1-earlston-rd-earlston-seabank-medical-centre-earlston_practice_photoDr. N.C. SCLATER * (1) Consultant Physician, The Cenacle, New Brighton: LETTER to ARTHUR HIBBETT Esq. 95, Foden Rd Walsall.

AT HOME: 9 to 10 a.m. 6 to 7 p.m.          DARNA,                                         Telephone: 245 Liscard.                                 1. EARLSTON ROAD,                                                                                                            LISCARD, Cheshire. (2)

ARTHUR HIBBETT: 56 in 1914.

                                                                             25th Nov. 1916.    A. Hibbett Esq.                

Dear Sir,

I have today made a special & careful examination of your son’s injury. 

I am pleased to say that I find the condition very much more successful than I could at one time have hoped to obtain. The long period of patient waiting has been justified by the success. 

Pronation & supination.

At first on arrival here, it looked as though the hand would be certainly saved but a hand that would be useless save for the simplest work owing to loss of important movements (pronation & supination) (3) through destruction of the bone. 

Fortunately all movements have been retained, and a really useful hand is the result.  Healing is not quite complete, and a portion of dead bone may still have to be removed (4).










I have ordered an X.ray plate (5) to be made at an early date so that we may see how things are. 

When your son returns home in some weeks time he will I trust be well able to resume active life & earn his own living.

Yours faithfully,



Total Detonation Fragmentation 18 pound  Mark iii Shell.

Pte Bertie Hibbett’s gunshot wound on 1st July 1916 was potentially very serious. Many soldiers died even from seemingly minor injuries, when they did not receive immediate medical attention & septicemia set it.  My father in My Memories. 1967 wondered why a fellow soldier, with a similar wound, died while he lived on. It is no wonder that he felt so grateful to his pal Arthur Venables (commemorated Thiepval Memorial to the Missing) who gave him that vital first-aid in No Man’s Land, Gommecourt.

My grandfather, Arthur Hibbett, Walsall Borough Education Officer, would have been interested in the doctor who was treating his son and the use of X-rays & he would have known of the 1905 petition by the Royal College of Surgeons regarding Hygiene Education in schools to which Dr Sclater was a signatory. 

Royal College of Surgeons.
Royal College of Surgeons.

(1) Dr Nelson Cameron Sclater: born 1875? Dingle, Lancashire. Married Violet Salmon. Listed British Army Service Records, 1914 -1920. Died 1965. One of 14,718 Signatories to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’s Petition to Central Education Authorities of England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland distributed to Medical Professions of the United Kingdom. Royal College of Surgeons. Published 1905 by Morland, Birmingham. (Detail continued below).

(2) No 1. Earlston Rd: good to see Dr Sclater’s old home ‘Darna‘ is still thriving as ‘Earlston and Seabanks N.H.S Medical Centre (Wirral) with a musculoskeletal specialist. No doubt with very different hours! 

(3) Pronation & Supination: anatomical terms for ‘pair of unique movements’ re rotation of forearm or foot. Pronation:– hand & upper arm turned inwards. Supination:- forearm & hand turned outwards.

(4) ‘Removal of dead bone’: Pte Bertie Hibbett underwent an ‘operation to the right wrist’ ,13th Dec.1916 at Fazakerly Hospital, Liverpool.

(5) X-rays: discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. 1845-1923, Professor at Würzburg University. X-ray: ‘invisible ray able to pass through solid matter & in conjunction with photographic plate provide a picture of bones & interior body parts’. By 1896 X-rays were being ‘used by battle field physicians to locate bullets in wounded soldiers’. NDT Resource Centre website.

[ (1) Continued: THE UNDERSIGNED MEMBERS OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, having constantly before us the serious physical and moral conditions of degeneracy and disease resulting from the neglect and infraction of the elementary laws of Hygiene, venture to urge the CENTRAL EDUCATIONAL AUTHORITIES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM TO CONSIDER WHETHER  it would not be possible to include in the curricula of the Public Elementary Schools, and to encourage in the Secondary Schools, such teaching as may, without developing any tendency to dwell on what is unwholesome, lead all the children to appreciate at their true value healthful bodily conditions as regards Cleanliness, Pure Air, Food, Drink, etc.

