KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Monday 1 The Minister of Munitions, Winston Churchill, was taking steps to control the prices charged by manufacturers of agricultural implements and dairy equipment. Female pickers were wanted for the Perthshire berry fields. A Keith shoemaker lamented the scarcity of leather and skilled labour but was able to offer ’War-time boots and shoes’ at controlled prices. In contrast, a Mid Street outfitter was advertising a special show of summer fashions including the latest London and Paris millinery.
Tuesday 2 Keith Parish Council referred the closing of a right of way at the Whin Quarry in the Cuthil to the County Council. They also discussed reports from the Association of Parish Councils on support for those who had suffered mental health problems in the conflict. The United Free Church Presbytery appointed Rev John Philip of Keith interim moderator at Rothiemay. Keith JP Court dealt with an outbreak of juvenile misdemeanour in Newmill and issued penalties of five days in prison or a fine of half-a-crown.
Wednesday 3 A meeting of Newmill War Work Party and Newmill Mothers’ Union in the Manse was addressed by Mrs Forbes, Rothiemay, on the subject of Women’s Rural Institutes.
Thursday 4 Rev. Weir, who had conducted a shorthand class in Rothiemay, was presented with a leather letter wallet and Mrs Weir received a silver jelly dish from the students. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed V, died in his palace in Constantinople and was succeeded by his brother Mehmed VI.
Pte Lewis Campbell (18), 3rd Gordon Highlanders, died at the 1st Scottish General Hospital in Aberdeen. Originally from Newtack in Grange he is buried in Grange Churchyard.
Friday 5 Keith Town Council unanimously elected Mid Street grocer George Petrie-Hay to fill the vacancy on the Council. The Ministry of Food encouraged Town Councils to consider communal piggeries to make use of food waste.
Saturday 6 John Bremner’s timber business at the Highland Railway Station was up for sale. Keith School Board advertised for a cleaner at Auchanacie School with an annual salary of £6. The Banffshire Herald reported that three Keith pupils had achieved shorthand speeds of over 130 words per minute in recent exams. Donald Munro, OBE, a native of Grange, has been appointed the Ministry of Food’s transport officer for the North of Scotland.
Sunday 7 The Garrison Commander, Aberdeen, inspected Rothiemay and Knock Volunteers at Crossroads in the morning and the rest of C Company at Keith Golf Course in the evening. The ‘League of Nations’ was the title of the minister’s evening address at Grange Parish Church.
Monday 8 The Keith July Holiday started off dull and rain arrived later in the day. The Executive Agricultural Committee for Banffshire was providing tractors and binders for hire to farmers at 12s 6d per acre plus board and lodging for the operators. Military labour for harvest work would cost 5s per day for skilled men and 3s 6d for unskilled along with board and lodging. The annual Rothiemay hoeing match took place at Milltories. The North Eastern Counties District Wages Committee proposed to fix agricultural workmen’s wages at 33 shillings per week.
Tuesday 9 Keith branch of the Scottish Farm Servants’ Union fixed the overtime rate for their members at one shilling per hour. William Robertson, The Glack, wrote to the local paper on the unfairness of sugar allocation to domestic soft fruit growers. John Clynes was appointed Minister of Food Control in succession to the late Lord Rhondda
Lance Corporal Alexander Barrie (23), 1/6th Gordon Highlanders, attached to 152nd Trench Mortar Battery, died of pneumonia at the 42nd Canadian Clearing Station. The son of John and Eliza Barrie, Mid Street, Keith, he had served his time with the Strathisla Co-operative Company and had previously been working as a baker in Grantown. He is buried in Aubigny Communal Cemetery in France.
Wednesday 10 An impatient butcher’s cart horse was blamed for the butcher not completing the necessary ration card procedure on his rounds in Keith. The Sheriff was not impressed and fined him five shillings. The Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic was formally constituted.
Thursday 11 The Council of Lithuania voted to establish a monarchy and elected Duke Wilhelm of Urach as King taking the name Mindaugas II.
Friday 12 Boharm, Forgie and Botriphnie Schools begin their summer break. The Keith Pierrette Troupe took part in a concert at Alehousehillock School in aid of the Christmas Presents Fund.
Saturday 13 Spanish flu was rampant in Huntly.
Sunday 14 Ration books replaced ration cards.
Monday 15 Youngsters from Turner Street, including John, Isobel and Catherine Goodall, put on backyard concerts to raise funds for patriotic causes. Rothiemay Parish Council appointed William Milne, Hillock, as the new Inspector of Poor.
