, coming to the county in 1900, after holding a similar position in Radnorshire.

Mr Charles H. Sample, Food Production Commissioner for Northumberland and Cumberland, was elected a member of the Northumberland County Council in 1901 and an alderman in 1913. He has been chairman of the Cockle Park Committee since the death of Ald. T. Carrick, and did considerable useful service on the Northumberland War Agricultural Committee prior to taking up his present post.

George Macaulay Trevelyan, Commandant Motor Ambulance Convoy, No. 1, British Red Cross Commission, Italy, third son of Sir G.O. Trevelyan, of Wallington, Cambo.


ATKIN.— Killed in action in France, on the 12th May, 1918, Pte. Thomas Atkin, 17 Royal Fusiliers, dearly beloved son of the late John and Elizabeth Atkin, Coneygarth, Bothal, Morpeth.— Deeply mourned by all.

FAGAN.— Missing since October 12th, 1917, now reported killed, Pte. Albert Fagan, Royal Scotts, age 29 years, son of Mary and the late William Fagan, 4 Shoulder of Mutton Yard, Morpeth.— Deeply mourned.

ELLIOTT.— Killed in France on May 30th, Lance-Corporal W.R. Elliott, youngest son of W. and D.S. Elliott, North East Mason, Seaton Burn, and grandson of the late George Coxon, Guyzance Lane, Acklington.


The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with thanks:— Mrs Crisp, scones; Mrs Fenwick, eggs and cigarettes; Miss Williams, eggs; Mrs Carmichael, rabbits; Mrs Milvain, butter; Mrs Ernest Walker, cabbages; Mrs Harvey, cabbages; Mrs Fenwick, Bracken Dene, cakes; Miss Atkinson, Gallowgate, trout; Mr T.B. Robson, potatoes.


The Commandant wishes to acknowledge the following gifts with thanks:— Fresh butter, Mrs Potts, Broadlaw; watercress and lettuce, Mrs Murray; vegetables, Mr Simm, Choppington; eggs, Miss Kirsopp; milk, Miss Davison; brown bread, Mrs J.S. Mackay, vegetables, Mrs Spencer; eggs and cakes, Miss Nichols, Whalton; cigarettes, Mr J Shaw; eggs, Mr Pringle; books, Netherton Club; cakes, Blyth picnicers.


A meeting of the Northumberland Appeal Tribunal (Berwick area) was held in the Town Hall, Morpeth, on Monday.

The following agricultural cases were down on the list for hearing:— W.P. Jordan, Shelley Farm, Netherwitton, Ploughman; George Little, Whitefield, Morpeth, Ploughman; Ralph Watson, Coningsby House, Morpeth, Market Gardener; Ralph Buglass, New Deanham, Middleton, Ploughman; Arthur Proctor, North Steads Farm, Widdrington, Stockman; James Robson, Redpath, Longwitton, Shepherd; A.M. Rutherford, Blue House Farm, Netherton, Ploughman; T.A.B. Carmichael, Snitter Lane, Rothbury, Dairyman; Joseph H. Bell, Houndales, Widdrington, Ploughman; J.R. Dungait, Tritlington Hall Farm, Farmer; L.D. Mackenzie, North East Houses, Eshott, Felton, Ploughman; Geo. T. Potts, Witton Shields, Longhorsley, Ploughman; Jas. T.P. Storey, Spital Hill, Morpeth, Ploughman; Thomas Clough, Eshott House Farm, Felton, Ploughman; Ed. Hedley Wilson, Silloans, Otterburn, Shepherd; Roger Robson, Longlea, Netherwitton, Ploughman; G. McKay Jr., Ulgham Manor, Ploughman; Ernest Curry, Ulgham Park, Ploughman; Wm. Norman Spittle, Rennington, West Farm, Alnwick, Ploughman; A.F. Wood, High Chibburn, Widdrington, Horseman; W.E. Robson, Todridge, North Middleton, Shepherd; Wm. Robt. Huntley, Heron’s Close, Morpeth, Shepherd; John Atkin, Kirkharle, Harle, Ploughman; W.L. Clark, East Linden, Longhorsley, Shepherd; Thomas Rutherford, Field Head, Longhorsley, Shepherd.

At the outset, the Chairman said that he had just received a letter from the War Agricultural Committee that morning in which it was suggested that in order to avoid complications, and as any exemptions granted by the Appeal Tribunal ceased to have any effect after June 11th in accordance with the recent order, that all the purely agricultural cases should be referred to the War Agricultural Committee to be dealt with.

