Tag Archives: Hymn.



Pages 1-4 missing.  Sunday 12 Sept. / 15

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I have eaten the last of your Lady chum’s chocolates, Nestles as usual,  but I love them.  Isn’t she (Mrs Jones*) a brick eh! –  to send us both something again, but Hoo Hic! if only her Ladyship knew what I’m calling her.  She, by the by, calls Mr Jones ‘His Lordship’. And ain’t she a rattler to enclose a letter every time.  She’s a genuine old sport because you see it is not only the gift but the thoughts behind the gift & so she tries to express hers by sending a short letter with it & a little news in with it as well.

Yes this War is rotten for hampering careers.  Now Mummy is it that Dodger passed in 3 subjects or that he passed all subjects but 3 eh? (1).  I conclude, after thinking, that it is as you say,  but I am disappointedPoor Basil –  after all his sweated labour, after all his confinement in the study, alone, to swat with his head in his hands as Harold did – and he will have to go through it all again, but I hope he will pass this next time.  But of course there’s this in it, it will come to him easier with regard to the 3 subjects he passed,  what were they? – anything to do with the Doctor’s profession?  To be a Doctor he will have some stiff exams, as hard, in fact harder than Harold had to pass (2).  He isn’t going in for agriculture following George’s* work is he! (3)

If I had have known I was going to stay such a long time in Hospital I would have sent for some Greek & Latin I was almost going to write to Mr Darling* on Saturday, but I had an idea I shall be soon out again for good.   I should like a line from Dad about my career (4).

Today’s Gospel tells us not to be over anxious, but as it says in the Parish Magazine, for which I thank you, it says we must be prudent & take prudent provision for the future.  Doesn’t it seem that I was destined to live through the Campaign after all?  Well its only right & very much so that we should HOPE.  ‘Hope still & thou shall see, he is all & all in thee’ (5).

I went to the YMCA Popular Evening Service while I was at the Base last Sunday & the hut was full of soldiers & my word didn’t I singFight the Good fight’ – just tried like I did when I had my voice in childhood & sang with you in Church.  Do you remember?

Do I want any shirts?no not yet MumI have two, one is new.  When I go back into khaki I shall be all in khaki  ’cause of your socksNo Mum I won’t touch tinned stuff, like crab. Macinichies images I put it (6) down to the tinned meat & vegetables called Marconochies (sic) I ate one in the train but not all the meat.  I left a great deal of that & ate more of the vegetable.  They are part of the Rations & of course I could not go all day on the journey  without something to eat.

Lichfield Cathedral AHH cropped1918
Lichfield Cathedral.  A.H.Hibbett. 1918.  Pen & ink.

I expect I shall hear from Ida tomorrow.  I am so pleased Woodie* came after all, they would indeed enjoy themselves in the ride to Lichfield Cathedral. I hope to get a pass into Rouen to see the famous cathedral there.

Rouen. 1915. PC to Ida Oct . 1915. from Bertie Hibbett.
Rouen:  Cathedral in centre.  PC. 1915.

I will conclude after I have come from Kirk.

There are a great many Jocks at this Base & some do afford amusement in the Ward, one especially was taken to by one of the Irish Sisters.

I will just refer to Sydney’s would-be Commission before putting my boots on to go to the Dining Hall for tea.

Bedtime — instead of coming to finish this letter after tea it is after supper now.

I had to go to sweep the floor & go for my medicine, my horrid medicineno wonder when it has such a dreadful jaw-breaking name as Mist: Ferri Perclilor, and you can tell Mrs Jones that her chocs came in pretty handy to take away the nasty taste (7).

We had a nice little service this evening,  but it was held in the Soldier’s Institute Tent, electric light installment (8).  There was nothing but patients there & most of them from my Ward I was grateful to see – all but the organist, I mean the pianist On the way back the Chaplain told me there were 40 men from the Base to be confirmed tonight at another tent, just after the service.  I did not go, but we had a prayer for them.  I thought of my confirmation & Basil’s & you being with us.   I was confirmed too on the 12th day: Blessed is the man whom thou choosest was the Bishop’s text (9).

I was interested in the 1st article in the Parish Magazine about Life wasted.  Did you read it Mum?  I guess you read it all through & the thrilling story of the nurse who rode  on horseback to deliver an urgent message.  Chiefly I was interested in the Vicar’s letter about Mr Henning* (J.P. is he now?)

I wondered whether I shall see anything  about Dad being promotedCharlie Harrison’s* opinion is that Dad ought to take Dr Sauler’s  position & have a combined Head.  By the by Charlie must have been sent to Blighty, I have not seen him here.

What can I say to fill the page Mum?  I am too late to wish Allen many Happy Returns of his birthday at Home.   I remember Dad’s wit in his letter to me on mine.  Let’s see tis 3 months today –  Hoo hak, my word the time does fly, Tempus Fugit it does  – and the 13th, well let us hope it doesn’t bring ill luck but Yah!  I dunno believe in superstition a lot.  It seems instead ’tis bringing good luck, so there.

