Tag Archives: Commission.

19TH DEC.1915: (3) GOD ‘WILL LET YOU SEE ME IN HIS GOOD TIME.’

Bertie HibbettPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Mother, Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall.

4th Sunday in Advent. The Coming of Our Lord.  Dec 19/ 15

Be careful for nothing. Rejoice in the Lord alway; The Lord is at hand.’ (1)

Dec-19th-4th-Sun-1915

My Very Dear Mother,

I received your very welcome letters dated Dec 11th & 12th (Sat & Sun) on Dec 14th & 15th (Tue & Wed) respectively & indeed did receive them with respect.  But on Thursday night your two Christmas parcels had not yet come & on Friday morning I was sent to the Field Ambulance with ‘Pyoremia’ (sic) (2) – don’t be frightened at that word ’tis not half as bad as ‘catarrhal j———-  oh! I don’t like to write it even. Tis only sore feet and a few other breakings out.

And so this Sunday finds me at the Casualty Clearing Station, a kind of Hospital (3).  Do not be sorry for me, I am sorry for you, but then again the contents of your ripping parcels will be highly appreciated among my chums & especially the other chaps in my section who have rarely had such luxuries as figs, dates & a rich plum cake.  I have told the Corporal* (4) over the section to divide the parcels among them; no parcel s have been forwarded to me.

We moved to this C.C.S. this morning.  I advise you not to trouble writing to me until I get back to the Battalion again.  The doctor said I should take more than a week to get better, but then my address is not certain.  I cannot tell you anything more definite.

Pathephone Record Player.1916.
Pathephone Record Player.1916. cf Letter 20th August 1915.

I am very comfy here, there is a gramophone on and we have just had Eternal father strong to save’ (5 ).  That reminds me,  I wonder how Sydney is now.  I pray that he is having a quiet & happy Sunday, & you too, with Harold at Home, as he was last Sunday.

Your letter of last Sunday was a nice one & I knew as much that you & I  would be thinking of Sydney & one another.  By the time you get this, & the other of my Christmas letters to you all, it will be very much nearer the season.

From Left Motyer, bertie with hoop, Basil Ida & Sydney who did not like his photo taken.
Hibbett Family Photo  c.1906.  In Khaki Case. From Left : Mother, Bertie with hoop, Basil, Ida & Sydney ‘who did not like his photo taken’.

I have just had a look at you Mum & all of you in my  little Khaki CaseI am sorry I cannot send you a smile like I did last Christmas at Saffron Walden & a Card, so I send you Auntie’s (6) & it will partly be mine to you won’t it?  now I have parted with it. 

And, as Dodger said he would like to see me I have cut myself out & sent you a smile

What do you think of my ghost story in his letter?

As luck would have it Vernon, Sydney and I look far from spending Christmas together & the Trio is away from the Batt. too & we are all in Hospitalhow funny.  Vernon went to the Field Ambulance a week last Sat & left the morning I arrived, only a few hours before, so that I could not wish him the best of luck and a Merry Xmas.  I do hope dear Sydney will enjoy some Christmas fareHave you sent him a parcel? I do hope he gets his, but he will sure to of course.

You had better write to Miss Foster*as well as I don’t want another muddle in correspondence.  A. O. Jones* will very likely acknowledge my parcels.   He has got a stripe to enable him to get a CommissionEvery applicant must have had two months as an N.C.O. to get a Com I put the matter to my platoon Commander the other day before I left the Batt.  but did not see him again to hear his answer.

Yes, as you say, it will be Christ’s Birthday on the 25th & everyone can rejoice in the right way.  See Thessalonians 4th Chapt. from verse 13 to end Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.

I am writing to Mrs Penning* (7) for Christmas.  God bless you dear Mother & He will let you see me in His good time.  I do like your conclusions to your letters, but don’t trouble staying up late to write.  I pray that you may have happy goodnight sleeps. 

May you have a Happy Home all together this Xmas.

Your very affec. son,  Bertie.

