WW1 May 1917



Tuesday 1   Banff County Council filled Council vacancies by unanimously electing Bailie Andrew Ledingham, Braco Street, as County Councillor for Fife-Keith, and Peter S. Scott, farmer, Wester Gauldwell, for Boharm and Botriphnie.   The Estate of Newmill and Aultmore was giving off moss lairs at Henheads, Garrelhill and Herricks.   The Great North of Scotland Railway will work the Highland Railway’s re-opened line from Portessie to Buckie and Rathven Stations.

Pte George Henderson (22), Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds at No 1 Casualty Clearing Station in France. He was the eldest son of Mr and Mrs Henderson of Woodhead, Edingight, and had been a farm servant in the district. He is remembered on the Memorial Plaque in Grange Parish Church.

Wednesday 2   Three Knock woodcutters were up before the Sheriff in Banff charged with poaching in Shiel Wood in Grange. As it was a first offence, they had to pay expenses only.

A meeting in Keith established a Women’s County Committee in connection with increasing food production. Its Upper District sub-committee was chaired by Mrs Forbes, Rothiemay, with Miss Daisy Tocher of the College of Agriculture in Cross Street as secretary.

Banffshire Secondary Education Committee met in Keith and appointed a committee to lead a campaign in the county for economy in food consumption.

Thursday 3   Pte Alexander M. Balgowan (36), Royal Scots, son of Mr and Mrs George Balgowan, Regent Street, Fife-Keith, died in France. He is commemorated on the Arras and Keith War Memorials.

Second Lieutenant John C. Wright (27), 20th Australian Infantry, was killed at Bullecourt in France. His parents, Moses and Margaret Wright, lived at Waulkmill, Rothiemay. A talented artist and sculptor, he had emigrated to Australia in 1912 where he was Principal of the South Australia College of Art in Adelaide. The John Christie Wright Memorial Fountain was later erected in Sydney, New South Wales.

Friday 4   The Palace Cinema in Keith was showing ‘Diana and Destiny’, a romantic drama, starring Evelyn Boucher and Wyndham Guise.

Saturday 5   A meeting of the Banffshire Territorial Force Association in Keith heard that the King had accepted an offer by the Lord Lieutenant to form a Motor Volunteer Corps in the county.

Sunday 6   An elaborate devotional ceremony was held by the Sodality of the Children of Mary at St Thomas’ Church and would be repeated during the month of May.   A Proclamation by King George, asking for economy in the use of cereals for making bread and as feed for horses, was read out in churches throughout the land.

Corporal James W. Graham (26), 7th Cameron Highlanders, died of his wounds in hospital near Cambrai in France. He had been brought up by his grandfather, Mr Henderson of Herricks in the Glen of Newmill. Cpl Graham had been a clerk with William Younger in Alloa and is buried in the Military Cemetery in Étaples.

Monday 7   Rails, posts and other items were included in a timber sale at Mayen Sawmills, Rothiemay.

Tuesday 8   Winter had a sting its tail as a northerly snowstorm hit the area and lasted till Thursday.  Dr John Kesson, Medical Officer at Earlsmount Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital, was presented with a fountain pen by the Matron, Miss Leslie, following his call up to the Royal Army Medical Corps.   In the run up to Whitsunday Term, displenish sales in the area began with one at Muirfield, Mulben.

Wednesday 9   At Banff Sheriff Court, the charge against the farmer at Newton of Turtory, Rothiemay, of cutting timber at Garronhaugh Wood without permission, was found not proven.  The Sheriff fined a Rothiemay man £3 or 14 days in jail for assaulting a local woodcutter at Knock Railway Station.   Boharm School Board appointed Miss Jemima M. Milne as teacher at Mulben School.  Farmers attended a displenish sale at Ardiemannoch near Keith.   Grange School Board met with parents at Sillyearn School to consider exemptions. The question of providing cookery classes held over pending an anticipated drop in the number of scholars.

Pte John H. Kiloh (25), 44th Canadian Infantry (New Brunswick Regiment), was killed in France. A native of Rothiemay, he was the son of Mrs Kiloh, Moss Street, and had been a farm servant in the district prior to moving to Canada about 1912. He is commemorated on the Keith Parish Memorial and the Vimy Memorial.  

Thursday 10   A displenish sale took place at Reyel on Drummuir Estate.

Friday 11   A displenish sale was held at the farm of Mr George McCurrach at Oxwell.

Saturday 12   The Humphrey Bursary competition for 1917 at Drummuir was won by James Sutherland, Rosebank.   The post of caretaker of the Longmore Hall was advertised in the Banffshire Herald.

Lance Corporal George Stephen (19), Gordon highlanders, died at Arras in France. He was the elder son of Sergeant George Stephen, Gordon Highlanders, and Mrs Stephen, Mid Street, Keith.

Sunday 13   Three young children at Fátima in Portugal claimed to have seen the first of a series of visions of the Virgin Mary while tending sheep in the fields.

Monday 14   The price of bread in Keith rose again to 1s 1d for a 4lb loaf.   Keith Town Council heard a report from the Public Health Committee which recommended a Maternity Centre with a full-time registered maternity nurse. They also received a petition by the local branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association and, by a majority, agreed to support the prohibition of alcohol sales for the duration of the war and subsequent demobilisation.   A naval action in the Strait of Otranto in the Southern Adriatic between the Austro-Hungarians and the combined British, French and Italian forces resulted in the awarding of the Victoria Cross to the Gardenstown-born skipper, Joseph Watt, of the drifter Gowan Lea, for the vessel’s role in the engagement.   Buyers were met at Craigellachie Railway Station to convey them to the displenish sale at Newton near Maggieknockater.

