Tag Archives: Carbolic Soap.

6TH MAY 1915: 300 – 400 SHELLS & ‘A FINE BREAKFAST!’

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY


4th May,1915 Tue:  Paraded for trenches 9 pm, in relief of 6th South’s.

5th May, Wed:  Wulverghem Trenches. Trench 8 (Pte Bertie Hibbett’s) shelled with shrapnel & HE from 3 pm. Capt Milner wounded when sniping.  Capt A. W. Smith reported sick. No 47 Pte J. Angell wounded.

6th May Thur: Enemy Artillery commenced shelling Trench 8  (Bertie’s) about 7.30 am till about 3.00 pm between 300 and 400 shells were fired.  French rifles and equipment much damaged. I man killed, 7 men wounded.  After nightfall rifle and Machine Gun fire directed on gaps in parapet but partially silenced by shrapnel fire from Heavy Battery (115th Battery R.G.A.

CASUALTIES: KILLED: 8444 Pte W. Lowndes (wounded since died).  WOUNDED: 9136 Pte T. Garbett;  8125 Pte J. Evans;  8826 Pte F.J. Bailley (1);  8783 Pte H. Ellens;  8316 Pte H. Flynn; 9707 Pte A. Chapman; 9495 Sgt J.W. Pitt;  8779 Pte S. Pitt.

Sgt J.W. Pitt showed coolness, resource, and courage during the shelling of Trench 8. 


BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.
19 in 1914Pte

 ‘Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: L ETTER to  MOTHER & FATHER, Arthur & Marie Neal Hibbett, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall.

ARTHUR HIBBETT:   56 in 1914.

Mother at Tea.

Thursday May 6th / 15    King’s Accession 1910

My Dear Mother & Father,

Sid and I received your welcome parcel on Tuesday last, the day on which we left camp for the trenches for the 5th time. But we managed to divide the contents nicely. We knew the tea-cakes were home-made, although you did not mention the fact in the enclosed letter.  At any rate we had one between us for Thurs. tea & the other on Wednesday, when we had tea in the bay of the trench.  Tell Ida, or whoever made them, that they were lovely and light.  The fruit was very acceptable & the bananas again arrived wholesome.

This time we are having it rather exiting, but I shall have to leave out a detailed account until I  get home.  I made a fine breakfast again, as we generally do in the trenches, but today was especial for I had a mess tin of lovely hot cafe au lait.  The chocolates were the finishing touch.  Sid wouldn’t think it one without a bit of chocolate.

At last we have got Harold’s parcel of useful presents including Carbolic soap & just the bar of chocolate I was going to ask you to send next time – Cadbury’ Bournville plain 1d.  

It will be four more days then & Harold will have made the 3rd one to be ‘far’ from home, yet I suppose he will no doubt pay a ‘home leave’ now & then.  Vernon told me specially to thank you for ‘the parcel’ as he put it &  I could not make him understand or rather I could not understand with regard to Mr Evans (2) asking Dad how Vernon himself  was getting on, but now I recollect that he was one of those ‘on sickwith diarrhoea, a petty complaint with the majority of us.

It was a very funny coincidence, for Sid & I were having one of our chats together about home & other homely affairs, seated straggle (sic) leg on a form in the trench one night &  I suggested writing to you to send Vernon some ‘crumbs of comfort as he loves a smoke, but Sid was not of my opinion & now you’ve sent the chocolate I think you have sufficed.

I had better close now.  What a pity we have to keep home letters short.  I could write on and on, but must acknowledge Harold’s parcel.  He addressed his last letter to Sid & the parcel to me for a change.

Did Basil have a pleasant Birthday?  Sid & I pictured you all at tea. 

Best love,   Bertie.


‘Rather Exciting‘ –  8 hours shelling on Bertie’s Trench 8   & over 300 – 400 shells! – an understatement & a half! 

(1) Pte F.J. Bailley* friend of Hibbett family. (2Enoch Evans*, solicitor, later Mayor of Walsall.

NEXT POST:  9th May, 1915. ‘Through the Mill’.