In making this request we are well aware that at the present time pupils may receive teaching on the laws of Health, by means of subjects almost invariably placed upon the Optional Code. By this method effective instruction is given to a small proportion of the pupils only. This does not appear to us to be adequate. We believe that it should be compulsory and be given at a much earlier age than at present. It may, perhaps, be useful to call attention to what is being achieved in this direction by English speaking nations. In reviewing the steps taken it will be noted that one of the most prominent subjects with which the various countries have found it necessary to deal, is the question of the nature and effects of Alcohol.

In the ARMY SCHOOLS of this country and of all our foreign stations west of Aden, teaching in Elementary Hygiene is compulsory; such teaching including Temperance, Health and Sanitation, special attention being drawn to the deleterious effects of Alcohol.]

NEXT POST: 10th DEC. 1916.



BASIL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd: LETTER to Pte  BERTIE HIBBETT, The Cenacle Red Cross Hospital, Wallasey, New Brighton.

Tuesday 10. 0 am.  (Ed. 21st Nov. 1916) (1).

Dear Bertie,

I was reading the paper a few minutes ago about the new attack north of the Ancre (2) – the part of the line not captured on July 1st.  There are a few lines I would like to quote to your benefit:-

Though the attack north of the Ancre on July 1st (Gommecourt, Serre & Beaumont-Hamel) did not result in permanent gains such as those which have crowned our arms south of that river, the story of what was done there in the first stages of the offensive is such that, when it is fully told, Great Britain may perhaps be even prouder of the deeds of the regiments which fought on this section of the front and which achieved there some things of plain impossibility than of the successes further south”

“It may be doubted if the world ever saw an hour of more heroic work than our men did there” ‘Times’

That’s you & Sydney. Isn’t it fine?    Love from 




The Battle of the Somme ground to a halt with a final British attack, the Battle of Ancre, 13th -18th, Nov. 1916 and the onset of winter. Since 1st July, 20,000 British lives had been lost  & very little ground had been gained.  Pte Bertie Hibbett (suffering from grief, shell shock & a life changing injury) needed to know, along with the whole nation, that those who fought & died in the first stages of the Offensive had not toiled or died in vain. This Times’ report, sent to his brother by a thoughtful Basil, met a real need: the men were heroes & had achieved ‘things of plain impossibility’. 

Sir Stuart Wortley.
Sir Stuart Wortley. 1857-1934.

The Hibbett Family must have known by now that 46th Midland Division’s diversionary attack on Gommecourt, on 1st July 1916, was considered a complete failure. Blamed on its Commanding Officer, Sir Stuart Wortley (controversially dismissed by Earl Haig, 4th July), the failure left a shadow on the reputation of the men that must have been very hard to bear. 

Revd. Arthur H. Hibbett 1965
The Revd. Arthur H. Hibbett. Butlin’s Skegness. 1960s.

In My Memories. 1967, my father recalls his personal experience of the chaotic situation in the Foncquevillers trenches in that first half hour – and the dismay of his Commanding Officer at the sight of so many casualties – but he was not in the habit of apportioning blame. He had great respect for his Officers, especially those he had known from QMS Cadet days & throughout his time at the Front.  I remember how difficult he found the musical ‘O what a Lovely War!’ released 10th April, 1969.  ‘It wasn’t like that!’ he said.

My father would have appreciated the understanding of Alan MacDonald’s two definitive books on Gommecourt: Pro Patria Moriand ‘A Lack of Offensive Spirit’.

Eddie. Caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair 1899.
Edward Stuart Wortley. 1857 -1934. ‘Eddie’. Caricature by Spy in Vanity Fair 1899.

Quotation:-<http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_ Montague-Stuart-Wortley>  ‘ VII Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Thomas D’Oyly Snow, stated in official correspondence:

“the 46th Division … showed a lack of offensive spirit. I can only attribute this to the fact that its commander, Major-General the Hon. E.J. Montagu Stuart-Wortley, is not of an age, neither has he the constitution, to allow him to be as much among his men in the front lines as is necessary to imbue all ranks with confidence and spirit.”

General Snow ordered a Court of Inquiry on 4 July 1916 into the actions of the 46th Division during the attack, but before it delivered its findings General Haig as Commander-in-Chief ordered Montagu-Stuart-Wortley to leave the field and return to England.

Given that Montagu Stuart-Wortley’s orders prior to the attack had been “to occupy the ground that is won by the artillery” his dismissal remains a subject of controversy. According to Alan MacDonald, “the Division and its General were made scapegoats for the failure of a fatally flawed concept dreamt up by higher authority – the diversionary attack at Gommecourt“.