PSS on sides of pages:  Tell me when you can if you plucked the Turkey.  I think I shall be able to attend a nice service at Xmas as I shall be in Hospital a week, according to what I heard.  Have only been able to attend one service since I came from the Base. (8)

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Pte Bertie Hibbett’s movements are clarified here. On 17th Dec, he was due to march from Rue des Vaches to Isqberque but because of the state of his feet he was sent instead to the Field Ambulance Advanced Dressing Station ADS (where he just missed his pal Vernon who had gone on to Hospital in Bologne with a similar complaint).  By 19th Dec. Bertie was at Merville Casualty Clearing Station (the next stage of the Divisional Casualty Evacuation Chain, organised by the RAMC. This Letter is typical of those he sent his Mother, a determined attempt to alley her anxiety for him with comforting words of the Christian Faith & the true meaning of Christmas.

(1)Philippians 4. 4-8. (2) Pyaemia: Blood poisoning (septicaemia) characterised by pus-forming micro organisms (usually Staphylococcus) in the blood /leading to widespread abscesses/ boils (fr Latin puon -pus /haima-blood.  A very serious condition in the absence of antibiotics. 

(3) Merville C.C.S. Casualty Clearing Station (approx 8 miles West of Estaires.  (4) A.O.Jones* recently made Corporal in preparation for Commission? (5Eternal Father Strong to Save. The Seafarer’s Hymn. William Whiting. 1860.

(6) Auntie Pattie* of York’s Xmas Card.  (7) Mrs Alice Penning*: Bertie’s billet Landlady, Gold Street, Saffron Walden, 1914. Lost her son, Arthur Penning, K. in A. August 1915. (6) Base: the Brigades’ ADS Advanced Dressing Station. cf Letter: 14th Dec. 1915.

NEXT POST: 19th Dec. 1915. No 4. Letter to Father. ‘Taking Things as a Matter of Course as You Advised.’

 

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9TH/10TH DEC. 1915: ‘A WORK OF A MAGICIAN WAS THE SCARF’. PTE BERTIE HAPPILY PLAYS POSTMAN TO HIMSELF.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th  SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

RUE DES VACHES.

7-18th Platoon and Company Training.

Bertie Hibbett Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden  Rd. Walsall.

This Letter was begun on Thursday 9th Dec. but the next day Pte Bertie found he had lost the first half so he pieced it again with the note: ‘Lost 1st half . . .  Brewin* has gone for his Com. (1) –  went Thursday 9th. (Brewin* and A.O. Jones*).’   

. . .  . . . . . . . .    A work of a magician was the scarf.  I shall be delighted to show you it, such a long & thick & broad one; absolutely puzzled me however it was made in the time & do you know – I don’t know whether you have told Miss Foster* or no, but she had put a bag of lavender in (2).  The other articles were a small bottle of Horlicks & some Macintosh’s Mint Toffee de Lux & three apples & a pad of writing material; so I shall be set up for some time with letter writing.

The scarf can go round the neck, cross the chest & round the waist –  but ’spose we go to India! – never mind there will be many cold days for us before we set sail for hot climates (3).

WW1 Post censor & colletion.
WW1 Post being sorted  & censored while Postmen wait. Horsham Camp. 1914.

Yes – tis rather a pity now we are out of the trenches & will . . . (censored) . . .  the toffee & milk, porridge & woollens would be more serviceable in the trenches. The toffee to munch while on sentry, the scarf & mittens (Miss Foster* also sent two pairs of mittens for fear one pair gets lost I guess) to wear & keep out the biting wind, the porridge for a hot tasty ‘brekker’ etc.

A. O. Jones* is with us again & appeared in new clothes, but muddy through marching.  Our Captain* inquired after Sydney this morning. I wish he was with me for one reason i.e. to give me advice on the Com. (4).

How is it that I do not hear from Harold often? You said now he is in Wolverhampton I should hear from him more often.

I shall have to close now as no one seems to have a sharp enough knife to sharpen this pencil.  Hoping you are all keeping happy & well & may Those Heavenly Hands keep my dear Mother & Father in cheerful patience & bring Peace shortly, –  a lasting & abiding Peace to the advancement of His Kingdom & for His Glory.

Best love to Ida to whom I will write next & to Basil,

Yours, Bertie.

. . . . . . . Continued  Friday Dec. 10/ 15.

Mother at Tea.
Mother at Tea.

My Very Dear Mother, 

I wrote to you yesterday but lost the first half of my letter so I will have to piece it up as best as I can. 

Your welcome parcel came as a surprise on Wednesday night (you will have got my Field Postcard by now)I was picked for ration party & told off to carry the parcelsThe bag was heavy, but I trudged happily along the lanes for within the bag was a parcel from Home and another I found out to be from Miss Foster* – the largest parcel she has ever sentI should love to show you the scarf which made the parcel so large The other things – I see I mentioned that in my last half of yesterday.

