Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


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

Cheers After Zeppelin Brought Down

[October 2]

A Press Association correspondent, wiring early this morning, telegraphs a thrilling story of how a Zeppelin was brought down last night north of London.

He says: A Zeppelin was sighted a considerable distance north of London shortly before midnight, and was soon a centre of vigorous bombardment. Aroused by the noise of the firing, the majority of North London residents were soon in the streets.

Soon a bright flare appeared in the centre of the Zeppelin, and the whole framework burst at once into a red furnace.

The destroyed Zeppelin fell rapidly, leaving a flaming trail behind it, like that of a monster comet. Showers of white-hot fragments were scattered into the night like sparks from a torch, and the whole countryside was lit by a lurid glare. A tremendous outburst of cheering from the crowd below accompanied the descent of the burning airship.

Another correspondent of the Press Association wires: The Zeppelin hovered about the district for about twenty minutes. The searchlights were well on it all the time. It was attacked by guns, but some of the shots were short.

Suddenly a small flame was seen in the sky. It gradually grew into a tremendous conflagration, and it was seen that the Zeppelin was burning from end to end. It suddenly turned into a perpendicular position and came crashing down to earth in flames.

Crowds of spectators many miles distant greeted the spectacle with the singing of “God Save the King”. It is stated that half a dozen shots were distinctly seen to hit the airship.

Greenwich Time in Ireland

[October 2]

The period fixed for the operation of the Summer Time Act has now come to an end, and in accordance with the statute, Greenwich time was yesterday reverted to throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

In the past, Greenwich time has not applied to Ireland, but as a sequel to the Summer Time Act a measure was passed through Parliament putting this country on the same basis, chronologically, as England and Scotland, and the change, which has met with almost universal approval, was given effect to yesterday.

It will be remembered that on the 21st May the clocks were advanced by one hour, and the readjustment rendered it necessary for the people of Great Britain to restore the time to this extent on the 1st inst. In Ireland, however, the circumstances were different. Dublin time has hitherto been 25 minutes behind Greenwich time, whilst Belfast time has been 23 minutes 41 seconds behind. Thus in order to make Greenwich time apply all round, the people in Belfast had to put back the hands of their clocks by only 36 minutes 19 seconds, compared with the full 60 minutes’ alteration in England and Scotland.

It had been arranged that the reversion to Greenwich time should be made for official purposes at two o’clock yesterday morning and it is probable that in most households the change was provided for before the occupants retired to rest on Saturday night. Steps had been taken to make the public aware of the pending alteration, and consequently very little trouble or inconvenience was experienced in effecting the innovation. The Albert clock, the recognised timekeeper for Belfast, was regulated so as to bring it into conformity with Greenwich time, and the other public clocks in the city were adjusted in a corresponding degree.

‘Where are the men to fill the Irish regiments?’

[October 2]

An Irish-Australian, writing in the Daily Mail, says: The Irish regiments need men. Where are they coming from? Are they to be filled by the English, the Scotch and the Welsh?

If they are so filled, will these English, Scotch, and Welsh support Home Rule for Irish shirkers?

Are we to do all the fighting, and those who do not face it enjoy the fruits of peace earned by the shedding of our blood?

Irish regiments have fought as well as those from home and overseas. They do not expect praise because it is true that every regiment in the British Expeditionary Force has covered itself with glory.

All the Irish here, Nationalists and Unionists, are anxious that the good name of Ireland should be maintained.

It would do certain politicians a little good to hear some of the remarks made here in France about the non-application of compulsion to Ireland.

These remarks come equally from Irish soldiers and from English.

Irish-born Australians have something to say on the subject too.

The sooner the matter is taken in hand the more chance there is likely to be of a settlement of the whole Irish question, and as far as the army is concerned there will be no settlement while lusty young Irishmen are hiding from the fight in Ireland.

The Daily Mail, commenting on the above letter, remarks:

The letter which we publish today from an Irish-Australian at the front aptly expresses the astonishment of the Dominion troops at the discovery that Irish recruits are not forthcoming in abundance for the Irish battalions. These have fought with a gallantry that has brought heavy casualties, and if Irish recruits cannot be obtained either the old Irish regiments must be wiped out or the ranks must be filled with Englishmen and Scots. Meanwhile, Ireland is full of healthy young shirkers who are not ashamed at such a crisis as this, to be loafing or playing silly games.

Our correspondent speaks the truth when he warns the Irish public that unless Irishmen come forward as volunteers, or unless compulsion is applied in Ireland, the effect of their conduct on the prospects of an Irish settlement will be utterly disastrous.

Winning Slowly But Surely

[October 4]

Unveiling yesterday a village cross erected at Dalderby, Lincolnshire, to commemorate the splendid proportion of the local manhood serving the country, General Sir William Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, said our army, never beaten in this war, were now winning slowly but none the less surely.

From every point of view the situation could be regarded without anxiety. We had guns and ammunition, and could look forward with every confidence, but the end was not yet. We must prepare to go on for a period which it was impossible to estimate, remembering the motto, “Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best”.

“Fight to a finish” was the order. There must be no slackening off, but rather a great tightening up. We had adopted national service in theory, and must see to it that the principle was put into practice. We want more men now, and in due course would want all the men who could be spared.

Death of Captain Seaver

[October 5]

Captain Charles Seaver, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, a member of a well-known Belfast family, died on Tuesday [October 3] in No 2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, of wounds received in action over three weeks ago. He was the only son of Mr Henry Seaver, Lisroyan, Malone Road, a member of the Belfast Harbour Board.

Captain Seaver, who was aged 22, was educated at Wellington and at Cambridge University, of which he was a graduate.

He received his commission on 19th September, 1914, and was promoted to the rank of captain on 30th April, 1915.

He went to the front in February last, and was wounded by shrapnel in the arm at the end of July, but was able to rejoin his battalion after a few days in hospital.

The intimation that Captain Seaver had been dangerously wounded in the head reached Belfast on 12th ult, and Mr and Mrs Henry Seaver at once left for France, where they remained with their son until the end. After an operation the patient rallied considerably, but early in the present week a relapse occurred, and death took place as stated.

The deceased was a young man of great promise, a gallant soldier, and an excellent officer, and his death is deeply regretted by all ranks in the battalion in which he served.