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Key dates over August 1918

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: 11

3rd August 1918 - Suicide Follows Court Martial

Rolling casualty count: 10296

War Front:

2nd Batt: A very wet day with little enemy activity. B and D Coys pushed out advanced posts 200 to 300 yards in front of our Line. L American Coy men were organised into platoons. Defence organised in greater depth.

4th Batt: Enemy quiet until 9 pm when both artilleries very active, giving harassing and counter battery fire. Y Coy commenced wiring the front. Fields of fire were cleared and hedges thinned. Z Coy carried RE material to X Coy. 2LT WG Collins of Z Coy was wounded by machine gun fire.

1/8th Batt: At 2.30 am, the British guns opened an accurate bombardment and B and C Coys dashed forward to attack. A desperate fight took place in the darkness. The enemy soldiers were tall Bosnians and good fighters. The enemy machine gun on the edge of the cutting was causing casualties until its team were rushed and killed. Sgt R Atkinson took over the gun and turned it on the Bosnians. Capt. CR Pawsey and 2Lt Grainger pushed too far forward and were captured. The Batt took 6 prisoner and 53 enemy bodies were counted.

Home Front:

City Police Court – School Attendance – Catherine Davey, 13 Upper Park Street, was charged with neglecting to cause a child to attend school, the case having been adjourned for a month. Mr Spackman stated that the lad had attended only 17 times out of 36. The mother said that he had got a bad foot and could not attend school, but the school doctors said that he was quite fit to attend. Mr Spackman said that the mother had been fined previously in respect of this boy. Fined 10s.

Tragedy at Norton – Suicide Follows Court Martial – At the Infirmary today, the inquest was held as to the death of Company Quartermaster, Sergt. Francis Woollen, of Norton Barracks. Mrs Woollen, his wife, said that her husband was in the Worcestershire Regiment at Norton Barracks. She had seen him last June and had received a letter from him last Saturday, in which she read nothing to alarm her. He had no money troubles to her knowledge then. The facts of his death were related by Pte F Bragg, stationed at Norton Barracks as cell policeman, who took Woollen at about 1.55 from the guard room to his quarters. This was to enable him to pack his kit. He had nearly finished packing when he turned round and went down a corridor as if he were going to a urinal. Witness waited about two minutes and as Woollen did not return he went after him. Woollen was not there, but was in the bathroom, lying in one corner and bleeding profusely from the throat. Later witness found a blood stained razor in a box closed to the deceased. Capt. J Godfrey, Adjutant at Norton Barracks said that Woollen was tried by court martial on 25th July. His sentence was to be reduced to the rank of private and to undergo six months’ detention at a military prison. He had been a soldier for 40 years, during 25 of which was on the active list. The sentence passed on him would be felt by him severely, as he had everything to lose by it, being a re-enlisted pensioner. He was 54 years of age and had done his work well. The Jury returned a verdict “that Woollen committed suicide whilst of unsound mind”.

Information researched by The Worcestershire World War 100 team