Tag Archives: Bellancourt N France 1916.

28th FEB.1916. BOMB ACCIDENT: 15 SOUTH STAFFORD CASUALTIES.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: A Little Book of Words & Doings.

Bomb Accident. I was practising snipingMoore killed & Lieut. Robinson & Cooke wounded. (1).

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South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

BELLANCOURT.  Battalion Training.

28th Feb. BOMB ACCIDENT: 

The following CASUALTIES caused by accident:- KILLED983 Pte Hough W.; Died Of Wounds, 7986 Sgt Rooker S.;

WOUNDED; Capt W. E. Moore*; Lt P.W. Robinson*; Lt J.P. Thorne; 2/ Lt J.E.M. Cooke*C.S.M. 8360 Cartwright A.H.; 9603 Cpl. Betteridge J. 9865 Pte Hingley W.; 9489 Pte Burne J.G.; 9643 Pte Timms H.; 921 Pte White A. 9677 Pte Leach F.; 8007 Sgt Pritchard G.   Slightly wounded remained at duty. Pte Whitehouse W.

APPENDIX III. An accident occurred on the morning of the 28th February 1916, whereby the undermentioned Officers and Other Ranks met with their injuries.

British Mills Bomb No 5 Hand (fragmentation) grenade 1915.
Mills Bomb No 5 Hand Grenade..

Whilst the No 1 Platoon of the 1/5 South Staffordshire Regt were engaged in Grenade throwing (2) in which practice live grenades were used, Sergt G. Pritchard, No 8007, a qualified bomber withdrew the pin of a No 5 Mills Grenade preparatory to throwing same. Immediately on withdrawal of the pin the Grenade exploded in Sgt Pritchard’s hand. No blame attached to any person present at the time of the accident.

Hales_Grenade,_England,_c._1915_-_Glenbow_Museum_-_DSC00802
Hales Grenade. 1915.
Hales No 2 Mk1 hand grenade.
Hales No 2 Mk1 Hand Grenade.

 

 

 

 

 

9.30am. Battalion marched to new billets at OCCOCHES (3).

FEBRUARY CASUALTIES. KILLED 1; D.O.W. 1; WOUNDED 12 ; Slightly wounded remained at duty 1.   TOTAL 15.

Signed:   H. LORD, Major Cmdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. 1/3/16.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Pte Bertie Hibbett’s Little Book of Words & Doings’ is invaluable in providing details not found elsewhere, but here there is a discrepancy regarding the Bomb Accident. He records the death of Capt. W.E. Moore, whereas the Staffs War Diary records he was wounded. No record in CWGC of his having died later of wounds.

(1) Capt W.E. Moore. Captain of 1/5th South Staffords ‘C’ Company (Serjeant Sydney Hibbett’s Coy). Lieutenant P.W. Robinson is mentioned in Letter dated 9th/10th December 1915. Lieutenant J.E.M. Cooke is mentioned in Letter 21st Nov. 1915. Pte Bertie would have known these men since he enlisted in August 1914.

Mills wiki300px-N°5-MkII_N°23-MkII_N°36-MkI
Mills Grenade No 5; No 23 & No 36.

(2) British Mills No 5 Grenade (designed by William Mills, Munitions Factory, Birmingham, Feb.1915). No 23 Grenade could be attached by a rod to a rifle to increase the length of throw.

The Hales Hand or Mexican Grenade must be thrown high in the air for its canvas tail to point the grenade head-first into the ground. (Designed Feb.1915, by Martin Hale, Cotton Powder Co. Faversham Kent) <https://<www.museumoftechnology.org.uk&gt; and <https://www.en-wikipedia.org&gt;

(3) Occoches: a 23 mile march east-northeast of Abbeville, N. France.

NEXT POST: 2nd MAR 1916.

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27TH FEB. 1916: ‘A WEE BIT SAD’ BUT NO ‘ARSKING’ OFFICERS FOR HOME LEAVE.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

BELLANCOURT. 

21st Feb. Mon. Battalion marched to new billets at PROUVILLE (1).                                   22nd – 27th Feb. Sun. Battalion Training.                                                         

Bertie HibbettPte BERTIE HIBBETT: A Little Book of Words & Doings.

Treasured Sayings in Letters from Ida and Mother:  On my photo, taken at Marseilles with a Leica, Ida thought I looked ‘a wee bit sad’Mum altered the opinion – ‘I think your photo simply lovely & very happy. You look alright & everybody likes it & thinks it fine to be taken with an Indian* (2). (I did not send Miss Foster* one),  Mother’.

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

 Sexagesima Sunday (3). Feb 28/ 16

Mother at Tea.
Mother at Tea.

In weariness & painfulness; in watchings often, In hunger & thirst, in fasting often (4). Be not anxious, but by prayer & supplication Let your requests be made known unto God (5). Bring forth fruit with patience (6).

My Very Dear Mother,

How can I express my feelings after reading such delightful letters & enjoying the parcels.  The currant bread was fine & I toasted a slice, it was excellent with butter.  I think you have set me up for some considerable time with this pad, the three pencils & other paper & envelopesI will do my best to use the paper in writing comforting letters to you.

