KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Monday 1 A meeting of Botriphnie War Savings Association in Drummuir Hall agreed a target of £1,500 for the parish during the forthcoming Scottish War Weapons Week to fund an aeroplane. The chairman, Thomas Gordon-Duff, Drummuir Castle, immediately contributed £500. The Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force. Over 9,000 members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps joined the new Women’s Royal Air Force. Scott Joplin, the American composer and pianist, died in New York.
Pte Joseph Kemp (29), 5th Gordon Highlanders, died of his wounds at a German Field Hospital at Bouhain in France. A native of Grange, he was the son of Robert and Christine Kemp, Drummuir Lime Works, and had been employed at Towiemore Distillery. He is buried at Prémont in France.
Tuesday 2 Keith Parish Council decided to re-gravel some paths in Keith Cemetery and to give Keith District Nursing Association a grant of five guineas. The increasingly cordial relationship between the Churches was evident when a deputation of Parish Church ministers under Rev. J. M. McPherson, Newmill, addressed the Banff and Strathbogie United Free Church Presbytery meeting in Keith. Rev. Mr Dickie, Huntly, was appointed interim moderator at Whitehill, Grange, in place of the late Rev. Gilbert. A Parish War Savings Association for Boharm was established at a meeting in Mulben School. Representatives for the upper and Forgie districts would be appointed at a later date.
Wednesday 3 German forces land in Finland at the request of the Finnish Government.
Engineman George A. Duncan (29), RNR, was buried with naval honours in the Sainte-Marie Cemetery in Le Havre. The son of George and Joan Duncan, Braco Street, Fife-Keith, he had served his tailor’s apprenticeship in Keith and had been serving on HM Trawler/Minesweeper Kosmos when he was drowned on 11th February, the day before his 30th birthday.
Corporal James Robb (20), Canadians, was killed in action. He was the only son of the late James Robb, Braco Street, Fife-Keith, and Mrs Robb of Alberta, Canada.
Thursday 4 Keith School Board agreed to bear the additional insurance for allowing the Boy Scouts to use the Brewery Buildings at the Grammar School for waste paper storage. The Board reported that the annual grant for both Newmill and Tarrycroys Schools had decreased. They commended the teacher at Auchanacie School where the average attendance had increased from 17 to 20 pupils.
Friday 5 The Banffshire Secondary Education Committee meeting in Keith discussed the Education (Scotland) Bill and declared its opposition to raising the compulsory school age to 15. An Anglo-Japanese force lands in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast to protect Allied interests.
Pte Alexander Taylor (38), 1st Gordon Highlanders, died of wounds at No 12 General Hospital in Rouen. The only son of James and Jessie Taylor, he was a native of Ruthven and was married to Jessie Taylor, Regent Street, Fife-Keith. He is buried at Saint-Sever near Rouen and is remembered on the memorials in Deskford and Boharm, where he was employed as a farm servant at Auchroisk.
Saturday 6 The annual parade of stallions was held at Seafield Park in Keith. An NFU branch meeting in Keith agrees to support agricultural candidates for the next Parliament. The Central Banffshire Farmer’s Club decided to hold another free gift sale after the harvest. A meeting of local farmers met at Keith Auction Mart to prepare for this year’s Tarryblake Rookery raid. Keith children enjoyed their last Saturday afternoon matinée before the Palace Cinema closed for its summer break. The Banffshire Herald reported that a train left Dingwall daily picking up supplies from potato growers at various stations, including Keith, to convey to markets in England.
Sunday 7 Rev. Cranmer’s address at the monthly evening service at Grange Parish Church was entitled ‘The Price of Freedom’. Meat rationing comes into force across Scotland.
Pte Harry Cameron (24), 1st Gordon Highlanders, died of wounds at No 24 General Hospital, Étaples in France. He was the eldest son of the late Charles and Jane Cameron, Curlusk, and worked at the family farm. He is remembered on the Boharm Memorial.
Monday 8 This week saw a nation-wide campaign selling national war bonds with a target of raising £200 million. Each parish would aim to raise sufficient funds to purchase a weapon of war. Grange Parish Council appointed Mr William Simpson, Stripeside, as Chairman in place of the late Rev. Robert Gilbert. Coal and timber merchant and Keith Town Councillor John McConachie died at his home in Land Street. City Bakeries of Glasgow were fined £100 for charging 2½d for a 1lb loaf instead of the maximum 2¼d.
Tuesday 9 Keith schools restart after the Easter holidays. Rothiemay School Board agreed to a request by the teachers in the parish to have their salaries paid monthly. The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps is renamed Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps. James Horne closes his carpenter’s business at Rothiemay on being called up for military service. Newly independent Moldavia passes an Act of Union with neighbouring Romania.
Lt Ronald A. McGregor (22), 6th Seaforth Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of Mr R. McGregor, librarian, Keith Institute, he had worked in a solicitor’s office in Elgin.
Pte Charles Sandison (30), Machine Gun Corps, died in action in France. A native of Glass, he was the son of George and Charlotte Sandison, Land Street, Keith. His sacrifice is remembered on the Keith and Loos war memorials.
Wednesday 10 The fifth version of the Military Service Act was published extending conscription to all men aged 41to 50 and introducing conscription to Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man for the first time. The war briefly came to Monrovia, capital of Liberia, when it was shelled by a German submarine.
