Tag Archives: Army Pay

5TH DEC. 1915: SERJEANT SYDNEY ‘NOT AT BASE – TRY LINE’. PTE BERTIE ON THE MOVE.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DAIRY

NEUVE CHAPELLE TRENCHES       

1st Dec. Wed:  In Brigade Reserve.  Relieved 1/5th North Staffordshire Regt in Trenches at 6.3 pm.

2nd Dec. Thur: NEUVE CHAPELLE.  Quiet.  Midday enemy crumped (1) rear of our right – no damage.

3.0 pm 20 British aeroplanes flew over, returning  3.15 pm.  Rain all night.Brit planesimgres

3rd Dec. Fri:  Very quiet.  At Stand To tested enemy with 5 rounds rapid.  Very little reply. CASUALTY: KILLED: 9465 Pte J. Hodson.

4th Dec. Sat: Battalion was Relieved in Trenches.

5th Dec. Sun: LORETTO ROAD.  In Brigade Reserve.  Marched to Billets at RUE DES VACHES (2).

Rue des Vaches from Loretto Rd
Route March from Loretto Road Billets to Rue des Vaches Billets. (6 miles approx.) Red Line (right) marks approx Front Line.  Dec. 1915.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: A Little Book of Words & Doings. Nov 11th-Dec 4th. Our old Colonel Crawley* (3) came  & shook hands all round at Lastrem nr Neuve Chapelle. He was then on Staff over Base. ‘How awfully unfortunate’, he said to Vernon, in Neuve Chapelle trenchesVernon had old   complaint of losing his voice & had a trench foot. 

LETTER to Arthur & Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall.

                        2nd Sunday in Advent. Dec 5/ 15.

My Dear Mother & Father,

We have been marching from 10 this morning till 4 this afternoonCame out of the trenches yesterday, Saturday, slept a rough night. Was paid & issued with deficiencies last night also.

Very pleased to get Dad’s long letter on Friday night, the length of it surprised me as he generally sends short epistlesI read the letter in a ‘rat-hole’ of a dugout, taking some of my hour’s rest as I was on sentry duty all night – 2 (hours) on, 1 off.

‘For rough work only and no marks given for work done on this page’ (4) quite amused meI think Dad’s letter deserves full marks.  Am looking forward to the promised parcel.

I heard from Sydney the same day, but in the morning, correspondence with him seems to be very queer, the Con. Camp which he is in cannot be at the Base. I sent him a Field PC on Nov 23rd  – & in his letter of 29th he said he received a FPC of mine on 28th (most likely the one I sent on the 23rd).  Well I got the FPC back on the night I got Dad’s letter &  I (had) addressed it to Z Coy. Conval: Camp – marked on it was ‘Line’.  I should like to write to him & send him some of his letters from friends, but cannot rely onConvalescent Camp Rouenwhich he has written at the top of his letter.

I was very interested to hear about some of the Walsall people.  Bates* (5) was probably on Home Leave; he joined the Inns of Court OTC & was at Berkhampstead last time I heard from him (at Hospital).

K Own R Reg Mus. Ouderdomko0860-026
Kings Own Regiment at Ouderdom, Ypres. 1915. Courtesy Regt. Museum Collection.

I think Ida is keeping a pace (6) parallel to the strain of the men at the frontcongratulationsNow I must draw my tea rather late to day, because of the march. I then shall look out for the post as the rations & blankets will have to be drawn at the same time. We have had sheepskin coats (7) given us again, but have given them in again now, owing to our moving.

I think I will leave off now & let this be another Sunday, Monday letter.  I wonder if you got my letters from Stir Up Sunday & the one I wrote on Dad’s Birthday enclosed in a green?

I thought of you all in Church on the march.  Basil’s chatty lettersI treasure his description of the commotion in Church caused by a cat (was it?)did amuse I.  I have not yet had Miss Foster’s scarf. She would be indeed a lightening knitter if she had knitted the scarf by now, very good of her isn’t it?

Yes, Coms: are rather com: everyone seems to be going in for one out here (8).  You did surprise I, when I saw Basil’s writing on the outside of the envelope.  I thought you were going to leave it until I came on Home Leave, & then again I have not said I particularly wanted one. 

I shall have to be concluding now, poor Mum, I thought, writing at such a late hour.

Train 1914-1918.c6e0ac50fdb9f3812d94052949b9c4be
WW1 Open TruckTransport. & standing, 1916. NB helmets instead of hats.

Well we are now in barns & move again tomorrow, very likely entrain (9)

I am sleeping in the loft & the orficers sleep, dine & enjoy ’emselves in rooms set apart in the farm house.

