WW1 December 1916

KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WW1

Friday 1   The Town Council hosted a musical evening by Belgian artistes in the Longmore Hall, ‘one of the finest concert programmes ever presented to the public of Keith’. The principal attraction was soprano, Madame Mary Rizzini, on her second visit to Keith.

Saturday 2   Mrs Grant cut the ribbon at the grand opening of a new stretch of road at Kininvie, followed by celebrations held in the School.   The Banffshire Herald reported that new Government restrictions banned brewers from using wheat to brew beer.   The shipping agent in Buckie had donated large wall maps of Canada to the schools at Tarrycroys and Glen of Newmill

Sunday 3   Harvest Thanksgiving Services were held at Grange and Keith Parish Churches.

Monday 4   A committee was appointed by the newly established Newmill War Savings Association.

Tuesday 5   Greenwood Home Farm was advertised to let.

Prime Minister Asquith resigns. Andrew Bonar Law, Conservative Party Leader and Colonial Secretary in the Coalition Government, is summoned to the Palace to receive the King’s commission to form a Government.

Wednesday 6   Botriphnie School Board decides to start hot dinners for pupils.   Bucharest, the capital of Romania, falls to the advancing German Army.   Bonar Law fails in his attempt to assemble an administration. David Lloyd George, Secretary of State for War for the last six months, is then invited to form a Cabinet.   Robert McCulloch, County Councillor for Boharm and Botriphnie, died at his home of Newton near Maggieknockater.   The North East Appeal Tribunal at Banff heard cases including ones from Bridge of Marnoch, Wester Corrie in Botriphnie, and Balgreen near Keith.    

Thursday 7   A displenish sale took place at Mains of Cairnty, Boharm.   Keith School Board received a request signed by all but three of its teachers in the parish for a war bonus. The Board reported that 33 pupils had enrolled for continuation classes at Newmill.

Friday 8   Grange School Board organised a whist drive in the school at Ladyhill to raise funds for a New Year present for the 95 Grange men currently serving with the colours.   Harvest Thanksgiving services were held at both churches in Rothiemay.   A Grand Patriotic Concert in Newmill featured children from the village and Glen schools and the choir of the Newmill Parish Church.   A Red Cross representative from Edinburgh gave a lecture on sphagnum moss dressings to the Patriotic Club and later in the evening to the League of Honour.  

Pte Thomas McWilliam (20), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. A farm servant from Roehill in Grange, he was one of five brothers all serving in France.

Lance-Corporal Alexander Riddoch (22), No 152 Machine Gun Company, was killed by a shell in France. The youngest son of Mrs Mary Riddoch of Fowlwood in Grange, he had been a farm servant near Elgin and was described as ‘brave, devoted to duty and chivalrous’.

Pte John Leslie was killed in action. His family had lived in Keith and he had been employed as a hall boy at Drummuir Castle before becoming a footman to Lord Dalhousie at Brechin Castle.

Saturday 9   Rothiemay Agricultural Society held their Annual Meeting in the Public School.   The Christmas Sale of Fat Cattle took place at the Keith Auction Mart.   A schoolgirl at the Glen of Newmill School had received a letter of thanks from a soldier serving in Mesopotamia for the gift of a scarf knitted by her.   The farm of Glackmuick on Drummuir Estate was advertising for 1,500 yards of drain tiles.   Issur Danielovitch, the film star who later changed his name to Kirk Douglas, was born in New York.

Sunday 10   Sunday to Saturday this week was observed throughout the country as War Savings Week .   Harold J. Tennant was replaced as Scottish Secretary in Lloyd George’s new Government by Robert Munro, Lord Advocate and MP for Wick Burghs.   On the Macedonian Front, the French established the autonomous Republic of Korçë in the area of Albania they had recently liberated from the occupying Central Powers.

Monday 11   A meeting of Grange Parish Council heard complaints that there was only one roadman to deal with the poor state of the 42 miles of County roads in the parish. An appeal, by a young woman with three children against the Parish Council’s offer of Poor House relief, was rejected by the Local Government Board.   The Banffshire Volunteer Regiment was recruiting and enrolling new members at Newmill Public School.

