Tag Archives: Lord Kitchener.

15TH NOV.1916: R.A.M.C. GIVEN DUE CREDIT IN BATTLE OF SOMME.

R.A.M.C Autogrphed Cigarette Papers. Red Cross Hospital. 1916.
R.A.M.C. Troop’s Autos & their Cigarette Papers. The Cenacle Red Cross Hospital. A.H.H. Autograph Album. 1916.

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JOHN JONES, R.A.M.C. (1) Aid Post in the Line:

LETTER to Pte HUBERT HIBBETT, The Cenacle Red Cross Hospital, New Brighton, Cheshire.

15/11/16

Dear Mr Hibbett, 

Your letter from the Cenacle to hand yesterday. I am at present one of three stationed at an aid-post in the line (2), but of course things have quietened down considerably since you were up here. We have quite a snug little dug-out, doing all our own cooking, which is so much better than depending on a cook-house. 

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Casualties are brought down to the regiment aid-post about 20 yards from here, then we take them down to the dressing station from there.

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Front Line Dressing Station. http://www.emaze

I have not actually been stationed in the town you mention but at a hospital on the road about 2 miles towards the line. You may know where I mean.  Also at a prison dressing station (3) still further up the line.

British Soldiers carry German wounded.
British Soldiers with German wounded prisoners. Somme Offensive. July 1916.

I was pleased to hear that you were satisfied with the way the R.A.M.C. treated you out here.  Previous to operations  on the Germans (censored but decipherable (3)) people at home seemed to be under misunderstanding about the work of the R.A.M.C. out here but I think we are now given due credit for our work.

I gather that you were wounded in the arm ?( censored) (4) so you will know that we were far from idle or out of danger there (5).

New Brighton Wallesley Sands.

Certainly, my heart aches to be with you strolling along New Brighton Sands. It certainly is a fine spot for wounded to recuperate.

Our division has commenced leave (6) so I hope to see Blighty sometime before the ending of the war. I guess you don’t half enjoy those little concerts you have at the Cenacle (7).

I do not think I have anything else to write to you about this time, only it gives me great pleasure in being able to make a written acquaintance with you.  I am sure it gave mother (8) great pleasure in doing her little bit to get you better again. 

I remain,

 Yours very sincerely, John Jones* (scarcely readable signature).

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

The writer of this Letter, John Jones, R.A.M.C., was most probably a civilian doctor who volunteered for service at the Front without having to undergo extra training. He appears to be the son of Mrs M.A. Jones, one of Marie Hibbett’s best friends in Walsall. Pte Bertie Hibbett frequently mentions her kindness in sending parcels & letters to him at the Front & to the Cenacle Hospital. 

John Jones is responding to my father’s request for information about what might have happened to his brother after he was reported wounded & missing in No Man’s Land. For many months the Hibbett Family hoped Sgt Sydney Hibbett might have been taken prisoner or might simply be lost in the system. ‘I see no objection to parties with Motor Ambulances searching villages in France for the wounded & to obtain particulars of the missing & convey them to hospital’. Lord Kitchener.12th Sept. 1914. 

Asclepius

(1) R.A.M.C. Badge has the Rod of Asclepius (with serpent  symbol of life & healing) surmounted by a crown, within a laurel wreath (symbols of honour & victory) with the regimental motto ‘In Arduis Fidelis‘ (Faithful in Adversity) or ‘Royal Army Medical Corps’ in a scroll beneath.  Asclepius was a Greek Hero & God of Medicine, (<www.GreekMedicine.net>).  R.A.M.C. medics wore an arm band but carried no weapon or ammunition. ramc-badge-jpg-opt150x144o00s150x144

(2) Aid Post in the Line: the first in a chain of medical posts organised by the Field Ambulance (FA). The FA Bearer Division brought wounded from the Front Line Regimental Aid Post (RAP) to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS), then on to a Main Dressing Station MDS (Tented ‘Hospital’) for treatment by the FA Tent Division. At the outbreak of war the R.A.M.C. had only 5,000 officers & men.

Lt general Sir Alfred Kogh 1857 -1936.
Lt General Sir Alfred Keogh 1857 -1936.

After the Battle of Mons, 23rd Aug 1914, when many wounded died in the chaos for lack of transport & swift medical support, (Doctor) Sir Alfred Henry Keogh was appointed Director General of R.A.M.C. & completely re-organised it. 

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A massive fund-raising scheme to purchase motor ambulances took place. Many women acted as ambulance drivers & motor mechanics.

Women Drivers.
354. The English Camp -The Garage of Cars & Women Drivers (& Mechanics) at work in front of their  Red Cross Motor-Ambulances. Le Treport. 1916.
Field Ambulance on Parade. Location unknown
Field Ambulance Unit on Parade. Location unknown.jpg.opt.

