Tag Archives: Hibbett Birthdays 1915.

29TH NOV.1915: ‘PATER’S BUTHDOI & NO CIGAR TO SEND WITH MY HEART’S LOVE!’

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

NEUVE CHAPELLE BRIGADE RESERVE: LORETTO ROAD .

29th Nov. LORETTO ROAD. In Brigade Reserve ‘C’ Subsector Rest Houses.  CASUALTIES: 2 men 672 Pte S. Gee wounded by shrapnel whilst on working party. 9187 Pte L J.  Harper slightly wounded.

 TOTAL CASUALTIES NOVEMBER 1915: KILLED 1. WOUNDED 4.  Slightly wounded 4.

Signed: H. A. WISTANCE Capt. Comg 1/5 South Staffs Regt.

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BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.
BERTIE HIBBETT:
20  in 1915.

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to HIBBETT FAMILY, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.

Pater’s Buthdoi.    29/11/ 15.

A MORNING’S  X  Mum; X  Ida; X Dodger;  X  Harold; X  Sydney; X  Myself.

11.30 am. In a billet.

That our sons may grow up as the young plants and that our daughters may be as the polished corners of the Temple’. 30th Day. (1)

 ALAS!  I HAVE NO CIGAR TO SEND HIM WITH MY HEARTS LOVE

My Very Dear People,

Walter Crane: The North Wind doth blow.
‘The North Wind doth blow’. Walter Crane..

So you all tried the soft woollen helmet on, & fancied yourselves in a barn like the Cock Robin (Bertie)when he knew Winter was coming, to keep himself warm, he hid in a barn (2).

Well you will be happy to hear that the parcel came on Saturday when I was in the trenches, so I wore it that very same night – & luckily too it was the night I was able to get the most of the hours sleep since I was in; for the night before I was on sentry all through.

Oh how I did larf Champion –  at Father’s Nellie Grey (3). I had an idea you would send those poems out ofTroubadour’ (4), how good of you, you brick, to rip the pages out.  Forgive me, I was somewhat disappointed on seeing that the ‘The Highwayman’  was not in the parcel, it is such a fine poem eh?

Now you’ll all enjoy a good lunch, a good tea & tell me if Dad had bacon for breaker.  Also tell me if he gets to be N.U.B. (5) Also tell me if Dodger wants M.I.K. (6) also Mum tell me if Ida is M.Xant  –(i.e. Most Xtravigant) with the butterfood rationing WW!search

Also lastly tell me if you’ve adopted any Table Economy (7).

’Ello what’s this? I said to me sen as a letter addressed to Sydney from Mother was handed to me.  On the envelope it had ‘NOT AT BASE Try Front’.  So by that poor Sydney is of course not at the Convalescent Camp, but I wonder if he is on the way to see me or joined a wretched Entrenching Battalion (8). Forgive me, I took it into my head to read the letter and I will keep it for the dear boy.

Yes poor Vernon is still ill with a chill, woke this mornin’ and greeted me in a whisper, no improvement in his voice, but the voice of influenza is creeping o’er him.

Mum, I made some coffee on getting intobed’ last night& I saved Brewin* some for him to drink after going out on duty.  Brewin made some Porridge this morning & said it is the ‘finest thing one can have in the trenches’.

Dodger, you aren’t preparing for anything at Christmas at the Grammar School like you did at B’ham?  I am looking forrard to Christmas, no matter in what way it comes, how when or where.

Toodle oo,  

7381788Best love Bertie Arfer, Cock Robin. X X X X X.

PS  Auntie* sent me a letter, the longest she has ever written – on large foolscap She said she is knitting a pair of socks for Dad & also making a Cake for Christmas & is sending some to Sid & me.

Had a letter from Miss Foster* yesterday, a jolly letter, she wants me to tell her anything and everything and wants me to give her a description of a dugout, but oh my after knowing the result my letter of Sunday Nov 14th and the effect it had on poor Mum I could not tell Miss Foster, for she too was taken by a simple heading to one of my past letters to herWritten Within a Barn by Candlelight’.  She added that she was aware that we have to put up with worse things & I think I will leave it to her imagination.  She told me you had written to her about Sydney.

Well  Ta Ta.  Dad’s letter must not go without a PS.

Whit too whoo’ said the owl last night.

X Mum,  X Ida,  X Harold,  X Dodger, X Sydney, X Myself.

PS NB  Also tell me if Dad smoked a cigar & if he got my letter of Thursdayon right’. (9).

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Pte Bertie draws a picture of how the Hibbett Family made their Father’s  Birthday/’Buthdoi’ special.

