Great War Timeline February 1916
Tuesday 1 All seventeen members attended the February monthly meeting of Keith Parish Council and debated the rating arrangements for rentals under £4. Grange School Board agreed to reduce the number of assistant teachers at Crossroads School from two to one and to consider transferring some pupils to Sillyearn School.
Wednesday 2 Newmill Literary Society’s weekly meetings in February included a wide range of topics such as Conscription, The Life Of Robert Burns and A Month’s Holiday In Belgium. In the North Sea a British fishing vessel refused to rescue the survivors of the downed German airship L-19.
Thursday 3 A new threshing mill, an “A1” by Barclay, Ross and Tough of Aberdeen, was installed at the Tam, Mulben (Mr George Forsyth), and demonstrated to the neighbouring farmers. It featured a high-speed drum, a hummeler and a finishing fan. Keith School Board reported that 228 pupils were attending continuation classes at Keith and Newmill.
Friday 4 A four-day shooting tournament , run by the Volunteer Training Corps and the Miniature Rifle Club at the Drill Hall in Keith, concluded and the prizes were presented by Provost Dr Taylor. Various estates Martinmas rents were falling due and payable starting with Seafield Estates.
Saturday 5 Tauchers Farm and Sawmill (90 acres) were advertised for let – apply to the Brewer , Glentauchers Distillery. Auchlunkart Estate rents were payable today at the Writing Office of J.A. and G.A. Stephen in Keith. It was reported in the Banffshire Herald that Blackhillock Limeworks had been let to William Anderson of Drummuir and Boyne Limeworks. At a meeting in the Keith Institute the Banffshire Territorial Force Association stated they were now dealing with separation allowances for over 1,500 dependants of serving personnel. The Keith Emigration Agency at 101 Mid Street had been taken over by F.A.B. Mitchell.
Sunday 6 A Cadet Section of the Keith Volunteer Training Section was established at the Drill Hall when 52 youths, aged 14 to 18, were enrolled.
Monday 7 The Annual Meeting of the Keith Library and Reading Room Committee decided to increase the monthly intake of books to 32 per month in order to attract new members.
Tuesday 8 Boharm School Board advertised for a female certificated teacher with sewing and singing qualifications for Maggieknockater School. Mayen Smithy and Croft were for let. Offers were invited for Brooklyn Villas, four self-contained dwelling houses on the Square in Newmill. Rebuilt in 1904, they included five Scotch acres of ground.
Wednesday 9 St Thomas’ Hall was the venue for the Grand Operetta “Fairy Chain” performed by the children of St Thomas’ School.
Thursday 10 The Aultmore and Glengerrack Cattle Breeding Society purchase a bull “Vicar Edward” at the Aberdeen Bull Sale.
Friday 11 Botriphnie United Free Church Choir met in the Manse and made presentations to their organist, Maggie Duncan of Mains of Bellyhack, and to their long-serving leader of praise, William Stephen of Hillside. Mr J.N. Taylor’s Rothiemay choral and orchestral class gave a concert in the School in Milltown. The death occurred of Keith builder Mr William Cruickshank of South View. He had recently been engaged in building the now postponed Cuthil Water Reservoir and the YWCA Institute in Turner Street and was also in charge of the ongoing masonry alterations and additions to St Thomas’ Church.
Saturday 12 Collections had been made in the Arndilly and Maggieknockater districts in order to boost the depleted funds of the local Work Party. It was announced in the Banffshire Herald that the recently taken over Blackhillock Limeworks was now closed. Fife Estates rents were payable today at the Estate Office in Fife-Keith. The AGM of the Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club was held in the Gordon Arms Hotel in Mid Street. Nurses of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, recently interned following the Central Powers invasion of Serbia, arrived back in London after their release.
Monday 14 The monthly meeting of Keith Town Council took place in the Institute. The bank in the cutting on the road to Newmill had slipped and was to be stabilised by planting broom and whins. Replacement trees were being planted in Balloch Road, Broomhill Road and Regent Street. Alexander McKimmie was appointed the new lamplighter for the burgh.
Tuesday 15 Blacksmiths and hammermen were being recruited locally for Government work in Bo’ness making shoes for mules at the Front in France. Mr Duncan, the tailor in Rothiemay, was advertising for an assistant. The Forgie Cattle Breeding Society met in Tarrycroys School.
Wednesday 16 Only twelve pupils managed to attend the Glen of Newmill School as the heaviest snowstorms of the winter so far swept the area. Streets in Keith were cleared by snowplough. A meeting of the Directors of the Keith Institute Company confirmed James McDonald from Glasgow as the new caretaker and lessee of the Institute Café.
