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Key dates over December 1914

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Lives lost on this day: 1

6th December 1914 - Local Volunteer Civilian Training

Rolling casualty count: 541

1st Batt: ‘A’ Lines 5-7 Dec: 2nd Batt: In billets at Bailleul; 3rd Batt: Moved to billets at Scherpenber.

On Friday, 24 recruits were enrolled at Norton. A draft of men, including several who have been invalided from the front, and have now recovered, left the Barracks to join the Special Reserve Battalions, from which the fighting Battalions at the front are being reinforced.

Among those who went down in the Good Hope, when she was sunk by the German warships off the Chilian coast, was First Class Stoker, Albert Wheatley, of Hallow. He had previously served 5 years in the fleet, and was a reservist, having alrady served about 4 years of the necessary 7. He was called up on July 13 for his usual month’s training, and, of course, the war broke out before that period was finished. He was about 26 years of age, was married, and has one little girl of 21/2 . He did fine rescue work at the time of the Messina earthquake, and was the recipient of a medal from the King of Italy. His young widow is still living in Hallow, and she seeks consolation in the fact that her husband, with the rest of his gallant comrades, died fighting.

Worcester Highlander’s Narrow Escape: Mr T Smith, the licensee of the Golden Lion Inn, High Street, has heard that his son, Pte Douglas Smith, of the Seaforth Highlanders, who was invalided suffering from frost-bitten feet, is now recovered. The “bite” is practically out of his feet, and he is not likely to lose any of his toes. He was taken out of the trench between six and seven o’clock in the evening, when he had become incapacitated by frostbite. He had just previously had a narrow escape. His comrades on either side were shot dead, and he himself had a bullet pass through his kilt.

Proposals for Civilian Training: A provisional committee has been formed with a view to forming a branch in Worcester of the Volunteer Training Corps, an organisation of which Lord Desborough is the President, and which has its Central HQ in London…It is proposed to call the branch the Worcester City Volunteer Training Corps, to be affiliated with the Central Association of Volunteer Training Corps. The objects will be to promote recruiting for the Regular and Territorial Armies, and to afford opportunities of training and exercise to men who are not at present eligible for the Regular Forces. No one will be admitted as a member who is eligible to serve in the Regulars or Territorials. Special importance is being attached to efficiency in shooting, and particular attention will be given to this branch of training. A public meeting will be called by the Mayor, to take place on Thursday Dec 17th at the Guildhall, when the objects of the corps will be explained more thoroughly and members will be enrolled.

Military Church Parades: To-day, for the first time since the 11th Battalion have been stationed in the city, they did not accompany the Territorials to the Cathedral, but attended services specially arranged for them at St. Stephen’s and St. George’s churches. The Territorials paid their usual visit to the Cathedral. Col. Sir Henry Grey (Yeomanry) was in command of the parade, and the three units were headed by their respective bands. The Dean (Dr. Moore Ede) was the preacher.

Gifts for Soldiers’ Children: A letter was received from Mr. Allsebrook, who, writing on behalf of the Parish Committee for Malvern Link, made an application for some of the presents from the United States of America for the children of soldiers and sailors living in the district. The Parish Committee was arranging a Christmas treat, and the occasion should be a good opportunity for distributing the gifts. The Clerk (Mr Bird) said that he did not know, and, of course, neither did the Local Government Board, how many children had to be provided for. They asked that the children should be divided into two classes – those whose fathers were killed or missing, and those whose fathers were at the front. They also desired to distribute the gifts among the Belgians. At present it was impossible to say how far the gifts would go. Children of Territorials, whose fathers were still in England would not get anything.

Information researched by Sue Redding