2nd Jan.Embarkedon H.M.S. MAGNIFICENT. CASUALTIES: 7949Pte W. Dandyaccidentally injured. 9955Pte J. Steen; 9122L/ Cpl E. Pitcock; 8779Pte S. Pitt; 6876Sgt A. Stace;8758L/ Cpl G. Gibbs, accidentally injured, but able to embark. See Appendix II.
APPENDIX II:Details of ACCIDENT on EMBARKATION of 1/5th Bn South Staffordshire Regt. at Marseilles on 2nd January, 1916.
The Battalion embarked on H.M.S. ‘Magnificent’ at Marseilles, on the 2nd January 1916, being taken to the ship by tug and lighter.
While the lighter was taking her first load at the quay side, at about 9.0 am, a slight accident occurred. Some 150 men and several machine guns and other stores were aboard, when the girder supporting the hatchesgave way, with the result that about 50 men,the Machine Guns and the bulk of the baggagewere precipitated to the bottom of the lighter, a fall of 10 feet.
The men were in full pack and carrying rifles, and were thus handicapped in saving themselves.
Many complained of Bruises,Slight Cuts and Shock, but the only serious Casualties were:– 1 man with broken leg.(Sent to Hospital). 5 men injured about the head.(Proceeded on the voyage and were medically treated on board and returned to duty at the port of disembarkation).
Signed: J. LAMOND. Capt. & Adjt. 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt.
2nd / 8th Jan: Voyage to Egypt. ALEXANDRIA.
9th Jan: Disembarked and entrained for SHALLUFA.
10th Jan:detrained and took overNo.5. POST No. 1. SECTION CANAL DISTRICT. 11/ 16th Jan: In Garrison at No. 5. POST.
17th Jan: handed over No. 5. POST to 1st Batt. Monmouthshire Regiment and encamped at the POST. 18/ 29th Jan: Battalion Training.
30th Jan: Entrained for ALEXANDRIA. CASUALTY: Pte A. White accidentally knocked off the train while in motion, by a piece of timber projecting from a passing goods train. He proceeded with train and was sent to Hospital at ALEXANDRIA.
SIDI BISHR CAMP.
31st Jan: Encamped at SIDI BISHR CAMP. Battalion Training. TOTAL CASUALTIES JAN. 1916. 2 accidentally injured sent to Hospital; 5 accidentally injured remained at duty.
Signed: Major Cmdg1/5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regt.
Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: ALittle Book of Words & Doings. 16th Jan – 31st Jan 1916. ‘At Isberque on coming out of Hospital. Joined Transport, from thence we entrained to Marseilles, Borelli Camp, where we had easy time. I went and had photo taken & passes to town. Embarked on ship Andania (one night only). Good grub in dining rooms & hammocks to sleep in. Did not budge an inch. Came off ship the next day. Up the Line again after a fortnight.’
The British Army had decided to concentrate its efforts on the Western Front after the disastrous Campaign in Galipolli. That the 1/5th South Staffords were ordered to leave Egypt after only one month indicates that the Suez Canal was considered to be under less threat from the German Ottoman Army than it had been at the Battle of Suez Canal: 26th Jan – 4th Feb.1915.
Photo Link: Suez Canal District <www.nzetc.victoria.ac.nz>.
NEW PAGE: My Memories of First World War & Battle of the Somme. The Revd A.H. Hibbett. 1967.
Serjeant SYDNEY HIBBETT, 8830 (A Coy) B.E.F. 5th S. Staffords London Rd Congreg. Sch. Derby (1): LETTER to Arthur & Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall.
Sunday(most likely 10th Jan. 1916)
My Very Dear Mother & Father,
I received Dodger’s card and Mrs Penning’s* letter on Friday.I shall not write to her yet. There is not much news this time, except that I visited our native town of Nottingham yesterday (Sat). I made up my mind at the last minute so to speak. We were finished parade at 11.30 yesterday morning so I went down the town & had a look at the trains. Then I thought that as I should have nothing to do till bed time I would try Nottingham. I came back & polished up & by that time it was late so I jumped for the tram outsideto theStation, just got into the 12.45 in time.
We went via Trent Junction& it was a fast train so I got out atMidland Sta. at 1.20 pm. I had a bit of lunch & a shave & then started out to find Miss Foster’s* house. Another tram ride & I found it (2). She was at home & delighted to see me. After I had told her about Bertie& you all at home, we got on another tram which runs from Radford & Lenton to Nott. Rd. We had a good view of the town & the Forest & went up Sherwood Rise & got out at Lantry Grove! (sic)
Well I didn’t recognise any of it, but we saw 95 (3) and walked round the back, but saw no big apple tree either. Lantry Groveis paved with setts now.Do the Giffords live any-where about there?
