South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY


18th May 1915, Tue: ‘D’ Coy proceeded to relieve ‘C’ Coy. CASUALTY: KILLED: 9998 Pte Swancott ‘C’ Coy. 19th May Wed: ‘C’ Coy inspected by Bdr Gen. Feetham.  20th May,Thur: Proceeded to the trenches in relief of 6th Souths at 9.0 pm. CASUALTIES: WOUNDED: 9899 Pte A.D.Wood 7855 L/C J. Bird (slightly wounded); 6108 Sgt E. Lloyd. 21st May, Fri: Enemy burst seven shells over 9A support.  Otherwise quiet day. CASUALTY: WOUNDED: 8707 Pte J. G. Bennett.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Arthur & Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd, Walsall.

The ‘Listener’s Lounge                                                                         Friday May 21st / 15

My Dear Mother & Father,

                                      All about Smoking. 

To begin with dear Mother you were the Ist to convey the news of our letters being ‘in the paper’. I mentioned the fact to Norman Cope & Cyril Hinde who are in the same hut in camp.  Norman was puzzled, he could not remember writing a letter which would be likely to appear in any paper & we all three could not think of the paper it could be in.  I thought of the AdvertiserSyd of the Birmingham Mail.

Well the puzzle was solved on Syd’s birthday I believe, or the day after, when Cope got The Express & StarHow we roared at the large block heading & how flattered we felt.  We indeed were ignorant of such consequences on acknowledging the bacca which by the by was issued with the rations – little packets of Kitcheners and Roll Call cigarettes & a packet of Matins ‘Arf a Mo’ tobacco with a PC in each packet, having the address of the contributor.   * * * * * * * * * * 

Cigarettes to Front

Maurice Badian Esq. Medellin, Republic de Columbia, U.S.A.
Maurice Badian Esq. Medellin, Republic de Columbia, U.S.A.

An Explanation & A Request. The smokes in this parcel have been subscribed by the United States, as a testimony of their kindly feelings towards the cause of the Allies. They would naturally be glad to hear from you of the safe arrival of the parcels, and would treasure a momento from the trenches, in the shape of a few words from the men ‘who are making history’ at the Front.’   Over-Seas Club, Tobacco Fund, General Buildings, Aldwych, London W.C.   

* * * * * * * * * *    Have you had my letter written on his coming of age? another racking of my brains for a real Birthday one.  If  you did I guess, or rather I am wondering greatly, what sort of opinions Mother & Father will have of me for smoking Syd’s health.  Well I have not yet smoked a cigarette & I know Dad prefers apipe

Troops Autos & their Cigarettes. THE QUEEN'S WESTMINSTER. South Africa 1900- 1902.
1)  THE QUEEN’S WESTMINSTER.  South Africa 1900 -1902.. Pte Bertie Hibbett’s Autograph Album 1916 – 1917. The Cenacle, Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Birkenhead..

I shall have to be a smoker now.  Miss Foster has ‘done it in’ for meFancyshe addressed the parcel to me & not to Syd. Of course the contents were for us both.  Guess? – why Country Life cigs with a nice letter enclosed.

Miss Foster seems to be puzzled with regard to our ‘diggings’ she had an idea we lived in houses.

Now look here Mum, what can you make of Mrs Jones, isn’t she TOO BAD. Why another couple of tins of Embassy & two more of Nestles.  I gave Syd a good share of one box.  Vernon, Oh Vernon – now I have smoked  a pipe on Syd’s 21st, has jokingly pestered me to smoke one of his cigs.  After tea he sais a smoke is most soothing, and at the rest, on a march when my head ached, he said a cigarette would put me all right.

2) SCOTTISH REGIMENTS: 1/10th Liverpool Scottish. ‘J. Beck underwent almost 10 operations’.  AHH Autograph Album, The Cenacle, Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton. 1916 -1917.