I hope you have not been anxious not hearing from me & answering Dad’s letter, I have not had an opportunity of writing. 

Many thanks for the pencil & paper.  I shall be able to send greetings now to all friends at Christmas, but I have an idea I shall be at Home to see them then.

Best love,  Bertie.

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Serjeant Sydney Hibbett’s exact whereabout begin to raise anxious thoughts in Pte Bertie when his Field Postcard is returned from Rouen Base and he is on the move from Neuve Chapelle. He needed to consult his brother about applying for a Commission as his parents wished him to do (probably in the mistaken belief that he would have a more comfortable time as an orficer (sic)).

WW1 battlefield N Chapelle.nc_crossNeuve Chapelle’s shattered Crucifix would be a lasting influence on my father and his Good Friday Posters: Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?’ (Hebrew Bible Lamentations 1.12.  Date trad. after Fall of Jerusalem 586 B.C.).  

Cross Neuve Chap. lead_largeSee The Cross at Neuve Chapelle, the story of how the Germans used the Cross as a marker for shelling & how the British dealt with the problem <https://www.the atlantic.com>

(1) Crump: Soldier’s Slang for German 5.9″ shell (or sound of it bursting/onomatopoeic). http://www.wakefieldfhs.org.uk/warslang.

(2) Rue de La Planches des Vaches: ‘Cattle Drove‘, broad country road, 6 miles north of Bethune, off D945 to Estaires. This route ‘march’ from Loretto Road (8 miles approx.) took 1/5th Staffs 6 hours, a trial indeed for Pte Bertie & his ‘awfully unfortunate’ pal Vernon Evans, with fever & trench foot. Compare Welsh soldier’s description of march to trenches ‘impossible without going through 4-5 feet of water‘. No Man’s Land littered with’bloated bodies’. Carmarthan Pals <https://www.books.google&gt; Steven John. page 44: 19th Dec. 1915.

(3) Colonel Archer Parry Crawley*: came out of retirement at 60 to command South Staffords Territorial training in Bedfordshire & Essex,1914. In Feb 1915, became Officer Commanding No 2 Base Depot at Rouen; also temporary Brigadier General for 1-5 Entrenchment Battalions. Wore ‘swanky pattees’, Letter 5th Feb. 1915.

(4) Heading for Examination paper: cf Sydney Hibbett’s first Letter Home, asking permission to join up. 19th August 1914.

(5Bates* (Alan?). Family lived at Aldridge, nr Walsall. Father grew roses.(6) Ida’s Voluntary War Service filled all her time; included Borough Council Office/admin. Derby Scheme Recruitment; VAD Red Cross Nursing; Bomb-making  – as well as teaching Church Sunday School. 

(7) Sheepskin/ Goatskin Coats: evidence of extreme cold of a Flanders’ winter 1915. cf Letter from Havre 3rd March.1915.

(8) Kitchener’s New Army (as distinct from 1st Army of 400,000 soldiers which serviced the British Empire i.e Old Contemptibles) was led by temporary officers, recruited from public schools/ often university graduates with some military training in the O.T.C.  A portion of officers were from the ranks (‘temporary gentlemen’).  Royal Sandhurst gave just one month’s intensive training, so desperate was the need to replace horrendous losses of 1914-1915. 

WW1 Life expectancy of Front Line Junior Officer: 6 weeks. Source: Dr Anthony Morton, Curator Sandhurst Regimental Museum. <http://army.mod.uk/documents >

(9) Entrain:  possibly in uncovered wagons as illustrated or in cattle trucks.

NEXT POST:  7th Dec. 1915.

 

 

 

 

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30th SEPT. 1915: CONVALESCENT CAMP ROUEN: ‘ON BOARDS UNDER CANVAS & BEARING CHEERFULLY’.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT No 6  GENERAL BASE CONVALESCENT CAMP. YMCA LETTER HEADING –  On Active Service with THE BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCE to Marie Neal Hibbett, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.  Written in ink.

No 6 General Base. Thurs: Sep 30th/ 15.

My Dear Mother,  

Mother at Tea.
MOTHER AT TEA.

Yes, I slept well on Sunday night. I was in the Convalescent Camp & I had a bed in a hut or ward, but of course they were without white quilts & fancy blankets & no pillows, but I felt as comfortable,  – & now I am on boards under canvas again  – & I suppose I shall be on the ground as next stage.

