KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WW1
Tuesday 1 The funeral of Pte Alexander Ogilvie Clark, Canadian Forces, and son of Mr and Mrs Clark of Mains of Drummuir, took place from the Drill Hall in Keith to Broomhill Cemetery. The coffin was carried by four soldiers and the Masonic burial service was conducted by Rev. Matthew Stewart, chaplain to local Lodge.
Wednesday 2 A Garden Fete, held at Linn House in Keith in aid of Red Cross funds, attracted over 800 people and raised over £200. Rothiemay School Board met to discuss the resignation of teacher Miss Elsie Geddes and advertised the vacancy with a salary of £70 per annum. Isla Bank Mills was made a sub-depot of Edinburgh for the purpose of gathering and despatching sphagnum moss for war medical dressings.
L/Cpl James Brown (22), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France by an enemy shell. He was from Newmill and had been an office clerk at Isla Bank Mills.
Wounded in the same incident was Pte James Rhind from Land Street, already a veteran of several battles on the Western Front.
Thursday 3 Taylor’s String Band from Keith provided the dance music at the Strathbogie Patriotic Sale at the Castle Park in Huntly.
Friday 4 The second anniversary of the British declaration of war on Germany was marked by a joint service in Keith North U. F. Church. Rev. Duncan Garrow, Botriphnie U. F. Chuch, conducted a wedding ceremony at Glackmuick and took part in a service for both congregations in the Parish Church. In New York, the United States agreed to buy the Danish West Indies (now the U. S. Virgin Islands) for $25 million.
Saturday 5 Rev. and Mrs Cranmer entertained the elders, choir members and Sunday School teachers at a garden party at Grange Manse.
Pte William Thomson (20), 3/6th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds in France. He was from Fife-Keith and worked for the GNSR at Keith Junction Station.
Sunday 6 A silver collection was held at Grange Parish Church in aid of the Sunday School Picnic Fund. Solos were sung by Josephine Anderson with organ solos by Herbert Sandison.
Monday 7 It was recognised that the falling birth rate and the rising infant mortality rate (especially in Banffshire), along with the loss of so many young men in the conflict, would cause serious post-war demographic problems. A country-wide travelling exhibition to promote maternity and child welfare had its national launch in the Longmore Hall in Keith and was opened by Dr Leslie Mackenzie, medical member of the Local Government Board of Scotland.
Tuesday 8 The annual general meeting of the Keith Unionist Club opened its reading and billiard rooms to the recuperating soldiers at Earlsmount Hospital. The main speaker at the second day of the exhibition in the Longmore Hall was Mrs Ogilvie Gordon, the Scottish organising secretary.
Wednesday 9 The Mothercraft and Child Welfare Exhibition moved on to Rothiemay Public School. Keith avenged their recent defeat by Fife-Keith at a return match at Keith Bowling Club.
Thursday 10 The premiere of the film ‘The Battle of the Somme’ took place in London. It was shot in the vicinity of Beaumont Hammel, Fricourt and Mametz and was watched by 20 million in the first six weeks. Proceeds from the Cornhill Berry Market went to the Limbless Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Fund. Grange School Board granted the use of Crossroads, Sillyearn and Grange Schools to the local Volunteer Training Corps for drill purposes. Grange Parish Council agreed to fund the maintenance of a pauper in Dumfries Asylum.
Friday 11 Italian troops landed at Salonika in Greece to join up with British, French and Serbian troops on the Macedonian Front. Russian troops had arrived earlier.
Saturday 12 There was a sale of grass by public auction at Muir of Maisley. It was a generally quiet Glorious Twelfth. Birds were scarce with only 12½ brace bagged on Auchlunkart.
Monday 14 The Liquor Trade Finance (Scotland) Commission report noted that there were currently about 6,700 public house licences and 3,400 licensed grocers in the country. Keith War Savings Committee met to arrange collection districts within the burgh. The Central Liquor Control Board in London had reviewed the case of the Deveron Inn, Bridge Street, Banff, (recent breaches of the strict anti-treating regulations) and suspended its licence for nine months.
Tuesday 15 Botriphnie School Board advertised for an infant teacher with qualifications in kindergarten, drawing, sewing and French.
Pte John Milne McKay (31), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died at Rouen in France of wounds received in action. He had worked as a brakesman for the GNSR at Nethybridge and is commemorated on the Keith War Memorial.
Wednesday 16 Keith Burgh Tribunal granted conditional exemption to a Keith fish merchant. A section of the Keith District Volunteer Corps was established at Mulben where 38 men enrolled.
Thursday 17 A secret treaty was signed in Bucharest to bring Rumania into the war on the side of the Entente. Free expert advice on all foot ailments by a foot specialist from London was being offered today at P. Irvine, shoemaker, Mid Street, Keith.
Friday 18 A section of the Volunteer Training Corps was set up at Knock Station.
Saturday 19 A Flag Day took place throughout the county in aid of Prisoners of War Fund. Collections in Rothiemay were organised by girls from the School, and in Botriphnie by the local Boy Scouts. Separate collections were held in Maggieknockater and Arndilly and in the Lower District of Boharm and totalled over £10. Keith District POW Fund donated £20 in place of having a flag day. A string of rosary beads was one of the items on Keith Police Station’s ‘lost and found’ list. Rev. R. E. and Mrs Gilbert entertained about 60 children and many adults to a picnic at Whitehill Church.
Monday 21 Despite a request by the Government, agreed to by the Town Council, the Keith August holiday was observed by almost all the shopkeepers and law offices in the town. The two woollen mills, however, were on Government contracts and kept working.
Wednesday 23 Sections of the Volunteer Training Corps were established at Rothiemay and Drummuir. At the Appeal Court in Banff temporary exemptions were granted to an apprentice carpenter from Mayen, the manager of Park’s Dairy in Keith, the innkeeper of the Isla Bar in Fife-Keith and a Keith coach body maker. Over 700 farmers from the counties of Aberdeen, Banff and Kincardine had applied for military labour for harvest work.
Friday 25 Drill instruction for the members of the local Volunteers began at Sillyearn School.
Saturday 26 The 13th AGM of the Central Banffshire Auction Mart Company was held.
Sunday 27 Rumania declared war on Austria-Hungary and prepared to invade Transylvania.
Monday 28 Bakers in Keith and Fife-Keith increased the price of a 4lb loaf from 9d to 10d. A Fife-Keith millworker pled guilty at Keith J.P. Court to a charge of keeping a dog without a licence and was fined 7/6 with 7/6 expenses. The Inland Revenue stated that ‘the accused had given them a lot of trouble over the case.’
Tuesday 29 Harvest Beer, direct from the Brewery in Edinburgh to the farm, was advertised at £1 for a 20 gallon barrel. Music lessons from various teachers resumed in Keith. A battlefield Military Cross was presented to Captain James Dey fom Botriphnie. He had previously been engaged in banking in Buenos Aires before enlisting.
Pte Robert Smith, Seaforth Highlanders, died of his wounds at Ample Hospital in Suffolk. He was a native of Keith and the son of blacksmith Innes Smith.
Wednesday 30 A Sale of Work in St Thomas’ Hall was held to raise funds for the refurbishment of the Church, which was to reopen soon. The congregation had worshipped in the School over the past 18 months. A well-attended sale of about 1,000 stones of hay in tramp coles took place at Tauchers.
Thursday 31 Keith Provost, Dr James Taylor, opened the Cairnie Parish Church Sale of Work in the Central School. Kingston’s Dramatic Company performed ‘East Lynne’ in the Longmore Hall.