Should you agree to me smoking could you please send me a white bone cigarette holder & if  you are kind enough to consider Syd too, one for him; but  perhaps he doesn’t want one.  Perhaps Harold would subscribe for a cigarette holder.  The smoking will help to keep down bad smells, by the by.  A  Lieut. passed the Listener’s Lounge & remarked upon the ‘Hum’ – ‘What is it?’ he said ‘ a cow or a horse?  ‘An awful smell to be sure!’  

Irish regiment Autographs collected on Cigarette ppares . Hsopital Birkenhead. 1916.
3) IRISH REGIMENTS:  Cigarette Paper Autographs.  Pte Bertie Hibbett’s Autograph Album, The Cenacle, Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Birkenhead. 1916 – 1917.

Vernon’s sister has sent him some lovely shortcake biscuits & a few currant cakes & some toffee all of her make & he was very generous in letting Syd & me sample some. 

Your letter Mother written on Syd’s birthday was ripping, long & of course most MotherlyI often picture you in Church alone. Couldn’t Dodger go with you some Sunday evenings now summer is coming?

Talking about Nature which goes on as usualthe war only affecting man’s work such as houses etc – on going & coming to & from from the trenches we often hear the Frogs croaking.  There must, I should think, be an innumerable number of the songsters all along the fields, especially around the stagnant ponds.

Send some lilies, as Ida promised, – the garden will be lovely if all goes on well, considering what Basil said in his past letter.

If you don’t get a letter for some long time after it was written you will know it was written in the trenches where there is no outward post until we get back to Camp I guess Basil will tell you when we are coming out of the trenches & the day we are going into them. Go to Camp next Monday night.

R.A.M.C Autogrphed Cigarette Papers. Red Cross Hospital. 1916.
4) R.A.M.C Autogrphed Cigarette Papers. Pte BertieRed Cross Hospital. 1916.

I promised Vernon I shall not smoke again until I hear what  you & Dad have to say on the matter.  We have had wet weather in Camp, but today, as I am writing this, the sun is scorching & I shall have to close now as I am getting sweaty.  I expect a letter from Harold tomorrow, for he said he was writing to me.   So Fred York* called did he? –  well I wrote to him & Harold on the 6th when I wrote those letters you were anxious about, namely acknowledging the good parcels.

It is not very often that I miss (filling) a page, but I am getting exhausted of reliable news.

Best love to all. 

It was very kind & considerate of you to visit Bailey’s mother*.

Best love,   Bertram.              Censor W.E. Wright.


My Memories of the First World War. The Revd Arthur H. Hibbett. 1967.  At The Cenacle, British Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Berkenhead, a friend (Vernon Evans) gave me an Autograph Book in which I collected autos of the patients, written on cigarettes, which I cut in half and pasted on the pages.  I spent my time doing drawings and sketches with my left hand.’


Pte BERTIE HIBBETT’S Autograph Album. Signatures collected at The Cenacle, British Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Birkenhead. 1916 – 1917. Troops Autos & their Cigarettes: 1) The Queen’s Westminster. July 1916. Ward 6. Rifleman G.Hughes, De Reszhe as supplied. Rflm A.J. Bays, Abdullah & Co. Ltd. EW Bond Street. Turkish Fine.  

2) Scottish Regiments:  J. Beck 1/10th Liverpool Scottish. Capstan & Navy Cut. Medium. W.D. & H.D. Wills. ‘J. Beck underwent almost 10 operations’.

3) Irish Regiments. 1st London Irish Rifles. A. Kelly Pte. South Irish Horse, Players No 3 Virginia;  E.J. Leggett, Rifleman. R.E. Notasa(?) Ltd. Picadilly, London. Turkish Grade No 4;  L/Corpl. Sofetig (?) Gold Flake, W.D. & H.D. Wills.

4) R.A.M.C. (Royal Army Medical Corps). J. Whyte. Players ‘Medium’ Navy Cut.  Ernest C. Kirk (ditto).

NEXT POST:   30th May 1915.

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