KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Thursday 1 Keith, Glengerrack and Aultmore Cattle Breeding Society held a meeting in the Glen of Newmill School.
Friday 2 Allanbuie Dairy made its last milk round. Grange School Board decided to reduce the staffing level at Sillyearn School to one head teacher and one assistant following the resignation of Miss Shand. A concert by the Newmill Parish Church choir was held in the Hall in aid of the War Workers’ Association. The former Spanish island of Puerto Rico in the West Indies was made a Territory of the United States.
Saturday 3 A Banff soldier in the Royal Field Artillery, absent without leave from the Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow, gave himself up to the Police in Keith. A conveyance took potential bidders from the Square in Fife-Keith to Allanbuie Farm for the displenish sale of Mr Shaw’s dairy stock and equipment. Sidney Smith, factor of Drummuir and Park Estates, was one of the local jurors at the Court in Banff to fix the 1916 Banffshire Fiars Prices, which showed a substantial increase on the previous year’s record figures. Maggieknockater and Arndilly Ladies’ Work Party had sent three bags of sphagnum moss to the depot at Isla Bank Mills.
Sunday 4 Keith Post Office was open to callers from 5.30pm to 6pm. Rev. Matthew Stewart from Keith preached at the monthly evening service at Grange Parish Church.
Monday 5 At Keith Police Court, the RFA deserter was remanded in custody pending handing over to the Military Police.
Tuesday 6 A notice from the Office of the King’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer in Edinburgh intimated that a Grange woman’s estate had fallen to the Crown as Ultimus Haeres. Keith Parish Council agreed to enforce the decree against those whose rates arrears were still outstanding.
Wednesday 7 Keith Golf Club AGM in the Institute decided not to plough up the golf course as proposed by the Town Council and to keep it in pasture to rear 400 lambs instead. The McWhirr War Relics Exhibition was opened in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Keith branch of Queen Mary’s Needlework Guild. The Collection of 500 items of battlefield militaria was collected by Thomas McWhirr, a Glasgow merchant who had collapsed and died on Monday at Buchanan Street Station while seeing his daughter off on the train to Elgin. Botriphnie School Board asked the School Board Officer to conduct a census of all 5-6 year olds in the parish prior to the school intake later in the year.
Thursday 8 Forgie Cattle Breeding Society met in Forgie School. Rothiemay School Board appointed Miss Kennedy, County cookery teacher, to take a class at Ternemny School on one afternoon per week. International Women’s Day saw female textile workers in the Russian capital of Petrograd go on strike to protest against food shortages and the war.
Saturday 10 Among the many items on show on the last day of the McWhirr Exhibition were a collection of celebrity autographs, war cartoons by the Dutch artist Louis Raemackers and a German Hussar’s death’s head busby. The Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club agreed to buy a pedigreed Clydesdale filly as a prize for their forthcoming Free Gift Sale.
Sunday 11 British and Indian troops captured Baghdad in Mesopotamia. Revolution breaks out in Russia with the establishment of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies.
Monday 12 Keith Field Club gave a slide presentation of the Scottish Federation of Photographic Societies’ prize pictures of 1916. The Bread Order 1917 prohibits the use of sugar, currants or sultanas in the baking of bread. Georgette (Googie) Withers, the actress, was born in Karachi in India.
Tuesday 13 The Croft of Fernking (35 acres) in the Glen of Newmill was advertised to let. Marnan Fair at Aberchirder was the smallest on record with only 100 horses on show. A Keith butcher, now with 52 previous convictions, was fined at the Police Court for a further two breach of the peace offences.
Pte Frank Mellis (26), attached to the 8th/10th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in the trenches by a shell burst. The son of Mr and Mrs Mellis of Duff Street, Fife-Keith, he had served with the 2nd Gordons in India and had formed part of the Guard of Honour at the Delhi Durbar of 1911.
Wednesday 14 Keith North UF Church Band of Hope children were presented with biscuits and an orange by the Temperance Hotel. The Germans on the Western Front in France began a scorched-earth withdrawal to the Siegfried Line. The Russian Parliament formed a Provisional Government.
Thursday 15 Auchindoun Agricultural Co-operative Trading Society appointed Charles Myron, The Glack, as one of its joint secretaries. China breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany. The Tsar, on his way back to Petrograd by train, was stopped at Pskov by the Provisional Government and signed abdication papers passing the Imperial Throne to his brother Grand Duke Michael.
Friday 16 Tarrycroys School hosted a whist drive in aid of funds for comforts for local soldiers. In Russia, Grand Duke Michael decided against accepting the position of Tsar. He had visited Keith in 1902 when holidaying in Scotland and had lunch at the Station Hotel.
