This is not going to be a letter as there is no news at all. The Bat. (2) left here on Wednesday & went to Yorkshire, a place called Richmond (3), & I hear it is a very rotten place, but good huts.
I was lucky enough to be left behind with a wiring party (4), our time is up on Thursday, but I think we are going to stop on longer as there is no one else to do the work. I hope we do.
We did not have any Easter holiday – 7 til 7 every day, Sundays as well, but I do not mind it, it is worth it to stop in a town like this, & have a good time a night. We are allowed out till twelve every night. Vic. went with the Bat.
I enclose you a photograph which may interest you, we had it taken the other day, most of the men on it are B.E.F. men, Price*, Bussey* (Bursey?) Machine Gun Sgt. (who is very decent), most are old ‘A’ Coy chaps.
Remember me kindly to Sid, & all the others. Wishing you both the very best of Luck.
I remain Your sincere friend. Vernon. (5)
* * * * *
Vernon Evans, Bertie Hibbett’s best pal, had been sent Home with trench fever and, like Serjeant Sydney Hibbett with his catarrhal jaundice, was attached to 3/5th South Staffords (Territorial). Sydney returned to the Front in April, whilst Vernon remained in the UK, possibly for the rest of the War. The Hibbett family was anxious for Bertie to apply for a Commission in the 3/5th S Staffs and also for ‘Sick Leave’, whichever would bring him Home. But it was not to be. The ‘Big Push’, the Battle of the Somme, was in preparation and too many men had his complaint.
(1) The number of Addresses & Postmarks on the envelope bear witness to the diligence of the Army & the Post Office in delivering Letters to its Soldiers.
Vernon’s Letter, posted in DERBY 6.30 PM 25 AP 16, did not reach Pte Bertie until December 1916, 8 months later. It arrived at the Front within 5 days, missing him by 10 days. He & the 1/5th S Staffs had left the Front on 21st April & were at Chelers, Battalion Training. It appears the Letter was then marked ‘Hospital’ (in pencil), stamped ‘Field Post Office 137 30 AP 16’ and sent to the RETURNED LETTER SECTION LONDON POSTAL SERVICE, where it was opened, ‘officially sealed’ and sent on to ‘Territorial Force Records LICHFIELD 14 DEC 1916’.
At Lichfield the B.E.F. address was crossed out with red ink and the Letter sent on, Post Mark WALLASEY 8-PM 15 DEC 16, to 8832 Pte A.H. Hibbett, The Cenacle. British Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton. From there it was forwarded to Ward D. 1st Western General Hospital, Fazakerley, Liverpool.
(2) 3/5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regt (Territorial). (3) Richmond on River Swale, Yorkshire Dales. Not a ‘rotten place’ at all Vernon but no match on Derby for night life!
(4) Wiring Party/ barbed wire contraptions/cheveaux des frises, to protect Front Line Trenches. See Top Menu: My Memories. A.H.H. & Hibbett Letters.
NEXT POST: 28th April 1916.