I feel a little better to day after the shock I got yesterday when you so much wanted me to get to England straightaway.  I will put the matter to a chummy officer I know.  I should have thought Sydney would have explained my circumstances to you.  I believe a candidate for a Commission has to be an NCO for 2 months, that is why A.O. Jones* is a Lance Jack (7).  As for keeping on arsking (sic)- worrying the officers it is counted as a breach of disciplineA private is supposed to be escorted by an NCO if he wishes to converse with an officer.

And then again, dear Mum, there are NCOs, even Sergeants, who have been out here as long as I have & NOT been home yet.

You ask me to say more about myself. Well all I can say is that I was keeping very happy & in good health, but reading your letter wanting me so to get to England worried me a little. Yet I am very anxious & do so hope that you, including the others & Harold (are) calling the photo a ripping one (8).

Indian soldiers arriving in France. 1914. ww1blog.osborneink.com
Indian soldiers arriving in France,  greeted by a French child.  September, 1914.

I was a little disappointed with the photo, yet I risked sending it you & hoped you would like it & – please take note that (I thought) you would not detect the slightest sign of sadness, but rather that I should cause you at least another brighter ray of happiness & comfort to you, Mother, & all of you.  I only wish I could send you a really jolly one  of myself with the sleeping helmet you sent me & Miss Foster’s handsome muffler round me, & taken in my bed of blanketsI guess there are several people at Home who live the life of Tommy just for fun.

Tell Basil I have had all his letters up to date & they were rippers.

PS  M.P. HIBBETT:  I meant to say a word of congratulations towards Dad after praising Mum for her calmness during that awful time at night, before the glow of the fire in the darkness, with Basil & Ida doing Sentry Go (9).  I meant to say how self-sacrificing in everything is Dad. I thought of that trait in him when I read what Councillor Evans* said at the meeting with regard to Salaries (10).

Three cheers from France to my brave & loving parents & hearty handshakes to jolly jolly Dodger & excellent Ida.

The Assembly Rooms Derby.
The Assembly Rooms Derby.

I wrote to Sydney the other day too, but he has not sent me his address.  I had to risk the one at the Assembly Rooms at Derby (11).  I enclose you his jolly lettersMy word I wish I could write like him Aren’t mine absurd & hard to understand?  I really am of no reputation that you should all so want to see this poor self.(12).

I am quite happy, yet I do hope what Basil saidto kiss your dear cheek in reality & not in mere dreams.  Yet again I hope you will have ‘beaucoup’ happy dreams till I see you ‘face to face’.

God bless you all.

Bertie.

PS I went to Holy Communion in a barn this morning & of course thought of you & Ken Marshall* (13) & the Mayoress* (14) etc.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

This letter is a good example of how Pte Bertie Hibbett, in the increasing anxiety & uncertainty of the War, found comfort in the words of the Gospel and Epistle each Sunday; identifying with and applying the biblical message to himself & his family. 

(1) Prouville, Picardie N. France15 miles northeast of Abbeville(2) Buckshee Ichbye Singh Waltu, Indian Expeditionary Force (Hindustani Sikh). Photo above: Indian Soldiers arrived in France 1914. <ww1blog.osborneink.com>

(3) Sexagesima SundaySunday within sixty days of Easter. (Book of Common Prayer, 1662). Term rarely used today.

(4) Epistle and Gospel for Sexagesima Sunday (Book of Common Prayer 1662): 2 Cor. 11.27. (Paul’s description of his sufferings for the Gospel) and (6Luke 8. 15. (Parable of the Sower)(5) Philippians 4.6. (AD 60-62, Paul, under threat of death himself, writes to the first European Church which had suffered great persecution & poverty since AD49). 

(7) Lance Jack: Lance Corporal in the Army. An informal promotion/appointment; became a rank in 1961). From Italian ‘lancia spezzata’ – broken lance (i.e. when unseated from horse in battle he joined the infantry on foot. WW1 Army song ‘If you want to find the Lance Jack . . .’

Ur-Leica Original Leica, from 1914.
German Ur-Leica ‘Original Leica’,  from 1914.

(8) Leica photo of Pte Bertie Hibbett and Buckshee (i.e Private) Ichbye Singh Waltu at Marseilles.

(9) ref. Zeppelin Raid, Arthur Hibbett acting as ‘M.P. like his son in Bellancourt(10Walsall Education Department Salaries. 1915. It appears Councillor Evans, (Vernon’s father) praised my grandfather for declining a pay rise to help the War effort.

(11) The Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby. Gutted by fire,1963. (12Of no reputation‘. Pte Bertie accepts he’s a Private and must not expect preferential treatment re Home Leave. Unconscious ref. to Philippians 2.7 ?  (humility of Christ the Servant).  

(13) Ken Marshall, wounded/ missing son of QMS Headmaster, E. N. Marshall*?   (14Mrs: Maria Julia Slater*, Walsall Mayoress.

NEXT POST:  28th FEB. 1916.