Tuesday 12   Balnamoon and Crannoch Cattle Breeding Society’s Annual Meeting took place at Mains of Balnamoon.   Keith Parish Council agreed to deliver 3 cwt of coal to needy applicants from the Parish Trust Funds.   Notes from the Central Powers regarding overtures for peace proposals were sent to President Wilson of the United States as a neutral intermediary but were quickly rejected by the Entente Powers.

Wednesday 13   A whist drive was held in the Lodge Rooms in Reidhaven Square.   Brisk business was completed at the annual Christmas Poultry Sale in the Keith Auction Mart.   John Mitchell died aged 77 at his home of Watson Cottage in Land Street. He started business in Keith in 1865 as a bookseller and stationer, branched into printing and established The Banffshire Herald in 1892.

Friday 15   The annual sale of newspapers and magazines was conducted in the Keith Institute Reading Room.   Botriphnie Cattle Improvement Society and Sillyearn Cattle Breeding Society held their respective annual meetings.

Saturday 16   The Banffshire Herald reported the resignation of Rev. W. W. Cruickshank from his charge of Holy Trinity Church in Keith to be a full time chaplain to the forces at the front.

Monday 18   Early closing for shops was suspended over the festive period until 5th January.   Betty Grable, the film actress, was born in St Louis.

Tuesday 19   Grange Parish established a War Savings Committee.   Banff County Council met in the Keith Institute. The District Committee for Food Production also met in Keith and complained about the damage to crops caused by rooks and wood pigeons.

Wednesday 20   A meeting of the Rothiemay Parish Counciltook place in Milltown.   A sale of 56 acres of oats in stacks took place at Aulton, Boharm.

Daniel McHattie (37), an assistant surgeon in the New Zealand Army Veterinary Corps, died of wounds in Egypt. He had been educated in Keith where he first practised as a vet before going to New Zealand.

Thursday 21   A meeting of the Mulben Cattle Breeding Society was held in the school.

Robert H. Mathieson (23), a gunner in the Royal Field Artillery, was killed in action in France. He had been a baker with W. Kelty in Mid Street.

Friday 22   A meeting in the Institute formed a branch of the Railway Clerks’ Association (now part of the TSSA) to represent staff on the lines from Keith to Dufftown, Huntly and round to Buckie.   Ministries of Pensions, Shipping, Food, and Labour had been established by the new government.

Saturday 23   It was reported in the Banffshire Herald that a consignment of apples and oranges had arrived at Earlsmount Hospital from Calcutta in India.

Sunday 24   Knock and Rothiemay sections of the Banffshire Volunteer Regiment practised drill exercises at Crossroads.

Monday 25   Christmas Day was bleak and cold. Services were held at St Thomas’ and Holy Trinity Churches. It was observed as a holiday in the town only by the banks and law offices, the two ironmongers and Seafield Mills, who entertained their workforce and their families to Christmas dinner at the Temperance Hotel.  

Tuesday 26   Employees of Isla Bank Mills received double wages in their fortnightly pay packet.

 Wednesday 27   Pupils of St Thomas’ School presented their production of the operetta ‘The Enchanted Glen’.   Miss Elizabeth Innes of Edingight, daughter of Sir James Innes of Balvenie and Edingight, died at her home in Bath.   British Togoland with its capital at Lomé was established in territory captured from the Germans in West Africa. It merged with the Gold Coast to form Ghana in 1957.

Thursday 28   Keith Burgh Military Tribunal acknowledged the difficult situation regarding the dairying trade in the town. Coldhome Dairy had intimated it would have to close next month. It was also noted that the production of fertiliser at the Manure Works for next season was behind schedule because of a shortage of labour.   

Friday 29   The pupils of Crossroads School were entertained to a lantern show.

Saturday 30   Among New Year gifts sent to the 6th Gordons at the front were 312 lb of haggis, 216 lb of raisins and 1,700 white puddings.

Sunday 31   Intercessory services were held at Newmill and Grange Parish Churches with parades by the local Volunteers. Members of the Botriphnie and Boharm sections joined their comrades in a parade to the Parish Church in Keith.   Crowds gathered in the streets of the town to welcome in the New Year.

Grange School

Grange School

Mary Rizzini

Mary Rizzini

Austrian Christmas Card

Austrian Christmas Card