Tag Archives: Merville Casualty Clearing Station 1915.


Bertie HibbettPte BERTIE HIBBETT, Merville Casualty Clearing Station: Letter to Mother, Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd, Walsall. 

(in same envelope as Letter of New Year’s Day)

Dec 31st 1915

‘Thy Kingdom come O God Thy rule, O Christ begin, Break with thine iron rod The tyrannies of sin. When comes the promised time that War shall be no more’. (1)

My Very Dear Mother,

Merville monasteryIMG_2808
Merville Monastery Chapel roof? cf http://www.lizclutterbuck.com

In the little Chapel we held another evening service, the last in the old year, & thus were the hymns we sung, including the one 217 A & M (2) which have very appropriate verses & brought happy memories of Fern Leigh Bible Class (3), when Ida and I happened once to arrive LATE & had to wait outside ‘thatdoor to hear all the verses through.

Yes. ‘Where is thy reign of peace and purity and love? When shall all hatred cease, As in the realms above’. (1).

‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’, many people & I think especially soldiers & soldier’s mothers, will pray slower with more meaning & deeper sense, Our Lord’s Prayer this New Year’s Eve.  ‘Thy Kingdom come’. 

Our Chaplain has preached , or rather given us little band of men who go to service each evening, some very simple yet inspiring addresses.  Last night he spoke some beautiful words about heaven being on earth.  ‘A new Heaven & a new Earth – and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes’. (4)

I send you a card which is one of many promised for us at Christmas (5) but they have arrived as late as this, yet I think them good enough & appropriate enough to send away now.  I send too, one for Ida & one for your ‘bed chamber’. We all followed the prayers said by the Chaplain for our dear ones at Home & said Amen.  Yes there is a great deal in an ‘Amen’.  So let it be O Lord (6).

NB Letter was continued & signed on New Year’s Day, 1st Jan. 1916.


South Staffordshire Badgee


Dec 31st.  Company & Battalion Training (for Eastern Front).

December 1915 CASUALTIES:- Killed 1. Wounded nil.   Signed:  R.R. RAYMER Lt Col. Cmdg 1/5th South Staffordshire Regt.



(1) Thy Kingdom Come: Hymn. 1867. Words: Lewis Hensley. 1824-1905. Anglican priest & hymn writer. Tune: St Cecilia. Leighton G. Hayne 1836-1883. Anglican priest & organ builder. 

Monk search
William Henry Monk

(2) A & M. Hymns Ancient & Modern. Product of Victorian Oxford Movement. Approved by Church of England in 1861. Several editions. Editor William Henry Monk, 1823 -1889. (Organist & choirmaster, composer of hymns & anthems).

(3) Fern Leigh Bible Class, held by Kathleen M. Brookes, Sunday School Superintendent, St Paul’s Walsall. (4) Revelation 21.1.

(5) Christmas cards provided by Army charity for troops to send Home? (6Amen: a strong affirmation/ agreement: ‘Truly’ ‘So be it’: Aramaic/ Semitic dialect/ 1st cent. language spoken by Jesusleft untranslated in Greek, Latin & English translations of the Bible. 

NEXT POST: 1st Jan. 1916: New Year’s Day.


Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT, Merville Casualty Clearing Station: LETTER to BASIL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall. (Censor J.E.  Fitzgerald* )

Dec 30/ 15

Basil Hibbett Age 18. 1916.
Basil Hibbett Age 18. 1916.

My Dear Basil,

So you will be having jolly old Sydney seeing you all again shortly – so I gathered from a ‘big surprise’ letter from the old boy the other night.  How jolly if he lets the New Year in eh? 

Letter censored by Army Chaplain J.E. Fitzgerald
Letter censored & signed by Army Chaplain, J.E. Fitzgerald*.

You see I can’t wait till New Year’s Eve. I must write now & fancy it will be none too early to let you have this important epistle, for very likely the ‘yeller boy(1) is with you now. 

Ha ha! I can see him cracking a joke with you & Ida in the firelight, much to Mum’s especial joy. I was extremely delighted on hearing he would be Home before the end of the month & I am only too anxious that his leave will not be cancelled or postponed.

Now Dodger this, what I am going to tell you, must not reach the eye (drawing of eye) see, compris & must not reach the ear (drawing of ear), do you hear? of Mum, or any other, but SydneyEye & Ear 30th Dec. 1915

Well then, don’t forget to re-member, to tell Sydney not to forget, but remember, not to say, by word of mouth or in any form whatsoever, that will cause Mum to be worried, anxious, perturbed, sick at heart or the like, of any before here mentioned, & tell Sydney not to say anything, with reference to my self that would cause Mum to be worried, anxious, perturbed, sick at heart, or the like of any before here mentioned.  Compris.  

Although I’ve joked somewhat about the matter, you will I trust see the imp-portance of it. Yes, ‘twould be rather impish of dear old Sydney if he did say anything not to my liking.  But of course I trust Sydney, but just put it to you, for he, being only human, might in his much conversation with you all round the dining table or fireside, relating perhaps the Charge of 13th October (2) & other incidents, get ‘War fever’ and trot out a word or two which would work wonders, & leave a lasting impression upon Mum & Dad & you all perhaps. 

Sydney might be much put out by this letter, as if I could not trust him, but just console him that it is only a double security in case of an exciting moment  of forgetfulness.

‘Just break the news to Mother’ (3) that  I look upon the present family affairs as Providential & I shall see you all in good time.  Also tell Ida (I wrote her on the night I got Sydney’s letter, Ida’s Birthday), that I dreamt of you all again last night.  I dreamt that instead of going on parade on foot we went on horseback & you, Basil, rode behind me.  I felt I could ride capitally & could feel the sores on my legs as I trotted on the hoss. Then the scene changed  & I was walking with Mother along a street, partly country & partly town. Mother kept changing into Mrs Evans* & then into Molly Evans*.  I also dreamt of Harold & Father & Sydney too.

Another himportant matter, which you can let the others know by all means, is that Patients are directed NOT to have their parcels & letters addressed to this place. I have been somewhat anxious that Mum in her motherly way would be sending me not only letters but parcels, which would again get mislaid. 

I shall, at least I do hope I shall, be out of Hospital before the New Year.  When I get settled I will let you know my address whether it is the Batt. or no.

Now don’t forget please.

I am your jolly old bhoy,


PS  Sydney ran a great risk but his letter was a pleasant & delightful surprise, as it seems such a long time since I heard from Home.  When you do write to me just refer to the dates & nature of letters so that I can tell if they have all reached Home.


South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

Dec 27th  Arrived Marseilles (Santi Camp)

29th -30th  Company & Battalion Training (for Eastern Front).



Pte Bertie was waiting to hear whether he must re-join his Battalion in Marseille, on its way to the Eastern Front or not.  His main wish was to protect his Mother from the horrors of War her sons were experiencing.

(1) ‘Yeller boyref. to Sydney’s jaundice. (2) Charge of 13th Oct. Battle of Loos-Hohenzollern Redoubt. (3) ‘Just break the news to Mother’ ref. to gramophone song. Letter: 24th Dec. 1915.

NEXT POST: 31st Dec. 1915. New Year’s Eve.