Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, 1/5TH SOUTH STAFFORDSHIRE REGIMENT: ‘A Little Book of Words & Doings‘.
After the Battle of Loos Hohenzollern Redoubt Oct 13th -15th. 1915.
15th October 1915.
On my return from Rouen (1) to Bethune heard of the Charge of Oct 13th on arrival at Station. Heard of the critical condition of Capt. Cozens* (2).
Anxious about Sydney & Vernon* (3).
Draft met Batt. coming from Vermelles Trenches, war worn, lost hats, muddy tired look. Finest March Past I have ever seen. Strained my neck to catch Sydney. Saw him march by with a smile at me & lost hat (4). Saw Vernon – he just caught sight of me, after much exertion on my part. Saw Cyril Hind* & Norman Cope* march past.
Met Sydney in attic of barn at Bethune; brother clasps the hand of brother & kissed each other (5). Opened my parcel which Mum sent me at Rouen; brought it with me with some choc. for Sydney & De Ruskes (6) for Vernon. Potted meat etc from home.
(1) Pte Bertie Hibbett had been in Hospital at the B.E.F. Base in Rouen, since 10th August. (2) Captain L. (Tim) Cozens, family friend, member of St Paul’s Church, Walsall, Sunday School Teacher. QMS. Killed in Action 13th Oct. 1915. (Unable to find details on Commonwealth War Graves website.
cf ‘Little Book of Words & Doings’ 10th Aug. 1915: Last conversation with Capt. Cozens (Tim) on leaving Railway Dugouts. Not been five minutes with him before a whole crowd was round him. Talked of a Charge in which Earl Cardigon, dressed in civvies with frock coat, funny socks, swaggle cane & cigar astonished the enemy. Offered Tim a State Express cig. Harper and Serg Major Gee whom I saw also. All three killed while I was at Rouen Aug -Oct.
(3) Vernon Evans. Bertie’s best pal, kept in touch with each other all their lives.
(4) Lost Hat: steel helmets were to save countless lives after they were issued in 1916. cf <https://www.pollingerltd.com>
(5) Hymn: ‘Through the Night of Doubt & Sorrow’. ‘Brother clasps the hand of brother stepping fearless through the night’. Words: Bernhardt S. Ingerman. 1826. Danish translated by Sabine Baring Gould, The People’s Hymnal. 1867. Music ‘Beecher’: John Zundall. 1870.
NB ‘Brother clasped hands & kissed each other’: Eastern custom. cf Genesis story of Jacob & Esau.
(6) De Reszke cigarettes cf Hibbett Letter:13th June 1915.
NEXT POST: 17th Oct. 1915.