Tag Archives: Uffington.

19th SEPT.1915. ‘SUCH A COLOSSAL STATE OF CONFUSION’.

BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.
BERTIE HIBBETT:
19 in 1914.

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT, No 9 GENERAL HOSPITAL ROUEN: LETTER to MOTHER, Marie Neal HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.

Mother at Tea.
Mother at Tea.

Another Sunny Sunday Afternoon. ‘In the easy chair’. Sept 19th / 15

‘O prosper thou our handywork’ (sic). Psalm 90.

My Dear Mother,  

Beginnings.   I’ve missed out the ‘very’ & was thinking of beginning afresh, but then it would be waste so you will forgive me won’t you Mum.  Now I have got a lot to say and didn’t know which end to begin so I’ve adopted little headings. I do like to make a good start to a letter.

A Striking Coincidence.   Oh Mum you have begun your letters of late capitally Your last two did thrill me, especially the long one enclosed in the last parcel What a queer thrill went through me when I read that you were thinking about us both in the garden in the sunshine.  Now it is natural that both sides should be thinking of one another, but after me writing last Sunday afternoon just when you were thinking about us & me writing about the fact too & then to hear from you in writing It was indeed a striking coincidence.

I’ve just sharpened my pencil & popped the last of your Nestle’s chocs: in me mooth (1) – no more details now, you’ll understand I guess. I have your letter in my hand. 

Well Mum I should like to say I’m TOP HOLE – but will put it that I am happy & grateful at present.

A Victory.   I was going to begin my letter dramatically & shout Hurrah! – for I managed to coax round the cook & get three apples roasted on the day I got your last parcel.  ( Oh! I say to me sen, I’ve let the cat out of the bag. I wrote to Mr Darling* yesterday & had to start twice, the first attempt was on this sheet and I haven’t a rubber to let the cat in the bag again (2).

Parcels.  Yes Mum I’ve had both parcels all right, the one addressed to the Base came up without fail. I don’t think there is any harm in hard boiled eggs, I think they have done me good, having had no signs of further illness through eating them.  I guess they are dear in Blighty now.

Lissie’s* Toy Gun. I had a parcel from Okoo when I got yours as well.  How the patients eyed me with envy carrying the parcel post away again.  I opened your parcel 1st & found the treasure Dodger told me to look out for, Lissie’s gunI sent her a card & she will get it today & you will have got my F.P.C.   It was too bad of you to send another bit of cash.  I tried  to get some of the apples roasted, but I was late at the cookhouse.  The cook hadn’t got the ovens going then. Then I opened Harold’s parcel  after reading your letter.

Mummy’s Photo. . .  Oh! Mummy! Let me see you again.  How lovely you look, your light hair in contrast with Miss Bore’s  and the pretty frill.

Hibbett Family Whitby 1915. From Left: Basil, Hilda Bore, Mother & Father. Photo Harold.
Hibbett Family  under the Bridge at Whitby. 1915.  From Left: Basil, Hilda Bore, Mother & Father. (Photo Harold).

I see you are busy with yourfissies’ as usual – (tissies) as Basil called them (1).  Yes! I have looked closely & well I never!  its a pair of socks you are knitting & very likely the ones I’ve been wearing.  Oh! you are nearer to me now Mummy  – & you felt so near to me all day Thursday that I almost saw you by my side.  I know you are thinking of Sydney & me againbut I trust you are thinking happily.

Sister’s Address.  A very nice letter indeed & I was in raptures when I read near the conclusion & went to read that little bit to the Irish Sister & showed her your photo Harold sent.  When she heard of such a generous exclamation as ‘Bless all those who are kindto Sydney & me, and that  you would send a little present,  – guess what she saidshe said it quite naturally, not as if she was posing & aware that I should write down her wordsWhat a nice kind Mother she must be’.

