KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Friday 1 The motor tractor and plough were currently being demonstrated in Boharm. Keith North UF Church Juvenile Choir performed ‘A Missionary Light’, a cantata by the Rev. George Lamb, whom the minister had met while on duty in France. So many people were turned away at the door of the Church Hall that they scheduled a repeat performance for Tuesday. Muriel Camberg, later the novelist Dame Muriel Spark, was born in Edinburgh. The Jam (Prices) Order, 1918, which came into force today, fixed the maximum price of marmalade at 10d per lb.
Saturday 2 The Banffshire Territorial Force Association met at Banff where details regarding the provision of additional rifle ranges, including one at Knock, were considered. An advert in the Banffshire Herald by Government Contractors in Elgin promised an easy income of five to ten shillings daily by collecting fir cones, a matter of “national importance”. The Croft of Garrelhill sale was adjourned when the reserve price was not reached.
Sunday 3 At Grange Parish Church, Rev. Cranmer‘s evening subject was ‘Is it more difficult to believe in God since 1914?’
Monday 4 Keith Unionist Club’s Committee congratulated Sir James Campbell, former factor of Seafield Estates and Convener of Banff County Council, on his recent knighthood in the New Year Honours. Boharm School Board had engaged Miss Cumming to give lectures and demonstrations on wartime cookery at the schools in the parish.
Tuesday 5 Keith Parish Council met in the Institute and congratulated their fellow councillor Rev. Charles Macdonald, who had been appointed Dean of St Peter’s in Buckie and St Sylvester’s in Elgin. At a meeting of Banff and Strathbogie UF Church Presbytery in Keith, Rev James Stockdale announced his request for a colleague and successor at the West Church in Grange. Keith War Savings Committee reported that a Keith total of £20,147 had been raised during the recent Tank Week in Scotland. This was enough to finance four tanks or eight aeroplanes. A Boharm correspondent reminisced about bygone times in the parish and remembered when the postal address for Mulben used to be ‘Blackhillock’.
Wednesday 6 Ex-Provost Robert Cameron of Keith proposed the adoption of the National Rationing Scheme at a meeting of the Banffshire Food Control Committee in Banff. It limited tea to 1½oz and butter or margarine to 4oz per person per week. The Committee protested against the 50% cut in the supply of meat and favoured a weekly allowance of 1lb of beef per head. The Moldavian Democratic Republic declared its independence from Russia. Royal assent to the Representation of the People Act, 1918, gives the franchise to around 8 million women over the age of thirty, almost doubling the electorate, and increases the number of MPs from 670 to 702.
Thursday 7 Mr Robb of Allacardoch presided at the AGM of the Keith, Glengerrack and Aultmore Cattle Breeding Society in the Glen School. Their two Aberdeen-Angus and one shorthorn bulls had served 219 cows of the 70 members last year. Grange Parish Council accepted the resignation of gravedigger and sexton Mr Fraser. A meeting in the Public School established a Newmill branch of the Scottish Beekeepers’ Association.
Friday 8 Keith Town Council met with local milk purveyors to explore ways of increasing the supply and distribution of milk to the town. A correspondent wrote that Keith should follow the example of other towns and establish a municipal dairy. Long-time Keith Post Office staff member Miss Kelty was presented with gifts on her leaving the service to get married. Gordon Baxter, businessman and President of Baxters Food Group, was born in Fochabers.
Saturday 9 Local vet William Anderson chaired a meeting of the Banffshire committee of the Light Horse Breeding Scheme and agreed to engage the stallion ‘Semper Paratus’ for the 1918 season. The Ukrainian People’s Republic in Kiev, which had declared complete independence from Russia in January, signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers.
Sunday 10 Both Rothiemay congregations united for a combined service of praise in the Established Church in aid of the parish’s Women’s Missionary Society. Britain consolidated its control of Palestine by issuing postage stamps for the area.
Monday 11 Rev. James Barr from Govan gave a rousing and informative address on ‘Wartime Prohibition’ to Keith British Women’s Temperance Association at a meeting in the Institute. Maggieknockater School hosted the first of the School Board’s food economy demonstrations.
Tuesday 12 St Thomas’ School pupils’ annual Christmas treat, which had been postponed because of stormy weather, was held in St Thomas’ Hall and thereafter in the Palace Cinema in Mid Street. The house and shop at Market Hill, Glass, were advertised for sale. Hostilities resume on the Caucasian and Persian fronts between Turkey and Russia. A lantern lecture for the children of Holy Trinity Church was held in the Institute.