I received your parcel this morning.  I walked across to the Hospital for it.  I went to a service on Sunday evening in the C.C. (1) – but of course it was not quite so nice as the pretty Church Tent in Hospital.  The eggs have come safely, but this time the box seems to have had the worst of the journey, the paper almost off & the lid crooked. 

Dearest Mummy I don’t think I shall need so many parcels, you have sent them on top of one another lately, but now  that I am out of Hospital & can draw my pay & able to go to the Canteens, I might be able to get some freshly boiled eggs in a morning.  I will tell you if I do.

Last night I went to an amateur play of Henry Vth in YMCA  – was that Basil’s play (2) ?   The enclosure of that envelope you sent was from Mr Bates*; he is in the Inns of Court  OTC & is going in for a Commission.

I am keeping well & happy & I’m trying to take things as a matter of course.  Hoping Sydney will have a safe & happy journey (home).  I am sending a letter to Harold.

Reginald McKenna.
Reginald McKenna.

Trusting you are all keeping well & ‘bearing cheerfully’ as McKenna sais of the Budget (3).

Your very affec:   Bertie.

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

(1) Convalescent Camp. (2) QMS School Play or Basil’s Oxford Junior Examination text?   Events before & after Battle of Agincourt , when  Henry Vth, now a more mature young man, leads a successful War in France. (I wonder who actually put on this play in Rouen?)

(3) Reginald McKenna1863-1943. Chancellor of Exchequer. Third War Budget 25th Sept 1915. Introduced ‘Mckenna Duties’ : import duties, 50% excess-profit tax & 40% personal income tax to sustain the War effort  (a temporary measure which lasted 41 years until 1956).

Dreadnought Battleship.
Dreadnought Battleship.

As First Lord of Admiralty,  1901, McKenna pressed for the building of battleships over social reform.  First of 18 ‘dreadnoughts’ begun in 1911 gave British advantage against Germany at beginning of WW1.  Chairman of Midland Bank 1919-1943. Wikipedia.

(4) Crump: German 5.9″ shell – or sound of it bursting (onomatopoeic). <http://www.wakefieldfhs.org.uk/warslang&gt;

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

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

RAILWAY DUG-OUTS ZILLEBEKE

30th Sept. Thur:  Many dug-outs demolished & much damage to rifles and equipment but no casualties.  Between 3.0 pm and 5.30 pm enemy fired 16 ‘crumps’ (4) on to dug-outs and woods behind trenches 34 & 35.  Enemy commenced heavy bombardment of 33 & 34 supports and dug-outs in wood, which lasted until 9.30 pm.  ‘B’ Company went up to support trenches behind 33 & 34, one platoon manning 33 fire trench.

CASUALTIES: KILLED: 7931 Coy S Major Harris A.T.. WOUNDED: 8160 Dr. F Charless;  8169 Pte S.J. Holmes; 8147 Corpl. W.J. Mallaband ; 7577 Corpl. W. Pearce.  WOUNDED (shock) 8343 Pte V. Hackett; 9041 Pte S. Dance; 4817 Sgt W. Hawkins.   SLIGHTLY WOUNDED (remain at duty) 8309 Pte R.J. Williams.

SEPTEMBER TOTAL: KILLED  3;  WOUNDED  25; SLIGHTLY WOUNDED (remain at duty) 15;  DIED OF WOUNDS  2.

D.O.W. 30/8/15: 7822 Pte L. Morris; 9415 Pte W. Pearson (Deaths advised during Sept.)

Signed:  Richmond RAYMER  Lt Col. Commdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regiment.  

NEXT POST: 2ND OCT. 1915.

20th JUNE 1915: STAFFORDS ‘MOVE TO HOTTER QUARTERS’ & HOME LEAVE MATTERS.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

WULVERGHEM TRENCHES

20th June, Sun.   Hostile aeroplane over trenches about 5.30 am.  Quiet day. Demonstration at 11.30 to ascertain enemy’s strengthArtillery fired 2 salvos, 2 burst of rapid fire opened with interval of ten minutes. Impression that enemy’s trenches more weakly held than usual. CASUALTY: Pte. B. Lakin wounded.   

Bertie in UniformPTE BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Mrs A. HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall

3rd Sunday after Trinity                                                             June 20 / 15

My Very Dear Mother,

‘O anxious one!  Sit still at Jesus’ feet, In quiet there thou hearest words so sweet.’   Very beautiful, comforting & soothing are those verses by Bessie Porter (1).  Yes they are all full of Mother, as I said in my letter after Mothering SundayThey also apply to me.  I have thought of a quaint coincidence.  I must ‘stand still’ on Sentry & you must ‘sit still’ at HomeI have just read them over again they are so fine. 

