KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Saturday 1 A meeting in Rothiemay Public School established a Women’s Rural Institute for the parish. Miss Crichton was elected its first Secretary.
Sunday 2 The ministers of Grange and Keith Parish Churches swapped pulpits for today’s service. A stormy spell swept over the area blocking roads and flooding rivers and streams.
Monday 3 A Grand Concert by the Belgian Artistes’ Committee was held in the Longmore Hall. Over £18 was raised in aid of the Belgian Children’s Health Fund which enabled sick and malnourished children to be sent from Belgium to neutral Holland to be restored to good health.
Tuesday 4 KeithTown Council fixed new coal prices under the Retail Coal Prices Order, 1917. Congregation members and Sunday School children of Keith South UF Church met in the Institute Hall for a social evening of tea and musical entertainment. Banff and Strathbogie UF Church Presbytery met in Keith to appoint a Presbytery Clerk to succeed Rev. John Stockdale of Grange West Church. His parish neighbour, Rev. Robert Gilbert of Whitehill Church, was nominated for the post but was narrowly beaten in a vote.
Wednesday 5 A shoot over Col Vivian’s ground at Cairnty, Boharm, bagged several roe deer. The Newmill Cattle Breeding Association’s Annual Meeting, presided over by Mr James Weir, Tarmore, was held at Kimberley House, Newmill. The Banffshire Wine, Beer and Spirit Trade Association met in the Commercial Hotel, Keith, and fixed the price of whisky at 5d per nip and 8s 6d per bottle.
Thursday 6 At the Aberdeen Small Debt Court, Sheriff Dudley Stuart heard further evidence in the case against a farmer cutting down over 100 trees at Wood of Corniehaugh near Rothiemay. Finland declared its independence from Russia.
Friday 7 Alice Brady was starring in ‘Miss Petticoats’ at the Palace Cinema in Keith.
Saturday 8 Mulben Cattle Breeding Society held its annual meeting in the Public School. The Newmill section of the 1st Banffshire Volunteers held a shooting tournament at Newmill, open to all and with handsome prizes. A public auction of cycle agent’s stock of the late Mr Watt took place at his shop in Regent Street. The Herald reported that Maggieknockater and Arndilly Work Party had received a donation of three guineas from the Craigellachie Curling Club. Rothiemay Agricultural Society stated that there were now 276 involved in its cattle and horse breeding schemes.
Sunday 9 In Palestine, the Turks abandoned Jerusalem which then surrendered to the advancing Allied troops. Romania, now without Russian military assistance since the Bolshevik takeover, was forced to sign the Armistice of Focșani with the Central Powers.
Monday 10 The first of three wartime food economy classes was held in Keith Grammar School.
Tuesday 11 Meetings of Keith Parish Council and its Landward Committee re-elected James Ward and William Pirie as their respective Chairmen. At a meeting in Sillyearn School, the Balnamoon and Crannoch and the Sillyearn Cattle Breeding Associations agreed to amalgamate. The third missionary lecture by Holy Trinity Church, entitled ‘In The Colonies’, took place in the Institute. Occupied Lithuania, in ‘firm and permanent alliance’ with the German Empire, declared its independence from Russia.
Wednesday 12 The Christmas Poultry Sale was held in the Auction Mart. Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, was shelled by a German submarine.
Captain James Ogilvie Kemp (52), Royal Scots (Lothian Regt), died of illness contracted while on active service. The son of John Kemp, Keith wine merchant and lime manufacturer, he was an advocate in Edinburgh and a former interim sheriff substitute at Banff.
Thursday 13 Grange Parish Council appointed its committees for the year. John Addison, Moss Street, Keith, paid a Turriff record price of £25 4s for a fat sow at a mart in the town. Grange School Board temporarily transferred Miss McKay from Ternemny as assistant at Crossroads. The Crimean People’s Republic proclaimed its independence to become the world’s first secular Muslim state.
Friday 14 Both Botriphnie Parish ministers, Rev. A. McKay of the Parish Church and Rev. D. Garrow of the UF Church, officiated at a wedding at Mains of Bellyhack. Kingston’s Theatrical Company gave a performance of ‘Mill o’ Tifty’s Annie’ in the Longmore Hall. The annual auction sale of magazines and newspapers was held in the Institute Reading Room. Alberto Morrocco, artist and portrait painter, was born in Aberdeen. The local section of the Volunteers held a whist drive and dance in the Newmill Institute in aid of the Servicemen’s Rest Room.
