South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.


April 2nd 1915: C.O. & Senior Major proceeded to Wulverghem to interview O.Cs Comdg 2nd E. Yorks Regt.

Battalion Paraded at 6.0 pm for Trenches . [The 3rd Monmouth Regt, with HQ at St. Quentins Cabaret (T.5.d.2.2.) held Right Section of 83rd Brigade Line, & 2nd East Yorks Regt. with HQ at ‘Gable Farm‘ (T.5.a.0.3.) held Centre Section].

Battalion took over trenches as follows:- ‘D’ Coy took over Trench 10a (left), 10b10b (support) from 2nd East Yorks Regt.   ‘A’ ‘B’ & ‘C’ Companies – Trenches 8, 9, 10a (right) 10a (support) ‘Souvenir Farm’ (T.5.d.7.4.)  S.P.4 and X Dugouts from 3rd Monmouth Regiment.  Bn HQ & Aid Post fixed at St. Quentins Cabaret.  Relief completed 10.45 pm. 

The Battalion now held Right Section of Staffs. Infy Bde Line (former 83rd Bde Line), the Left Section having been occupied the previous night by the 5th North Staffs Regt. The Right Section extended from U.1.a.7.2 to N.36. d.3.2 with recaltrant (sic) to T.6.b.9.1. (1).

NB Pte Bertie Hibbett ‘A’ Coy in Trench 8.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Mother, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall. (Mud-stained Envelope postmarked 8th April. Censor W.E. Wright).April 2ndMay Muddy Envelope


Mother at Tea.
Mother at Tea.

Good Friday. April 2nd / 15 .  

My Dear Mother,

A warm sunny morning.  I have been to a quiet service in a field some distance away from this camp of wooden huts; I am squatting in one to write this letter.

When I returned from Parade I saw several officers checking through piles of correspondence.  I sympathised with them (2). Yet I felt I must write to you dear Mother on this holy day for everything seems beautiful and tends to great thoughts; and so mothers are to be included for our Lord remembered his Mother as she stood at the foot of the Cross.

There were many things that reminded me of home.  Lieut T. Cozens* was present and looked as unconcerned about the grimness of this war as if it was Peace time and he was at Walsall in church.  The clergyman reminded me of Mr W.H.Cozens*; the address was simple but conveyed a deep meaning he found difficult to express himself.   Above all we sang three beautiful hymns  – ‘There is a Green Hill’,  ‘Praise to the Holiest’ and lastly one – which is Good Friday itself so to speak –  ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’. (3)

And so I am feeling very happy after the service & the weather so pleasant and bright.  I hope you too are enjoying the usual fine weather England gets at this time.

I had better tell you, although I am inclined to think that it will spoil the object of my letter today, i.e. to make you happy & quite free from anxiety.  Sydney is still away on duty & last night  I thought best to open the parcel, for we are going into the trenches again this evening for six days at a stretch & there it will be awkward for the parcels to be outside the pack.  So I put one cake inside the first box you sent, together with some of Ida’s Q(ueen) cakes & the chocolate & the rest.  Happily the first box just fits inside my valise & I can keep Sydney’s share & hope to join him in the trenches.

How pleasant it would be for Sid and me to spread that clean towel & lay out all the delicious confectionery & enjoy a good tea of the ripping home made cakes.  Yet, dear Mother we are now serving our King and Country more than ever, now we are on active service, and these mishappenings cannot be helped.

I hope it will enlighten you if I convey the object of the address at the service this morning i.e. ‘no crown without the cross’  1st referring to Good Friday & Easter, he told us not get the idea of separating the two.  So – with regard to this war  – we must struggle through to gain the victory & happiness afterwards, & you dear Mother will serve our King and C(ountry) by waiting patiently, ‘He serves who only stands and waits’. (4).

Your letter in the parcel I read with deep interest; many many thanks for your very kind thoughts.  I hope Basil will enjoy his stay at Manchester.  I had some choc. from Miss Foster* & a letter saying she will be spending Easter at Dumfermlin & sorry Harold will not see her.

I will close now, hoping you will enjoy the hot cross buns you reserve for tea & have enjoyed those at breakfast.

Best love,  Bertram.

PS  I guess Miss Bore* will be over at Easter to see you.  Am sending her a PC in answer to hers, I cannot remember her address.


(1 ) Abbrev. recalcitrant? i.e. Discipline Section for disobedent soldiers & conscientous objectors. (2) Postage delay owing to volume of Letters Home & need for censorship.

(3) Hymns: There is a Green Hill. Mrs Cecil Francis AlexanderCecil Frances Alexander. (Irish. Recognised as one of greatest 19th C. hymn writers. 1818 – 1895. Admired by J.H.Newman.

Praise to the Holiest. John Henry Newman. John Henry Newman.1801 -1890. (19th C. Oxford Movement. Evangelical cum Anglo-Catholic cum Roman Catholic Cardinal.Tune: Gerontius, John Bacchus Dyke 1823 – 1876.

When I survey. Isaac Watts.1674 -1748. (Independant Pastor. Hymn based on Galatians 6.14.). Tune: Hamburg. Lowell Mason, 1824.

Isaac Watts hymn
Isaac Watts
Howell Tune When I survey
Lowell Mason

 (4) John Milton (Sonnet on his blindness) 1652 .



