20th Dec.1914: Saffron Walden: On Guard for Zeppelins & Church Parade

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: Some Loose Pages 6 -7 could belong to a Letter to Ida on 20th Dec. 1914

. . .   What is either side doing?

I pictured you in Church this morning – singing on & on the long Psalm (1).

St Paul’s, Walsall, where the Hibbett Family worshipped on Sunday mornings. Now called The Crossing at St Pauls.

I can hear Mummy talking about us, just for conversation’s sake at the dinner table, to break the solitude.  No, now I come to think of it, it is Miss Bore (2) dining with you & Harold.  Well then you are all larfing & joking about something that tickled your fancy.  Perhaps Miss Bore has not said “Mum” yet.  Sorry, but no bad intention in saying that, but still.

Never you mind, we are on guard (3) at Saffron Walden  so it sais on a p.c. and every fourth night we have to parade PROMPT when the whistle blows & go to a dark field –  it is at night. – To-night, Sunday, has hit upon the fourth night, so we have been told beforehand to parade at 9-15 p.m. for patrol duty, spying out Zeppelins with a 2d electric torch – I don’t think.

It is getting dark & I’m afraid I shall have to conclude.  I thought I would write Dad’s letter in ink & so I followed suit in writing yours also in ink.

Saffron Walden Parish Church

The service was again pleasant – back again to S.W. Parish Church to hear our Chaplain again (5).  A Corporal in ‘A’ Coy. played the organ (Corp. Page*, an O.T.C. chap. I wonder if he is any relation to the fishmongers?) & Charlie Harrison’s brother* was in the choir, in white surplis, together with half a dozen other Terriers.  We had a bostin band to take us & escort us back again.

I shall very likely go to Church with Eddie Hateley* tonight as he said he wouldn’t mind – in fact he asked me if I was going as per usual, he had not paraded this morning.  He too has got neuritis? (can’t spell it properly) – through eating 12 oranges, a doctor friend of his told him.

Well I can’t squeeze any more at present. Alas! we liked the cake so much that we’ve eaten it all & saved none for Sunday’s tea. I always cherish cake for tea on Sunday’s especially.

Love from both,


(1) Either the Te Deum or Benedicite in Book of Common Prayer. The longest  Psalm’ in the Psalter is 119 but that is set for the 26th Day of the Month, not the 13th. (2) Miss Hildagard Bore was engaged to Bertie’s eldest brother Harold. (3) Bertie jokes to allay family’s fear of Zeppelin bombs, especially after raid on Whitby, 16th Dec. 1914.  Zeppelins were rigid airships, named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. See  BBC News Aug. 4th 2014: http://www.bbc.co.uk/uk England-27517166. (4) Chaplain (info pending).

NEXT POST: Christmas Eve, 24th Dec. 1914. A Present for Dad.

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