Tuesday 15   Excellent prices were obtained at the displenish sale at Lower Drakemyres.   Anna Macleod was born at Kirkhill, Inverness-shire, and would become the world’s first female Professor of Brewing at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Wednesday 16   With less than a fortnight to Whitsunday, displenish sales continued apace with one at Core of Mayen in Rothiemay and another at Mill of Towie at Auchindachy where the partnership of A. Grant & Son, millers, was being dissolved.   A serious fire at Dailuaine Distillery caused over £20,000 worth of damage. 

Six local men lost their lives near Arras today:

Second Lieutenant Alexander Emslie (28), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed leading his platoon in an attack at the Chemical Works at Rœux near Arras. He had been a draper along with his mother in Mid Street.

Pte Alexander Gordon (21), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was posted missing at Rœux, later declared dead. He was the son of Alexander Gordon, sawmill manager, Mulben. 

Lance Corporal John W. Stewart (19), 5th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. He was the son of John and Mary Stewart of the Seafield Arms Hotel in Mid Street and is buried in Brown’s Copse Cemetery near Rœux.

Pte James Smith (20), 5th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds near Arras. The son of Margaret McWilliam, Alexandra Road, Fife-Keith, he was a mill worker before enlisting.

Pte Charles Stewart (19), 5th Gordon Highlanders, had been a farm servant and was the son of Mr and Mrs John Stewart of Duff Street, Fife-Keith. They had five sons in the Army, with one of them, James, a prisoner of war in Germany.

Corporal Alexander Milne (24), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was a native of Aberlour and had been working as a clerk at Aultmore Distillery. He is buried in the Crump Trench Cemetery at Fampoux.  

Thursday 17   The 1917 Tarryblake Crow Raid culled almost 900 birds with young climbers being paid one penny per bird for their efforts.

Friday 18   A displenish sale took place at Rosarie which was to be taken on by Glentauchers Distillery after the Term.   James Donald, the film actor, was born in Aberdeen.

Saturday 19   A flag day in aid of the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Soldiers and Sailors was held in Keith.   Two more local sales took place today.The first was at at Stripeside Smithy in Grange where blacksmith James Sellar Watson was giving up business and leaving the district. Customers travelling to the sale at Aikenway were either met at Craigellachie Station or ferried across the Spey by boats at the Greentrees and at Sourden.

Sunday 20   Rev. W T Weir, Rothiemay, preached at the afternoon service in the Newmill Mission Hall.

Pte Paul MacLachlan, Cameronians(Scottish Rifles), formerly of Newmill, was killed in France.  He is buried in Croisilles British Cemetery in Pas-de-Calais.

Monday 21   The Oats and Maize Products (Retail Prices) Order 1917 came into force.

Tuesday 22   Keith Parish Council agreed to increase the Parish Home Matron’s salary to £35.   A displenish sale was held at Hillhead, Aultmore, the farm of Mr James Spence.   Ternemny School advertised for a teacher with qualifications in singing, phonetics and drawing.

Wednesday 23   Mr George Beange, Stationmaster at Grange, presided at a meeting of the Railway Clerks’ Association in the Keith Institute.

Thursday 24   Empire Day throughout the British Empire.

Pte Albert R. Lawrence (19), 9th Royal Scots, was killed in action in France. The son of Mr and Mrs Lawrence of the Forbes Arms in Milltown, he worked in a solicitors’ office in Edinburgh. He was buried in the British Cemetery in Rœux and is remembered on the Rothiemay War Memorial.

Friday 25   William Taylor’s displenish sale took place at Upper Hillside, Cairnie, on the Drummuir Estate.   The first use of the word ‘camouflage’ in English appeared in the London Daily News.

Saturday 26   At the Whitsunday Feeing Market in Keith, boys were in demand and were being engaged for £12 to £18.   There were business changes in Fife-Keith with the opening announcement of Alexander Barron, Ladies’ and Gent’s Tailor, Regent Street, and the displenish sale of blacksmith George Watson.   The death took place of Rothiemay native Charles Stuart who had started work on the GNSR and held positions of accountant and manager of railways in Bengal, Brazil and Central America.

Sunday 27   Rev. J D Hunter, Boharm, takes the service at the South U F Church in Keith.

Monday 28   A plantation fire broke out on the Balloch near Garrowood.   Two farm servants were assaulted and robbed on the road near Lilac Neuk while returning home from a Term Day visit to Keith.

 Tuesday 29   Mrs Forbes, Rothiemay, was among a deputation meeting with Robert Munro, the Scottish Secretary, to lobby for the establishment of women’s institutes in rural districts in Scotland.   John F. Kennedy, future American President, was born in Massachusetts.   The price of potatoes was capped at 1¾d per lb.   Two soldiers, on labour secondment to Isla Bank Manure Works, were arrested following yesterday’s robbery.

Wednesday 30   The death of Rev. James Allan took place in Aberdeen. He was born at Barnhills in Rothiemay and had been the parish minister of Grange and later of Keith before being called to Marnoch.   The two soldiers, one from Buckie and one from Govan, appeared before the Sheriff at Banff when bail was fixed at £10 each.   Lord Devonport, the Food Controller, resigned.

Thursday 31   Boharm School Board allowed the individual School Committee Conveners to extend their summer holidays by a week if the children were required for work in the fields.   The first of a mini-series of lectures on food economy and practical demonstrations of war cookery was given by Miss Kennedy at Rothiemay Public School.

J F Kennedy
Sourden Crossing
Knock Station