October 1915 – January 1916: The Dark Side of the Cannock Chase Camps (part 2)

The Most Sensitive of Projects
Because of the sensitive nature of this project, and for the benefit of those that have not read part 1 (see https://wyrleyblog.wordpress.com/cannock/driven-to-dispair-the-dark-side-of-the-cannock-chase-camps-part-1/ ), I wanted to re-cover the background to it.

The original intention was to cover the story of a Private Parnaby, as he is buried in a local cemetery. The trouble was that I discovered that Parnaby, a soldier-in-training who died in early July 1916, would be difficult to talk about – even a century later – as he committed suicide. I was going to abandon the story, until I happened upon the fact that Parnaby was not the only soldier stationed on Cannock Chase who took unusual or extreme action, and I don’t just mean suicide, to escape their situation during the war.

As the concepts of stress and anxiety were not really acknowledged, the actions of these men, when reported in the newspaper, were often attributed to ‘melancholia’ (depression) or there was an insinuation that there was a ‘lack of moral fibre’ involved. What was acknowledged, however, was the number of cases being reported from Cannock, as they led to a question on possible ‘bullying’ in the camps being raised in the House of Commons – although the question would ultimately be brushed under the carpet.

This series of articles seeks to examine whether soldiers felt pushed into extreme action because of bullying at the Chase camps, whether it was a consequence of a lack of understanding or consideration for soldiers suffering with stress, anxiety or depression, or simply a more calculated means to escape the army. The first article was all about context, in which I briefly examine how well the concepts of melancholia, stress and anxiety were understood back in World War One. Subsequent articles will predominantly take in the soldier’s stories: this part covering Private Davill and Private Greenwood, whose differing experiences open the dark side of the Cannock Chase camps in January 1916.

I had to do a lot of soul-searching before I finally decided to attempt this project, as many understandably believe this type of thing should be left well alone: people find allegations of bullying or trying to debate stress, depression and mental health as uncomfortable now as they did then. Evidence for the project can only come from the newspaper and individual war records of the soldiers concerned – which means looking into personal cases – and many will believe I should redact the names of those involved out of respect. I fully appreciate that view and respect another writer’s decision to do so, but I find this painful for three main reasons.

First, I feel that public attitudes have changed with regard to World War One: I think the negative view of the war and the acceptance, rightly or wrongly, that men were caught-up in something so overwhelming means that the soldier’s descendants and local communities would be more embracing and understanding today. This transition, and the deciding factor in writing these articles, was demonstrated by the successful public call for those First World War soldiers not executed for murder or mutiny to receive a pardon in 2006 – further, a monument now stands in the National Arboretum dedicated to those ‘shot at dawn’ for desertion and cowardice. These men have been named and exonerated – yet I see little difference between these men and those I want to write about.

Shot at dawn memorial at the National Arboretum. (Harry Mitchell)

Second, for those soldiers that it transpires did suffer with emotional issues, it is sad to think that not only does the removal of identity perpetuate the very stigma we should be seeking to address, but it possibly condemns that soldier’s whole existence to be distilled into one destructive act. Like those shot at dawn, is it not time we remembered these men for the whole of their lives and not the manner of their deaths?

Finally, and it isn’t necessary to explain, but I can empathise with the overwhelming situation they were in and the massive stress they were under: in my own way I have been conscripted to a war I didn’t want to fight, faced going over the top, have been wounded physically and emotionally by my experiences, and lived with the sword of Damocles over my head.

These men mean a lot to me, because this is what war does.

The Cannock Camps: In Brief
Two camps were constructed on Cannock Chase, which was the estate of Lord Lichfield, towards the end of 1914 and early 1915. They were continually beset by strikes by the workmen, perhaps not the most auspicious of starts. The first camp opened was the Rugeley Camp, which was located around the intersection between Marquis Drive and Penkridge Bank – indeed, it was sometimes called the Penkridge Camp (see location http://www.geograph.org.uk/showmap.php?gridref=SJ99431615 ). The second camp was just to the south of the village of Brocton (see location http://www.geograph.org.uk/showmap.php?gridref=SJ97901849 )

A model of the Rugeley Camp. (John M)

Make no mistake, these were large camps. They could accommodate 40,000 soldiers between them in barrack huts that were each 60ft x 20ft and able to hold 34 men. It is estimated that half a million men may have passed through the camps throughout the war.