The 12th, yes I took my prayer book, mended with the gum you sent me. ‘Be thou faithful unto death & I will give you a crown of life’ (10) & the Bishop of Stafford’s address ‘Blessed is the man whom thou choosest & receivest unto thee’ & the Collect because the frailty of man cannot but falllead us to all things profitable for our salvation.  Look up & trust that we shall never fall (11).  Queer ain’t it Mum?

Now you’ll press the matter in & push it along if Sydney wants a Com(mission).  But it was nasty of Capt. Flo* to talk about carelessnessShould anything happen to Sydney or me you would perhaps think we were careless dear Mum.  He was naughty, to say that, of course you know he ain’t been in the trenches.  The Life of the Tommy there is different. Tommy gets careful there  – even if he is apt to be careless in Camp where discipline is.

Lights out  – 8. o’clock in Wards.  Finish Tomorrow.



(1) Oxford School Matriculation needed passes in at least 6 subjects in one go. (2) Harold’s Chemist/Pharmacy exams.  (3) George Lallerman, Ida’s friend.

(4)  Pte Bertie’s father would have paid for his Mining Surveyor apprenticeship. His training as a Priest in the Church of England would also need parental support – as well as support from Mr. Darling, Vicar of Walsall.

(5) Hymn: Fight the Good Fight.  Last verse: Only believe and thou shalt see, that Christ is all in all to thee. Words (based on 1 Tim. 6.12) John S.B. Monsell. 1863. Music: ‘Pentecost’, William Boyd 1864.  (6) Illness blamed on Maconochies stew on train journey from the Front to Rouen  B.E.F. Base. 10th Aug.1915.

(7Mist Ferri. Perclilor: ‘perhaps the best & most used preparation of iron‘ <https://archive.org/stream&gt;. (8) Church of England’s Soldiers & Sailors Institute. (9)  Ps. 64. 4.  (10) Revelation 2.10 :  

(11)15th Sunday after TrinityGospel: Matthew  6.24. Collect: Book of Common Prayer. Thomas Cranmer 1662.  (12) Dr Sauler*. Education Committee, Walsall Borough Council?

(13) Hollebeke Chateau/possibly one of two: Hollebeke Schloss, 200 metres east of Ypres Canal & Railroad or White Chateau (Bayern Schloss) 1.5 km west of Ypres Canal. cf Great War Forum Old Sweats.

More Hibbett Jargon/ Slang: ‘rattler’good energetic person;  a ‘good sport‘- decent/ nice person;  a ‘brick’reliable person;  I dunnoI do not;  Yah – yes;  Hoo Hak/ Hoo Hic: (I never heard my Dad use these sounds): schoolboy nonsense sounds: goodness!/ gracious me!/ my word!’  Queer – strange coincidence.


South Staffordshire BadgeeLance Corp. SYDNEY HIBBETT & 1/5th STAFFORDS WAR DIARY


11th Sept. Sat:  Rifle and machine gun fire directed on enemy’s *new work opposite 36. About 6.45 am enemy aeroplane driven off over our lines by our aeroplane2nd Derby Howitzer made direct hit on enemy embrasure.   Enemy retaliated with 4.1 Howitzers damaging 36 parapet in four places.  CASUALTIES WOUNDED: 9318 Pte J. Bladon.  75 Pte J. Waterfield (slightly wounded remain at duty).

SW SLOPE OF HILL 60, Trenches 33, 34, 35, 36. 

12th Sept. Sun:  Machine gun and artillery fire opened on enemy transport using roads near Hollebeke Chateau (12). Patrol reported water from mine coming from enemy front lines N. of Ravine Mining timber and metal pipes being carried to trench opposite 34.   Relieved by 6th North Staffs about 10. 15 pm.  CASUALTIES WOUNDED: 9671 Pte G. Forest.  8472 Pte J. Kenyon (slightly wounded remained at duty). 

NEXT POST: 13th Sept. 1915 – continuation of Letter 12th Sept.1915.


South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH  STAFFORDS  WAR DIARY


25th June, Fri: Marched out en route for OUDERDOM at 9.0 pm.

OUDERDOM. 26th June, Sat: Arrived at and occupied E Hutments, about 12.30 am. (1) Position on Map Sheet 28 YPRES 1/40,000.

Rough Map of Wulverghem & Neuve Eglise 1915, with modern roads deleted.
Rough Map showing distance from Neuve Eglise & Wulverghem Trenches to Ouderdom Reserve Camp and Zillebeke. (modern roads deleted. efw. 2015.

27th June:  In Hutments near OUDERDOM. (2)

Bertie in Uniform

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Mother, Marie Neal Hibbett 95, Foden Rd. Walsall.

‘Somewhere Else’.   Sunday June 27 / 15

My Dear Mother,

One of the ‘nicest’ parcels we’ve received.  I was expecting a parcel from either Harold, Auntie or Home. Just let me break off on to something else.

The authorities will not accept anymore white letters – all correspondence to be in green ones (3).  That means we must comply with the strict statement on the back that on our honour the letter is of nothing else but private & family matters.

‘I certify on my honour that the contents of this envelope refers to nothing but private and family matters.’ Signature (Name only)

So it’s rather awkward aint it, but I don’t think there’s much harm in saying I was in luck’s way for the last two days.