The Tribunal agreed to adopt that course, and the persons mentioned above were advised to obtain vouchers from the War Agricultural Committee.

The case of Thomas F. Rutherford. magisterial clerk with Mr C. Alderson, solicitor, Morpeth, was reviewed. Mr Alderson explained that since Mr Rutherford was given conditional exemption he had lost his managing clerk and three other clerks, including his magisterial clerk for the Blyth and Bedlington courts. He was left with one man for magisterial work, and he did nothing else. His Blyth office was practically closed, there being only a boy of 16 years in charge.

Mr Alderson pointed out that he was clerk to Ashington Urban Council, and they knew the amount of work that had been put on local authorities. In addition to his son, who was mobilised in 1914, had two appointments which they had to carry on as well.

The case was adjourned “sine die” as it was pointed out that a decision was pending regarding magisterial clerks.

The case of Wm. M. Henderson (single), master plumber and ironworker, Morpeth, was also reviewed. This case was before the Tribunal at Berwick three weeks ago, and was adjourned for medical examination. Henderson was now passed Grade 3. He pleaded that he was the only support of his invalid mother and sister, and another sister who looked after the home.

His conditional exemption was withdrawn, and a temporary exemption for six months, as long as his present domestic circumstances continued, was granted.

Another case reviewed was that of D.K. McArthur (43), miller, in the employ of Messrs R. Oliver and Son, Morpeth. Mr R. Nicholson, Morpeth, said that two important things had happened since conditional exemption had been granted this man. The firm had lost Mr Hudson, the head man, and McArthur had taken the place of Mr Hudson and was responsible for the distribution of flour and milling. In March last he had been passed Grade 3.

National Representative: Does he look after the actual milling? Mr Nicholson replied in the affirmative.

Three months’ exemption was granted.

Adam Crisp (20), described as a farm worker, Tile Shed, Felton, appealed for exemption on domestic grounds. He said that he was the only one left to look after the home. Besides his mother, there was a brother, aged 13, at school, and one sister, aged 14, at home.

National Representative: What do you earn? — £2 10s a week, and I am in lodgings.— What do you send your mother? On an average about 10/- a week. Mr Williams: And if you were in the Army she would get 12/6 a week.

Mr Villiers asked if his mother and sister worked on the farm. Appellant: Yes.— What do they earn? My mother has 3/6 a day and my sister about 3/- a day. Appellant said that he had been timber felling for about five months. He had lost a brother in the war.

The application was dismissed, the Chairman remarking to appellant: You must serve.


On March 28th, the Food Controller issued a press announcement to the effect that on May 15th, the Ministry of Food would purchase all sound ware potatoes, in four ton lots, for which the grower was otherwise unable to find a market, and that the price for such potatoes would not be less than £7 per ton.

The Food Controller now announces that growers who wish to take advantage of this offer must advise the Director of Vegetable Supplies, 100 Cromwell Road, S.W.7 on or before Tuesday, 18th June, of the quantity and variety of sound ware potatoes they have for disposal, and also give the names of the loading station and the names and addresses of dealers to whom they have unsuccessfully offered their stocks at not less than the base price.

The Ministry of Food cannot accept any responsibility in regard to any potatoes, the grower of which has not complied with the above conditions, or who failed to render the statutory return called for on April 22nd last.


June 7th, 1918.


Every article posted in any part of the British Islands after midnight on the 2nd-3rd June must be prepaid at the new rates. For inland letters not exceeding 4oz. in weight the postage will be 1½d, and for every additional 2oz. or fraction thereof, ½d, and for every reply postcard the rate will be 2d.

The inland book rate, to be called “the printed paper rate,” the charge will be ½d for an ounce, and the charge for between 1oz. and 2oz, 1d. Above 2oz. the old book rate and the new printed paper rate will be identical, and will be merged in the letter rate. There will cease to be any special rate for sample sent by inland post.

The inland parcel rate will be as follows:— Not exceeding 3lb. in weight, 6d; exceeding 3lb., but not exceeding 7lb., 9d; exceeding 7lb., but not exceeding 11lb, 1/-.

The rate for foreign and colonial letters to all destinations to which the rate has hitherto been 1d. an ounce will be 1½d for the first ounce and 1d for each succeeding ounce.

For letters to his Majesty’s ships in home waters the rate is 1d for 1oz, 1½d under 4oz., and thereafter at the new inland letter rate. For ships in foreign waters and H.M. forces abroad letters will be 1d for 1oz., with 1d for every additional ounce.

No change is made for parcels, post-cards, printed papers, etc., for the forces overseas.