KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Wed 1 – A Boharm shoot was held on Muldearie courtesy of Col Vivian of Delfur Lodge. A previous shoot at Cairnty and on Knockmore had bagged about thirty head of deer along with a large number of hares and rabbits. At Banff Sheriff Court Mrs Jane Moggach of Union Street, Keith claimed £195 under the Workmen’s Compensation Act in respect of her son, John, a labourer at G. & G. Kynoch, Manure Manufacturer, of Isla Bank Mills, who had died on 1st June allegedly from anthrax. Evidence was heard and the case adjourned for debate.
Thur 2 – The Rev. W.H. Macfarlane presided at the December meeting of the Keith School Board. There had been 306 enrolments for continuation classes and two classes in buttermaking had been started.
Fri 3 – Joseph Joffre is appointed Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies.
Sat 4 – A Christmas sale of fat cattle, sheep and pigs was held at Keith Auction Mart. It was announced that a stretcher was now being kept at Mulben Station for public use.
Sun 5 – A branch of the League of Honour was established at Botriphnie. At the evening service in Grange Parish Church Rev. Cranmer gave a lecture on “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”.
Mon 6 – Continuation classes start at Botriphnie School. This was the fourth year in succession that the headmaster, Mr Wilson, had conducted winter evening classes. Sillyearn Stock Improvement Society held their annual meeting in the Public School and reported that 199 cows had been served at Knockbog, Stripeside and Clovenstones.
Wed 8 – Mr James P. Fawcett, Postmaster at Keith for the past nine years, was presented with leaving gifts on his appointment as Postmaster at Chepstow. A lantern lecture by Mr John Anderson on beekeeping was held at Sillyearn School and included the latest information on the Isle of Wight disease. At a meeting in the Keith Institute a County Advisory Committee was appointed to assist the Recruiting Officer in implementing the Derby Scheme.
Thur 9 – Continuation classes start at Sillyearn School and include Woodwork, Arithmetic, and English with the Geography of the Great War. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was born in Jarotschin in Germany. She became a world-famous opera singer and was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1992. It was reported that the War to date had claimed the following British casualties: Killed 119,923 Wounded 338,758 Missing 69,546.
Fri 10 – Keith Town Council applauded local coal merchants who had agreed to regulate prices during the winter season. They noted they were two shillings per ton cheaper than neighbouring areas and almost half the price being charged in London. At the Grange Parish Council meeting the Rev R.E. Gilbert was appointed chairman for the following year. A proposed reduction in the scale of prices and dispensing charges offered to Scottish Panel chemists prompted all chemists in Banffshire to threaten to come out of the Insurance Panel at the end of the month. After intervention by the Executive Committee of the Scottish Association of Insurance Committees the dispute was resolved and withdrawal averted.
Sat 11 – A special sale was held at Keith Auction Mart for the London Christmas Dead Meat market. A total of 46 vans were sent South by rail compared to 66 vans in 1914. Towiemore Dramatic Club donated £1 to the Keith Prisoners of War Fund and £3 to the Drummuir Red Cross Depot.
Sun 12 – Frank Sinatra was born in New Jersey.
Mon 13 – The monthly meeting of Keith Town Council discussed the resignation of Councillor Henry Taylor and heard a report by the Sanitary Inspector on a defective thatched roof in Land Street. Last date for Christmas Parcels to the Front. Leslie Strachan died in Aberdeen aged 81. He had been stationmaster at Earlsmill for eight years before being promoted to Auchindachy where he was Stationmaster for 36 years.
Tue 14 – Keith Parish Council discussed the need for a separate mortuary at the Parish Home in Balloch Road. Currently, but awkwardly, the Matron’s sitting room was fulfilling this function. Pupils at Ternemny School had collected 15 shillings for the Overseas Club in London. Rothiemay collected £11 for Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
Wed 15 – Keith Christmas Poultry Sale took place at the Auction Mart. The Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, opened the exhibition at the Drill Hall of a German 77mm Field Gun captured by the 6th Gordon Highlanders at Hulluch on 25th September at the start of the Battle of Loos. A Café Chantant at the Longmore Hall in aid of the Prisoners of War Fund was opened by Provost Hay of Alford. Among the stalls in the basement of the Hall were a sshooting gallery and a skittles alley. A stall featuring the smashing of the windows of a model of the Berlin Potsdam Palace was a very popular attraction. Earlsmount Red Cross Hospital was closing for a short period. Since the start of the War it had accommodated 299 recuperating soldiers and had incurred a debt of only £7 during that period. Sir John French resigns as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force.
Fri 17 – At the annual Zenana Meeting in the Whitehill Church in Grange the Rev. Weir gave a talk on the life of Mary Slessor. The Balnamoon and Crannoch Cattle Breeding Association met at Crossroads School. A concert was held at Rothiemay in aid of the Reading Room. Last date for Christmas letters for the Front.
Sat 18 – A meeting of the Central Banffshire Farmers Club decides not to hold a Spring Show in 1916.
Sun 19 – Start of the evacuation of troops from the Gallipoli Peninsula. Douglas Haig is appointed Commander-in-Chief.
Tue 21 – A meeting of the Banffshire County Council in the Keith Institute appointed a new Convener and Vice-Convener. A new threshing mill by R.G Garvie, millwright, Aberdeen, was installed at Mr George Watt’s farm of Netherton on the Arndilly Estate.
Wed 22 – Among the many topics discussed by the Newmill Literary Society during the month were: “Care of our horses at the Front” and “Water as motive power”. President Yuan Shikai was installed as Emperor of China.
Fri 24 – A Red Cross whist drive was held in Drummuir Hall. St Thomas’ Christmas Eve Service was held in the School because of refurbishment of the Chapel. French Forces occupied the Mediterranean island of Kastellorizo despite protests by the Greek government. It was eventually returned to Greece in 1948.
Sat 25 –Christmas Day was not generally observed as a holiday in Keith. Rothiemay Agricultural Society held their annual meeting. The death occurred of draper and former Keith Town Councillor George Mitchell. Sgt John Ripley V.C. was on a visit to Keith. The Palace Cinema was showing “Little Home in the West”.
John C. Stables, Acting Sergeant, 6th Highland Light Infantry, originally from Keith, was killed at Gallipoli. He had been a saddler in Glasgow.
Sun 26 –Treaty of Darin signed between Britain and Abdulaziz, the Emir of Nejd, whereby he agreed to an alliance with the British against the Ottoman Empire. British Naval engagement captures German Motor Vessel SMS Kingani on Lake Tanganyika.
Mon 27 – Shooting Match in Drill Hall. Bank Holiday in Keith.
Tue 28 – Aultmore Cattle Breeding Society held their annual meeting in Glen School. A landslip closed the road between Drummuir and Market Inn at Lynemore.
Wed 29 – The Directors of Turner Memorial Hospital held a Board meeting to discuss the appointment of a matron.
Thur 30 – HMS Natal exploded in the Cromarty Firth with 421 casualties. About 400 of the crew had been on shore leave at the time.
Fri 31 – It was a stormy and wet Hogmanay as people gathered in Mid Street to see in the New Year.