Thursday 11 The staff and patients of Turner Memorial Hospital were entertained to an evening musical concert. The funeral of Keith Town Councillor John McConachie took place with full civic and Masonic honours at Keith Cemetery.
Pte Robert Cran (24), 7th Seaforth Highlanders, died in France. The son of Mrs Jane Cran, Regent Street, Fife-Keith, he had been a baker in Lhanbryde and is remembered on the memorials at Loos in France and at Keith and Lhanbryde.
Corporal John Donald, Gordon Highlanders, was killed today. He was a native of Aberdeen and had been the boot cleaner at the Commercial Hotel in Keith.
Friday 12 Keith Bowling Club held its 39th AGM in the Committee Room of the Longmore Hall. The United Diets of Baltic Provinces in German-occupied Estonia and Latvia declared their independence as the Baltic State.
Lance Corporal John Smith, MM (21), 5th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in Flanders. He was the son of James and Mary Smith, Glennie House, Mayen and is commemorated on the memorials at Rothiemay and Ploegsteert in Belgium.
Saturday 13 Provost Taylor’s Work Party held their final Saturday evening concert raising over £50 for the Station Rest Room and Earlsmount Hospital. The Upper District Committee meeting in Dufftown reported that material from Avochie Quarries had been used to repair damaged roads in Grange and Rothiemay. A landslip of the main road on the brae to Tarnash had also been repaired and the Bridge at Auchroisk had been strengthened. German forces captured Helsinki, the capital of Finland, from the Red Guards.
Sunday 14 A Requiem Mass took place at St Thomas’ Church in Keith. Over twenty of its congregation had made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country.
Monday 15 Bright but cold weather greeted the first Keith local holiday of the year. A special holiday attraction was a Grand Gipsy Entertainment in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Drummuir Red Cross Depot. Grange Parish’s collection for War Weapons, which begins a week later than elsewhere, more than doubles their target and realises over £5,000. Eighteen-year old Queen Salote succeeds to the throne of Tonga.
Tuesday 16 The Upper District Licensing Court meeting in Keith fixed closing time at 10pm. The No. 2 Travelling School of Musketry begins a three-week course for Volunteers at Knock.
Pte George McLeod (24), 5th Gordon Highlanders, died at No. 5 General Hospital, Rouen, of wounds received in action at Cambrai. He had been a ploughman at Stoneytown and was married to Joan McLennan, Mid Street, Keith.
Thursday 18 Keith North Church Juvenile Choir held a Grand Entertainment in the Longmore Hall.
Pioneer Charles Stewart (23), Royal Engineers, was killed in action. The son of James and Mary Stewart, Land Street, he had been a postman in Keith and is buried at Sailly-Labourse in France.
Friday 19 Lairs were given off by Fife Estates at Craig Moss and Craigburroch Moss in Rothiemay. Earlsmount Hospital received a donation from a well-wisher in far-flung Tierra del Fuego.
Saturday 20 A displenish sale was held at Ramsburn, Rothiemay. The Banffshire Herald reported that Botriphnie and Boharm had each raised over £3,000 towards a Scotland total of £18 million in War Weapons Week. The two Rothiemay Society stallions were on show in Keith.
Sunday 21 Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen, ‘The Red Baron’, was shot down and died in aerial combat over France.
Pte Alexander Robertson (20), Royal Army Service Corps, died in the Royal Herbert Military Hospital in Woolwich. The son of John Robertson, Regent Street, Fife-Keith, he served at the Motor Transport Depot at Shortlands near London.
Monday 22 Bonar Law, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, outlined his budget to Parliament.
Tuesday 23 A displenish sale took place at Myreton Croft, Grange. A General Strike was held in Ireland to protest against conscription. Guatemala declares war on Germany.
Thursday 25 Pte Alexander Robertson was given a military funeral at Broomhill Cemetery. A Moss Street contractor was injured in a tree-felling accident at Kininvie and conveyed to Turner Memorial Hospital. Government dates were to be on sale in the shops shortly at 6d per lb.
Gunner James A. Cran (38), Royal Garrison Artillery, died of his wounds at a Casualty Clearing Station. A grocery manager in Aberdeen, he died a fortnight after his brother Robert was killed. His mother, Mrs Cran, Regent Street, had six sons with the colours, three of whom never returned.
Friday 26 The Military Representative at Keith Burgh Tribunal questioned the need for five chemists’ shops in Keith.
Saturday 27 The Railway Benevolent Institution’s flag day was held in Keith. At the Rothiemay WRI meeting, Mrs Milne gave a talk on stain removal and Miss Campbell spoke about her experiences in Belgium at the start of the war.
Pte John McLean (33), 44th Battalion, New Brunswick Regiment, Canadian Infantry, died of his wounds in hospital in France. The son of Francis and Margaret McLean, he was born at Berryleys, Boharm, and, after farm service in the area, had emigrated to Canada.
Sunday 28 Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo in 1914, died in prison in Bohemia.
Monday 29 Moss lairs are given off at Henheads, Garrel Hill and Herricks. Germany establishes a military dictatorship in Ukraine under Hetman Pavlo Skoropadski. The Livestock Commissioner for Scotland requested that farmers hold back fat cattle for the next three weeeks against an anticipated shortage in June.
Tuesday 30 It was the last day for applications for Admiral Archibald Duff’s Bequest for pupils at Botriphnie School. Rev. A. B. Thomson, who was a native of Balnamoon, Grange, and had ministered in Bermuda and Colorado before retiring, died at home in Keith.