Tag Archives: Goathland N. York Moors.


South Staffordshire Badgee1/5TH SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY


22nd – 30th Apr: Battalion Training.

APRIL CASUALTIES:  OFFICERS KILLED.1.  WOUNDED 3.  OTHER RANKS KILLED9. MISSING BELIEVED KILLED. 6. WOUNDED 28. Slightly wounded remained at duty 2. Self Inflicted Wound.1.

Signed: W.A. WISTANCE, Major Cmdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt.



Friday April 28th/ 16.

P.S. Trusting this reaches you none too late, if not ‘on the right’. (1)

Oh! Restless Child Wait & See Do not dare be wild – ‘They’ have need of thee. (2)

Mye Jollye Olde Dodger,

I can’t say in this what I mean by ‘they’, perhaps the censor would blush and perhaps do more than that if I ‘let out’, but you know that word covers a lot of reasons.  Of course I don’t believe you were all that serious when you spoke of ‘attesting’. (3)

Now:- Dearest, Dutiful, Dodger. Don’t die! Balmy Bertie blubbers badly, Boo bye! Sergeant Sydney swanks splendidly, Shoo shy! (4)

Goathland,  North York Moors.

What think you on that? Of course  do not dare to show Dad, ’cause as you said we know what Dad is? (perhaps?) but I remember, when I lost my walking stick on the Moors at Goatland sic (5) & had a poetic fit, how Dad behaved when I began to recite my ‘balmy ballad’. 

Still these little bits of doggerel have their moral – for instance, although Bertie blubbers (which is a lie) and Sydney swanks (which is true)Basil must learn from that:- to ‘Consider Mother before either brother’ – and that I think puts the cap on’t.

Yes the Queen of Seasons, bright (6), she finds me still in the War Zone, but bless her, she has cheered us downhearted ones all up, by her gorgeous appearance since Easter began.

Ah! my dear Loidies & Jellyfish (7) who write such pathetic & stinging epistles to the humble self!  We have a vast lot to be grateful for although the War will be all over soon (America) (8). Just let your minds run (but take care you catch ’em again) across to Aye joipt (Egypt) & think of those who have been besieged since Dec. 1915 & perhaps have never seen Home for two years or more (9).

The best thing I can tell you to do (the thought is not mine originally) is to do what Mum said to me in a past letter:-  When I feel ‘like that’ I go out for a walk, whether it is snowing, raining or what. (Now methinks dat’s goot adtvice an’ it don’t cost yer even a ‘penning’ sic (10).  Go, bathe thyself in the flood of Spring Sunshine and charm away thy dross feelings with the song of the lark’ – ahem!

My word! the Easter parcel was a ripper, everything that we could desire –  an’ above all sent with your combined love.  I did larf at the article in the QMS (11) & tried to read as much as I could, those you marked, before I left for the Field Ambulance, where I am still. The hooters that hooted for their own mischievous lust!

Sydney told me how you’d growed, that explains the meaning of you writing : the expansion due to several causes eh? –  an’ I doubt not you’ve expanded both in height & width. My word, I can’t allow this Sydney alarmed me by adding that you were taller than me.  I expect you will stand up on your bed on May 1st morning to see if you have gained another inch since you digested your Christmas pudding.

Well I will close now with my best love to Mother & Father & Sister – & Harold I guess:

Vous avez Bon Native Jour, Je espère.

Votre beloved Bertie.



This Letter shows Pte Bertie Hibbett’s love of dialect, rhyming words and alliteration in his banter with his brother. It had a serious purpose – to persuade Basil not to attest on his 18th birthday – for the sake of their parents. He loved him for wanting to be with his brothers but raw experience had changed Bertie’s attitude to War since he volunteered in Aug.1914. The ‘Big Push’ Battle of the Somme was in preparation and the War might be over before Basil was conscripted.

(1) ‘On the right’ /‘on the right day’ i.e. Basil’s Birthday, 1st May. (2) ‘They‘ – their parents, not the Army.

(3) ‘Attesting‘ – signing up as volunteer in the Army on /after 18th Birthday. cf Hibbett Letters 2nd Mar.1916; 27th Oct 1915. Also http://www.firstworldwar.com/atoz/derbyscheme.htm.

(4) Doggerel with nonsense rhyme, nevertheless with a serious note/ Bertie was very anxious that Basil did not join up until it was compulsory so as not to add to his parents’ anxiety.

(5) Goathland: North York Moors /near Whitby where Hibbett family went on holiday alternate years. Bertie’s ‘Goatland’ links with ‘giddy goat’. See definition, Hibbett Letter 18th Aug. 1915. (6‘Queen of Seasons’ i.e. Easter, from the Hymn ‘Come ye faithful raise the strain’ See Hibbett Letter 23rd April 1916.