A Field Ambulance Unit consisted of 10 Officers, 224 Other Ranks & Army Service Corps. ‘Each column consisted of ambulance wagons, water-carts, forage carts for stores, cook’s wagon, 52 riding & draught horses’ and a member of the Cycle Corps.  cf Hibbett Letters: 14th Dec. 1915 and <https://www.1914-1918.net/fieldambulances&gt;

Grateful thanks to Tony Allen for his excellent website “The Royal Army Medical Corps on WW1 Postcards <https://www.worldwar1postcards.com/war-wounded-and-the-ramc.php> It is full of information, well researched, clearly presented with numerous illustrations.

(3) German Wounded Prisoners: the R.A.M.C.’s humanitarian aim was to treat British & German wounded alike, according to the Geneva Convention of 1864: ‘Wounded & sick combatants, to whatever nation they may belong, shall be collected & cared for’. ‘Operations on the Germans’: i.e the Battle of Somme/Gommecourt (not medical operations).

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Fragmentation of 18 pounder Mark iii Shell (complete detonation). Courtesy Tony Allen.

(4) Pte Bertie’s Wound: a three-letter word (‘arm‘?) has been censored to prevent the enemy learning the effect of its shells. The R.A.M.C contributed to WW1 research into types of wounds caused by fragmentation of shells. One of these such fragments nearly cost my Dad his arm.

(5) ‘Out there’: ie Foncquevillers Church Crypt Field Dressing Station (where my father had his wound dressed & received anti-tetanus injection 1st July 1916).  If the Germans had counter-attacked the medics there might well have been taken prisoner as the FDS in the Church Crypt was so close to the Front Line.

(6) Division Commenced Leave: Leave had dried up since June  prior to Battle of Somme 1st July 1916 (i.e. nearly 6 months). See Hibbett Cartoon & Letter: 6th June 1916.

(7) Cenacle Patients’ Concerts: See Hibbett Letters: 4th Oct 1916 & 10th Nov. 1916.

(8) MotherMrs M.A.Jones, attended St Paul’s Church Walsall (wife of J.H.Jones on Walsall Education Committee? / called him ‘His Lordship’ 20th June 1915;12th & 13th Sept. 1915). Many refs in Hibbett Letters to her parcels & letters. Mother of Lance Corp. A.O.Jones to whom Sydney entrusted his pack should anything happen to him. See Hibbett Letters: 17th May 1915; 27th Feb. 1916;10th & 21st May 1916; 1st June 1916; 19th July 1916.

NEXT POST: 20th Nov. 1916. ‘I dreamt a dream last night . . . Sydney on a Charger  . . . helmet covered with leaves’.

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30th JUNE 1915: OUDERDOM BAGPIPES & INDIANS.

South Staffordshire BadgeeTHE  HISTORY of  SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT 1914 -1918 (1).

General Plumer.
General Herbert Plumer.

June 1915: South Staffs moved further north to Ypres Salient as 46th N. Midland Division now joined the 2nd Army under General Plumer (2).

SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.    

27th 28th 29th June:  In Hutments near OUDERDOMCASUALTY: No 9713  Pte J.Monk, ‘D’ Coy, wounded while on working party.  30th June, Wed:  In Hutments near OUDERDOM. CASUALTY: No 9006 Pte. B. Hopley, ‘D’ Coy wounded while on working party.

JUNE 1915 CASUALTIES: OTHER RANKS KILLED 4;.  WOUNDED 12.  (Accidentally WOUNDED 2).  

Signed:  R. RICHMOND RAYMER Lt. Col. 1/5th S.Staffs Regt.   4.7.15.

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Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to brother, BASIL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall. ( With newspaper cutting contrasting Lord Kitchener favourably  with Lord Fisher, First Sea Lord) (3 &4).

Basil Hibbett Age 18. 1916.
Basil Hibbett 1916. Age 17. 1915.

Woden’s Day me Lord. June 30th / 15

My Dear Dodger,

I’ve just finished tea so if there’s any sticky marmalade besmeared somewhat on the pages of this letter today I will hereafter be right sorry somewhat.

It’s a lovely hot day again, but oh dear we’ve started having six-hour drills per day in full pack (5).

Before I go any farther I must thank Mother for her very nice letter written on Sunday.   I will answer it  tomorrow for sure an’ I will.

You would like to have a fortnight –  say out here as an holiday.  On Sunday & Monday evenings I visited the I(ndianCamp (6).  They were dressed in khaki, just like us, only with khaki turbans on with red tassels. Tell Mother (I know she admires themthey are really splendid & marvellous & so sociable I am ‘struck’ by them everyday I see them, but they have left us now.  I had some of their oatmeal cakes called chipatte & they gave me some corn that they eat.  You would be amused at their sergeant beckoning –  & when they fall in they cease whatever they are doing & fall in straight away, some of their braces dangling behind, some in shirts sleeves, some with blankets around them & anyhow.

Vernon. Sydney & I had a letter sent to each of us from dear Mrs Penning*.  I will refer to them in Mother’s letter.   One night this week as I slept under this canvas tent, (by the by Sydney & Vernon are with me), I was awakened by the sound of bagpipes, such a lovely sound & the music came familiar to me.  Then early this morning, about 3.30, I heard a most glorious brass band, big drums & hornets, trumpets, clarinets, euphoniums, trombones of all keys, bass, soprano.  What a fine marching air & then I heard the sound of men singing & when the band ceased they cheered like billy ho.  We made out that it was the L & L coming out of the trenches (7).

