NB: This Page  is under continual construction. Please contact Elizabeth Webb by email if a soldier’s family would like to comment, edit, or know more.


Tavistock St Luton 1914
South Stafford Officers & Men. Tavistock Street, Luton. 1914.  My father Pte  Arthur H. Hibbett is hatless, standing  and peering between soldiers on the far left.


Centre: Sgt S. HIBBETT when training as a Sergeant.
Centre:  Sgt S. HIBBETT when training as a Sergeant.  May 1916.

Does anyone recognise the other new serjeants? Why the string round Sydney Hibbett’s jacket!

QMS OTC Cadets: Bertie 15 yrs and Sydney 16yrs. 95, Foden Road, Walsall.
QMS OTC Cadets: Bertie 15 yrs and Sydney 16yrs. 95, Foden Road, Walsall.


VERNON  EVANS .  Born 9th September 1895?    QMS  Cadet. Bertie’s best pal.  Lived at Dandrennon House, Walsall.  They stayed together throughout training and for most of 1914-1916. One of ‘The Four ‘ who digged with Mrs Penning at 29, Gold Street, Saffron Walden.  He and his brother, Enoch Evans , gave Bertie the Autograph Book for his 21st birthday, July 12th 1916 (which features in this website).  Vernon, with his brother, became a solicitor. The firm is still in existence.  The two friends kept up regular correspondence until Bertie’s death in 1973.

NORMAN  COPE.  QMS Cadet.  One of  ‘The Four‘  who digged with Mrs Penning at 29 ,Gold Street, Saffron Walden.

EDDIE  HATELEY.  QMS Cadet. Close friend of ‘The Four‘ who digged with Mrs Penning in Saffron Walden.  Musical (piano & voice).  In ‘A’ Company, 2nd Battalion, 1/5th South Staffs, then in ‘D’ Company.

ALAN  MACHIN (MATIN). QMS Cadet.  Ambiguous references: ‘seen lying in a wide field at Fonquevillers’, ‘one taken another left’(AHH Memories.1967) but Commonwealth War Graves Commission has no record of a Machin Killed in Action that day.  See  Walsall  Newspaper:‘Soldier’s Tribute to Fallen Comrade’. 1918?

ARTHUR  VENABLES.  Killed in Action, 1st July 1916.  Dressed Bertie Hibbett’s wound on the Gommecourt Battlefield and was later killed that day. (‘I pray he may be rewarded in heaven’ (AHH Memories 1967). See  Walsall  Newspaper: ‘Soldier’s Tribute to Fallen Comrade’.

 July 1st  2006.   90th Anniverary of Battle of Somme. In memory of Arthur Venables who dressed Bertie's wound on the Gommecourt battlefield and was later killed that day.
Arthur Venables: Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. 90th Anniverary of Battle of Somme, July 1st 2006.

BAILEY: F.H. ( teacher)? Possibly F.S. Bailey, 8562,  1/5th  S. Staffs, ‘C’ Company. Corp/ Lance Corp?Hibbett Letters: ‘Bailey’s Mother; Bailey’s brother, Leonard Bailey.

BALL (BALLIEmost probably Pte Robert Ball, 8860 1/5th S.Staffs ‘C’ Coy.  GHQ: 05.08. 1915 [ GHA Amm Park re Commission 5.8.1915. Transferred 8.10.1915] . Lived at 83, Rowley St. Hibbett Letters: billeted  in Gold St. Saffron Walden Dec. 1914 – Feb 1915. ‘had relatives in Ashton under Lyne’. Account in Walsall paper, at time when Mayoress killed in Zeppelin raid, on 17.08 1916 after Battle of Somme began 1st July, Bertie sent request to Platoon Sergt W. Price for news of Ball, (possibly an Instructor).

[D. Ball ‘has left the Batt. gone back under age’].


