Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, ROUEN: LETTER in ink to IDA HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall.
‘All in Bandage’. Rest Camp. Aug. 16/ 15.
My Dear Sister,
I did envy your capital heading – ‘The Little Grey Home in The West’ (1) and don’t you think you were the only one who thought it was their own original idea.
Got such a long epistle from Dodger to us both on his doings during the first week at Whitby. Sorry Sydney cannot read it. Got it the same day yours arrived here so they are forwarded on to me.
Anyone would think I was wounded by the way my head is bandaged up all over with hot fomentations (2) – & on my legs. I might say I have another pair of puttees (3) ’cos of the bandaging.
‘Unable to sleep at nights through heartburn’ sounds like reading from one of those cases in Dr Williams ‘Pink Pills for Pale People’ which are popped under the front door eh! (4)
Glad to hear from you at last & more still to hear that you are having a good time – & with the jolly gal who dreams & walks in her sleep to greet those ‘B’hoys who are not’, as so beautifully pictured, at Home Sweet Home with their only sister eatin & relishin & patronising her dainty dishes & fine cookery. My advice is – tell her to go on dreaming such dreams, but don’t get hurt again.
But let’s keep up to the highest matters & do & die eh what! – Yes indeed, whateffer & we shall, afore England’s under – but that will never be & we shan’t die. Q.E.D. see. (5)
Ta Ta. Bertie.
PS (In pencil) Have written to 3 Hibbetts – one in Whitby, one in Yorkshire, one in Staffordshire. (6)
(1) ‘Little Grey Home in the West‘: WW1 popular sentimental song. D. Eardley Wilmot. 1911. Sung by Australian baritone Peter Dawson; recorded 1912. Youtube.
(2) Hot fomentation /poultice: ‘hot moist substances applied to body to draw abscesses’ treat inflamation & reduce pain. VAD nurses taught to use these in WW1. (I remember my Mother using hot saline solution & bandaging for sceptic fingers & whitlows).
(3) Puttee/ from Hindu ‘patti ‘(bandage): canvas/ cloth binding, wound in cross-over pattern round leg from ankle to knee, for support & protection. (4) ‘Pink Pills’. Cure-all medication/energiser/tonic (iron oxide & magnesium sulphate) for blood & nerves; produced, 1890 by G.T. Fulford & Co. under trade name ‘Dr Williams’. (Often suggested by my Dad as a joke when we were off-colour as children).
(5) Q.E.D. Quad erat demonstrandum: Latin from the Greek ‘which had to be proven‘; traditionally placed at end of mathematic/scientific proof or philosophical argument.
(6) Basil in Whitby; Auntie Pattie (Miss M. Hibbett) in York & Ida in Walsall.
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