Tag Archives: Rats.

28TH MAY 1916: LES AUTRES BOSCHES ‘MAKING HURDLES FOR TRENCHES’ & ‘A PROUD NEW DRAFT OF OFFICERS!’

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

LUCHEUX. (1)

21st- 31st May: Battalion Training. In Rest Billets.

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Bertie HibbettPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MARIE NEAL & ARTHUR HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall. 

‘Yea and slew mighty Kings, for his mercy endureth for ever’.  Psalm 136. (2)

‘For the Lord be high, yet he hath respect unto the lowly; as for the proud he beholdeth them afar off’.  Psalm 138.

I am not alone, because the Father is with me’. ‘I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you’. (3) Gospel for:- 5th Sunday after Easter.  May 28/ 16.

My Dear Mother & Father,

I guessed it was Empire Day (4) on Wednesday when I sent you my ‘Doggerel Illustrated’ – one copy,  whichever you choose, was for Miss Foster.

www.gettyimages.co.uk
Photographer in a water-logged trench lined with hurdles. <http://www.gettyimages.co.uk&gt;

After a long day’s work in a big wood, making hurdles for trenches, I came back rather tired with the expectation of the parcel you told me to look out for. 

Lo! what a pleasure indeed to find it when I returned, just in time for a comfy luxurious Sunday tea; I washed my sweaty hands, wood stained through chopping, & then took the parcel into a neighbouring field & there I did enjoy the things – and so fulfilled your wish.

www.pinterest.com
<http://www.pinterest.com&gt;

You remembered it seemed, that I love those ginger cakes with icing on top. Are they  any dearer now?  Bates* used to have them for lunch & send me to Pathesons (5) for them.  Many thanks for the favourite chocolates & the very acceptable and ‘suitablelime juice pastilles; both Dodger & you still remember what I like in confectionery.

So also the DUCKY eggs which I am keeping to enjoy for tomorrow’s breakfast. After a thirsty day the Pineapple chunks were deliciousThank you for the notepaper. Could you send some envelopes with the next lot?

Now, dear Mum, the thought of those sketches in Fragments of France (6) more particularly the wording underneath, did enter my mind as vulgarLieut Sanger* told me he (Bairnsfather) had been libelled for one of his sketches.

Sniper Atkins A.H.Hibbett. May 1916.
Sniper Atkins: A.H.Hibbett. May 1916.

I do hope you will not think my pictures, illustrating that poem of mine, are vulgar also, but mine are chiefly originals.

You will recognise one or two of them as copies from Fragments of France. One of the Snipers had it sent to himThe features in my pictures are similar to Bairnsfather’s.  What do you think of the verses? I wrote to Miss Bore* last night & sent her a copy.

www.
<http://virtual-library.culturalservices.net&gt;

I had two lovely letters from Miss K.E. Brookes* from Malvern & today the parcel of cigarettes, (which were from Samudas (7) & first intended for me & which Miss Brookes said had been returned to her, for what reason she did not say) came with your parcels & were readdressed to Sydney and I had his lot. Miss Brookes sent me a PC of Malvern also; they are doing their bit well I think.

Yes I ‘compris’ your meaning  of the amusing display of swank and ‘offishness’.  Do you read the texts at the top of my letters?see what I have written about the ‘Proud’ in today’s Psalms.

www.historic-uk.comempiredaycelebrationsEmpire Day generally turns out sunny.  We had it sunny too. You were all alone you said, see that part of  the Gospel I particularly thought of you when I read it & the text has been mine before the war & since.

I was very, very pleased indeed to hear that Sydney got his birthday parcels on the very day.  I have written twice since he left me. Once on his birthday & one previous, which I hoped he would get on the dayDo you know Mum, between we selves, I think the reason Sydney has gone in for the Course of Armoury (8) (and in hopes to be an Armoury Sergeant) is to get out of the way of these new draft officers. But excepting Lieut Sanger* of course, who wished he had Sydney as his Platoon Sergeant.  Sanger is over us now – 2 Platoon. I remembered you to him & he often asks me concerning you both.