Bessie Porter: Elizabeth Ann Porter Head.
Bessie Porter: Elizabeth Ann Porter Head.

You got the pamphlet from the case of Bibles.  You were so generous as to call it mine I am half sorry that you sent it, but really such a poem helps wonderfully in my life away from home.  Yes we must ‘sit stillnot so literally speaking though.  I shall guess rightly if I say that your letter on the 16th Wednesday afternoon (when you said Ida was cutting the grass & it is nearly teatime) was sent posthaste to the General (PO), for I noticed the post mark – 5.15 pm 16.

So naughty Sidney, besides disappointing you with saying we shall move tohotter quarters’, will tend to make you more anxious, but ‘Be not impatient, but in stillness stand’ & again ‘leave it in His wise hands’. (2). He can work the impossible.  Yes none of us on earth can actually tell when this War will be over.  Peace can come any time, sooner or later. Let us pray that Peace will come soon.

Now I must say how sorry I was for not addressing my letters to you more often, but you know dear Mother, who said in her short address that Sunday afternoon (sunny as this is) to the girls in the Sunday school,  ‘Let our minds be as broad as the skies(3) & you will have noticed that I mention you in most of them.  I must apologise too for not letting you know that I have got your two pencils now, the one made in Manchester, called the ‘Popular copying’ and the yellow B pencil I am writing with the ‘Popular’ one now.

We had our rest this morning after doing Listening Post in the new place last night.  So I spent some of the time in reading the Psalms & I again pictured you in St Paul’s.  I can remember some of the chants now (4).

Now I will have my say with regard to Home leave.  We heard that Capt L. (5) & the Adjutant* had gone yesterday, Sat. so your words came true.  Our Platoon Commander seems to have an idea the privates will not get Home Leave for some considerable time, but it is not improbable that the NCOs will have Home leave after the officers & then there will be four men out of each Company go each day.

Oh rumours have been quite at large lately, but we, (Sydney & I) have thought it wisest not to alarm you & get you disappointed for fear we do not go home (6). Brewin* also had a curious letter saying they expected him coming home with Capt. L.  & W. (7).

Well I will close now, hoping you are spending a very Happy Sunday together.

The Hibbett Family at Tea:  Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida.
The Hibbett Family at Tea: Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida. Abergele. 1914.

I can picture you all at tea.  Sydney & I are going to have some of that nice tea from Home today.

Best love from Bertie.

PS  On Saturday morning we had a celebration of Holy Communion out in the open fieldThe Chaplain wore his surplice & purple stole & the altar was a lovely little one with cross & cloth complete.  What interested me were three little children, as quiet as mice, playing together without the circle of men in khaki (8). After the Eucharist we had an ordinary service when the Chaplain gave a very useful address upon the Gospel for the 2nd Sunday in Trinity about the feast (9).

I am finishing this letter about 6.o’clock.  I have been digging a communication trench all afternoon & thought of you about 4.30 at tea.  We are waiting to be relieved by the next (digging) party so that we can go & have our teas & I can enjoy some tea from home.  We were paid last Thursday so I got a tin of milk from a stall outside camp.   Shall you go to Rushall (10) this lovely evening?  I read that Mrs Jones* went to St Paul’s one Sunday.

PS  I shall have quite a number of headings to letters this week.  Tues. ‘Summer Commences’.  Wed. is ‘Prince of Wales Coming of Age’.

Censor WE Wright.

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Bessie Porter:  Elizabeth Ann Porter Head. 1850 -1936.  b. Belfast. Evangelical Hymn writer/ secretary to YWCA. Refs on the web to ‘O anxious one…’ state origin unknown, so thanks Dad. (2) ‘Be not impatient’: my father implies this is also by Bessie Porter. 

(3) Mrs Kathleen Brookes. Walsall Sunday School superintendent. (4) Anglican Chant grew from Medieval Plainsong tradition during Reformation.  Devised to provide musical settings to English language version of Psalter in Book of Common Prayer. 1662. ‘Matches natural speech-rhythms to notes in a simple harmonious melody‘ (Wikipedia).  Earliest known are by Thomas Tallis 16th Century. Used by Christian denominations world-wide. Under the influence of his father, Arthur Hibbett, organist & music teacher, my father loved both Plainsong and Anglican chant

 (5) Captain Lister*.  (6) Home Leave: in the event, NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) Sydney Hibbett did not get Home Leave until hospitalised with jaundice in Autumn 1915.   Private Bertie Hibbett never had Home Leave the whole of his Active Service (i.e. 17 months) and probably not until hospital discharge in Spring of 1917. 

