Tag Archives: Rouen Hospital Food 1915.


 Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: Ward 6. No 9. General Hospital: LETTER to MOTHER, Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall, forwarded on by Ida to 7, Victoria Square, Whitby. (1).                                                                                                                                             In Red White & Blue.                                                                     Sunday Aug 22/15  

My Very Dear Mother,

54 in 1915.

Today is Sunday & I have just come back from a beautiful little service inside a tent.  Neat little chairs, & neat little forms, scrubbed white, a beautiful little altar covered with a nice plain green clothOn the altar was laid a beautiful brass cross, & vases in which were some lovely white flowers.

A soldier in khaki rang ‘The Bell’, which was in the form of a bar of iron & to make it ring the soldier smote it with a wooden hammer  – quite a good imitation.  Then in came some patients in Royal Blue suit, white shirts & wearing scarlet ties, just like me.  Yes, in Red, White & Blue, the Hospital Dress.  Then soon after, a few nurses (Sisters we call ’em) came & sat down in the chairs, they looked so ‘spick an’ span’ in their caps & aprons so perfectly white.  Then in came the organist or rather a nurse who sat down to a fine pianoThen the clergyman, a very gentlemanly M.A., no bombast at all about him.  He walked up the aisle to his little stained wooden desk & prepared the service.

Then a whole party of R.A.M.C. Soldiers in khaki came in & we had a good few,a handsome little muster of souls’ altogether.  A nice motley of colour – to see the scarlet copes of the Sisters, the hood of the priest, the green & white of the altar, the blue of the patients’ uniform & the khaki of the R.A.M.C.

SYDNEY HIBBETT 20 in 1914.
21 in 1915.

The service started with that glorious old Hymnal March ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ (2). I think of Sydney when I think of this hymn now, praying that he may goOnward’, while he is the indirect cause of me resting here. 

Sabine baring Gould, devon, UK.
Sabine baring Gould, devon, UK.

The sermon was good & just right for the congregation, about prayer, why some are not answered.  Then the climax of the service came, after the sermon we had that hymn reminding me so much of your dear daughter & my affectionate sister.

John Arbuthnot.
John Arbuthnot.

The Sister at the piano played exquisitely & we all joined in the anthem tune of  ‘As pants the hart for cooling streams’ (3) & a sweet voice from one of the Sisters sent me back to the memories of Ida as a nurse.

I spoke of resting here.  Well as a matter of fact we have work to do.  Just a bit of light duty in the way of house wifery I was orderly one day, but owing to vaccination & the irritation of sores round the ankle Sister put me on ‘The Bright Things’, as she calls the dinner tins & trays & milk cans.

Well isn’t it funny Mummy, you said I was fond of brightening, when I mentioned Sydney’s bayonetWell I of my own accord cleaned a dozen or more rusty knives (included in the bright things) which looked as if they had never been cleaned for half a century.  Yes Mummy your painstaking & care will  – & always will leave a trace in the family.

I was told to pick up all the rockeries around the front of the hut & put them beautifully straight again.  Well here again, you can tell the reflection of your nature upon mineI scrubbed all the stones, they looked so dirty & the result gained great commendation from the Senior Sister.

I will close now.  Hoping again that you are enjoying a sunny Sunday like it is here, all together & another nice evening’s walkI can picture the calm sea & sunset of a Sunday’s evening.

Mum, you know I like bread butter pudding, well I had a second serving for Sunday’s dinner & it was so nice, with currants & large sultanas in & custard on TOP, poor SydneyI hope to rejoin him soon & be proud to live the campaign through, yet above all how nice it would be if Home Leave would buck up in coming eh Mum.

Best love,    Bertie.

PS  It takes a week for a letter to come from England.  So if you wrote last Sunday afternoon I should not get the letter till tomorrow Monday.  I went to the 6.30 Holy Communion this morning too in the tent.  You can let Ida read this letter if you like.  I addressed this Home, as I guess you will be home in a week’s time, the length of time this letter will take. (1)



(1) This Letter only took  3 days instead of Bertie’s expected week so Ida forwarded it on to Whitby

Arthur Sullivan.