We go on a route march often while in Camp & once I saw the men in kilts & glengarry & the men practicing the pipes. How we cheered when the Reserves came in to us the other evening with our band escorting them.

Tell Dad  Charlie H.* (8) is with us nowPoor chap, –  you know he had the bridge of his foot brokenI admire the General of the Division every time I see him. He does remind me of Mush* (?).  Why, by the by, isn’t Mush in khaki like the others?   Vernon gave me a most humorous letter from his sister Molly to Sydney & myself.  He showed me some funny photos of Norman & Molly playing at soldiers. I wonder if Mrs Evans showed Ida the one of Molly as a soldier.

Tell Ida  I didn’t  ‘Stand it’. Perhaps she’ll think I’m a bit of a tomnoddy slacker (9), jokingly putting it, but you see I lay down.  ‘Underconstubble un’stand’ – as a sergeant sais when drilling us.  She said she felt jolly tired & wondered how I stood it in the shell hole.

I will close now wishing you the best of luck in the exam. ‘Keep ya pecker up‘ as Okoo* sais.

Bertie.

PS  The last pot of cream was richer than those before – we like it thick.  Could Mother put some water cress in the next parcel as we get little or no green vegetables.

  PPS  To let you know we got everything & enjoyed everything I say I relished the plum cake with its nuts. The bit of cash will come in handy.  I hear the place where we can get something in the way of luxuries has been shelled The sugar will be sure to come in useful.  As a matter of fact the whole jolly parcel was spiffing.  The tomatoes arrived quite whole in a splendid condition.

Bertie.       Censor: WE Wright

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

NB: Pte Bertie Hibbett was in a canvas tent / bivouac, not a wooden hut at Ouderdom; a very large Camp accommodating  several Regiments ‘lent’ to the Division  after the bitter fighting of the 2nd Battle of Ypres in May – & all with their morale-boosting Bands. My father knew his musical instruments & knows his brother will be interested.

(1) The History of the South Staffordshire Regiment is kept at the Regimental Museum, Whittington Barracks, Lichfield. (2) Field Marshall Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, Commander V Corps 2nd Battle of Ypres April 1915, took command of 2nd Army May 1915; June 1917 won Battle of Messines.  

(3Admiral of the Fleet, John Arbuthnot ‘Jacky’ Fisher 1841-1920; ‘argumentative, energetic, reform mindedconsidered to be second only in importance to Lord Nelson in history of the Navy.  See wikipedia.

Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot Fisher. 1841-1920.
Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot Fisher. 1841-1920.

(4) Newspaper Cutting (Times? no date, marked in pencil):  ‘A CONTRAST. Compare this action with the dignified and patriotic attitude of Lord Kitchener – that silent sentinel of our Empire.  No attack, no personal consideration of any kind, perturbs him. He is the Soldier of his Job; and from early morning till late night, and frequently through the night, there he is at his post –  creating a British Army three millions strong, and all the while keeping his hand on the pulse of the colossal fighting bodies of all our forces in the field.  Try to realise the immensity of the task – and then you will get some idea of the greatness of the man. And why shouldn’t Lord Fisher be equally great?  Perhaps the comparative inactivity of the Navy may have dulled his imagination; but who shall say how soon our great sea leviathans may be spawning out the fumes of hell which the Germans have flamed into fury?  Then indeed will the First Sea Lord be a mighty factor in our Empire’s life.  And Britons would sleep more peacefully in their beds if they knew the “Kitchener of the Navy” was sharing with the Kitchener of the Army the supreme responsibility for the conduct of the war.‘                                      

On the back of this cutting is an article about the American people ‘who cannot remain unmoved by the war that was to shake the world.  Eighty million people, bound to Europe by ties of blood, tied by sacred traditions which cannot be wiped out in a generation, allied to all the great commercial and manufacturing centres’

(5) Full Pack weight: 1914: 50 -58 Ibs. By 1916 ‘with addition of steel helmets, box respirators, wire cutters, bulldog shovels, grenades and ‘extra’ ammunition 70 – 90 Ibs. <www.Tommy1418.com>

Memorial to Indian Forces 1914-1918.
Memorial to Indian Forces 1914-1918.

(6) Indian Camp Ouderdom9,000 Indian soldiers died on the Western Front, through severe winter conditions as well as action of the enemy.  A monument dedicated to 130,000 Indian forces that served in WW1 is to south of Ypres Menin Gate, Memorial to the Missing

(7) L & L: either 4th & 5th Leicesters or Lancashires & Leicesters. (8) Charlie Harrison*. (9) ‘tomnoddy’ ‘: etymology possibly from ‘dodman’ the snail hence ‘slow‘ and therefore ‘foolish‘, ‘stupid‘ person.

NEXT POST: 1st JULY 1915.  Bully Beef Bungalow.