(7) W: W.E. Wright: adjutant? /censor of most of the 1/5th Staffords Letters.  (8) Bulford Camp, Neuve Eglise attracted local people (& their children) eager to sell wares to soldiers. (9) St Luke 14.16. (10) Rushall Church, an evenings walk from 95, Foden Rd Walsall.

NEXT POST:  23rd JUNE 1915.

31st JAN. 1915: LUTON: TA Reading Room & ‘A’ Coy Firing Scores.

Bertie in Uniform
BERTIE HIBBETT 19 yrs.

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: First of Two LETTERS to Marie Neal Hibbett, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall.

44 Cromwell Road, Luton. (1)

Sunday afternoon.  Jan 31/ 14 (sic).

My Dear Mother,

I just feel like writing to someone and now I come to think of it I have a great many letters to write to a great many people, but I prefer to write to you first.

Ha hem!  Tar Shar eh! (2) Well at any rate he’s top of all those in ‘A’ Coy. who joined since mobilisation.  An’ I shouldn’t be surprised if he don’ come out on the very top of all.

I will just put it in more schedule form of course.  The firing was a Regular Course and taken from Table ‘B’ Classification i.e. a Test to see what degree of efficiency each soldier attains.

First comes the Marksman who gains 130 or over, next comes the 1st  Class Shot who gets below 130 and above 105, then there is the 2nd Class down to 70.  Less than 70 comes the 3rd Class Shot.

Course of firing by untrained men of ‘A’ Coy: Marksman – 130 (nobody);  Sig. S. Hibbett  –  112, 1st Class; Corporal Page* – 1061st Class; Lance Corporal Bendall – 103 /4?2nd Class; Pte A.H.Hibbett  – 902nd Class.

Sid started with a full group (3) & you know I told you that Colonel Crawley* commended him. Sid would not tell me what he said.

Next day was fine but very cold, especially having to wait our turns.  Some played at ‘tick’, back to school days again.  Some had that most thrilling game of pick-a- back that Sid has told you of.  Most of us put on our great coats & sleeping helmets & mits.

Sid –  well I nivver – inspite of him firing with sleeping helmet on & oh! Miss Foster’s mitshe got 5 BULLS  – at the silhouette targets too – the most difficult test of all.  I shall have to tell Miss Foster that her mits are lucky, for the silhouettes are cut out like the shape of a man’s head & shoulders & painted a drab colour & stuck on a pole which is held up for, I think, not more than 5 secs & down it goes.  A hit counts a bull – the alternative is a miss.

I watched Sid with great excitement firstwhich is the most anxious shotHe got a bull, then another bull would come, until the 4th was a bull again.  At the 5th shot I got equally anxious as the first for I wanted him to get 5 & so he did.  Hurrah! 

Poor Sid  then had to undergo another ordeal – this time our Capt. Lister* had a word with him.  When I got back to my billet everyone was talking of Sid.  “There’s a stripe for him” one said.  (I was only just thinking – coming “home” from Church  – Sid comes of age this year).

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well so much for shootingI hope you have all spent a quiet & happy Sunday.  I was just thinking  of Rev. Darling*.  I did not send him a Christmas Greeting.  Never mind, now you’ve got a servant you can, if you like, have him to tea sometime.

I am spending a very quiet Sunday afternoon in writing you this letter in Sid’s billets. Vernon & he are nestled down asleep on the floor.

I went to the Parish Church at the 11 service, being no parade, & the sunlight did make the Church Choir look grand – white lilies & red flowers adorned the altar, which has not got a cross but a beautiful painting of the Last Supper.

After the service, in which we had Hymns No:- 351,565, 546, 525 (in Church Hymnal (4) so Dad can play them) I went to have a look round in the Someries Chapel, just been restored.  There, there is a most beautiful Communion altar with Reredos & silver Cross. 

Wenlock Luton 1915
Stained Glass window of Sir John Wenlock, Parish Church of St Mary, Luton.

Tell Ida.  I was shown the tomb of the Archbishop of York’s Mother in the reign of Edward IV & that of Lord Wenlock, a Yorkshire squire (5).          

The Widow of Sir Julius Wernher* has a beautiful name:- Dame Alice (Wernher) and she has given a Bible & fitted the Chapel with every accommodationThe Archbishop of York in Edward IV reign had residence near Luton (6).

On Sat. night I went to see what this Territorial Reading Room, in the New Bedford Road, is like.  It was there when I left Luton at first.  I had not been in before.