(7) ‘Loidies & Jellyfish’: Ladies & Gentlemen. (8) America: hopes appear to have been high for American intervention but it took two years (after the sinking of the Lusitania by German submarine, 7th May 1915, when 128 Americans went down with the ship) before the USA entered the War, 6th April 1917.

Long Long Trail.Railway_construction_across_the_Sinai_during_World_War_I_Aust_OH_Photo_597
Railway in Sinai Desert. 1916.

9) B.E.F. Campaign in Egypt: April 1916 saw the building of a railway across the Sinai Desert to serve Allied advance on Ottoman/German forces at Battle of Romani 3-5th August 1916. See Long Long Trail.

(10) Walk to lift one’s spirits when restless/ down hearted/troubled. ‘That’s good advice and it doesn’t cost you a penny’. (11) Queen Mary’s School Magazine , April 1916 Number?


NEXT POST:  1st May 1916.



BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.


In Red White & Blue                                                   Thursday Aug 26/15


My Very dear Mother & Father,

I’m in ecstasy over having such a shoal of letters & parcels.  Had quite a dearth & even it did not last long only about a week & a half, I got to long for something from the post as days came by. 

Now before I say anything further, let me say how very sorry I put Mother into such anxiety over ‘my poor head’ I’m practically better now, & I hope to be out of hospital soon.  Very likely the idea of me being in HOSPITAL  & the silly idea of bandaging me up like I was, has made you so anxiousApparently then you did not enquire of Harold, I told him what was wrong with me, & to him it has been an old complaint, & Harold, I presume, has not yet told you.

No doubt, dear Mummy, you understand my idea of letting you know such things ‘second hand’.  When the doctor’s assistant bandaged me up I said anyone would think I was amake believe’ of being wounded; to which he said:My boy they are worse than a wound’.

Ruswarp, Yorkshire.
Ruswarp, N. Yorkshire.  Sketch.  A.H. Hibbett. 1913.

Another thing, I was so very sorry indeed to hear, was that you had such unsettled weather, but I was glad to hear that the Sunday you went to Ruswarp (1) was fine & that the last days of the holidays the weather had ‘picked up somewhat

Mummy you have been busy writingHow very good of you to spend so much time of your holidays by so doing & such long ones too, & I got quite a lot all together.  When I received your letter of the 23rd, or rather the two letters in one posted on the 23rd, I could not wait any longer to answer in detail the parcel & letters of yesterday too, as long as opportunity was open to me to write.

So I am seated in a lovely canvas chair outside in the shade.  The weather has been sunny & bright ever since I have been in hospital.  I have enjoyed a lump or two of your (Whitby) rock & am struggling to keep my writing up to the mark.  Poor artful Dodger, ‘swishing about on the pier like an old tar’ – how could he find a corner of his seabeaten  heart to pine about his two bruvvers at the front.  Indeed I am more anxious about my younger brother getting a good result of his exam than I am of anything to do with me sen, except of course my career equally as much as his.

Did you, dear Mum, read the story in theLondon Magazine’ (2), which was included in the bundle you sent me (& Sydney) the story entitledMissing’?  It  put me in mind of two things – (first) of Jack Wade*.  An officer wearing a square white badge with a red cross on it, comes occasionally into the wards & enquires of each patient whether the patient has heard anything about so & so – missing since such & such a time.  He opens quite a volume full of nothing but lists of missing (3).

The second thought comes to me of the many mothers & relatives who are anxious about their sons missing & then of course above all, and really which hits me more than any, is the case of  Lieut. Jack Wade*.

The story in the Magazine is very interesting isn’t it?, but I was disappointed on reading the 1st letter from the soldier to his mother – the nature of it.  But did you noticeMummy’ in the second letter of his. You know he got wounded in the head & lost consciousness, but when he got better he remembered his Mother’s face & said ‘good old Mum’ in the front of it & ‘Cheero Mummy’.  Yes ’twas a nice tale but the affair about the girls I did not care much forYet they reminded me of Harold & Miss Bore  sh!  sh! (4).

I have heard such a lot from you all in a heap that I shall have to re-read & re-read again & write again in a day or so to make all things plain.   Am looking forward to the apples and socksAuntie wrote to me saying she had sent us both a parcel but I guess Sydney carried out what I told him & ate all & demolished the contents himself.  So sorry he will have to wait for the papers to read.  Yes I got three letters, a PC & two parcels besides the letters inside the parcels.  In fact I almost cleared all the post for No 6. Ward.

A letter from Idatell her I got her letter posted 9th Aug. too.  A letter from Auntie, a PC from Miss Foster*; by what she said on it I conclude you have not told her where I am & what is up with me eh?  Also a letter from Miss Winifred Evans* from Thlandidno (5) which I acknowledged by a F.P.Csame with t’others.

You told me to buy something good with your generous little ‘bit’ again so I bought a few biscuits for my supper & you say they are a good thing to eat early in a morning.  We do not get any ‘bits’ in hospital (6).  I suppose I shall go into a Convalescent Camp after coming out of Hospital, as is the general case.  A patient went to England (what is that place?) with having boils on his legsMine arn’t half or a quarter as bad, in fact they are better now.