Unless we are talking of the scale of the Etaples Camp in 1916/1917, bullying can be easier to hide – but as I have so few stories, and none from the 1915 regarding accidental or suspicious deaths at the Chase Camps, either they were not reported to the Coroner or did not find their way into the newspapers.

Over time, the nature of the camps changed from transit camps – accommodating those men destined for the front – to out-and-out training facilities. As such, they required massive infrastructure, with their own sewerage, water and railway systems, as well as a hospital and training facilities such as rifle ranges.

Huts at the Rugeley Camp (Penkridge Bank). http://www.staffspasttrack.org.uk

They were mini-towns with their own banks, post offices, stationers, bakeries, canteens, churches, theatres, concert halls, coffee houses, recreation and writing rooms (through the YMCA and other Christian societies). Despite this, life in the camp could be very dull: my own research indicated that a soldier was more likely to get into trouble while on home service than when abroad, because most of the time they were cooped-up in camps like those on the Chase in a state of in-active active service, if that makes sense.

Alcohol was not available in the camps, so men let off steam when visiting the local towns of Cannock and Walsall for example. It was not uncommon for soldiers to imbibe too much and unsympathetic local magistrates were kept busy by a string of ‘disgraceful’ soldiers appearing before them for drunken behaviour. Further, fuelled by drink – or incapacitated by it – some soldiers occasionally overstayed their passes and ended-up being confined to barracks for a period.

The camps were not just for local regiments: many of the stories we will investigate were to do with men from the Yorkshire area. The Durham Light Infantry, the Machine Gun Corps, the Royal Army Auxiliary Corps and the Royal Engineers were also housed there. Further afield, the New Zealanders would also use the camps, as did German prisoners of war.

Private John ‘Jack’ Davill
The story of John Davill, or Jack as he was also clearly known, opens the case-file. Davill’s military experiences start as early as 1907, do not finish until 1918, and involve the Cannock Camps between 1915 and 1916. His story is fragmentary as he has little surviving with regard to war records and the newspaper accounts are laconic at best, but enough remains to give an understanding of what happened if no explanation for it.

Joseph Davill, Jack’s father, was born in Walsall in 1855. He was the son of a silver-plater. By 1871, and living with his parents (Enoch and Elizabeth) in Hill Street, Walsall, the 16 year-old Joseph had become an iron caster – a profession his son would take up. He was one of several siblings, including the uniquely named sister Sindonia, and many of his brothers and sisters would share their names with the children that Joseph would later have; most notable of these, as he could be confused for Jack, was his younger brother John (born in 1871).

Joseph married Jack’s mother Sarah, and she was a couple of years his junior, in 1882; the couple tied the knot in West Bromwich. The following year the couple had their first child, Emma Sindonia, who was likely named after two of Joseph’s sisters. Thomas was born in 1885, he was also named after a sibling of Joseph and, around June 1890, Jack was born. By 1891 the couple could be found in Bank Street, Walsall. Joseph is still an iron caster and the family have a lodger – a silver-plater.

Joseph and John Davill on the 1891 census, Bank St, Walsall. (National Archives)

Over the next decade Jack lost his grandfather (in 1899) and that side of the family – including uncle John – moved into Newhall Street. Grandmother Elizabeth was a charwoman.

Jack and his family moved into a cottage – named Fullbrook Cottage – on the West Bromwich Road. They are there by 1901. Jack’s father is still an iron caster, while older siblings Emma and Thomas are in the leather trade. The last of the couple’s five children, Henry (1894) and Joseph junior (1896) have been born.

Over the next few years Jack would leave school and start work as an iron caster himself. Not unlike the young of today, he got a heart and florrie tattoo on his right forearm.

On 26 August 1907, when he was 17 years of age (the forms stating that he was 17 years and 3 months), he attested into the 3rd South Staffordshire Regiment, which was a Reserve (Militia) Battalion. I think this was a fall-back plan, as we later find out that that he had tried at some stage to attest into the regulars, but the 5′ 5″, blue-eyed, brown-haired lad had an under-developed chest (under 34 cm) and so was rejected at the time (and if he had been in the Militia already, he would likely have known he would have been rejected).

