KEITH & STRATHISLA DURING WWI
Thursday 1 Keith School Board reported that, although continuation class numbers were up for courses at the Grammar School, there was an insufficient uptake for evening classes at Newmill.
Friday 2 British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent a letter to Lord Rothschild indicating that the UK Government would ‘view with favour the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine’. The School Board of Botriphnie confirmed there would not be any continuation classes this winter.
Saturday 3 Police Judge Stewart presided at a combined meeting of delegates from several local cattle breeding societies in the Temperance Hotel in Keith. It was reported that the National Debt had increased from £645 million at the start of the war to £3,674 million at present.
Sunday 4 A Communion service was held in Grange Parish Church. A reward was offered for a gold drop pendant set with blue stones lost between Keith Square and the Union Bridge.
Monday 5 A Service of Thanksgiving took place in the North UF Church. The Palace Cinema was showing The Fireman starring Charlie Chaplin along with several short comedy films.
Tuesday 6 The Maggieknockater Work Party received a donation of £15 from the recent Aberlour Free Gift Sale. British troops were sent from France to reinforce the Italian front line against the Austro-German advance east of Venice.
Wednesday 7 Earlsmount Hospital marked the third anniversary of its opening. Rev. Stephen Ree submitted his resignation as Chairman of the Boharm School Board. Mr McWilliam was appointed in his place. The Board agreed there would be no evening classes at Maggieknockater or Boharm Schools this year. In Russia, the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet launched an armed insurrection deposing the Provisional Government of Alexander Kerensky. Spearheaded by the Bolsheviks Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, it quickly spread to other Russian cities.
Donald McBain (61) Chief Officer, Mercantile Marine, was one of 13 crew lost when the S S Ballogie was torpedoed while on Government Service by a German U-boat off the Yorkshire coast. He is commemorated on the Keith War Memorial.
Thursday 8 A meeting at Sillyearn School to set up an evening class for cookery was addressed by the School Board Chairman Mr Pritchard and the cookery teacher Miss Cumming from Keith.
Friday 9 The Railway Clerks’ Association held a successful whist drive in the Longmore Hall in aid of the Servicemen’s Rest Room. Keith Town Council elected John Laidlaw as Senior Bailie and Andrew Ledingham as Junior Bailie. They decided to try to get the chiming of the town clocks reinstated.
Saturday 10 The Central Banffshire Farmers’ Club meeting agreed to investigate the possibility of establishing a branch of the National Farmers’ Union in the district. The Banffshire Herald reported that 150 Canadians and 50 horses had arrived at Knockando to set up a sawmill. Timber from the Ballindalloch Estate would be transported across the Spey by an aerial railway and female labour was engaged in carrying out tree planting. Another sawmill was being set up on the Keith to Fochabers road by Jones & Sons. The Government had ordered 6,000 motor tractors for Spring 1918. The Ministry of Food was recommending that ½lb of potatoes to 7lb of flour could be used to improve the taste of home-made bread.
Pte Alfred W. Sharp (19), 3rd Gordon Highlanders, died in Aberdeen of his wounds. The son of Alexander and Jane Sharp, Milltown, Rothiemay, he is commemorated on the Parish War Memorial.
Sunday 11 Bayonet fighting practice took place for the local platoons of the Volunteers in the morning at Drummuir and Mulben and in the afternoon at Newmill, Fortrie, Knock Station and Crossroads of Rothiemay.
Monday 12 Keith Field Club presented an exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society of London’s prize lantern slides of the year in the Museum in the Institute. Holy Trinity Church held a lantern lecture on missionary work in Kaffraria, a former British Crown Colony now a part of Cape Province in the Union of South Africa. Mrs Williams’ Theatrical Company began a week-long series of entertainment shows in the Longmore Hall. Sir Arthur Yapp, Director of Food Economy, announced new voluntary bread rationing – 8lb per week for male agricultural workers and 3½lb for non-working women. Jo Stafford, the American singer, was born in California.
Tuesday 13 Grange War Savings Association decided that one association could cover all three school collection points in the parish. Isla Bank Mills had donated blankets to the residents at the Parish Home. The Parish Council agreed to increase its payment to 30 shillings for each coffin ordered from cabinetmaker Mr Hendry. The croft of Moss-side, Rothiemay, was advertised to let.
Wednesday 14 An engine driver appeared at Banff Sheriff Court charged with supplying alcohol to wounded soldiers at Keith. Hallow Fair was held at Fordyce. Jaffa was captured by the British in their advance northwards through Palestine.
Pte Alexander Thompson (19), 7th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of William and Elizabeth Thompson, Coldhome, he is commemorated on the Rothiemay War Memorial.
