Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to his Father, Arthur Hibbett, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall. On the back he has written: ‘To Dad. Poor Dad has no Christmas Card.’
Sunday Dec 19/ 15.
My Dear Sir,
By next Sunday I guess you will have read my Christmas letters which I am writing today.
Last Sunday Mother & Basil wrote & were wondering what I was doing. I am today in the Casualty Clearing Station, a Hospital, with sore feet, (suppose I left the comma out – Sydney sais my letters to him are void of full stops, commas & all those things) – but I have the advantage of writing & eating up the pages of a writing pad, one of the dry gifts I told Ida about.
Of course I was only joking, but I could do with a ‘snice smince spie’ now, because its ‘snice, snice, so snice’, especially one from Home. (1)
I s’pose I shall get another slice of jam & bread for tea. I could do with a little plum cake for Sunday’s tea at any rate. But then I am taking things as a ‘matter of course’ as you often advised me to do & I have the consolation that your parcels, if not already, will be appreciated by those in my section. Poor Vernon had no less than half a dozen while he was away until I left the Batt. too.
All three of us are in Hospital now, & it seems that my wish I mentioned in your birthday letter will not be fulfilled.
I shall be very likely here for Xmas. I am comfy, we have stretchers to sleep on & books to read & meals found us. I am dressed in blues again (2).
Well I could write till the New Year comes so will get on to other letters to other people.
Perhaps Dad thinks my letters, if he reads them, all of them, to each one, Mum, Ida & Basil – that they are whimsical & all bosh (3), well if so it’s my wish that by the time they have gone through the Hands of the Post & travelled so far they will give some enjoyment to you all, and my good wishes to Dad & all of you will be none the worse.
With fondest love from
PS I’m sending Harold’s Letter separate as those I have already written will make the envelope fat enough for the censor.
Again Pte Bertie’s Letter to his Father shows a relationship of both respect & affectionate playfulness. He is doing his best ‘to take things as a matter of course’ but those stretchers for beds could not have been too ‘comfy’.
(1) ‘Snice smince spies – snice, snice so snice’: I can hear my Dad’s voice, as he must have heard his father’s every Christmas.
(2) Army Base, Rouen. No 12 & No 9 General Hospital. August to October 1915, where he was full of joy at the clean bright wards and comfortable beds. (3) Bosh. Slang for nonsense/ empty of meaning. Wide etymology but most likely fr.Turkish.
NEXT POST: 20th Dec. 1915: Gas Mask & The Ghost of Christmas.