Jack’s service record 1907-1908. (National Archives)

Jack tried again on 25 October 1907, and this time he was successful. He was listed as being of the ‘apparent age’ of 18 years – he was of course a year younger. The following day Jack was at Whittington Barracks in Lichfield and his service had started. It didn’t last long: his service ended on 17 January 1908, when he was discharged from the army because he was ‘not likely to become an efficient soldier’. The speed of this makes me inclined to believe he may have had a deeper issue – such as asthma for example – but irrespective of that, I believe this hit Jack hard.

He returned to Fullbrook Cottage and to iron casting. He can be found there in 1911. His father is still a caster, too. Emma, who features later in our story, has left the home, but his brothers are there: Thomas was still a harness maker, while the younger lads were fruiterers.

Just a couple of observations at this point. I don’t think Jack was especially religious, as his attestation into the Militia has him as a Catholic, while that for the regulars had him as Church of England. Also, a minor scrape with the boys in blue shows that he did drink alcohol.

On 15 February 1913, Jack married Agnes Gertrude Llewellen at St Matthew’s Church, Walsall. Agnes was the daughter of a Walsall saddle-maker, but both she and her brother were actually born in London. Around the same age as Jack she was still down London in 1901, but was in 1911 living in Nelson Terrace (Green Lane, Walsall) and was a machinist for a buckle-maker. The couple had what I believe was their only child at the end of the year, and it may have been at this time they moved into a house at 10, Bath Street.

And so the war comes along. As he was once in the militia he may have been required to attend a recruiting office, but I don’t think this was the case as he attends on 25 November 1914 and I would have thought he would have gone sooner if required to.

Jack is now 24 and describes himself as a labourer. I believe he is desperate to volunteer and to get into the army, as his attestation is clearly untruthful: he states that he was in the army – giving his army number – but declares that he ‘purchased discharge’ and not that he was medically discharged. He has also grown an inch or so and his chest has expanded.

His latest flirtation with the army saw him return to Lichfield Barracks on 26 November. The following day he was medically discharged – no reason was given other than he was again ‘unlikely to make an efficient soldier’. His pensionable service amounted to three days.

From this point on we have little to go on. Some time prior, and likely a good few months before July 1915 judging by his military number, Jack headed down to Darlaston where he again enlisted as a volunteer. With the initial rush of volunteers now over they may not have been so picky and he was accepted for some kind of military role.

I am not sure how he fits in with the Regimental histories – it is a little confusing: we know by the October he was in the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and was at the Rugeley camp – presumably for training – however, later he is reported as being in both the 9th and 10th Battalions, but they operated together and were in France by September 1915 – and if he were in the 11th Battalion, a training unit, it didn’t arrive at Rugeley until November 1915.

Anyhow, his troubles had well and truly started by the October. On 23 October he is up in front of the Walsall Magistrate’s Court. It appears that he had absented himself from the camp and – as he appears before the Walsall court – must have headed home. There is nothing more than this reported in the Walsall Advertiser, other than he awaited an escort to return him to the camps.

This seems innocent enough – overstaying a pass or something like that – but the truth emerges in the November. On 6 November it is reported in the Birmingham Post that Davill is in front of the Walsall Magistrate’s again. This time the Chief Constable reports that Davill has been in front of the Magistrate six times already – and that he was returned to camp just a few days previously for him just to abscond again within 24-hours. Davill was called a ‘disgrace to his regiment’ by the Mayor of Walsall (S M Slater, who would lose his wife in the Zeppelin attack a few months later), who summed-up his disappointment in him by saying ‘I am sorry you are a Walsall man’.

On Wednesday 29 December Jack was back in front of the Magistrate for the seventh time – and the last that I can trace. Yet again he was told to await an escort and returned. Davill’s case was heard along with a soldier who broke a window while drunk – to which the Magistrate, after fining him costs, flippantly added that he hoped he aimed better at the Germans than the window.

This was the last time he offended that I can trace – likely as he was shipped to France afterwards. We have nothing recorded as to why Jack persistently absconded, but I am going to offer a few thoughts – not proof – as to why this man was no ‘disgrace’.

