Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


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

Birthday Gift

£30,000 For Charities

[March 13]

Sir William P Hartley, the celebrated jam manufacturer, has, to commemorate his seventieth birthday, given a handsome donation of £30,000 to 22 hospitals in London, seven hospitals in Liverpool, and five charitable institutions connected with the grocery trade.

Sir William, in addressing the workers, said the amount he was transferring had nothing whatever to do with the year’s trading. It was a transfer from his life’s saving in remembrance of his seventieth birthday.

Mounds of German Dead at Verdun

[March 14]

Eight days ago the German losses were estimated at 115,000. The hecatombs of the last few days have increased the total to 200,000 – that is to say, about five Army Corps.

Despite this carnage, the Kaiser, haunted by the absolute necessity of success, has not left the front even to be present the day before yesterday at the marriage of his son, Prince Joachim.

During the last three days the carnage which the enemy has suffered at our hands surpassed description.

Officers who have arrived from Verdun unanimously agree that last Friday’s attack on the slopes of Fort Vaux was a veritable record in the way of casualties. The Germans were literally mown down by the a French fire. Entire ranks fell, and an avalanche of dead and dying rolled down the slopes and lay in greyish heaps at the bottom.

Footballer Charged

With Murder in Australia

[March 14]

The Australian trial of Alexander Young, the international footballer, on the charge of murdering his brother will take place on 11th April or 29th April.

It is stated that the accused and his brother John, a married man with five children, occupied adjoining blocks at Tongala, a small irrigation settlement, and owned jointly a dairy herd.

It is alleged that the brothers quarrelled over money matters, and that on 1st December Alexander drank heavily and wanted to fight John, who struck Alexander with a stick. Later, it is further alleged, the accused shot John in the right shoulder with a gun and then tried to blow out his brains, inflicting a severe wound.

Poison From The Sky

[March 14]

A note has been issued by the Military Governor of Bologna warning the inhabitants along the Adriatic coast against infected sweets dropped by Austrian aviators.

It was observed, in fact, that during the incursion of the enemy aeroplanes at Ravenna and Codigora on 13th February that Austrian aviators dropped little packages from the sky which contained sweets. These packages were picked up and submitted to chemical analysis. They were found to contain millions of germs of highly contagious diseases.

Troops Recover in YMCA Hut

[March 14]

Since the departure of the Ulster Division for France, the YMCA Hut at Randalstown has been overhauled for its new work among the convalescent men – and it is now in full swing, under the leadership of Mr R G Bass, who was previously at Clandeboye Camp.

It would be impossible to overestimate the value of the social and religious work carried on. Such work is always important in camp, but more so here with wounded men and so much spare time on their hands.

The large hut is often overcrowded, and men find it difficult to find a place to write letters etc. About 5,000 letters are written and posted in this hut every week. One day totalled 1,123, being a record in this camp.

The association is now arranging to open other huts in the camp as “quiet rooms” and for letter writing etc and it is hoped to be able to secure the services of a number of ladies to help in these, as well as the regular work in the large hut.

Sing-songs are frequently held thanks to the assistance of a number of local ladies, and are much enjoyed by the men, several of whom take part.

The lending library is greatly used, many of the men being glad to borrow a book and read it quietly in their own huts. There is also, as usual, the bagatelle table and gramophone in daily use.

Conditions In Vienna

Death by Hunger

[March 14]

A news agency in Amsterdam has published statements made by a prominent member of the Austrian Socialist Party. He declared that the situation is almost unbearable at Vienna.

“I do not exaggerate when I say people will not be able to bear the present position much longer.

“The war has brought nothing but death, destruction, and shame, and it has made us slaves of Germany. The people are dying of hunger and misery. The Socialists, therefore, are more and more insistent in their demand for a cessation of the slaughter.”

Serious Fire in Lisburn

[March 15]

At about 10 o’clock last night the premises situate off Antrim Street in which Mr Joseph Connor carried on the business of cabinetmaker and furniture manufacturer were almost completely destroyed by fire.

The outbreak had obtained a strong hold of the buildings before the brigade had time to arrive on the scene, and, the greater portion of the structure consisting of wood, with felt-covered roofs, it fell an easy prey to the flames.

The blaze attracted large crowds of sightseers from all parts of the town.

Within the space of an hour all danger was over. The damage, it is stated, is covered by insurance.

Homes of Sinn Fein Men Searched

Revolver and Ammunition Seized

[March 15]

A great sensation was caused in Cork yesterday when it became known that the military authorities had at last taken steps to cope with the Sinn Fein Volunteer menace by directing surprise searches to be made for arms, ammunition, and documents, in the residences of the commandant, the treasurer and the assistant treasurer of the corps.

At eight o’clock in the morning, a force of constabulary, under District Inspector Swanzy, entered the residence of Thomas Curtin, commandant, at 40 Thomas Davis Street, under a military warrant and made an exhaustive search. Curtin offered no resistance or obstruction. The police failed to find any arms, but seized and removed a large quantity of documents.

At the same time, another police party appeared at the front and rear of the large furnishing establishment in 11 Great Georges Street, conducted by George Jennings, who is the treasurer of the Sinn Fein corps.

One party of police kept guard over Jennings, while another ransacked the place from top to bottom. They found in a desk a revolver and 38 rounds of ammunition to fit the same, and a number of documents, all of which were removed.

The final raid of the morning took place at the residence of the assistant treasurer, William Shohten, but here the constabulary found nothing which they deemed worth removing.

In the evening, persistent rumours were in circulation to the effect that the police had made a heavy seizure of Volunteers’ rifles in the centre of the city, but neither confirmation nor denial of the story can be obtained.

Free Buffets For Soldiers

[March 16]

The establishment of buffets at the three Belfast railway termini, for the benefit of soldiers and sailors, is certainly a step in the right direction.

At these buffets our fighting men will be able to secure, free of charge, tea, coffee, cocoa, and other temperance beverages, as well as different kinds of food.

The three buffets are to be managed by separate organisations. At the Great Northern station the British Red Cross Society is to exercise control, the Midland station will be under the supervision of the St John Ambulance Association, and the Women’s Patriotic Council for Efficiency and Economy will be in charge at the Belfast and County Down station.