I had a nice long letter from Auntie (Pattie) about Military Sunday (9). She said she could not help, with others, feeling sad at the sight of so many soldiers – not so much of those particular soldiers, but it reminded her of the War.

Rats: & Rat catcher WW1.
French Rats,  Rat Catcher & dog.  WW1.

There are not so many rats in this barn, why I can’t say.  I have not seen one yet. The sketch I drew of ‘A night attack repulsed’ is typical of a usual night’s rest in the last barns previous to these.

www sparticus-education
<www sparticus-educational.com>

Oh Auntie doesn’t know yet that Ida is away doing farm work & she said how pleased matters turned out for Basil, he could go out with IdaSo is Basil full up with Wednesday afternoons now like Sydney & I were?  Does he go firing at Tame Valley Range? (10).

You can write long letters Mummy but do they interfere with your ‘business’? Yes I told you in my last that the (cooker) refill arrived safely.  Apparently you did not get my last Sunday green letter before Wednesday. You would get it on Thursday I guess rightly eh?

How queer that you should be thinking of the same subject as I have been thinking about this last week & today even. No I have not a stripe yet, I still class as a ‘Tommy’.

www.huffingtonpost.com2014-10-03-photo1
The Soldier’s Friend. Pearl Plate Paste.

You need not send me any money thank you very much MummyI should only spend it on things which you could send me in parcels, for instance I want some Soldier’s Friend’ a kind of ‘Perka’ (sic) (11), only in tins, for brightening my buttons.

I will close now with my Best Love to all.  B.

PS  I saw Ball* yesterday morning since his return from Leave.  He told me he met a ‘Lady’ in Lichfield & that he went into Father’s Office (12). I offered him a few chocolates at tea time. I guess your ear would burn at tea time for I guess we were, both sides of the water, enjoying a nice Sunday’s tea.

God bless you all.  Bertie.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Both Serjeant Sydney & Bertie Hibbett, still a ‘Tommy’, had yet to hear about their application for Commission in 1/5th & 3/5th South Staffords, respectively. It appears the ‘new draft of officers’ displayed ‘swank and ‘offishness‘ – a proud lot, not to be compared with those who came out with the Staffords in 1914.  From this letter we learn that my father was worried his Mother might think his ‘Sniper Atkins’ ‘vulgar’. Also that Ida’s new voluntary work was in the Women’s Land Army, a decision she had kept from her Mother.

Lucheux Castle entrance. en wiki
Lucheux Castle entrance. <en-wiki.org>

(1) Lucheuxmedieval villageapprox.13 miles from the Front. Place for rest & training – with a 48th Field Ambulance (37th Division) Hospital. Here the 137th (Staffordshire) & 138th (Lincoln & Leicester) Brigades (46th Division) created a large scale model of German Lines at Gommecourt for Battle Practice. French farmers called the 46th Division ‘Les autres Bosches’ for taking up valuable arable land. Lucheux Woods were exploited for cutting sapplings for hurdles & ‘revetments‘ (trench supports). See Gerald GliddonSomme 1916 A Battlefield Companion. 2012.

(2) Psalms for 28th Day, Evening Prayer (Book of Common Prayer) are again applied by Pte Bertie to comfort his family & make sense of his life. (3) I am not alone/ the Father loveth you: Gospel of John, 16.32.

www.historic-uk.comempiredaycelebrations(4Empire Day: celebration of British, Empire 24th May 1904 -1958. Inspired by Earl Meath (friend of Baden Powell). To remind children that ‘They  formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.” <http://www.historic-uk.com&gt;

(5) ‘Pathesons’: Walsall Bakery?  Bates* could be Bertie Hibbett’s former supervisor in Mining Surveyor’s Office, Lichfield Street, Walsall. (6) Fragments of France: Captain Bruce Bairnsfather. Published in The Bystander. 1916.<http://brucebairnsfather.org.uk&gt; & Hibbett Letter: 17th May 1916. (7) ‘Samudas: familiar name in Walsall/ Birmingham area. No direct reference found. 

(8) Armoury Course: oldest trade in British Army /maintenance & repair of small arms & weapons systems. Details outlined in ‘Instructions for Armourers’, 1897. <http://www.rifleman.org.uk/instructions&gt;.

