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Key dates over May 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 31

9th May 1915 - Battle of Artois - joint Anglo- French attack here, and at Aubers Ridge

Rolling casualty count: 1142

1st Batt: At 1.30 am the Battn. Had settled into Assembly trenches assigned to it behind Section 1, and in the Rue Petillon in readiness for the attack which was to commence at 5 am. The Battalion was in Brigade 2nd Line ‘D’ & ‘B’ Coys etc, close up to the leading battalions (2/E.Lancs and 1/Sherwoods), ‘A’ & ‘C’ Coys about 400 yds in rear. At 5.40 am the two leading battalions began to move in cessation of bombardment and ‘B’ & ‘D’ Coys began to file into assembly trenches then left vacant, so as to bring them directly in rear of the assault. A&B Coys began also to close up to the leading companies. This latter movement was carried out across the open ground W of the Layes under both gun and Rifle fire as the enemy by this time had begun to reply effectively to our fire. In consequence these two Coys suffered some casualties in moving up. The attack had up to this time progressed very slowly and almost at once appeared to get hung up. At 9am a fresh bombardment of the line and by 9.30am this second attack also appeared to come to a standstill. By this time battalions were getting a good deal mixed up in the trenches as means for an orderly deployment and egress in a forward direction had failed, and a crowd of wounded was further more blocking communication trenches in rear. The position remained unaltered till 12.50pm with the exception of a steady increase in casualties, a heavy bombardment being kept up by both sides, mingled with continuous machine gun and rifle fire. About 12.55 pm, the German gun fire began to increase in intensity with a pronounced infilading character across our left. At 12.50 om the Battn received the order to assault supported by the 1/Sherwoods. The assault to take place at 1.30pm after an intense bombardment of the line by our guns from 1 – 1.30pm. As there did not appear to be the slightest chance of this attack being successful, the O.C Battalion reported the whole question of an attack to the Brigade HQ pending a formal order to proceed with the attack. Things had now come to a standstill with continuous gun fire from both sides and so remained till near midnight;

2nd Batt: At 3am the Battn assembled in column of route and marched to Loisne, where the Brigade was in Corps reserve during the operations ordered to be carried out along the Richebourg front. The attack on German front line failed. The Brigade remained here the whole of the day. 3 or 4 German high explosive shells dropped near the Battn. causing no casualties. At 9pm the Brigade marched to Richebourg and was marching till nearly dawn;

3rd Batt: In billets at Dickebush;

The first Sunday drill of the Worcester Volunteer Training Corps took place today on Pitchcroft, when Colonel Albert Webb had under his command about 450 men. The parade was watched with considerable interest by a large crowd of citizens… The Battalion went through the evolutions which will be required at the inspection by Colonel Edwards next Sunday. There were performed with remarkable efficiency, in view of the very short training which the members have had in Battalion company drill, and the Commander heartily congratulated the Platoon commanders and the rank and file upon this efficiency. Colonel Webb informed the Battalion thatthe Training Corps of Worcestershire would be formed into a Regiment, under the title of the Worcestershire Volunteer Regiment. A badge had been approved by the authorities, on which was the crest and motto of the glorious Worcestershire Regiment, and the letter “V” with the title of the Volunteer Regiment on the scroll below. He was sure that the members would be proud to be permitted to carry the emblem of such a magnificent Regiment, and that they would do all they could to maintain its glorious traditions;

Young Ladies Wanted: Gunner E. A. Collinson, a member of our printing staff, writing from the Front, says: “We are still in the best of health and spirits. These last few days we have been having a bit of fun, for they have been shelling all the buildings on the crest in front, and on our flanks. They dropped very close, but not close enough to make us feel uncomfortable. I have seen Chance and Taylor (two other members of our staff in the 8th Worcesters.) They both are looking well, and are in the trenches again. We have been having some beautiful weather. I hope it will keep up. I see by the ‘Journal’ that the 11th Battalion had a good send-off. Now that all the troops have gone I suppose the town is dead. They will all be missed, especially by the girls. It would not be a bad idea to ship a few of the girls over here, for they seem rather scarce. At the time of writing they are banging away at an aeroplane, but without effect. We never see a ‘plane but what it gets a few shells peppered at it;”

Wounded: Previously reported missing, now reported wounded: Worth, 13149, Pte. J.;

Information researched by Sue Redding