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Key dates over January 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 2

31st January 1915 - On the Eastern Front, Germans use asphyxiating gas in artillery shells for the first time at the Battle of Bolimov

Rolling casualty count: 625

1st Batt: Returned to ‘B’ Lines. Snowed during the night. During the month of January only 3 men were wounded by shell fire, all other casualaties were inflicted by rifle fire; 2nd Batt: In billets at Essars; 3rd Batt: In trenches E. Kemmel.

A special meeting of the City Watch and Lighting Committee was held this afternoon to consider the question of taking precautionary measures to ensure the public safety in case of an attack from hostile aircraft. Although precautions were necessary on the East Coast they did not think that they were necessary in places like Worcester. On the other hand they ought to inform the citizens that, if the unexpected happened, and the aircraft arrived, the safest place was in the cellars. That was the War Office view. The Mayor added that the gas would be turned off at the works immediately, in case of an invasion by aircraft, and Mr Clarke said that the electric light could also be switched off at once.

It is not everywhere that the beer is as delicately palatable as at Worcester. Further North they like it a little more turgid, and some of the soldiers now quartered here have found a new name for the product of local beer works. Two of them walked into a certain public house the other day, and the one whose turn it was to say “Whatlle” asked for “two halves of arms and legs.” “Two halves of what?” enquired the bewildered barmaid. “Arms and legs,” replied the Tommy whose treat it was.” “And what in the name of goodness is ‘Arms and legs?’ asked the harassed Hebe. “Why, beer,” was the retort. There followed, naturally elucidation: “Why do you call our beer ‘Arms and legs?’ “Because,” was the scornful answer, “It’s got no body to it!”

Pte. F. Burt of the 1st Worcs Regt, has been wounded in the left arm by shrapnel, and is in hospital at Bury. He says, “I was making a canteen of tea the other day, and the Germans filled it with clay for me. It was more trouble getting out of the trenches after I was hit. I had about 400 yards of open ground to go over, crawling on my knees, but I managed to get out safe. I am in a good dug-out now.”

New Recruiting Campaign: Yesterday we made a request to citizens to look in the shop windows of the city to-day. Walking down the main street at 10 o’clock this morning one noticed the shopkeepers busily engaged in pasting on their windows the slips which have been issued in connection with the recruiting campaign. Some of them showed marked originality, and should be an effective aid to the campaign.

The pupils of Miss Lunn, Ashley School, Bromsgrove, as a result of an entertainment, were able to send by Messrs. Cadbury chocolates to the soldiers at the front, and have received a letter of thanks from Maj. J. Winnington, of the 1st Worcesters…”There are many times when chocolates are most useful. In the middle of the night, when we can give our sentries a bit to put in their pockets to eat while they are on duty watching the German trenches, which are only about 50 yards away, it keeps them warm and awake, especially as the sentries cannot leave their posts to go and fetch food…”

Information researched by Sue Redding