6th March 1917: ‘VERY PLEASED YOU ARE STILL IN HOSPITAL.’

HERBERT TURNBULL, 498 Sunderland Rd, Gateshead on Tyne, to Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, the Cenacle, New Brighton, Cheshire.

Five Fellow Patients in Ward 10, the Cenacle. Left: Pte Bertie Hibbett; Cpl J. Beck; Cpl C. Bostock Byrd; Cpl H. Turnbull and ?

 18.2.17  6-3-17.

Dear Hibbett,

Many thanks for your letter. I am very pleased to know you are still in Hospital, and carrying on the good work in No 10 Ward.

Corp. Bostock Byrd.

I am sorry to hear Byrd* has left (1). What have they done with him?  When did Moore* go (2) ?

Thanks for your kind enquiry regarding my wife and children. They are in fairly good health now, but I have been ill for the past 3 weeks (in bed) and still feel very shaky, but I am ever so much more contented now. I am getting settled down again, in my own little Home.

Matron Gertrude Bellow.

Kind Remembrances to Matron, Sisters Wilson & Clive (3).

Believe me to be yours very Sincerely,

Herbert Turnbull*.

PS. Note changed address.

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Corporal Herbert Turnbull , Royal Engineer, was one of five close  friends in Ward 10 from the beginning of Pte Bertie’s stay at The Cenacle. He appears in a number of photographs most probably taken by one of Bertie’s brothers, Harold or Basil.  This letter is a grim reminder that all the wounded at The Cenacle were under threat of being sent back to the Front as soon as they were well  again. Hence Corp Turnbull’s hope that ‘Hibbett’ is still in hospital, his sorrow  that ‘Byrd’ has left, and his wonder about what ‘they’ have ‘done with him’, 

Cpl Turnbull seems to have been suffering from influenza. That he is ‘so much more contented now’ may indicate he had confided in my father about anxiety & shell shock; that he was in his ‘own little Home’ with his wife & children indicates he has been discharged from the Army ‘no longer fit for service’. NB Use of Surnames rather than Christian names.

Cigarette Papers & Signatures of Patients in The Cenacle 1916: C. Bostock Byrd and H. Turnbull.

(1) Corporal C. Bostock Byrd*. 2nd Bn Coldstream Guards. One of the five friends in Ward 10.  Appears in several photographs, performs with Pte Bertie, Corp. J. Beck, and their favourite nurses in two Cenacle Concerts.  See also his signature across a cigarette paper in Pt Bertie’s Autograph Album – Hibbett Letters  4th Oct & 11th Nov. 1916.

(2) Moore: JC ? Moore* 238th (A.T.) Coy R.E.

(3) Sisters Wilson and Clive. No Sister Wilson is found in my father’s letters; but she could be one of the Senior nurses photographed next to Matron Gertrude Bellow (see below)  – or maybe Turnbull meant Cicely G. Wilcox* one of two Wilcox sisters: See Hibbett Letters 10th Nov; 20th Nov & 25th Dec. 1916.

Centre Matron Gertrude  Bellow (dark uniform);  Sister Dorothy Clive ( dark belt ) and possibly Sister Wilson next to Matron  – with nurses & patients at The Cenacle, Winter 1916. Pte Bertie Hibbett seated right.

Sister Dorothy Clive: Hibbett Letters 30th Aug & 25th Dec 1916. Both Wilcox and Clive sang a song in the Patients’ Concert, 10th Nov. 1916 and signed Bertie’s Programme.

NEXT POST: 5th APRIL 1917: ‘My poor boy never to have seen his home all this time.’

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