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Key dates over March 1917

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Lives lost on this day: 1

26th March 1917 - First Battle of Gaza. British forces from Egypt led by General Sir Archibald Murray nearly break through Turkish lines in Palestine but fail to exploit their success.

Rolling casualty count: 5695

War Front: 2nd Batt: A draft of 2 officers and 115 men joined from base. It was very wet so parades were cancelled.

2/7th Batt: Men in working parties and bathing. Six other ranks arrived from base.

SMD RFA: HQ moved to Bussu via Peronne. A and B Coys moved into action at Tincourt and came under the command of LT Col Lord Wynford.

Yeomanry/cavalry: At 1 am the brigade marched in darkness and crossed the Wadi and later thick fog hampered the progress. At 5am the fog cleared and the Anzac Division was attacked by several German aeroplanes with machine guns. The troops were now on land with green turf and little streams, Which the horses enjoyed.

Major Ffrench –Blake with A Squadron, surprised an enemy camp and took 60 prisoners without their clothes.

Home Front: To the Editor: Food Shortage Suggestion: Sir, as there is such a shortage of potatoes I make the following suggestion. That the fried fish shops should make and sell rice balls. They would be a great addition to the children’s diet. To make the balls: Take the quantity of rice required, and boil it in sufficient water to make it stiff and jelled when done. Let it get cold. Form into balls or cut into squares; roll them in maize or oatmeal. Fry in hot fat. Some salt should be put into the water in which the rice is boiled. A little onion makes them more tasty. “An Old Hand.”

Mrs. Hall’s Egg Collection: Mrs. J. Hall, of Cumberland House, Britannia Square, for the third year in succession, on Saturday collected eggs on behalf of the wounded soldiers staying in and near Worcester, and the patients in the Infirmary. She called on tradespeople and private citizens, to collect 1,050 eggs. Some gave one egg, some two or three, one gave 50, and others who had no eggs, gave case wherewith to purchase some. Mrs. Hall did extremely well in obtaining 1,050, as against 1,098 last year. Of the total, 500 go to Worcester Infirmary, and the remainder are divided between Battenhall Mount and Norton Barracks Hospital.

Worcester Priest as Army Chaplain: Among the Fathers of the Society of Jesus recently offered to the War Office as Army Chaplains, and who expect to cross to France immediately is Father Joseph Parsons, son of Mr. J.R. Parsons of Foregate Street. Father Parsons was ordained at the St. George’s Catholic Church, Worcester, by the Archbishop of Birmingham in August last year. He has two brothers in the fighting line, Lieut. E.R. Parsons and Sec.-Lieut. E.V.P. Parsons.

Price of Bread: Worcester is not affected by the decision, in London, to raise the price of bread to 1s. per 4lb. loaf. As a matter of fact there is no uniform price in the city, but it varies from 10d. to 11d. sold over the counter and 10½d. to 11½d. delivered. The local bakers had a meeting on Saturday evening, to consider the question of the possible release of more men for the Army, as suggested by the Recruiting Authorities, but the price of bread was not discussed.

Death of Mr. J.O. Stewart: The death of Mr. James Oswald Stewart, at the age of 45, took place somewhat suddenly on Sunday morning at his home in Lansdowne Road. Mr. Stewart had been ill for nine months, and was treated at Knightwick through last summer and autumn for consumption. There was, however, very little improvement in his condition as the result of the treatment, and he returned home before Christmas, and has been confined to the house nearly ever since…He married Miss Bosley about two years ago, and much sympathy is felt for her in her bereavement.

Obstruction: Tudor David Falke, manager, of the Industrial Foundry, Derby Road, pleaded guilty to causing an obstruction with ashes. Defendant told the Court that the Canal Company would not take away the ashes as they had done for years past. The firm had sent scores of loads up to Henwick, but now their haulier was ill, and probably the cinders had accumulated. Mr. Lippett, who complained to the police, said that the ashes were over the footpath, and he could not get to his gate. The defendant gave an undertaking not to repeat the offence, and he was fined 5s.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team