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Key dates over January 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 0

10th January 1915 - Submarine exploits in the Mediterranean

Rolling casualty count: 578

1st Batt: Red Barn: In Brigade Reserve billets; 2nd Batt: In billets at Vieille-Chapelle. Standing by ready to move at half hours’ notice. Draft of 20 NCOs and men arrived; 3rd Batt: In billets at Westoutre.

There is every promise of the agricultural jumble sale, which is being arranged by the Worcester Branch of the National Farmers’ Union, being a great success. The proceeds, like those of similar efforts in other parts of the country, are to be devoted to war relief funds… Some idea of the miscellaneous character of the lots can be judged by the fact that promises include sheep, pigs, wheat, oats, hay, straw, and general agricultural produce, a sheep dog, a brake, broad-wheel cart, a piano, many head of poultry, goats, vegetables, a large quantity of fruit, and agricultural implements. The sale, which is to be opened by the Mayor of Worcester, is fixed for Thursday, January 21st. The live stock will be sold on the Sheep Market, and the other lots in the Corn Exchange;

A Flutter on the Daily Rations: Amongst the lads out here in the firing line are a few who have been in the habit of having a little ‘flutter’ at home. They have hit upon a good plan. No doubt you are aware we have a daily ration of jam, and the boys back their opinion as to the variety arriving each day. Therefore my friend and I decided to open a book – a kind of ante-post betting book. I may mention that the results up to date have been disastrous to us. “The following was the result of yesterday’s wagering, 11 to 2 on Plum and Apple (any make, t & w Evens against Marmalade (any make), 25 to 1 Gooseberry, 33 to 1 Black Currant (Crosse & Blackwell’s), 33 to 1 Strawberry (Hartley’s famous), 33 to 1 Raspberry (Hartley’s famous), 66 to 1 Apricot (any make) (Off at 2.15 pm) “Great excitement prevailed on account of the rations being covered up because of a rainy day. As usual, the favourite, as strong as ever, won by 30 tins, finishing alone.”

Germans Serenade British: A Bromsgrove man, Pte RA Ham, 1st Somerset Light Infantry, writes: “We have not had much trouble on our front with the Germans, but rather they have amused us very much. I daresay it will seem hardly credible to people in England, but what I am just about to tell you is absolutely true. On New Year’s Eve, the Germans came out on to the top of their trenches and gave us a few selections of music, played by a band which they had, and the cornet played the chief part. They gave us our National Anthem, ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ and ‘Home, Sweet Home.’ As they had not fired a round at any of our chaps since Christmas Eve, we let them carry on to our amusement.”

Thrilling Submarine Exploit: R. Clifford Sproston, a Wychbold man, who is serving as AB on Submarine B9 writes an account of life on active service on submarines in the Mediterranean. After referring to the escape of the Goeben, and the Breslau, and the fine work of the B11 in getting under five rows of mines and torpedoing a Turkish battleship, the narrator proceeds: Today, came B9’s turn to be rewarded for her labours, but we were very lucky to return. At 6.40am we dived and entered the Dardanelles, in the hope of finding some target for our torpedoes; but, owing to a very strong current, we made little headway when submerged at 60ft to 70ft., as it is a difficult job to attain the proper speed and depth as would be attained in smooth water. The Turks were alert to our attempt, and tried to blow us up by mines, but failed, and were destroying their own mine field, which had cost them a considerable sum to lay down. Our periscope was in such a state as to make a leak, and we were unable to take bearings, so we were thus liable to strike a mine and sink any minute. In a few minutes we grounded in very shallow water and the order was given for full speed astern but we had broken water and were on the surface, with two Turkish gunboats tearing at us full speed. We cleared the sandbank and managed to dive out of harm’s way and are now in the midst of our protecting fleet, thanking our lucky stars that we were not rammed by the gunboats of the ‘Turkish Delight Company’ or blown up by mines.”

Information researched by Sue Redding