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Key dates over January 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 5

14th January 1915 - Shortage of coal and colliers

Rolling casualty count: 589

1st Batt: ‘B’ Lines: A greater amount of sniping than usual by the Germans. HQ and ‘A’ Companies’ trenches were shelled by a light field gun, but no casualties were inflicted by it; 2nd Batt: The Battalion marched via Lacouture to Gorre, went into billets in Brigade Reserve; 3rd Batt: In trenches at E. Kemmel.

Billeting Soldiers at Malvern: At to-day’s meeting of the Malvern Education Committee reference was made to the fact that officers had been making enquiries in the district, with a view of securing billets for soldiers, whose early arrival in Malvern is expected;

The coal merchants of Worcester and the district announced that they were unable to guarantee delivery on any specific date, and that orders can only be accepted on the same terms as laid down by the collieries, that is, subject to prices ruling on the day of delivery. There are many reasons why the coal merchants are obliged to take this step – chiefly the shortness of the supply of coal. A large number of miners have enlisted, and as these are, in most cases, the young men who actually get the coal, the colliery outputs have decreased by 30 or 40 per cent. At one colliery, for instance, 350 men out of a thousand have joined the colours. The colliers are experiencing another difficulty in getting pit timber, which costs them 4d per ton on their output. Then there are difficulties in transit to be taken into consideration. In consequence of the disorganisation of railway traffic, loads of coal take, often twice or three times their usual period of transit. Waggons and horses have been commandeered by the Government, so making it hard for the merchants to deliver promptly;

Ald. Holyoake said that he had heard that it was proposed to form another Regiment of Territorials before very long, and having regard to the difficulty the troops had in getting ground on which to drill at Worcester, because of the flooding of Pitchcroft, it occurred to him that the Council could make application to the Territorial authorities to have a Regiment billeted at Droitwich. It would mean a disbursement of a large amount of money at a season of the year when it would be very acceptable, and he thought that there would be no difficulty in getting suitable places in which to drill. Worcester had had its fair share of troops already, and every place in the county might fairly put in an application…It was resolved to write to the Territorial Association and the War Office, and ask for soldiers to be billeted in the borough, and to state that the Council anticipated no difficulty in obtaining suitable drilling grounds;

The Malvern Hills’ Conservators reported that the toboggan track on the hills had been used two days since the Board’s last meeting; that £52 7s had been spent on paths in the manor of Malvern; and that two seats at West Malvern had been carried away by some unknown person. The Board resolved to offer a reward of £2 for information leading to the conviction of the offender, Mr Davis remarking that it was outrageous that seats should be taken away wholesale.

Information researched by Sue Redding