KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Monday 1 Bailie Andrew Ledingham presided at the Burgh Police Court and dealt with a spate of thefts of apples and fruit from gardens in Fife-Keith. Mr Alexander McGregor died aged 81 at his home in Balloch Road, Keith. A native of Broadrashes in the Glen of Newmill, he had joined the Banffshire Constabulary in 1857 and was the first police officer appointed to Rothiemay. He rose through the ranks to become Deputy Chief Constable based in Banff at a time when the County headquarters were located in Keith. Keith evening continuation classes began with Professor J Arthur Thomson, Aberdeen, giving the inaugural lecture entitled ‘The Wonder of the World’. In Russia, the former Grand Duchy of Finland issued the first of its own new postage stamps.
Tuesday 2 Keith Parish Council heard that the Landward War Savings Association showed a credit of just over £1,500. Rev. James Stockdale, Grange, resigned as Clerk at a meeting in Keith of the Banff and Strathbogie U F Church Presbytery. Corshalloch on the Blairmore Estate was advertised to let.
Wednesday 3 Rev. E M Bland gave an illustrated talk on missionary work at Chande, India, in aid of the Holy Trinity Church Sunday School library.
Thursday 4 Several local men lost their lives today and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium:
Pte George D. Symon (19,. 13th Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment), was killed in action at Gheluvelt. He was the son of John and Janet Symon, Mid Street, Keith, and had been a student at Blairs College, Aberdeen, before enlisting originally in the Royal Army Service Corps.
Pte George Clark (22), 2nd Gordon Highlanders, was one of six men killed and several wounded in a shell burst. The son of Robert and Isabella Clark, Soundmoor, Boharm, he had been a farm servant at Dinnyhorn near Maggieknockater and at Forgie. He is remembered on the Boharm Memorial.
Pte William Angus (22), 2nd Gordon Highlanders, the son of William and Christina Angus, was born at Ramsburn in Rothiemay. He had worked as a farm servant in the district and is commemorated on the Parish War Memorial.
Pte Alexander Scott (22), 2nd Gordon Highlanders, the son of William and Isabella Scott, Coldhome, Rothiemay, was also a farm servant. He is buried at Zillebeke in Belgium.
Friday 5 Despite a snowstorm and bitterly cold weather, a very successful concert, featuring local artistes and entertainers T L Morrison and Dufton Scott, was held in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Rest Room at Keith Junction.
Saturday 6 Auchlunkart Estate was advertising Little Gibston at Blackhillock for let. A sale of standing timber took place at Thistleton Wood in Grange.
Sunday 7 The Volunteers in C Company were undergoing efficiency tests at the Braehead Rifle Ranges. Fife-Keith Sunday School resumed at the Mission Hall in Alexandra Road.
Monday 8 Enrolment took place at Keith Grammar School for evening classes in Applied Art including painting, pottery, embroidery and jewellery metalwork.
Tuesday 9 Sultan Kamal Hussein of Egypt died and was succeeded by his brother Ahmed Fuad.
Two more local soldiers, whose names appear on the Tyne Cot Memorial, died today:
Pte Peter D. Stewart (20), 1st Scots Guards, was the son of Keith Town Station porter Mr Alexander Stewart and Mrs Helen Stewart, Station Road, Fife-Keith. He had been a postman in Keith.
Pte John Mitchell (19), 1st Scots Guards, the son of Mrs Mitchell, Mannoch Hill, had been a mason.
Wednesday 10 Newmill Market Day 1917 experienced bitterly cold wind with showers and hail. A flag day in the village in aid of Lord Roberts’ Workshops raised £6. Thelonious Monk, jazz pianist and composer, was born in North Carolina.
Thursday 11 A Concert at the Palace Cinema in aid of the Roumanian Relief Fund raised over £20.
Friday 12 Corporal Alexander P. Ewen (23), 5th Cameron Highlanders, was killed in action. The son of Annie Ewen of Land Street, Keith, he had been a grocer in Inverness before enlisting and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
Saturday 13 Keith Town Council granted a flag day in the town for the Roumanian Relief Fund. The new issue of National War Bonds had attracted £38 million worth of applications.
Sunday 14 An afternoon service was held in Tarrycroys School.
Monday 15 The Clerk of Grange School Board was instucted to deal with a complaint from the Rothiemay Board about the irregular attendance of a Grange pupil at Ternemny School. Mr G B Mitchell, Transport Officer at Aberdeen, gave an illustrated lecture in the Keith Institute on ‘The Scottish Red Cross at Home and Abroad’. Margaretha MacLeod (Mata Hari), found guilty of espionage for Germany, was executed by firing squad at Vincennes near Paris.
