KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Friday 1 Mr A. W. B. Kingston’s Dramatic Company gave a performance of ‘Rob Roy’ in the Longmore Hall. Miss Amba Irvine, Professor of Dancing, Fencing and Physical Exercise, restarted her classes in Keith. At Banff Sheriff Court, Sheriff Stuart fined an Arndilly farm manager for breaches of road traffic lighting regulations. He also fined a Land Street resident ten shillings for failing to obscure his kitchen window properly at night. Pte Robert Smith, Seaforth Highlanders, a native of Keith, who had died in hospital of his wounds, was buried with full military honours in the Suffolk village of Ingham. In Elgin Burgh Court House, Moray Golf Club of Lossiemouth met and voted to suspend the membership of Ramsay Macdonald, MP, the former Leader of the Labour Party, for public remarks about the war which they considered were prejudicial to the club.
Saturday 2 James Petrie & Son, boot and shoemakers, Mid Street, announced the closure of business and a clearance sale of stock because of military service call up. Boharm School pupils were delighted at the announcement by the School Board of an extra week’s summer holidays.
Sunday 3 Mrs Frances Parker thanked Keith Town Council for their letter of condolence on the recent death of her brother, Lord Kitchener. Rev. Duncan Garrow of Botriphnie conducted an afternoon service at Auchanacie.
Monday 4 The Palace Cinema in Mid Street re-opened for the season. British forces captured Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of German East Africa. Confusion reigned in Banff as none of the town’s public clocks was showing the correct time.
Tuesday 5 The body of a Newmill marine engineer was recovered by divers from Aberdeen Harbour. It was back to school today for pupils at Botriphnie and Shenwell. The Upper District Tribunal granted a Bridge of Marnoch gamekeeper temporary exemption and a considerable number of farm servants ‘exemption till the term’. Knockdhu Distillery advertised for a boiler engine man.
George Jessiman, a signalman in the 27th Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment), was killed in action in France. He had emigrated to Canada four years previously and is commemorated on the Memorials at Vimy Ridge and Rothiemay.
Wednesday 6 Local schools were given day off to go to the Fête at Gordon Castle in Fochabers in aid of comforts for Seaforths and Gordons on active service. After a day of sports, games and entertainments (in which £2,600 was raised), the return train from Fochabers Town Station to Keith Junction was met by a special GNSR train to take onward passengers to Auchindachy, Drummuir and stations to Aberlour.
Lance Corporal Alexander McCulloch (22), 16th Battalion Canadians, was killed in action. He was the son of James McCulloch, brewer at Milton Distillery and VTC instructor at Mulben.
Thursday 7 A lecture on butter-making was held in Ruthven School. Keith School Board discussed the new lighting regulations and approved an appeal by the Navy League to commemorate John Travers Cornwall, the boy hero of the Battle of Jutland.
It was reported that Pte A. Smith, Gordon Highlanders, whose home was in Keith, had died as a result of a bullet wound to the head.
Saturday 9 The Banffshire Herald announced that Lance Corporal William M. Irvine (24), Royal Engineers, had died of his wounds at No 5 Clearing Station in France. His father, George, was a joiner in Keith.
Monday 11 The September meeting of Keith Town Council discussed at length the problem of Flag Day fatigue but eventually agreed to grant permission for two more to be held in the burgh. They also unanimously decided to dispense with any street lighting over the winter.
Tuesday 12 The London Gazette announced the appointment of Major Archibald Leslie of Kininvie as Deputy Lieutenant of Banffshire.
Wednesday 13 The newly enlarged and refurbished St Thomas’ Church with its landmark copper dome was formally re-opened by Æneas Chisholm, Bishop of Aberdeen. The design was by Belgian architect, Charles Ménart, of Glasgow, along with Fife-Keith architect, W. F. Stewart. Roald Dahl, the author, was born in Cardiff. A shooting range for the Volunteers was opened near Knock Station.
Thursday 14 Banffshire suffered a cold snap with temperatures dropping to 36°F.
Friday 15 Margaret Lockwood, the film actress, was born in Karachi. The British first used tanks on the Western Front.
