WW1 March 1918


Friday 1 Keith and Aberdeen musicians entertain wounded soldiers and staff at Gordon Castle, Fochabers, in a show organised by Medical Officer Major James Taylor of Keith. A concert by a troupe from Cullen was enjoyed at Bogmuchals School in aid of the Red Cross Work Party.
Saturday 2 The Fiars Court for fixing the Banffshire crop prices for 1917 was held in Banff. Sheriff Stuart decided to continue making use of a jury taking evidence from witnesses. German forces land on the Åland Islands in the Baltic.
Sunday 3 A service for the late Rev. Robert Gilbert was conducted by Rev. W. H. Macfarlane in Whitehill Church, Grange. The embattled Russian Government was forced to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire. The Germans capture the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
Monday 4 A fire destroyed a barn and its contents in Back Street, Newmill. A child playing with a box of matches is thought to have been the cause.
Tuesday 5 Keith Parish Council reported that the remainder of the coal allocation to those on the Poor List would be completed shortly once railway wagons became available and that £1 each household would be disbursed to assist with payment of rent.
Wednesday 6 Banffshire Food Control Committee meeting in Keith dismissed a petition by five of the six bakers in Keith to raise the price of a 4lb loaf to 9½d. British marines arrive in Murmansk at the request of the local soviet.
Thursday 7 There was a large attendance of both masters and men at the Huntly Cottar Market.
Friday 8 The Board’s food lecture, originally postponed by stormy weather, takes place in the Glen School. A Grand Evening Concert is held in Cairney Central School.
Saturday 9 A meeting in the Longmore Hall, addressed by the District Organiser of the Workers’ Union, established a local branch in Keith.
Sunday 10 The minister from the Gorbals in Glasgow preached at Keith Parish Church.
Monday 11 Keith Town Council discussed cutting down the trees on Balloch Road. TV Taylor’s buyers go south to purchase the latest styles from the fashion houses. Pte Albert Gitchell at a US Army camp in Kansas was among the first to be diagnosed with a strain of flu which would eventually sweep the world.
Tuesday 12 Grange School Board’s whist drive at Sillyearn raised money for gifts to local servicemen. The morning train to Cornhill is met by a shooting brake to convey passengers to Marnan Fair at Aberchirder. The Russian capital has been moved from Petrograd to Moscow.
Wednesday 13 At Banff Sheriff Court, the charge against the housekeeper at Starhead, Botriphnie, of stealing peats from the farm of Sunnybrae, was dropped. The merchant at Crossroads, Grange, pled not guilty to charging 5½d for a 2lb loaf. MPs raise the school leaving age to 14.
Friday 15 The Duchy of Courland, which had declared its independence, becomes a protectorate of the German Empire.
Saturday 16 Mrs McDougall’s Ness Restaurant in Union Street was advertised for let. Men were scarce at the annual Keith Cottar Market and several positions were not filled. Woodburn Cottage near Knock Station was advertised for let.
Monday 18 The British Women’s Temperance Association held a meeting in the North Church Hall.
Tuesday 19 The Palace Cinema was showing Virginia Pearson in the powerful Scottish drama ‘The War Mother’.
Wednesday 20 Keith Red Cross held a Bring and Buy Sale in the Longmore Hall. Sgt Colin Barron, the third Banffshire native to be awarded the Victoria Cross in the war, was given a civic reception at Whitehills.
Thursday 21 A Rothiemay Free Gift Sale in aid of patriotic purposes, along with sideshows and amusements, was opened by Mr Clark of Mayen. Troops from the Hejaz, Britain, Australia and New Zealand attack Amman (now the capital of Jordan). On the Western Front, the Germans launch their Spring Offensive.
Pte Thomas McPherson (20), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. The son of Alexander and Elizabeth McPherson, Main Street, Newmill , he was an apprentice miller to John Menzies at Earlsmill and is remembered on the Arras and Keith War Memorials.
Lance Corporal William McRobbie (20), fell in action on the opening day of the Somme. He was the son of Mr and Mrs McRobbie, Auchanacie, and had been in farm service at Braco in Grange.
Pte Cuthbert Stewart (19), 5th Gordon Highlanders, was the son of William and Isabella Cuthbert, Ardimannoch, Keith, and was a clerk at the Keith branch of the Commercial Bank. He was posted missing at St Quentin. He is remembered on the Commercial Bank’s war memorial in their headquarters in Edinburgh.
Pte Robert Munro (27), 5th Gordon Highlanders, was the son of Mrs Mary Munro, Clachan Cottage, Drum Road, and is commemorated on the memorial at Pozières in France.
Pte Alexander W. Paul (19), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. He was the son of William Paul, Edingight, Grange.
Pte Robert Webster (33), 7th Gordon Highlanders, was a native of Keith and seventh son of the late Peter Webster, Clovenstone, Rothiemay. He left a widow, Lottie, and a daughter and is remembered on the Arras Memorial as well as the Newmill and Keith memorials.
Sergeant Ogilvie G. Simpson, DCM (27), 5th Gordon Highlanders, died in a POW camp from wounds received in action. A native of Buckie, he had been a plumber and was married to Jane Cruickshank from Keith. His name appears on the memorial at Pozières and on the Keith and Buckie memorials.
Pte William Milton (22), 5th Gordon Highlanders, is also remembered on the Pozières memorial as wellas on the Boharm Parish Memorial. He was the son of John and Jane Milton, Roadside of Forgie.
