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Key dates over March 1917

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Lives lost on this day: 5

29th March 1917 - Corporation criticised for ploughing barren sites

Rolling casualty count: 5706

War Front: 2nd Batt: In the evening the 1st Queens invited the officers of the Batt to an “at home” at the Cinema Hall.

4th Batt: Batt left at 9.30 am and marched via Ouissy and Piquiny to La Chausee where they stayed the night. The billets were cramped as the Australian Divisional School was in town.

10th Batt: An officer`s patrol entered the line at Nagsnose and saw no enemy. A working party was again seen behind the enemy front line.

SMD RFA: The wagon lines moved to Tincourt.

Yeomanry/Cavalry: Both sides claimed a victory in the 1st Battle of Gaza. The British received congratulations from England but it should have been a greater success.

Home Front: Worcester Corporation Criticised: Mr. Parkes said he went about the country and saw a lot of land which required ploughing, and it “made his blood boil” when he saw plots around the Cathedral and elsewhere being ploughed. In the City of Worcester he saw at Battenhall a team of horses (Corporation horses he supposed they were) and five men ploughing up a field. They were ploughing up bricks and all sorts of rubbish. What did they suppose they were going to grow there? Look at the time and the money it was costing the city to bring into cultivation land that would not in many instances grow a potato. By all means let them plough but let them deal with the land that was likely to produce something.

Ex-Sergeant Executed: Leo George O’Donnell, formerly a sergeant in the R.A.M.C., was executed at Winchester Prison at 8 o’clock this morning for the murder of Lieut. Watterton at Aldershot. Prisoner walked firmly to the scaffold, a short distance from the condemned cell, and the execution was expeditiously carried out, death being instantaneous. Ellis was the executioner, and he was assisted in his duties by Baxter. A drop of six feet nine inches was given. O’Donnell, at his execution, wore a rough canvas suit marked with broad arrows, which had been supplied to him by the prison authorities, his military uniform, which he wore at the trial, having been taken from him.

Drunk and Without Lights: Albert William Butt, hawker, 57, Copenhagen Street, was charged with being drunk whilst in charge of a horse and trap in New Road. He was also charge with not having two lights on his trap. P.C. Fisher said he saw that defendant had only one light on his trap, and when he stopped him he discovered that he was drunk. Defendant had no red light at the rear of the trap. Defendant had been convicted several times previously. He was fined 30s. for being drunk, and 20s. for the other offence.

Worcester Rates “Up:” The rates for the City for the coming year will be 3d. up if the recommendation of the Finance Committee of the City Council is adopted. The Finance Committee have recommended that the three rates should be as follows: City rate, 2s. 8d. in the £ against 2s.5d. last year; General District Rate, 3s. 4d., against 3s. 4d.; Water Rate 8d., against 8d. Last year there was a reduction of 6d. in the rates as compared with the previous year, so that if the rates are passed as recommended the net amount will be 3d. under 1915.

Worcester Licensed Victuallers’ Decision: At the Masonic Hall this afternoon, a meeting was held of members of the local licensed trade to consider the greatly increased wholesale prices and to fix retail prices for the district. Mr. J. Bean presided, and there was a very large attendance. Prices were fixed as follow. Draught beers, 2½d. per glass, 6d. per pint. Bass and Guinness 6d. per bottle indoors, 5½d. outdoors (plus deposit on bottle. 5s. per dozen. Cider, 4d. per pint indoors and outdoors. The increases will come into force on April 2. Spirits were not dealt with.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team