I say  wouldn’t it be simply “Topping” if we had a large enough house, that we could afford to make a library or back room into a room where the soldiers can enjoy recreation & reading.  Well that is what a generous private person has done with one of his rooms.  I walked up the steep winding gravel path until I came to the French window & on looking in I saw no one.  I entered & tapped a door to enquire if the use of the room was free.  Yes, was the answer the housemaid gave, so I sat down and read about Kitchener & looked at the pictures on the wall.

WW1 Kitchener
Field Marshall Herbert Kitchener. 1850 -1916.
John Jellico Admiral of the Fleet.
John Jellico Admiral of the Fleet.

Ida, it was just like our ‘Top Attic Study’ but most beautifully coloured portraits of Kitchener & Jellicoe (6) & the other generals & flags 9th Nov 1914 smallover the fireplace & along the walls.  Games of draughts etc, writing material & magazines of all kinds.  All of the above were neatly laid in piles on the forms and tables.

Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke. 1848-1916.
WW1 Kluck
Alexander von Kluck. 1846-1934.

I had a look at the Times’ ‘History of the War’ and noticed – (well I had never noticed before) how vulgar are the countenances of the German orcifers (sic) Von Moltke (7), Von __, Von __,  Von Kluck (8) – all have got double chins, ugly flat noses, horrible dishevelled hair, broad hard faces. So different from the other nations (9).

Marshall Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre
Marshall Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre. 1852-1931.
Sir John French
Field Marshall, 1st Earl of Ypres.

 

 

 

 

I read your last letter, with deep interest, on the Range last Wed or Thursday, between the turns.  But I cannot but admit that when I got to know what a fuss the P. C. caused I felt very M____ble (10).

Dear Mother, I could give you all I get excepting just say 1/- for fear of a question from the Captain.  I noticed your paper was getting short when I was on Home LeaveI know you like some good note to write on.  Well here’s some for your very self.  You will not very well be able to rip the sheets in two, as you generally do with the ordinary leaf note.

I thought of your advice to save my money.  Well I went and got a 2/- P.O. intending to send it home, but I had to break into it at the end.  Never mind I will send some home next week. If anything happens to me then it will be a “little” help to you.

I admired Ida’s dress when I was at home & ‘eyed’ the dainty ‘blouse’ with its pretty red, white & blue ‘border,’ so I could not resist going & buying what I thought a pretty knot to match the blouse.  Staffordshire Regt. Brooch. Should Ida not like it, then I think Miss Mary Overend* should have it,  for she has been very good to us in sending chocs etc.

What does Basil do on Saturday & Sunday afternoons now?  Bless him.  I do hope he will manage to get through (exam) without injuring his health. Does Harold often come & see you at weekends?  When I send him a P.C. I often wonder whether to send it to home or his Wol’ton place (11).  Does he show you the P.Cs I send him?

Have I told you that we have had good meals here, no two dinners alike – change every dayMilk pudding to-day, being Sunday.  Am having a glass of hot milk for my supper.

If you would like a tie like the one I sent for Miss Foster* (I sent it to you to have a look at it, for it was your idea & I hope you mentioned it to Miss Foster. I shall in my next letter).  I say if you want another tie (I can’t get one like yours) just write by return & I will get one before we leave Luton on Tuesday Feb. 2/ 15.

Is there anything else?  Not as I know of yet.  Got some P.Cs in store for future use & your collection. Field firing begins next week at Dunstable, when we shall take billets.

Yours affec.        Bertie

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB 2009
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB.

(1Sydney’s Billet next door. New Year  date wrong again. (2)’Ta Sha’ (Staff’s dialect –  meaning ?) (3) ‘Group’: See 26th Jan. (4) Must mean English Hymnal, 1906. (19th Cent. research – Medieval plainsong & celebration of Saints). See Robert Alwell Article.  http://www.englishhymnal.co.uk and http://www.stmary’sprimrosehill.com. 

(5) Hibbett interest in Yorkshire history (grandparents’ home). i) Edward IVth 1461-1470 & 1471-1483. 1st Yorkist King (eldest son of Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York) granted Luton estates to ii) Archbishop  of York, Thomas Rotherham (formerly Bishop of Lincoln – brother iii) John Rotherham became Lord of Manor of Luton  Hoo, 1476).  ivLord William Wenlock d.1471 (fought for both Yorkists & Lancastrians in Wars of Roses; Knight of Bedfordshire; Speaker 1455 Parliament). Wenlock Chapel, St Mary’s Parish Church, Luton).

