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Key dates over January 1917

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Lives lost on this day: 4

8th January 1917 - Shortage of coffins causing problems for undertakers

Rolling casualty count: 5185

2nd Batt: training in handling of arms, platoon drill and bayonet fighting. Five NCOs were put through a course of bayonet fighting. The “Shrapnels” gave a concert in the Hall at 6pm.

4th Batt: There was a lecture by Major Pennyman on woods fighting at 9am in the Hotel de Ville. There was a Brigade Cross Country run in which B Coy got 1st place.

2/7th Batt: Bathing for the men and working parties.

Cpl Sheldig and Pte Gardner were awarded the Military Medal.

Yeomanry/Cavalry: New maps of the Turkish position were issued and orders received that the battle should be started by the Brigade Field Ambulance. As troops were saddling up an enemy aircraft flew over looking fo signs of unusual activity-half an hour too early! Troops set off at4pm and stopped to feed , water and off saddle the horses. Men rested to the sounds of croaking frogs and the chatter of the Egyptian camel drivers.

Burials delayed by Shortage of Coffins: So serious is the difficulty of dealing with burials owing to the shortage of labour, that undertakers are arranging for a deputation to wait on Mr. Neville Chamberlain, Director of National Service. Advocates of cremation are pointing out the desirability of making that system compulsory...The usual winter increase in the death-rate, plus the influenza victims, has accentuated the difficulties…All classes are affected. Even for funerals where money is no object delay has been inevitable. In normal times three or four days was the usual time between death and burial; now it is a week or ten days. Many Boards of Guardians have had difficulty in getting the pauper burial work done and they have had to meet the undertakers by relaxing some of the clauses of their contracts.

Worcester Child’s Death: An inquest was held respecting the death of an infant male child of Mrs. Campbell, the wife of a soldier who lodges on Fort Royal Hill. Dr. A.B. Hodges said he had visited the child on three occasions. He first called to advise about the child’s diet. The infant was not progressing satisfactorily. Apparently it was healthy, but poorly nourished… When he was called to the child after its death he found the lips and tip of the tongue markedly discoloured – these were evidence of suffocation. He agreed with the Coroner that a child ought not to be taken to bed with the mother. When he last saw the child alive a fortnight ago he thought it had a fair chance of living.

A Local Territorial: On Christmas Day Mrs. E. Jones, 7, Perdiswell Street, Worcester, received intimation that her son, Trooper A.E. Jones, of the Artillery (T.F.) is in hospital ill. He has now been sent to a convalescent hospital. He has been abroad 22 months, going out directly after his 17th birthday. He was in the Artillery (T.F.) previous to the outbreak of war. He is one of the seven fighting sons of Mrs. E. Jones, whose husband is also a soldier.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team