KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Tue 1 – A meeting in Keith appointed the Council Chairmen of the parishes of Botriphnie, Boharm, Keith, Grange and Rothiemay as an Executive Committee under Convener George Cameron of Bogbain to co-ordinate money-raising efforts for the Belgian, Polish and Serbian Relief Funds. One local newspaper’s idea of European geography was slightly hazy, referring to the latter as the “Siberian” Relief Fund. Seafield Estates were letting lairs on the Moss of Cairnty in Boharm.
Wed 2 – In Drummuir, the Botriphnie School Board requested the Automobile Association to erect warning signs at the approaches to the School.
Cpl William E. Shaw, 1st Gordon Highlanders, was killed in Belgium. He lived in Bridge Street in Keith with his wife Agnes.
Thur 3 – Keith School Board reported there were now 60 pupils at the Glen of Newmill School, up from 53 in 1914. Tarrycroys and Auchanacie Schools boasted an attendance rate of 96%.
Pte James Russell, 1st Scots Guards, was killed in France. He is remembered on the War Memorial in Milltown of Rothiemay.
The name of the small village of Givenchy would be added to the list of the 6th Gordon Highlanders’ Battle Honours along with Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge and Festubert. Seven Keith men would die here.
Pte Alexander McGregor, 2/6th Gordons, was 19 years old and a porter at Portgordon Railway Station. He was on sentry duty in a front trench when he was struck by a piece of shrapnel and died instantly.
Pte Alexander Webster and Lance Corporal George Whyte were sheltering together from enemy fire when a shell exploded in their dug-out. Pte Webster, who was a native of Boharm and lived in Fife-Keith, was killed instantaneously. He had latterly worked as a craneman at Buckie Harbour. Lance Corporal Whyte, who had been a farm servant at Coldhome, died the following day from his wounds.
Cpl Andrew Beverley, who also died at Givenchy, was a bomb thrower in the 2/6th Gordons. He was the son of George Beverley, Chemist, Mid Street and had been a Police Constable in Keith.
Fri 4 – It was a day for weddings in Mid Street. John Stables, Burnmouth, Grange, married Elizabeth Jessiman of Land Street in the Institute Temperance Café. Further up the street, in the Commercial Hotel, Rev. Stephen Ree conducted the wedding of George Rennie of Macallan Distillery and Bella Shepherd of Rock Cottage, Mulben.
Pte William A. Geddes, 6th Gordons, of Mid Street, Keith, died of wounds sustained the day before. His brother, Pte Gordon Geddes, was with him at the time. He left behind a wife and three children.
Sat 5 – Valentine, the baker at the Knock, was advertising for a van man. William Emslie, Grocer, Tea, Wine and Spirit Merchant of 82 Mid Street, was advertising Younger’s Table Beers for 3/- for a dozen quarts. He had recently enlisted in the Gordons and would rise to the rank of Major, be awarded the Military Cross and command a Section in the Machine Gun Corps. Women’s Suffrage is introduced in Denmark. Strathmill Distillery invited tenders for cutting and setting of 500 cubic yards of peat from Bogbain Moss.
Pte Alexander Mann, 1/6th Gordons, died from wounds sustained in the fighting. He was 20 years old and had been a cleaner with the G.N.S.R. at Keith Junction.
Sun 6 – Lt Francis L. Farquharson, the 21 year old Laird of Greenwood, Keith, died at the Front. A student at Oxford University and a keen member of the Keith Cricket Club, he had enlisted for military service in the 6th Gordons.
Mon 7 – Rothiemay School Board approved a housewifery course to be taken by Miss Gordon, the cookery teacher. The Grange School Board remembered when there were 135 scholars at Crossroads (now 77) and about 130 at Sillyearn (now about 90, partly due to changes on Edingight Estate).
Tue 8 – The Keith Town Band had their first outing of the season with an evening open-air performance along with the Gordons’ Pipe Band in Reidhaven Square. Down in Banff, Sheriff Stuart sentenced a 14 year-old farm servant to 8 strokes of the birch for the theft of a watch from Foggiemoss in Grange. He also had to deal with the first case in Banffshire of supplying liquor to military personnel, contrary to the provisions of the Defence of the Realm Act. The unfortunate Cabrach farmer involved, who had pleaded ignorance of the law, was facing a £100 fine or 6 months in jail. Sheriff Stuart imposed a penalty of 10 shillings.
Wed 9 – A meeting of Grange Heritors dealt with an application from the minister, Rev Cranmer, to install acetylene gas lighting at his own expense in the Manse of Grange. A Public Inquiry at Banff Sheriff Court returned a formal verdict in the case of the fatal road accident last month in Seafield Avenue, Keith. Grange West U.F. Church hosted a social evening to mark Rev. James Stockdale’s almost 38 years as their minister.
