South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

31st May,1915, Mon: Enemy opened bursts of rapid Machine Gun fire on C1 and 2.  Otherwise very quiet day.  CASUALTY: 8434 Rif. McNally J. wounded.

CASUALTIES FOR MAY: OFFICERS KILLED: Lt H.W.M. Parr. WOUNDED: Capt. W. Millner. 2 Lt. F. Wilkinson, 2 Lt. S.P. Smith.  OTHER RANKS: KILLED 6. WOUNDED 21, includes 1 man died of wounds at Aid Post.  

AVIATIC -C.1 became principal German Reconnaissance Aeroplane from 1915. 160 hp Mercedes engine.  Max. speed 89 mph; ceiling 11,480 ft.

1st June,Tue: Two enemy aeroplanes passed over the lines and were fired at.  C2 support shelled (39 H.E.) no damage.  Quiet day. Relieved by 6th Souths about 10.30 pm

2nd June, Wed: NEUVE EGLISE.  In Hutments, Bulford Camp.  3rd June,Thur. Instruction of  ‘C’ Coy  8th Rifle Bde.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Hibbett Family, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall.  FPO 6 JU 15 Censor 447 W E. Wright. (1).

King George’s Day. Thur. June 3 /15

Dear People.

Brewin* has given me a sheet of note & I must just write you all a line saying how we spent this red letter day.  To begin with I was lying in the hut when I heard 3 cheers. I’m ashamed to say I was ignorant of knowing the why & wherefore of such shouting.  The Battalion had formed up for a route march.  Cyril Hinde, Vernon & others, including myself, had been on fatigue the previous night & had the privilege of staying off 1st Parade.  3 cheers for our good King George V. 

The next Parade was for respirator drill & rapid firing practice (2).


It was about dinner time. (I went without dinner for two reasons, Ist because I went to have a spiffin’ hot bath & secondly because the weather has been dreadfully hot too. I enjoyed the wash all the more with a tablet of Mrs Hurst’s oatmeal soap).

I wrote to Okoo (3) Sid wished to peruse it, but as soon as he saw the writing he gave it up as a bad job.  I received a ripping letter from the Curate – by the by that reminds me of something rather personal which I shall have to write again about sooner or later.  I came across Bailey’s brother Leonard* & conveyed your kind wishes Mother (etc).  This was after coming away from a fine outdoor concert  by the Divisional Concert Party.  How the officers laughed, especially the Doctor & Colonel*.  The Chaplain was present too.

Another sheet of note I thought I could tell you all in one, but alas no.  The Chaplain reminds me of the book, such a nice little pocket New Testament, with coloured pictures in – & his signature etc he wrote in after the service of  Whitsun Holy Communion.  

I enjoyed the entertainment.  The amateurs were dressed in Pierrot costume & gave a Variety turn.  Now I’ve got another sheet I’ll tell you – no I’d better leave it for a green envelope now I come to think on’t.

It is getting dark so I will close.  

With best love to all,  Bertram.  

a) P.S.  I’m in need of toothpaste We got your parcel with pants (4) & enjoyed theju jubes’ & Bournville chocolate very much, thank you indeed. Ta Ta.

b) P.S.  Yes you can send some more emery cloth. The last was excellent quality and I need another indelible lead & some notepaper & envelopes. To lengthen the list still I need another hanki & could you please send some spare flannel to clean my rifleany odd pieces will do as long as the fabric is not rough & ‘hairy’.   Toodle – oo.

Elizabeth Hibbett Webb.



(1)Aviatik C.1.  German Reconnaissance Aeroplane: In service1915; Mercedes engine 160 hp; ceiling 11,480 ft;  max. speed 89 mph (hence the need for rapid rifle firing practice. http://williamwhitson.com/planes/apprentice_warrior.  Gas Mask practice was stepped up as these planes were capable of dropping small bombs. There was also threat of gas when the North wind blew from Ypres. [S.Staffs War Diary.6th June 1915].

(2This Letter had to wait 3 days before being  passed by the censor & posted.  Bertie’s previous Letter re- permission to leave off underpants had obviously arrived Home too late. (3) Okoo: another nickname for Basil. (4) Army underpants were woollen & knee length; not as comfortable as ones sent from Home.

NEXT POST:  5th JUNE 1915. Not Happy.


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