Tag Archives: Lee Enfield Rifle

13th FEB. 1916: PASSED AS A SNIPER BUT NO HOME LEAVE.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT, attached Notts & Derby TransportPAGES 4-6 of  LETTER to IDA HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall. 

(Sun. 13th Feb. 1916?) (1)

. . . .  They have passed me as a qualified Sniper (2) & I satisfied our old Coy. Com. Capt List-r (3).

British Sniper. NB Steel helmet issued 1916.
British Trench with Sniper and dead /sleeping soldier?  NB Steel helmet issued 1916.

He has a brother in the 3/ 5th (S.Staffs) who wrote to him concerning Sydney.  Captain L — r, now Major, is acting as Colonel while R—r (4) is away.  I am sorry for a reason; Sydney’s release will be delayed again.

I am what you might call ‘humbly’ glad you liked my small gift, & really did not think it would give you so much pleasure as you made out in your letterThe cross  must be yours for all time.  (I don’t know so much that I shall have a cross dangling from a watch Chain)I might go in for a couple of wrist watches.  I say two – so that I can take the average, or otherwise the medium (sic) time (5).

Camouflaged Springfield Rifle with telescope. www.pinterest.comimgres
Camouflaged Springfield Rifle with telescope. https://www.pinterest.comimgres >

I shall have to finish on this fourth sheet.  

I am especially glad that you received my letters on the dates which were most appropriate. 

Now, dear Sister, don’t you think it would be a weee bit impertinent to bother the Colonel aboot Leave It is like this, you cannot die of your own accord before your appointed time, you cannot die before God wishes you to die& so with everything in life. I shall have my Leave in all good time; do not think for a moment that I have been easy going & let opportunities slip, far from that.

In the Corps (6) we are now attached to there is no Home Leave, so I have heard.  We shall be leaving the Corps at the end of the month & then Leave will start againThere are lots of other men – & so accordingly there are lots of other men’s parents who are just as anxious to see their relatives.

Oh! Bukhshee* was very fond indeed of me, I might say without any self-assertion. Luckily he saw me again on entraining, & after we were dismissed, immediately came up & shook hands with me.  He also gave me his address & your letter has just reminded me to write to him.  He & thefrogeater’ will serve as jolly correspondence chums when ‘aprés le guerre’ (7).

Thank you very much for your advice. Yes Sydney & Bertie have a very brave & patient Mother.   So Mum was very different from those ‘silly, three fat ladies’ who clung to Dodger for protection. (8).

Best love to all,

Bertie.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Whilst his family would have been pleased Bertie had passed as a Sniper they were obviously very anxious to see him on Home Leave. He had been in France & Flanders for almost a year.

(1) 13th Feb. is the most likely date for this Letter.

url
James Paris Lee. 1831-1904.

(2) Pte Bertie’s Lee-Enfield Rifle, took its name from the designer of the rifle’s bolt systemJames Paris Lee , British Canadian & later American manufacturer  – and the factory in which it was designedthe Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield.

(3) Captain Lister*. Old Company Commander. (4) Lt. Colonel Raymond Raymer* 1/5th S. Staffords.

(5) Pte Bertie wanted to know the Greenwich Mean Time & new Summer Time at Home to compare with the time in France‘Mean’ time rather than ‘medium’ is meant.

(6) Notts & Derby (Transport Coprs). (7) Bukhshee Ichbye Singh Waltu* an Hindustani soldier met at Marseilles Joe Albene*, farmer landlord of Pte Bertie’s billet at Bellancourt.

(8)Ref. to Basil’s actions during Zeppelin Raid over Walsall. 31st Jan -1st Feb.1916. See New Page: ‘My Memories’ A.H.H. 1967. published 10th Feb 2016.

NEXT POST: 20th FEB.1916.

 

 

 

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12th FEB 1916: SNIPING TEST & FOOD PARCEL ECSTACY!

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: PAGES 3 -5 of LETTER to All the Family, 95, Foden Rd Walsall.

Saturday 12th Feb. 1916. (1)

. . . I came back from a Sniping Test  (Note the Chart at the head of my letter).

Lee-Enfield short magazine. Mk 1.
Lee-Enfield Rifle short magazine. Mk 1.
Winchester British Enfield Pattern. Sniper Rifle. 1914.
Winchester British Enfield Pattern. Sniper Rifle. 1914.

A day or two ago I happened to do well at potting at a target & I think they must have mistook me for my brother Sydney (Good old Sydney comes in useful even in his absence & leaves his footprints behind in the sand). (2)

So I was recommended for a Sniper(3) & this morning I had an idea I was going to do badly, but of course hoped & tried to do well, with the result that I made 3 bulls, & inners within a bull, the size of half a crown – of course with a special sighting arrangement.

So my happiness went up, & was gradually going up, when I was dismissed from the range first & marched to billets with great expectations of enjoying the contents of the first parcel.  What was my astounding, delightful surprise, on going up to this attic, than to see the Corp. hand me two more, similar parcels as the 1stI then sat down to work undoing the stitches, not one by one, butthe few onlookers (the others were on parade) commented on the excellent way in which the parcels were wrapped (4).

The first contained the serviettes, chocolate, cigs& now blow me I don’t know which was in which –  at any rate I placed them all in front of me.  What a fine show!  ‘Onze’ (sic). Now for ‘Douze(sic) as I strode back for the second parcel hidden in my pack.Douzecontained the very excellently knitted khaki socks. I did admire them & could see the thoughts inter-twined in them. 