Pte Charles McCurrach (19), 9th Gordon Highlanders, from Newmill, was killed in action at Arras in France. He had worked at Isla Bank Mills and in farm service before enlisting in the 2nd Gordons.
Saturday 17 Grange farmer Charles Weir was appointed secretary and executive officer for the county by the Banffshire Food Production Committee. Keith Cottar Market was smaller than usual, many having been engaged beforehand. Keith sculptor’s business of William Boddie and Son has been taken over by Alexander Smart. James Colley, manager of Towiemore Distillery, was selling 500 stones of finest meadow hay in excellent condition.
Sunday 18 The Food Controller capped the price of swedes at 1½d per lb. A meeting of Holy Trinity Church in Keith recommended Rev Edward Bland to succeed Rev William Cruickshank.
Tuesday 20 Drummuir Estate was advertising for a forester’s assistant who would also take on the tenancy of Reyel. Easter Corrie (92 acres arable) was advertised to let by Blairmore Estate. Vera Welch was born in East Ham in Essex and adopted the stage name of ‘Vera Lynn’ in 1928. Her latest album ‘Vera Lynn 100’ appears this month.
Wednesday 21 An Imperial War Conference in London was attended by the Dominions of Canada, Australia, South Africa, Newfoundland and New Zealand as well as representatives from India.
Thursday 22 A social evening for the Bible Class and Choir was held at the Mannoch Hill Church Hall. The United States was the first to recognise the Provisional Government in Russia, followed quickly by the Entente allies. Keith Town Council heard there were no potatoes for sale in the town and that there was a severe shortage of seed potatoes for planting.
Friday 23 Neighbours rallied to help the tenant of Moss-side, Rothiemay, whose horse had recently died and held a ploughing match at his farm. A whist drive in Kininvie School raised £15 for Red Cross funds. Rev Weir gave a slide presentation on Calabar in Nigeria to the children of Rothiemay UF Church.
Saturday 24 The Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club Free Gift Sale in aid of local Red Cross and War Work Funds was held in the Keith Auction Mart and the Grammar School. Nurse Addison, an X-Ray Sister at Brighton Hospital and daughter of Mrs Addison of Land Street , was presented with the Royal Red Cross by the King at Buckingham Palace. Spring and Summer fashion adverts start to appear in the Banffshire Herald. National Service Week was accompanied by a concerted effort to enrol as many volunteers as possible. Breezybrae on Drummuir Estate was advertised to let. The Banffshire Herald reported that there were howls of laughter in Parliament at the suggestion there could possibly be female solicitors in Scotland in the future. Margaret Kidd, a pupil at Linlithgow Academy and just turned 17, became the first female member of the Scottish Faculty of Advocates in 1923.
Sunday 25 Lt Col DW Cameron of Lochiel, Commandant, Special Military Area, Inverness, inspected C Company of the Banffshire Volunteer Regiment at Seafield Park in Keith and then the Rothiemay, Knock and Sillyearn sections at Crossroads of Rothiemay. The Emerson motor tractor and plough was now stationed in Keith for a few days.
Monday 26 Keith Field Club hosted a free lantern lecture entitled ‘A Loon In London’ in the Museum. It was now compulsory for bakers to use an admix of flour with oats, semolina, maize or other specified substances when making bread. The Great North of Scotland Railway Company opened a new siding for timber extraction between Garmouth and Muir of Lochs.
Tuesday 27 Provost Taylor’s Work Party presented a two-day Exhibition of Variety Entertainment and Dancing in the Longmore Hall in aid of funds for the Rest Room at Keith Junction.
Thursday 29 Pte Frank Forrest (19), Gordon Highlanders, died in Tooting Military Hospital from wounds received in action in November. He was the son of Mr and Mrs Forrest of Lilac Neuk.
Friday 30 Newmill Volunteers held a whist drive in the Hall and raised £14 in aid of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Rest Room. The new Russian Provisional Government under Minister-Chairman Prince Georgy Lvov recognised the independence of Poland. The schoolchildren at Mulben presented a musical concert which included the operetta ‘The Midshipmite’ in aid of war funds.
Saturday 31 A Keith woman was fined £5 at Banff Sheriff Court for charging two shillings per stone for potatoes, in excess of that permitted by the Food Controller. Mayer & Fraser, Commercial Bank Buildings, Keith, were advertising for young men, disqualified from Army service, as overseers on a sugar plantation. A woman was jailed for 14 days at Banff for the theft of money and clothing from Bridge Cottage, Delfur.