2nd NOV.1915: KING’S REVIEW INFLUENZA: ‘TEMP. 103. 6 & PUT TO BED AT ONCE’.

Centre: Sgt S. HIBBETT when training as a Sergeant.
 SYDNEY HIBBETT.

Serjeant SYDNEY HIBBETT: LETTER to Arthur & Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall.

E 3   Ward, 12 General Hospital, Rouen. Nov 2/ 15.

I am in this Hospital with influenza and am going on quite all rightEveryone is most kind and the ward so clean & nice that it is a rest to look at it.  I have been here since 5 am yesterday, not a long time really but it seems a week I have been in bed, or at least in blankets, since Friday 11 am when I reported my illness at the nearest nursing station up near the line. 

Our company was detached from the Battalion & sent some distance to act as carrying party up the trenches.  This was early on Friday & I felt really ill all the way up so I thought I would  go ‘on sick’ for once.  Temp. 103. 6  & put into bed at once.  I was taken by Motor Ambulance to a Clearing Station some miles back that night & I have been on my back ever since, an unique experience for me eh?

London & North Western Railway. 1915
London & North Western Railway.  Ambulance Train.

I left there by Red Cross train 11 am Sunday, when you would be in church I know, and stayed in it till we arrived here at 4. am Monday – some journey! 

I may say that I don’t think I have been in so fine a trainit was a perfect wonder of design and a miracle of comfort & easy running & of course built by L.N.W.  (1)

I see that I am at the bottom of the letter so will dry up. 

Nov-2nd-1915-x-2.Have found a green envelope so I will write a bit more. 

Fancy me in Hospital!  I don’t know how long for.  I expect your letters & parcel are up at the line I am on a milk diet and I can sympathise with jolly old Hal & Ralph (2) having to drink those 2 pints once.  I can also understand Ida’s troubles at Leicester in the wards.  Bert is somewhere up in the line, but not in the trenches I believeVernon is in Hospital also but I don’t know where with Bertie’s complaint (3).

Must close now.  With every best wish to you all from

Sydney.

I sleep in a perfect fine bed, clean sheets & blankets & pillows, beautiful after the mud of the firing line.

**************************

South Staffordshire BadgeePrivate BERTIE HIBBETT & 1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

FOUQUIERES.

27th Oct – 2nd Nov.   In Rest Billets.

CASUALTIES FOR OCTOBER: OFFICERS KILLED 5; WOUNDED 6; DIED OF WOUNDS 2.  OTHER RANKS KILLED  41; WOUNDED 213; WOUNDED & MISSING 52; DIED OF WOUNDS 3.

TOTAL CASUALTIES:- OFFICERS 13. OTHER RANKS 309. (4).

Signed:  R. RICHMOND RAYMER, Lt. Col. Cmdg 1/5th Bn. South Staffordshire Rgt.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Serjeant Sydney’s Letter is written on an opened-out white envelope and is covered in mud.  His Mother sent it on to Bertie to read & return –  so maybe that is how it got so muddy!

Sydney’s journey from a Front Line Clearing Station to Rouen Hospital took 3 nights & 2 days.

London & North Western Railway Company Badge.
London & North Western Railway Company Badge.

(1) L.N.W.R. London & North Western Railway (1846 -1922) ‘The Premier Line’ was the largest joint stock company in the world. Illustration:  Ambulance Train headed by a 4-6-0 Whale Experiment Class, built at Crewe. 1905-1910. ‘Ever increasing need for this type of train in WW1’ cf World Transport History. <https://www.transpressnz.blogspot.com&gt;  NB Sgt Sydney’s appreciation is that of a Walsall engineering apprentice before the War.

(2) ‘Hal’ could be Harold Hibbett.  Ralph unknown as yet, could be a cousin. (3) Trench foot complaint rather than Bertie’s blood disorder & boils I think.

(4) CASUALTY numbers are out of a Total Battalion complement of 28 Officers & 827 Other Ranks. Totals: 855.

Field State October 12th 1915 was reported as:-  Available for Trench Duty 13.10.15 : 24 Officers & 721 Other RanksTransport & Stores: 2 Officers & 56 Other Ranks. Details: 1 Officer & 20 Other Ranks. Sick 1 Officer & 20 Other Ranks (including Pte Bertie Hibbett). 

NEXT POST: 5th Nov. 1915.  Posts for November may be delayed by a cataract operation.

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