AT one o’clock in the afternoon on October 31, 1914, 375 war-weary and exhausted men of the Worcestershire Regiment’s 2nd Battalion fixed bayonets, stuffed their pockets with ammunition, said their prayers and prepared to die.

They then set off on one of the most heroic charges of the First World War, across 1,000 yards of open Belgian countryside in the face of determined enemy fire.

By nightfall, they had recaptured the village of Gheluvelt from the Germans and plugged a vital gap in the Allied defensive line. If the attack had failed, the Germans would have been through and on their way to Paris. The war would have been over by Christmas.

The soldiers’ extreme bravery brought lavish praise from the Army’s commander-in-chief Sir John French, who exclaimed: “The Empire was saved.” Considering at that time the British Empire covered nearly a third of the globe, this was praise indeed.

Fifteen years ago Worcester lawyer David Hallmark journeyed to the site of this memorable military engagement and after some searching, found the memorial in its honour.

“For such a dramatic event, the brick memorial at Gheluvelt was modest and described itself as having been paid for ‘by a man of Worcestershire’, as if official recognition or public subscription was not available,” said David.

“A cross stood below it and the site was one of comparative dereliction. If this was a memorial to the event that saved the British Empire, then it was a signal of how the heroism had been relegated to just another symbol of that awesome slaughter which destroyed the youth of Europe.”

In 1984 the house where the memorial stood was sold and it was moved. But in years that followed the memorial fell into disrepair and a decision was taken to extend it with plaques commemorating the names of the 34 men who were killed on October 31 1914.

On March 24 this year the new memorial, renovated and enlarged, was unveiled in the presence of the Mayor of Worcester Adrian Gregson and Lt Col . Mark Jackson of the Mercian Regiment and Russ Walker of the Worcestershire Ambassadors, who had supported the fund raising.

Here are a few other events from Octobers past highlighted in Worcester’s History and Heritage Calendar. From The Rolling Stones to King John.

October 1, 1896: Lady Mary Lygon, the third daughter of the 7th Earl Beauchamp of Madresfield Court, officially opened the Victoria Institute in Foregate Street, Worcester. It was the culmination of a campaign to bring new facilities to the city to promote “Inspiration through Learning”. A Jubilee Memorial to Queen Victoria, the purpose built complex included a new School of Science and the ceremonial Foundation Trowel featured the name of Earl Beauchamp as a donor. On the roof was the figure of Minerva, the Roman Goddess of wisdom, poetry, medicine, crafts and music.

October 2, 1621: Worcester was granted a Royal Charter of Corporation by James I. A few weeks later is was read aloud in the Guildhall. The charter created a mayor to be elected annually and declared Worcester a Free City and a County. Government was given to the mayor and two chambers of “discreet citizens”. These were known as the Twenty Four ( the Great Clothing) and the Forty Eight (the Commoners). The mayor and aldermen became Justices of the Peace and held office with two chamberlains and a sheriff and sword bearer and recorder.

October 3, 1940: A lone German bomber appeared from under a low ceiling of cloud and after circling St John’s dropped two 500 lb bombs on the Meco Works in Bromyard Road. WW2 had come to Worcester. Seven men were killed as the east end of the factory was demolished. They included long serving employee William Hulme, the foreman blacksmith. Doris Tindall a canteen attendant was blinded, three men were seriously injured and sixty others suffered injuries

The second bomb missed the plate shop by only nine feet. It gouged a mark in the concrete and ricocheted on to damage property in Happyland West. A lump of shrapnel landed in the nearby car park of the Eltex Works just as George Elt was exiting the front door. The explosion sent him airborne back into the building where he landed on his back.

October 9,1963: The Rolling Stones play Worcester Gaumont. They were to appear at the same venue again in December. On the first visit the group was initially down the bill on a list headlined by the Everly Brothers, which also included Little Richard and Bo Diddley. However as the nationwide tour progressed the Stones moved up thanks to the success of their first single, a version of Chuck Berry’s Come On. The elevation must have seemed surprising to the group as they were actually playing with music legends who were their idols.

October 19, 1216: King John was buried in Worcester Cathedral. However, in 1797 thieves opened the tomb and stole souvenirs, including the thumb bone. This was later mysteriously returned, but it has not been possible to determine whether it is from the left or right hand. Two eminent local consultant surgeons have added their comments to the debate.

Mike Trevett said: “The bone is a finger phalanx, but there is no way of telling if it is left or right. It may not even be the thumb.

“ While John Black, former President of the Royal College of Surgeons, added: “Bones in the thumb and fingers are the same on each side. Those on the dominant side are a little bigger. A comparison with the other hand would be needed.” So is it a Right Royal Digit or a left leaner?