Tag Archives: Million Egg Week 1915.


BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.
20  in 1915.


Monday Sep. 6 / 15

My Very Dear Mother & Father,

Another repetition of having to include a Monday’s epistle with a Sunday’s.  If I had managed to get a green envelope yesterday the 1st part of this letter would have gone. 

Egg Week Chicken-poster-1-revisedIt seemed as though the letters I wrote yesterday must stay to acknowledge the ripping parcel I got this morning.   The eggs came in good condition, –  just the shells broken, but that’s all  – no mess whateverHard boiled eggs seem to be in ‘great demand’ (as Miss Bore* sais) among the SoldiersA chap had some sent him too this very morning that I got yours.Million Egg chicken-poster-2-revised 


I feel I ought to answer the parcel straight away, although I have not broken into all the lovely contents.  Oh Mummy I am in raptures again.  I guess you are smiling to know that your effort in sending such good ‘stuff has been another good successThere was some crossings out on Dad’s address – how dare they spoil such neat writing,  but I got it safely I shall have to write another letter shortly to say how I enjoyed the ‘assortment‘ – you have good taste for biscuits, they are fine.

I was amused at the Whitby Heather scent  – after sending the Whitby Heather soap.  I guess Dad twitched a smile when he got to know you were sending me scent, but I was sincerely delighted with such a sentiment.  Mummy & Champion’s doing I bet.  And I was doubly glad on getting a handkerchief & more so being khaki.  I intended getting one with my next pay if I get any.  I needed a hankie so.  

I was very happy indeed to see Dodger’s few words & promising me a letter I guess he was writing it for me when I was writing to him, this letter enclosed yesterday afternoon. 

I have already bought a few apples, I think fruit will do me goodPoor Sydney again.  I was rather or felt  glad now that he kept Mrs Hurst’s parcel & shared the contents with ‘Brewin*’.

I enclose Sydney’s very, very nice letter. It is isn’t it? eh what?  I want you & Ida to try and persuade Mrs Hurst* not to trouble about sending another parcel to this address.  You may think I’m mercenary, for being inclined to expect another as Sydney had the other.  As Sydney sent me her lovely letter I must write back, but if I were to tell her myself not to send me another she might take it as an insinuation – at least I do.  And you can tell Mrs Hurst it was very kind indeed of her to offer to send me The Graphic (1) . Of course now that I am out of Hospital where I got reading matter I could do with something to read, but I leave that to you.

Now when our Company Sergeant Major* went on Home Leave (sergeants 1st then privates) he saw you Mother & told me so on returning to trenchesHe said he was thinking of going up to you & telling you how I was, but he did not like the idea when he thought of the life out here.

Now, as you read in Sydney’s letter, he too has gone where Corporal A. Penning* is (2). But I think his death did not linger with pain, as I have no doubt Mrs Penning’s son did.  Gee* was his name, a relative of Queen Mary’s O.T.C. Drum & Fife Instructor. 

I am sitting on a box in a Sergeant’s tent. I was interrupted half way through this letter by the sergeant who handed me this box & told me to go & sit inside the tent as I was squatting in the grass just outside. It is sunny & fine but we have had some heavy rains lately. 

Now I must write to Sydney.  I am glad you got a letter from him.  I told him to write to you & me & got his letter with your parcel. What a happy coincidence eh!   When I read that you are kept happy in hopes of seeing Sydney & me I do pray that happiness will be fulfilled.  ‘Put your trust in the Lord & He will fulfil your heart’s desire’ (3) and the 34th Psalm, for today – The Lord delivereth the souls of His servants; and all they that put their trust in Him shall NOT BE DESTITUTE’. (4)

Best love to all,   Bertram.  

PS  Oh I am glad Sydney had opened Mrs Hurst’s parcel of chocolate (see the stains of chocolate from his finger prints) sardines (they would not make my boils any better) condensed milk (he needed that to make his tea taste nice) and yes, I am doubly glad because his rations were thin & nasty. I hope he gets a Com.  You see, I told you so didn’t I –  if not then I tell you now, that he wanted me to go to Blighty.  I know the reason & sympathise with him & it is that feeling of his that makes me want to be with him, a sort of reaction. 

