KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WW1
Friday 1 The Food Controller fixed the retail price of oatmeal at 5d per lb in England and Ireland and at 4½d per lb in Scotland. The last weekend of the season at the Palace Cinema had as its main feature the drama ‘Playing with Fire’.
Saturday 2 The Banffshire Committee on Food Production met in Keith and reported that only 179 acres had been ploughed using the Emerson motor tractor. Scotland was expected to increase production by 350,000 acres with Banffshire contributing 12,850 acres by 1918. A work accident at Isla Bank Mills involved a young lad from Duff Street being taken to Turner Memorial Hospital with serious arm injuries.
Sunday 3 The prizegiving took place at Grange Parish Church for children attending the Sunday Schools at Grange and at Hillhead. Italy proclaimed a protectorate over Albania currently occupied by Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian forces with small areas in the south under the control of France and Italy.
Monday 4 The Scottish Woollen Priority Committee imposed a maximum 45-hour week on Scottish mills (including Isla Bank and Seafield Mills in Keith) to restrict consumption of wool and conserve stocks. Peat lairs were given off at Bogbain Moss.
Tuesday 5 Three Keith men were fined £2 each at Banff Sheriff Court for cutting up a cow which had been infected with anthrax. Seafield Estates were letting lairs at the Cairnty Moss in Boharm. Rev R E Gilbert presided at a meeting of the Grange School Board.
Bombadier David G. Lorimer (37), 21st Royal Garrison Artillery, Anzacs Corps, died of his wounds at No 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station in France. He had worked at Talisker on Skye and had been brewer/manager at Ardlussa and Glentauchers Distilleries. He was buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery in Steenwerck in France and is commemorated on the Botriphnie and Boharm War Memorials.
Wednesday 6 A meeting of the Botriphnie School Board in Drummuir Hall reported that there were 131 children of school age in the parish. A Jumble Sale in the Longmore Hall raised £28 for Holy Trinity Church choir funds. Keith Bowling Green opened for the season.
Pte Charles Black (19), 9th Seaforth Highlanders, died of his wounds at the Front in France. The son of Mrs Jessie Black of Mid Street, he had been a carter with Benjamin Strachan in Keith. He is buried in the Saint-Nicolas Cemetery in Pas-de-Calais.
Thursday 7 Keith School Board discussed the heating system at the Grammar School and agreed to get a Glasgow firm of heating engineers to carry out a survey. Dino Crocetti (Dean Martin, singer and actor) was born in Ohio. A huge British mine explosion under German positions on the front line at Wytschaete near Ypres in Belgium was heard 140 miles away in London.
Friday 8 Rothiemay School Board reported that 13 students had enrolled in the First Aid Class and that Miss E S Mackay had been appointed assistant teacher at Ternemny School.
Saturday 9 A meeting in Portsoy of the Banffshire branch of the Educational Institute of Scotland made it a ‘grave breach of professional etiquette’ to accept a position at £80 or less per annum. The Banffshire Herald reported that, at a meeting of the Auchlunkart, Mulben and Forgie Ladies’ Work Party at Auchlunkart House, a presentation to Mrs Douglas, Bridgeton, had taken place on the occasion of her leaving the district. The paper also had an advert for woodcutters, snedders and peelers for forestry work in Glass.
Sunday 10 Rev James Philip, Carnoustie, held an afternoon service at Tarrycroys School. The Bishop of Aberdeen, Æneas Chisholm, officiated at the confirmation of over one hundred candidates at St Thomas’ Church in Keith. The Kirk Session at Grange Parish Church presented fellow elder James Weir with an inscribed silver tea tray to mark his approaching marriage.
Monday 11 A devastating hill fire broke out on the Fife Estate at Aultmore and spread to the neighbouring property of the Duke of Richmond and Gordon destroying most of the estate’s grouse moor. The Entente’s High Commissioner in Greece, Charles Jonnart, forced the pro-German King Constantine from power and installed his second son as King Alexander on the Greek throne.
Tuesday 12 Rothiemay schoolchildren had collected five sacks of sphagnum moss to send to the depot in Keith. Temperatures in the area remained high with 77°F recorded at Fochabers.