I had a good smell at your little bit of seaweed in each letter you sent me & the heather off the moors.  Yes, I have often thought of the heather & Goathland.

Whitby. Watercolour. A.H. Hibbett. from PC The Linden Series.
Whitby. Watercolour. A.H. Hibbett. 1913.

I don’t suppose Mummy missed my coming into the apartments with sketchboard under one arm & her shopping bag filled with paints & brushes & painting material in the other, arriving late as per usual for tea & boastfully exhibiting a hideous half-finished daub on the mantlepiece.  No I think the nuisance was a good riddance what oh!  – you don’t mind me saying so eh! what.

And, dear Mummy, I kept a bit of the heather & you don’t mind me having given the sister the rest to put in her room.  I said it was from England, the Yorkshire Moors, & asked her if she knew the novel Between the Heather & the Northern Shore (7) & she remembers the York Pageant (8).  We have some heather besides some other flowers in the Ward, but she was especially thankful & blissful over the little bunch of English heather.

I had to open the parcel of eatables in her room & show the other sister what I had: result was nothing in it to do me any harm & so I had the ginger cake & apricots to enjoy at tea.  How very good of you to be so eager to send me the things I put in my letter; if I had known such nice things were forthcoming when I wrote that letter I should have felt ashamed to askfor more’ as Oliver Twist did & I feel such a glutton now.  Yet I’d love an egg.  Patients in the Ward have an egg every tea time, but they have marked on their head boards for eggs, each board having on the diet for each patient.  I am on ordinary diet with medicineSalts (9) on waking in the morning at 6.00 & iron after each meal.  Don’t you think Parish’s Food (10) would do me good for its all to do with the blood being out-of-order.

When I was opening your letter today I was expecting to see some photos in side by the feeling of the stiff paper.  You won’t forget to persuade Harold to do some for Sydney & me if he has taken any.   You will forgive me opening the letter to Sydney  which came with the Magazines.  I sent it off to him in a green envelope with Basil’s long letter.

I don’t think Mrs Hardcastle* will have to re-post any letters from me.  I sent you a letter last Friday & another on Sunday, the latter I believe I addressed to Home Let’s pray that we shall see each other before Winter comes along, but Cheero Mummy we are happiest as we are now, if we trust & believe that it is God’s Will & in His mercy hope for the best,  

Your very affec. son   Bertie. 



(1) Ruswarp & Goathland: N. York Moor villages near Whitby.  (2) The London Magazine estab.1903 (previously Harmsworth Magazine 1898) encouraged new writers. July 1915 copy included stories by a Corporal F. Ward. (WW1 Price: a shilling).

(3) The Red Cross was the only organisation permitted by the War Office to make enquiries for the missing. Regular searches were made in Base Hospitals & Army Rest Camps abroad as well as in Hospitals in UK.  A monthly Enquiry List was circulated. (4Harold & Hilda Bore were recently engaged. (5) Llandidno, Wales. (6) ‘Bits‘/ ‘A little bit of cash‘, i.e. no pay in hospital.

(7) ‘Between the Heather & the Northern Shore‘. 1884. A second novel by Mary Linskell  b. 1840, Blackburn Yard, Whitby; one of many 19th Cent. writers associated with the town.

(8) York Pageant: Medieval Mystery/ Passion Plays (from Creation to Last Judgement; performed on Feast of Corpus Christi (23rd May – 24th June.) MS dated 1463-1477, British Library. Performed in York 1569. NB Research suggests they were originally Lincoln Mystery Plays.

(9Liver Salts: a tonic. (10) Parrish’s Food: compound syrup of iron phosphate (Syr Ferri Phos Co) first appears in Martingale’s Extra pharmacopoeia of Unofficial Drugs & Chemicals. . . 1883 (invented by Prof. Edward Parrish pharmacist, Philadelphia) cf National  Library of Medicine.

11) Verbranden Molen an old mill 300 yrds behind the Front Line, Hill 60 area.


South Staffordshire BadgeeLance Corporal Sydney Hibbett & 1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

26th Aug. Thur:  Enemy dropped two shells in ravine between 33 and 34 trench and one in front of 34 trench at 11. am; 4th Belgian Battery replied on enemy trenches.  Enemy aeroplane driven off by our aeroplane about 11.15 am otherwise all quiet during the day until 7. pm when the enemy shelled Verbranden Molen  (11) with about 20 shrapnel and 12 H.E. shells.  CASUALTIES: KILLED 6515 Coy S Major H.Gee*.  WOUNDED: 7800  L /Sgt S. Moore; 8783 Pte R. E. Ellens.

NEXT POSTS: 29th AUGUST 1915 will be published 31st August 2015. Apologies for delay.