Wednesday 13 Banffshire Volunteer Regiment midweek drills were held at Newmill, Sillyearn, Crossroads and Knock. Aberdeen and the North had raised almost £2.6 million during the recent Tank Week in Scotland.
Thursday 14 At Aberdeen, a world record of 3,200 guineas was set for a shorthorn calf, Proud Conqueror, from Saphock, Old Meldrum. Botriphnie Volunteers were put through their paces at Drummuir. The Food Controller’s Tea (Prices) Order and Tea (Distribution) Order came into force. National Control Tea would be retailed throughout the UK at a maximum price of 2s 8d per lb.
Friday 15 Enrolment for Miss Lexy Wilson’s deportment and dancing classes took place in the Hay Memorial Hall, Cornhill. Hank Locklin, the country singer, was born in Florida. A Swedish military force lands in the Åland Islands in response to islanders’ concerns at the civil war in Finland.
Saturday 16 The Farm Servants’ Union met in Keith and resolved to ask for wages to be paid fortnightly in cash. Banffshire Herald readers were reminded that the postage for sending a copy of their local newspaper to the front in France was only a halfpenny not one penny as many had assumed. Lithuania declares independence from both Russia and Germany.
Sunday 17 Grange UF ministers Rev. Stockdale and Rev. Gilbert hold afternoon services at Newmill Mission Hall and the South Church in Keith.
Monday 18 Sillyearn School reopens after a month’s closure with the whooping cough outbreak. Germany resumes military operations against Russia. Bolsheviks attack and capture the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Alvah Parish Council decline to give financial aid to the Auchinbadie ferry across the Deveron.
Tuesday 19 Keith Hortus Club announced six prizes to be won for the best vegetable plots in the town in 1918. It was back to school for Crossroads pupils following the whooping cough shutdown. The Croft of Greycairns (22 acres) in the Glen of Newmill was advertised for let.
Wednesday 20 Keith Red Cross ‘weekly penny’ collectors were entertained at Linn House. Major Walter Waring, MP for Banffshire, clashed in the House of Commons with Ian Macpherson, MP for Ross and Cromarty and Under-Secretary of State for War, regarding the atrocious conditions on the Macedonian Front and necessary improvements to soldiers’ leave.
Thursday 21 Rev. Robert Gilbert collapsed and died at the roadside near Floors farm while walking home to Whitehill Manse after attending an evening committee meeting of Grange War Savings Association. The German Army continued its advance into Russia and captured Minsk in Belorussia. The Ministry of Information was established under Max Aitken, the recently ennobled Lord Beaverbrook. The parish of Cairnie enjoyed a half day holiday to attend a patriotic sale at the Central School along with dancing in the marquee.
Friday 22 Tarrycroys residents attended the School Board’s food economy lecture in the Public School. Dufftown Golf Course was ploughed up to provide more ground for planting food crops.
Saturday 23 Mrs Philip, Keith, spoke on ‘Canteen Work in France’ and Miss Kennedy gave a demonstration of potato cookery at Rothiemay WRI’s February meeting. Cairney School Board advertised in the Banffshire Herald for a compulsory officer and caretaker. A meeting in Keith established a County Committee of the Farmers’ Union. The Committee agreed perquisites for married men to be 6½ bolls of meal, one load of potatoes, one ton of coal and one Scotch pint of milk daily as well as a free house and garden.
Sunday 24 Rothiemay UF Church’s evangelistic services resume after Rev Weir’s return from pastoral duties in France. The breakup of the former Russian Empire continues with both Estonia and the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic declaring independence from Russia. The proposed rationing of tea is to be postponed meantime.
Monday 25 Cookery teacher Miss Cumming gives the first of the Boharm School Board’s afternoon food economy lectures at Forgie School. Germans capture the Estonian capital Reval (Tallinn) curtailing the country’s short-lived independence.
Tuesday 26 Mr Mitchell, Aberdeen, gave a lantern lecture on Red Cross work in the Mulben School.
Wednesday 27 At Keith North Church, instead of the usual midweek intercessory service, Rev. JA Tweedie from Arbroath gave a talk entitled ‘With the Lowland Division in Gallipoli’. The funeral of Rev. Gilbert took place from Whitehill Manse to the Grange Churchyard. The procession was joined by pupils at Sillyearn School and at Thornton by pupils from Crossroads and Grange Schools. Mr Taylor and party from Keith, along with the pupils, provided the entertainment at the annual Auchanacie School concert.
Thursday 28 After weeks of spring-like weather, winter returned with hurricane-force winds and heavy snow. A carriage on the morning train from Speyside derailed at Keith causing disruption for most of the day.