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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: 1

30th January 1917 - Willis-Bund under fire from Councillors

Rolling casualty count: 5373

War Front: 2nd Batt: Two parties of 100 men and 300 men were supplied for Brigade Fatigues. CO and Coy C reconnoitred the Line.

4th Batt: Batt moved to the left sector to relieve the 16th Middlesex, 3 Coys strong. Some men were in the dug-outs at Morval, carrying up rations and trench boards. The ground was too hard to start digging so they started on the new tea rations.

Yeomanry/Cavalry: Sufficient railway material had been collected at El Arish and the bridge over the big Wadi was far enough advanced for the next move forward to start.

Home Front: Councillor Criticises Mr. Bund: The Highways and Improvements Committee reported to the Stourbridge Council on Monday night that they had received a letter from the Superintendent of Police (Mr. T. Hinde) intimating that the Standing Joint Committee of the county had refused to permit any increase of present street lighting. Councillor S. Keeble said Mr. Willis Bund had stated that he was pleased that the darkness was causing the people inconvenience as it would let them know that there was a war on. He could assure Mr. Bund that if any people in the county realised that there was a war on, it was the people of Stourbridge. He moved that the Town Council apply to the Home Office for permission to light another 30 lamps. Councillor Hingley seconded, and Councillor Mason supported the resolution. Councillor Leeson asked that the Council see what was the effect of the steps the Committee were taking. The resolution was defeated by a majority of three.

Distinctions for Local Officers: Col. Sir Edward Clarke, who served for 25 years with the Worcestershires and then returned to command one of the new Service Battalions, after which he commanded a Yorkshire Battalion, has been awarded the D.S.O. Sir Edward will be remembered not only in local military circles, but also by agriculturalists, because he held an important post at the Board of Agriculture after he left the Army, and he had addressed local meetings of farmers in order to explain some of the Board’s restrictive Orders. His Adjutant, Captain Walker, of Evesham, has been awarded the Military Cross.

Skating Fatality Feared: On Monday morning, Mr. Forgas, an assistant master at the Wells House School, Malvern Wells, was seen skating alone on New Pool. His coat and bicycle were on the bank. Later in the day, as the coat and bicycle still lay there, and there was no trace of Mr. Forgas, the police were informed, and dragging operations were commenced, as it was feared that he had been drowned. The deeper part of the Pool is not frozen over, and swans and wild birds swim about unperturbed by the skaters. [see 31 Jan]

On Monday night there was a sharp frost, and now the lakes at Perdiswell, Spetchley, and Worcester, and all other still water in the neighbourhood, including the canal, are fit for skating. Up till Monday the ice which was forming on the Severn above and below Worcester Bridge was broken by the dredger which is working near the Electricity Works, and by other craft. The great floes remained, and they have now congealed and extended, and the river is made impassible for all traffic…Not since 1895 (when the frost extended from the end of December until March), and previously since 1890 (when the frost was severer, if shorter), has the Severn been frozen sufficiently hard for skating, though from year to year these films of ice have formed only to be broken up in the interests of river traffic. In both those years skating was possible for many miles north and south of Worcester. Diglis Weir was frozen over on Sunday, a condition which the Superintendent Engineer of the Commission, has never known before. The ice, which Mr. Bradley described as a splendid site, gave way later.

This morning the body of a little girl named Elsie Gopsill, of Four Foot Row, The Blockhouse, was found in the canal. She would have been seven years of age today. She had been missing since 5.30 last night, and her mother had been unable to find her. This morning passers-by noticed an arm protruding from the ice, and informed P.C. Greaves, who, with great difficulty, recovered the body, which was embedded in the ice. It was removed to the Mortuary. It is thought that she was sliding on the ice and fell in.

Absentee: John Pugsley (28), 13, Little Chestnut Street, was charged with being an absentee from the Devonshire Regiment. Prisoner said that he was entitled to six days’ leave, but was refused it, so he took “French leave.” He was remanded to await an escort.

Wives’ Extra Allowance: Extra allowance which has been granted to soldiers’ wives was paid by post to many thousands on Monday morning. Women with one or more children under 14 had a pleasant surprise in the form of a money order from the War Office entitling them to draw four weeks’ extra allowance. In the case of large families a substantial amount stands to the mother’s credit. There will be a second money order issued in March, after which the extra allowance will be paid at the post-offices in the ordinary way.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team