She was delighted with the photos; she knew Whitby & had a sister who had been there & seen the old bridge, underneath which you were taken, & the old houses on the cliff.  She gave me her name so that if you wish to keep to your generous promise, dear Mum, you can send a little present to Miss M.E. Boyd*, No 9 General Hospital B.E.F. – that is enough to find herAll the Sisters are right for their work & take things lightheartedly, amusing the patients & asking them how they are getting on. But this Irish Sister, who I have said reminds me of Winnie Overend*, often gives us cigs & sweets, which I believe she buys out of her own pocket.

The other dark-haired Irish Sister is always prodding into me when she sees me writing. (She is going to give me some cigs; she interfered with my writing again jokingly & I showed her your photo which she greatly admired – & then promised me some cigs this afternoon).

Miss Foster.  I wrote to Miss Foster on Thursday, in time for the letter to reach her on her birthday yesterdayThis sister picked up my letter when I showed her my drawing of a patient in Hospital Dress & she just glanced at the introduction. How she larfed.  ‘No it isn’t’, I said as she expressed the idea that it was my fiancee.

I thought I would draw something for Miss Foster, not being able to give her anything more than a letter, but as I was half way through a newsboy came to the Ward door & instead of buying a paper I bought a Souvenir Card he tempted me with.  I put some of Ida’s W.H. scent on it & enclosed it in Miss Foster’s Birthday letter.

Dr Hibbert (3). Now here’s another funny coincidenceduring yesterday I came across a patient who had been to Nottingham Goose fair every year & never missed up till the War. He was a Lincolnshire lad who knew all about Uffington (4) too – the conversation started with reference to mushrooms.  Another patient I came across was in the Royal Scots Greys & came from York.   By the by, these acquaintances remind me of Ida at Leicester HospitalThe Head Sister of the two Wards said once when she was giving me medicine, ‘Call for your medicine Hibbett – let’s see – I know  a Hibbert, I have a friend related to a Dr Hibbert’.  That’s the limit – now on to something more serious

Besides the photos of you all at Whitby there was one of Harold.  Who took it?  I must congratulate the photographer for it is very artistically arranged, but Oh dear Okoo, why isn’t there a smile, eh.    

Kaiser Wilhelm II. 0b8b32410ace7beea86e0cbaa1681fb2546a2f74
Kaiser Wilhelm II. Last German Emperor & King of Prussia. 1859 -1941.

The Marriage. I say Mummy, & all of you at home, wouldn’t it sound nice to read & hear of a Lieut. Harold Victor Hibbett R.A.M.C. will be married shortly to Miss H.B. eh. what oh!  & to hear that his brother, Mr. A. Hibbett’s second son, who is fighting at the Front will act as best man.

 

Best Man.   Oh Sydney! how can we buck up & ‘singe his whiskers’ (5).  How can we bring such a colossal state of upheaval to a close  – & get Home to witness a fine bust up at Home, Sweet Home.

Boils.  Now, Mum, that leads me to tell you the answer to your anxious enquiry Yes, I will let you know all in this my (next) letter.  I daresay you were disappointed in all the letters you’ve had since the 12th thinking I should answer your queries in themI don’t think for a moment now that I could get Home through my complaint for I am quite better now;  the ‘excavation’ into my neck has been finished with & the ‘cavity’ is practically closed up now.

Home Sweet Home. I was expecting to be marked out (6) today, but the Doctor said I should be in tomorrow, MondayThe Doctor was very amiable & knows his business, but I do not think he could do anything to send me Home & I know it is of no use whatever to try & put the matter to the Colonel.  You see there are many more cases & some are worse than mine & too there have been many cases such as mine & they have been able to put them right enough for Active Service.

Blighty, My Little Grey Home in the West.  No, I don’t think Dad could do anything; it is all very well for Sydney to say what he has said to you & I’m grateful to him at the same time.  I believe the great majority of patients want to go to Home Sweet Home – Blighty as we call it.

Dining Hall Talk.  It is ‘Dining Hall talkon how chaps are favoured & work their ticket marvellously & that it is one in 1000 who want to go up the line again.