We were sleeping in those beds last year at this time Mother although firing our course and in training.



Two pictures. Two Serjeantsone saving a Mother from further anxiety – and another fetching a box for a young Private to sit on and inviting him into his tent to write home. Such simple acts of thoughtful kindness fill me with gratitude to all those who helped my Dad cope with the disappointment of not getting Home to ‘Blighty‘ with Boils.

(1) The Graphic: Illustrated Weekly Newspaper. London. famous for centre-page illustration of the Sinking of the Luisitania, May 1915.

Sinking of Luisitania.

(2) 6515 Company Serj. Major H. Gee. Killed : 26th Aug. 1915. (‘Shot through the lungs’, Sydney’s letter 29th Aug.).  Arthur Penning: only son of Mrs A. Penning, Pte Bertie’s landlady, 29 Gold Street, Saffron Walden.

(3) Psalm 37.4-5.  (4) Psalm 34 interestingly is an acrostic poem with each verse beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

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


6th Sept. Mon:  In BRIGADE RESERVE  – detail as 1st. CASUALTIES: WOUNDED: 8909 Pte V.C. Hough, 9149 Pte L.J. Bayley; No 9585 Pte C.F. Girling.  Relieved the 6th North Staffs in the trenches at 10.15 pm. Slightly wounded 8067  Pte J. Bradley, remain at duty.  

NEXT POST: 7th SEPT. 1915.  In Red White & Blue – no mistake.


BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.


Sunday Sep 5/ 15.  In Khaki Again

My Dear Mother & Father,

 I am now back again at No 6 General Base.  ‘Theythought I had been long enough in Hospital & could not keep me in any longer for the boil on my neck to get better.  So I am attendingSick& am markedActive’  – so I conclude I shall in all probability go up the line soon & then I shall be with Sydney.

I have spent a happy time on the whole in Hospital.  I had a letter & parcel from Harold & a parcel from Auntie.   When the NCOs saw me here at the Base they said “your name’s Hibbett is it? so you are the one who’s had so many letters”.  They were sent to Hospital all right enough.  I had a letter from – – –

broke off here to attend a Bible class in YMCA, will restart after tea.

Separate sheet (1).   Sunday  Sep. 5/ 15.  ‘In Khaki Again’

My Dear Mother & Father,

I am now back again at No 6 General Base.  ‘Theywould not keep me any longer in Hospital although I had have a boil in the back of my neck.  They said I had been in long enough & so I am onActive& will attend the Doctor.  The only advanta  Of course there is the benefit about itI shall soon be with Sydney, at least I hope to (2) –  & we shall then both, very likely, come on Home Leave together.

About Commissions Dadwell  I am content, but I want Sydney to go in for one; if he doesn’t then I shan’t be content until he does (3).  What does Sydney himself say?  I have not yet heard from him – perhaps he has forgotten my address.

Have you heard anything about Vernon’s Cousin, Bob Tucker*? – he is another case of MISSING ’.  (This I heard from Davie (Taffie) in Walsall Observer).  He went as you know to the Dardanelles.  I had a letter from the other sister of Vernon’sEdith this time. (Sorry Mummy, to keep mentioning all about Vernon & ‘nowt aboot me sen’ as you complained of in a past letter) (4).

Now what do you think of her writing?  It is more to my liking than t’other I sent you, that of Winnie’s.  I thought it was Mrs Evans*’s at first.  Now it struck me painfully, it did indeed.  On holding the letter some short distance away & noticing the style of writing, I could see quite prominently a considerable number of strokes, all practically horizontal, in fact all the paper seemed to be nothing but strokes.

For ‘Humours’ sake I struck a brilliant idea.  I sent you Winnie’s ‘Result’.  Now I have marked Edith’s.  Yes indeed & it looks prettier than Winnie’s with the blue & red doesn’t it? –  Never mind Edith, together with the white parchment it makes a patriotic symbol eh, what? and of course my writing I take as a dreadful example.

