KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Wednesday 1 A Cameron Highlander wrote: “The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Rest Room at Keith Station is the best in Britain” and signed himself as ‘One Who Knows’. The Rest Room had provided refreshments to 7,092 servicemen en route by train. Keith School Board decided to postpone the overhaul of the heating at the Grammar School until after the war. Dr Skinner, the examiner for the trustees of the Dick Bequest, paid a visit to Rothiemay School.
Pte John Milne (26), 8th Gordon Highlanders, lately of Mulben, was killed in action in Belgium. The son of Alexander and Mary Milne, he was born in Botriphnie and had been a farm servant in Morayshire before enlisting. He is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial and on the Parish Memorials of Boharm and Elgin.
Thursday 2 A shooting brake provided transport from Keith Square to the sale of work in the Cairnie U. F. Church Hall at Boghead. Stall conveners were Mrs Jamieson, Old Schoolhouse, Windyraw, and Mrs Hastings of Shenwell Schoolhouse. Mrs Forbes, Rothiemay, asked the Women’s County Committee for assistance in organising meetings to set up Women’s Rural Institutes in Banffshire.
Friday 3 Pupils at Ternemny School began their summer holidays.
Pte George S. Clark, 9th Royal Scots, fell in action in Belgium. He had been manager of the Strathisla Co-operative Society’s Store in Fife-Keith before moving to Carstairs in Lanarkshire. He is one of the almost 55,000 commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial near Ypres.
Saturday 4 Britain entered the fourth year of war with Germany. The farms of Haughs and Oakenhead were advertised for sale. After much debate at a meeting in Keith, Banff County Council agreed, by 13 votes to 5, the proposed revision of the boundaries of the Banffshire Parliamentary Constituency. Liberia was the latest country to declare war on Germany.
Sunday 5 Special church services were held in the area to mark the third anniversary of the start of the Great War. Over 100 members of the Keith Volunteers with the pipe band marched to the Parish Church. The choir at Holy Trinity Church performed Kipling’s ‘Recessional’. Rev. Cranmer at Grange cautioned against relying on future help from a troubled Russia. J. McGillivray announced that ‘The Post Sunday Special’ would arrive at his shop in The Square about 2.15 every Sunday afternoon.
Monday 6 Robert Mitchum, the film actor, was born in Connecticut.
Tuesday 7 Botriphnie School Board advertised for a teacher with qualifications in Drawing, Sewing, Kindergarten and French. Standing spruce and fir were advertised for sale at Auchencruive, Rothiemay. The farmer at Gullyknowes lost eight brass stair rods between Keith and Newmill.
Wednesday 8 The Red Cross Fête at Cullen House was opened by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The most popular attraction proved to be an aerial railway.
Thursday 9 The annual Berry Market was held at Cornhill with a concert and dance in the evening.
Pte James Chalmers (29), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died in Turner Memorial Hospital in Keith from the effects of wounds and gas attack. He is remembered on the Macduff War Memorial.
Saturday 11 Botriphnie U. F. Church children’s annual treat with games and swings, followed by tea, fruit and sweets, was held in a field next to the church. Arthur Henderson, Minister without Portfolio and Leader of the Labour Party, resigned from the Government. The Banffshire Herald reported that the British Government had bought large quantities of fish from Norway for salting and storage.
Sunday 12 Rev. Neil Wilson of Marnoch preached at Botriphnie and Rev. R. E. Gilbert from Grange took the service at the South U. F. Church in Keith. Grouse have a day’s reprieve as The Glorious Twelfth falls on a Sunday.
Monday 13 Keith Unionist Club held their AGM in the Club Rooms in Mid Street. Mr Gerrie, signalman at Cairnie Junction, was presented with a silver-mounted walking stick by his colleagues on his promotion to the agency at Esslemont on the Formartine and Buchan section of the GNSR. Three boys were put on probation for six months at the Burgh Court for stealing strawberries from a garden in the Old Town.
Tuesday 14 At the Court in Elgin, two youths were birched for pilfering fruit from a resident’s garden. China became the second country this month to declare war on Germany.
Wednesday 15 Grange Parish Council reported that there were 12 names on the revised Poor Roll, the lowest number on record. St Thomas’ Church Sale of Work was opened by the Very Rev. George Canon Ritchie of Glasgow Cathedral whose grandfather, George Ritchie, was a former resident of Mid Street.
