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Key dates over December 1914

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Lives lost on this day: 0

27th December 1914 - Christmas postal services struggle with depleted ranks

Rolling casualty count: 564

1st Batt: ‘B’ Lines: Firing etc carried on today as usual, if anything a little less than usual; 2nd Batt: At about 3:30pm the Battn marched off from Lacouture to relieve the 2/39th Gharwal (Garhwal) Rifles in the trenches SE of RIchebourg D’Avoue. By about 7:30pm the relief was completed, ‘A’, ‘B’ & ‘C’ companies in the trenches. ‘D’ Coy in billets at Richebourg-St-Vaast in support; 3rd Batt: Westoutre: Relieved at 7pm in trenches by Royal Scots and Suffolk Regiment. Marched to billets at Westoutre.

In this year’s pantomime, “Aladdin,” which was presented at the Worcester Theatre on Boxing Night, Mr Carlton has provided an entertainment well up to the standard of previous years. The play is just as bright and inconsequential as usual. An occasional vestige of the original fairy story is discernible through the maze of topical patter and up-to-date songs. The patriotic element is well to the fore, and special songs and dances appropriate to the time are included.

As in former years, members of the Men’s Own Brotherhood provided many poor children of the city with a tea on the evening of Boxing Day. This year about 480 children sat down. Long before the hour fixed for the time of the meal, ticket-holders gathered outside the Congregational Schoolroom, in which the tea was served. The Brotherhood collected £11 11s, and Mr G Foss undertook the work of organisation.

St Helen’s Band of Hope – A Concert and Entertainment was held at St Helen’s Church House for the Belgian Relief Fund. Ticket Prices: 1s 6d and 3d.

Cpl John Watts of the 3rd Worcestershires, writing home, says: “I am a very lucky man. Shells have burst over my head, and pals have been killed and wounded all around me, while I have got through. I have lost all my old pals, and there are only a few of us left who came out first. I was with Greenway when he was wounded, but we had to make a bayonet charge, and I have not seen or heard of him since. “

A strenuous Time has been experienced at the Post Office. This was caused by the depletion of force, due to a number of the staff being away on military duties; to the difficulty experienced in obtaining temporary men to deal with the pressure, and to the foggy, wet weather which made the roads bad and the railways uncertain. Over 25 per cent of the sorting clerks are working with the Army, besides those on duty at other offices, and one or two vacancies. The duties of the absentees are normally provided for as far as possible by women, but women could not be employed on sorting duties, nor on the heavier counter duties. During a normal week 119,000 letters are delivered in Worcester, but during Christmas week the number reached nearly 240,000. The number of parcels delivered in a normal week is 6,037, but this year during Christmas week the number reached 15,365. Nothing strikingly unusual was observed in connection with articles posted, except that patriotic mottos and designs formed part of the Christmas greeting in many cases, and that picture postcard photographs of soldiers were very numerous.

Information researched by Sue Redding