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Key dates over December 1914

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Lives lost on this day: 1

21st December 1914 - Arguments brewing over billeting payments

Rolling casualty count: 558

1st Batt: Remained in trenches , companies occupied in making shelters and improving the trenches generally. It was not found feasible to construt shelters capable of withstanding shrapnel, only protection against weather was attempted; 2nd Batt: Standing by ready to move; 3rd Batt: Locre: In billets.

Dear Sir, I am writing on behalf of the men who joined at the commencement of the war. You must know that the enforced licensing regulations at the present time are very strict, but all will agree with me that the men are trying to keep them to the best of their ability. Now, I think the authorities ought to meet the men half-way and grant extensions on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Many of my comrades and myself are invited out to parties, and I think it is very hard to have to start home about 9:30pm, just when the Christmas fun is about to commence, and it only tends to make the men stop and risk the results. But that, of course, only makes unpleasant incidents. Perhaps this may be the last Christmas we shall spend on English soil, and perhaps the last of all. That is if, as we all desire, we shall soon be on active service. We only ask a very small return for the sacrifices most of us have made. Hoping this will meet the eye of someone who will further our cause. “Hopeful.”

Dear Sir, During the last week or so numerous letters and articles have appeared in the daily periodicals from house-holders who have had soldiers billeted on them, and I notice in every case the billeting fee they are receiving is 3s 41/2d per day. There was one particular instance where labourers in small cottages in Buckinghamshire have had 4 and even 6 billeted with them. If the billeting fee in other parts of the country is 3s 41/2d per day, why should we in Worcester only receive 2s 3d? This letter is written as a matter of principle. “Barbourne.” (The local rate of payment is in accordance with the instructions of the War Office, who, we believe, have regard to higher cost of living in certain districts – Editor, Worcester Daily Times)

On Saturday 19 recruits were enrolled at Norton Barracks, making a total of 261 for the week – one of the best totals for any week since war was declared. Those recruits joining now will be given leave until after Christmas. This morning 250 left the Depot to join the Special Reserve Battalions.

The congregation of St. George’s Roman Catholic Church have contributed 100 shillings to the “Tablet” Fund for relief of the Belgians. A concert will be given later to make additions to the fund.

There is now posted in Pershore Abbey Church a large “Roll of Honour,” on which all the names of those who are on active service from the district are placed. It has been compiled by Mr William Pearce, of Perrott House.

The second batch of the 11th Battalion are now taking their Christmas leave. Free railway passes are given to the men to travel to their homes. So far the officers have had no intimation as to when the Battalion is likely to be moved from the city. The health of the men is remarkably good. They appreciate the manner in which the Barbourne residents are providing for them in their billets, not less than the householders appreciate the general excellence of their behaviour.

The City Volunteer Training Corps has made a first-class start, and on Friday, after less than 24 hours’ recruiting, over 200 Worcester men had put their natures to the enrolment card. The members have been drawn from all ranks of society, particularly the professional and artisan classes, whose leisure time is very limited, and is in most cases confined to a few hours in the evening , and a weekly half-holiday. It is likely that the majority of the training will be undertaken at the Territorial drill halls and rifle ranges. Mr Slade, the Hon Secretary, is working very hard for the success of the movement. Financial help is needed.

Information researched by Sue Redding