Thursday 16 Sir Frederick Bridge, Cairnborrow Lodge, opened the Red Cross Garden Fête at Blairmore House, Glass, the home of Lt Ewen and Mrs Cameron, great-grandparents of future Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister David Cameron. Keith Town Council meets to discuss the proposed Food Control Committee for the county.
Friday 17 Rothiemay Women’s Missionary Association held their annual sale of work and concert. Great War poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon first meet while at the military psychiatric hospital at Craiglockhart in Edinburgh. Italy declared war on Turkey in the hope of post-war territorial gains in Anatolia.
Saturday 18 The Scottish Children’s League of Pity held a Heather Day in Keith. The Banffshire Herald reported that the Army Council had approved the recent formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in order to release men for other military duties.
Sunday 19 A Children’s Flower Service was held at Holy Trinity Church in Keith with the flowers being distributed later to patients at Turner Memorial and Earlsmount Hospitals.
Monday 20 It was a pleasant day for the third Keith local holiday of the year with a quite a few residents taking the train out of town for the day.
Tuesday 21 The first of the season’s music tuition classes began in Keith. A meeting at Banff established a twelve-member Food Control Committee for the county (Buckie, with its population of 9,000, was to be regarded as a separate authority). Included on the County Committee were Mrs Mildred Gordon Duff, Drummuir, and Provost James Taylor, Councillor William Cooper and ex-Provost Robert Cameron, all from Keith. A nine-year old girl was severely injured by a train at the level crossing at Isla Bank Mills while on her way from Fife-Keith to school at Newmill.
Wednesday 22 A combined meeting of the Onward and Upward Association, the Scottish Mothers’ Union and the League of Pity was held in Rothiemay Castle. John Lee Hooker, the American blues singer, was born in Mississippi. Sergeant James Shand, Gordon Highlanders, was invited to visit his old school at Newmill. He was the first soldier from the village to be awarded the Military Medal.
Gunner John B. Taylor, 259th Royal Garrison Artillery, died of his wounds at the front. He was the eldest son of Police Sergeant John Taylor formerly of Keith. Born in Portgordon, Gunner Taylor had been manager of Lipton’s in Hawkhill, Dundee, and is buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery at Steenwerck in France.
Friday 24 Gunner John M.Taylor (27), 45th Royal Field Artillery, died of his wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station in France. The son of Mrs Taylor, Greenlea, Back Street, Newmill, he had been a railwayman at Keith Junction Station. Gunner Taylor had first served in Mesopotamia before being transferred to France. He was buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery in Belgium and is commemorated on the Newmill War Memorial.
Saturday 25 Lapel flags were sold today in Keith in aid of Sick and Wounded Horses. The Herald reported that Keith’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Robert S. Turner, had just celebrated 50 years as a doctor. The billiards tournament in aid of the Scottish Red Cross Week was won by Albert Laing.
Sunday 26 A packed congregation at Keith’s North Church welcomed back Rev. John Philip after a four-month tour of duty in France. He also took the afternoon service at Auchanacie School. Eileen Jessop, co-founder of the Findhorn Community, was born in Alexandria, Egypt.
Lance Corporal John Duncan (20), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action. The son of James and Elizabeth Duncan, Castle Street, Banff, he had been a baker in Banff before enlisting. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium and on the Memorials in Banff and Keith.
Pte William McWilliam (26), Lincolnshire Regiment, fell in action at Hargicourt in France. He was the only son of James McWilliam, Union Street in Keith, and had been a farm servant before enlisting originally with the Gordon Highlanders.
Pte John McWilliam (37), 8/10th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of George McWilliam, Roehill, Grange, he is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial near Ypres.
Monday 27 A heavy rainstorm with gale-force winds affected the North East.
Tuesday 28 More than 2½ inches of rain fell at Dufftown. Enzie and Boharm Smallholders Horse Breeding Society met in Mulben School. The County Food Control Committee met in Keith and appointed John Pirie as Clerk of the Keith Sub-Committee. Fife Estates advertised the Glenbarry Hotel for let.
Thursday 30 The stormy weather, which had caused much damage, began to clear.
Friday 31 Sheriff Dudley Stuart, Banff, visited Drummuir to recruit members for the new Cycle and Despatch Corps.