Tag Archives: Book of Common Prayer.

11th JUNE 1916: ‘THIS WHITE CARNATION I PICKED FROM SOME GROWING BY THE TRENCH’.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

SOUASTRE.

7th -11th June Sun: Divisional Reserve. Furnishing working parties. 

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

Bertie Hibbett

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MARIE NEAL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall.

‘Evermore to rejoice in His Holy Comfort’. (1)

‘I will come to you’. ‘My Peace I give unto you’ (2)   Collect & Gospel for :-  

                                        Whit Sunday. June 11/ 16.

White Carnation.
White Carnation ‘picked from some growing by the trench’. June 11th 1916.

My Very Dear Mother,

I cannot just lay my hand on your last letter with that most appropriate text you wrote at the top. Yes I am learning a lesson from that text today. It is not for us to know the times or the seasons. It is not for us to plan out the future but to take each day as it comes (3).

I am so sorry for not controlling myself that day.  One of my comrades said I should follow him for Leave. I committed again a great folly, but as Sydney said I may go any day now

Since that day he went on leave Leave has been reduced to one man a Battalion a day, excepting Sun & Mon when two go.

Queen Cakes.<http://greatbritishchefs
Queen Cakes.

We went digging today & I thought of you all at Church & at dinner time. I understand it is the Sunday School Festival today (4). I wonder if you all went?  I am writing on a pad Mrs Hurst* sent me in a parcel with some fruit, coffee, sardines & some homemade Queen cakes (5). She sent the bananas green, thinking they would ripen on the way – good idea?

Centre: Sgt S. HIBBETT when training as a Sergeant.
Serjeant Sydney Hibbett. 1916.

Sydney heard from Miss Foster* today. He is keeping quite well & smart & always finds a cheery word for me, like Basil does for Mummy.

I hope you are not making elaborate preparations & putting yourself unnecessarily out of the way. Remember that I am coming Home just for a quiet time with Dad & Mum & brothers & sister. I shall not care for the bell to be kept ringing & Mum’s rooms & floors to be spoiled

The Hibbett Family at Tea: Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida.
The Hibbett Family at tea on Holiday at Abergele, North Wales:  Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida. August 1914.

I just feel, after this fatigue, that I could have a real rest at Home with Home people; to have friends would cause me to exert mental efforts in the way of manners & habits.

As for meals –  just those good wholesome puddings & plain teas will please me as well as anything.

I will close, hoping Our Lord, of whom we learn today is the Comforter, will give you strength & comfort to wait in hope. I trust He will send me Home in safety. Let us thank Him for all His mercies that He has bestowed upon us all these many months.

Vernon sends me the Observer (6) each week now apparently. I have had little time for writing.

Best love to all.  Bertie.

ekphotoartgallery.wordpress.comimgresPS  This white carnation I picked from some growing by the trench. White for Whitsuntide.

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Mentally & physically exhausted, Pte Bertie Hibbett longs for rest – & the quiet of Home. The news that Leave was restricted to one soldier a battalion must have been devastating. His digging ‘fatigue’ could well have been repairing  the long & dangerous communication trenches, over the ridge from the Divisional Reserve at Souastre to the Front at Fonquevillers. Under close German observation these fatigues were conducted mainly at night.

Deprived of Church services, my father took strength from the Book of Common Prayer Readings & Prayers for the day – Whit Sunday, always a favourite festival for him. He took comfort from a white carnation picked by the trench and from the cheery word of his brother. His Mother’s advice ‘to take each day as it comes’, my Dad often passed on to me.

(1) Collect for Whit/ White Sunday/ Pentecost (50 days after Easter). Book of Common Prayer. 1662. God who as at this time didst teach to hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them of the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things: and ever more rejoice in his  holy comfort. . .’

(2) Gospel for Whit Sunday/ Pentecost: John 14.15f. Jesus’ Discourse on ResurrectionEternal Life

(3) ‘It is not for us to know the times and seasons’: Acts 1.7. Jesus’ spiritual answer to his disciples’ political question ‘Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel’. i.e. Are you going to lead a rebellion against the Romans?

S. School Cert. 1914(4) St Paul’s Sunday School, Walsall. Bertie Hibbett had passed his Sunday School Teacher’s Examination in April 1914. Some of his class kept in touch with him during the War & sent him little gifts.

circa 1890

(5) Queen Cakes Patty Tins  c.1890; recipe older than reign of Queen Victoria? cf Historic Food Website. 

(6) The Walsall Observer.

NEXT POST: 18th June 1916.

4th June 1916: THE END IS AT HAND! THE REGIMENT WIPED OUT BY A COLWICK CHEESE & I M-M-MI-IGHT BE HOME NEXT WEEK!

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

LUCHEUX.

1st – 4th June.  In Rest Billets. Battalion training.

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

Bertie HibbettPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MARIE NEAL HIBBETT & ARTHUR HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd  Walsall.

‘The end of all things is at hand’.  (1)

‘. . . ye remember that I told you of them’. (2) Epistle and Gospel for:-

Sunday after Ascension Day. June 4/ 16

My Very Dear Mother & Father & Basil,

I picture you three this time; I fancy Harold does not go Home and spend tea with you every Sunday. I went to see Sydney this afternoon at his billet; he was however in a field opposite, writing in answer to a long letter I asked him my usual, i.e. if he had had anything in the post, & he gave me Dodger’s most jolly letter of 28th May (last Sunday).