(6) Earl John Jellicoe, Admiral of the Fleet 1914 -1916. Governor of New Zealand, 1920-1924. (7) Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke, Chief of German General Staff, 1906 – 1914(8) Alexander von Kluck, German General.. (9) iMarshall (Papa)Joffre 1852-1931. French General; iiSir John French. Anglo-Irish Officer, British Army(10PC re Monday’s ‘bad scoring’? (11) Woverhampton abbrev.

NEXT POST: 31ST JAN. 1915: 2nd Letter with a FOR LUCK Note.

 

24th Jan.1915: LUTON FIRING COURSE & GUARD DUTY.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MARIE N. HIBBETT at 95 Foden Rd, Walsall.

Cromwell Road, Luton. Jan 24 / 15

My Dear Mother,

Another Sunday has come along & it finds me writing in another strange house.  Never in my life before have I been in so many houses.

I went to the Parish Church this morning on the occasion of the Dedication of the Someries Chapel restored by Lady Werner (sic) in memory of  Sir Julius Werner (1). The Bishop of St Albans preached and conducted the ceremony.  Two lovely anthems-I was glad when they said unto me’, (2) ‘Comes at times a stillness’(3). On the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany we had that lovely hymn As pants the hart’ (4).

I am sending 3/- shillings homeI got  a 4/- P.O. on Pay Day so that I should make certain of not yielding to spending all my pay.  But when I got here I had to break into it & cash the PO.  I better send it off at once & so prevent further temptations.  I shall not be able to get to Church tonight for I am ordered to be On Guard to-night.

6.30 pm.  Two jolly Privates and a Corporal.  The Corporal is playing on a piano & one is about to singThis is in the Guard Room – funny room ain’t it?  My friend Cope (5) is on the first guard.  I am on from 2 in the morning till 6, the finish.  So I have all night to wait while Cope will finish altogether in 4 hours time.  Of course he will have to wait in the Guard Room for fear the Guard has to turn out.

Ask Father if he knows of Sanger*, a teacher of his – well he is the Corporal in command (6). There is a bonny little boy watching us.  He is very fond of us soldiers, sais he will be a soldier when he grows up, but he is very quiet and reserved, so good. Light hair just like Basil.  By the way how is Dodger getting on now?  I guess he felt it when I had gone.  He wished he was coming in the London train with us.

Does Dad play the hymns we have here on Sundays – those I give you in my letters ?  – 332 & 118 were  two we had this morning (7). You should hear a whole church full of soldiers singThe Church is one foundation’  – my word how thrilling!

When I heard of me having to be on Guard I was thinking I should not have time to send or write this letter –  and  I have forgotten something now.  I remember what you said dear Mother about the present for Miss Foster* – well I could not get the exact pattern of flag I got for you, but will this one do for Miss Foster?   The flag is in the centre & pictured as on a mast.  I will save this letter until I put the kerchief in.  Syd wanted to change guard with me, but I thought I had better do as I was told, – so here’s luck.

Tell Dodger Luton town is full of Kitchener’s Army now & officers do look queer in dark navy blue & khaki short great coats.  When I went down town to get the tie for Miss Foster it was nothing but arm exercise up and down, down and up again with the left hand and the right (8).

Sergeant Hartley*, another of Dad’s teachers, is now an Officer.  They have seen him in town.  Sanger is a funny but sociable chap; he is sick of the long-winded business.  I daresay the Education Committee thought that, when they offered so many teachers, the teachers would soon get to real business.

I had an egg for breakfast with my bacon & an egg for tea, both new laid. This was on Friday.  Does Ida remember me having a letter from one of my scholars?  – that one the Deaconess (9) gave her?  & does Mother remember picking up another letter with note like hers  with flags?  Well another PC awaited me when I got back that Friday night.  It was from another little chap.  So you see the little beggars have not forgotten me.

I expect Syd will come out a crack shot after the course.  Everyone knows he is THE SHOT, but he’ll have to control the cig. smoking.

Well the letters are getting long again.  I try to keep ’em short, but my agile fingers will scribble.

I have something at the back of my mind & can’t just think of it. . . (‘Oh its nice to get up in the morning, and its nice to stay in bed’, so the song goes. . . Let’s see when is the Conversion of St Paul?  . . .  Has the Revd J.W. Dixon our late [former] Vicar, been to see you lately? . . .  . . . . . .) (10).

Now what can I say to fill this page?   

