KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Fri 1 – Towiemore Dramatic Club presented their performance of the rural drama “Pig Charlie” or “Ongauns at Cairnprop” in Drummuir Hall. This was preceded by the short sketch “Brudders Two” featuring Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph.
L/Cpl George Murray, 8th Gordon Highlanders, died in hospital in France from gunshot wounds received on 25th September. He had been a farm servant at Black Culphin near Cornhill and his mother, Mrs Mary Murray, was presently living in Wellington Terrace, Fife-Keith.
Sat 2 – Earlsmount VAD Hospital was increasing its capacity by ten beds. A.R. Grant, miller at Nethermills, Grange, announced he was back in operation after January’s fire. A maize grinder had been installed. The Banffshire Herald Cigarette Fund was boosted by a £1 donation sent by R. Roy in the Straits Settlements.
Sun 3 – A memorial service for the fallen Gordons in the offensive at Loos was held in Keith Parish Church. Sunday School resumed in the Mission Hall, Fife-Keith.
Mon 4 – A Juvenile Court in Keith dealt with two schoolboys caught taking plums from the garden at 33 Mid Street. They were admonished by Bailie Ledingham.
Tue 5 – Knockdhu Distillery advertised for workers. The U.F. Church Presbytery of Banff and Strathbogie met in Keith and discussed the role of women in the life and work in the Church. Negotiations for a proposed union between the South and North U.F. Churches in Keith were abandoned meantime. Keith Parish Council held its first meeting after a three-month break. A submission regarding an alleged right of way in the Glen of Newmill was returned to the petitioner to refer it to the District Committee. The Highland and Agricultural Society gave a demonstration on motor tillage near Stirling. The Mogul tractor representative was Mr G. Donald, son of Mr Donald, Ladyhill, Grange. The British and French started landing troops at Salonika in Greece.
Wed 6 – It was a fine weather day for the Newmill Market of 1915. The usual amusements of swings, roundabouts, shooting galleries and other stalls attracted many of the younger inhabitants during the afternoon and evening. Meanwhile the Newmill Parish Church Woman’s Guild Sale of Work in the village Institute was opened by the Town Clerk of Buckie. German and Austrian troops cross the Danube and enter Serbia.
Thur 7 – Keith School Board heard that 126 pupils were absent that day because of the measles epidemic.
Fri 8 – The AGM of the Mulben Curling Club decided to give one guinea to the Ladies’ Work Party. J.J. Gray’s buyers had returned from visiting the London Fashion Show and the Paris in London Show. Gray’s were now showing the latest in French and English millinery, London tailor-made costumes and Paris gowns and furs.
Sat 9 – A displenish sale at Garrelhill in the Glen of Newmill included the following: one calving quey, time up 16th October, a bushel and straik, and a churn and chessel. Keith Town Council was offering free smallpox vaccinations in the Longmore Hall. Following the resignation of Herbert Sandison, Grange Parish Church advertised for an organist and a master of music. The Banffshire Herald sent a case of oatcakes to the Red Cross depot at Drummuir for forwarding to the Gordon Highlanders in France. German and Austrian troops captured Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
Mon 11 – Shops in Milltown of Rothiemay now close at 7pm daily, 1 pm on Wednesdays and 9 pm on Saturdays. Keith Town Council reported that houses in Union Street had been renumbered with new brass numbers on each door. Bulgaria entered the war on the side of Germany and Austria, and attacked Serbia.
Tue 12 – Officers at Maisley Camp were entertained to a farewell dinner prior to departure for the South. It was announced that the proposed abolition of the halfpenny postage would be abandoned. Nurse Edith Cavell was executed by firing squad in Brussels for helping Allied soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium.
Thur 14 – Keith Curling Club’s AGM decided not to participate in this year’s County Bonspiel. Trafalgar Day was commemorated in Keith by the flying of the Union Jack from flagpoles in Reidhaven and Regent Squares and at the Grammar School where the Rector addressed the pupils on the significance of the celebration.
Fri 15 – Grange School Board decided to extend the harvest holidays at Crossroads School and not to reopen Sillyearn because of the measles outbreak.
