IDA NEAL HIBBETT, Red Cross VAD Nurse,95, Foden Rd Walsall: POSTCARD to Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, British Red Cross Hospital, The Cenacle, St George’s Mount, New Brighton, Cheshire.
Nov 6th. Monday.
The Grammar School Flag will be flying at half mast tomorrow (Tuesday) for dear Sydney. We will send Mr Marshall’s letter for you to read, when we send the parcel. I will write tomorrow. Love – Ida.
SERJEANT SYDNEY HIBBETT: 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. Missing Killed in Action 1st July 1916 aged 22. Born Nottingham, 17th May, 1894, second son of Arthur & Marie Neal Hibbett. Attended Blue Coat’s School & Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Walsall. O.T.C. Cadet. Mining Engineer. Enlisted Walsall 2nd Sept.1914. Marched down Bridge Street en route to Station & training in Bedfordshire. 4th Sept. 1914.
For the whole of the rest of his life my father, Bertie Hibbett, made sure his brother was not forgotten. He designed his little Remembrance Days Book © and painted Sydney’s portrait in oils, between 1917 & 1920.
Transcript: “The Coming of Peace” “He hath his part in this” .
Out of the long long night the Dawn comes stealing, Glimmers the light to show the Day is near. But what of our hearts, when all the Bells are pealing And You Dear Lad not here.
Nay! but your feet will tramp beside the others When the Victors on Land and Sea, come marching in. You will know and be glad with those your fighting brothers For the peace you helped to win.
We who are Left shall still our lamentations, And cease for awhile to mourn the Life we miss. Whispering ‘mid the rejoicing of the Nation’s: “He hath his part in this.” (author unknown)
Armistice signed Novem’. 11th. (1918). PEACE DAY June 28th 3.12 pm (Ed. 1919 at Treaty of Versailles, exactly 5 yrs after Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand). In Memoriam. Called Home in the morning of his Days:- July 1st 1916. * Exact day not known; reported as wounded & missing.’
The Headmaster of Queen Mary’s Grammar School, Edward Norman Marshall, was one of the most respected & influential of QMS Headmasters. See QMS Magazine on his Retirement in 1926. He was a personal friend to my grandfather Arthur Hibbett (Director of Education) and supported the Family throughout the War. His was the fateful Postcard that recruited his Old Boys into the Army in Aug. 1914. See Hibbett Letters: 10th August 1914.
The Grammar School Flag would no doubt have flown during the Prince of Wales’ Visit. It must have been the Union Jack (unless one with the heraldic design of the QMS Badge & Life Membership Shield was used?) See Hibbett Letters for QMS symbolism: 12th Jan 1915. Mr A. G. Frith* MA, was Classics Master & Frith House Master at QMS. (Exhibitioner, Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge).
It was a measure of the importance of the Grammar School to my father that he became Queen Mary’s Club Life Member No 392 in 1926; two guineas (42 shillings) would have been a considerable sum on his curate’s salary.
From the time he became a priest in 1924 until his retirement, my father led Armistice Day Remembrance Services. He placed Poppy Crosses at the War Memorial, inscribed with the name of his brother Sydney and his sister Ida d.1921, his eldest brother Harold, d.1940 & youngest brother Basil d 1967: all died from wounds inflicted in the First World War. One of my earliest memories is being seated on the cross-bar of my Dad’s ‘rattley’ old bike, a basket of Earl Haig Fund poppies in front, as he cycled from farm-stead to scattered farm-stead in the parishes of Tathwell with Haugham.
This year, with my poppy crosses, I hope to attend the Remembrance Day Service at Walsall’s War Memorial. (Designed in local limestone by H. H. Martyn & Co the Memorial on Bridge Street was unveiled 1st Oct. 1921).
NEXT POST: 10th Nov. 1916. Another Concert at the Cenacle Hospital.