BOULTON, Isaac A. (Iky, Ikee). 8831, 1/5th S.Staffs, ‘A’ Coy’. Transferred to England 18.5.1915.  War Correspondent, Walsall Observer. Pupil Teacher for County Council?  Former QMS pupil? Son of Joseph (beer retailer, 5 Rolling Mill Street?) & Elizabeth Agnes Boulton.  1911 Census: Isaac A. Boulton, aged 18 yrs, nephew of Rachel Dakes (widow). Registered Died 1918, aged 24  (influenza?).  Hibbett Letters,1915-1916.: ‘One of the Hearkeners on Listening Post’ with Ptes Bertie Hibbett, A. Brown & C. Jackson.

BROWN , Arthur (Brewin);


BUCKSHEE, Icbbya Sing Waltu.

CRESSWELL. Lance Corporal, E. 8875, 1/5th S.Staffs, ‘A’ Coy. QMS Old Boy. OTC .  Brigade Headquarters Police Duty: 10.8.1915. Missing 13.10.1915. Presumed to have died on or since 13.10.1915. Hibbett Letters, Dec 1914: ‘United Counties Bank Clerk . In Gun Section. Joined the Secret Service – ‘wears mufti’.’

[?Brother to W. Cresswell, 9716/200819 ‘A’ & ‘C’ Coy: Sent to Hospital (StH) 11.8.1915, returned 3.11.1915. Tunnelling Company.]  A Mrs. J. Cresswell lived at Persehouse St. (next Foden Road) Walsall. An A. T. Cresswell was Asst. Teacher at Branch Technical & Communication Classes, Elmore Green, Bloxwich.

DAVIES, (Davie),’Taff’s brother’: – ‘Had government orders to make tunics at 3/- or less’ in 1914.


HACKETT C.A. 8837/200427  ‘A’ /’D’Coy.1/5th South Staffordshire Rgt. Army Record: (StH) Sent to Hospital effect of burns 4.7.17 (StH) 24.4.16 Rtd (Returned) 2.5.16. To 3rd Army School with Captain Lister 8.8.16 and with Capt Lister to 5th North 25.9.16. To Divisional School with Capt Lister 18.10.16 (Rtd) 7.5.17 (TtE)Transferred to England, 8.7.17.  Servant to Captain Lister attended Servant School. [A Capt. W. HACKETT, N. Staffs Rgt. QMS was Killed in Action]

HAMMONDS , Clive;         HARPER;  

HARRISON  Charles Henry, 8865 ‘A’ Coy. 1/5th Staffordshire Rgt. Attached 11th Army 25.07.15.  Clerk to Education Committee, Walsall Town Council. Walsall Borough Treasurer in 1921.  Lived at 12 Rowley St in 1906 in same street as Hibbett family. Prominent Walsall FamilyKelly’s Trade Directory: a Charles Henry Harrison was shopkeeper, 44 Birmingham Rd and 61 Park Street; a  Frank Harrison,Valuer and Surveyor, 51, Lower Hall Lane, was Parish Clerk to St Matthew’s Church; a W.G. Harrison was in Chamber of Commerce in 1916; an A J. Harrison (and Co) was Iron Founder, Thomas St. Walsall.  (See also Kelly’s Directory: Fox and Harrison, Walsall).  [A Pte F.E. Harrison, QMS, was Killed in Action. Was this Lance Corp. F. Harrison, 201589, North Staffordshire Rgt. ?]

HARRISON H.William ‘Billy’. Army Record: ‘Returned to England’ (R to E) 22.03.1915. Hibbett Letters, Dec. 1914: Charlie Harrison was ‘Dad’s Clerk’ and had a good opinion of him. ‘Billy Harrison is our Platoon Sgt.’, who sang in Church Choir whilst training in Saffron Walden, Dec. 1914.

HARTLEY, Sergeant – ‘one of Dad’s  teachers in Walsall – became an officer.’ ;   HARVEY, Sam ;

HATELEY   EDDIE: 8846/200432  1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. ‘A’Coy then ‘C’ Coy  Army Record: L. Cpl  E.E.Hately 13.11.15/ Corporal 21.8.16.  ‘A’.Coy. Divisional Anti-Gas School 16.10.16, Returned (Rtd) 22. 10.16. WtH (Wound to Hand)14.3.17 Transferred to England (TtE) 22.3.17. [ Same person as 8769/200398.Awarded M.M. Divisional Gas Course, 7.7.17. School of Stretcher Bearers 15.11.16 Returned (Rtd), 14.7.17.?]

