Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


Here are some of the stories reported in the News Letter 100 years ago

Canadian Factories Destroyed

A Sensational Message

[February 7]

Following on from the destruction of the Canadian Parliament buildings at Ottawa by fire come further sensational messages dealing with alleged enemy activity in various parts of the Dominion.

At Mospeler, Ontario, a munitions factory has been blown up, while a small building at Ottawa in which military uniforms were being manufactured has been burned down. The origin of these occurrences, as well as the greater disaster at Ottawa, is unknown; but popular opinion holds German sympathisers guilty, and the general indignation is increasing.

Lastly a Montreal telegram reports an attempt to blow up the Victoria Jubilee bridge there. A man who was stealthily approaching the structure was fired upon, and he is believed to have fallen into the St Lawrence and been drowned.

Bomb Find in Co Kildare

Affair Still a Mystery

[February 7]

A military expert in explosives has now examined the explosives and Bombs found concealed in a drain at Leixlip, Co Kildare, on the 2nd inst.

The quantity of explosives, which was large, mainly consisted of gelignite, a very high explosive of the dynamite class, and a large quantity of gunpowder and smokeless powder in tins.

There were nine bombs, constructed from small one-quart tins with handles. These tins were filled with sharp pieces of iron and heads of bolts packed round a gelignite cartridge, into which was inserted a detonator attached to a few inches of safety fuse.

Experienced officers consider these Bombs highly dangerous, and likely to cause widespread destruction of life. The bombs were of very recent construction, the tins not being rusted in any way. It is, of course, perfectly obvious that these bombs were not intended for the destruction of fish, as has been suggested.


Kaiser’s Son Wounded

[February 8]

A Berlin official telegram States that Colonel Prince Oscar of Prussia, the Kaiser’s son, has been slightly wounded in the head and on the upper part of one thigh by shell splinters in the Eastern theatre of the war.

Lord Primate and the Army

His Grace’s Visit to the Front

[February 7]

His Grace the Lord Primate (Most Rev Dr Crozier), continuing his visit to the front, spent part of last week with the 16th (Irish) Division, as the guest of General Hickie.

On Monday, 31st January, he went amongst the regiment at headquarters, speaking in his own happy genial manner to various units. The men everywhere gave him the heartiest welcome, and did not conceal their delight at having among them a distinguished fellow countryman. Differences of faith or politics were forgotten in the pleasure of meeting so thorough an Irishman as Dr Crozier.

On Tuesday, the 1st inst, the Primate’s programme included a journey to some distant regiments of this division, and also a visit to the part of the trenches held by them. While at the 16th headquarters the Primate had an opportunity of addressing a large number of the members of his church at a meeting in a schoolhouse. The men were cheerful and happy in spite of much discomfort and strenuous labours. They deeply appreciated the rousing and inspiring words spoken to them by the head of their Church. His Grace also visited the field hospital there.

His Grace expressed his unconcealed delight at the great privilege he has enjoyed of meeting face to face his cheerful and heroic fellow countrymen who are in arms in a foreign land. He has been particularly grateful to find that the chaplains with the Irish regiments are highly valued and respected, and are accomplishing a noble work.

The Belfast News-Letter

Reduced Paper Supplies

[February 8]

The impending limitation by the Government of the import of paper and paper-making material will necessarily impose severe economies upon newspaper production. One of the results will be restriction in publication; we shall not be able to place the “Belfast News-Letter” so freely on sale as has hitherto been the custom. Supplies to newsagents will have to be regulated by orders received from customers. It is advisable, therefore, for our readers in all cases to place orders with their newsagents for a regular delivery.

The Soldiers’ Rest at Portadown

[February 8]

Rev J E Archer, rector of Seagoe, who takes a deep interest in the Soldiers’ Rest and Refreshment Room at Portadown Railway Station, says a constant stream of soldiers and sailors on war service passes through it each day. The floor is covered in the mud of the trenches (swept out, of course, every morning), and every corner of the room is filled with battered rifles, rusty trench axes, mud-stained water-bottles, and all the implements and baggage of war. In fact, to enter the door is quite like a visit to the front.

Occasionally Belgian, French, and Italian soldiers or seamen give it a call. One night recently two Belgian soldiers came in on the late train. Being of musical turn and possessed of fine voices, they sang lustily their native Belgian songs. The midnight hours of waiting were passed in the midst of song and refreshment, and the visitors left on their journey to the front at 2am with a cheery “Adieu”.

Rank and File Casualties

[February 10]

Mr William Moore, 206, Oldpark Road, Belfast, has received intimation that his eldest son, Rifleman Thomas Moore, 15th (North Belfast) Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, was killed in action in France on 31st January.

Rifleman Moore, who was only 19, was struck by a piece of shrapnel on the head.

His father is the sexton of St Silas’s Parish Church, Oldpark Road.

Drink in War Time

Demand for Prohibition

[February 12]

In the Dufferin Hall, Bangor, last night a women’s patriotic demonstration was held for the purposes of emphasising the citizenship of women, their great and uplifting power for the country, the need for greater self-sacrifice, the care of the wives and families of men at the front, and the need for prohibition during the war as an effective means of promoting efficiency and economy. Mr H Stephens Richardson presided, and there was a large attendance. The proceedings were marked by great earnestness and enthusiasm.

Dunmurry Officer Killed

Lieutenant T J C Murdoch

[February 12]

News reached Belfast last night that Lieutenant Thomas John Carson Murdoch, 24th (Oldham Comrades) Battalion Manchester Regiment, was killed in France on the 6th inst. He was the only son of Mr Thomas Murdoch, a well-known member of the Lisburn Board of Guardians, residing at Beech House, Dunmurry.

The late Lieutenant Murdoch, who was only twenty years of age, was educated at the Queen’s University of Belfast, and before the outbreak of war was studying marine engineering in the firm of Harland & Wolff Ltd.

Lieutenant Murdoch was killed along with two non-commissioned officers. Several men were standing at the door of a dugout when a shell from a trench mortar burst in their midst.

Cousin of Sir

Edward Carson Killed

[February 12]

The death is announced of Captain Seymour Stritch, 6th Connaught Rangers, who has been killed in action in France.

Deceased was well known in Dublin as Dr Seymour Stritch, of Gardener’s Place, and on the outbreak of war he joined the army as a combatant officer.

The late Captain Stritch was a cousin of Sir Edward Carson and of General Sir Bryan Mahon. Captain Stritch was well known in connection with medical literary work, and was highly esteemed by the profession and general public. He was a Prince

Mason. He leaves a widow and two young children.