We walked back down the Rise and up Mapperley Rd & got on the car in Woodborough Rd.We came down that big hill &saw our other house & also Miss Foster’s*. Then we had a look round theMarket & then went in the car to Trent Bridge.
We had tea at Miss Foster’s house or rather rooms. After a good tea she took me to the Empire where there was a very goodpantomime ‘King Cole’. It was very pretty & also very funny.Then we walked round the foot of theCastleto theStation
& I went back on the9.25. Altogether it was a very enjoyable day and I was delighted with Nottingham. It was very crowded too.
We also saw Holy Trinity Church (4) where Dad used to play the organ. The fare to Nott. is only 2/- return from here.
Other evenings we are free after 5 pm, so I sometimes go to the Station & watch the locomotives on the Works near the station.
I have been to two diff. picture houses this week, one at Normanton about 2 miles away. There is one called ‘The Cosy Picture House’ in London Rd & its name suits it.I felt rather awful the first night I was here.
There are no Parks here but a very small Arboretum, and most of the people appear to work at the M.R. loco & carriage works (5).There are thousands of men there. There are a lot of very good shops indeed and a church or chapel at every corner. The tram service is also very good & frequent, but they do not run on Sundays. Usually we go on them to anywhere.
There are 180 wounded soldiers here from 1/5th & we are billeted & kept apart from the 3/5th – which is a very motley crowd –kids & old soldiers mostly.They are very jealous of us. We have no band but we can march much better than they.
The Fast Partyare those who can walk at the ordinary rate & carry a pack but no rifle. They go & do drills in the ordinary way. The 2nd party,nicknamed theIrishGuardscan walk all right but not fast or far. I am with those.We go a march about 6 or 7 miles round Alvaston, Allerton & Normanton. It is a very nice walk. We just wear the usual uniform & overcoats.
The 3rd party are the hobblers, the limpers, staggerers, dot & carry oners, as the people know them.They go hobbling along on sticks at 1/2 mile an hour & do about 2 miles. They are known as the Flying Column!In the afternoon the 3 parties go out again 2-4 pm.
We went to St Mary’s Church this morning and tonight I shall go to ElvastonChurch. I & another Sergeant walked round toNott. Rd Sta.,which I remember we used to pass going to Whitby.
Miss Foster* asked how you all are at Home: I expect she will write to you. Weather has been excellent so far. I got Mother’s letter this morning. I wish for some reasons I was with the 1/5th. I expect Bertie will write when he gets to Alexandria (6).
I will close now thanking you for you letter, dear Mother, & with best love to you at home
PS Hope you have sent the Confession Books (7) back to Evans*.
Serjeant Sydney Hibbett re-visits his birth place and makes his way by tram & on foot down roads familiar to me as a student at Nottingham in the 1960s. The old tram-lines (hazzardous when crossing Nottingham by bike)now support a fine modern tram service.
(1)London Rd Congregational School (closed before WW1) in 1916 a Soldiers’ Convalescent home/ billet?
(2) Lenton Sands: Miss Foster’s1916 home. (3) Bertie Hibbett’s birthplacewas95, Nottingham Rdon corner ofLangtryGrove (B682).Sydney Hibbett was born a year earlier at ‘our other house’ 168, Robin Hood Chase, a long road running between Woodborough Rd & St Ann’s Well Rd.
(4) Lenton Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, Nottingham. 1840: Arthur Hibbettalso played the organ at St Mary’s High Pavement.
(6) 1/5th Staffordsarrived in Alexandria 9th Jan. 1916. (7) Confessions? Could be religious but more likely WW1 soldiers’ diaries?
1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY
2nd Jan 2 Embarked on H.M.S. MAGNIFICENT.CASUALTIES: 7949Pte W. Dandy accidentally injured.9955Pte J. Steen; 9122L/ Cpl E. Pitcock; 8779Pte S. Pitt; 6876Sgt A. Stace; 8758L/ Cpl G. Gibbs, accidentally injured, but able to embark.
2nd – 8th Jan. Voyage to ALEXANDRIA, Egypt. 9th Jan Disembarked and entrained for SHALLUFA.
NEXT POST: January 31st 1916. 1/5th South Staffords War Diary: Embarkation Accident, Voyage to Alexandria for Suez Canal.
Pte Bertie Hibbett’s January 1916 Letters are missing.NEXT POST:7th Feb. 1916.
New Page: ‘My Memories of the First World War’ (with account of first day of Battle of Somme 1st July, 1916). The Revd A. H. Hibbett. 1967.
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.