(9) Military Sunday: national Fund Raising Day for Soldiers? (10) Tame Valley: South of Tamworth on Staffordshire/Warwickshire border. Firing Range for Army/ O.T.C. Queen Mary’s School Walsall. (11) ‘Perkatext unclear/ could be ‘Perika‘/ brand name for cleaning polish?

Post card new town Hall, Walsall 1905.
Post Card: New Town Hall, Walsall 1905.

(12) Town Hall, Walsall.1905. Arthur Hibbett’s Education Office was at the back of the building to the left I think.

NEXT POST: 1st June, 1916.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1ST MAY 1916: HOME LETTERS FIND ME IN BARNS, CAVES, HUTS, SCHOOLS & TUMBLE DOWN DUGOUTS WITH RATS SQEAKING!

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

CHELERS.  

29th April – 1st May 1916. BATTALION TRAINING.

Bertie in Uniform

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, No 3 FIELD AMBULANCE N. MIDLANDS DIVISION: THE PICKWICKIAN LEAFLET to IDA HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall.

Pickwickian Envelope.

Envelope: THE PICKWICKIAN LEAFLET, Active Service Supplement of The Pickwick Magazine, Organ of a Pickwick Club. (1)                                             

Basil Hibbett Age 18. 1916.
‘Dodger’ Basil Hibbett Age 18.
VAD Nurses Ida Hibbett & May Overend. 1915.
VAD Nurses Ida Hibbett & May Overend. 1915.

cont: No 1. ISSUED MONTHLY  This month’s leaflet is dedicated to ‘Our Dodger’ and ‘MayO.  On back: ‘Oh! If you like you can send this to May Overend*’ (2).   (Censor A. S. Hoads)

Pickwickian leaflet 1
The Pickwickian Leaflet. Side 1.

Many Happy returns to Basil & May but we hope that we shall be enjoying ‘Peace’ next May Day.  I wish I had made a decent article but being on Active Service I can’t start afresh see over . . .                               

NO I.  MONDAY              MAY 1st 1916.                                     MONTHLY.   

News from the Papers. Not a reflection upon De Coverley (3). I could not help thinking that this name of ‘Sir Roger’ has been disgraced.  Goldsmith’s ‘Sir Roger’ was a good man, but the one who was put in the Tower of London ought instead to be shut up in a case of cement, then the noble knight would not even have a chance to ‘Wait & See’ what his Case meant, and repent.

W.A.A.C Poster. Pressure began in 1914 butNot till Dec 1916.
Pressure for WAAC began in 1914 but not officially established until Dec 1916.

Women War Workers (4). What does Tommy on Home Leave think of ‘her’ who salutes and exclaims ‘Sir’ in the street, whenever they meet to greet him?  Although I heartily agree with Women War Workers & congratulate their good work at the same time I should not like to see ‘Pickwick’ in masculine dress salute me at the door and address me as ‘Sir’ when I go on Leave. Pickwick you remember, when the Club was in being, was the name given to Ida.

On the Recruiting Crisis (5). Rise fellow men! Our country yet remains. By that dread name We wave the sword on high, And swear for Her to live, For Her to die (6). This Easter tide ought to give us, along with its bright weather, a stimulus. This Spring we hope is the Herald of Victory before the Autumn.  In any case `Victory’ will, in the end, be for the ‘Allies’.

Pickwickian leaflet 2.
Pickwickian Leaflet.  Side 2.  NB See Welcome page Smiling Letter Home.

Members Birthdays. Today the weather is beautiful, just the ideal May Day weather, & I hope the members of the Pickwick Club are enjoying Happy Birthdays.                                                                               

Where Home Epistles Go! ‘I wonder what my son is doing at this very minute’, sais a Mother who has just sat down to write a letter to her son at the Front. There are many who ask this to themselves & there are many at Home who wonder, not only where their friends & relatives are, but where their letters find them. I have  received letters in places  you would not dream of. The number of  letters I have  had while in the trenches are many, so also those received while encamping for the four or five days before going into the trenches again. 