Dundrennan House, Walsall.
Dundrennan House, Walsall.

You remember dear Mum & Dad reading in the paper about the Million Egg Week. Well the UP Patients – (Ida will tell you what UP PATIENTS are without writing to ‘Dundrennan (5) to the ‘nurses’ there, they might tell you –  & you needn’t write again to No 5 Ward, No 9 General Hospital either again, for the sisters there might tell you that the UP PATIENTS are those ‘naughty laddies’ who arouse your patience – otherwise putting itgit your patty UP). Well I am going off my word – – 

I say all the UP Patients had, one teatime, a lot of eggs from St Agnes, Cornwall, each egg having an address of the contributor written in pencil on the shell (6).

Well I will close now. You will come to some decision shortly ’bout the Com. for Sydney   – & remember I’m back at 6 G. B.

Tat ta.   Best love to all & tell Dodger I’m writing to him next.




(1) Pte Bertie Hibbett restarts his letter, but still sends his first page Home; probably because he wants his parents to realise he is being  sent back to the Front even though he is not fully better.

(2) With Sydney? After a long stay in Hospital, or Leave, some soldiers were attached to different units, to replace casualties; some were given new numbers.

(3) Commissions: Pre-WW1 Army Officers were recruited from the upper-classes/ military families. Growing numbers of casualties (1914-915) led to recruitment of voluntary officers (‘Temporary Gentlemen’) from middle-classes/OTCs in public schools & universities and from lower classes, for the duration of the War. <http://worldwar1centenery.oucs.ox.ac.uk&gt;  Since 1871 commissions could not be bought but applicants would have needed good references. 

(4) Dialect: ‘Nothing about myself‘. (5Dundrennan’ House, Wednesbury Rd. Walsall: Vernon Evans’ Family HomeBoth sisters, Winifred & Edith Evans, were Red Cross Nurses.

(5) WW1 National Egg Collection launched in 1914 by Frederick Carl, editor of Poultry World, to provide protein for wounded soldiers in Hospital, first in Bologne. Grew from 20,000 eggs a week to Million Egg Week 16-23rd Aug. 1915.  Patron Queen Alexandra.  Collections often organised by Lady Mayors in local markets; even the smallest number of eggs welcomed and recorded. See N.Devon Journal Letters & War Reports in ‘Soldiers of the Great War‘ Heritage Lottery Millennium Project, Barnstaple Athenium & Record Office).

South Staffordshire BadgeeLance Corporal SYDNEY HIBBETT & 1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY


1st Sept. Wed: In Brigade Reserve. Two Companies (‘A’ & ‘B’) in the Railway Dugouts. One Company ‘C’ Rosenthal Chateau, one Company ‘D’ in Reserve to 6th North Staffords in Right Sector trenches, R7 found by ‘A’ Company, R8 found by ‘B’ Company, R9  found by ‘C’ Company.  Working and carrying parties found daily as ordered by the Brigade. CASUALTY WOUNDED: 8492 Drummer Wheeler.

2nd Sept. Thur: Ditto. CASUALTIES: WOUNDED: 8991 L/Cpl. Mann P.E. (since died of wounds).  WOUNDED: 8938 Pte Newbold A.; 8525 Pte Smith W.; 8931 Pte Bird J.A.; 8236 L/Cpl Jones A.   Slightly wounded remain at duty: 8811 Pte Dyke J.; 9141 Pte Wright G.; 8961 Pte Smith H.E.

3rd Sept Fri: In Brigade Reserve, detail as the 1st. CASUALTIES: KILLED: 8718 L/Cpl. Carpenter A. (Killed by shell).  4th Sept Sat: In Brigade Reserve, detail as the 1st. CASUALTY:  WOUNDED9128 Pte Pitcock E.   5th Sept. Sun: Ditto. 

NEXT POST: 6th Sept. 1915.