KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Monday 1 The Newmill Civilian Shooting Club was now open for the season on Mondays and Wednesdays. Rothiemay ratepayers met to recommend the appointment of their chairman as County Councillor to replace the late Mr Thurburn of Mayen. Glenn Ford, the film actor, was born in Quebec, Canada.
Tuesday 2 The Quarter Sessions of the Peace of the County were held in Banff and unanimously agreed not to grant liquor licences at displenish sales for the next year. Keith Parish Church Junior Choir, under their organist and choirmaster F W Grieve, performed the late J C Grieve’s Kinderspiel ‘Fickle Fortune’ in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Keith District Nursing Association. The Commissioners of Supply for Banffshire met in Banff and appointed six members to the Joint Standing Committee responsible for the County Constabulary.
Wednesday 3 At Banff Sheriff Court two Keith men were fined 30 shillings or ten days in jail for stealing honeycombs from beehives at Bogbain. Showing at The Palace in Keith was Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops comedy ‘Tillie’s Punctured Romance’ starring Marie Dressler and Charlie Chaplin in cinema’s first feature-length film. Keith and district’s nearest brush with the Great War occurred in the early hours when Zeppelin L20 under Captain Lieutenant Franz Stabbert strayed too far north from his intended target of the Forth Bridge and Rosyth naval base. Returning back over Upper Banffshire, the electric lights of Craig Castle near Rhynie were mistaken for a colliery pithead and six bombs were dropped. Carrying on over Clatt, further bombs were dropped at Flinder near Insch, at Knockenbaird and Scotston near Colpy, and at Fairfield House near Old Rayne. In all, the L20 dropped 17 bombs causing very little damage. The airship limped over the North Sea, chased by a French frigate, and crash-landed in neutral Norway with only ten pints of petrol left. Some crew managed to jump overboard before the shoreline was crossed and were repatriated as ‘shipwrecked mariners’; the others were interned.
Thursday 4 Keith Golf Club’s annual meeting halved membership fees in order to attract new members. The morning Highland train from Keith to Elgin was derailed at Orbliston Junction blocking the line for most of the day. There were no casualties. Keith School Board appointed Miss Roy as assistant at the Fife-Keith School to replace Miss Simpson. A survey of the Auchanacie School district revealed a population of 164 with 33 of school age.
Friday 5 Aberdeen Military Tribunal Appeal Court offered a Boharm Christian Brethren conscientious objector non-combative duties. This being declined, his appeal was dismissed. Ruthven schoolchildren gave a concert in aid of Children’s Huts in France. It was the last day for offers for the let of Blacklug and Blackhill on Cairnborrow Estate. The United States landed marines in the Dominican Republic to force a regime change and establish American military government until 1924.
Saturday 6 A railway siding at Shiel Wood in Grange for the extraction of timber was officially opened by Parish Councillor Mr G. H. Pritchard. The siding was closed in 1921. In German East Africa, Belgian forces captured the town of Kigali. It is now the capital of Rwanda.
Sunday 7 Visiting preachers took the evening services in Keith with Rev. Alexander McKay of Botriphnie at the Parish Church and Rev. Professor Martin of Edinburgh at the North U F Church. In Grange, Rev. Cranmer’s evening service topic was ‘Lessons from the Irish Rebellion’.
Monday 8 There were several displenish sales in the area leading up to Whitsunday starting with one at Maisley. Keith Town Council’s May meeting discussed killing house licences, savings made on last season’s street lighting bill and various repairs to drains and fences in Fife-Keith. The Williams Company began a week of pantomimes and revues at the Longmore Hall.
Tuesday 9 The Tarryblake Crow Raid Committee met at the rookery to finalise this year’s arrangements. Displenish sales were held at Yonderton in Grange and at Oakenhead in Keith.
Pte James Dey (19) of the 4th South African Infantry, the South African Scottish, died of fever at Aldershot Military Hospital. Originally from Lennoch, Drummuir, he was a trainee chartered accountant in Pretoria before enlisting. He is buried in Botriphnie Churchyard.
Wednesday 10 A patriotic song ‘We’ll Let The Kaiser See’ written by Isaac Sharpe of Nelson Terrace with music by his daughter, Miss Ada Sharpe, was a huge hit when sung to the Longmore Hall audiences at the Williams Company’s productions.
Thursday 11 British forces continued their advance to establish a zone of control in Eastern Persia.
Friday 12 It was a busy day in Botriphnie with a displenish sale at Slogan and Fast Day observance services with Rev. Neil Conley of Dufftown at the U F Church and Rev. J. G. Cranmer of Grange at the Parish Church. James D. Burns, headmaster at Grange School for 17 years, died aged 47 at the Schoolhouse. He had been captain of the local Rifle Club and, for many years, was choirmaster at the West U F Church.
