Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


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

German Bombers Strike

Three Left Dead

[February 21]

Two German seaplanes appeared over Lowestoft yesterday morning and dropped seventeen bombs.

Considerable damage was caused to some outbuildings and two houses, but there were no casualties.

Two other seaplanes appeared off the Kentish Coast at 11.20am. One dropped bombs in the vicinity of the Kentish Knock light vessel, and the other dropped six bombs on Walmer, destroying roofs and breaking the windows in a church where a service was proceeding. Two men and one boy were killed and a marine was wounded.

Sinn Feiner Prosecuted

Extraordinary Case

[February 22]

At Cork Police Court yesterday sensational evidence was adduced when Terence McSweeney, organiser of the Sinn Fein Volunteers of the South of Ireland, was charged with making a speech at Ballynoe on 2nd January which was a reflection upon and likely to cause dissatisfaction with, and hostility to, his Majesty’s Government, and statements that defendant and those acting with him were in a position fully armed and equipped to defy the Government; also with causing dissatisfaction among the civilian population; and with being in possession of a military cypher without lawful authority.

The court was crowded by Sinn Feiners, and disgraceful scenes took place from time to time, the pro-German sentiments disclosed by the evidence being cheered loudly in spite of protests from the Crown Solicitor.

District Inspector Walsh asked for authority to clear the court several times, but the majority of the magistrates would not give him that authority.

The magistrates by a majority fined the defendant 1s for being in possession of a military cypher, and dismissed the other counts, Mr Starkie RM dissenting.

The Anti-German Union

Impressive Meeting in Londonderry

[February 22]

The Anti-German Union campaign in Ireland opened last night with a mass meeting in the Londonderry Guildhall. The Mayor (Alderman R N Anderson) presided over a large and representative audience, and there were many prominent citizens on the platform.

Sir George Makgill, secretary of the Anti-German Union, who had a cordial

reception, stated the objects of the Union.

He said the organisation aimed at being a Union of all for a patriotic end; they were the antidote to the German poison that had undermined the health of the nation.

The German was potentially a spy and a danger to the country in which he settled.

Were they going to allow the enemy again to influence their finance, their trade, and their very government? How were they going to get rid of the German incubus? By (1) work during the war and (2) preparation for peace.

They were all agreed that we must win, but we were not going to do it by talk or by the tame, dishonoured policy of “wait and see”. We were not at law, but at war, and he wanted strong men.

First, we must get rid of the German and German influence. We must, if need be, put a double tax on the German worker and a tax on his employer.

Mr T F Cooke DL, chairman of the Londonderry Harbour Board, moved – “That this meeting, having had the aims, objects and policy of the Anti-German Union placed before it, pledges itself to do all in its power to support the Union, and with that object will form a branch of the Union in Londonderry.”

Alderman Charles O’Neill DL seconded the resolution, which was unanimously passed.

Mills Burned in Cavan

Co-op Premises Gutted

[February 22]

The extensive mills of the Cavan Central Co-operative Dairy and Agricultural Society, situated at Ballyhaise, near Cavan, were completely destroyed by fire on Sunday morning [February 20], together with a large quantity of wheat and oats which had been stored in the premises.

The alarm was quickly raised and in a short space of time nearly all the villagers had assembled, but the men who were eager to render assistance in extinguishing the flames were powerless owing to the total absence of any means of utilising the plentiful supply of water which lay close at hand, and all they could do was to watch the progress of the blaze.

Over 200 farmers had stores in the mills, the value of the wheat and oats alone being estimated at between £1,400 and £1,500. It is understood that this is only partly covered by insurance.

German Food Question

Women Riot at Hanover

[February 25]

Serious riots are reported to have taken place recently in Hanover, where the municipal authorities have been issuing meat tickets.

It appeared there was only one place in the City Hall where tickets could be had, and although the crowd of applicants increased every day, no more facilities were offered.

The crush became so great that women fainted. When a notice board was put up announcing that no more tickets would be issued a deafening outcry was made.

Only with the greatest difficulty were the police able to clear the building.

The Verdun Battle

Great Enemy Losses

[February 26]

The battle of Verdun continues, and the Germans have suffered tremendous losses.

One unofficial report states that whole battalions and regiments have melted away under French fire.

In Champagne the French have captured an enemy salient and taken 300 prisoners.

The 6th Inniskillings

Letter home to Uncle

[February 26]

Sergeant E Cunningham, 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, in a letter to his uncle, Mr James Cunningham, Rostrevor, says: “We are having a real good time now, but the snow is wicked.

“There is very little fighting at present out here. All we can do is snowball each other. I have got into the grenadiers – that is bomb-throwers – so I will have a fine time when we come in contact with the Bulgars.

“I would like to mention this about a private in my company (C) – how he was killed. His name is Patrick Dornan.

It was on 8th December, at 4pm. Two men got wounded, and they could not get into our lines as their legs were broken.

“We were entrenched at the top of a hill. Private Dornan, with Lieutenant Stewart, went to the rescue, and the bullets were flying in all directions. When they reached them, Dornan stood up to lift the men, when he got a bullet through the heart. Then the Bulgars made a rush, and Lieutenant Stewart had to retire, so the two men were made prisoners.

“Private Dornan died a hero and a British soldier.”

Child Life in Belfast

Lots of Waifs and Strays

[February 26]

A meeting was held in Clarence Place Minor Hall yesterday afternoon “to discuss what could be done to save neglected children at present swarming in Belfast”.

The Lord Bishop of Down and Connor and Dromore (the Right Rev Dr D’Arcy) presided, and there was an encouraging attendance.

The Lord Bishop, in the course of his introductory remarks, said that the meeting was called together at the instance of Miss Walkington, one of the most energetic workers in Belfast, in the interests of poor children.

Miss Walkington said that some years ago it was stated that there were 15,000 young people in Belfast for whom there was no school accommodation. Since then practically nothing had been done to bring about a remedy.

A great many children in Ballymacarrett district were growing up in dense ignorance. In not a few cases they were incapable of answering the simplest question. Their religious training was equally neglected. One girl of 12 years old had never heard the name of the Lord Jesus.

It made their blood boil when they saw the terrible neglect, filth and ignorance in which a large proportion of their city was kept.

The problem was a pressing one and required to be faced without a moment’s delay.