If Jack was being bullied, or if he were under extreme stress to the point he had to get out of the army, why abscond and simply go home and not do as others did and go ‘on the run’? He knew he would be found and returned swiftly. The instance of a 24-hour repeat offence strongly suggests alcohol wasn’t involved, so I came up with three possibilities: first, it suggests to me that either he was melancholic and he needed to be with his family; secondly, he may have been suffering stress, as there was an issue at home and he was not allowed off camp to resolve it (and I have investigated soldiers that have not been allowed home for funerals and seriously sick children); or, possibly, it is simply that he was so bored that he would abscond to break-up the routine – clearly the deterrent of being confined to barracks didn’t work!

We don’t know when Jack went to France or if it changed his behaviour in anyway other than curing him of unannounced home visits, but we do know that he played his part. There is some confusion as to which battalion he served in: his casualty record says 10th Battalion, while his entry in the register of effects has the 9th Battalion. The scant evidence suggests to me he was in the 10th until it was disbanded in February 1918 – then he was transferred to the 9th.

Rather than second guess everything, as we can’t fully be sure of his service at the front, we will pick-up his story where we know he is. I deeply suspect he was in France and went through the Somme campaign in 1916, but whether he is in the 9th or 10th Battalion KOYLI, then in late 1917 he was in Ypres.

Around the ending of the 3rd Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), Jack was reported as being wounded in the army casualty list for 13 November 1917, however, I think it was likely the week before, as the Battalions were at rest in Ouderdom at that date. The 10th Battalion had come out of the line later than the 9th (on 8 November) and had taken casualties on 7 November – which is why I believe Jack was with the 10th Battalion.

What the injury was, and how long it kept him out of active service, we do not know. All we can be sure of is that he was in France, and back in the front-line, by October 1918. The Allies had gone through a tough period in March – April 1918, when the Germans had launched their final gamble; they held out and from August started pushing the Germans back, but it would be a bloody affair.

In late October the 9th Battalion were advancing not far from Le Cateau. At 2am on 23 October the Battalion lined up for an assault on Vendegie. All objectives in front of the village were taken by 9am, but the assault was held-up by heavy machine gun fire within the village until the Germans retired. At 9.15pm the Battalion advanced on Poix, attacking at 4am the following day. It was taken after an initial strong German defence.

I believe that on one of these two days Jack was wounded. The ‘disgrace to his regiment’ took a bullet in the face which smashed his jaw and required immediate surgery. His tongue was removed there and then and he returned to England immediately. He was sent to the 1st Southern General Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham. This was in fact Birmingham University.

Birmingham University – 1st Southern General Hospital in WWI, where Jack died on 5 November 1918. (Birmingham University)

Sadly gangrene set in and on 5 November, less than a week before the armistice, Jack died. His death was registered by his sister Emma, who gave her address as Fullbrook Cottage. Agnes, his wife, would receive his medals and his effects. Jack was buried in Ryecroft Cemetery, Walsall; he is in a family grave (as his mother had died in 1913, his father in 1937), now sadly broken. I left a poppy badge.

Jack Davill’s broken grave, Ryecroft. 2017.

It is unlikely that we will ever know why Jack absconded from the Chase camps so many times, over a just few months, in order to return home. I stand by my suggestions I made earlier – in my opinion he was either simply bored, fed-up and needed to see his family or under stress as there was a problem at home and he wasn’t allowed leave. Whatever, he died fighting in the army he was so desperate to join. Two of his brothers also served and I, for one, am not sorry he was a Walsall man.

Jack at rest. 2017.

William Greenwood: The Old Campaigner
The case of William Greenwood is completely different to that of Jack Davill, as this one would culminate in self-destruction. The Yorkshireman was already a veteran by the time the First World War broke out, indeed, he should have been too old to serve, but serve he did. His military life took him all over the world – it is a pity it came to an end in Bloxwich.

William Greenwood was born in Leeds on 24 October 1866. He was the eldest son of James Greenwood, a ‘striker’ in a machine shop and from the city, and his wife Hannah (nee Teale). After the couple had wed, and by 1871, they were living in Cloth Street, Leeds. At this stage, William is four years of age and has been joined by a brother, John. John was born on 8 May 1868 and will figure again in the story.

A decade later and the family are still at the same address, however, their world has been shattered: the good news was Sarah was born on 2 June 1871, Joe was born on 27 October 1873, James on 23 November 1875 and finally, Ada on 21 November 1877; the bad was that their mother, Hannah, passed away in 1879. Ada was effectively fostered out straight away – she can be found living with her grandparents just up the street from the family home in 1881.