EDDIE HATELEY was a Music teacher. Lived at 106, Borneo St, Walsall. Hibbett Letters Dec. 1914: Eddie was ‘One of the Four’ at Saffron Walden. Friend of V.Evans Family. ‘Got neuritis by eating 12 oranges. His Music distracted Bertie’s letter-writing. ‘One of best in Coy. Going to D Company as Signaler like Syd.’ Church member. (A J.H. Hateley lived at 1 Foden Rd in 1921).

HIND, Cyril ;  HOUGHTON ,Dick;  JACKSON, Cecil.  QMS pal. Bank Clerk United Counties, Walsall. With Pte Bertie Hibbett & QMS volunteers in France. R.W.F. /E.E.F. Alexandria Jan 1917. Mentioned several times in Hibbett Letters.

JONES, A. D. ;  LANGDEN, Earnest;  MACHIN, Tim (Matin), Alan’s brother.  OVEREND, E ;  ROBINSON ,Chester;  SHAW, Vic;

TUCKER Bob;   WADE, Jack.  (Colonel Wade’s son, of Walsall.). Killed in Action;  WHILEY, G.

QMS  OTC :  Can anyone identify these men?

Can anyone identify these QMS OTC Cadets?


ALLDAY S.O.;  COZENS , Tim. 2nd Lieut.;   COOKE, Lieut;

CRAWLEY COLONEL Archer Parry  1/5th Bn South Staffordshire Rgt.19/09/1914 to 17/02/1915, when replaced. Became Officer Commanding  No 2  Base  Depot  Rouen/ Temporary Brigadier General Commanding 1,2,3,4 & 5 Entrenching Battalions. In the field 16.02.15. Hibbett Letters: 11th Dec 1914. Col. Crawley (over 60 & on retired list) set example to other officers, joined the troops in Trench Digging whilst training at Saffron Walden. Bertie exchanged salutes when not entirely necessary. Made a surprise visit to the Front Line on Dec 14th 1915.

CRUMP: Lt Col. Eldon Annesley 3/5th Bn. (5th Reserve), lived at 14 Windsor Street, Walsall; also at Buchanan Rd. Walsall. Army Record: Served 03/05/1915 -11/11/1918. Remained Commanding Officer (CO). An E. A. Crump was Clerk to the Governors of the Girls’ High School, Upper Forster Street, Walsall. A Bertram E Crump was on Exec. Committee, Walsall & District Hospital. Also on Walsall Seaside Home Pension, Abergele. A Mrs Crump served on Linen League).

In 1906 a  E.A. Crump was Councilor for Bridge Ward (Gas/ Sewage/ Streets/ Electric Light/ General Purposes Committee, elected Sept 1903.


HOWARD, T.  Padre. Interviewed Bertie at Fonquevillers Church Dressing Station. July 1st 1916;

FITZGERALD :  Chaplain (Community of Resurrection, Mirfield).Met Bertie in Hospital at Armentiers & again at Lichfield Theological College, after the War.

FLO, Captain;  LEES, Captain;

LAMOND Lt. Col. James Lamond DSO MC  (Captain & Adjutant).1/5th South Staffordshire Rgt. Lived at 2 Chapel Place, Montrose, Scotland. (Also at Broomfield, Montrose, Scotland). Army Record: 30/05/1915 -01/09/1918 then Replaced.