(2) 19th Cent. HymnOnward Christian Soldiers. Sabine Baring Gould. 1865. Music: Arthur Sullivan. 1871.

(3) Anthem:  As Pants the Hart for Cooling Streams.  George Frederick Handel (5 versions 1713 -1738, for use in Chapel Royal). Words (based on Psalm 42) attributed to John Arbuthnot, 1667 -1735. Scottish physician, mathematician and political satirist, (John Bull series). 


South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY shows Lance Corporal Sydney Hibbett still in Reserve Camp.

20th – 22nd Ouderdom ‘F’ Hutments, Divisional Reserve.

NEXT POSTS:  Apologies for late posting of Letters dated 22nd, 25th, 26th, 29th  & 30th AUGUST 1915. (I needed a walking break in the Lake District and will be back to original post dates by end of August).


Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT, ROUEN:  Ward 6,  No 9. GENERAL HOSPITAL .  LETTER to  MOTHERMarie Neal HIBBETT, c/o Mrs Hardcastle, 7, The Square, Whitby.

In Red White & Blue.  Friday Aug. 20/ 15.

Marie Neal Hibbett 53 in 1915
Marie Neal Hibbett. 53 in 1915

My Dear Mother,

Don’t you feel sorry for Sydney?  I do – don’t feel sorry for me.  (Just gone to put another record on the Pathephone)  (1) – ’Cos I am quite happy you know.

Pathephone Record Player.1916.
Pathephone Record Player.1916.

I am in No 6. Ward of No 9. General Hospital.  Oh! the difference after coming from the trenchesall spick & span neat beds, neat everything and meals served out to us.  Porridge for brekker, vegetables with our dinner & cocoa & milk at night.

Pathephone Advertisement 1915.
Pathephone Advertisement. 1915.

All this I owe to Sydney, who I found out consequently, had recommended me for a rest.  Twenty of us came down a week last Monday & all had to go up the line again 4 days afterwards.

Thought I was going, but there happened to be a Medical Inspection & I was marked unfit & sent here.  All wots up we me is that I’m run down, & blood out of order.  So I was vaccinated larst night (2).

If you want to send me anythink it must be in the way of biscuits & chocolate if you like.  I ’ope as you are still Enjoying yourselves.  I guess Harold has by this time gone to Bedale (3).

Tell me when you go home.  I am expecting a letter from you today. So will leave the last page blank until the post comes.

There goes the bugle for lettersWe have all the bugle calls (4), in fact everything is done Regimental Style, from Parade Calls to folding the dish cloth neatly into four

I hope Ida will keep the letters I’ve sent you so that you can read them too.

After Tea.  No letters forthcoming today, rather disappointing, hope for the best tomorrowa letter so enlivens me up.  We look uncommonly like Germans with our hair cut short (5).  I wonder if you could manage to send me some more hard boiled eggs like Bailey* used to get.

Best love dear Mummy,   Bertie.



Pte Bertie waited 10 days in Hospital before writing directly to his Mother, still on holiday to inform her that he wasrun-down‘, with ‘blood out of order’.  Ailments: ‘facial paralysis‘ from boils on face, neck & head;  boils & sores on legs. Treatment: ‘hot fomentations’  ‘vaccination’ & shaved head to get rid of lice.

(1) Pathephone: record player. (2) Harold was new manager of  pharmacy/chemist at Bedale, Yorkshire.

(3) ‘Vaccinated’:  for what  is unclear; could be against trench fever.  (4) Bugle Calls: short tune/ military signal to announce scheduled order/ event of the day. List of Bugle Calls with music notation <http://www.wikipedia.org/wikiBugle_call&gt;

(5) Lice & Fleas: an ever-present misery in trench life.


Meanwhile Lance Corporal SYDNEY HIBBETT was in Reserve Camp.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFS WAR DIARY.  1 8th – 20th Aug. 1915. 


NEXT POST:  22nd AUGUST, 1915. Tent Service in Colour & Sister’s ‘Bright Things’.