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Key dates over May 1915

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Lives lost on this day: 8

15th May 1915 - Battle of Festubert. British troops undertake another attack in French Flanders only a short distance from Aubers Ridge. Battle carries on until 25 May.

Rolling casualty count: 1189

1st Batt: Battalion moves into C lines. Taking over trenches from 1/6th West Yorks.; 2nd Batt: ‘B’ and ‘D’ Coys in trenches, ‘A’ and ‘C’ in billets near Windy Corner. The 1st Army was ordered to take the offensive on the night 15/16 May. The 5th Brigade were ordered to attack German trenches on their front. The Battalion was detailed to form front line of attack (frontage 300 yards). The attack to be carried out by successive lines at intervals of about 100 yards. A working party of 150 men of Glasgow Highlanders to move as third line with picks, shovels and sandbags. By 11.15pm the whole of ‘B’ & ‘D’ Coys and half of ‘A’ & ‘C’ Coys and most of the working party of Glasgow Highlanders were out in front of our wire entanglements, and all ready to make the assault. The attack was ordered to take place simultaneously all along our front at 11.30 pm to be carried out in absolute silence and at a walk until the enemy’s trench was approached when it was to be rushed. At 11.28 pm the enemy opened a heavy fire with rifles and machine guns. At 11.30 pm the advance commenced but the left Coy (‘D’) could make no forward progress owing to the enemy’s heavy fire. ‘B’ Coy supported by ‘A’ went forward with great dash but suffered so heavily that only three officers and a few men got near the German line, one of those officers Lt McCormick being severely wounded close up to the German wire and unfortunately could not be removed. He was reported to be killed later. The working party of the Glasgow Highlanders went forward with great dash and some of them almost reaching the German line before being shot down. The attack had failed along the front allotted to the Indian Corps and 5th Brigade except that half the Inniskilling Fusiliers had got across and occupied the German breastworks. The 6th Brigade on our right hand and the 7th Division on their right also got into the German line. ‘D’ and ‘C’ Coys who could not get forward remained in dead ground in anticipation of making a fresh attack at 3.15am next day, but owing to the darkness and the absence of reports from the right boys and congestion of breastworks it was utterly impossible to reorganise for a fresh attack;3rd Batt: In billets at Dickebush;

General Infirmary: Week ending 15th May: Patients admitted, 20; patients discharged, 14; in the House, 15th May, 110 (including 45 wounded soldiers);

A Worcester’s Grit: “That’s the chap for grit,” said a patient in a hospital, pointing to Private Edward Whitehouse, of the 3rd Worcesters, who has lost both legs;

Worcester Brotherhood and Distressed Belgians: A great national effort is being made through the National Brotherhood Federation to aid distressed Belgians and French inhabitants of the devastated war area…In Worcester, a shop in the High Street, until recently occupied by Messrs. Sigley, has been kindly lent to the Worcester Men’s Own Brotherhood (Angel Street Church), and this has been open during this week for the reception of gifts in money or kind…Clothing for women and children, (including calico serge, flannelette, cloth and prints) will be welcomed. Up to the present the responses of the public has been most generous, and both wholesale and smaller traders have given liberally of their stock. Messrs. Courtenay, to give one example, have given packages of soup tablets, sufficient to feed 1,500 persons.

Information researched by Sue Redding