 South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH  STAFFORDS  WAR  DIARY


April 6th Tue:  Damage to 10a Trench repaired good progress made with improvement. Trenches dried up quickly.  Bn relieved by 1/6th S Staffs Regt & reached ‘Bulford Camp’ about 1.30 am next morning in pouring rain.(1)

APRIL 7th. Wed:  Neuve Eglise‘A’ Coy inspected at 3.0 pm by Brigadier.  Working Parties sent to trenches.  Baths provided for men.  APRIL 8th Thur:  Short route march. Working Parties in trenches. Baths. Refitting.


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

April 8 /15  

My Very Dear Mother,

You will be very pleased to know that I (at least) have had a very very happy day. We had the opportunity of attending not only a Church Parade, but Holy Communion afterwards.  Sydney and myself went & there were several others I knew.

To add to my happiness Sid and I received your very welcome interesting & jolly ripping lettersI appreciated Dad’s especially.  I think Mother that the little sermon we had on Good Friday about struggling a necessity to gain the cross has come true on a smaller scale for the weather was wet in the trenches & circumstances not at all ‘pleasant’ but this afternoon has turned out bright and sunny & the evening sun shone in the little hut where Holy Communion was administered by our Chaplain.  Again all seemed queer to see each soldier in skeleton equipment form up in line to receive the Holy Eucharist.

We had that lovely Easter hymn – one verse reminded me of you and Home.On that happy Easter morning All the graves their dead restore, Father, Sister, Child and Mother meet once more.(2)

Sid is writing.  He told me on the little route march we had this afternoon that he had not written often, but he had no means at all & was not allowed to write & send correspondence during his time away.

I read about Harold and hope like Father that he will get the post & stick there, yet he will be far from home won’t he?

Mother, your parcel of underclothes came just in time luckily.  We went to some baths this morning at about 6 am and they came in useful, also the lovely Calvert’s Carbolic soap (3).  We are looking forward to the currant bread & could you afford a little, just a little, butter?

You will be interested, all of you, that the Colonel praised us for our behaviour in the trenches.  We are now out for four days rest & probably going again on Saturday.

I am, after finishing this letter, going to boil my Easter Egg.  Yes there are hawkers at this camp, eggs can be got at 2d each (4).  I will answer the many letters we have received lately in a day or two.  But Dad knows well how difficult it is sometimes for us to scratch a line;  – you will appreciate the one I wrote in my dugout in the rain!

Best love,  Bertram.


(1) 1/5th South Staffs alternated every four or five days with 1/6th South Staffs, but not to rest; working parties continued to service the trenches at  night. See Andrew Thornton’s interesting website Hellfire Corner.The North Staffordshire Regiment at Wulverghem.<www.hellfirecorner.co.uk/wulver.htm>

Sabine Baring-Gould(2) On the Resurrection Morn. 1864. Sabine Baring Gould, 1834 -1924. (Born Exeter, Devon. Anglican priest, married daughter of mill-hand, called her ‘Half my Soul’, 15 children. Author of many  popular hymns, including ‘On ward Christian Soldiers’. Interest in archeology, folklore & architecture; designed. Lew House & St Peter’s Church, Lew Trenchard, Devon. See <www.sbgas.org/SBG>  (Tune Resurrection Morning. Ira D. Sankey, American Gospel composer, ‘The Sweet Singer of methodism’ associated with Dwight L. Moody).

Calvert's Soap(3) Calvert’s Soap: carbolic/medicated soap for lice & fleas that plagued soldiers.  A blue plaque in Princess Street, Manchester, reads: ‘Frederic Crace Calvert PhD FRS 1819-1873. 1846 Professor of Chemistry at the Manchester Royal Institution (City Art Gallery) 1850 F C Calvert and Co near this site 1857. First commercial production of phenol, carbolic acid, used as a disinfectant in soaps and powders and for making dyes’. See <http://www.postersoftware.co.uk&gt;

(4) Hawkers/peddlars frequented 1stWW Camps with cheap wares. 2d (pence) – worth 1p today.

NEXT POST: 17th April, 1915.