The Three Calls.  But oh Mum I have told Mr Darling* that I feel I am on the balance in Hospital here. I can hear three calls.  I can hear Sydney calling me (seems funny, although he doesn’t wish me to join him).  I can hear the call of Duty.Rise! fellow-men, our country yet remains, By that dread name we wave the sword on high & swear for Her to live, for Her to die’ (7).  

At Duty’s Call.  My New Calling. Ready Aye ready. The third call comes indirectly through Hopes of living through the campaign & taking up a new career.  His calling, that came to me through Bishop’s Stafford’s text for the confirmation candidates of 1911.  Blessed is the man whom thou choosest & receivest unto thee.  Here am I  – send me.’ (8).

Khaki Case with PhotoMy Little Khaki Case.  Another look at you dear Mum.  I have scented you with Ida’s White Heather Scent.  Mother it reminds me of the lovely scent you had on you. I have scented the case. And there’s ‘CrippenMummy – oh don’t say that of dear Dad, but it’s a joke eh Mum, ‘Hoo Hic! ain’t he strict.’ (9).

Thinking.  Another look at Mum Yes you are thinking of me & I of you.  I wonder if you are peeping at Sydney too & my photo.

Today’s Post.  I had a letter from Cousin Stanley* this morning.  My word what a change in style and manner, – of course he is 17 He seems to have grown out of his shyness by the way he writes.  And I have had a nice, delightful, little letter from Miss Jones* & Miss Humphries*. . .  There was to be a box of cigs with the letter but I have not had it yet, perhaps it will turn up tomorrow. Miss Humphries says rightly, ‘The Lord is the same yesterday, today & forever’  (10).

Keep Looking Up.  There is a happy thought to conclude withKeep looking up, it is a bright blue sky & the sun is ‘nearing’ the West where you are.  Let your two sons push forward to the East & singe his whiskers, as Harold said, & do our Dooty, as England expected in Nelson’s day, & ought to now, & does now (11).

God bless you dear Mother, my very dear Mother & the same to my Father.  I do love him whom Ida once said is ‘kindness itself’  – she knows.

Best love to all,  from Bertie.

Church of England's Soldiers Institute, London.
Church of England’s Soldiers’ Institute, London.1915.

Post Script. Another Victory. Of course you must always expect a Post Script.

I have been unable to obtain any milk or eggs, but I should think I shall be at the Base before this week is out & then I shall be able to get some eggs.  But you must understand that we have not the conveniences like at Home.  Men won’t be troubled with boiling milk & eggs for me or anyone else.  But I managed by coaxing the chap at the Soldier’s Institute Canteen to make a bowl of coffee with the coffee you sent me in the parcel & it was ripping with those digestive biscuits & I enjoyed a good little supper that night (last night).  I wondered whatever to do with that coffee.   The shirt will come in useful when I am out of Hospital but you need not send me another as I have lately been given a new outfit & Sydney could do with them.

Hoping I have satisfied your queries. I have not said all yet.  I wonder if I was thinking of you before you were thinking of me today when I went to Holy Communion in the same lovely little tent.

It is a lovely evening again & I am going to Church, are you?

Bertie.

****************************

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Pte Bertie Hibbett’s longest letter yet in which his little headings help him to sort out his own confusion between Three Calls: Duty to his Brother, Duty to his Country and Duty to God.

(1) Hibbett Family Jargon/ Slang: moothmouth; senself; ‘cat out of the bag‘ –let out a secret by accident;  fissies (Yiddish for ‘feet) – hence knitted socks; Hoo Hic– nonsense words;  dooty-duty.   NB. ‘Okoo’ & ‘Dodger’: nicknames for Basil Hibbett, Bertie’s youngest brother. 

(2) Bertie has written  ‘Saturday Sep 18/15  ‘Dear Sir’ along the side of paper).

