14th Entraining Practice of Transport fully loaded & all horses & mules.
15th Shortgrove Park (1) Attack Practice by Coys. I Coy Night Trench Digging: instructions received to send indents for Equipment & Stores by 9.0 pm & to be prepared to move at short notice.
Mon. aft(ernoon) Feb 15 / 15
My Dear Sister,
I really must tell you. You know you wanted to know what would become of Syd getting such high scores at the Range. No he is not going to be a sergeant – he doesn’t like stripes. I heard the result this morning at Dismiss. I heard that three men out of 2 Platoon were needed for the Machine Gun Section (2). Sid volunteered but was soon ‘put down’ by Lieut Wright, our Commander.
‘What Hibbett is it? S? Yes, well we can’t spare you. You are going to be trained as a Sharp Shooter’ & up came our friend Lieut Parr & said with a good smile: ‘You’re picked for a sniper, you’re the best shot!’ – the latter remark I hardly remember but still. My word the Germans will not half shout. “For goodness sake halt a Stafford is comin’!’
Tell Dodger that bit in Mother’s letter was superb. We are crack sougers (sic) now. Sid, my word isn’t half smart & tell Mother he does look after his rifle. Cleaned it after that night out (3). Sunday 7th Feb. was one of the few exceptions & it was unfortunate that the Brigade Major did not pick out Sid’s rifle & then he would not have blowed us up about it. We have had to parade 3/4 hr earlier in consequence for rifle inspection.
Mrs Pennings’s son (4), who has been at the Front since mobilisation, is coming home tonight. Mrs Penning is in raptures and nearly fainted.
Ta Ta! Bert.
Postscripts on side of letter: ‘Mrs Penning got a tele(gram). We’ll show him when he comes that we are not playing at soldiers. Many thanks for letters Mother. Don’t waist (sic) your note on me, it is for you to send to your friends etc’.
Postscripts on top of letter. ‘I guess Sid is too modest to tell you. But he did want to join the Machine Gun Section. No he must be a sniper‘. Parade 6 for a lecture on trench digging – so that PC is more true than ever.
(1) Home of Carl & Adele Meyer*. (2) Sydney Hibbett was an Engineer Apprentice. (3) 9th Feb. Night Trench Digging. (4) Corporal Arthur Penning*, (Regular Soldier. Royal Garrison Artillery later Killed in Action).
NB S.Staffords War Diary: photocopied by Major Beedle, Staffordshire Regt. Museum, in 2002, to whom grateful thanks.
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