See also Hibbett Letters: 1st July 1916; 4th June 1916; 16th July 1915.


(1) The Letter’s Date: the first Tuesday after the Battle of Ancre 13th -18th Nov. was 21st Nov. 1916.  Basil was most likely reading that day’s Times. 

(2) The Battle of Ancre: the last major British attack of the Battle of the Somme, 13th -18th Nov. 1916. Operations on the Somme came to a halt because of the winter weather, ‘rain, snow, fog, mud, waterlogged trenches & shell holes’. 18th Nov.1916 is commemorated as the end of the Somme Offensive but research by Historian Peter Barton indicates the actual date was the Spring of 1917 when the Germans withdrew to the Hindenburg Line, a German defensive line from Arras to Laffeux, near Soisons on the Aisne. See BBC 2 broadcast/ August 2016: The Somme 1916. From Both Sides the Wire.

NEXT POST: 25th NOV. 1916: ‘A Special & Careful Examination of Your Son’s Injury’.


Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT, The Cenacle, Wallesley, New Brighton, Cheshire: LETTER to ARTHUR & MARIE NEAL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall.

Monday Morning. 20.11 16.

National Mission (1):God is decreeing to begin some new and great period in His Church, even to the reforming of the Reformation itself; what does he then but reveal Himself to His servants, and as His manner is, first to His Englishmen.’ Milton’s Areopagitica (2).

My Dear Mother, Father, & hmm . . . Isn’t it awkward to begin for you are all dear to me.

Cuirassier with sword.

I dreamt such a dream last night. I dreamt I saw a host of cavalry, the men wearing glittering gold helmets like the French Cuirassiers (3). 

I thought they were Germans at first, then French, as I saw them in the distance on the road, then as I turned in the opposite direction who should I see but Sydney mounted on a charger with a banner in his hand & what appeared to be a helmet covered with leaves (4), he came galloping along & gave me the impression he was a messenger to tell us the enemy was near.  The dream went on, he & I were on the top of an old barn, then we were with father.

I had not dreamt of Sydney much since you left New Brighton & I wished I would & so I did last night. I should so much like him to keep me company today & give me advice on matters.

Yesterday I spent a very quiet Sunday, although it rained.  I read Milton’s works in the afternoon & Mother’s book The Prince of the House of David (5), in the evening.  I have got to the letters where Adina loses all hope in Our Lord & where she resolves not to believe in the righteousness of men.  How she sorrows to think that so good a ‘Man’ was ‘dead’ & she was still alive. I think of Sydney now & compare: it is comforting to know he is not really dead, but if we allow ourselves to disregard Christianity he will then appear dead to us, just like Adina, who was either ignorant or doubtful as to Our Lord’s coming Resurrection.

Christmas is drawing very near now; my arm is growing gradually stronger, but still has not yet healed upkeeps breaking out in little holesall I have is a hot fomentation & some lotion to stop it from going septicSo Doctor Utting* could easily do that (6): now what I am aiming at iscould Dad write to Schlater* (7), 3 Earlston Rd. Liscard N.B. for just 3 or 4 days at Home or even 2 if I should happen to be here by Christmas. The other day he said :- ‘I know you would like to be here for Christmas (or something to that effect)’.  Perhaps it is rather early as yet.  We will consider the matter eh!’

I had a very nice letter from Okoo* (Basil) yesterday.  He’s a decent sport to do me some photos.  Nurse Wilcox* wishes to have one. 

Not being able to think of more to say excepting we too are having dull & cold weather. Oh! just had a letter from Mary* ( Godmother Foster), they had snow in Nott:(ingham).

Best love,  Your ever affec.  Bertie.



‘The War will soon be over now’ wrote Sgt Sydney Hibbett in his last letter home  before the ‘Big Push’ of 1st July 1916. Both Pte Bertie Hibbett and his brother had volunteered in the hope to fight and save their country & the world. With the Battle of the Somme failing to make any real headway from the very first day, after so much expectation of success and with such horrendous loss of life, there was a growing awareness in a grieving nation that the War could not be over soon.

This letter shows how close Pte Bertie Hibbett was to his brother, Sydney (only 13 months between them) and how he endeavoured to make sense of what had happened to them both.  Characteristically he takes comfort from his vivid dream of his brother as a knight in shining armour – and creates links between John Milton’s 17th Century call for ‘a reforming of the Reformation’ and the Church’s present call for National Repentance & Hope. 