Saturday 13 England take on Scotland at an international charity football match at Goodison Park, Liverpool in front of 22,000 spectators, winning by four goals to three. The Banffshire Herald reported that Lance Corporal Andrew Forsyth of the Gordon Highlanders, on his way home to Keith on leave, was stopped at King’s Cross Station in London by Queen Mary for a short chat. His onward journey to Keith was cut short at Dundee when he was recalled to the Front. The Humphrey Bursary competition was held at Drummuir.
Sunday 14 Communion services took place at both Botriphnie churches.
Monday 15 The displenish sale at Brae included, among the household items, thirty volumes of the Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
Tuesday 16 Keith Parish Council agreed to discontinue publication of names on parish poor relief. Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey sent a letter to his French counterpart ratifying the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement on the post-war dismemberment of the Turkish Empire by Russia, France and Britain. The Misses Dey’s roup took place at Forkins, Drummuir.
Wednesday 17 Edith Wilson was announced as the winner of the Humphrey Bursary competition.
Thursday 18 Displenish sales continued at Tauchers and Piketillum. A symbolic link-up was established by Russian and British forces on the River Tigris in Mesopotamia. A concert was held in the Longmore Hall in aid of Red Cross funds and featured eminent London artistes sponsored by Dame Clara Butt, the opera singer. Among the performers was her sister, Miss Pauline Hook. A special train was laid on to return concertgoers to Auchindachy, Drummuir and stations to Aberlour.
Friday 19 Drummuir Work Party’s season ended with a musical evening in the Hall. A displenish and grass sale took place at Knaughland, Rothiemay.
Saturday 20 Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club decided not to hold a Summer Show this year. The Banffshire Herald reported good news for the Gibb family in Fife-Keith. Their son Frank, previously reported as missing at the Front, was now confirmed a prisoner of war in Germany. Drummuir Boy Scouts, under Scoutmaster Mrs Gordon-Duff, held a day of activities at the Castle and were presented with their proficiency badges.
Sunday 21 British Summer Time was introduced in order to reduce artificial lighting and save coal for military and war purposes. In Grange, the Sunday sevices at the Parish Church and the Hillhead Mission Hall were held at the new time. The congregations at Whitehill and West U F Churches held to the old time.
Monday 22 At the Military Tribunal Appeal Court in Banff an appeal by the military representative against exemption for a Boharm resident was upheld. A counter appeal was to go forward to the Central Tribunal. Displenish sales this week took place at Rivehillock in Auchanacie, Netherton and Heads of Auchinderran.
Tuesday 23 In Africa, British forces captured El Fasher, the capital of the Sultanate of Darfur. Rev. Charles Macdonald of St Thomas’ Church was presented with many tokens of esteem at a social evening in St Thomas’ Hall to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
Wednesday 24 Empire Day was marked at Ternemny School. Schoolchildren at Maggieknockater were reminded that two former pupils had made the supreme sacrifice: Artificer Engineer James Mackay on HMS Pathfinder and Captain John Geddes of the Canadian Overseas Force. Sillyearn pupils enjoyed an afternoon of games and song at the top of the Knock. Keith Bowling Club opened for the season. At the suggestion of the Board of Trade, the Banffshire District Agricultural Committee arranged a series of meetings to organise and register women to undertake agricultural work. The Keith meeting formed local committees for Keith, Fife-Keith, Newmill, Boharm, Botriphnie and Grange.
Thursday 25 The Military Service Act, 1916 (Session2) came into force adding married men to the scope of conscription and reducing the minimum age to 18. British forces crossed from Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia into German East Africa.
Friday 26 Grange School Board granted attendance exemption to three 13 year olds. Miss Shand was approved as a temporary teacher of cookery at Crossroads School. Mr McGregor from Keith was standing in for the late Grange headmaster Mr Burns.
Saturday 27 A site meeting was held at Towiemore Distillery for potential contractors for the proposed extensions to the malt barns. The Banffshire Herald reported that Blackhillock Limeworks, closed since February, had now reopened. Earlsmount Hospital was closed temporarily pending recruitment of a new matron and staff. Keith’s half-yearly Feeing Market was held in Mid Street. With farmers unwilling to pay excessive wages many of the unexpectedly large number of servants were left without positions. A displenish sale of furniture took place at the Gordon Arms Hotel in Mid Street.
Monday 29 As Whitsunday fell on a Sunday, today was observed as Term Day with rents and feu-duties becoming payable. Lairs at Cairnty Moss, Boharm, were for let.
Tuesday 30 The first case of a contravention of the recent Army Council Order regarding unauthorised sale of hay or straw was heard at Banff Sheriff Court. Mr Rennie announced the opening of his carpenter’s business at Thornton, Grange. Vice Admiral Sir Martyn Jerram with the 2nd Battle Squadron set sail from the Cromarty Firth to meet the remainder of the Grand Fleet in the North Sea.
Wednesday 31 There was a presentation to Miss M. B. Joss, the Boharm School infant mistress ,who was transferring to Keith. Banffshire Wine, Spirit and Beer Trade Association met in Keith to agree price increases. The British Grand Fleet engaged the German High Seas Fleet in the Battle of Jutland.