NEXT POSTS: Easter Day, 4th April 1915. Update Welcome Page.



1st APRIL 1915. NEUVE EGLISE: Life & Death & Parcels.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH  STAFFORDS  WAR  DIARY


29th  March, Mon.  Entrenching exercise. 2 Coys moving. 2 Coys afternoon trenches opposite one another 40 X apart (yards?).  30th March, Tue.  Entrenching practice and Bomb Throwing practice.
31st March, Wed.  Constructing  Barbed wire Entanglements, construction of hurdles &  improvement of trenches, morning.  At 1.15pm orders received to march to Bailleul . Moved off at 3.30 pm. Arrived Bailleul at 5.0 pm. Billeted there for the nightCertain proportion of Officers went to Neuve Eglise to inspect trenches & take over huts for Battn.
March Diary Signed by R.R.Raymer*, Lt.Col. Comdg. 1/5th Bn. South Staffordshire Regt.
BULFORD CAMP: NEUVE  EGLISE   1st April, Thur. Morning in  Billets. Bn paraded at 2.30 pm & marched to  ‘Bulford Camp’ one mile SW of Neuve Eglisevacated by 2nd Bn Kings Own (R. Lancaster Regt).  Arrived Camp  5.0 pm.  (1)

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to FATHER, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall, (H.W.W.Parr censor)1st April 1915

April 1st Thursday Morning.

My Dear Sir,

We are on the move again.  I believe we are going into the trenches again & will probably be in on Good Friday and Saturday.  I expect to see Sid today.  He is still away (1).  We were digging trenches yesterday morning & had to hurry back to the barn & go without dinner & dress in full pack & be off.

So what became of your handsome parcel?   I carried it along the march for some distance & then it dropped.  A. D. Jones then gave a hand (2).  I managed to get it here safe & thought best to open it just to see if anything important was inside.  What a fine handsome neatly made up parcel it is, some of Dad’s handling I bet; nothing whatever smashed. I just had  one cake & opened a neatly rolled handkerchief & read Ida’s letter.

– Yes it would be better to send separate parcels to my opinion, but what say you ?

Dear Dadit is encouraging just to see the way you address our parcels, for it reminds me of your deep consideration for us & pleasant cheerful face, as though as to express the idea that after all there is no reason to pine over this war.  Of course the sooner its over the better, but we must not come to terms of peace on any ground  – and then again what is the fighting?

Let’s hope for Eternal Life & we shall see one another again in happiness.  In past wars there have been men return home safe and sound.  Let’s hope that Sid & I will.  But what I cannot get cool about is the thought of seeing chums wounded when I myself am not & to return home after seeing fallen chums.  

Vernon, Sid and I – wasn’t it lucky we all got together weeks last Tuesday night when we went to the trenches last time.

I was kindly remembered by Mr A.E. Hurst last Sunday.  He sent me an interesting letter & a parcel full of good things, stationery, text books and some Cadbury’s Chocolate.  I’m glad you got the newspaper.  I will begin to conclude my letter now.  I still find it difficult to write short letters.

Afternoon.  Another long march just finished.  Am in a most comfortable wooden hut.  A cannon has just gone off, shook the place my word!  the loudest I’ve heard.  With the old QMS boys again.

Tell Mr Venables* Arthur B. looks very wellWe’ve all got parcels.  I’ve had to carry Sid’s parcel again, this time I tied it on my pack.

I wish you and Mother & all at home, as well as Harold & Miss Bore, a very pleasant Easter, hoping you will spend it all together round the tea table & remember Sid and me at Church

The weather is simply lovely and bright;  rather warm on the march.  We had had very cold weather & I have had chapped hands early part of the week.  Basil would like to be with us, but there are more than myself who think it best & fortunate that he is under age & not with us.  I still think of his exam and hope it will come off lucky.

I wrote a letter to Miss Foster before this, & just after the post came I got parcel of Cadbury Chocolate for Sid and me.  Sid is still away. After opening the parcel I put the handkerchief back again & paper on top & wrapped it up again.  I think I shall open it now for I don’t know what we shall do next.  Oh how nice it would have been to have had Sid with me & to spread the lovely napkin & divide the luxuries for tea.

I have carried V. Evans’ parcel & Sanger’s.  Vernon is with Sid & Corp. Sanger*.  I shall have to close now with the very best of wishes & happiness.  I am keeping jolly well.  There goes another Jack Robinson –  I don’t think!  (4)


PS Have written to Miss Foster & will write to Mother later.



(1) Neuve Eglise Fr. /Nieuwkerke Flemish. (2Sydney Hibbett (with Vernon Evans & Sanger) was no doubt involved in preparations for move to Bulford Camp, & Wulverghem Trenches, opposite Messines.

(3Bertie was trying to carry a parcel about 8 miles to Bailleul on top of his full pack. By the time he finished this letter he had carried it another 9 miles to Bulford Camp. (4) A ‘Jack Robinson’: 1st WW  nickname for a shell or bomb . (Identity 18th C. real person lost: term assoc. with immediate/ sudden change ‘as quick as you can say Jack Robinson’).

NEXT POST:  2nd APRIL, 1915. Also Update of Welcome Page.