(3) The Hibbett Family was proud to differentiate itself from the ‘Hibbertdescendants of the Ibbot Family. Spelling: from my (6 x great) grandfather John Ibbot b. 1690; William Hibbett/or William Ibbot b. 1735; Luke Hibbitt b. 1765; William Hibbett b. circa 1790; Henry Hibbett b. 1824 (my great grandfather of Rutland & York); Arthur Hibbett b.1860 (my grandfather); Arthur Hubert Hibbett. b.1895 (my father). Sydney Martin Hibbett  b. 1931 (my brother). NB Observant folk will notice the number of years between father & eldest son is mostly 35 years.

(4) Uffington: Lincolnshire home of Hibbett cousins(5) ‘Singe his (Kaiser Wilhelm II’s) whiskers‘: get close enough to defeat him. Found in WW1 soldier’s story.

(6) ‘Marked Out’ (by R.A.M.C.): to be sent back to the Front  Line.  (7)’Rise fellow men. . . ‘Wanderings of Childe Harold’: John Harman Bedford, Lieut. R.N. ‘A Romance of Real Life’ (Lord Byron). 3 vols. 1825. London. (8)  Bertie has conflated two biblical sayings on God’s calling: Blessed is the man…’ Psalm 65.4.  ‘Here am I send me‘: First Isaiah 6.8. 

(9) Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen: American homeopath murdered his wife/ first criminal to be caught by wireless telegraph. Executed Pentonville Prison, 1910. Family nickname for Dad (Arthur Hibbett) when strict. (10) ‘The Lord is the same. . .’ Hebrews 13.8

(11) ‘England expects that everyman will do his duty. . .’ Signal sent by Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson from flagship H.M.S. Victory 21st Oct 1805, Battle of Trafalgar. Napoleonic Wars.

*****************************

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

CANADA HUTS NR DICKEBUSCH.

Rough Map of Staffords Route to the Front. 5th July 1915.
Rough Map of Staffords’ Route to the Front. 5th July 1915, showing Dickebusch & Hill 60.

18th Sept Sat: Divisional Reserve. Relieved the 6th North Staff in the trenches.

19th Sept. Sun: S.W. SLOPE HILL 60.  Very quiet day. Aeroplanes active on both sides, our machines appeared to have the upper hand.

NEXT POST:  24th SEPT. 1915.

1st AUGUST 1915: HILL 60 WHIZBANG DUGOUT & RUMOURS OF ‘REST’.

 Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT:  LETTER to IDA HIBBETT, on her own at 95, Foden Rd Walsall. (Mother, Father & Basil on holiday at Whitby). 

In the Trenches.  Whizbang DugOut (1).

IDA HIBBETT. 27 in 1914.
IDA HIBBETT.
27 in 1915.

My Dear Sister,

By the time this letter gets to you you will have settled down at home.  I guess you are on your way from York – it is about two o’clock now pm.

I read your letter to Sydney.  How queer, Ida, I suppose you saw the Field Postcard with the line :- ‘I am being sent down to Base’. This ought to have been crossed outIt was a mistake, a rather foolish one of mine, but queer enough I did not know I had made a mistake till Mother mentioned it in her letter  – & on the very day I got Mother’s letter a strong rumour got to my knowledge that I was going to the Base for a rest & yesterday I went before the Doctor & eventually I have my name down to go to Base (2).

  –  I conclude I am going but do not know exactly when.  I have heard that I shall be going while in the trenchesAnother queer part about the  matter is that I had long been recommended for a rest  & had been before the Doctor before I sent the PC to Mum .

Well, Champion, how have you enjoyed your stay at Ashton & YorkI should think you have no difficulty whatever in travelling now.  Did you pass through Crewe again ?  – & have a tray brought to you?