Thursday 15 The price of Keith gas was increased to 6s 8d per 1,000 cubic feet. Ternemny School was closed by the County Medical Officer for a fortnight because of the whooping cough epidemic. Rothiemay School Board agreed to arrange an evening class in cookery and household management.
Pte Henry N. George (37), 47th Battalion, Canadian Infantry (Western Ontario Regiment), the son of Alexander and Mary George, was killed in action. He is buried in the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium.
Friday 16 Miss Finlayson, assistant teacher at Crossroads School, was presented with a silver cake stand by pupils and friends on the occasion of her leaving the district. Georges Clemenceau was appointed French Prime Minister and War Minister.
Saturday 17 For one day only the Palace Cinema was showing the War Office Cinematographic Committee film ‘The Battle of Arras’, advertised as ‘the greatest of all Official War Films’. Over 18,000 soldiers from Scotland fell in the battle. Banffshire Food Control Committee met in Keith to discuss meat, milk and bread prices, food economy and transport co-ordination. A Sale of Waterproofs was held in the Keith Auction Mart. Earlsmount Hospital has been requested to accommodate another 11 beds.
Sunday 18 A meeting was held at the Patriotic Club to establish a local branch of the Girl Guides.
Monday 19 Local farmers met at Tarrycroys School to establish a Cattle Breeding Society under the Board of Agriculture for Scotland for 1917-1918. Indira Nehru was born at Allahabad. Both she and her father would become Prime Ministers of an independent India.
Tuesday 20 Mrs Weir, UF Manse, Rothiemay, addressed the Keith branch of the British Women’s Temperance Association on the Local Option provisions of the Temperance (Scotland) Act due to come into effect in 1920. Lance Corporal Robert McBeath (18), 1/5 Seaforth Highlanders, a native of Fraserburgh, won his VC during an attack on the first day of the Battle of Cambrai. The British used over 400 tanks in the first massed tank advance on the German lines. Pte George Reid (23), 6th Gordon Highlanders, was killed in action in France. The son of Harry and Ann Reid, Union Street, Keith, he had been a railway fireman on the GNSR.
Wednesday 21 A Musical Tea and Scrap Sale in aid of the Rest Room was opened by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. The Banffshire Liberal General Council along with representatives from Banff, Macduff and Cullen formally adopted John E. Sutherland as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. Mrs Mildred Gordon-Duff, Drummuir, was appointed County Commissioner of the Girl Guides. The Russian Bolshevik Government began armistice overtures to the Central Powers.
Friday 23 A railway guard was taken to Keith Hospital with severe injuries after an accident at Grange Station. Knockdhu Distillery provided the prizes at a Whist Drive in Ternemny School. Major Cameron, Bogbain, was appointed a county representative to the Wages Board. Mr and Mrs Kean from Botriphnie provided the musical entertainment at a whist drive in Kininvie School.
Pte James Dickson (24), Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, fell in action in France. He was the son of James Dickson, blacksmith and cycle agent, and Jeannie Dickson of Keith.
Saturday 24 The weather for Keith Feeing Market was boisterous and showery. Kitchen maids were in high demand commanding up to £14 for experienced girls. The Banffshire Herald reported that the Government had requisitioned the rails from the Buckie to Aultmore line for war purposes. It was noted that the 6th Gordon Highlanders would be eligible for the newly inaugurated 1914 Star. The Titan motor tractor with a B.3F plough from Sellar & Son was on trial at various farms in Grange.
Monday 26 The whooping cough epidemic forced the closure of Tarrycroys School till Christmas. The Russian Government orders cessation of hostilities on all fronts.
Pte George Duncan (23), 213rd Machine Gun Corps, was killed in action. The son of John and Jane Duncan, he is commemorated on the Keith War Memorial.
Tuesday 27 The farms of Shians and Fountainhead in Boharmwere advertised to let. Miss L. Munro, Yonderton, was presented with a gold brooch by colleagues in the Newmill Church Choir to mark her leaving the district. A Grand Concert of music and humourous sketches by the nursing staff and wounded soldiers was held in Earlsmount Hospital in aid of comforts for the patients.
Wednesday 28 Martinmas Term Day.
Thursday 29 The Womens’ Royal Naval Service was established.
Friday 30 Keith shopkeepers had their half day holiday today instead of Wednesday Term Day. Grange School hosted a Whist Drive. A concert by the pupils of Newmill and Glen Schools was held in the Newmill Institute. Mr William Robertson, the Glack, gave a slide show presentation on ambulance work in Drummuir Hall. Rothiemay School was the setting for the drama production ‘Tam Roy’s Courtship’.