LISTER CAPTAIN Cecil, DSO MC 1/5th ‘A’ Company. Staffordshire Rgt. Lived at 51, Beacon Field Villas Brighton. Army Record: In the Field 2/03/1915; Leave to England 17/06/15. Returned (Rtd) 21/06/15. Sent to Hospital (StH) with shell shock 29/08/1915. Transferred to England (TtE) 13/09/15. Rejoined 3/5th Bn Staffordshire Rgt.24/10/15. To Hospital 01/07/16 (First Day Battle of Somme), Rtd. 02/07/16. Army School: 08/08/1916 -05/09/1916. Transferred to Northampton Regiment,15/08/16.  Hibbett Letters: ‘Lt. Parr was Capt Lister’s right hand man.’ ‘Capt L. on Home Leave after 4 months (1915). Family of Brewin thought the men would go too!’ C.A.Hackett became Captain Lister’s orderly (almost censored out).In Feb1916: ‘Old Company Commander,Capt Lister now Major acting Colonel while Raymer away’.

MOORE, Captain; OVEREND Captain (Family friends in Walsall)

PARR  Lieutenant Hugh Wharton Myddleton. 5th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. Killed in Action Wednesday, 15th May 1915. Age 35. (Son of the Rev. R.Henning Parr, 1st Vicar of St Martin’s Scarborough) (Single. Lived at 2, Apsley Rd Clifton Bristol). Buried in St Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery, Heuvelland, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. Grave I.F. 19.  Hibbett Letters, Dec. 1914: ‘Captain Lister’s right hand man. Supervised Training: Bridge building. Passed Sydney as ‘best shot’ and Bertie as sniper. Joined in sports. Skipping. Long Jump. Tug of War  ‘legs flying’. ‘Popular’ with officers and men.  ‘Lanky, very gentlemanly, common sense’.  ‘Superior to most other officers’. In manner stature, reminded Bertie of the Rev E. More Darling. Wore ‘swanky ‘ganzy’ cardigan and puttees like Colonel Crawley. Visited the Four at 29, Gold Str. Saffron Walden. Often censored Soldiers’ letters at the Front. Hibbett Letters: 16th & 30th May, 1915.

PEARSON SMITH, First Lieut.; RAINES, Major;

RAYMER COLONEL Robert Richmond DSO. Army Record: Took over Command 1/5th South Staffordshire Rgt. from Colonel Crawley:17/03/1915. Embarcation to France, 02/03/1915. Temporay absence  01/06/16. Returned 01/06/1916 to 01/07/1917. Wounded 1st day of Battle of Somme.(WtH) 01/07/1916. (TtE) Transferred to England, 06/07/16.  Married. Contact: c/o  C.F.Corner Esq Carlton House, Bagot, Jersey, Channel Islands.


WADE, Colonel;  WATERHOUSE,  Colonel;  WILKINSON, Lieut; WORTLEY, Sir Stewart (Divisional General: Inspected Troops at Luton Hoo. Feb. 1915.)

Captain Wistance. Killed in Action
Captain Wistance. Killed in Action.

WISTANCE Capt William Allsopp (Willie)/  Major DSO. 1/5th South Staffordshire Rgt. Command of ‘C’Coy. Became Lieut. Colonel/Date? QMS Old Boy. A Building Contractor in1914 (in Sandwell Street?).On Walsall Sea-side Home Pension Abergele). Hibbett Letters Dec.1914: Training in Saffron Walden Trench Digging/ ‘a jolly ‘nice’ chap’. Caught German Measles in May 1915 to amusement of troops.

WHORTLEY SIR STUART General. Hibbett Letters, Sept 1914: ‘General Sir Stuart Whortley inspected us, a ruddy war worn face he had.  Asked Syd where we had come from. Guessed we were fine fellows of the O.T.C..

WRIGHT, Lieut W E .Often censored Letters at the Front.