(1) The National Mission of Repentance & Hope launched by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson & the Archbishop of York, Cosmo Lang. Oct. 1916. See A Monument of Fame: The Lambeth Palace Library blog: 13th March, 2016. 

We are to repent not because we believe we are guilty of provoking this war but because we, together with other nations that profess to be Christian, have failed to learn how to live together as a Christian family, how to set forth Christ to the peoples who do not know Him. Because it is clear that the Spirit of love does not rule our relations with one another at home, anymore than it rules the relations between nations’.

‘We look forward  to a new England & a new world’. . . ‘The nation was invited ‘to reflect their attitudes, weaknesses & passions & repent in hope of a better world’.  . . ‘ . The Bishop of London, Arthur Winnington Ingram said: ‘The Mission is to be like the coming of Spring  . . . that under the breath of the Spirit “a desert may rejoice & blossom as the rose”. Church Times, March, 1916. [See also Hibbett Letter 20th July 1916, from the Vicar of Walsall, the Revd J.J.Key] .

1st page of Areopagitica 16
Milton’s Areopagitica. 1644.

(2) John Milton, 1608 -1674. English poet, man of letters, civil servant to Oliver Cromwell

John Milton

Milton’s Areopagitica: For the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing‘ was a passionate philosophical defence of the right of freedom of speech / an appeal to Parliament to rescind the Licensing Act of 16th June,1643, on state control of printing, speech & thought. See <http://www.stlawrenceinstitute.org&gt;

Cuirassier with sword.
Cuirassier with helmet plume & sword.<http://www.pinterest.com&gt;

(3) French Cuirassiers: Cavalry Armour Bearers similar to Medieval Men at Arms, last fielded in WW1 (‘from ‘cuirass’ breast-plate armour).

Green Man Roodscreen Combe Martin 1500-1550
Green Man: Roodscreen, St Peter Ad Vincula, Combe Martin.1500-1550.

(4) Sydney’s Helmet covered with leaves (laurel wreath of victory) reflects symbolism of Green Man with leaves pouring from his mouth/archetypal image of Renewal & New Life. cf Sir Gawain & the Green Knight/ 14th Cent. Arthurian Poem.

Revd Joseph Holt Ingraham 1809 -1860.
The Revd Joseph Holt Ingraham. 1809 -1860.

(5) ‘The Prince of the House of David, or Three Years in the Holy City’. The Revd Professor Joseph Holt Ingraham (F. Clinton Barrington)1809 -1860. 

Title reads: ‘being a Series of Letters of Adina, a Jewess of Alexandria, sojourning in Jerusalem in the days of Herod, addressed to her father, a wealthy Jew of Egypt (Manasseh Benjamin) and relating, as if by an eye-witness, all the scenes & wonderful incidents of the Life of Jesus from his Baptism in Jordan to his Crucifixion on Calvary.

(6) Dr Utting *: Hibbett Family Doctor in Walsall. Cared for Ida during her last illness,1921 (cancer from working in ammunitions factory). Their graves both lie in the Churchyard of  St Michael & All Angels, Rushall, Walsall, a Sunday evening’s walk from 95, Foden Rd.

(7) Dr N.C. Schlater*: Pte Bertie’s Doctor at the Cenacle Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, about to arrange an operation on his arm & wrist before Christmas 1916.

NEXT POST: 21st. NOV. 1916. The Times Report: The Battle of Ancre, the end of the Battle of the Somme.


R.A.M.C Autogrphed Cigarette Papers. Red Cross Hospital. 1916.
R.A.M.C. Troop’s Autos & their Cigarette Papers. The Cenacle Red Cross Hospital. A.H.H. Autograph Album. 1916.






JOHN JONES, R.A.M.C. (1) Aid Post in the Line:

LETTER to Pte HUBERT HIBBETT, The Cenacle Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Cheshire.


Dear Mr Hibbett, 

Your letter from the Cenacle to hand yesterday. I am at present one of three stationed at an aid-post in the line (2), but of course things have quietened down considerably since you were up here. We have quite a snug little dug-out, doing all our own cooking, which is so much better than depending on a cook-house. 


Casualties are brought down to the regiment aid-post about 20 yards from here, then we take them down to the dressing station from there.

Front Line Dressing Station. http://www.emaze

I have not actually been stationed in the town you mention but at a hospital on the road about 2 miles towards the line. You may know where I mean.  Also at a prison dressing station (3) still further up the line.

