KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Saturday 1 A Sale of Work in aid of the Newmill Institute was opened by J. W. Kynoch of Isla Bank. The Central Banffshire Farmer Club agreed to procure a second stallion for the 1917 season. A bottle collection was organised in the Keith, Newmill and Glen areas. The Great North of Scotland Railway resumed their popular Three Rivers Tour connecting Ballindalloch, Alford and Ballater Stations via the Lecht and Tomintoul. The Central Control Board’s Dilution of Spirits Order enforcing the reduction of spirits to 25 degrees under proof came into effect. Olivia de Havilland, the actress, was born in Tokyo. The British and French began a concerted offensive against the Germans which would last till November. The Battle of the Somme was the most costly of the war with almost 20,000 British troops killed on the first day. Among them were:
2nd Lt George McCurrach, headmaster at Ruthven, attached to the 16th Highland Light Infantry, was listed as missing later confirmed killed in action.
Pte James Scott (33), was a piper in the 2nd Gordons and a native of Rothiemay. The son of William and Isabella Scott, Tarryblake, he had been wounded in November 1914, invalided home and had only returned to the Front a few weeks before.
Sunday 2 Pte William G. Dow (30) was killed at the Front. He was a native of Rothiemay and had worked on the railway before moving to Calgary in Canada. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Rothiemay War Memorial.
Monday 3 Members of the Oliphant Lodge of Free Gardeners gathered at the Lodge Room in the Keith Institute and attended the funeral of George Smith of Den Cottage in the Old Cemetery.
Sgt Thomas A. Burns, 15th Highland Light Infantry, who was born in Keith and employed in the Glasgow Corporation Tramways, died in the fighting in France.
Pte John Ellis, 15th Highland Light Infantry, was killed in action on the Leipzig Salient near the village of Thiepval in France. He was also an employee of Glasgow Tramways and is commemorated on the Keith war memorial.
Tuesday 4 Keith Parish Council will continue to rent four beds in the Stonehaven Poor House. After a lively discussion, it was agreed to receive a deputation from the British Women’s Temperance Association.
Wednesday 5 John Shand of Muiryfold was appointed a member of Grange Parish Council. The vacancy on Grange School Board was filled by Robert Weir of Clerkseat. Keith North U.F. Church Sunday School held their picnic at Ardimannoch Farm. The 6,700 bottles and 500 jars collected earlier were sold by auction in the Drill Hall and made over £16 for the Armenian Refugees Fund. An Exhibition of Dancing by ladies of the local classes of Miss Amba Irvine, Professor of Dance, Edinburgh, along with performances by the Zenner Troupe of Entertainers, took place in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Keith Prisoners of War Fund.
Thursday 6 Lloyd George was appointed Secretary for War to replace the late Lord Kitchener.
Friday 7 Several local schools began their summer break including Grange and Tarrycroys. At the Glen School prizegiving, departing teacher Miss Mitchell was presented with a gold pendant. In their first meeting since May, Keith Town Council agreed to renew the licences for the 11 slaughter houses in the burgh.
Saturday 8 A public roup of grass and hay was held at Edindaich. In America, the contoured Coca Cola bottle was registered as a Federal trademark.
Sunday 9 Scottish Secretary T. McKinnon Wood was succeeded by H. J. Tennant of Edinglassie in Strathdon, a Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire and brother-in-law of both the Prime Minister and the Laird of Drummuir. Edward Heath, future Leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, was born in Maidstone in Kent.
Monday 10 The July local holiday was a day for fishing on the Isla or entering the competitions at the Keith Golf Course. Teas were served in the pavilion.
Lance corporal George Stewart (24), 8th Seaforth Highlanders, had enlisted while in Fife and is remembered on the Keith Parish war memorial. He is buried at Vermelles in France.
Tuesday 11 Sgt William J. Milne (38), 4th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds at 30 Casualty Clearing Station in France. He had at one time been a carpenter with G. & R. Cameron and was the husband of Wilhelmina Milne of Land Street in Keith.
Thursday 13 Prime Minister Asquith requested that all general and local holidays be suspended until further notice to help the war effort. London asked that persons being granted military service exemption be recommended by the Tribunal to join the local Volunteer Training Corps. An evening religious service was held in Tarrycroys School.