Sat 16 – The Banffshire Herald reported that Dr Margaret Stewart of Glencottar, Seafield Avenue, had been appointed resident surgeon at Kilmarnock Hospital. Showing in the Palace Cinema was the Fantômas film “Mysterious Fingerprints”. Pupils at Grange collected £1 13s for the Purple Cross Service to help purchase an ambulance for wounded horses on the battlefield. Britain offered the island of Cyprus to Greece in an effort to bring them into the war on the side of the Allies.
Sun 17 – A soldier was caught assisting a comrade to desert by procuring civilian clothes for him at premises in Moss Street and Bridge Street in Keith. He was later sentenced to 60 days in prison by the Sheriff at Banff.
Mon 18 – Germany consolidates its territorial gains in Poland by establishing the General-Governorate of Warsaw.
Tue 19 – The Banffshire Advisory Committee of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture met in Banff to consider the request for increased food production and the impact of military recruitment on farm servant numbers. John Buchan’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps” was first published in book form.
Wed 20 – There was another opportunity for Keith people to avail themselves of free smallpox vaccinations at the Longmore Hall courtesy of the Town Council.
Trooper James H. Duff, Scottish Horse Regiment, was 20 years old and a casualty at Gallipoli. The son of railway guard, John Duff, and his wife Johann, The family had formerly lived at Main Street, Newmill, where James attended the local school. He later worked as a clerk and played for the Elgin Caledonian Football Club.
Fri 22 – The Ladies’ Work Party met at Edingight House when Miss Elizabeth Innes tendered her resignation prior to her departure from the district. A boiler explosion at the farm of Bogton, Fordyce, resulted in several fatalities. Keith Town Council sponsored a lecture and limelight presentation in the Institute Hall by Robert Wouters of the 17th Belgian Artillery entitled “With the Belgian Army in the Firing Line”. Bulgarian troops captured the Serbian town of Skopje (now the capital of Macedonia).
Sat 23 – Red Cross Flag Day was held throughout Scotland. In Keith flags were sold bearing the crests of the twelve Scottish Regiments. In Seafield Park teas were sold by the local Red Cross, the Pipe Band performed and a Grand Football Match saw the Gordons beat a Keith team 9:1. Collections were held by young ladies in the lower district of Boharm, by the pupils of the three Grange Schools, and by the Scouts in Botriphnie. The farm of Cabbachs, Glen of Bodinfinnoch, was advertising rashes for sale.
Sun 24 – Britain promised Emir Hussein of Mecca, a vast swathe of Ottoman territory in Arabia and the Middle East to bring him into the war against the Turks.
Tue 26 – The 3/6th Gordon Highlanders left their encampment at Maisley and marched to Keith Junction en route first for Barry near Dundee and then on to their winter station in England. Sillyearn School reopened after the measles outbreak. The Upper District Licensing Court meeting in Keith dealt with several cases including a certificate for a new East of Scotland Public House Trust manager in the Town Hall Bar in Dufftown. A German delegation made its way secretly from Berlin via Constantinople and Baghdad, through the East Persian Cordon recently established by the British, into Afghanistan. There they met with Emir Habibullah Khan in Kabul guaranteeing him independence from Britain, lands from Tashkent to Bombay, and German military assistance for an Afghan attack on British India.
Wed 27 – Holy Trinity Church held their Sale of Work and Jumble Sale. Newmill Literary Society heard a paper on “The Financing of our Institute”. John Maclean, Glasgow schoolteacher and revolutionary socialist, was arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act and sacked from his post at Lorne Street Primary School.
Thur 28 – The cruiser HMS Argyll ran aground on Bell Rock eleven miles off Arbroath. There were no casualties.
Fri 29 –Turner Memorial Hospital postponed the proposed new TB unit and operating theatre. A concert for the School Hot Dinners Fund was held in Rothiemay.
Sat 30 – The Duke of Richmond and Gordon, Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, presided at a meeting in Keith of officials from various county bodies and organisations to discuss implementation of proposals for further recruitment by Lord Derby, Director General of Recruiting. Boharm School Board invited applications for a cookery teacher for their continuation class. The Banffshire Herald reported that Romania had mobilised troops on its borders with Hungary and Bulgaria.
Sun 31 – Rev. W.W. Cruickshank announced from the pulpit of Holy Trinity Church that he was taking up the post of an Army chaplain near Edinburgh