Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916

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


New School at Killead

[September 4]

The new school which has been erected in connection with the Presbyterian Church at Killead, Co Antrim, was formally opened last Friday [September 1] in the presence of a large gathering of the members of the congregation and their friends.

The building, which is situated convenient to the church, is large and commodious, and in addition to being used as a school it will be utilised as a lecture hall. It is capable of seating 375 people, and has accommodation for 150 pupils.

The architect was Mr James Hunter, of Lisburn, and the contractors Messrs Kirkpatrick Bros., Muckamore,

Of the £1,000 required to erect and equip the building, the greater part has already been raised. The members of the congregation subscribed liberally towards the project, and a considerable amount was realised by a bazaar, while a number of generous subscriptions were received.

Zeppelin attack: Two dead

[September 4]

Thirteen Zeppelins took part in an attack on the Eastern counties of England and the London district on Saturday night [September 2]. Only three of the raiders reached he London area, and one of these was brought down in flames, all the crew perishing. The other two made off. Bombs were dropped, but there were no casualties in the London area and few elsewhere, the total being two killed and thirteen injured. No military damage was caused.

Capt. W A Redmond MP Badly Injured

[September 4]

Captain William Archer Redmond MP [son of Irish nationalist leader John Redmond and MP for Tyrone East] has arrived in London from the front disabled and badly injured.

On Sunday last, in going to the trenches, he missed his footing in the darkness and fell eight or ten feet into a communication trench, dislocating his shoulder, fracturing the collar-bone and sustaining slight injury to his ankle.

At present he is in one of the West End hospitals for officers, and is likely to be disabled from active service for some weeks.

Captain Redmond, who has been in the trenches for four months, was in the great advance on the Somme, and escaped without mishap of any kind.

Huge Explosion And Blaze At Derry Distillery

[September 4]

Damage estimated at over £100,000 was caused by a fire which occurred at the distillery of Messrs David Watt & Company, Londonderry, early yesterday morning.

The premises affected occupy a site at the junction of Abbey Street and William Street, and several departments were completely destroyed before the flames could be got under control.

Nothing definite is known as to the cause of the outbreak, but it is supposed that it was due to the spontaneous combustion of spirit vapour in the wash charge room, where large quantities of liquid were stored.

Shortly after midnight residents in the district were awakened by a terrific explosion, which shook the houses to their foundations, and then flames were observed bursting forth from the washroom, which was situated at the Union Street end of the buildings.

The alarm was at once given, and the fire brigade, under Superintendent Trimble, made a prompt response to the call, arriving on the scene at 12-12 o’clock. In the meantime the employees who were working the night shift had brought the fire extinguishing apparatus, which was always kept ready for use on the premises, into operation, but their efforts had little effect, and the flames made rapid headway.

About one o’clock it was found impossible for the brigade to deal with the fire unaided, and it was deemed advisable to requisition the services of the military.

Several detachments of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were promptly despatched to the scene, with a manual fire engine and fire escapes.

Fortunately the efforts of the brigade and military were successful, and by three o’clock the danger was practically over. Throughout yesterday and last night the brigade and military were kept busily engaged in dealing with smouldering debris and occasional small outbreaks.

The initial explosion blew the roof off the wash charge room, and one of the walls collapsed into Frederick Street. Henry Burns (40), a butcher’s assistant, who was passing at the time, was buried in the debris, and when rescued was found to be in a dying condition. He expired while being conveyed to the City Infirmary.

It is understood that the damage is covered by insurance.

Ulster And The War

[September 5]

SECOND-LIEUTENANT ERIC CRAIG – Dr James Craig, Londonderry, was notified yesterday that his fourth son, Second-Lieutenant Eric Craig, Royal Irish Rifles, has been killed in action.

Deceased, who was 20 years of age, was educated at Foyle College, and Queen’s University of Belfast, where he was a medical student. On the outbreak of war he joined the Officers’ Training Corps, receiving his commission last December, and he went to the front on the 18th July last.

A Rifles’ officer writing to deceased’s father says Lieutenant Craig was killed instantaneously by a German trench mortar. His brother, Lieutenant F W Craig, medical superintendent officer of health, Londonderry, is presently at the front with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). Another brother, Lieutenant Alexander Craig, of the same corps, served twelve months at the front.

Fatal Accident In Belfast Biscuit Factory

[September 6]

Robert Gilchrist, aged 40 years, of 16, Hemsworth Street, met with his death under tragic circumstances yesterday. Whilst engaged in whitewashing a portion of the interior of the biscuit factory of Messrs Marsh & Co Ltd, 138-140, Donegall Street, Belfast, he was in some way drawn into the machinery, where his body was horribly mutilated. The ambulance was summoned and the unfortunate man was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital, but life was then extinct.

Salvation Army in Belfast

[September 6]

A large audience attended in the Ulster Hall last night to witness the inauguration of a new organisation in connection with the Salvation Army in Belfast, namely, the Life Saving Guards.

These troops, composed entirely of young women between the ages of 16 and 20, with a corresponding organisation of boys – namely, the Life Saving Scouts, of like age – are intended to play a distinctive part in the general work of the Army, and hence in setting out on their mission in the community they are charged with great responsibilities.

About one hundred and fifty Guards and Scouts occupied seats in front of the grand organ, while Ballymacarrett No 1 Band and Belfast No 1 Band took up positions to the right and left.

Commissioner Higgins, London, presided.

Belfast No 1 Band played the Nelson March with skill and effect. Brigadier Bax then read the 46th psalm, which was followed with a song, pleasingly rendered by Belfast No 2 Young People Songsters.

Commissioner Higgins, who was well received, said he hoped the organisation which was being started in Ireland would prove a blessing to many young lives. It was honoured in having as its head Mrs Booth, wife of General Booth. Mrs Booth would have been with them at that meeting had she found it possible; but, being unable to come, she had sent them a message in these words:

“My warmest congratulations on the establishment of the Life Saving Guards in Ireland.

“You, my dear comrades, know so well what it means to guard the precious things of life and faith that I am confident the Life Saving Guards will accomplish a great work among you. For God, for home, above all for the welfare of others, God grant you wisdom and courage to strive. Florence E Booth.” (Applause.)