KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Sunday 1 The country’s first experience of British Summer Time ended when the clocks went back in the early hours. Grange Parish Church had put a special announcement in the Banffshire Herald to remind the congregation that services would be held at the new clock times. Chemists in Keith and Fife-Keith would now close at 7.30 pm on weekdays, 9 pm on Saturdays and operate restricted hours on Sundays. Bulgaria joined her Central Power allies and declared war on Rumania.
Monday 2 The Keith Institute Company held its Annual Meeting and re-elected the retiring directors.
Tuesday 3 Keith Parish Council’s October meeting received a deputation from the local branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association. The Council’s Landward Committee discussed the formation of a Savings Association. The Upper District Military Tribunal heard Rothiemay cases from Mains of Turtory and from Inchcorsie, where the appellant claimed that, as he was now employed in Ireland, he was exempt from conscription. The Tribunal decreed he was Scottish and would therefore be called up. Earlsmount Hospital in Fife-Keith had received one of a consignment of ten springboks from the Transvaal to be distributed to the auxiliary hospitals in the area.
Wednesday 4 Botriphnie School Board appointed Miss Mary Ross from Cairnorrie School in Aberdeenshire as the new infant mistress. They also decided not to hold evening classes this winter. The Banffshire League of Honour met in Keith and welcomed its newest member branches from Botriphnie and Whitehills.
Thursday 5 Over 90 members attended a combined meeting of the Mothers’ Union, the League of Honour, and the Onwards and Upwards Association at Rothiemay Castle. Keith School Board reported that 153 pupils had enrolled for continuation classes and that the Auchanacie School road had been repaired.
Saturday 7 Heavy rain caused a landslip near Buckpool Station derailing several wagons and blocking the railway line. A crane was sent from Keith Junction to help clear the track.
Pte William S. Lorimer (31), 11th Royal West Kent Regiment, whose wife and young son lived in the Old Town, was killed in action in France. He had succeeded his father as sexton at Keith, was a keen horticulturalist and played cornet in the Keith Town Band.
Sergeant George Horne (25), 43rd Canadian Infantry, was a native of Rothiemay and a carpenter to trade. He had enlisted in the Manitoba Regiment in Winnipeg and died in action in France.
Lance Corporal Benjamin Edmonstone (25), 16th Battalion Manitoba Regiment, was also killed in action today near Courcelette. He had enlisted in British Columbia and had previous military service with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. His mother lived in Land Street in Keith.
Pte Harry J. McBain (24), 43rd Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment), died in action today. He was a stretcher bearer, had been awarded the Military Medal and had been recommended for the Distinguished Conduct Medal. He is commemorated on the memorials at Vimy Ridge and Rothiemay.
Pte John D. Innes (35), Canadian Cameron Highlanders, was killed at Courcelette in France. He was born in Keith and is buried in the Regina Trench Cemetery.
Monday 9 Milk prices in Keith increased by two pence to 1s 4d per gallon because of higher cattle feed costs. Public disquiet forced Keith Town Council to reconsider its previous decision to dispense with street lighting over the winter months.
Tuesday 10 Enrolment took place at Boharm School for evening cookery classes. For one day only the Palace Cinema in Keith was showing the popular film, ‘The Battle of the Somme’. Four packed houses were held throughout the day with management having to put on an extra showing for determined patrons who had queued in the rain to see the film.
Wednesday 11 Good harvesting weather attended the 1916 Newmill Market. There were only a few sweet and fruit stands but none of the usual fairground entertainments and no refreshment tents on the Market Green.
Friday 13 Neutral Norway banned the submarines of belligerent nations from entering its territorial waters. In Glasgow, the future of post-war Scotland was discussed at a Conference on Employment on the Land, when one of the papers presented was ‘Afforestation After The War And Women’s Place In It’.
Saturday 14 Grange experienced its fiercest storm for many years with snow covering the hills. The Banffshire Herald published a letter from a Keith soldier stationed in India where he recounted that their theatre entertainment recently had included Dr Walford Bodie, the Electric Wizard, from Macduff and Harry Lauder. Knighted later for his services to the country, Sir Harry Lauder visited Fife-Keith between the wars to view championship dogs at the home of Isaac Sharpe in Nelson Terrace.