Tuesday 16 Mrs A J White, Milltown, organist at the Rothiemay UF Church, was presented with a silver tea service by choir members to mark her forthcoming marriage.
Wednesday 17 Banffshire Liberal Association Selection Committee meets in Keith and recommends John E. Sutherland, MP for Elgin Burghs, as their prospective parliamentary candidate.
Thursday 18 The German advance towards Petrograd captured the Estonian Baltic islands.
Friday 19 Harvest Thanksgiving services took place in both Rothiemay churches. Preparatory Fast Day services were held in the UF Churches in Keith. The Russian State Duma was formally dissolved.
Pte James Ogg (25), 6th Seaforth Highlanders, was killed while in the trenches at the Front. He was the son of James and Isabella Ogg, formerly of Keith but now living in Edinburgh. Pte Ogg had been violinist and leader of the orchestra in a cinema in Elgin.
Saturday 20 A flag day in Rothiemay in aid of the YMCA raised £10. The Banffshire Herald reported that Lt Davidson, Stoneyton, Mulben, had been awarded a bar to his Military Cross. The Herald also reported that the whisky shortage had raised the price of a bottle in some hotels to 25 shillings. The farm of Lockers neat Newmill was offered for sale. Drummuir Castle Gardens reported a bumper crop of apples with one specimen weighing in at 18½oz.
It was announced that Pte Alexander Gordon had been killed in a shell burst. The oldest son of William Gordon, shoemaker, formerly of Keith and now of Edinburgh, Pte Gordon had been an apprentice with George Duff, merchant, Keith.
Sunday 21 The service at Hillhead was moved to Grange Church for the Harvest Thanksgiving service. John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, jazz trumpeter and bandleader, was born in South Carolina.
Monday 22 Keith Food Sub-Committee’s milk prices for the period to the end of March came into force. Joan de Havilland (the actress Joan Fontaine) was born in Tokyo. The English boxer Bob Fitzsimmons, World Heavyweight Champion 1897-1899, died in Chicago.
Tuesday 23 Captain William Morrison, MC (31), Royal Army Medical Corps, died in hospital of wounds and gas poisoning. He was the younger son of the late Rev. William Morrison of Boharm Free Church and grandson of the Rev. Alexander Fairweather of Botriphnie Free Church. Captain Morrison had been awarded the Military Cross for bravery in attending to wounded under fire.
Wednesday 24 An Austro-German advance into Italy began the Battle of Caporetto.
Pte John Barclay (25), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died at No. 43 Casualty Clearing Station of wounds received in action. The son of Alexander Barclay, Braco Street, Fife-Keith, he was buried in Bucquoy Road Cemetery at Ficheux in France and is remembered on the Keith and Newmill War Memorials.
Thursday 25 A violent gale with winds over 70mph caused damage in the area.
Friday 26 Fast Day services were held at both churches in Botriphnie. At a Small Debt Court in Keith, the Sheriff found in favour of a Glen of Newmill lady crofter in a breach of bargain case regarding help in laying down her 1917 crop. Sugar Registration Cards began to be issued to the public. Brazil declared war on Germany.
Pte George Christie (37), 50th Canadian Infantry (Alberta Regiment), fell in action. The son of Agnes Christie, Fife-Keith, he had emigrated to Vancouver where he was an auto driver. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial.
Pte William McWilliam (20), 2nd Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. The son of James and Ellen McWilliam of Tarryblake, he is remembered at Tyne Cot as well as at Rothiemay and Keith.
Saturday 27 Keith Bowling Club closed after its summer season. A flag day in Keith raised money for the Aberdeen Hospitals. A sawmill had been set up at Keith Junction Station. A whooping cough epidemic had closed some schools in Keith for several weeks.
Gunner John Jamieson (32), Royal Garrison Artillery, was killed in action near Ypres. The son of George and Isabella Jamieson, he was a native of Botriphnie and had been a gamekeeper prior to enlisting originally in the 6th Gordon Highlanders. He is buried at Zillebeke in Belgium and is commemorated along with his brother Alexander on the Botriphnie War Memorial.
Sunday 28 Harvest Thanksgiving services were held at the North UF Church and Holy Trinity Church. Rev. J D Hunter’s address at the afternoon service at the South UF Church dealt with the 400th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Wittenberg Theses.
Tuesday 30 The Upper District Licensing Court unanimously refused a transfer of licence for the Isla Bar in Fife-Keith to Mrs Annie Watt, the widow of the recently deceased proprietor.
Wednesday 31 The Keith Parish Church Sale of Work was opened by the Right Rev. James Cooper, Moderator of the General Assembly, whose mother was a native of Keith.