WW1 Post to the Front.
WW1 Post to the Front.  NB Size of bags.

Yes I read your nice letter of Saturday. We came out of the trenches that day & we had the weather wet too, but it managed to keep off raining until we arrived in billets, then it poured I opened my parcels in a little group of chums in this loft.  I did enjoy a slice of brown bread & butter & I gave some toffee to Vernon who said it was very goodIt is jolly good too.  I love it – so lasting too.  I’m sure Vernon’s voice has improved wonderfully & put it down to the toffee & last night (Thurs) I made some porridge for supper, it came out a treat & I put some Horlick’s Milk with it & offered Vernon some, he always liked porridge and when at Saffron Walden bought some for Mrs Penning (5) to make.  He did enjoy the porridge & said it was excellent.  I have made some for breakfast one morning I was on guard here.

We don’t think we shall see any trenches this duty  . . . censored . . .  I trust we shall see you before we go elsewhere.

Lieut. Robinson* who said he knew Dad, is on Leave & his orderlyI may go to him re Com.

Yes the parcel came as a surprise because you said the next would be the Xmas parcel I must send this letter off now else I shall miss the post, he is shouting for the letter.

Ta Ta.  Bertie.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Pte Bertie Hibbett plays Postman, happily trudging down the lanes with his heavy bag of parcels & letters. For answer as to how 12 million letters reached WW1 soldiers each week see informative article by Alan Johnson, MPformer postman (in association with the British Postal Museum & Archive) < https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine > Also https://www.youtube.com > 31st Jan.2014.

(1A.O.Jones* (and Arthur Brown/ Brewin*) must have gone for a Commission interview at Divisional Headquarters before being accepted & sent to Sandhurst, UK.

(2) Godmother Mary Foster had heard that Bertie would love something sweet-smelling to mask the smell of the trenches.

(3Rumour that 1/5th Staffords were preparing for  the Eastern Front.  (4) Sydney’s whereabouts not yet known to Bertie.(5Mrs A. Penning: Landlady, Pte Bertie’s Billet Gold Street, Saffron Walden. Letters: Dec.1914 – Feb. 1915.

NEXT POST: 14th Dec. 1915.

 

 

14th SEPT. 1915: ROUEN NO 9 HOSPITAL: ‘I PRAY TWICE A DAY FOR YOU MUM’

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT,  No 9  GENERAL HOSPITAL, ROUEN: LETTER to HIBBETT FAMILY 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.

Holy Cross Day. (1) Tues. Sep 14 / 15

I wonder who Dad will give this letter to?  Will he read it himself first?  Let me know if you have got this letter by return of PC.  

My Dears  – Dodger, Champion & Mummy (2),

Just eaten one of those many apples which smelt as good as it tasted, and then I set to work re-reading all the letters I’ve had from Sweet Home since I sent my last green to Mumtaking notes as I re-read them for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, as I could not hold all of them in front of me to refer to, especially Ida’s long scroll of the Committee’s parchment (3), and also Basil’s many sheeted epistle .

Now I promised this letter to be plain, short & serious, but how ever can I!  I have had something from the post every day I have been in Hospital since the 10th when I got Mum’s letter of the 5th (Sun) –  the record coming to a climax today & yesterday when I got Ida’s letter including Mum’s off the sheet & Basil’s & one from Cousin Muriel she can write well both in hand & in grammar. The final –  The Limit came today when I opened your other hamper of good stuff.

Dodger, you said Lissie (4) had brought you something from Venables*, were they the delicious cheese tarts? –  and Mum you didn’t finish your letter eitherI’ve caught you this time, Ha hee.  Did Basil get his letter I enclosed in the green to Mum & Dad?

I really thought I had thanked you for all.  I’m sorry, very, if I did not say I got  a bit of cash  – which came in useful, as I missed pay day again, coming here on the Tuesday.

Now Dodger your description of Home was simply delightful to read & you’ll be surprised that I did not sentimentally faint, to long all that much to come Home.  I hope you will not look at that in the wrong light  – what I’ve just said – especially Mum. 

Yes I can picture you now Dodger coming down stairs after washing off the smoky grime of the journey.  How miserable too the journey for you must have been, but I was so very pleased you loved the sight of Home again. 