British Soldiers carry German wounded.
British Soldiers with German wounded prisoners. Somme Offensive. July 1916.

I was pleased to hear that you were satisfied with the way the R.A.M.C. treated you out here.  Previous to operations  on the Germans (censored but decipherable (3)) people at home seemed to be under misunderstanding about the work of the R.A.M.C. out here but I think we are now given due credit for our work.

I gather that you were wounded in the arm ?( censored) (4) so you will know that we were far from idle or out of danger there (5).

New Brighton Wallesley Sands.

Certainly, my heart aches to be with you strolling along New Brighton Sands. It certainly is a fine spot for wounded to recuperate.

Our division has commenced leave (6) so I hope to see Blighty sometime before the ending of the war. I guess you don’t half enjoy those little concerts you have at the Cenacle (7).

I do not think I have anything else to write to you about this time, only it gives me great pleasure in being able to make a written acquaintance with you.  I am sure it gave mother (8) great pleasure in doing her little bit to get you better again. 

I remain,

 Yours very sincerely, John Jones* (scarcely readable signature).



The writer of this Letter, John Jones, R.A.M.C., was most probably a civilian doctor who volunteered for service at the Front without having to undergo extra training. He appears to be the son of Mrs M.A. Jones, one of Marie Hibbett’s best friends in Walsall. Pte Bertie Hibbett frequently mentions her kindness in sending parcels & letters to him at the Front & to the Cenacle Hospital. 

John Jones is responding to my father’s request for information about what might have happened to his brother after he was reported wounded & missing in No Man’s Land. For many months the Hibbett Family hoped Sgt Sydney Hibbett might have been taken prisoner or might simply be lost in the system. ‘I see no objection to parties with Motor Ambulances searching villages in France for the wounded & to obtain particulars of the missing & convey them to hospital’. Lord Kitchener.12th Sept. 1914. 


(1) R.A.M.C. Badge has the Rod of Asclepius (with serpent  symbol of life & healing) surmounted by a crown, within a laurel wreath (symbols of honour & victory) with the regimental motto ‘In Arduis Fidelis‘ (Faithful in Adversity) or ‘Royal Army Medical Corps’ in a scroll beneath.  Asclepius was a Greek Hero & God of Medicine, (<www.GreekMedicine.net>).  R.A.M.C. medics wore an arm band but carried no weapon or ammunition. ramc-badge-jpg-opt150x144o00s150x144

(2) Aid Post in the Line: the first in a chain of medical posts organised by the Field Ambulance (FA). The FA Bearer Division brought wounded from the Front Line Regimental Aid Post (RAP) to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS), then on to a Main Dressing Station MDS (Tented ‘Hospital’) for treatment by the FA Tent Division. At the outbreak of war the R.A.M.C. had only 5,000 officers & men.

Lt general Sir Alfred Kogh 1857 -1936.
Lt General Sir Alfred Keogh 1857 -1936.

After the Battle of Mons, 23rd Aug 1914, when many wounded died in the chaos for lack of transport & swift medical support, (Doctor) Sir Alfred Henry Keogh was appointed Director General of R.A.M.C. & completely re-organised it. 


A massive fund-raising scheme to purchase motor ambulances took place. Many women acted as ambulance drivers & motor mechanics.

Women Drivers.
354. The English Camp -The Garage of Cars & Women Drivers (& Mechanics) at work in front of their  Red Cross Motor-Ambulances. Le Treport. 1916.
Field Ambulance on Parade. Location unknown
Field Ambulance Unit on Parade. Location unknown.jpg.opt.

A Field Ambulance Unit consisted of 10 Officers, 224 Other Ranks & Army Service Corps. ‘Each column consisted of ambulance wagons, water-carts, forage carts for stores, cook’s wagon, 52 riding & draught horses’ and a member of the Cycle Corps.  cf Hibbett Letters: 14th Dec. 1915 and <https://www.1914-1918.net/fieldambulances&gt;

Grateful thanks to Tony Allen for his excellent website “The Royal Army Medical Corps on WW1 Postcards <https://www.worldwar1postcards.com/war-wounded-and-the-ramc.php> It is full of information, well researched, clearly presented with numerous illustrations.

(3) German Wounded Prisoners: the R.A.M.C.’s humanitarian aim was to treat British & German wounded alike, according to the Geneva Convention of 1864: ‘Wounded & sick combatants, to whatever nation they may belong, shall be collected & cared for’. ‘Operations on the Germans’: i.e the Battle of Somme/Gommecourt (not medical operations).

