Here are some of the stories reported in the News Letter 100 years ago:
Temperance Campaign Holds Open-Air Rally
In connection with the campaign organised by the Irish Temperance League another open-air meeting was held near the City Hall on Saturday night [August 26], when there was a large attendance.
The chairman, Mr Duncan Kirkwood, district secretary of the Independent Order of the Rechabites, speaking on “Temperance from the labour point of view”, said the question was not a new one. It was, however, a very pressing and up-to-date subject, and would remain so at least until the last of the 1,200 shops in Belfast that were licensed to sell drink was closed (Hear, hear).
Working people comprised three-quarters of the population of the country, and anything that affected such a large class and touched their homes and their children had a claim upon them. He himself as a working man had always found drink to be the enemy of his comrades and friends.
During the past fifty years, great as has been the progress in the direction of better housing conditions, education, and other important matters, that progress would have been 100 per cent greater had it not been for the hindrance of strong drink (Hear, hear). The liquor traffic had always been a great hindrance. it hindered us in this terrible war, and the man was a true patriot who would say: “For the sake of my King and country I will abstain until at least the end of the war.”
Rev J W P Elliott said we were spending £6,000,000 a day in the greatest war in history, and this was a vast and necessary expenditure. The greatest foe, however, that Britain ever had was being maintained at a cost of £1,000,000 per day. If this money were thrown into the sea, great as the loss of that sum might be, it would end there, but when spent in the public house it was only the beginning of interminable sorrows (Hear, hear). Why did the country not have prohibition? Public sentiment was never so strongly in favour of such a reform as it was at the present time. The House of Commons had been petitioned more than once. Last week, in a memorial presented by a deputation of members of Parliament, the vast majority of the 2,000,000 signatures were those of working men. (Applause.)
Forceful speeches were also delivered by Mr Robert Watson and Mr London Ward, and the meeting – which was the last in the series – closed with the singing of the National Anthem.
A boy of thirteen years of age named James Kierans, son of Mr Philip Kierans, Glasslough Street, Monaghan, was drowned wile bathing in the River Blackwater, a short distance from the town.
In company with other young boys little Kierans went out to bathe. In a river swollen by heavy rains, and in which there was a strong current, he got into difficulties. He was rescued by his companions and went into the water, it appears, a second time to wash off some sand, when the current carried him away, and only being able to swim a few strokes he sank and was drowned.
The river was dragged, and Constables Kelly and Blair and Mr Wm Coombs dived for the body, and the latter succeeded in recovering it. An inquest was not considered necessary.
Ontario Orangemen and the Ulster Division
Sir James H Stronge, Grand Master of Ireland, continues to receive from Orangemen in all parts of the Empire fraternal congratulations on the important part taken by Irish Orangemen in the war.
Peculiar satisfaction arises from the eloquent appreciation contained in a resolution of an important representative meeting held on the 4th August in Hamilton, Ontario, under the auspices of a leading lodge – Victoria LOL No 779 – congratulating the Orange Institution upon the magnificent discipline and unflinching heroism of the Ulster Division in the face of unparalleled fighting, winning afresh on the First of July undying glory and pride for the Ulster race.
The Hamilton brethren expressed deep sympathy with the wounded, and fervent solicitations for the sorrowing bereaved.
Aeroplane Flies Over Belfast
Some little sensation was caused in Belfast shortly after five o’clock yesterday afternoon by the appearance of an aeroplane, which, after passing gracefully over the city, went in the County Down direction.
It was travelling at a great height, and, silhouetted against a beautifully clear sky, it was visible from all parts of the city. People turned out in their thousands to see the very unusual and extremely interesting spectacle. The machine was first sighted in the vicinity of the Antrim Road, and from there it flew over the lough, attracting the attention of the shipyard workers in its passage.
During the evening it transpired that the machine – a biplane – was one on which Captain Leslie Porter, of the Royal Flying Corps, had crossed from England to his home at Carnalea in the earliest part of the day.
Captain Porter’s visit was of a purely private character, and had nothing whatever to do with military matters. In the course of the afternoon he gave an exhibition flight at Bangor, to the delight of the residents and visitors in that popular holiday resort, and subsequently he flew to Belfast, and then returned to Carnalea.
Roumania Enters The Fray
Roumania has declared war upon Austria-Hungary, the declaration taking effect as from Sunday evening [August 27], and yesterday Germany declared war against Roumania.
Already some hostilities have taken place on the frontier, and both the Germans and the Austrians announce the bringing in of Roumanian prisoners.
The declaration of war by Roumania against Austria-Hungary brings a valuable ally to the Entente Powers. Including the territory acquired from Bulgaria after the last Balkan war the area of Roumania is 53, 219 square miles, and the population is seven-and-a-half million. Her army totals 700,000.
Searching for Shirkers
The Birmingham police are taking active steps to round up absentees from military service.
Men are being stopped in the streets, and if they cannot produce their registration or medical cards they are detained for inquiries. Hotels in the city are also being visited and the registers examined, with a view of discovering men who should be serving in the army.
Following upon Sunday night’s raid in Sefton Park, Liverpool, military and police yesterday afternoon paid a visit to a well-known city restaurant. All males of apparent military age and eligible for the army were questioned, and a number of names and addresses taken.
With the object of indicating the homes of the men who have joined the Ulster Division, the authorities have decided to issue disc-shaped cards inscribed – “A man from this house is doing his bit in the army. Is there one from your house?”
The cards are intended for display in the windows of the houses from which the men have gone, and there will doubtless be a great demand for them.
Householders who have relatives serving the Ulster Division, and are desirous of testifying to the fact, can obtain these very honourable and appropriate souvenirs on applying to Lieutenant Rankin, Recruiting Offices, Old Town Hall, Belfast.
Clergyman Becomes a Despatch Driver
Rev W H Hutchinson, who for the past six years has ministered in Cullybackey as pastor of the Cuningham Memorial Presbyterian Church, has offered his services to the War Office, and leaves on Monday first to take up the duties of a despatch rider.