I am human & sometimes long to  come Home & I think Ida will agree with me that if I give myself to that feeling & did not try to master that longing & check it I should not live happily out here.   I say I made short notes but it looks as though this letter will persist in great length, try how I might. 

Did Ida & Mum read Dodger’s letter before he sent it off?  Ida ought to be proud  that Basil loved to meet her at the station.  Ida is a genuine Champion for advice, & if she could not see her way to give advice she would show wisdom I mean she will help Dodger to pass his exam next time & she has bucked me up a lot too, I could say more on this but must stop.

No: I must just say one word more. I am cross at Ida for not taking notice of what I said in my green to her  – & Mummy I cannot let you off lightly ’cos I know you would get to know allas for myself I put all the blame on my rascally pate.  I do feel a hypocrite, yes Ida there are worse cases than mine, & I ought to have trusted that you would know my case was not all bluff (for they do not send anyone to Hospital for nothing) without me saying even a word . 

Oh I am sorry Mummy I have made you all more anxious, it was not at all my intention,  but my intention has been all along to make you happier Sydney, I have no doubt would have ‘scolded & reproached’ me dreadfully & rightly too I now  think.

Just a touch upon light trivials:-  I have mentioned the same Winnie unconsciously of Basil’s thought (you can tell by the time the letters were written). This Irish Sister laughs just like Winifred Overend   Yes Ida is a Champion with a knack of putting one right, & that put me in mind that Basil too becomes his nickname nicely when I read of his whimsical dodge at catching bunny rabbits on his record tramp to R.N.B. (5).

Now will that do for Dodger.  I will just wish him the best of luck in his next attempt. Is he going to school again? I hope so. QMS I suppose.  

Now for Mummy, as I read yours next I will say my say.  Yes I will try & cuddle round the cook to get me some of your nice apples roasted & will tell you if I succeed.  I will not miss out thanking you for every article in the parcel this time, starting with the welcome bit of cash.  I have not unwrapped it yet, but put it in my purse straight away.

I will keep to your advice Mum & buy, if I can get, milk, eggs & fruit.  I am sure of the last, but not so sure about the eggs because I am not at the Base & eggs are nowhere to be found to buy here.  As for the milk there is only tinned milk here, if none at all & if I am out of the Hospital tomorrow the only liquid milk obtainable is at YMCA & that is Horlicks Malted Milk. At any rate I will try my best to spend it wisely & think of Mummy as it dwindles down to a penny & then to a sou.

With regard to Sydney’s Com: I say what Mum sais, you seemed to want us both to be officers, but if you think, as no doubt what you say is true, we shall likely be parted, then I say Down with the idea.  Down with it.

-1
St Helena: Medieval Roodscreen Painting.  Combe Martin, Devon.  Eddie Sinclair Conservator. 2013.

I am quite well now Mummy & am happy, so you will be too in the future won’t you Mum?  I do feel a hypocrite when I am in my deck chair among the flowers & think of  Sydney up thereHow can I reconcile for what I have said & the consequences in the way of making you anxious again.  I pray twice a day for you Mum.  So let us both ‘Look up’ again.

I am writing straight away again you see for your kind things & will tell you how I enjoyed my tea with apricots, cream, sugar & cheese tarts.  I will reserve one for supper, & will make the parcel last out.  I am looking forward to the other part of the hamper & you will naturally have another letter from me but let me keep . . . . .

(end is missing)

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Holy Cross Day:  Feast Day of Veneration of the Cross of Christ. St Helena of Constantinople 250 -330 ADPatron Saint of Archeologists is reputed to have discovered the true  Cross in Jerusalem. Mother of first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine (‘In hoc signo vinces – by this sign I will conquer’).

Sponsored walk from Bertie's old Theological College, Burgh to Skegness, in aid of Christian Aid.
The Revd A.H. Hibbett. Sponsored walk, Burgh to Skegness, Lincolnshire. 1967.

One of Dad’s favourite hymns: ‘Lift High the Cross’ 1887. Words: George Kitchin, Dean of Winchester. Revised 1916 by Michael R. Newbolt. Hymns Ancient & Modern.

(2) Basil, Ida & Mother. (3Education Committee paper from Arthur Hibbett’s office? (4) Lissie: Arthur Venables* little sister? (5) R.N.B. :  ?

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South Staffordshire BadgeeLance Corp. SYDNEY HIBBETT & 1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

14th Sept. Tue: CANADA HITS NR DICKEBUSCH.  Divisional Reserve.