Fragmentation of 18 pounder Mark iii Shell (complete detonation). Courtesy Tony Allen.

(4) Pte Bertie’s Wound: a three-letter word (‘arm‘?) has been censored to prevent the enemy learning the effect of its shells. The R.A.M.C contributed to WW1 research into types of wounds caused by fragmentation of shells. One of these such fragments nearly cost my Dad his arm.

(5) ‘Out there’: ie Foncquevillers Church Crypt Field Dressing Station (where my father had his wound dressed & received anti-tetanus injection 1st July 1916).  If the Germans had counter-attacked the medics there might well have been taken prisoner as the FDS in the Church Crypt was so close to the Front Line.

(6) Division Commenced Leave: Leave had dried up since June  prior to Battle of Somme 1st July 1916 (i.e. nearly 6 months). See Hibbett Cartoon & Letter: 6th June 1916.

(7) Cenacle Patients’ Concerts: See Hibbett Letters: 4th Oct 1916 & 10th Nov. 1916.

(8) MotherMrs M.A.Jones, attended St Paul’s Church Walsall (wife of J.H.Jones on Walsall Education Committee? / called him ‘His Lordship’ 20th June 1915;12th & 13th Sept. 1915). Many refs in Hibbett Letters to her parcels & letters. Mother of Lance Corp. A.O.Jones to whom Sydney entrusted his pack should anything happen to him. See Hibbett Letters: 17th May 1915; 27th Feb. 1916;10th & 21st May 1916; 1st June 1916; 19th July 1916.

NEXT POST: 20th Nov. 1916. ‘I dreamt a dream last night . . . Sydney on a Charger  . . . helmet covered with leaves’.


Concert Programme

2nd-cenacle-concert-part-2Transcription: The Cenacle British Red Cross Hospital  Concert. Winter 1916-17. Program. Sketch drawn in pencil. Finished 1923.

1) Pianoforte Solo:  “Overture 1812″. Tchaikovsky. 1882. Piano arrangement 1882. Lance Corpl F. Richter. Mus B. (Bachelor of Music).

2) Song: “Follow me ‘Ome”. Rudyard Kipling, 1865 -1936. ‘There was no one like ‘im ‘Orse or Foot Nor any o’ the Guns I knew; An’ because it was so, why o’ course ‘e went an’ died. Which is just what the best men do. So knock out your pipes an’ follow me. An’ it’s finish up your swipes an’ follow me. Oh ‘ark to the big drum callin’ Follow me – Follow me ‘Ome. Corporal J. Beck. 1/10th Liverpool Scottish. (Underwent 10 operations) .

Corpral Beck
Cpl. Beck




3. Song: Nurse Cicely G. Wilcox.

4. Recitation: Selection “The Lay of the Last Minstrel“. Bertie Hibbett1805. Sir Walter Scot. Romantic/Gothic story of 16th Cent Border Feud/ theme-loyalty to one’s homeland. Pte A. H.Hibbett 1/5th S. Staffs.

5. Song: Nurse Mildred E. O’Neill.

Irish regiment Autographs collected on Cigarette ppares . Hsopital Birkenhead. 1916.
Cigarette Autos: Pte A Kelly & Rfle E. J. Leggett.

6. Song: “Lowland Sea“. The Golden Vanity’s Cabin Boy was promised silver & gold to sink a Spanish galleon, successful but betrayed & left to drown. 17th Cent Battle between Spain & England. Rifleman Edwin J. Leggett. 1st London Irish Rifles.

Cenacle Red Cross Nurse Cockeram.

7. Violin Duet: Andantino“. Shin’ichi Suzuki, 1898 -1998. Japanese inventor of Suzuki method. Taught self to play violin in 1916! Nurse M. Evans & Nurse G. M. Cockeram.

Nurse G. Cockeram. 12th April 1917.
G. Cockeram’s Blindfold Pig. 12th April 1917.

8. Song: When Irish Eyes are Smiling from Olcott’s ‘Isle of Dreams’ 1912. Lyrics: Chauncey Olcott & George Graff Jr.  Tune: Ernest Ball. 1878 -1927. Pte A. Kelly. South Irish Horse.

9. Song: Three Score & Ten“. (Source unknown. Biblical span of  human life). Sister Dorothy Clive. 

Red Cross Nurses: Sonia Langdon & Kathleen Hay 1916.
Red Cross Nurses: Sonia Langdon & Kathleen Hay  (Winnnie Hay’s sister) 1916.

