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Key dates over January 1915

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Lives lost on this day: 2

12th January 1915 - Suicide of Colonel commanding 9th Battalion

Rolling casualty count: 580

1st Batt: ‘B’ Lines: Returned to trenches. 50 men per company came out of trenches by day and lived in farms behind the lines; : In billets at Vieille-Chapelle. Lt. GC McClellan rejoined Battalion and took over Machine Gun Section; 3rd Batt: In trenches at E. Kemmel.

John William Martin, a member of the crew of HMS Formidable, when she was sunk by a German submarine in the English Channel on New Year’s Day, is at present on a visit to his brother-in-law, Mr CF Albutt, New Road, Bromsgrove. Martin suffered great hardships from exposure, but is now improving in health; Two more wounded English soldiers arrived at Worcester on Friday afternoon. They came by train, and arrangements were made by Mr R.J. Hilliar for the Worcester VAD to take them to the Infirmary. Both were suffering from frost bitten feet;

Overwork and worry: “Forgive me for what I am doing. My brain seems incapable of doing anything, Bill.” Such is the purport of a note found in the bedroom of Colonel William Ernest Sykes, commanding 9th Worcs. Regt., at Tidworth, who, it transpires, killed himself with a revolver, consequent on overwork and worry over military details. At today’s inquest, the Jury returned a verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity.” Major Moss, of the same regiment, said he saw the deceased on Thursday afternoon lying insensible on the bedroom floor with a bullet wound in his head, and a revolver was lying near. During the last 2 or 3 months the Colonel had been in a very nervous state and worried over details. He was doing far too much work. The Battalion (he must add) was not wrong financially in any department. Colonel Andrus, of the Stafford Regt said Colonel Sykes told him he had not slept at all. Witness could see he was wearing himself out and going into details which he should have left for another officer to do. Deceased was working practically night and day. He was 42 years old, and leaves a widow and child;

Worcestershires Again, Clearing a Trench: A letter from an officer at the front appears in the “Times.” It says:- ‘January 4th - Came out of the trenches last night. Worcestershires to the fore again. During the previous night the Germans had sapped a trench to within 20 yards of an advanced trench held by us. Well, they had to be cleared out of it as soon as it was discovered that they were there. This German sapping had taken place in front of X’s Company, and it was up to that Company to clear the brutes out of it. He rushed that trench with 25 men. There were about 40 Germans in it, who were completely taken by surprise. Our fellows killed about 30 of them on the spot, and the other 10 managed to run away. The whole thing took place without hardly a sound except for the death screams of the 30 Germans, which could be heard for miles. X lost one man missing and one man wounded out of his 25 cut-throats. He couldn’t have done the job better- no man could have, in fact. We are very proud of him, though we know that we could all have done the same thing just as well if we had been called upon to do it. Jealousy is unknown in this regiment, you see, and I hope in the whole Army as well. All I hope is that ther Germans will try to sap out opposite my Company. However, after last night’s effort I daresay they will be thinking twice before they start doing so again;’

Worcesters’ Great Deeds: The Mayor of Kidderminster has given notice that at the meeting of the Corporation to be held on Wednesday next he will move a resolution placing on record the admiration all residents felt for the gallant and heroic deeds of the Worcs Regt in France and Belgium, where, by their exceptional bravery, they have won undying fame and the well-merited commendation of Field-Marshall Sir John French, and by their heroism have so well maintained the regiment’s splendid tradition of devotion to their King and country; also that the Council do record their satisfaction that so many sons of Kidderminster have taken part in these glorious deeds.

Information researched by Sue Redding