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Key dates over September 1917

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Lives lost on this day: 55

20th September 1917 - Battle of the Menin Road Ridge. Renewed attack by British, Australian and New Zealand troops towards Passchendaele begins steady advances in dry weather.

Rolling casualty count: 7567

War Front:

4th Batt: At 9.30 am the Batt marched to Proven Station and entrained for the forward area, arriving at Elvertinghe. Batt then marched to Rugby Camp as reserve to the 2nd Brigade of Guards. Bombs were dropped by enemy aircraft.

1/8th Batt: Batt fired on the Field Training range. Lt HA Carr DSO gave up command of the Batt, taking over command of the 7th Batt, Manchester Regiment. Lt Col AE Cronshaw from the 7th Batt Manchester Reg resumed command of this Batt.

2/8th Batt: Lt Acting Capt HL Evans was awarded the Military Cross.

10th Batt: Zero Hour was 5.40am with A, B and C Coys in front. Two leading platoons of each Coy formed one wave. They advanced under barrage to the Green Line and paused for 35 minutes. Two waves of the rear platoons ”leap-frogged” through and advanced under barrage to the Blue Line. D Coy moved up to the old British Front Line at Zero plus 29 minutes. The Green Line was consolidated by the leading platoons and the Blue Line by the 3rd platoons. All objectives were taken.


Home Front:

9 Days Without Food or Water: News has reached his relative that Sergt. J. Harte, of the Inland Water Transport, is alive after having escaped murder by Arabs following shipwreck in a small craft on an island in the Arabian Sea. In tow of a tug, Sergt. Harte and a party were proceeding from Aden to Muscat on a barge when a hurricane sprang up and extinguished the fires of the tug, which foundered with all hands. The tow ropes were cut, and the small craft, with temporary sails made from awnings, drifted about for many days. At last the boat was driven ashore with its occupants, under a cliff on the Arabian coast. Immediately the craft was sighted 300 Arabs armed with knives swarmed aboard and looted it. Sergt. Harte says: “Our party could not put up much of a fight but I knocked one Bedouin over the ship’s side and then got knocked out myself and thrown into the surf. When the Arabs got us well inland they told us to get ready to have our throats cut, which they expressed their intention of doing as soon as they had taken everything from the ship. A little before daybreak the Arabs began to fight among themselves over the division of the loot. “While our guard left us to join in the fight we crawled away and then escaped over the mountains into the desert, over which we tramped for nine days practically without food or water. It was nine days of untold misery. Eventually we arrived at a place where friendly natives lent us a dhow of about 250 tons. After eight days of further privation, we were taken on board a warship which had been despatched to the scene of the wreck.”

Fete at Perdiswell: The City Member (Sir Edward Goulding) opened today at Perdiswell Park, a two days’ fete held in aid of the Mayor’s Fund for providing homes for disabled soldiers and sailors. He was supported by Lord and Lady Coventry, Mr. H.J. Whiteley, M.P., and Mrs. Whiteley and the Dean of Worcester and Mrs. Moore Ede. Sir Edward Goulding said we could not hope that all disabled soldiers would become skilled in some way and it behoved us to do what we could to supplement the pension given by the State to assuage with suffering and hardship which disabled soldiers had to bear. The Mayor announced that Mr. and Mrs. Colville Stewart, of Tomatoland, Malvern, had promised to provide and equip a bungalow and we were grateful to them for their generosity.

The Royal Commission on the Sugar Supply, in a report issued today, remark that “it would be no serious privation if the domestic consumption of ¾ lb. per head per week of the population.” To provide this allowance for the whole civil population would require more than the weekly issue of 14,000 tons, whereas the weekly issues through the Sugar Commission Board during the period of greatest restriction never averaged less than 24,000 tons per week up to the end of last year, thus leaving an ample margin for the supply of the naval and military forces and for manufacturing purposes.

Pte. J.H. Allen, Welsh Regiment, has been killed in action. He is the husband of Mrs. Allen, 24, Spring Gardens, Tything, and the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Allen, 47, Fort Royal Hill. Pte. Allen was 23 years of age and joined up about six months ago. He had been at the front about nine weeks.

Kidderminster Town Council on Wednesday decided to increase the number of lamps lighted in the public streets and to unscreen some of the lamps already lighted. The Chief Constable said if he could have his way he would have all lamps in the borough fully lighted. It was decided to make a grant of £10 to the Worcestershire Prisoners of War Fund, which is being raised by the Earl of Coventry. Councillor Wright animadverted upon the action of Mr. Willis Bund with regard to the distribution of sugar for preserving purposes in the district and characterised him as the Kaiser of Worcestershire. Several members resented the remark, and declared that Mr. Willis Bund did his best to get better arrangements made in in the Kidderminster district.

Worcestershire Men ‘s Awards: D.C.M., 40135 Bty.-Sergt.-Major B.V. Kirby R.F.A: Whilst six ammunition wagons were being loaded a sudden and intense fire was opened and a scene of great confusion ensued; it was very dark and the drivers were unable to see what to do in their gas masks. He removed his smoke helmet and assisted the officer in charge to restore order and by so doing saved a serious block in the traffic, which would have caused heavy casualties. His coolness and presence of mind under heavy fire set a very fine example at a time when it was most needed.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team