One of the gems hidden away in the archives at Worcester's The Hive is this cutting from the Berrow's Journal of Saturday, December 5, 1914.
George Gadd was a 30-year-old Brummie when the events that he describes about the counter-attack through Polygon Wood – on Saturday, October 24, 1914, a week before the charge at Gheluvelt – took place.
Peter Rose's remarkable records on the www.worcestershireregiment.com website reveal that Gadd – pictured right in 1914, and on his wedding day in 1915 (images courtesy of the same website) – was born in Kingstanding, Birmingham, June 26, 1884.
He was a reservist who had originally enlisted on March 17, 1907, and was recalled at the outbreak of war.
According to the casualty list of January 30, 1915, he was in Birmingham's 1st Southern General Hospital soon after the counter-attack at Gheluvelt, and he was discharged on March 7, 1917. He was awarded the Clasp & Roses on February 30, 1921, and died in February, 1964, aged 79.
Worcesters' bayonets save Warwicks
In Sir John French's last long despatch giving an account of the recent fighting, he paid a striking tribute to the fine services of the Worcesters.
Thus there is special interest in the following letter from Lance-corporal George Gadd, of the A Company of the 2nd Worcesters, who was formerly employed at Newport.
"We have done grand work, and have been highly praised by our general officer commanding on two occasions, and also my company on one occasion for good work we have done. In fact, we have earned for ourselves the name of 'the line repairers'.
"Of course, you got my letter in which I mentioned we had had a bayonet charge about a fortnight ago? Talk of the county when they are about to score -- and miss! That's nothing to the excitement of such times. But we didn't miss. Oh, no: We scored heavily.
"We just came up in time as the Warwicks were hard pressed, and before the Huns knew what was the matter, there was one mighty yell from us, and away we went straight at them. Of course, they went too, but hundreds not fast enough for us.
"There is no for reflection at times like these, but when one thinks of those who lie about those woods dead and dying, it makes one think that this is war.
"And it is, Jack, my boy, war with all its horrors.
"We have had it hard and trying all through. I'm blowed if I know what those troops are doing who are writing home for footballs. If they were along with us they would think cricket more like it, as we have been so close in our trenches as to throw hand grenades at each other, and those are not thrown a great distance, as you may guess.
"We are expecting to go and have a rest now at any time, and I am sure no one deserves one more. We have such cheerful news going about lately, but I am afraid it's too good to be true. They say some of our troops are going home. We have had it from so many sources that it makes one really think that it is true; but what a cruel shock to all of us if it's only a yarn!
"I should very much like to come home just as I am. It would be a shock to you to see me. I'll warrant that you'd hardly know me with a month's growth of beard and dirt on my chivy-chase."