10. Pianoforte Solo: Walse Romantique“. Own Composition, L/Corporal F. Richter. Mus Bac.

Nurse W.Hay's Blindfold Pis & Signature.
Winnie Hay’s Blindfold Pig & Signature.April 13th 1917.

11. Recitation:The Yukon Trail“. Hamid Kareem? (nationality/date unknown). ‘To Yukon for gold they went, they left in poverty & death they found. ‘Twas no gold but iron ore. . . fool’s gold. Yukon was but a fool’s paradise’. Nurse Winnie Hay. 

Geoffrey Carman’s Cigarette Paper & Signature.

12. Song: Geoffrey Carman. 5th City London Regiment. 

Corp. Bostock Byrd.

Byrd’s Signature.







14. Duet Burlesque: The Optimist & The Pessimist“. Own composition. Corporal J. Beck (see Song 2) performed with Corporal G. Bostock-Byrd. 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards.


Transcript: Topical Verse introduced in “The Optimist & the Pessimist For “Cenacle” Patients’ Concert. Nov. 10.16.

Optimist: I hear there’s going to be a Concert here. Pessimist: They’ll be asking us to sing. O: Well I don’t mind if they do, mon cher, a duet ‘d be just the thing. P: You’ll be alright I havn’t a doubt. You’ve got such an awful neck. But what about if we get chucked out? O: Well! I shall be in the wreck. O: The Optimist. P: & The Pessimist. Both: may sing a duet sometime. We may even try a topical verse To add to our list of crimes. P: I warn you not to clap too much. He’ll be wanting to sing some more. O: O come along! They’ve had enough of you. Both: So There!!!  The door (hurried exit).


Transcript: Topical Verse introduced in “The Optimist & The Pessimist” For “Cenacle” Patients’ Concert. Nov 10th 16.

Optimist: Well old boy, we’re in the Cenacle yet. Pessimist: We’ll soon be out in France. O: before I go out there anymore I’ll lead them a lively dance. P: You’ll soon be keeping down your head in the trenches over the way. O: Not while I can swing the lead you can bet your blooming pay. O: The Optimist. P. & The Pessimist. Both: Have both had all they want. P: It’s all right talking about doing your bit. O: I know it’s no picnic stunt. Both: No doubt we are very fine fellers & all that sort of pot but the climate over in Flanders is too bloomin’ hot. J. Beck.



This second Patients’ Concert  at the Cenacle provides another good example of the artistic talent amongst soldiers & nurses alike. (cf 4th Oct. Concert).

“The Optimist & The Pessimist” by Corp. J. Beck 1/10th Liverpool Scottish is a grim reminder that all the wounded at the Cenacle Red Cross Hospital, including my father, obviously wanted to get better but were under the threat of being sent back to the Front as soon as they were.

My Father’s 21st Birthday Autograph Album has been a most valuable source of information when trying to identify people in the Hibbett Collection of Photographs. He illustrates the signed cigarette papers giving details of regt & rank & adding little notes e.g. Corpl Beck’s ’10 operations’. That so many nurses had some fun on 12th/13th April1917, indicates he was close to leaving Hospital. Their amusing drawings of a pig  (with their eyes closed) giving signature & date solves the problem of just how long my Father spent at the Cenacle. His 1967 My Memories of the First World War’ states it was seven months but now we know it was at least ten months.

NEXT POST: 15th NOV. 1916.  ‘R.A.M.C Operations on Wounded German Prisoners’.  NB This post may be late. I hope to remember my Uncle Sydney & Aunt Ida this Remembrance Sunday at Walsall War Memorial, also at the National Memorial Arboretum. 


.Champion Ida Hibbett VAD Nurse.
Ida Hibbett .

IDA NEAL HIBBETT, Red Cross VAD Nurse,95, Foden Rd Walsall: POSTCARD to Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, British Red  Cross Hospital, The Cenacle, St George’s Mount, New Brighton, Cheshire.

Nov 6th. Monday.

The Grammar School Flag will be flying at half mast tomorrow (Tuesday) for dear Sydney.  We will send Mr Marshall’s letter for you to read, when we send the parcel.  I will write tomorrow.   Love – Ida.

