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Key dates over January 1917

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Lives lost on this day: 3

23rd January 1917 - Deserter forced wanted to avenge brother's death

Rolling casualty count: 5225

War Front: 2nd Batt: At 11.30am Batt, with Coys at 200 yard intervals, marched to Suzanne where they bivouacked in a tent camp and dug-outs taken over from the 4th Kings Reg. Camp very dirty and uncomfortable.

4th Batt: Batt moved to Guillemont pm and billets were much improved with floor-boards and bunks for some huts.

2/7th Batt: Battery inspection by the CO and MO.

10th Batt: Mood of the men is confident and they are in good heart after the heavy losses on the Somme as the gains were obvious.

Home Front: Sequel to Cat Hunt: A tragedy is reported from Dumbleton, near Evesham. It appears that the victim is a young man named William Harvey, and that he was shot dead by a farmer’s son while a cat hunt was in progress on Monday. Harvey (27), an engine driver, was in the employ of Mr. George W. Stevens, of Cullabine Farm, Dumbleton, and the hunt, it seems, was occasioned by a cat having got into a pantry at the farm. Mr. Steven’s daughter requested her brother to shoot it, and young Stevens, procuring a gun, went into the farmyard where he was joined by Harvey and another workman. A hunt for the cat started, and the animal was found in the fowls’ house. Stevens fired but missed; he fired a second time, and, to his horror, found Harvey right in front of him. Harvey received the full force of the discharge in his head, and he fell dead. He was a married man, and leaves a family of five children.

To Avenge Brother’s Death: At a Court Martial at Norton Barracks, today, Pte. E.J. Morris, 11th Worcestershire Regiment, admitted being a deserter from February, 1915. The accused told the Court that in September, 1914, he declined to be inoculated, and, because of that he was always in “trouble” with his officer, and finally he left his billet and got work in an ammunition factory (under an assumed name), where he had done something to aid the war. At Christmas he was greatly upset by the death of his brother at the front, and he decided to avenge his brother’s death by returning to the Army. He was found guilty. Sentence will be promulgated in due course.

The Price of Beer: At a meeting of the Worcester and District Brewers held on January 20th, it was resolved that in consequence of the great increase in the cost of Brewing Materials and Labour, that, on and after Tuesday 23rd January, the minimum price of Beer be 42s. per Barrel, plus 18s. War Tax.

Alleged Attempted Child Murder: Clara Cunningham Pennell, the wife of a carpet weaver of Stourbridge Road, Kidderminster, was charged with the attempted murder of her daughter, Hilda, aged 5 years. Detective-Sergeant Jones stated that he found the child in bed with a fractured skull. The mother was in a neighbour’s house, where she had stated that she had done something to Hilda with a poker, and the weapon was found in the room. The child had been suffering from measles, and that was the reason why she was in bed and not at school. The Justices remanded the woman in custody till Monday next. The child was at once taken to the Children’s Hospital, and it is not thought that she can survive.

Votes for Some Women: The Speaker’s Committee on Electoral Reform has now considered the question of women’s suffrage. It is understood that a majority of the Committee is in favour of granting woman suffrage in some form. This principal having been established, the Committee further considered various forms of woman suffrage and voted on them, but there were only small majorities in favour of any particular scheme.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team