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Key dates over January 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 4

19th January 1915 - First Zeppelin Raids

First air raids by German Zeppelin airships, dropping bombs on East Anglian towns.

Rolling casualty count: 599

1st Batt: Battalion HQ at the Lime Kiln became uninhabitable, as water poured into every room. HQ were moved to a farm 400 yards north on the La Bassee Road. Rations and stores were kept in a large farm just opposite to the old HQ and were under the charge of the Sgt-Major and 2 storemen. Draft of 1 officer and 90 other ranks joined the Battalion; 2nd Batt: In billets at Gorre. CO Adjutant and two company Commanders visited trenches of 2nd HLI at Fesuibert preparatory to taking over. Unpleasantly shelled. Three men wounded. Draft of 40 NCOs and men joined; 3rd Batt: In billets at Westoutre.

With regard to the rumours as to the impending movement of the Artillery and Battalion (Reserves) now billeted in Worcester, we are asked to state that nothing definite has been arranged, and that no orders have been issued. As soon as any orders are issued it will be notified in the Press;

Sir: - It has come to our knowledge that there is a feeling among some people in Malvern against the idea of having troops billeted there. From enquiries we find that though there may be a few such people, the vast majority would be only too pleased to welcome the soldiers should the Military Authorities decide to make use of Malvern in this way. We consider it to be only doing justice to the town to let this be known, especially as Malvern has so well responded to the call of patriotism, and has so many of her sons either at the front or undergoing training to get themselves ready. [ R D Cuming, Vice-Admiral, Chairman West Worcs Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, 5 Foregate Street, Worcester;]

Our Soldiers want more ‘ZAM-BUK’ for their Cuts, Bruises, Wounds, Sore Feet & Frost-Bite. “A box of Zam-Buk out here is like a loaf of bread to a starving man. On the retreat from Mons we had a forced march of 37 miles, and not a man who used Zam-Buk on his feet fell out.”” I wish we had more Zam-Buk sent out from home instead of so much tobacco!” writes No 9896 Pte E Westfield, ‘C’ Company, 3rd Worcs Regt which corps Sir John French singled out for special praise. Westfield adds: “We find Zam-Buk very useful under the present circumstances. It is the best remedy for sore hands after trench digging, and for frost-bite, cracks, and cold-sores, which are very common out here. The man who has a box of Zam-Buk is very popular here;”

“From the Trenches.” – Pte Walter Watkins, of the 3rd Worcesters, who resides at the Knapp, writing from the trenches to a fried, says: “We are still pegging wary. If it isn’t the rifle, it’s the shovel. One might call it a navvies’ war, as we and the Germans are working near each other but underneath the ground. I read in the papers about the Germans and our troops exchanging greetings at Christmas. Well, I tell you it did not happen on our stretch of trenches. The only greetings we exchanged were a few ‘303’s’ and a few bombs and rifle grenades. We went into the trenches on Christmas Eve, so had a rather warm Christmas in spite of the weather;”

At a meeting of the Malvern Link Improvement Association, Mr R. Appleton referred to the reports in circulation as to the billeting of soldiers in the Malverns, and said he had approached the Superintendent of Police, who did not know whether they were coming or not. It was stated in the Press that a number of ratepayers had objected to the billeting of soldiers. He did now know who those ratepayers were, but surely anyone who objected to soldiers being billeted in the Malverns out to object to soldiers fighting. (Hear, hear). It seemed a most gratuitous insult to the soldiers to say that they were not fit to come into the Malverns. He was sorry that soldiers had not been billeted in the district since the War began. He had been interviewed by a number of ladies, who were not at all fearful that atrocities would be committed – (laughter) – and had, in fact, suggested that arrangements should be made for the entertainment of the military…It was agreed to communicate with Earl Beauchamp, the War Office, and the Territorial Association.

Information researched by Sue Redding