Queen Mary's Grammar School Walsall.
Queen Mary’s Grammar School Walsall.1909.
Pte Bertie Hibbett is marching behind his brother Sydney (in mufti, front row far left). Bridge Street, Walsall. Sept. 1914.
Sydney Hibbett marching down Bridge Street in the front row left, with his brother immediately behind him. 4th Sept.1914.

SERJEANT SYDNEY HIBBETT: 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. Missing Killed in Action 1st July 1916 aged 22. Born Nottingham, 17th May, 1894, second son of Arthur  & Marie Neal Hibbett. Attended Blue Coat’s SchoolQueen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall. O.T.C. Cadet. Mining Engineer. Enlisted Walsall 2nd Sept.1914. Marched down Bridge Street en route to Station & training in Bedfordshire. 4th Sept. 1914. 

remembrance-days-half-coverremembrance-days-page-1For the whole of the rest of his life my father, Bertie Hibbett, made sure his brother was not forgotten. He designed his little Remembrance Days Book © and painted Sydney’s portrait in oils, between 1917 & 1920.

Remembrance Days p 3.

Remembrance Days.
Remembrance Days. Illustrated in water-colour & scripted: A.H.H. 1917 -1920

Transcript:  “The Coming of Peace”  “He hath his part in this” .

Out of the long long night the Dawn comes stealing, Glimmers the light to show the Day is near. But what of our hearts, when all the Bells are pealing And You Dear Lad not here.

Nay! but your feet will tramp beside the others When the Victors on Land and Sea, come marching in. You will know and be glad with those your fighting brothers For the peace you helped to win.

We who are Left shall still our lamentations, And cease for awhile to mourn the Life we miss. Whispering ‘mid the rejoicing of the Nation’s: “He hath his part in this.”  (author unknown)                              

Armistice signed Novem’. 11th. (1918).  PEACE DAY June 28th 3.12 pm (Ed. 1919 at Treaty of Versailles, exactly 5 yrs after Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand).  In Memoriam. Called Home in the morning of his Days:- July 1st 1916. * Exact day not known; reported as wounded & missing.’


Marshall. Headmaster QMS 1906 -1926.
Edward Norman Marshall. Headmaster QMS 1906 -1926.

The Headmaster of Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Edward Norman Marshall, was one of the most respected & influential of QMS Headmasters. See QMS Magazine on his Retirement in 1926. He was a personal friend to my grandfather Arthur Hibbett (Director of Education) and supported the Family throughout the War. His was the fateful Postcard that recruited his Old Boys into the Army in Aug. 1914. See Hibbett Letters: 10th August 1914.

Prince of Wales Visit to QMS. 1920?

QMS Life Membership Club
QMS Life Membership Shield. A.H.H. 1923.

The Grammar School Flag would no doubt have flown during the Prince of Wales’ Visit.  It must have been the Union Jack  (unless one with the heraldic design of the QMS Badge & Life Membership Shield was used?) See Hibbett Letters for QMS symbolism: 12th Jan 1915. Mr A. G. Frith* MA, was Classics Master & Frith House Master at QMS. (Exhibitioner, Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge).

It was a measure of the importance of the Grammar School to my father that he became Queen Mary’s Club Life Member No 392 in 1926; two guineas (42 shillings) would have been a considerable sum on his curate’s salary. 

Quenn mary's Club. Life membership. Received Rev A.H.Hibbett
Queen Mary’s Club. Life membership. Received from Rev A.H.Hibbett two guineas, being the Subscription for Life Membership of Queen Mary’s Club. Date 4. March. 1926. Initials E.N.M. across two George 5th penny stamps. Signed E.N. Marshall. President.

From the time he became a priest in 1924 until his retirement, my father led Armistice Day Remembrance Services. He placed Poppy Crosses at the War Memorial, inscribed with the name of his brother Sydney and his sister Ida d.1921, his eldest brother Harold, d.1940 & youngest brother Basil d 1967: all died from wounds inflicted in the First World War. One of my earliest memories  is being seated on the cross-bar of my Dad’s ‘rattley’ old bike, a basket of Earl Haig Fund poppies in front, as he cycled from farm-stead to scattered  farm-stead in the parishes of Tathwell with Haugham.

This year, with my poppy crosses, I hope to attend the Remembrance Day Service at Walsall’s War Memorial. (Designed in local limestone by H. H. Martyn & Co the Memorial on Bridge Street was unveiled 1st Oct. 1921).

NEXT POST: 10th Nov. 1916. Another Concert at the Cenacle Hospital.