Corporal John Harper (30), Army Service Corps (Special Farrier Transport), died of malarial fever at the 42nd General Hospital in Salonika, Greece. He had been in business in Oregon and latterly in Fife-Keith prior to enlisting. He is commemorated on the Boharm and Keith Parish Memorials.
Corporal George H. Grant, 1st Scots Guards, was killed in action. He was born in Fife-Keith and was living in Edinburgh. His name appears on the Keith and Thiepval Memorials.
Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Alexander Shearer (26), Gordon Highlanders, died following a chill at No 8 Stationary Hospital at Boulogne in France. He was a former captain of Keith Football Club and was an employee at Isla Bank Mills.
Saturday 16 A public roup took place at Heads of Auchinderran for 4,000 stone of hay and 20 acres of aftermath. A Café Chantant at Milltown, in aid of the Rothiemay War Needlework Guild, was opened by Mrs Lydia Gordon-Duff of Park House, Cornhill, and raised £52. Andre Letta and his entertainers made a return visit to Keith with an open air concert in Reidhaven Square. George Kynoch & Son were advertising 9-gallon casks of Harvest Stout for 14 shillings.
Sunday 17 Lance Corporal Thomas Shearer (29), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, son of Mrs Shearer, Whitecrook, was killed in action. He was a native of Boharm and is remembered on the Keith, Boharm and Thiepval Memorials.
Monday 18 Grange School Board agreed to curtail the dinner interval and to close early over the winter months in order to allow cleaning during daylight hours. The Keith September holiday was greeted by mixed weather. A special train took over 400 Isla Bank Mills workers and their families to a picnic at Cullen Beach.
Tuesday 19 A meeting in Keith resolved to form a local branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association. A missing Keith millworker was found dead on the railway line near Aberdeen.
Wednesday 20 A branch of the Scottish Mothers’ Union was established in Newmill. There was a great trade in horses at the Keith September Market in Seafield Park with many dealers attending from the South.
Thursday 21 Pte James McWilliam (24), 2nd Wellington Regiment, New Zealand Expeditionary Force, died of his wounds in France. The son of James and Ann McWilliam of Black Park, he was born in Boharm and is buried in Heilly Station Cemetery at Méricourt-l’Abbé.
Friday 22 A large audience attended a concert by the pupils of Sillyearn School in aid of the Belgian Children’s Fund.
Saturday 23 Sgt James S. Reid (21), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died of wounds received in action. He was the youngest son of Joseph and Elsie Reid of Land Street.
Sunday 24 Pte Alexander Cran, Army Service Corps (Motor Transport), died of dysentery at the Isolation Hospital in Étaples, France. He had worked as a chauffeur to Mrs Calder of the Temperance Hotel in Union Street.
Monday 25 An Army Order announced that the King had accepted an offer of service from the 1st Battalion Banffshire Volunteer Regiment. Keith Police Court fined two farm servants £2 each for stealing a bicycle light.
Tuesday 26 Mains of Drummuir, with its 17thcentury farmhouse and 145 acres exclusive of wood pasture, was advertised to let. It was reported that some farmers in Boharm had already reverted to Greenwich Mean Time for harvesting purposes.
Pte Alexander W. Smith (28), 8th Canadian Infantry (Manitoba Regiment), was killed in action at Zollern Graben and Hessian Trench during the Battle of Thiepval Ridge. He was the son of William Smith, Blackmuir, Botriphnie and had emigrated to Canada where he was engaged in farming.
Wednesday 27 In Africa, Emperor Iyasu V of Ethiopia was deposed by the nobility and succeeded by his aunt as Empress Zewditu.
Friday 29 It was the start of the harvest holidays for pupils at Grange, Crossroads, Sillyearn, Rothiemay and Glen of Newmill Schools. Captain Henry Ponsonby, Royal Navy (retired), died at Jocksleys near Keith. He had seen action in China, in the Ashanti War, in the Congo and had been in the service of the Mexican Republic.
Saturday 30 Evening classes at Keith Grammar School had to be postponed because of a shortage of enough window blinds to comply with the new lighting regulations. Clockmakers expect to be kept busy repairing damaged striking mechanisms of clocks after Summer Time ends tonight.