Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, ROUEN: Ward 6, No 9. GENERAL HOSPITAL . LETTER to MOTHER, Marie Neal HIBBETT, c/o Mrs Hardcastle, 7, The Square, Whitby.
In Red White & Blue. Friday Aug. 20/ 15.
My Dear Mother,
Don’t you feel sorry for Sydney? I do – don’t feel sorry for me. (Just gone to put another record on the Pathephone) (1) – ’Cos I am quite happy you know.
I am in No 6. Ward of No 9. General Hospital. Oh! the difference after coming from the trenches – all spick & span neat beds, neat everything and meals served out to us. Porridge for brekker, vegetables with our dinner & cocoa & milk at night.
All this I owe to Sydney, who I found out consequently, had recommended me for a rest. Twenty of us came down a week last Monday & all had to go up the line again 4 days afterwards.
Thought I was going, but there happened to be a Medical Inspection & I was marked unfit & sent here. All wots up we me is that I’m run down, & blood out of order. So I was vaccinated larst night (2).
If you want to send me anythink it must be in the way of biscuits & chocolate if you like. I ’ope as you are still Enjoying yourselves. I guess Harold has by this time gone to Bedale (3).
Tell me when you go home. I am expecting a letter from you today. So will leave the last page blank until the post comes.
There goes the bugle for letters. We have all the bugle calls (4), in fact everything is done Regimental Style, from Parade Calls to folding the dish cloth neatly into four.
I hope Ida will keep the letters I’ve sent you so that you can read them too.
After Tea. No letters forthcoming today, rather disappointing, hope for the best tomorrow – a letter so enlivens me up. We look uncommonly like Germans with our hair cut short (5). I wonder if you could manage to send me some more hard boiled eggs like Bailey* used to get.
Best love dear Mummy, Bertie.
Pte Bertie waited 10 days in Hospital before writing directly to his Mother, still on holiday to inform her that he was ‘run-down‘, with ‘blood out of order’. Ailments: ‘facial paralysis‘ from boils on face, neck & head; boils & sores on legs. Treatment: ‘hot fomentations’ ‘vaccination’ & shaved head to get rid of lice.
(1) Pathephone: record player. (2) Harold was new manager of pharmacy/chemist at Bedale, Yorkshire.
(3) ‘Vaccinated’: for what is unclear; could be against trench fever. (4) Bugle Calls: short tune/ military signal to announce scheduled order/ event of the day. List of Bugle Calls with music notation <http://www.wikipedia.org/wikiBugle_call>
(5) Lice & Fleas: an ever-present misery in trench life.
Meanwhile Lance Corporal SYDNEY HIBBETT was in Reserve Camp.
SOUTH STAFFS WAR DIARY. 1 8th – 20th Aug. 1915.
OUDERDOM ‘F’ HUTMENTS, DIVISIONAL RESERVE.
NEXT POST: 22nd AUGUST, 1915. Tent Service in Colour & Sister’s ‘Bright Things’.