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Key dates over February 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 1

17th February 1915 - Cigarette tin saves soldier's leg

Rolling casualty count: 650

1st Batt: Red Barn, in billets. Orders received to resume normal conditions. Returned to ‘A’ Lines trenches; 2nd Batt: In billets at Les Choquax;3rd Batt: In trenches E. Kemmel;

Pte. A. Hewitt (15384), 3rd Worcesters, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hewitt, North Malvern, has been admitted to No. 11 Stationary Hospital, Rouen, with frostbite in the feet. He joined Kitchener’s Army at the beginning of September last, and was sent out with a draft to the 3rd Worcesters, early in December. He has a brother serving at the front in the same Battalion;

Ten soldiers arrived at Worcester last night, and were taken to the Infirmary, assistance being given by the Worcester VAD. None of the men (who come from various regiments) are very seriously wounded. The majority are suffering from frost-bite;

Nearly a pound and a half of iron had to be extracted from the fifteen wounds of Private Ernest Dickinson, 2nd Worcesters, before he could be moved from the base hospital and invalided home. He explains:-“I woke up rather late, and feeling peckish. The orderly corporal had left me a tin box full of cigarettes, sent out by someone at home. I slipped the box into my pocket, and clambered out of the trench to track down some bread and jam. The instant I stood on the ground level, the shell dropped right between my feet. I saw the soil move; heard a sort of heaving roar; and woke up in a base hospital, twenty miles away. Fifteen jagged pieces of shell had hit me – ten in the legs, four on the right arm, and one on the left, and the marvel of the whole thing was that but for the tin of cigarettes, I should probably have lost my leg. The biggest fragment smote the bottom of the tin box, broke, and came out on the other side in two pieces, both of which were too small to do any great damage.”

Information researched by Sue Redding