KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WW1
Saturday 1 The Banffshire Herald reported that a second Volunteer Aid Detachment had been formed in Keith. Laing, seedsman, Newmill, invited local farmers and feuars to check out his ryegrass, clover and turnip seed before purchasing elsewhere. There was a sale by public auction at Bodinfinnoch (Mr Morrison) of 70 quarters of newly-threshed oat straw and two stacks of hay. Various items of timber stock were on sale at an auction at Mayen Sawmill in Rothiemay. Further down the Deveron, King Edward Parish Council was requesting a financial contribution from the District Council towards the upkeep of the public ferry across the river at Auchinbadie.
Sunday 2 The death of Donald Dinnie, the Aberdeenshire athlete and strongman, took place in London. He had won over 11,000 contests in his long career. The first Zeppelin air raid on Scotland occurred when several airships attacked Edinburgh dropping bombs at night on various locations including the Castle.
Monday 3 Patrons at The Palace cinema in Keith enjoyed another episode of the American thriller serial The Master Key set in San Francisco, California.
Tuesday 4 The first Military Tribunal Appeal Court for Aberdeenshire, Kincardineshire and Banffshire was held in Aberdeen. The Keith appeals against military service were dismissed. Chancellor of the Exchequer Mr McKenna presented his Budget to Parliament. It proposed taxation on entertainments, a graduated tax on railway tickets and new taxes on various items like sugar and matches. Earlsmount Hospital, which was dependent on voluntary donations in kind, had received a consignment of foodstuffs from Queensland, Australia, including butter, sugar, flour, corned beef and mutton tongue. The Keith Small Debt Court sat in the Institute to consider the dispute between two Glen of Newmill farmers. After a lengthy hearing, Sheriff Dudley Stuart took the case to avizandum and issued his decision the following day. Sustaining in part the claims of both parties, he gave decree for only 18s 3d without expenses to the pursuer. Keith Parish Council agreed to give those on the Poor Roll the usual £1 allowance towards the payment of their May term rent.
Wednesday 5 Keith North U.F. Church Choir gave a concert in the Ealsmount Hospital for the benefit of the patients. Gregory Peck, the American film actor, was born in San Diego, California.
Thursday 6 Grange School Board granted attendance exemptions to two pupils to work on their parents’ farms. With the Crossroads School roll now down to 82 from a one-time level of about 140, further consideration was given about a possible transfer of pupils to Sillyearn. Keith School Board granted permission for the North Church to hold religious services at Auchanacie and Tarrycroys Schools. The Board also engaged a second female assistant science and maths teacher, Miss Margaret Lawrence. She was a former pupil at the Grammar and joined Jeannie Barclay in that department.
Friday 7 In Grange, the Bible Class held their annual social in the Whitehill U.F.Church Manse. At Banff Sheriff Court, in a follow-up to the Isla Bar case from last month, Sheriff Stuart found that the accused from Mulben “under cover of night… was admitted by stealth into the place and got drink” contrary to the licensing regulations. The defendant was fined £3 and had his whisky impounded.
Saturday 8 A large crowd of farmers attended the annual Parade of Stallions at Seafield Park in Keith. With 17 animals on show it was the biggest parade of Clydesdales yet seen at the event. The Upper District Committee meeting in Dufftown discussed the poor state of the roads in the area following the severe winter weather. In Botriphnie, the Bridge of Davidston had been repaired but ‘spoutey clay’ and storms had delayed repair of the road at Lynemore. The Committee members lamented on the damage caused by traction engines conveying timber to the various railway stations especially between Tarryblake and Rothiemay Station. A grant of £12 10s was approved for improving the cleansing of the village of Newmill. The death had taken place of William Benton, originally from Sheriffhaugh, Boharm, who had been a successful cattle rancher in Texas and Mexico. The Banffshire Herald also reported that Mr W.A. Baxter was to build a jam factory on half an acre of land he had feued near Fochabers Town Railway Station and commented: “It is hoped that Mr Baxter’s enterprise will be a great success”.
Monday 10 Keith Town Council’s April meeting considered the offer of ground at the junction of Land Street and Church Road as the site for the German field gun captured by the 6th Gordons at the Battle of Loos in September 1915. The Council agreed an increase in the stonebreakers’ rate by 1d to 1s 2d per cubic ton. Portuguese forces seized Kionga in German East Africa. It is now part of Mozambique.
Tuesday 11 The trial began at the High Court in Edinburgh before the Lord Justice General of the leaders of the recent Clyde workers’ strike. John Maclean, the prominent Glasgow socialist, was found guilty of inciting the Clyde munitions workers to sedition and mutiny and of making statements likely to prejudice recruitment. He was sentenced to three years in prison, first in Edinburgh and then at Peterhead.
