Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: Letter to Mother, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall: Loose Sheets ( 5 & 6) date uncertain. (1)
… Oh! by-the-way – tell Sister it was so dark, & we were too tired to search out of the carriage window for the lights of the Royal Infirmary & so missed it (2). You can tell her we are very sorry though.
The Landlady & everyone in this billet are so chummy to one another & I hope it will last. All four of us soldiers are better chums than ever before, after having been home.
One thing I do regret & it’s not having had at least a shake of the hand with the Curate (3) especially, & the Vicar too (4), for we may never have the chance again of seeing them – & to the atmosphere, when you come in contact with any clergy, seems to alter your life to better things & especially in the Army – never mind – invite the Curate to have tea or a short chat with you & all the rest, between now and Christmas.
Sid and I will not forget to remember you to our dear friend Ballie (5). His face will light up with smiles – what oh! – not seen him yet though!
Hip! Hip! Hoorah for little Britain!
“ “ “ “ Belgium!
“ “ “ “ France!
“ “ “ ” Big Brother Russia!
& DOWN with the GURMAN (sic) Sausage – what oh! Don’t buy any more sausages, even if they’re English, for fear of reminding you of the horrible state of poor little Belgium & the horrid Germans – some of them. But do pray for the wounded & sick of the enemy – for what does the Sermon on the Mount say?
How it does touch me the mercy shown to us & a good Harvest too. How grateful we ought to be. So now best love, & heartiest wishes we can squeeze out of ourselves to you dear Mother (& all of you).
(1) Difficult to Date: Ref. to train journey through Leicester & to Harvest puts the Letter immediately after a Home Leave in October but ref. to the Landlady and friendship between the Four (Syd, Bertie, Vernon & Eddie Hateley) and Christmas puts the letter after the move to 29, Gold St. Saffron Walden in early Dec. It is possible that Bertie & Syd did have a short Home Leave between 14th Dec and 17th but Christmas Letters make no reference.
(2) Leicester Royal Infirmary where Ida Neal Hibbett trained as VAD Nurse (Voluntary Aid Detachment). A WW1 Red Cross data-base will be completed in 2015 & should provide details of Ida’s training.
(3) Curate: possibly The Revd Key* of St Paul’s, Walsall. (4) Vicar of Walsall: Revd E. More Darling*. (See Menu: Friends in Walsall. (5) Ball* (information pending).
NEXT POSTS: 20th Dec. 1914; 24th Dec & 29th Dec.1914.