KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Sunday 1 The Emerson tractor was giving a demonstration of motor ploughing at Braehead near Keith. James Gilroy, Professor of Semitic Languages at Aberdeen University, preached at Botriphnie Parish Church. Rev. Cranmer spoke on the ‘Russian Revolution’ at the evening service at Grange Parish Church.
Monday2 A snowstorm overnight blocked the roads in and around Keith. New carting rates came into force for Keith and district. The price of a loaf in Keith and Fife-Keith was raised to one shilling. President Wilson addressed Congress regarding America and the war in Europe.
Tuesday 3 Gray’s of Mid Street began informal displays of their Spring and Summer fashions. Keith Parish Council gave five guineas to the Keith District Nursing Association.
Wednesday 4 The Wine, Spirit and Beer Trade Association of Banffshire met in the Royal Hotel in Keith to agree price increases for the county. A bottle of whisky would now cost six shillings.
Thursday 5 The Food Controller issued an Order prohibiting food hoarding. A rockfall at Blackhillock Quarry knocked two men off a ledge, severely injuring a worker from Duff Street, Fife-Keith. A Maundy Thursday service was held at St Thomas’ Church. Keith School Board approved a payment of £34 10s towards continuation classes at Newmill.
Friday 6 The United States declared war on Germany.
Saturday 7 Cuba and Panama quickly followed the American lead and declared war. There were now 14 nations at war with Germany.
Lance Corporal William Dingwall (26), 1st Mounted Rifles (Saskatchewan Regt.), was killed in action in France. He was the son of Jane Dingwall of Inver Isla Cottage and is remembered on the Vimy Memorial and the Rothiemay War Memorial.
Sunday 8 Clocks were put forward for the start of Britain’s second year of Summer Time. Easter Sunday services took place at local churches. Afternoon services were held by Rev. Cranmer at Sillyearn School and at Auchanacie School by Rev. Duncan Garrow of Botriphnie UF Church.
Monday 9 British troops began the Battle of Arras, part of the Artois and Champagne Spring Offensive. Many local men were among the casualties:
Pte Robert Ewing (19), 7th Cameron Highlanders, was the son of Robert Ewing of Keith. He had been a cleaner with the Highland Railway in Inverness.
Pte James Adam, Canadian infantry, was killed in action and is buried in Arras Road Cemetery. He was the son of Mrs Milne of Mid Street.
Pte John Burgess (29), King’s Own Scottish Borderers, was a farm servant in the Glen of Newmill. He is remembered on the Newmill and Keith War Memorials.
Pte William Duncan (36), 1st Gordon Highlanders, was born as Craig, Rothiemay and was employed as a horseman at a farm in Fordyce. He is buried in the Beaurains Road Cemetery.
Several men from the area are buried in the Highland Cemetery at Roclincourt:
Sgt Percy G. Watt (19), 6th Gordon Highlanders, had been a student. He was originally from Whitehillock and his parents were in Union Street in Keith.
Pte John M. Ainslie (200, Gordon Highlanders, was the son of George and Isabella Ainslie of Union Street and had been a carpenter with G & R Cameron.
Pte Peter Gordon, 6th Gordon Highlanders, was a farm servant in the district and lived at Station House, Cairnie.
Pte Peter A. Inglis (20), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was a farm servant at Greenwood near Keith.
Pte Alexander McLachlan (22), 6th Seaforth Highlanders was the son of Mrs McLachlan of Sauchenward, Boriphnie, and had been in farm service.
Pte Alexander Stewart, 6th Gordon Highlanders, was the son of Mrs Campbell in Banff and is commemorated on the Botriphnie and Banff War Memorials.
Tuesday 10 Two Fife-Keith families lost sons today:
Pte James Horne(22), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. He was the son of Mr Frank Horne of Fife Street and had been a farm servant in the Rothiemay area.
Corporal George M. Low (20), the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Low, Station Road, died of his wounds at No 30 Casualty Clearing Station in France. He had been a porter and assistant signalman at Buckie GNSR Station.
Pte Andrew Robertson (18), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, had been living and working in Keith as a cooper. He is commemorated on the Arras and Burghead Memorials
Wednesday 11 A supply of seed potatoes had been obtained and was being distributed from the Burgh Store in Keith. Further pressure was put on the Central Powers as Brazil then Bolivia severed diplomatic relations with Germany.
Thursday 12 A presentation was held in the Royal Hotel for William Dick, reporter with the Banffshire Herald, who was moving to a position with the Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser.
Alexander Mann (24), Duff Street, Fife-Keith, was killed in action in France. He was a private in the Royal Scots and had returned from living in America to enlist on the outbreak of war.
Friday 13 A meeting of farmers in Mulben School was held to deal with the crow menace in the area. Lairs were let in Rothiemay at Craig Moss and Craigburrach Moss.
Pte Alexander Murray (18), Seaforth Highlanders, the son of Mr A. Murray of Limehillock, Grange, was killed in action in France.
Saturday 14 Laura Gordon of Fife Street, a nursing sister at the 1st General Hospital in Aberdeen, had been presented with the Royal Red Cross at Buckingham Palace by the King. The Banffshire Herald reported that a couple at Banff Parish Church had taken advantage of the new regulations allowing military personnel to have their banns cried at the Kirk door and be married immediately afterwards. Keith Boy Scouts had collected almost half a ton of waste paper for the local Red Cross Waste Paper Depot. The Upper District Committee met in Dufftown and discussed the poor state of the roads between Grange Station and Rothiemay Station.
