YVES CANAL TRENCHES – RAILWAY DUGOUTS R7. R8. (1)
3rd Aug,Tue: In Brigade Reserve. One platoon and one Machine Gun R7. One section R8. 4th Aug. to 8th Aug: Furnished Working Parties to RE. CASUALTIES: 5th Aug: WOUNDED: 8397 Sgt. J. W. Barber. 6th Aug: KILLED: 8835 Pte J. Harker. 8th Aug: WOUNDED: 9612 Pte W. Bradley, 9082 Pte C. Mocroft.
Pte BERTIE HIBBETT : LETTER to IDA HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall.
Paddling (Summer Holidays). Sunday Aug 8/ 15.
My Dear Sister,
I was really expecting a letter from you when I went to the pile of letters & parcels this morning but the only thing for us was a huge neatly wrapped up box of good things from Whitby.
I have just enjoyed the cake, forgive me dear Ida, I do like some good cake & a hot drink of tea, so I got a mess tin of water & made some tea from Mother’s she sent. I also tucked into the apricot & had a slice of cucumber on a tea cake.
Sydney digs out farther down the line. We are in some dugouts along the . . . (words crossed out)
censored . . . and end missing.
A.H. Hibbett: Family Photograph Album.
‘This photograph was with me when I saw Ypres Cloth Hall shelled to the ground. Railway Dugouts, Yves Canal Railway Embankment’. [Kept in his Little Khaki Case].
LETTER to MOTHER & FATHER in Whitby, Yorks (first page missing/ address on the back).
Mount Pleasant, Railway Dugout Sunday Aug 8/ 15.
. . . How long is he (2) staying in Whitby?
I see you have to do with a pencil now on holiday & I wonder if you are writing again this afternoon. Glad you like the house. I fancy it is in the Square where Miss Foster* took apartments. Have you heard from her lately? How do you get on with the landlady? Sorry the weather is not so ‘nice’ as it should be.
I have taken some sheets from the note pad & Sydney has the pad in the box.
We had cold meat (mutton) today & if I had been early enough to go & see the parcel I should have had some cucumber with the meat. Well I can enjoy it between a slice of bread & butter. We expect to be in the trenches tomorrow.
Harold & Miss Bore* I hope are enjoying a really good time & I hope Harold feels comfi within hisself like you, knowing he deserved his holiday.
Don’t let the holiday be spoilt by thinking of us too much. I am feeling better today thank you Mummy. Yes I am so sorry about poor Jack Wade. “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted” (3) – but we must mourn properly & it must not have any taint of selfishness .
Whitby I daresay is quiet now – is it bracing & are there rough seas? You will spend one or two days at Salwick (4) & Goathland & have a wash in the sea & get brown eh!
Send us PCs of the places you go to & we can then hang them up in our dugouts.
I went digging again this morning in a trench round a lovely French house & got some flowers to decorate ‘Mount Pleasant’ – & I have Miss Bore’s PC of Sutton Park hung up & the one of our house again.
I daresay you have received my letters which I told Ida to forward to you. Tell me if you have them as I acknowledged the ripping currant bread, I did enjoy a good tea a week last Saturday. I can picture you all going shopping in Whitby for the contents of this last parcel. What a big one, how neatly it was packed & wrapped up. Convey my best thanks to Harold for the handsome, useful, solid, substantial case & such fine cigarettes. (By the by I do not smoke on Sundays, just to make a difference to weekdays). His gifts always seem to come the day after I write a letter to him.
Can you read this letter dear Mummy? I wrote on both sides on some sheets & found that it made the writing indistinct. I am looking forward to the lovely book of yours & the surprise – a bit of chocolate in me mouth now.
They want me to go for my rations now so will finish this when I have been. I should like this letter to go today but if I enjoy a good tea I might tell you in this letter how I liked the cake.
– Have come back – decided to tell you in my letter to Basil which I shall write in a day or so.
I read the lesson you had today, the one you will likely hear tonight, if you go, will be about Jeremiah (4) having his hand withered at the altar. Sydney told me I had missed Holy Communion when I went digging this morning. Sydney went & it was held in a cowhouse I believe.
Tea is on the boil in the brazier. Are you having a good tea? I can see you all round a nice table with white cloth on. I told you about the empty bed in Harold’s letter.
Best love to all Bertie.
PS Enclosed see the flower we often picked on holidays. Our Chaplain says it is Meadowsweet.
1) Ypres/ Yves. The city with its Cloth Hall (Medieval market halls for sale of quality woollen/ woven cloth/ a major commercial centre) was under constant bombardment throughout 1914 -1918. (2) Basil. (3) Matthew 5.4. Beatitude. (4) Salwick or Saltwick Bay: famous for its geology, fossils and ammonites.
(5 )1 Kings 13. 4: Lesson 10th Sunday of Trinity: Bertie mistakes Jeremiah forJereboam c. 922 -901: first King, Northern Israelite Kingdom (10 tribes). When he refused to believe a prophet’s warning that his ungodly altar would be destroyed by the House of David (3 southern tribes) his hand was withered as a sign. cf 2 Kings 23, 13-16.
NEXT POST: 10th AUGUST: Field Post Card.