Tag Archives: Parcels from Home 1916.

20TH FEB. 1916: PLATOON FOOTBALL – ‘NO RULES – NO FOULS – NO INSIDE RIGHT – EVERYTHING INSIDE OUT!’

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5TH SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

Pont Remy France.
Pont Remy, France. <map-france.com>

PONT REMY. (1)

 

 

          14th Feb. Mon. 5.0 pm  Detrained and marched to BELLANCOURT (2). 15th-20th Feb. In  Billets. Battalion Training. 

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Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT  ‘No. 2 Platoon ‘A’ Company’: LETTER to Arthur & Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.                                        

Septuagesima Sunday (3).  February 20/ 16

Mon Chere Mere et Pere,

170px-Sullivan-1870
Arthur Seymour Sullivan. English Composer.

The weather today has been fine & sunny, but somewhat cold with a sharp wind.  I enjoyed the Parade Service in the field, on the outskirts of a park of fir treesThe old familiar formation of the Battalions in a square came with a freshness as we lined up on the field & the officers took part.  ‘Onward Christian soldiers (4) was the opening hymn.  After the service I went to Holy Communion in a barn in the village.  The Brig. Major & the other officers I knew attended. 

In the afternoon every man had to play football or have physical exercise.  Of course the majority voted for football.

So, Dodger! we had a game for those who did not know the rules of football.

We played platoon against platoonno rules – no fouls except the hands – no inside right – no forwards – no centre half – no inside left, in fact everything was inside out & the game was a game indeed.

I have been able to read the Walsall Observer account of the air raid (5) but it did not give the list of the injured.  I trust you are all safe. How sad for that RAMC to return home & find his wife, daughter & son had all lost their lives. I, like Mother, leave your safe keeping in those Higher Hands.  I think you have more to put up with than we men out here.

I wrote to you on Friday when I received your letter of February 6th.  To ensure the correspondence  I repeat that I am now back with the Batt. at No 2 Platoon A Coy .  We were paid the other night & I met A.O. Jones* & Cyril Hinde* who told me lots of news from Home, & Clifford Hackett* had a chat with me & said he met Bob Charlton* in Egypt (6).

You said Sydney walked into dinner one weekend.  How long did he spend at Home?  The letter was very ‘newsy’.  Many thanks my Dear Mummy for being so busy knitting socks.  – Yes every stitch will be a blessing.  I shall think of you as I tramp along in your socks & hope they will return to the very rooms you knitted them in soon, in God’s good time. 

Leave , I heard from Hackett, has been postponed till the end of March.  I hope it is only a rumour.

I am reading your letter & you are concluding as I am now. 

God be with you all & bless you all.

Yours affectionately,   Bertie.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1Pont Remy,  Picardie: ancient crossing of the Somme, 7 miles SE of Abbeville.  (2) Bellancourt5 miles march approx from Pont Remy. Pte Bertie Hibbett was M.P over Bellancourt farm billets waiting for 1/5th Staffords’ return from Egypt.

Pont Remy France.
Pont Remy France.

(3) Septuagesima Sunday. Ninth Sunday before Easter. (Lit. within ‘seventieth’ day before Easter. Book of Common Prayer. 1662.            

(4) Hymn: Sabine Baring Gould, 1834 -1924. (1865 processional hymn for children based on 2 Timothy 2.3endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Tune: ‘St Gertude’ 1871Arthur Sullivan,1842 -1900.

(5) Zeppelin Raid on WalsallJan 31st – Feb.1st 1916.

(6) Old QMS pals, Walsall.

NEXT POST: 27th Feb. 1916.

See also NEW PAGE: ‘My Memories’. A.H.H.

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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.

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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.   

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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.