By 1881 William had left school and at the age of 14 was an engine fitter –
a mechanic – presumably with his father. Some time prior to his 19th birthday he had some dots tattooed on both his hands and William signed-up into the Militia. He attested into the 3rd Battalion, South Yorkshire Regiment. It is interesting to note that the dark-haired, dark-eyed William was also, like Davill, under 5′ 5″ and also had a chest measurement of 33cm, yet he was accepted – mind you, it was 20 years before Jack’s career started.

On 1 January 1886 William underwent a medical for the West Yorkshire Regiment, which had been secured through the Militia. He was declared fit and his service started on 2 January (which may be significant, as later evidence may show). By 25 February he was in Galway and a short while later he was in Dublin, where he completed a 3rd class certificate of education on 2 December 1886.

HMS Seraphis, built as an Anglo-India troopship in 1866. (Pininterest)

1887 saw pastures new, as he was posted to India. He set sail, I believe, on HMS Seraph, a specially constructed Indian troopship around 22 February, landing on 22 March. Initially he found himself in Multan, in what is now Pakistan, where he spent 18 months or so. India (as it was then) was not a comfy posting: not only was Afghanistan the neighbour – which had seen two wars, the most recent being 1878-1880, but the internal fighting between communities was also continual. He received a one penny pay rise for good conduct on 1 January 1888 (two-years service), however, and the reason isn’t stated, he forfeited it in the September.

On 1 January 1889 he was at Fort Lahore and the nearby Mean Meer, where he suffered from an ulcer and several fevers for which he had to take Quinine. His good conduct penny pay increase was restored on 9 October 1889, just after another mild fever.

After this he moved to Umballa (Ambala) and Waghai, where he stayed throughout 1890-1891 and where he also suffered similar problems with his health. In the April of 1890 William again lost his good conduct pay. In 1892 William would be stationed in Benares, where he would again fall ill. In March he received his good conduct pay again, yet within the month he had lost it for some reason. His final year in India was spent at Sitapur, after which he returned to England and, in December 1893, he was transferred to the Army Reserve for a further 6 years. He was formally discharged in 1897, although he would have returned to Civvy Street in time for Christmas with the family in 1893. His sister Sarah had married John Powell in August 1890 – it would have been the first chance William would have had to meet him.

William’s service record. (National Archives)

William returned to being a mechanic, possibly going to work for a Mr Crossland in Hull (on the docks possibly) for a while. By 1897 he is certainly back in Leeds, living with his father again – in good old Cloth St.

On 5 July 1898 William is again down at the barracks and attests into the 3rd Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment. This was the Militia (later called the Territorials, post 1908). He attests for four years. William clearly had a liking for the tattoo, he now has women, birds and crests on his arms and forearms, while flowers on his chest – making him easily identifiable. He is declared as fit, yet a year later he was invalided out. No reason was given for this, but we do know that at some point he was on the books of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, so the two maybe connected. Clearly he was unwell, I can’t imagine it would be that easy to get out of the Regiment as the storm clouds were gathering in South Africa.

Around the same time William’s sister, Sarah Elizabeth Powell, passed away at the age of 28 and really from this point on William becomes elusive for a while – and I cannot pick him up with certainty until 1914.

In that time a lot happened at home. His father had remarried in 1902 – his second wife was Mary Ann Thornhill, who was a widow herself and a few years younger; his father then passed away in 1912. His brother John also married a widow, Susannah Phillips, in 1904; she was a few years younger than himself and he moved in to ‘her’ home in Moorlands Avenue. His sister Ada also married, in 1897 to a John Thomas Vine, and they settled in Leeds. His brother Joseph sadly passed away in 1910, I believe, and his other brother, James, becomes difficult to trace without more information.

I suspect that prior to the commencement of the First World War William was living with his brother John and his family in Moorhouse Avenue. William, true to form, was down the recruitment office on 22 September 1914 to enlist in one of the new Service Battalions – in this case the 9th West Riding Regiment. His war record does not survive, so we don’t know if he admitted to being discharged from the Militia (of the West Yorkshire Regiment) on health grounds – it is possible he didn’t, and may be the reason he didn’t return to the West Yorkshire Regiment. He was accepted.