Tuesday 16 Keith Unionist Club held its AGM. The price of this year’s potatoes had been reduced in ½d increments from 4d per lb in May to 2d per lb. The War Agricultural Women’s Committee can supply female workers for hoeing turnips at 16 shillings per acre.
Wednesday 17 The Keith Red Cross Week bowling tournament began with a fancy dress bicycle parade to the Bowling Green. Prior to his departure to Fife, Rev. Weir, Rothiemay, was presented with a wallet of notes. The former Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family were executed by local Bolsheviks at Ekaterinburg. The Red Cross Fête at Arndilly House, opened by Mary, Countess Dowager of Seafield, accompanied by her 12-year old daughter Nina, Countess of Seafield, took place in glorious weather. Botriphnie contributed a very successful stall and the Keith Pierrettes were among the stars of the day.
Thursday 18 An evening service was held in the Glen of Newmill School.
Friday 19 Pupils at Maggieknockater School begin the first part of their summer holidays. Honduras follows Haiti in severing diplomatic relations with Germany.
Acting Sergeant James Shand, MM, (23), 1/4th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of James and Cecilia Shand, Main Street, Newmill, he was a railway signalman and is commemorated on the GNSR memorial in Aberdeen Station.
Saturday 20 Boharm held a flag day in aid of Keith Red Cross Week. A day of sports and entertainment was enjoyed at the Market Green in Newmill with refreshment available at ‘moderate charges’. Sixty men of the Canadian Forestry Corps were ill with flu and their camp at Knockando was put under quarantine.
Pte William J. M. Rennie (18), 4th Gordon Highlanders, died at the 2nd Scottish General Hospital in Edinburgh. He was the son of Allan and Agnes Rennie, Braco Brae, and is buried alongside Pte Lewis Campbell in Grange Churchyard.
Monday 22 Keith Red Cross Week began with a showing of the detective film ‘Dr Nikola’ in the Palace Cinema.
Tuesday 23 Keith minister Rev. Matthew Stewart was on the short leet for the vacancy at Dunbar Parish Church in Haddingtonshire. Red Cross activities continued with the first day of a week-long Bazaar and a Baby Show in the Grammar School Hall. The price of Government cheese was fixed at a maximum of 1s 8d per lb.
Lieutenant Donald C. Cooper (21), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in France. The son of Major Francis and Mrs Emily Cooper, Tarnash House, he had been employed at the Mid Street branch of the North of Scotland and Town and County Bank. He is buried in Marfaux British Cemetery.
Wednesday 24 A very successful Red Cross Garden Fête was held in the grounds of Linn House. Aikey Fair near Old Deer attracted about 600 horses.
Thursday 25 Residents in the Auchindachy area attended an evening service in Auchanacie School.
Friday 26 Red Cross events included a flag day in Grange and a whist drive in Keith. Ord’s Circus came to Rathven Market which for the first time in living memory had no liquor tents.
Saturday 27 Rothiemay WRI members were entertained to a selection of violin tunes and a talk on fruit bottling. The Herald reported that MP John Sutherland was ill with flu at his home, Durn House near Portsoy, and his Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Cullen ceremony had to be postponed. A meeting at Maggieknockater reported that the Arndilly Fête had made over £800 and that £25 would be allocated from the proceeds to the Drummuir Work Party. Mrs Roualeyn Forbes, Rothiemay, was awarded the Médaile de la Reine Élisabeth by the King of the Belgians to recognise her services as a nurse at the Front.
Sunday 28 Pte John Henderson (220, 1/5th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. He was the son of John and Jane Henderson, Woodhead, Edingight, and is buried in Buzancy Military Cemetery in Picardy.
Pte James K. Rae (19), 8th Seaforth Highlanders, also died in action at Buzancy. The son of William and Isabella Rae, Banff Road, Keith, he had been an apprentice grocer with Messrs Carrie & Co. in Keith.
Monday 29 Grange Parish Council and School Boards held their monthly meetings.
Tuesday 30 The Bankers beat the Military in the final of the Red Cross bowling tournament. Newmill School resumes with many pupils absent with flu. The UF Church Presbytery granted leave to Rev. Philip, Keith North Church, for pastoral care at the Front in France.
Wednesday 31 Keith dancing classes resume under G. Rose Wood with a professional testimony in the Herald from composer, fiddle player and dancing master, J. Scott