Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, Merville Casualty Clearing Station: Letter to Mother, Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd, Walsall.
(in same envelope as Letter of New Year’s Day)
Dec 31st 1915
‘Thy Kingdom come O God Thy rule, O Christ begin, Break with thine iron rod The tyrannies of sin. When comes the promised time that War shall be no more’. (1)
My Very Dear Mother,
In the little Chapel we held another evening service, the last in the old year, & thus were the hymns we sung, including the one 217 A & M (2) which have very appropriate verses & brought happy memories of Fern Leigh Bible Class (3), when Ida and I happened once to arrive LATE & had to wait outside ‘that’ door to hear all the verses through.
Yes. ‘Where is thy reign of peace and purity and love? When shall all hatred cease, As in the realms above’. (1).
‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’, many people & I think especially soldiers & soldier’s mothers, will pray slower with more meaning & deeper sense, Our Lord’s Prayer this New Year’s Eve. ‘Thy Kingdom come’.
Our Chaplain has preached , or rather given us little band of men who go to service each evening, some very simple yet inspiring addresses. Last night he spoke some beautiful words about heaven being on earth. ‘A new Heaven & a new Earth – and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’. (4)
I send you a card which is one of many promised for us at Christmas (5) but they have arrived as late as this, yet I think them good enough & appropriate enough to send away now. I send too, one for Ida & one for your ‘bed chamber’. We all followed the prayers said by the Chaplain for our dear ones at Home & said Amen. Yes there is a great deal in an ‘Amen’. So let it be O Lord (6).
NB Letter was continued & signed on New Year’s Day, 1st Jan. 1916.
1/5th SOUTH STAFORDS WAR DIARY.
Dec 31st. Company & Battalion Training (for Eastern Front).
December 1915 CASUALTIES:- Killed 1. Wounded nil. Signed: R.R. RAYMER Lt Col. Cmdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt.
(1) Thy Kingdom Come: Hymn. 1867. Words: Lewis Hensley. 1824-1905. Anglican priest & hymn writer. Tune: St Cecilia. Leighton G. Hayne 1836-1883. Anglican priest & organ builder.
(2) A & M. Hymns Ancient & Modern. Product of Victorian Oxford Movement. Approved by Church of England in 1861. Several editions. Editor William Henry Monk, 1823 -1889. (Organist & choirmaster, composer of hymns & anthems).
(3) Fern Leigh Bible Class, held by Kathleen M. Brookes, Sunday School Superintendent, St Paul’s Walsall. (4) Revelation 21.1.
(5) Christmas cards provided by Army charity for troops to send Home? (6) Amen: a strong affirmation/ agreement: ‘Truly’ ‘So be it’: Aramaic/ Semitic dialect/ 1st cent. language spoken by Jesus / left untranslated in Greek, Latin & English translations of the Bible.
NEXT POST: 1st Jan. 1916: New Year’s Day.