Wednesday 12 Boharm School Board agreed to include laundry instruction in the curriculum.
Thursday 13 Keith Bowling Club held their annual meeting. Annual subscriptions would remain at 7s 6d and the Green would be available to patients at Earlsmount Hospital.
Friday 14 Boharm Parish Church Choir held their annual concert at Mulben School in aid of Parish War Funds. The Band of Hope gave a talk on ‘Alcohol and Waste’ at Sillyearn School.
Saturday 15 A public auction of horse-hiring stock and equipment from J. McWilliam and Son, Royal Hotel Stables, included a bus, a hearse, brakes and wagonettes as well as six horses. This was the closing day for taking lapwings’ eggs. An article in the Banffshire Herald reported the recent purchase of Shiel Wood in Grange by Messrs Park & Co., timber merchants, Fraserburgh. Already, workmen’s houses and stabling for their horses were being erected in the area. The timber would be transported from the site by train to be used for Government purposes. Sirima Ratwate was born in Ratnapura, Ceylon. In 1960, as Mrs Bandaranaike, she became Prime Minister of Ceylon and the world’s first female head of government. A flag day was held in Keith for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in France, Salonika and Corsica.
Monday 17 It was a showery day in Keith and Newmill for the first of the year’s local holidays. The absence of cheap excursion fares did not deter rail trips to Aberdeen, Inverness and up Strathspey. A shortage of available labour forced Mr Chalmers, grocer and baker, Cornhill, to withdraw his country van rounds.
Tuesday 18 Miss McConnachie of Lower Auchmill, Kinnoir, started in her new position as assistant at Maggieknockater School. The annual Licensing Court for the Upper District of Banffshire was held in the Institute. In an effort to reduce the number of licensed premises, the Chief Constable reported breaches of regulations at the Royal Oak (treating), the Gordon Arms in Fife-Keith (opening on New Year’s Day), the Isla Bar (selling drink after hours) and at the Gordon Arms Hotel in Mid Street (no hotel business conducted in the last year). The Court, however, granted renewal of licence along with suitable warnings. Keith Station Hotel changed to a six-day public house licence.
Thursday 20 Russian troops arrived by sea at Marseille, France, from the Far East to fight at the Front. The Secretary of the Aberdeen District Union of the British Women’s Temperance Association gave a talk at the Keith Patriotic Club.
Friday 21 John A. Smith, aged 20, a Private in the 6th Gordons, died at home. He is commemorated on the War Memorial in Milltown of Rothiemay.
Saturday 22 The Banffshire branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland held its annual meeting in Keith. James Annand, a member of the first Keith Town Council in 1889, died at his home in Mid Street. The ambulance competition for Great North of Scotland Railway teams was held at Inverurie Locomotive Works.
Sunday 23 The brethren of St James’ Lodge No 713 attended divine service at the Parish Church. The death took place in Keith of John Duncan, baker and stalwart of the Keith Amateur Dramatic Society.
Monday 24 Lairs were let at the Moss of Mayen in Rothiemay. Lajos Tijas was born in Banat, Michigan. As Lou Thesz he became one of the world’s greatest professional wrestlers. Grange athlete and wrestler George Clark would later challenge Thesz for his World Heavyweight title but lost on each occasion. The Easter Rising started in Dublin.
Wednesday 26 A Keith artificial flower maker was fined for falsifying his age to avoid military service.
Thursday 27 A presentation by tenantry and employees took place at Tarryblake House on the occasion of the forthcoming marriage of Captain George Riddoch, younger of Tarryblake.
Friday 28 The Banffshire Board of Control agreed to insure its Ladysbridge facility against enemy air raids and bombardment. Grange School Board decided to discontinue cookery instruction. Boyne Limeworks near Portsoy were now closed.
John Morrison, aged 19, a Private in the 6th Seaforths, was killed in action in France. He was the son of John and Mary Morrison of Dalmeny Cottages, Mulben.
Saturday 29 After a siege lasting 147 days, thirteen thousand British, Indian and Gurkha troops were forced to surrender to the Turks at Kut-al-Amarah in Mesopotamia. The leaders of the insurrection in Dublin surrendered.
Pte Robert Ruxton, 6th Gordon Highlanders, died at his sister’s home at Pitmeddan House, Dyce. He was 20 years old and the son of James and Annie Ruxton of Regent Street, Fife-Keith.
Sunday 30 New deacons were ordained at a service in the Botriphnie U.F. Church.