(1) Psalm 144.12. (Book of Common Prayer). Original Hebrew words used here are rare and difficult to translate into English. In some versions ‘sons‘ are ‘towers‘ rather than ‘plants‘ and ‘daughters‘ are ‘corner/foundation pillars‘ of a palace rather than merely ornamental statues. (Good example of how translators can perpetuate gender stereotypes).

220px-Walter_crane_small
Walter Crane.

(2) Nursery Rhyme ‘The North WindorThe Robin‘: The North Wind doth blow and we shall have snow and what will Cock Robin do then, poor thing. He will sit in a barn to keep himself warm & hide his head under his wing, poor thing. Last verseWhat will children do then, poor things?  ‘They must skip, jump and run until they have made themselves warm, poor things‘. Mother GooseimagesMother Goose: imaginary author of Fairy Tales & Nursery Rhymes. A Baby’s Bouquet 1878. Illustrations by Walter Crane.1845-1915. English artist/children’s books.

220px-Benjamin_Hanby_bw
Benjamin Hanby.

(3) Nellie Gray: popular 19th Cent. song against slave-trade. An African-American male slave of Kentucky mourns the sale of his beloved into slavery in Georgia. Benjamin Hanby, 1856.

(4) Poem The Troubadourappears in ‘A Magazine of Verse’. January 1915. Madison Cawein, 1865-1914.  American Poet (‘Keats of Kentucky’). His poem ‘Waste Land’, 1914, is said to have inspired Ezra Pound’sThe Waste Land‘, 1922, foundation of modernism in poetry. ‘Night they say is no man’s friend and at night he met his end … Hate crouched near him as he strode… Eyes of murder glared and burned at each turning of the road… And with Death we stood and stared… but he never looked nor cared.’ cf The Poetry Foundation.

(5) N.U.B: ‘Nigh to Bursting’. (6) M.I.K: ‘More in Kitchen’.

Illust LondonRationing-begins2(7) Table Economy: Food rationing was not introduced until 1916 but pressure was put on public to be frugal. 60% of food in Britain was imported. 300,000 tonnes of food shipping was sunk every day by German submarines. cf. The Illustrated London News. 

(8) Entrenching Battalion: temporary units to provide ‘pools of men‘ in a Corps from which to draw replacements in infantry battalions. See Wikipedia. Fuller details in Long Long Trail <https://www.1914-1918.net/entrenching.html >

(9) ‘on righti.e. on the exact day 29th Nov. ‘Pater’s Buthdoi’.

NEXT POST5th Dec. 1915.

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1st MAY 1915: Friendly Fire & Forget-me-nots.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

WULVERGHEM TRENCHES

26th April, Mon: Two working parties of 200 men each on G.H.Q. lines.  Bn paraded for Trenches at 8.50 pm & relieved 1/6th S Staffs Regt.   27th April, Tue: Wulverghem Trenches.  Heavy artillery fire all day, mainly on our right. Aeroplane duel about 6.0 pm over Wulverghem. Casualties: 085 Sgt W. Stevens, 9491 Pte J. Parkes both of ‘A’ Coy, wounded by rifle fire.  Gap between 10a & 10b completely closed.

28th April, Wed :  10a support trench shelled. Sniping from Messines. Casualties: Wounded:4468 Sgt W.J. Yardley, ‘A’ Coy 9012 Pte G. Wyley, ‘D’ Coy wounded. 29th April, Thur:  Shell from supporting battery struck 10b Trench seriously wounding Capt. Mc Craith, (North Midland R.E.)  Killing Pte W. Martin, (M.G. section). Other Casualtieswounding 8436 Dr. H. Mills ‘A’ Coy., 8526 Pte J. Lewis. ‘A’ Coy.

30th April, Fri:  Quiet day. Six shells fell in Wulverghem village about 4.0pm.  Casualties – Wounded:9332 Pte N.C. Hilton, M.G. section wounded.  1/6 S Staffs Rgt. relieved us 11.45 pm Bn to Bulford Camp. Casualties: L.Cpl. H. Meyrick, ‘B’ Coy & 8908 Pte V.C. Hough ‘C’ Coy wounded during relief.

CASUALTIES during month : KILLED: 7 OtherRanks  (includes 8990 Sgt J. Sanders (attd R.W.) killed at Dickebusch, 27.4.15);  DIED OF WOUNDS: 2  O. R. ; DIED IN HOSPITAL: 1 O.R. ; WOUNDED: 2 Officers, 25 Other Ranks.   

Signed Raymer Lt Col Comdg. 1/5 S. Staff Regt. 