The rain came down in bucket fulls the night we left the camp & I with other sick men waited for the ambulance (4).

So yesterday I had a long rideIt was a lovely sunny day & I was looking forward to a parcel at the end of the journeyMy delight was complete when Dick*, a friend, led me to a hut where Vernon & Sydney were & Sydney gave me your letter & we indulged in the pineapple & cream.

Many thanks for the butter which improved the taste with the pineapple. No not even at the Front have I got used to eating dry bread with fruit, you’ve spoiled me with such ripping parcels.

A Major of the R.A.M.C. said I could do with a day or two rest with my boots off,  but there is no chance of rest here where we are now so I am on light duty today (5).  Now do not be anxious dear Mother one little bit, in fact to tell the truth my feet are practically better.  It was only a huge blister that Dick caught sight of & advised me to gosick” & what with the serjeant advising anyone who thought they would not manage the long marchWaiting a whole night & half a day for the ambulance eased & made my feet better.

What a dear happy cheerful letter yours to me was.  Yes, Mrs Jones said in her letter that you were standing the strain very well & with cheerfulness & smiles.  Not the exact words but the expression.  I cannot just get hold of the letter, Sydney has got it.  Did you have a happy pleasant day on Saturday, Walsall’s day for celebrating Alexandra Day (6).

I will just pop a piece of chocolate in my mouth; perhaps it will help me to make my letter more chatty.  On looking in the box I see I have a tomato left.  They came in splendid condition & my 1st one tasted fine.  I shall eat the other one with my other lovely scone & some good cheese given to me in my rations.  This Bournville is tasting ‘nice’.

Another sunny Sunday.  Again I can picture the rays of sun shining on the small family group in the pew (7) listening to the 1st Lesson about Samuel & the Israelites wanting a King.  The 14th verse strikes me as being very appropriate (12 chap. 1 Sam (8).  I well remember the tune to Oft in danger & re read it this morning.   ‘Fight, nor think the battle long Soon shall Victory wake your song.’ (9).

Just heard from A.O. Jones* who is sitting with me now; he has been ‘on sick‘.  He has just told me, Ida, that  R. Ball* is likely to have a commission in the A.S.C. Mechanical Depot (10).  I met Leonard Bailey* yesterday evening.  I do hope Basil will do well & I am so glad his teeth are in good condition now.  I hope too that he will keep his ‘pekker’ up & the exam will not make him ill in any way, with the hot weather too.

I picked some more wild roses meaning to send them in a letter yesterday, but I did not write yesterdayI feel awfully  ‘nasty’ with myself for brooding on the affair about my ill mood in Ida’s green envelope.  I mean for mentioning a word about it again in the one I enclosed with yours. (11).

I see you too uniquely headed your letter on 23rd – ‘Prince of Wales Birthday’.   Don’t be anxious Mother, we shall not be able to send so many letters now – green envelopes are not so plentiful as white ones.

Your affec. son.    Bertie.                        Censor EA Wilson.



(1) Pte Bertie Hibbett escaped the March from Neuve Eglise to Ouderdom, approx 10 miles in 3. 5 hrs. in hot weather & with full pack. (2) Staffords found 5th Leicesters nicely settled into their field on 22nd June 1915:


(3)  Green Envelope. Only one a month issued at this time. Pte Bertie was to write 10 Letters Home in July so this  issue must have increased considerably; to save time on censoring(4) Ambulance. A wagon drawn by horses or a motor ambulance. (Not to be confused with a Field Ambulance which was not a vehicle but a stationary post). See website:The Long Long Trail.

(5) Light Duty: excused physical activity/parades etc. (6) Alexandra Day.  Queen Alexandra, Danish consort of King Edward VII, established a Rose Day in 1912, to mark her 50 years in England. Silk roses were sold for hospital charities. She is said to have been inspired by a Danish priest who sold his own roses to help the poor.(7St Paul’s, Walsall.

(8) I Sam. 12. 14. This Hebrew source approves the appointment of a King over Israel, provided the people and the King  ‘serve and obey’ God’s voice’. (9HymnOft in danger, oft in woe. Words based on 1 Timothy 6.12, ‘Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…‘; the accent is on a spiritual fight rather than on a physical/ military one. Henry Kirke White. English Poet. 1785- 1806,  died age 21.

Henry Kirke White.

(Revised by 14 yr old Frances Sara Fuller Colquoun. MusicUniversity College.  Henry J. Gauntlet.1852.

(10) Army Service Corps Mechanical Depot.  The ASC was responsible for supply of goods, equipment & ammunition to Division Refilling Points from the Home Port  – & possibly on to dumps & stores nearer to Front Line. Each British Division ASC had 5 officers and  337 other ranks responsible for 45 x 3 ton lorries, 16 x 30 cwt lorries, 7 motor vehicles, 2 cars, and 4 assorted trucksSee website: The Long Long Trail.

(11) ‘Homesick’ Letter 5th June & 24th June.

NB NAMES: Starred * – information pending.

NEXT POST: 30th JUNE 1915. Bagpipes & Indians.