Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


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

The Late Lord Londonderry

[April 17]

A memorial to the late Marquis of Londonderry was unveiled on Saturday afternoon [April 15] in the Parish Church, Seaham Harbour, with which town the late Peer was most intimately connected.

The memorial took the form of a handsome tablet of white Carrara marble, with richly carved foliated border inlaid with Sienna marble, and surrounded by a moulded frame of polished Irish green marble. The whole was surmounted by the coat of arms of the late Peer emblazoned in heraldic colours.

The inscription sets forth the offices held by the late nobleman, and concludes with the words: “Striving to fulfil the duties of ownership, he brought prosperity to Seaham and its people. This memorial was placed here by the parishioners, in grateful regard and remembrance.”

The tablet was unveiled by the Earl of Durham and dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Durham.

The Bishop of Durham, after dedicating the tablet, said the late Londonderry was immovable in principle, generous and courageous, a man absolutely true, a Christian reverent and faithful.

Charge Against Anti-Conscriptionist

[April 19]

Mr James Scott Duckers, solicitor, of Chancery Lane, London, and chairman of the British Stop the War Committee, appeared on remand at Marlborough Street Police Court yesterday on the charge of failing to report himself under the Military Service Act.

Defendant claimed that he did not come under the Act, and questioned the action of the authorities in arresting him, instead of proceeding against him by summons.

Captain Vansittart produced a copy of the defendant’s registration card, on which the latter stated: “On principle I am opposed to the war.”

Defendant was fined 40s, and ordered to await a military escort.

MP’s Narrow Escape From Road Injury

[April 20]

The narrow escape recently of Mr P Crumley MP, from being knocked down by a motor car in Enniskillen had its sequel at the fortnightly petty sessions court when Robert Lendrum, who is a deaf-mute, was prosecuted for driving his motor car negligently and to the danger of the public.

It seemed that the defendant turned his car sharply from Belmont Street into Quay Lane, and almost struck Mr Crumley.

There was a controversy as to whether or not the defendant sounded a horn, the police evidence being that he did not, and civilians swearing that he did, and was driving slowly at the time.

The Court was not satisfied that there was carelessness or negligence, and dismissed the case.

Military Tattoo In Belfast

[April 20]

In furtherance of the recruiting campaign which was inaugurated on the 11st., a military tattoo was held in Donegall Square, Belfast, last night, and attracted thousands of spectators.

Excellent arrangements had been made for the display, and fortunately the weather was favourable until towards the close, when there was a somewhat heavy shower of rain. Upwards of four hundred troops took part.

The proceedings began at nine o’clock when the “First Post” was sounded. The troops then lighted the torches which they carried, and afterwards they marched round the square, holding the flares above their heads. The sky was illuminated by the bright glow created by the torches, and the scene was a very impressive one.

The public were not admitted to the City Hall grounds, but some dignitaries were privileged to watch the display from that point of vantage.

In various parts of Donegall Square recruiting officers moved amongst the crowds, endeavouring to secure men for his Majesty’s Forces.

After the marching the troops lined up in front of the City Hall, and the band played “Abide with Me”. The National Anthem was then played, and before the men returned to Victoria Barracks the “Last Post” was sounded.

‘On The Brink of War’

USA Behind President

[April 21]

Newspapers of all shades of political opinion throughout the USA today stand solidly behind President Wilson in his demand to Germany.

There is a consensus of opinion that the President has suffered long enough under unprecedented provocation and intolerable injuries, and that the issue of the situation is now squarely in his hands. If Germany desires to remain friendly to America she must absolutely cease her deeds of blood savagery.

The “World” remarks : “It is for Germany to say whether she wants the United States to be friend or enemy. She knows our terms.”

The “New York Press” says: “If President Wilson sticks to his demands the people will squarely back him up.”

The “New York Herald” exhorts the people to line up solidly behind the President, declaring that the country is on the brink of war.

Popular Officer Killed In Action

[April 21]

Details are now to hand regarding the circumstances under which Sgt William Stephenson, Royal Irish Rifles, was recently killed in action.

The deceased was a son of Mr W R Stephenson, of 26, Fitzwilliam Street, Belfast. He was a member of the Central Presbyterian Association, of the choir of Great Victoria Street Presbyterian Church, of Sydenham Rugby Club and of the Young Citizen Volunteers.

Writing to Rev T A Smyth, of Great Victoria Street Presbyterian Church, Captain S Willis says: “He was a fine lad and showed the coolest courage during a heavy bombardment.”

The father of the deceased has received the following letter from a member of the battalion: “On our way up we got the first news of the casualties inevitable in such a bombardment, and the first one was our sergeant, W Stephenson.

“He was shot doing his utmost to cheer up the men, and regardless of personal risk, making sure the other fellows were all right.

“He was one of the most popular sergeants in the battalion, and was absolutely fearless. Under his leadership we had the utmost confidence and the assurance that if it were humanly possible we would be safe.

“On the night of the shelling he went up and down the trenches visiting all the sentries. One of them, a very small chap, was quite terror stricken at the whizzing shells, but in five minutes Billy S had him firing away like the others.

“He was killed visiting the loneliest and most dangerous sap for the fifth time to make sure that the sentries were all right. Whether he gets any reward for his self-sacrificing conduct or not, his platoon will long remember him as a good sergeant and a brave


News Letter Editorial

[April 22]

The Easter holiday season opened yesterday [Good Friday] under very happy auspices, so far as Belfast and the North of Ireland are concerned. The weather – that all-important factor – being delightfully fine and much more nearly ideal than one could have hoped.

There was a generous warmth in the sunshine that gave promise of blithe days to come.

This is a period when the gloomy mantle of the dark days of winter are cast from off our shoulders. And so all who were able to do so yesterday thrust aside the worries of international and domestic politics, workaday business cares and all similar troubles, and set out upon a brief period of rest and relaxation.

Boatload Of Arms And Ammunition

[April 22]

News reached Tralee yesterday evening, says a Central News message, that a collapsible boat containing a large quantity of arms and ammunition was seized about four o’clock yesterday morning at Carrahane Strand, Tralee Bay, Co Kerry, by the Ardfert police.

A stranger of unknown nationality was arrested in the vicinity and detained in custody. Where the boat came from or for whom the arms are intended is at present unknown.