NEXT POST: 19th Sept 1915.

1st JULY 1915: OUDERDOM – ‘BULLY BEEF BUNGALOW’.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

YPRES SALIENT – OUVERDOM CAMP.

1st July, Thurs:  Moved into Bivouacs.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT:  LETTER to Mother, Marie Neal Hibbett, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.     Censor: 447 WE Wright.

Mother at Abergele, August, 1914. Watercolour. A.H.Hibbett.

Dominion Day.  July 1/ 15. (1)

My Very Dear Mother,

Glad to hear you got our letters all right.  We both always like the parcels you send, with a fresh liking & delight every time we get one from home.  We got the last parcel the day we settled in the new hutments.  We have moved again today & will bivouac for some time now.

Leut Cozens 1914
Lieut. Tim Cozens.

I was so sorry on hearing of Jack Wade* getting wounded.  You wish we were lieutenants?  Well for my part, every time I see Tim*(2), who is the bright spark, I wish I was like him, but I am generally content & my only wish now is that Sydney will get to be a full Corporal (3).

So the Vicar (4) gave a pleasant sermon?  Do you remember me giving you a form of intercession with a picture of an angel guarding a soldier & a sailor?

My word another parcel.  I have your letter by me & am answering & referring as I read on Anything will be welcome, but don’t let us put you to any out of the way trouble. The last tin of cream was lovely & thick – send the same another time.  Many thanks for the bit of cash which came in useful.

Vernon, Sydney & I had a letter each from Mrs Penning, dear old lady (5).  Mine was a long one too & all of them written in a motherly way.  She said we had been there a long time & she was getting to know us & we were as children to her.  She said, in Sydney’s letter, that she would very much like a line from you Mother;  she must sympathise with you.

I have managed to get with Vernon in our bivouacsmade of oil sheets we carry on our packs & any poles or sticks we find in the field.  It has been a fine day today.  America will be having celebrations today & Miss Foster* (6) will be seeing the Royal Show (7) pass her window in Lenton. There’s signs of Parading soon – digging I suppose –  so I will close.

What can I send you on your birthday Mother dear?

Best love from The Trio –  V. S. B.  (Bertie).

PS  You need not send any watercress, but we get very little or no green food.

Tell me if you got letter to Basil dated 30 June/ 15 Woden’s Day(8). Could you of your generosity send Bailey* (9) that small parcel in next parcel to us,  – you promised, but just as you please.

PPS All the men are giving their tents names.  I have named our bivouac Bully Beef Bungalow (10).  Everybody is cheeringthe Brass Band has come to give us a tune.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1Dominion Day/ Canada Day : Canada received national status on 1st July, 1867(2) Lieut. Tim Cozens*, formerly Sunday School Teacher, St Paul’s Walsall.

(3) Pte Bertie’s Mother perhaps thought her sons would be better & safer as Officers, but life expectancy was 6 weeks for a young subaltern (2nd Lieut, most junior commissioned officer/ led a platoon of 50 men). Six Weeks – The Short & Gallant  Life of a British Officer in the First World War. 2011. John Lewis- Stempel (historian, author & farmer).

(4) The Revd. E. More Darling*. (5) Mrs Alice Penning: the Trio’s landlady, Saffron Walden. Not I think all that ‘old’,  she was to lose her only son, Arthur Penning* in August, 1915. (6) Miss Foster: Bertie Hibbett’s Godmother, lived in Lenton Sands, Nottingham.

(7Royal Agricultural Show. 1st July 1915, Woollaton Park, Nottingham (103,883 visitors). Commercial Motor website. The Wheel of Industry. ‘Exhibition of steam & internal combustion engined vehicles, tractor engines & agrimators’. The 1915  (&1916 Show at Manchester) ‘suffered from hostilities’;  those of 1917 -1918 were cancelled.  NB Interestingly, one exhibitor was an Edwin Foden,  Son & Co. Ltd. Elworth Works, Sandbach, producer of commercial vehicles. Any connection with Foden Rd Walsall? (

8) Woden’s Day: : Old English wodnesdaeg/ wednesday.(9) F.S. Bailey or Leonard Bailey*: probably a few cigarettes.(10) Naming of Places: an attempt to take some control in a life of total uncertainty.

NEXT POST: 4th JULY, 1915:  Rumours of Home Leave.