Dodger, you did make I larf & Sydney too smiled when I repeated what you said about that incident at Abergele (3). Sydney also showed me several PCs, one was a photo with Vernon, oh how his old face came back so. By the by Norman* is not at all a bad letter writer & he too can send long epistles.

en-wikiimgres
James & Finley Bell Ltd, Glasgow. Empire Blend. 2 oz tin.

I had a very kindly & most lengthy, extraordinarily lengthy letter from Miss Foster*, with some toffees & a Tin of Three Nuns Tobacco (4). Alas! I have not a decent pipe, but you need not send me a pipe as I m-m-mi-ight be Home next week at this time.

www.belvoircreamery.wordpress.com>
<http://www.belvoircreamery.wordpress.com&gt;

I wrote to Miss Foster yesterday but forgot to mention the Colwick Cheese (3). Miss Foster was told that the Colwick Cheese would turn veryhigh’ & she did not wish the Regiment to be wiped out just by a Colwick Cheese.  She wanted to know if I knew of anybody receiving a cheese that smelt; just write & tell her in your next that I have not & I will give up the expectation; Miss Foster can cancel the idea & tell her we shall not need a Colwick Cheese to make us run.  Tell her that the jokes about the cheese made me nearly split with laughing.

Five Franc Note 1916.
Five Franc Note. 1916. Selling now on ebay $159/£109.

Sydney, knowing that I had ‘petit d’argent’ & my unexpected Home Leave coming any day now, generously presented me with a handsome note, five francs; which is, in English money, 3/7d. (5)

What a lot of fuss & talk etc in the papers & by people at Home over this Daylight Bill (6).

William Willett 1856-1915. Property developer eg Sloan Street, London 1880s.
William Willett. 1856-1915. 

Punch (7) has  a great deal to say about it and chaps from Leave have said how puzzling it was, the clocks had not been altered & they were all giving different times.

Latest news of Leave is that I am leaving the Batt. on Tuesday – if all goes well & Leave is not stopped.

I will close now with Best love to all.

Always your affec.  Bertie.

PS: Should I have the luck to go Home next week, I wish to have just a quiet time with you at Home. I shall not put myself about to speak to friends, only keep my promise of invitation. I feel that I couldn’t bear to have the bell ringing everyday with people to see me, a Private Buy in no extras. Take things as a M of C. (8).

Please, thank you, dear Mum, I had rather wait till I see you before you give me a prayer-book (9). I am trying to make this one last the record. Nice letters of the Evans aren’t they? 

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

The apocalyptic language used in this letter indicates how well an ordinary soldier like Pte Bertie Hibbett understood that a Major Battle was about to take place on the Western Front and that great loss of life was inevitable. For him there was no way out. Even if he got Home Leave it would be very short and he would have to return to the Front. His longing is for a quiet time and the comfortable commonplace of Home.

Emperor Domitian. AD 81- 96. (born AD 51).
Emperor Domitian. AD 81- 96. (born AD 51).

(1) ‘The end of all things is at hand’ 1 Peter 4.7: . . be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves’. Possible date: Roman Emperor Domitian’s persecution of Christian Church. AD 81 -96.

(2) Sunday after AscensionGospel: John 15.26. Ye remember that I told you’.When the comforter is come, he will testify of me. . . the time cometh that whoso killeth you will think they do God service . . . When the time shall come ye may remember. . . ‘

(3) Abergele Holiday Aug 1914 when someone sent the family a very ripe cheese?  Colwick Cheese: a soft curdy cheese bowl-shaped for sweet or savoury fillings/ 17th Cent). Colwick: a village south of Nottingham.  

Amazon.com-Original-Vict-print-1916.81j8A9KuMhL._SY450_(4) Three Nuns Tobacco: Advert reads: ‘Philosophy, under the most trying conditions, is to be found by distracting the mind from the contemplation of immediate disaster. Give a man a pipeful of Three Nuns – the familiar fragrance woos back the mind to the comfortable commonplace . . . puts fresh heart into a man and gives him assurance that there’s a good time coming’. NB. It took my father until the 1950s to give up smoking.

(5) Five France Note worth 3/7d  (i.e. 43p today). Selling now on ebay for $159/£109.

(6) The Daylight Bill 1916: pioneered by William Willett 1856-1915. (Property developer Sloane Street, London 1880s). An attempt to aid economy/farming by increasing daylight hours. Greenwich Meantime was advanced one hour in Spring & put back one hour in autumn.(i.e. 21st May & 1st Oct 1916).

(7)  Punch 1916: ‘So simple and successful has been the progress of the Daylight-Saving Scheme, under which the clock is to be put forward an hour during the summer months, that a movement is on foot to help the War Office prophets by putting the War back a couple of years’. NB 1914 prophets had said ‘The War will be over by Christmas‘. 

(8) The Book of Common Prayer. 1662from which Pte Bertie appears to have taken most of his biblical quotations. He knew & took comfort from the fact that his family would be reading the same passages designated for the day.

NEXT POST: 4th June 1916. Enclosed Letter to Basil/ Dodger.