KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Saturday 1 A meeting of the Maggieknockater and Arndilly Work Party was held in the School to organise a Red Cross Fête at Arndilly House. New whisky regulations come into effect obliging retailers to include strength and price on bottles and casks. The Dried Fruits Section of the Ministry of Food had purchased a considerable stock of currants in Greece in January but had been unable to import them because of a lack of shipping.
Sunday 2 The minister’s subject at the evening service in Grange Parish Church was ‘The Book of Revelation and the Present Conflict’.
Monday 3 Keith Town Clerk, Col John G. Fleming, is made an Officer of the British Empire in the King’s Birthday Honours. Tenders had to be in by today to Auchlunkart Estate for cleaning the Loan Burn. Moss lairs are given off at Cairnty and Bogbain. The cost of sending a letter by post is increased from 1d to 1½d.
Tuesday 4 Newmill Parish Church Choir presented fellow member Miss Helen Robertson of Herricks Cottage with wedding gifts of a silver cake basket and crystal salt cellars. It was reported that over 1,100 newspapers were putting up their price but not the Banffshire Herald which remains at one penny for two more years. An anticipated butter mountain in Aberdeenshire over the summer months is expected to avoid the need for local rationing. The farm of Piketillum (50 acres) in Glass was up for let.
Wednesday 5 Cullen Pierrette Troupe put on a show in St Thomas’ Hall in aid of the Servicemen’s Rest Room at Keith Junction. Botriphnie School Board reported that there were 122 children of school age in the parish. Meetings this week established WRIs at Cornhill and Longmanhill. It was decided to set up Institutes in Arradoul and Rathven later in the year with others proposed at Enzie and Shielburn.
Thursday 6 Fife-Keith School toilets were getting little or no water for flushing from the Town supply despite a 30,000 gallon overflow going into the Den of Pitlurg at the source spring. Keith School Board reported that there were 945 school-age children in the Keith district and 266 in the Newmill district. A new boiler would have to be installed at one of the schools as the old one was of a German make and new parts were therefore unobtainable. Keith Juniors played Huntly Juniors in a football match at Seafield Park winning by two goals to one.
Friday 7 The Food Controller announced he would purchase all surplus ware potatoes at £7 per ton in four-ton lots provided suppliers advised the Director of Vegetable Supplies in London by 18th June.
Saturday 8 The Banffshire Herald reported that John Robertson, formerly of Newmill, had travelled almost 9,000 miles from Hawaii to enlist. M. McKenzie announced the opening of her grocery business at 146 Mid Street.
Sunday 9 Knock and Rothiemay sections of the Banffshire Volunteers held a joint drill at Scraib Wood. An afternoon church service by the North Church minister took place at Tarrycroys School.
Monday 10 Rothiemay School Board referred three Ternemny School defaulters to the Grange Board. Keith Steam Laundry in Union Street collects by cart on Mondays and delivers on Fridays.
Tuesday 11 Grange School Board resolved to requisition £550 from the Parish Council for educational purposes for 1918-19. It was reported that several very large eels had been caught in the Burn of Cairnie. James Primrose, JP, Auchinclech, intimated his resignation after 40 years as Rothiemay’s Inspector of Poor, Collector of Rates and Clerk to the Parish Council. The post is to be advertised with a salary of £40 per annum.
Wednesday 12 Aberdeen dentist Charles Brown attends Mrs Calder’s Temperance Hotel , Mid Street, every Wednesday afternoon. German forces occupy Tiflis, the capital of Georgia. An armistice is concluded in Kiev between the Ukrainian State and Russia. There were now 700,000 American soldiers assembled in France.
Thursday 13 The Banffshire Territorial Force Association wrote to Keith Provost James Taylor soliciting funds for food parcels to POWs in Germany. Each parcel costs £3 per man per month with bread being supplied from neutral Copenhagen and Berne. Grand Duke Michael, the brother of the deposed Tsar Nicholas II, was executed by local Bolsheviks in Siberia. He had been a visitor to Keith while on a pre-war tour of Scotland.
Friday 14 Grange Red Cross held a meeting in the Manse where a large amount of work was distributed to the Red Cross Society and the County War Workers’ Association. Mill of Ruthven was advertised for immediate let.
Saturday 15 Pupils from schools in Keith, Auchanacie, Shenwell, Auchindoun, Kininvie, and Botriphnie enjoyed a picnic and games in the grounds of Drummuir Castle. Men or youths were wanted for light work at Wood of Janetstown on Drummuir Estate.