Lance Corporal Alexander Duncan (34), 6th Black Watch, was the son of James and Ann Duncan, Ben Vue, Keith. His name is remembered on the Arras Memorial.
Pte William Horne (26), 66th Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action. The son of Frank and Jane Horne, Auchindachy, he had been a granaryman before enlisting. He is remembered at Pozières and at Keith and Turriff.
Pte John L. Riddoch, Gordon Highlanders, died in action in France. He was the son of Mr Riddoch, Duff Street, Fife-Keith.
Friday 22 Miss Cumming gave her second of her food economy lectures at Auchanacie School.
Saturday 23 Miss Bruce, College of Agriculture, gave a talk to the Rothiemay WRI on ‘Women in Agriculture’. The shop at 4 Station Road was advertised to let. The Germans started shelling Paris from a distance of over 70 miles.
Pte Alexander Morrison, 1st Gordon Highlanders, fell in action in France. The son of Mrs Morrison, Mid Street, he had been a farm servant at Bogbain. He is remembered on the memorial at Arras.
Corporal Alexander Ogg, 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed today. He is buried at Achiet-le-Grand in France. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Keith War Memorial.
Lossiemouth’s Sergeant Alexander Edwards, Seaforth Highlanders, who had been awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery at the Battle of Pilckem Ridge in 1917, fell in action in France.
Sunday 24 An extended Summer Time begins and will last till 24th September. Grange Parish Church members were reminded of the new Summer Time hours of services.
Pte Robert Ingram (21), 7th Seaforth Highlanders, the son of William Ingram of Rosarie, was killed near Combles in France. He was a native of Botriphnie and lived in Auchindoun. His name appears on the Mortlach, Botriphnie and Pozières memorials.
Monday 25 The Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire makes a plea for residents to grow more potatoes. Alexander Thomson, a native of Croylet in Grange and a former Governor of Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow, died in the Commercial Hotel in Keith. The Belarusian National Republic was established.
Pte William McCartney, 4th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action today. His name is recorded on the Arras Memorial.
Pte Frank Smith, 4th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. A native of Keith, he is remembered on the Keith and Arras Memorials.
Tuesday 26 Keith chemist Robert Garrow had recently presented a paper entitled ‘A Note On Gammidge’s Method For The Estimation Of Sugar’ to the North British Branch of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in Edinburgh. Ferdinand Foch was appointed to co-ordinate the Allied Armies on the Western Front.
Pte James A. Watt (19), 5th Seaforth Highlanders, succumbed to his wounds at St John’s Hospital, Étaples. The elder son of John and Margaret Watt, Woodend, Botriphnie, he had been an apprentice joiner with John Morrison, Cairnie, and is commemorated on the Botriphnie Parish War Memorial.
Pte Alexander M. Symon (19), 7th Gordon Highlanders, was the son of Adam and Jane Symon, Hillhead, Newmill. He is buried at Beaumetz-lès-Cambrai and is remembered on the Newmill and Keith Memorials.
Pte Alexander W. Russell (23), Seaforth Highlanders, was wounded on the first day of the Somme and died today in a German field hospital in Belgium. He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Russell, Main Street, Newmill, and had been employed at Isla Bank Mills.
Wednesday 27 Boharm residents enjoyed a concert and Kinderspiel, ‘Old Friends With New Faces’, at the school in Mulben. A whist drive in aid of comforts for local soldiers was held in Drummuir Hall. At Banff Sheriff Court, a fine of 40 shillings was imposed for the unauthorised use of a motor vehicle to convey a wedding party from the Fife Arms in Dufftown to Midthird in Botriphnie.
Lance Corporal James Goodall (20), Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds while en route in an ambulance train from a Clearing Station at the Front. He was the son of Mr Goodall, wayman foreman on the Knock section of the railway and had been a farm servant at White Culphin, Boyndie.
Thursday 28 Newmill schoolmaster Mr Johnston was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association. Keith schools began their Easter break.
Pte John A. M. Watt (29), 1st Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. The son of Mrs Murray, Regent Street, he was married to Jessie Watt, Moss Street. Prior to farm service in Enzie, he had been in police service in Govan. His name appears on the Arras Memorial and on the Keith memorial.
Pte Robert G. E. S. Morren (20), Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. He is buried in the Beaurains Road Cemetery and is remembered on the Rothiemay Parish memorial.
Friday 29 The Rothiemay Free Gift Sale prize draw for a pedigreed Clydesdale filly takes place at a concert in the school. Keith Junction Rest Room served its 20,000th serviceman. A Botriphnie wedding, taken by both Parish ministers, is held in the Commercial Hotel in Keith.
Pte Alexander Russell (23), 5th Seaforth Highlanders, died of his wounds at Cambrai in France. He was the son of George and Annie Russell of Main Street, Newmill.
Corporal James Burgess (20), 7th Seaforth Highlanders, died of his wounds and shell shock in hospital in France. He was the son of Frank and Mary Burgess of Woodhead, Cairnty, and is commemorated on the Boharm Parish memorial.
Saturday 30 The Keith Saturday concert featured a repeat of its popular juvenile programme.
Pte William George (23), 66th Machine Gun Corps, died of heart failure at the Macedonian Front. He was the son of William and Jessie George, Parks, Rothiemay and is buried at Karasouli in Greece.
Sunday 31 Easter services are held in St Thomas’ and Holy Trinity Churches decorated for the occasion.

Virginia Pearson
German Paris gun