I have had letters while in barns of old farms, in caves like those of Linley Caverns (7) besides huts, theatres, schools and dugoutsThe daughter of Flo’s’ letter (8) I read at the entrance of a cavern, a letter from Father was  read in a half  tumble down dugout dripping with  water and amidst the sound of rats squeaking.  Many letters have been read by a log fire in an old barn and by the brazier in the trench.  I shall never forget the letter I read as soon as daylight was strong enough. 

It goes without saying that all the letters are welcome to Tommy,  he is so eager & keen to open them that he takes first opportunity no matter what is preventing.  I once read a letter on the side of the road when I went for rations & had one handed to me from the QMS.

A detailed account of one or two letters ‘where they went to’ will be given in each monthly issue of the paper.  Look out to see where your next letter reached me.

More Articles. The Pickwickian Leaflet, as its name implies, consists of literature on one page only.  I have only been able to give a few articles this time. but I shall try to put more articles in next month; but it will be a case of Multum in Parvo (9).

Yours sincerely,  Winkle (10).

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
The PICKWICK CLUB of 1905.
The PICKWICK CLUB of 1905.

(1) The Pickwick Club: See Hibbett Letters 23rd April 1915; also 7th, & 13th Sept and 26th Dec. 1915. 

Transcription left: October 1905. The Pickwick Magazine. Editor: Sam Weller MPC (May Overend*). Motto: NIL DESPERANDO (Never Despair).

Sam Pickwick President: I Hibbett.  Augustus Snodgrass Member: Sydney Hibbett (8 yrs). Sam Weller Member: May Overend. Tracy Tupman Member: Bertie Hibbett (7 yrs). Sam Wardle Member: I. Cozens*. Nath(anual) Winkle Member: D Cozens* (10 yrs). NB The Cozens were sons of W.H. Cozens*, Superintendant of St Paul’s Sunday School Walsall, lived at Furzedown, Streetly Lane, Sutton Coldfield, mentored Bertie Hibbett’s Sunday School work from 1913.

(3) Sir Roger de Coverley: character in The Sir Roger de Coverley Papers, The Spectator 1711 (daily publication byJoseph Addison (1st May 1672- 1719) & Richard Steele ). An English Squire with values of old country gentleman, ‘lovable but ridiculous’, politics ‘silly but harmless’.  <http://http://www.enwiki.com&gt; and http://www.enotes.com/topic/sir-roger-de-coverley/critical essays> ‘a gentleman of Worcester, of ancient descent, a baronet/ ‘quaint & lovable representation of Tory landowning class an aimiable but rather inneffectual anachronism’. Also a English/Scottish country dance, published c 1695.

Oliver Goldsmith 1728-1774: Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, dramatist. (NB I am unable to discover connection with Sir Roger or with 1916 newspaper). 

29th-April-1916.-Cartoon-Sister.(4) Women War Workers/women in uniform. See Hibbett Letter Cartoon 28th April 1916

(5) The Recruitment Crisis 1916. Military Service Act (27th Jan. 1916): compulsory conscription of 19- 41 yr old men/ no choice given re service, regiment or unit. Age lowered to 18 yrs on 25th May 1916. Tribunal Appeals (re illness, disability, ‘starred occupation’ – essential work on Home Front) meant Military Act failed to deliver numbers required. <http://www.1914-1918.com&gt; Long Long Trail.

(6) Rise fellow men!Sir Thomas Lawrence Campbell, 1777-1844, Scottish Poet – re Battle of Maciejowice, Poland 10th Oct. 1794 (Russians defeated the Poles).

(7) Linley Caverns, Aldridge, Staffordshire. Extensive 19th cent. limestone workings now flooded: ‘an incredibly dangerous place’. Used for storing bombs in WW2. See <https:brownhillsbog.com> Urban Exploration at Linley Caverns. 1957 (Walsall Observer:16th Aug.1957).

(8) i.e. Flo’s daughter’s letter: Flo?  (9Multum in Parvo: LatinMuch in a small space‘. (10) Winkle: a Pickwick Club name for Bertie. NB the Pickwick Club note above, gives him as Tracy Tupman.

NEXT POST: 10th May 1916.