Oh! I shall be especially thinking of you when I mange moi gateaux & pork pie I was in ecstasy as I withdrew the currant bread, but I looked for the butter & was about to be disappointed when the thought came to me, the butter might be in the third THURD parcel so in half a jiffy I strode one big stride & was into Treize or Troi (sic) as these frog-eating people call ‘three’; and my hopes of enjoying the currant bread with butter from Home soon were satisfied & gratified.

Thank you again for this writing pad, a guarantee that I did really get your three parcels. I have never read such interesting & full, stock- full of news, as those enclosed in the parcels, especially Sydney’s long account of his doings.  As for Basil’s, I shall have to write him a letter to read all on his owny own.  And well, as for Mum’s letters, I am at first very touched & then I flop down & down & DOWN I go, & I shall have to conclude now I have reached THE LIMIT.

To be continued tomorrow Sunday.

*************************

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

SIDI BISHR CAMP, ALEXANDRIA.               1st – 4th Feb. Battalion Training.

H.M.S. TRANSPORT. 5th Feb. Sat. 9.15 am.  Embarked en route for FRANCE.

H.M.S. Transylvania.
R.M.S. Transylvania. <https://www.en-wikipedia.org&gt;

H.M.S.TRANSYLVANIA (5).  6th -12th Feb. Voyage to MARSEILLES. MARSEILLES. arr. 12th Feb. Sat. 8.30 am. Disembarked and entrained en route to PONT REMY at 7.12 pm.   

**********************

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

After so many weeks deprived of all contact with his family and not knowing whether they had received what little correspondence he had  been able to send, Pte Bertie Hibbett was overcome with emotion opening his parcels and reading their letters. Counting in French obviously not his strong point!

(1)12th Feb. 1916 is the most likely date. (Continuation of letter is missing).

(2)‘A Psalm of Life’.1838. Henry Wadsworh Longfellow 1807 -1882. Collection: ‘Voices in the Night‘.  ‘. . .  In the world’s broad field of battle. In the bivouac of Life. Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!  . . . Lives of great men all remind us, We can make our lives sublime And, departing, leave behind us footprints in the sands of time . . . ‘

French Sniper team. 1914.
French Sniper team. 1914.<https:// http://www.alarmy.com&gt;

(3) The British Sniper was a trained marksman, alone or in a pair or sniper team:to maintain close visual contact with a target and engage targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the detection capabilities of enemy personnel.<https://www.en-wikipedia.org&gt; <https://www.gunauction.com&gt;

(4) A ‘parcelwrapping’ compliment to his father.

(5) S.S.Transylvania: Cunard – Anchor Line. Torpedoed & sunk by German U-boat, 4th May 1917, whilst carrying troops to Egypt from Marseilles. 412 lives lost.

NEXT POST: 13th FEB. 1916. Pages 4-5 of Letter to Ida. NB Continuation of Letter of 12th Feb. is missing).

NB. NEW PAGE:MY MEMORIES’ A.H.H. published 10th Feb. 2016 to mark centenary of the Battle of the Somme. 1st July, 1916.

 

 

 

26th Jan.1915: LUTON MUSKETRY COURSE: GOOD SCORING

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: PLAIN POSTCARD to ALL the FAMILY, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall. 

Tues Jan 26/ 15

Dear All,

I have just been making up my Diary & am suddenly brought to a full stop when I notice the date.

It reminds me that I forgot to put in the Touchy Bit in my last letter  –  I feel persuaded to write to you as Jan 27th is the anniversary of the Kaiser’s birthdayHis Imperial Majesty requests that no ceremony must be celebrated.  “This is a sure sign that the Kaiser is beginning to wish he had never been born” – so sais Punch.  Oh Syd and I are bound to make the Germans scoot and grovel in the ground!

TODAY’S SCORING is a great improvement upon Mondays.  Syd fired at 300 yards yesterday & got 3 bulls and 2 inners (1). I  got (at 300) 3 bulls, I inner, I maggie, (17) (2).

In rapid I flurried a bit (the belt got stuck) – I bull, I inner and the rest not signalled. 

Up till this they said was just PreliminarySyd was so glad for then his bad scoring (10 grouping ) will not count.  For the kick off of the Regular Course Syd got 25 out of 25 grouping & was complemented by the Colonel. I wanted to know what he said, but modest Syd only joked ‘Have you anything to say? “No Sir” – well shut up then‘.

I kicked off with 20 & hoped never to see that horrible flag (which I thought when I first fired out of a rifle at QMS was meant as a maximum score!)  – but now a washout – nought  – oh! oh! 

Well I thought of you & thank you all for your good wishes for our good scoring.  Your hope has brought good fruit at last.  I guess you, especially Basil, pulled a long face at Monday’s bad scoring. Today’s weather was lovely and bright & partly accounts for the good change.

I meant this card for a halfpenny stamp but now I’ve filled it I shall have to dig out 1d.  Well I’ll just see what Syd is doing.

There are 2 Sids in next door and 2 Berts in my billet.

Your affec. Bertie.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB 2009
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Kitchener’s New Army sent its recruits on Firing Courses at Luton, to test their quality before mobilsation to the Front.

(1) At QMS, Walsall, Sydney Hibbett won the Blyth Shooting Prize, a silver shield mounted on wood, its lettering now almost obliterated by his mother’s polishing.

Syd. Shooting prize 1911
QMS Cadet Company Shooting Prize awarded to Sydney Hibbett. 1911.

(2Firing Scores: Bertie’s description is rather confusing and I am unable to find a concise definition of scoring in 1915 but a ‘maggie‘ meant ‘no score‘ (indicated by a white flag); ‘grouping‘ meant placing shots as close together as possible – the Lee Enfield .303 rifle’s sights could then be adjusted for  the bull.

NEXT POST: 31st Jan. 1915. Luton Firing Scores.