Wednesday 13 The first of four wartime cookery lessons was held at Keith Grammar School. German bombers made a daring daylight air raid on London. A thunderstorm with heavy hail showers affected parts of the county.
Thursday 14 A westerly gale helped to re-ignite the Aultmore hill fire which was blown several miles eastwards on to Cairnfield Estate.
Corporal George Calder (25), 6th Gordon Highlanders, who lived in Wellington Terrace, Fife-Keith, was killed in action in France. The son of Mrs Calder, Drum Cottage, Moss Street, he had been employed by Charles Anderson, clothier, Mid Street, and is remembered on the Arras and Keith War Memorials.
Friday 15 Lord Rhondda was announced as the new Food Controller. The hill fire eventually burned out on the boundaries of Letterfourie and Cluny Estates. Several thousand acres of grouse moor had been destroyed.
Saturday 16 The London College of Music examinations were held in Keith.
Sunday 17 Portuguese troops were first used on the Western Front in France.
Monday 18 Banknotes from the North of Scotland and Town and County Bank had been lost in Keith. A reward was offered to the finder.
Tuesday 19 Miss Cumming gave a lecture and demonstration of wartime cookery at Newmill Public School. King George commanded members of the Royal Family to relinquish their German titles and honours.
Wednesday 20 The Keith June Market attracted very few animals but dealers from the coast did a brisk trade in ropes and herring nets. In the House of Commons, MPs voted to grant the franchise to women aged over 30. The long, hot dry spell eventually broke when rain arrived from the east.
Thursday 21 Torrential rain fell in the area with two inches recorded over two days at Gordon Castle in Fochabers. The Warrant was published for the institution of ‘The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ to recognise service by civilians during the Great War.
Friday 22 The 1st Banffshire Volunteer Regiment had received its first supply of new rifles and equipment including Hotchkiss machine guns. C Company members in Keith were busy this evening with bayonet practice.
Saturday 23 Drummuir Estate advertised the sale of 35,000 trees. The Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club’s Prize Draw for a Clydesdale filly was held in Keith. The winner, picked from over 7,000 tickets sold, was Alexander Allan, Mains of Baldavie, Banff. The Banffshire Herald reported that under the Sale of Horses Order 1917 a licence was now required for a farmer to sell a horse and that the Government would now have first option to buy. Today was the last date for entries for a Grand Billiards Tournament in the Unionist Club in Keith in connection with next month’s Red Cross Week.
Monday 25 At Keith Police Court, a vagrant was fined ten shillings or five days in jail for breach of the peace. He admitted a long list of previous convictions stretching back to 1872. The first American troops arrived in France. The annual meeting of the Keith Plate Glass Association was held in the offices of Stephen & Robb in Turner Street.
Tuesday 26 The first Women’s Rural Institute in Scotland was established at Longniddry in Haddingtonshire. It was to have been at the nearby village of Macmerry but was changed because of an outbreak of measles. A presentation took place in the manse of the Grange West United Free Church to mark the forthcoming marriage of choir member Miss Mary McWilliam.
Wednesday 27 The annual Vale of Isla Hoeing Competition was held at Clerkseat in Grange. The Highland and Agricultural Society’s medal was presented to the winner Patrick Stables from Burnmouth. A ladies’ competition took place at the Keith Bowling Club. At the prizegiving ceremony at Keith Grammar School, Bella Gordon of Balloch Road received a prize for nine years perfect attendance at school. Eleftherios Venizelos of the Greek Provisional Government in Salonika took over power as Prime Minister in Athens. All of Greece was now at war with the Central Powers.
Friday 29 Prizegivings took place at Grange, Glen of Newmill and Tarrycroys Schools. At Newmill, the pupils from the Public School and the Sunday School combined to march to the farm of Crossburn and enjoyed an afternoon picnic and games.
Battery Sergeant Major William Shackleton (34), 70th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, died of wounds received in action. He was the husband of Jane Shackleton of Land Street, Keith, and was buried in Nœux-les-Mines Cemetery in France.
Saturday 30 In East Africa, British and Portuguese troops forced German troops out of Nyasaland (now Malawi). The Banffshire Herald reported that servicemen aged 19 and 20 would be given the vote at the next General Election.