A LETTER to Pte BERTIE HIBBETT from KATHLEEN E. BROOKES*, Fern Leigh, Walsall. (1)
‘In the Garden at Fern Leigh’. June 23rd 1916.
I have been hoping each day to hear that you were at Home and then I could have gone to see you & shake hands and thank you personally for ‘Sniper Atkins’.
I think it is ever so good & I am much obliged to you for sending it to me. I am afraid it must have taken up a lot of your time – the illustrations are capital & I never knew you were a poet before!
I daresay you will find this letter rather disjointed.
We are busy carrying the hay today and between times I take up this letter. I have taken up work at Gaunts Farm (2) (my sister has too) so we have very little spare time.
Of course we are not hard at it like Ida (3), we take alternate days & work all morning & then in the afternoons (not very regularly) we go across & milk the cows.
At least we feel we are doing something for our dear old country.
I had a most interesting letter from Sydney. He also wrote to Father – it was very good of him to bother. It is hard lines not to have had ‘leave’ I should think you are getting accustomed to being disappointed.
Perhaps you would like to know what some of the old Bible Class lads are doing (4). Harold Hackett* is in the 21st Lancers & is in India. Willie Hackett * has been in France – now has his commission in the 9th S. Staffs (or 10th), Eric Day* is in Ireland, Attwood* and Norman Smith* in France. Donald* in England still, Rupert Edwards* still in Salonica, Frank Ellis*has been in France, now in Mesopotamia – the others I think you know – I cannot find out about Philip Day*.
Well I must stop – with all kind regards and best of luck.
Yours very sincerely,
Kathleen E. Brookes.
A Letter from the Walsall Home Front from one woman keeping busy bringing in the Harvest as the Country waited for news of the ‘Big Push’.
(1) Kathleen Brookes: Superintendant, St Paul’s Sunday School, Walsall. Her Father was prominent in the Church & one of Bertie Hibbett’s mentors.
(2) Gaunt’s Farm: near Sutton Coldfield? (connection John O’ Gaunt,1340-1399 1st Duke of Lancaster?). See Hibbett Letter: 2nd Oct. 1915.
(3) Ida Hibbett: now a Land Army Girl bringing in the harvest, having also served as a Red Cross VAD & an admin assistant at the Walsall Borough Council. Served also in an Amunitions factory, 1915. See My Memories. 1967.
(4) Bible Class Lads: Bertie Hibbett’s fellow pupils in her Sunday Class at Fern Leigh. I have yet to check CWWG website for these names.
NEXT POST: 25th June 1916.