Oh the people of my billet ARE just all right.  They don’t interfere wiv we & we don’t interfere wiv them, except wash our crockery up.  They are paid to provide us with the food – no more trolling out with the jug & coming back with arms full of provisions.

Today we had sausage & bacon cooked in butter, beef – brussels or Belgian sprouts & Yorkshire pudding for dinner & of course apple pie 2nd course; tea –  jam, bread and butter & cake.  We don’t expect any luxuries on weekdays & especially washing day tomorrow.  ‘See’ sais the landlady ‘its Sunday today’  Ho! Ho! that’s why.

I think its best to send the money home, then it’s safer for it can’t keep even in a money belt.  I sent a PC to Harold.  You will larf when you see it.  I was interested in Ida’s last letter.  What a joke it was about that beggar and so Dad reads our letters aloud does he?  I can see I shall have to be rather careful in what I say in my letters.  I guess Dad was rather disgusted at the beggar (11).

Can you read my writing?  I always am tempted to scribble when I write in pencil.

Best love to all,

Yours affectionately,  Bert.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB 2009
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB.

Kitchener’s New Army Firing Courses in Luton, were there to test the quality of its recruits and who was the ‘best shot’.  Bertie’s mixed emotions about what he and his brother were soon to do ‘for real’ in France, are evident in this long letter.

(1)Sir Julius Wernher. 1869 -1948. German banker/ diamond magnate: art collector with his wife Lady Wernher (later Lady Ludlow).  In 1902 he bought Luton Hoo (the de Hoo Family Manor since 1455, which passed through the Someries Family); setting for Steven Spielberg’s film War Horse.

(2Coronation Anthem/Introit: Sir Hugh Parry, 1902, Psalm 122 v1-3, 6,7 (PsalterBook of Common Prayer. 1662.  (3) The Revd Isaac Gregory Smith, parish priest & academic, author of books on ethics and philosophy; born 1826. Music Sir Herbert Oakley.

‘ Comes at times a stillness as of even, Steeping the soul in memories of love; As when the glow is sinking out of heaven, As when the twilight deepens in the grove. Comes at length a sound of many voices, As when the waves break lightly on the shore, As when the dawn the feathered choir rejoices, Singing aloud because the night is o’er. 

Comes at times a voice of days departed On the dying breath of evening borne; Sinks then the traveller, faint and weary-hearted”,  Long is the way” it whispers – ” and forlorn!”. Comes at last a voice of thrilling gladness Borne on the breezes of the rising day, Saying the Lord shall make an end of sadness; Saying the Lord shall wipe all earthly tears away. 

1884.  Written for the unveiling of the Albert Memorial, Edinburgh.

(4)Handel Anthem on Psalm 42, composed for Chapel Royal. (5)Norman Cope* one of the Four billeted at 29 Gold St. (lived same street as Hibbett family in Walsall.  See Menu Page). (6Corporal Sanger*.

(7)Hymns Ancient & Modern, early version?  NB  Bertie was to find great comfort in the fact that the Church of England at this time followed the Christian Calendar as set in the Book of Common Prayer, 1662;  he knew that his family would be hearing the same readings, saying the same liturgical prayers  – and mostly singing from the same Hymn Book (either A & M or the English Hymnal. 1906).

(8) Saluting with both hands? – must be Bertie’s joke! (9) Kathleen Brookes*or Mary Brookes*. (10) Typical habit of Dad when he couldn’t remember something – think of something else. (11) Possible ref. to his description of Sunday School children as ‘little beggars‘ or ref. to story of a real beggar?

NEXT POST: 26th Jan. 1915. Luton Musketry Course – Good Scores.

24th Dec. 1914: Saffron Walden: Army Pay Present for Dad

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: NOTE (with cheque) to his FATHER, Arthur Hibbett, 95, Foden Road, Walsall.

29, Gold Street, Saffron Walden. Christmas Eve.  Dec. 24/ 14.

My Dear Father,

ARTHUR HIBBETT:   56 in 1914.
ARTHUR HIBBETT:
56 in 1914.

You were very kind indeed in offering to send us funds in case we need them any time; but enclosed you will find something that we are not short of by a long way & can afford most generously to send any amount to you (1).

I shall be very sorry if this letter and cheque gets too late for Christmas. I’m very much afraid already that it will.  Well never mind, the good wishes will still hold good.

Your affec. son  Bert.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB 2009(1) A Private’s Pay was Is. 1d (1 shilling & 1 penny) a day.  By Christmas Bertie & Sydney should have received £5. 19 shillings each, since enlisting on Sept 4th.  (Approx. £4 a day, £28 a week, in today’s money).