1st May 1915: NEUVE EGLISE, BULFORD CAMP HUTMENTS.

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Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MOTHER, Marie Neal Hibbett, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall. (Pages 5 – 8 only)                                                                                                         May Ist/ 15  (Basil’s Birthday)

Page 5 . . . . . .  Our little place under the ground (1) was nice & cool while Sid and I broke into a parcel from Mrs Jones*How generous of her to have sent again & she must have kind thoughts of us to pop a long letter in each time and to say “There is something very pleasant in sending comforts to our ‘dear lads at the front.

Two tins of Embassy cigs for Syd and some Nestles ChocNow this war is on I do not think Nestles Milk choc is such good quality, but I enjoyed it very much because it was from a friend of Mother’s.  She told us you had gone to tea that Monday afternoon.

I am proud of Sydney & admire him for his modesty (2).  He has done some sniping & I shouldn’t be surprised if the result was – well I’ve suddenly taken a serious turn – rather sad to say.

Ask Ida what afiller-inis. I managed to get hold of a Daily Mail.  One of the days I read a jolly article, yet a pretty one, entitled Poor Georgia – she was a ‘filler-inall through life & it ends up something like this  ‘And heaven was full but there happened to be just a little spot that no one would take & so Georgia ‘filled it in’!

Wouldn’t you all like Sid & me to come on Home Leave now?  I have had a new tunic and puttees & bootsYou would admire the little bit of scarlet at the back of our hat badges (red & khaki go well together) and Sid with his a new tunic and stripe

In camp I frequently come across our friend Ball* with his rosy cheeks & kindly smile.  Last time I saw him at the washing place in the field.  He said he had got another boil; the one on his neck has quite gone.  I remembered Mrs Jones* to Cyril Hind* & he went on to say that Miss K. Brookes* had read part of my letter, and his, to her Class. (3)

I’m glad Dodger had a good time at Easter, he will miss the rides with Mr Cox (4) as well now Mr Cox is going to Devonshire.  I received a very interesting letter from Miss Foster* telling of her time in Scotland.  She says she is also anxious about us both.  I got her letter with Basil’s mile long one today.

Sid, I think, would like for his 21st birthday a few crumbs of comfort – cigs, some chocolate 3d and 6d Cadbury’s Mexican & a cigarette case You can pop a few cakes in & perhaps a tin of Nestle’s Milk to make tea taste nice.  A tin of pineapple chunks would not be amiss for we crave sometimes for something cool to eat or drink.

If Miss Bore* wants to send us anything tell her to send some acid drops & bulls eyes again, for its time for those now.  Well I’ll finish up my May Day letter referring to the Boy of the Day (5).  How goes he on the piano now?  I should think he ought to give you real pleasure with some nice tunes.

Vernon’s older brother* has his birthday today the first of May too.  I hope sincerely that Basil will get through & not be excited about the exam after all the long time of preparation.

Remember us both to Tom Ser* [& Bes] (6) – if they are ‘nice’ yet- ha!  ha!

Dear Mother I hope this letter will give you some comfort.  I have tried & I hope my little effort will have good effectalso the lovely little forget-you-nots;  but the pressing has taken the pretty light blue out of them.

They remind me of Rudyard Kipling’s hymn:–  Lord God of Hosts be with us yet, Lest we forget – lest we forget! Lord bless my Home – guide there my affections-  my thoughts – my pen. Tho’ sundered far – by faith we meet   Around one common mercy seat. (7)

Fondest love from your affect. son,   Bertie.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Listening Post ‘like a Walsall pit’. (2Sydney Hibbett had just been promoted to Lance Corporal. (3) Sunday School Class at St Paul’s, Walsall. (4)  Mr Cox, probably the farmer Basil Hibbett (future agriculturalist) helped out during school holidays. (5May Day 1915 was Basil’s 17th Birthday. His exam was probably Junior Oxford. (6)Tom Ser & wife Bess ( Uffington friends? information pending).

(7) Rudyard Kipling: b. Bombay, India.1865 -1936. The People’s Laureate’. Short story writer, poet & novelist/ children’s classics. Won Nobel Prize for Literature. Lost son at Battle of Loos, Oct 1915. Critical of British Army. Involved in Imperial War Graves Commission.

Poem: ‘Recessional’ (composed for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 1897) repeats the refrain ‘Lest we forget‘ (i.e. the sacrifice of Christ/ representative of all Humanity). Adapted by the Anglican Church as a hymn/ used especially at Armistice Day/ Remembrance Services. Frequently found on War Memorials.

NEXT POST: 3rd May 1915.