Sunday 15 Col Fleming inspected the Grange Volunteer Training Corps and informed them that one of their duties in the new Banffshire Volunteer Training Regiment might be to guard the Deveron Railway Bridge at Rothiemay.
Monday 16 Continuation classes in Keith, postponed because of a lack of blinds to comply with strict lighting regulations, began at the Grammar School. The world’s first family planning clinic was set up in New York. The roller skating season started at St Thomas’ Hall.
Tuesday 17 Core of Mayen in Rothiemay was advertised for let. James Ferguson, astronomer, instrument maker and member of the Royal Society, was born here in 1710. The shepherd at Cottartown, Drummuir, was fined at Banff Sheriff Court for keeping a collarless dog.
Wednesday 18 The Banffshire Wine, Spirit and Beer Trade Association met at the Commercial Hotel in Keith and welcomed the Banff and Macduff Association into the fold. Membership now numbered almost one hundred.
Second-Lieutenant Colin K. Haldane (26), Machine Gun Section, Manchester Regiment, died from wounds received at the Somme. He was the managing clerk with Keith solicitors, Thurburn & Fleming, and had acted as Deputy Town Clerk prior to enlisting.
William Watson Smith (24), died in the 2nd Red Cross Hospital in Rouen of wounds sustained five days earlier when he was struck by a high explosive shell. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 11th Gordon Highlanders and had served his solicitor’s apprenticeship with Thurburn & Fleming in Keith. His father, Thomas Macaulay Smith, the headmaster at Maggieknockater, had set off the previous day to be at his son’s bedside.
Thursday 19 Showing at the Palace Cinema was the sixth episode of the popular thriller serial, ‘The Perils of Pauline’, starring Pearl White.
Saturday 21 Trafalgar Day was celebrated by holding a Sailors’ Flag Day in Keith and most of the Central Banffshire parishes. Provost Taylor and Magistrates, in their official robes, attended the funeral of ex-Bailie William Simpson. His death caused a vacancy for Fife-Keith on Banff County Council. Austrian Prime Minister Karl von Stürgkh was assassinated in Vienna.
Sunday 22 Dr George Petrie Hay, who had been a GP in Keith, Ballindalloch and latterly at Forres, died at his Edintore residence.
Monday 23 A sale of four acres of growing oats was held at Hillhead, Kilbadie, in Grange.
Tuesday 24 It was reported that Rothiemay School Board had granted pupils an extra week’s holidays to help with the delayed harvest.
Wednesday 25 Two acres of turnips at Roadside, Forgie, were offered for sale. Provost Taylor’s Committee met at Ugie House to arrange a whist drive in aid of the Lord Kitchener Memorial Fund.
Friday 27 It was a Ladies Only Night at the roller skating rink at St Thomas’ Hall.
Saturday 28 John Sandison, son of the proprietor of the Royal Oak Inn, was a survivor of the sinking of the SS Marina, torpedoed by a German submarine off Ireland. Rothiemay schoolchildren collected £7 for their Sailors’ Flag Day.
Pte William D. Hutcheon (23), 14th London Scottish, died in action in France. He was born in Keith and had worked as a chemist before enlisting in London.
Sunday 29 Jessie MacDonald was born in Inverness. As Jessie Kesson, she was a successful novelist, playwright and radio producer. Ex-King Manuel II of Portugal was visiting Aberdeen but was unable to accept an invitation by the Lord Lieutenant to come to Gordon Castle in Fochabers.
Monday 30 The X-ray ambulance, ‘Edith Cavell’, stopped off at Pirie’s Garage in Moss Street on its nationwide tour before being shipped to the Scottish Women’s Hospital in Salonika in Greece. New shop closing hours during the winter months came into force in Scotland under the powers of the Defence of the Realm Act.
Pte John McPherson (23), died suddenly at Tidworth Barracks in Hampshire. His mother lived at Farmton Cottage in Grange.
Tuesday 31 Miss Grant, assistant infant teacher at Botriphnie, was presented with a case of silver-mounted brushes on the occasion of her leaving the district.