Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


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

Memorial Services for Lord Kitchener

[June 12]

In most of the Protestant Churches in Belfast yesterday, sympathetic reference was made to the lamented and untimely death of Lord Kitchener, whose good fortune it was, both as a soldier and statesman, to win the confidence, respect and affection of the public in a manner that will ensure the perpetuation of his memory in the hearts of his fellow countrymen and in the records of history.

The fact that Lord Kitchener met his death while at the post of duty, and on the eve of accomplishment of his great work for the Empire, has accentuated the grief evoked by the tragic and abrupt ending of his illustrious career, and this feeling found simple and fitting expression in the sermons preached in the local churches yesterday.

Eloquent tributes were paid to his signal devotion to duty, his nobility of character, the splendid patriotic spirit which animated him, and the energy and enthusiasm with which he threw himself into the task of raising the new armies required for the service of the Empire in the most critical period of its history.

In many instances the National Anthem was sung at the close of the services, and through it the congregations expressed anew their loyalty to their Sovereign and their abiding faith in the righteousness of the cause for which Britain is fighting so valiantly.

A Momentous Decision

The Exclusion Proposals

[June 13]

The most important and momentous decision made by the Ulster Unionist Council since the inception of that representative body was arrived at in the Ulster Hall yesterday, when the adjourned meeting was held under the presidency of Sir Edward Carson.

It may be recalled that on Tuesday last [June 6], Sir Edward Carson met the Standing Committee of the Ulster Unionist Council, and put before the members the suggestion which had been made to him, that the negotiations should proceed on the basis that the six counties, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry and Fermanagh, should be excluded from the operation of the Home Rule Act. The matter was then discussed, and proceedings were adjourned until yesterday to enable the delegates to consider the subject further.

The proceedings were again conducted in private, representatives of the Press being excluded, but an official statement issued during the afternoon showed that Sir Edward Carson had been authorised to continue the negotiations on the basis already mentioned.

The fact that this epoch-marking decision was arrived at unanimously was in itself a tribute to the unbounded confidence reposed in Sir Edward Carson, and it is understood that the reception accorded the right honourable gentleman at the delegates’ meeting was characterised by cordiality and warmth of feeling, one might almost say affection, seldom if ever experienced by the leader of a great movement.

Sir Edward was deeply moved by the practical expression of confidence shown in him by the Unionists of Ulster, and it was generally felt that the significance of the self-sacrifice displayed particularly by the three counties, Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, was accentuated by the splendid spirit of patriotism which formed the bedrock of the memorable decision arrived at by the delegates.

Conditions in Servia;

Austro-German Ruthlessness

[June 13]

According to the testimony of prisoners, both Servian and Russian, who have escaped their German and Austrian captors and crossed the Danube either on planks or by swimming, the state of misery now existing in Servian regions under Austro-German control is beyond description.

The Germans have taken the provisions found in private houses, and those found concealing stores have been shot. Not only foodstuffs but property of all kinds have been recklessly plundered. Most of the principal private residences in Belgrade have been completely cleared of their furniture and valuables.

Looting is expressly permitted by an order issued by Field Marshal Von Mackensen.

The population in the country districts is absolutely starving, and the people are endeavouring to support life by eating wild berries and grass.

Larne: A Popular Resort

(Advertising feature)

[June 15]

Larne is not a town of mere mushroom growth, for it has been in existence for centuries, and although, like all other places that have to their credit any history worth talking about, it has had its ups and downs, it has never been in any danger of extinction.

Amongst the things in which the people of Larne most pride themselves today are the breadth and cleanliness of the streets. The town has a spick-and-span appearance that affords ample evidence of the care and watchfulness with which the members of the urban district council discharge their duties, whilst the business premises are a credit to those responsible for their direction and management.

Of late years, Larne has been by far the most popular seaside resort in Ireland with Lancashire people accustomed to spend their holidays in this country. The fresh and invigorating atmosphere of the town and neighbourhood is greatly appreciated by these cross-channel visitors, who are out in search of health as well as pleasure.

Larne is also fortunate in regard to the natural beauty of its surroundings. The grass-covered headlands rising abruptly above the broad promenade greatly enhance the charm of a singularly captivating scene.

Even more wonderful and impressive, however, is the scenery which is unfolded to the view on the trip by the famous coast road to Cushendall. No visitor to Larne should fail to go on this journey.

Fire in Belfast;

Builder’s Yard Gutted

[June 16]

Shortly after eleven o’clock last night, an outbreak of fire occurred in the builder’s yard of Mr Thomas McKee, Imperial Street. A complete turnout was made by the Fire Brigade from the headquarters in Chichester Street and Whitla Street, Albertbridge Road, and Ardoyne fire stations, the men being under the direction of Superintendent George Smith and Assistant Superintendent James Stafford.

On their arrival it was found that the flames had obtained a firm hold on the material in the premises, which included a large quantity of timber and machinery.

It was not long before five jets were brought into operation, but the outbreak was not overcome until the premises had been almost entirely gutted, the machines returning to their various stations about half-an-hour after midnight.

The July Anniversary;

Letter from Colonel Wallace

[June 17]

Colonel R H Wallace, CB (Grand Master), has addressed the following letter to the Orangemen of Belfast:

Brethren – At the meeting of the County Grand Lodge, held this evening, it was unanimously resolved to loyally abide by the decision of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland which met at Cavan on the 14 inst., and as a consequence no demonstration will take place this year on the 12th of July. There will be no processions to any services on the Sunday nearest to the 12th, but it is hoped that the brethren will attend the Anniversary Services and wear their regalia in the various churches. The offertories will, as usual, be in aid of our widows’ and orphans’ funds, and I trust these deserving charities will receive the same generous support as in past years.

Robert H Wallace

Grand Master

16th June, 1916

Royal Black Chapter

[June 17]

The Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution has addressed the following to the County and City Grand Masters in Ulster:

Dear Sir Knights and Brethren – As this country at the present time is under martial law, I appeal to your loyalty to see that the orders of the military authorities (as long as they remain in force) are obeyed, and that no demonstrations of the Black Institution shall take place until this law has been withdrawn.

I earnestly appeal to the Sir Knights of our Order to agree to this arrangement, at least for this year, owing to the grave crisis which has arisen in this country by the action of the late Chief Secretary in handing over his authority to those who had no responsibility for the good government of Ireland.

W H H Lyons

Sovereign Grand Master