Thur 10 – More than five hundred 3/6th Gordons embarked on a recruitment march from Keith to Banff.
Fri 11 – Rothiemay Castle advertised for a strong 16 year-old apprentice gardener. Sheriff Stuart and Chief Constable Hope swore in Special Constables for the Upper District of Boharm at ceremonies in Maggieknockater School and Craigellachie Police Station.
Sat 12 – A meeting of the Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club confirmed the judges for the Show in August. The Rothiemay Picnic Committee decided to cancel this year’s Picnic and Games and set up a Shilling Fund for local men in the Forces.
Sun 13 – Rev. James Philip of Carnoustie was the preacher at the Newmill Mission Hall.
Mon 14 – At the monthly meeting of Keith Town Council, the Provost signed the contract for the new Cuthil water reservoir. The Gordons, on their weekend recruitment campaign at Banff, took the train to Glenbarry and marched from there back to Keith.
Tue 15 – The Mulben Picnic Committee resolved to halt all sports until the end of the war. The road from Craigellachie to Mulben was closed to begin repairs to the Bridge of Maggieknockater over the Burn of Aldernie. Fife-Keith residents enjoyed an evening performance by the Town Band in Regent Square.
Cpl James P. Bremner, 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders, was killed in action in France. A native of Keith, he was a sawmill manager at Forres.
Pte Alexander Mackenzie of the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders was also killed in action. The eldest son of William Mackenzie, Newtack of Cairnty, he has been a farm servant at The Bush, Boharm.
Pte James Munro, also of the 1/6th Seaforths, was another casualty of the fighting in France. He was a native of Keith and had been working as a mason in Cullen.
Wed 16 – In Botriphnie the Humphrey Bursary for 1915 was awarded to Lizzie Watt of Woodend. “Splendid” weather attended the June Market in Keith.
Thur 17 – Keith shopkeepers held their weekly half-day holiday today instead of Wednesday.
Pte Angus M. Hay, 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders, died in hospital in France of wounds received in an attack the previous day. He was 24 years old, from Fife-Keith and a baker to trade.
Fri 18 – Sgt James H. Reid, 2nd Gordon Highlanders, was killed at the Front in France. Prior to enlisting in 1908 he had been a farm servant in the Keith area.
Sat 19 – Grange Boy Scouts enjoyed a picnic on the Sillyearn Hill and collected sphagnum moss for use in field dressings. James Buchan, station agent at Drummuir, had been promoted to Assistant Station Master at Elgin. He would be succeeded at Drummuir by Mr Ogg of Elgin. Eggs contributed by schools around the county and beyond were on sale on two stalls in Keith in aid of workshops for training disabled soldiers and sailors.
Sun 20 – Leading Seaman Thomas Barclay, R.N.V.R., fell in action at Gallipoli while serving with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. He was born at Whitestones, Auchinderran and had been a farm servant at Letterfourie before the war.
Tue 22 – Dundashill Distillery in Glasgow was advertising in Banffshire for men for their maltings. The Banffshire Herald interviewed Mr W. Gordon of Land Street, a survivor of the recent sinking of HMS Majestic, torpedoed by the Turks in the Dardanelles. He ascribed his good fortune to learning to swim in the Dungeon (a pool in the Isla and a favourite swimming haunt of Keith youths).
Wed 23 – Off the Shetland Islands, German submarine U-38 sank seventeen vessels, ten of them drifters from Peterhead. All the crews survived.
Thur 24 – Keith Bowling Club were the victors in a match against a team from the 6th Gordons.
Sat 26 – The Banffshire Herald reported that, owing to agricultural labour shortages, some soldiers could be given short furloughs to help with the hay harvest. A cricket match was held at Seafield Park between the Keith Veterans and a team from the 3/6th Gordon Highlanders. A heavy downpour stopped play. At a meeting in the Public Hall in Findochty Sheriff Stuart officially declared the town to be the latest Police Burgh in Banffshire.
Sun 27 – Sgt Edward McLaren, 6th Gordons, was killed by a stray German bullet.
Mon 28 – Anniversary of the assassinations in Sarajevo.
Tue 29 – An evening service was held in the schoolhouse at Auchanacie.
Wed 30 – A presentation was made to John Wiseman who was retiring as brewer and manager at Towiemore Distillery. It was the last day for applications for various bursaries such as the Edindaich Endowment for Keith pupils and Admiral Duff’s Bequest for Botriphnie pupils. Keith minister, Rev. Matthew Stewart, married Margaret Fraser in Perth.