ELWELL, Aide Camp, Luton;  GEE Sgt Major;  FENTON, Tim. Sergt.  Killed in Action, Oct 13, 1915,  Battle of Loos (Family friend in Walsall);

SANGER Lieut.;  SILVERS Sergt.;

HAYWARD Sgt /Sgt Major (HAYWARD/S) . Army Record: 8312 L Cpl J Hayward ‘A’Coy. Also 9075 L Cpl E. Hayward ‘A’ Coy. Trench Mortar School 24.2.16. [A 2nd Lieut R.E. Hayward, N Staffs, QMS Killed in Action]. ‘Accepted as having died on or since 1.7.16. ( A C.Hayward was on Walsall General Purposes Committee/Finance/ Transport/ Property. Hibbett Letters Dec. 1914:Sgt Hayward is now Sgt Major, & Billy Harrison is our Platoon Sgt.’


PENNING, Arthur. Son of Bertie’s Landlady, Mrs Penning 29, Gold Street, Saffron Walden. Killed in Action. War Memorial Visit. 2000.

WILKES, Sergt;

HAYWARD, Sergt Major;













































  1. I have a lot of biographical information on Bertie’s comrades in the 1/5th South Staffords, particularly the members of the “Non-Manual” Section that he was part of. If you would like any help with this, please let me know.

  2. Robert and Sidney Buckler were two brothers both from the Walsall area who were in the South Staff’s Reg’t.. Robert was killed on the Somme on September 11th 1916. No idea what happened to Sidney.

  3. My Grandmother’s uncle was Arthur Venables…. it has been lovely to find a story surrounding him
    Thank you
    Zoe Smith

    1. So glad to have news of Arthur Venables’ family. Please let me have any details you may have of his Regt. He & his mother are mentioned a number of times in the letters/ builds up a picture of him & his family (‘voices singing on Venables lawn’ 19th Dec. 1915. (‘Arthur must be the youngest subaltern in his Regt’). His mother seems to have been one of the noble women of Walsall raising funds for the soldiers & one of my grandmother’s circle of friends at St Paul’s. Hibbett Letters mentioning Venables : 28th March 1916 (Vimy Ridge); 1st July 1916, 19th July 1916; 17th Aug.1916; 19th Sept 1916; 7th Feb 1917. Did Arthur have a ‘little sister’ called Lissie? 14th Sept 1915? (there may be more as the Search Box doesn’t seem to work well at times.)

      All best wishes in your search. Elizabeth Webb.

      1. Apologies for leaving a message here, but I was unable to find your email address and I have a question re: an ancester who enrolled in the First World War in Canada. On his Attestation Form, he said that he had served in the 1st. Batt. South Stafford. Reg. for 17 years. He was born in in 1861 and emigrated to Canada in 1904. On his Canadian Attestation Form, he (falsely) listed his birth date as 1871. His name was William Martin. He was born 05 May 1861 in Worcester. I have searched on Ancestry, but there is no information and was wondering if the Ist. Battalion had a site that I might search. Regards, Jackie Hubbard

      2. Elizabeth, My Great Grandfather George Smith of 8, Long Street, Walsall . Fought at the Somme and was reported as “Missing” on the 13th November 1916. no. 18730 South Staffordshire Regiment 2nd Battallion eventually turning up as a POW on the German lines after being buried up to his neck for 3 days …barely alive. I recall a Story of 2 Captured Heavy Guns that were brought back to Walsall and displayed behind a Cinema ?! Any other information on this please ?
        Kind Regards
        Roger Smith

  4. Going through my mother’s belongings when she passed away I found details of her father, my grandfather who served in the 1/5th South Staffs at the Battle of Hohenzollern. His name was Bernard Thomas Parsons and was from Wolverhampton. He passed away in 1978 from Pneumonia when I was a boy and my memories of him are quite vague. I have a photograph of him and his fellow soldiers at a reunion in 1965 wearing his medals which were stolen in a burglary prior to his death and have never been replaced. I was told he was also in Ypres at some stage. I would welcome any possible information about him as I am trying to find out which medals he received to pass these stories down to my own family.

  5. Does Bertie mention 2nd/Lt ALAN EDWARD GREEN 1/5th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment kia Loos, Wednesday, 13th October?

    By the way, the photo captioned 2 officers would appear to be officer cadets (note white cap band).