Saturday 15 The war was costing Britain £6.7 million per day according to the Banffshire Herald. Mr Kingston starred in performances of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and ‘Jamie Fleeman, the Laird o’ Udny’s Fool’ at the Longmore Hall. Miss Fraser of the Ministry of Labour addressed a meeting in the Institute Hall on the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Eveline Cowie, formerly of Wellside, Glen of Newmill, had been promoted to cashier at the Bank of Roumania in London. The Herald reported that Banffshire had outperformed the rest of Scotland with oats weighing 2lb above the national standard. Russia and the Central Powers signed an Armistice at Brest-Litovsk.
Monday 17 Large consignments of dead meat were being sent south by rail for the London Christmas market. Keith School Board agreed the use of Tarrycroys School for a whist drive provided there would be no smoking in the classroom.
Pte Robert Jones (19), Gordon Highlanders, died of the effects of gas poisoning at No 4 General Hospital at Dannes Camiers in France. He was buried in Étaples Military Cemetery and is commemorated on the Newmill and Keith War Memorials.
Tuesday 18 A disasterous fire at Moss-side, Glen of Newmill, destroyed the stable, mill and millhouse.
Wednesday 19 The North UF Church Ladies’ Work Party Sale of Work in aid of congregational and mission purposes took place in the Longmore Hall.
Friday 21 The funds at a whist drive in Maggieknockater School were boosted when an overabundance of cakes and fancies for the tea was auctioned off at the end of the evening. The stock-in-trade of the Isla Bar in Fife-Keith was the subject of a public auction held in the Institute. Dealers from outwith the area ensured excellent prices including an ‘extaordinary’ £7 per gallon for 27½ gallons of 5 year old Inchgower whisky. The local Volunteers held a whist drive and dance in Mulben School in aid of comforts for local servicemen.
Saturday 22 The first meeting of Rothiemay WRI included a wartime Christmas pudding demonstration by Miss Kennedy, a musical programme and an illustrated lecture by Rev. Anderson on ‘How The War Stands Now’. Among the items auctioned at a Free Gift Sale in Newmill were half bolls of meal at 17s 6d, half quarters of oats at 24s and bushels at 13s. The Palace Cinema in Mid Street was advertising for a ticket checker. The Banffshire Herald reported that Lt Commander Roualeyn Forbes, Rothiemay, had been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun Fourth Class by the Emperor of Japan. A branch of the NFU for Central Banffshire was established in Keith. In occupied Belgium, the Council of Flanders declared the independence of the region.
Sunday 23 Members of the Banffshire Volunteer Regiment were ordered to appear at Sunday parade wearing their uniforms, including puttees, if already issued.
Monday 24 Early closing of shops was suspended over Christmas and New Year till 3rd January.
Tuesday 25 Christmas Day was cold and stormy but otherwise was a normal day for most Keith shops other than banks and law offices. Currie’s and Annand’s were also both closed. The wounded soldiers at Earlsmount Hospital enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner and were entertained to a musical concert in the evening. A rival Ukrainian Soviet government, in opposition to the Kiev Government, was set up by Bolsheviks in the east of the country.
Pte Alfred Reid (30), 6th Gordon Highlanders, died while in Keith. He was the son of George and Isabella Reid of Balnamoon in Grange.
Wednesday 26 The staff and patients at Turner Memorial Hospital were entertained by the Sunday School children from Holy Trinity Church.Thursday 27 The pupils of St Thomas’ Schools performed the operetta ‘Cinderella and the Prince’ in aid of the church’s building fund.Friday 28 The Keith Red Cross Work Party held a whist drive in the Longmore Hall. A Patriotic Concert to provide comforts for local servicemen abroad took place in Crossroads School. The pupils at Rothiemay School held a concert in aid of their hot dinners fund.
Saturday 29 ‘Drifters And The Sea Dogs Who Man Them’ was the first Admiralty information film to be shown at the Palace Cinema.
Sunday 31 Hogmanay activities and entertainments in the area included a shoot at Shiel in Grange, a whist drive at Tarrycroys School (no smoking in the classroom) and a dance at Myreton in Grange in aid of patriotic purposes. Because of the acute shortage of fruit, the grocers in Mid Street suspended the usual distribution to the children who paraded the street on New Year’s Eve. The Åland Islands, in the newly independent republic of Finland, declared themselves a part of Sweden. The Government imposed sugar rationing of 8oz per person per week.