With his experience, compared to what would have been raw recruits, I thought he may have got a stripe but in this war, as in all his other service, he remained a Private. The 9th were formed at Halifax in September 1914 and went through a succession of camps: Wareham, Bovington (in October) and Wimborne (November 1914), before moving onto Hursley Park in June 1915. William landed in France on 15 July 1915.

Lincoln War Hospital, where William was operated on around November 1915. (WFA)

Rather than second guess, let’s stick to what we know. It appears that William was invalided back to England on 3 October 1915, he was suffering with a hernia. He was sent, and presumably operated on, at the Lincoln War Hospital. He remained at Lincoln until shortly before Christmas, when he was transferred to the 11th (Reserve) Battalion at Brocton Camp.

At Brocton it appears he worked in the cookhouse. After a few weeks his demeanor changed and he sought an appointment with his Commanding Officer in order to make a complaint. The complaint, it was claimed, was investigated, and proved to be baseless. It was, so reported at the inquest, just ‘tittle-tattle’. Greenwood was told to put up with it or ‘take measures against an individual’. This ‘tittle-tattle’, it later emerged’, had Greenwood fearful – for ‘if they were true, I could be committed for ten years’.

The Company Sergeant Major, Edgar Maitland Ward, saw William just after the interview, which was on 1 January (and the anniversary of his army medical in 1886); he reported in his written statement just how ‘very much downcast’ he was. At 9.30pm on 3 January 1916, he was reported as absent.

The Lord Hay’s (Hayes) canal bridge at Newtown, near to where William died. (Walsall Local History Centre)

William Greenwood may simply have walked down the A34, but however he arrived there William found himself at the Newtown/Bloxwich border. Here, he stopped. Dressed in his uniform and great coat, his despair was such that he tied his own hands with a khaki handkerchief and his feet with a boot-lace before entering the water. He was found on 24 January.

The Newton Bridge over the Stafford Rd has long since gone, the ghost of the canal, where William was found, can still be made out though towards Fishley. 2017.

There are two ways of looking at this case, either he was depressed after his operation and suffering from paranoia, he was disturbed through being bullied, or it was a mix of the two. We will never know for sure, but I suspect that some verbal bullying was involved and a little conspiracy of silence, perhaps.

A small section of canal can be made out next to the Hawkins pond on the other side of the road. 2017.

There seems to me to be an embellishment of the facts from the written statements to when the testimony was presented at the court and reported in the newspaper – in that it tries to paint William as paranoid as a result of his operation.

In his written evidence, Private Hudson said he had known William for several months – from the cookhouses of the camps before France. He had always appeared ‘to be of a cheerful disposition until he came to Brocton’ (which could be interpreted as something at the camp being to blame). At the inquest, and what was printed in the Walsall Observer, this became ‘when he came out of hospital’. Similarly, there being ‘no foundation’ for his claims in his written evidence becomes ‘pure fancy on his part’ in the newspaper.

It is also interesting to note that Ward’s description of ‘very much downcast’ becomes ‘sullen, morose and seemed to be suffering very strongly from mental depression’ at the inquest.

I may be wrong, but all this doesn’t sit quite right with me. The inquest seems to be a little contrived regarding his paranoia, especially as Hudson said – in his written statement – that he saw him about his duties as Chef’s help on 2 January and noticed nothing ‘strange’ in his manner.

Whatever the truth, the verdict would be the same – suicide, while the balance of the mind was disturbed.

William under the tree. 2017.

William was taken from the canal to Bloxwich Mortuary, which was behind the old Police Station. Here he was formally identified and the inquest took place. He was buried in Field Road Cemetery.

The old Bloxwich Police Station; the mortuary was behind where the inquest was concluded. (Bloxwich Telegraph)

Whatever the truth, William Greenwood was given no support for either his ‘mental depression’ if suffering from it or for his ‘bullying complaint’. He did receive his three medals: the War, Victory and the 1915 Star, and his effects were divided between his brother John and his sister Ada Vine. He never married or had children so nobody I assume visits him. I visited, spent a few quiet minutes, and left him a poppy badge.

William, RIP. 2017.

My thanks to:
Harry Mitchell
John M
Birmingham University
Walsall Local History Centre
Western Front Association
Bloxwich Telegraph