Lance Corporal James Cruickshank (20), 1st Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of John and Ann Cruickshank, Post Office, Grange, he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.
Sunday 16 This was the last day for enrolment for 114 officers, NCOs and men required for the new company of the proposed Banffshire Home Defence.
Monday 17 Keith baker William Kelty announced the temporary withdrawal of his country van but assured customers that his bread would still be available from other country shops and carts. Pupils at Grange School begin three weeks of summer holidays.
Tuesday 18 Alex. Reid, Commission Agent, 133 Mid Street, was offering five shillings per cwt for rhubarb. Kininvie Smallholders’ Association made a presentation to their secretary on his being called up for military service.
Wednesday 19 The weather was dull but fine for the Keith June Market held at Seafield Park. Pupils from music teachers in Ballindalloch, Huntly, Keith and Fife-Keith were examined in Keith by Dr Bart from the London College of Music.
Thursday 20 Food riots broke out in Vienna.
Friday 21 The June meeting of Rothiemay WRI included a talk on butter-salting by Miss Riddoch from Keith and an address on ‘The Returning Soldier ’by Rev. Borthwick from Huntly. Shortages forced the withdrawal of soap and towels from the trains on the Great North of Scotland Railway. Mr and Mrs Williams’ travelling cinematographic show presents two hours of non-stop entertainment with films new to Keith.
Saturday 22 A Grand Garden Fête and Gift Sale in aid of the Red Cross Week is held in the grounds of Park House, Cornhill. The Keith Scouts’ Pipe Band provides musical entertainment and in the evening plays in Cluny Square in Buckie. It is Red Cross flag day in Rothiemay and Cairnie where schoolgirls take over collecting duties. Williams’ Movies provide a second evening’s show in the Longmore Hall with more new films before moving on to the Town Hall in Dufftown.
Sunday 23 Church parades involving the local Volunteers, the Red Cross members and the Drummuir Boy Scouts take place at united services at both the Botriphnie churches. There is further Entente intervention in northern Russia as 1,100 British troops disembark in Murmansk. The political situation in Vienna continues to worsen as Austrian Prime Minister Ernst von Seidler resigns.
Monday 24 Thomas Ord’s Royal Circus comes to Keith with an evening show at Seafield Park. The price of Government butter is reduced from half-a-crown to 2s 4d per lb.
Tuesday 25 The Service Company of 1st Banffshire Volunteer Regiment was embodied at Keith and departed by train for their Service Station. A drifting mine explodes on the beach near Portgordon and the blast is felt as far away as Fochabers. The Keith Plate Glass Association held its Annual Meeting. “Try McIntosh, Forgue, for anything you require. Everything supplied.” On offer this week were sets of bagpipes for £7 new or £4 second-hand.
Wednesday 26 The various sections of the Grange Volunteers combined for a joint drill at Fortry. Sweden, Finland and Germany agreed to withdraw from their respective forts on the Åland Islands in the Baltic.
Thursday 27 Sir George Beatson, Honorary Colonel of the Army Medical Corps (Volunteer) and pioneer in the field of oncology, inspected Earlsmount Hospital and complimented the medical staff, the cooks and the volunteers on their efforts. Auchindoun and Kininvie Schools begin their summer holidays. The return football match between Keith and Huntly Juniors finishes in a two-all draw.
Friday 28 Schools in Grange and Keith parishes begin their summer break. Mrs Mary Laidlaw, wife of the School Convener, presented the prizes at Auchanacie School. An open-air meeting of the Labour Party in Keith Square is addressed by Mr Kiddie, NUR, Glasgow. The pupils at Shenwell and Alehousehillock Schools start their summer holidays. A reward is offered for a watch lost on the road between Glenbarry and Woodhead, Edingight. Willie Whitelaw, Conservative politician, was born in Nairn. Today is the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, the spark which lit the Balkan tinderbox that developed into a European and then a global conflict.
Saturday 29 The electoral roll for the new Banffshire Parliamentary Constituency, which now included Banff, Macduff and Cullen, was published and was available at parish post offices. Children from Newmill and district were treated to a picnic and games at Crossburn.
Sunday 30 The Highland Railway had lifted the 1½ miles of track between Aultmore Station and Crooksmill Siding for use by the Admiralty at Inverness and Invergordon.