26th June, Mon: Enemy heavily shelled our front line and supports between 8.30 and 9.15 am. Calibre of guns were 77 m.m. 4.1 and 5.9. Enemy barraged our support line during the 9.45 a.m. bombardment. W Day.
CASUALTIES: OFFICERS KILLED: Lt H. W. Devereux. WOUNDED: 2/ Lt C. P. Powell. 2/Lt A.G.A. Barton.
OTHER RANKS: KILLED: 9399 Cpl R.Ford; 9861 M. Cpl Baker; 444 L/Cpl T.Grundy. ; 8840 Pte J.F. Price ; 8817 Pte R.W. Hemsall ; 8621 Pte J.R. Somerfield: 730 Pte J. Hopson; 814 Pte A. Bradley.
WOUNDED: 1111 Pte A. Workman; 770 Pte J.J. Jones; 9651 Pte E. Gordon; 9087 Pte H. Smith; 9056 Pte J. Hunt; 9148 Pte T. Athersmith; 9159 Pte E.H. Cartwright; 8872 Pte P. Whatley; 1163 Pte G. Hill; 831 Pte J. Ferguson; 714 Pte F. Griffiths; 7800 Sgt S. Moore; 1307 Pte T. Bissell; 7 (?) Pte J.H. Davis (returned to duty). SHELL SHOCK: 9430 Pte D. Morgan; Shell Shock returned to duty; 9744 Pte H.B. Bailey; 8665 L/ Cpl S. Cogger; 977 Pte F. Henry; 1277 Pte H. Coulthard.
Battalion relieved by 1/4th LEICESTER REGT. Proceeded to HUMBERCAMP (1). ‘C’ Company remained behind as working party under instructions received from Brigade. W Day.
27th June Tue: HUMBERCAMP. In Rest Billets. ‘C’ Company relieved by 1/4th LEICESTER REGT. Proceeded to HUMBERCAMP. X Day.
Pte BERTIE HIBBETT’S LAST LETTER before the BATTLE OF THE SOMME to his ‘MOTHER & FATHER, BASIL, HAROLD & OTHERS’, 95 Foden Rd Walsall.
At last I have found a few June Roses.
Tuesday June 27/ 16
My Very Dear Mother & Father and Basil and of course Harold & the others,
I send you Mum something to wear along with the Flag.
Our Batt. has been highly commended, our Colonel winning the DSO (2) & several officers & men medals.
I have not much I can tell you.
Sydney is keeping well. I wrote on Sunday & could not send it till today; same with the letter previous, so you will have another kind of bundling-on-top-of-one-another-through-the-letter box.
Bestest love to Dad, Basil. Hoping to see you soon.
God’s will be done. Your ever affec. Bertie.
PS. Hoping that Sydney & I will go Home together soon.
This is Pte Bertie Hibbett’s last Letter Home from France. He has been directed to write to his Family in the event of his death. In the last week of June many men had been wounded or were suffering from shell shock. To cross No Man’s Land to reach Gommecourt Wood without injury must have appeared well-nigh impossible. They were exhausted, physically & emotionally.
At this point my father did not know the ‘Big Push’ would be postponed, he thought it would be on 29th June, in just two days. He sends his Mother some wild roses for her to wear with his present of a Staffords Knot brooch & flag.
My sister Rosamund & I are now on our way to France to stand, a hundred years to the day, where my father and his brother stood waiting to ‘go over the top’ at 7.30 am on 1st July, 1916.
(1) Humbercamps, Nord Pas-de-Calais. Small commune 3 miles from the Front Line at Fonquevillers.
(2) D.S.O. Distinguished Service Order awarded since 1886 for distinguished service during active operations against the enemy. (Officers of Major rank & above, very occasionally to junior officers). Awarded to Lt Colonel Robert Richmond Raymer. 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt. (Wounded 1st July 1916).
NEXT POST: 28th June 1916.