Pte Alexander McHattie, 1st Black Watch, died from wounds received at the Somme. When war was declared he had been serving with his regiment in India. The son of Alexander S. McHattie of Parkhead, he had worked for the Highland Railway in Keith. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Botriphnie war memorial.
Friday 14 Various schools were breaking up for the holidays including Botriphnie and Forgie. At Boharm School, Mr Steuart presented ‘a crown in silver’ to those with perfect attendance and prizes of half-a-crown to several others. A tramp labourer was fined ten shillings or seven days at Keith Police Court for ‘behaving in a drunk and disorderly manner and challenging the lieges to fight in a lane off Mid Street’.
Saturday 15 Offers had to be in by today for Grange Limeworks on the Fife Estate. The Harvest Feeing Market was held in Keith.
Sunday 16 Enrolment of recruits for Keith Volunteer Training Corps was held at the Drill Hall.
Monday 17 The Government announced that the war was costing over £6 million per day. Keith Plate Glass Protection Association held their annual meeting.
Tuesday 18 Auchlunkart Estate was advertising the tenancy of Upper and Nether Aulton.
Alexander McLennan, 1st Gordon Highlanders, died in action in France. His name appears on the Keith and Thiepval Memorials.
Wednesday 19 The first patients started arriving at the newly-reopened Earlsmount Hospital. A meeting of local organisations was held to discuss the call to establish local War Savings committees.
Pte John R. Forrest, 54th Australians, was killed in action. Born in Fordyce and educated in Grange, he was the eldest son of James and Isa Forrest of Lilac Neuk, Keith. He had emigrated to Australia and had served in Egypt before coming to France.
Thursday 20 The Patriotic Club in Turner Street would now be open in the afternoon for cleaning of sphagnum moss. Volunteers were requested to help. After initial hesitation, the Royal Northern Show at Kittybrewster was held this year with two of the judges coming from Keith: Mr Anderson, the vet, for horses and John Cran, Old Town, for pigs.
Friday 21 The two Rothiemay schools and the four Cairnie schools began their summer holidays.
Saturday 22 The Banffshire Herald reported that Scotland north and west of a line from Kyle to Inverness was now a restricted Military Area requiring special travel permits.
Sunday 23 High temperatures produced a cloudburst which flooded the Dullan and the Fiddich, washing away a hillside of trees, two bridges and 100 yards of the road to Glenfiddich Lodge. Sir William Ramsay, the Scottish chemist and Nobel Prize Winner, died in Buckinghamshire. The Battle of Pozieres began and would last two weeks.
Monday 24 A ’Great Hoeing Match’ was held at Stripeside in Grange.
Tuesday 25 Lance corporal George Johnston (21), 2/6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed when a gas shell struck his dugout. He was the son of Charles and Jane Johnston of Newmill.
Wednesday 26 Grange, Hillhead and Sillyearn Sunday Schools travelled by train to Cullen for their summer picnic. Pinder-Ord’s Circus visited Keith. A presentation was made to Alexander Cameron who was retiring after 51 years as miller at Auchindoun.
Thursday 27 Rothiemay Women’s Missionary Association held a Sale of Work in the school.
Pte Alexander J. Forsyth (31), 1st Australian Infantry, was killed in France. He was a wheat farmer in New South Wales and was the grandson of Elizabeth Forsyth of Land Street in Keith. He is remembered on the Keith War Memorial and the family gravestone at Broomhill Cemetery.
Friday 28 G. & G. Kynoch attended at Rathven Market for farmers to settle their manure accounts.
Pte Alexander Ogilvie Clark (31), 15th Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment), died in the 2nd London General Hospital in Chelsea of head wounds sustained earlier at the Front. The son of Joseph and Helen Clark of Mains of Drummuir, he had worked for a Winnipeg meat-packing firm.
Sunday 30 The GNSR used the daylight time today (Sunday) to dismantle and rebuild the bridge at Buckie Railway Station.
Monday 31 Keith Police Court found a Glen of Newmill farmer guilty of assault and breaches of the peace in which he had used ‘opprobious terms’ towards his neighbours.