    Kate Wills

  6. I am looking for a photograph of my great grandfather, he was in the south staffordshire regiment in ww1, his name was William John Coleman and he died on 23/04/1914. His wife had 8 children, and so she remarried, then had a further 3, unfortunately, her new husband got rid of all photographs of her first husband, so we have no clue as to what he looked like, he was a good man and took care of all the children, but it’s a shame he couldn’t of just saved one photo for us to look at.

    1. Dear Miss Coleman, I am so sorry not to have replied before. My BT Broadband has been out of order owing to damage to my telephone line all summer. It is sad that family photographs of your grandfather were destroyed but have you tried looking in local newspaper archives? His death (I think you mean 23/4/1915 rather than 1914) may well have been published there perhaps along with a photograph and personal details. Get in touch with Walsall History Archives in Essex Street, they are very helpful. (If you know where he went to school in Staffordshire you may find a photo of his class). Check his name in the Commonwealth War Graves (CWWG) website for his Army details Number / Unit etc /whether he was a regular or a volunteer in Kitchener’s New Army like my father. If you look up 23rd March 1915 on my website you will see what the S Staffs were doing at the time. I will keep my eye open for the name now that I can get on with editing my website. All best wishes, Elizabeth Hibbett Webb.

  7. Hi. I am looking for any information or photos on No. 6693 PTE Albert Heaton (My Paternal Grand-Father). What I know was that he was in the 5 Staffs TA for 6 years prior to WW1. His last embodied service started on 05/08/1914. On 27/08/1914 he was medically discharged for reasons unknown (the family claim he was shot on the Western Front and sent back to Blighty but that can’t be possible as the Batt. didn’t arrive in France until March 1915). He would have 26 yrs old by the outbreak of hostilities. On his Attestation record, the following was quoted under ‘Discharged’ …156 (11) Y.G.R.
    I can only assume this is quoting the Army regs. Needless to say if it not for him being discharged, chances are I wouldn’t be here writing about it!
    Appreciate any help.

    1. Hello Phil Heaton.
      I am sorry that I do not have any information or photographs of your paternal grandfather, Albert Heaton, amongst my father’s letters and papers. However I can assure you that it is almost certain that your family oral history is correct and that Albert embarked for France the day after war was declared, was shot on the Western Front and medically discharged on 27th August 1914.
      It was Kitchener’s Army of Volunteers with little to no battle experience that arrived in France in March 1915, whereas the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) set off for France immediately war was declared. Albert Heaton was part of the British Empire’s small professional army of 700,000 men (made up of 250,000 Regulars, 250,000 Territorials and 200,000 Reservists (discharged Regulars or Territorials willing to serve if necessary). Albert could have been amongst the Territorials or the Reservists – check date of his Attestation Record. ‘Discharged’ may refer to discharge after 6 years?

      Far outnumbered by German forces, and faced with losses in men killed or injured like your relative, Kitchener called for ‘New Armies’ and began a massive recruitment campaign. My father and his brother volunteered for 1/5th S. Staffs Territorials in August, trained for 6 months in Bedfordshire, set off for Southampton on 28th Feb, embarked for France on 1st March and arrived in Rouen 3rd March. See my website posts July 1914 -March 1915 in ‘Parcels to the Front and Letters Home’.

      All the best in your research. Perhaps you could start by contacting the South Stafford Regimental Museum in Lichfield. Contact local Record Office in Walsall or through your local Library. Check Staffordshire newspapers for War Reports of battles and lists of soldiers killed or injured/ you could well find Albert’s photograph that way. There is so much excellent information out there on-line since the 100th anniversary of WW1 – look for sites that use primary sources and provide links to reliable evidence for further research.

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The WW1 Letters and Drawings of Private Bertie Hibbett, 1/5th South Staffordshire Regiment, to his family in Walsall, will be posted again, one hundred years on, from August 1914 to November 1918, by his daughter Elizabeth Hibbett Webb. The first posting will be the Recruitment Postcard sent by Queen Mary's Grammar School Headmaster to the Hibbett family on holiday in Abergele, Wales.

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