Thursday 17 The League of Honour’s Patriotic Club presented a musical masque entitled “The Empire’s Honour” in the YMCA Hall. This was followed by a series of tableaux vivants all in aid of War Funds. British forces unilaterally occupied yet another island of neutral Greece, this time the Aegean island of Chios just a few miles of the Turkish coast.
Friday 18 Despite the continued very stormy weather spirits were high with entertainments taking place in all the parishes in the area. A very successful concert featuring local talent was held in Drummuir Hall in aid of War Funds. The Boharm School Board hosted a children’s concert in Mulben School under the direction of music teacher Mr J.N. Taylor and teachers Miss McWilliam and Miss Joss. The bad weather and poor road conditions in Grange did not prevent a Grand Patriotic Concert in Sillyearn School in aid of the Red Cross. Stabling could be provided nearby on application. There was a large attendance at the Rothiemay UF Church Sunday School Annual Social. Meanwhile, in Africa, Allied forces were mopping up the remnants of German opposition in Cameroon. The German commander, Carl Zimmermann, led his retreating troops into the neighbouring neutral Spanish territory of Rio Muni and internment. The German African possessions of Togoland and South West Africa had fallen to the Allies in August 1914 and July 1915 respectively.
Saturday 19 Mr George McCurrach died aged 75. A former Keith Town Councillor, he had been Brewer at Milton Distillery for 40 years and, on retirement, had returned to farming, first at the Drum and then at Turfhillock. John Martin’s Garage in Dufftown was advertising Ford cars from £125. Ernst Mach, the Austrian physicist, died in Vienna.
Sunday 20 At the United Free Church service in Rothiemay solos were sung by Private T. Thomson of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Monday 21 The Sheriff at Banff found a Keith youth guilty of theft and sentenced him to twelve strokes of the birch. New postal arrangements came into operation in the Keith area. Deliveries were reduced from three to two in the town and there would be no second service to rural districts except for Newmill where callers could collect mail from the Post Office between 6pm and 6.30pm.
German Army “Operation Judgement” against the French on the Western Front began with a massive bombardment of a million shells. This developed into the Battle of Verdun, a war of attrition, the longest and bloodiest battle of the War, fought over a mere ten square kilometres.
Tuesday 22 The grocer’s shop at the Knock was advertised for let. Mrs J.W. Kynoch of Isla Bank in Keith thanked all those who had responded to an urgent request for 400 pairs of hand-knitted socks for the troops.
Wednesday 23 The AGM of the Strathisla Anglers’ Association was held in the Royal Hotel. In London the Ministry of Blockade was established under Lord Robert Cecil. He was responsible for devising economic and commercial pressure against the enemy leading to the starvation of several hundred thousand women and children. In Germany 80,000 children starved in 1916.
Friday 25 The Military Tribunal for Keith Burgh turned down an exemption application for the ‘Boots’ at the Commercial Hotel. Pictures and silverware from the estate of the late A.E. Thurburn of Mayen House in Rothiemay were sold at auction at Christie’s in London. The watercolour ‘Children Swinging on a Gate’ by Myles Foster Brisket sold for £141 15s.
Saturday 26 The Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire opened a Free Gift Sale in Keith Grammar School and at the nearby Auction Mart in aid of the Allies Relief Fund. This was followed by a Grand Evening Concert in the Longmore Hall. At Agagia in Western Egypt, British and South African forces defeated Senussi tribesmen who had entered the country from Libya in support of the Ottoman Empire. Their military commander, General Ja’far Pasha al-Askari, was captured. He would later serve as Prime Minister of Iraq.
Monday 28 Botriphnie continuation classes concluded with presentations of a silver engraved cigarette case to headmaster Mr Wilson and a silver watch pendant to William Riach of Glackmuick as most successful student. Keith Juvenile Court fined a youth half a crown for sledging in the streets. Henry James, the author, who had recently become a British citizen, died in Chelsea in London.
Tuesday 29 Two Deputy Lieutenants for Banffshire were appointed: Col J.J. George of Macduff and Col Ian Foster Forbes of Rothiemay. Miss Ireland finished her series of illustrated poultry lectures at Drummuir. Dinah Shore, the American singer and entertainer, was born in Tennessee. A meeting in the Keith Institute was chaired by the Lord Lieutenant to implement the War Office scheme for co-ordinating and regulating voluntary work organisations supplying comforts and clothes to the Forces.