Sunday 15 Today was the last day for receiving lapwings’ eggs. The service at Hillhead in Grange enjoyed a performance of ‘The Song of Angels’ by Mr Welch’s choir. The collection was in aid of funds for the Church of Scotland’s Huts at the Front.
Monday 16 The Keith Spring Holiday was accompanied by heavy showers of hail and snow. Lenin and several other Russian Bolsheviks arrived at the Finland Station in Petrograd in a sealed train from exile in Switzerland across Germany and neutral Sweden.
Pte. Douglas S. Chalmers (27), 5th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. He is buried in St Nicolas Cemetery near Arras and is commemorated on the Keith Parish War Memorial.
Tuesday 17 The Upper District Licensing Court, meeting in Keith, granted a renewal of licence to the public house at Bridge of Fiddich despite a recent conviction under the No Treating Order of the Liquor Control Board. It was reported that the Northern Co-operative Society in Aberdeen was now rationing oatmeal to half a stone per household per week. The Keith branch of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute For Nurses held its annual meeting in the Keith Institute Hall.
Friday 20 Pte Alexander Cruickshank (23), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. He was the elder son of Mrs Cruickshank of Bridge Street and had been a farm servant in Deskford.
Saturday 21 The Banffshire Road Board approved expenditure of £4,330 for the roads of the Upper District and heard that German prisoners would not be available for road making purposes. A flag day for the Railway Benevolent Institution was held in Keith. The Government was going to release large stocks of pickled herring from storage in Stornoway. Originally destined for the Russian market, they would cost 2d each and be accompanied by a publicity campaign to make them more attractive to British consumers. The Banffshire Herald reported that the cost of oatmeal had risen from 16 shillings in 1914 to 53 shillings per boll of 140 lbs.
Sunday 22 Sgt Andrew Forsyth (28), 2nd Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. Son of the late James Forsyth, Land Street, he had been a commercial traveller for a wholesale draper in Glasgow.
Pte William McLennan (39), 14th Canadians, was a native of Rothiemay and had emigrated to Ontario. He is buried in the Bois Carre Cemetery near Thelus in France.
Monday 23 Edingight and Sillyearn Horticultural Society decided not to hold a flower show this year.
Pte William Jamieson (26), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was the elder son of Mr and Mrs George Jamieson of Loanhead, Keith.
Acting Sergeant William B. Duguid (23), was the grandson of James and Jessie Duguid, Rothiemay, and is commemorated on the Cullen and Rothiemay Memorials.
Pte Robert Watt (24), 1/6th Gordon Highlanders, was the son of John and Mary Watt, Millar Place, Newmill. He had previously been employed with G. Kynoch and Son, Mid Street, Keith.
Pte James W. Milne (19), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds. He was born in Keith, the son of Lewis and Williamina Milne, and is remembered on the Keith Parish Memorial.
Pte Alexander Bruce (30), 10th Scottish Rifles, was born and brought up in Keith and had enlisted in Annan, Dumfrieshire.
Pte Norman D. Allan (25), 8th Seaforth Highlanders, was a native of Keith and lived in Boharm and Enzie.
Tuesday 24 Pte Robert Newlands (19), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, was killed at the Front in France. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Newlands of Broadrashes, Glen of Newmill.
Pte George Blackhall (24), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in France. He was the son of Mrs Ingram, Crossroads, Grange and is commemorated on the Grange Parish Church memorial plaque.
Pte George Blackhall (24), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in France. He was the son of Mrs Ingram, Crossroads, Grange, and is commemorated on the Grange Parish Church memorial plaque.
Wednesday 25 A Grand Concert under the auspices of the local railway employees was held in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Rest Room at Keith Junction. Almost 3,000 soldiers and sailors had been catered for since its opening in February. Ella Fitzgerald was born in Virginia.
Pte James Ogg (20), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds in Étaples General Hospital. He was the son of James and Helen Ogg, Main Street, Newmill.
Corporal George S. Murray (23), 6th Seaforth Highlanders, was originally from Boharm and has been a cattleman on a farm in Mortlach. He is remembered on the memorials at Arras and Boharm.
Thursday 26 A displenish sale took place at Heads of Auchinderran.
Saturday 28 The Banffshire Herald reported that Rev. James Stockdale of the West UF Church had been presented with an inscribed Bible to mark 40 years since the Auxiliary of the National Bible Society had been established in Grange. Artistes from Aberdeen performed at a concert in the Longmore Hall in aid of the National Institute for the Blind.
Pte Hector I. Cameron (30), Highland Light Infantry, was posted missing, later confirmed killed in action. He was the son of Mr and Mrs George Cameron, Reidhaven Square and had served his apprenticeship as a grocer with R. Thomson, Mid Street.
Sunday 29 It was the 1,000th day of the Great War between Britain and Germany. Right Rev. Arthur J. McLean, Bishop of Moray and Ross, performed the ceremony at the institution of Rev. Edward M. Bland as the new rector at Keith’s Holy Trinity Church.
Pte John E. Porter (19), Northumberland Fusiliers, was killed in action in France. He was the son of William and Jeannie Porter, Nelson Terrace, Fife-Keith.
Monday 30 Lairs were given off at Mayen Moss, Rothiemay. An Arndilly woodcutter failed to appear at Keith JP Court on a charge of being drunk and disorderly and forfeited his bail money. The Food Controller took over control of British flour mills.
Pte John Stewart (19), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in Northern France. He was the son of Mrs Stewart, Land Street, Keith.