13th Dec. 1914: Saffron Walden: Church Parade &Home Leave for Christmas?

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER CARD of Saffron Walden (Oliver Cromwell’s Headquarters marked) to Mrs M. Hibbett at 95, Foden Road, Walsall. 

Sunday,  Dec. 13/ 14

My Dear Mother,

The Church Parade  went to Saffron Walden Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin – very old and resembles a cathedral inside – high pillars & the most beautiful stained glass windows;  had two very old flags, I guess from the Mutiny (1).13th Dec.Saffron Walden


Oliver Cromwell's Headquarters
Left: Oliver Cromwell’s Headquarters..

The organ is most peculiar; it was a long time before I got to know where the organist was – he was playing sitting almost in front of the Vicar’s place.

I tried to find the words of the hymns you had this morning but couldn’t.  Ours were ‘Holy Holy, Holy’  being the 1st.  While singing it I noticed the first line of the hymn painted high over the stained window over the Communion table!  The 2nd hymn -‘Lead Kindly Light” and 3rd ‘Rock of Ages’.   The sermon was another good one by our Chaplain on the lesson “When ye pray say… and applying to us.

Did you get last Saturday Observer & read about our move here ?

PC. Saffron Walden Church Interior.

I have just  been to the Parish Church again.  You would have been delighted to have seen the number of soldiers present.  The Church had more than all seats full, some had to stand.  The Chaplain sat with the congregation.  I stayed to hear the organ recital – organist Herbert Mahon Esq. Mus.D .  The Vicar is the Rev. J.J.Antrobux. M.A.

[End of Letter is Missing but the following Postscript Pages have the same writing style and may belong to this letter.]

PS  You got my red letter eh!  certainly keep all the money I send home, don’t send it to me back again.

PS  A novel idea struck me, got it on hearing the landlady –  make a brooch of the new sixpence.

PS I can’t write a short note for the life of me, isn’t it queer, an’ I nivver used to write often when in civvies.

Sid will write to you concerning Home Leave, he has bothered the N.C.O’s & officers enough to worry his head off let alone those whom he has bothered.  Poor Sid.  Don’t mention anything about me coming home with him.  He ought to have it all to himself & give him as much fuss as you like, he deserves it & don’t forget the fatted calf as well (2).

He is in his 21st year. Yes it came to me like a bolt from the blue He has got over those two nights when Vernon & all thought he was ill, which was all bluff (3).

How do you like the P.Cs? – they will do for adorning a mantlepiece.

Your affec.



(1) Indian Mutiny1857-58(2)  Parable of the Prodigal Son. Luke 15.11-32.(3) A cold caught  in Bishop’s Stortford?

NEXT POST: 16th Dec. 1914: German Raid on Whitby & Scarborough.


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