You will feel  the difference being at home, practically alone, after being with the relatives in the hub bub of the great centers.  But I guess you will have the Overends* to tea in our sunny gardenYes, I well remember May* (3) coming to tea & we had the basket table out & the silver.  I shall indeed appreciate dining at table with a white cloth, flowers & chinaHere I squat tailor fashion with my mess tin lid in which I eat my bacon & pontoon.WW1 brazier

You tell us not to eat so much cake, very well then we will take your wise advice, but we get to long for such luxuries after biscuits & cheese  – & yet we can eat anything after a long march,  – as for the case for Auntie’s cake – ate that at night after marching up the trenchesInstead then of cake we should very much appreciate one or two of your tea cakes with currants in – & you can put some caraway seed in mine.

While in the trenches, last time, I was called to the Brigade Headquarters (4), together with three other chaps from the other Battalions, as being picked for surveying work (5) I was to go & have my rest with my Battalion & then when I come back to the trenches I shall be liable to go & do some surveying I have not been called to do this surveying as yet.

Can  you read my writing?  Yes I am afraid it will take some effort to improve upon this. I get agitated somewhat & when I start a letter I lose patience trying to express the great stock of news I have in my mind.  

Sydney forgot to return the Copy (6) Mother sent & so I will return it in the green envelope, in which also is enclosed the souvenir card I meant to send you.  I thought of sending it to Auntie* & then Miss Foster*, but I have decided to send it to you because I dare say you will like to have it on your mantelpiece in your bedroom.

You can send the Copy off to Mother who will be at Whitby won’t she? with Dad & DodgerI would like to send them a letter while they are there but I am running rapidly short of notepaper & this pencil is getting short too.

I hope Dodger has done well at the Grammar School & passed with Honourswhat say you?   Yes,  he was the scamp who chased the pigs at Uffington (7) – those good old days when we used to number off the days for the holidays & stop away from school on the day we travelled. 

German Raid on whitby 16th Dec. 1914.
German Raid on Whitby 16th Dec. 1914.
Whitby Abbey
Whitby Abbey after German Bombardment. Dec. 1914.

I wonder if Basil will do what he said in one of his past letters  i.e. if they bombard the town again – to lie down full length in the grass on top of the Cliffs & watch the excitement .

Leuy Cozens 1914
Captain Leslie Cozens. ‘Tim’.  Family friend of Hibbetts.

Capt. C. (8) is back now & he does look ‘andsome on horseback does Tim.

Tell Dodger he can send us some picture PCs. – they come in handy for decorating our dugouts & are a pleasure to look at them.  I have several up in mine now.  I have still the one of our home with an Alexandra Rose (9) in it from one of my scholars, and Tamworth Castle (10), Sutton & Sunday School group.

Tamworth Castle PC.
Tamworth Castle .

Hoping you will have a ’appy time on your ony own.

Best love,  Bertie.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

The Hibbett Family were not deterred by the War from taking their usual summer holiday. It is likely that they purchased the  German Bombardment Book of Photographs, in aid of Whitby victimsat this time.

(1) Whizbang: Tommy’s name for a small high-velocity shell, which made a whizzing sound in flight & a bang when it hit.

(2) Rouen on SeineB.E.F. Main Base. (3May/ Mary Overend*. (4) Brigade HeadquartersRailway Cutting, Hill 60. (Divisional Headquarters was at Ouderdom). (5Surveyors were being brought together from different battalions to form special units & Tunnelling Companies. Pte Bertie Hibbett was a mining surveyor apprentice before the War

(6) Gazette Press Cutting re:- Colonel Wade & his son Jack Wade (missing on Eastern Front). (7) Uffington: village near Stamford, then in Rutlandshire.  Home of Uncle TomHibbett cousins.

(8) Captain Leslie (Tim) Cozens*, 1/5th S.Staffs ‘A’ Company. QMS scholar, Sunday School teacher, Walsall. (9) Queen Alexandra’s Rose: charities & hospitals for poor. (10) Tamworth Castle: Norman Castle overlooking River Tame, Staffordshire. 2nd largest motte & bailey castle in Uk to Windsor).  <www.visittamworth.co.uk>

NEXT POST: 1st AUGUST 1915: Wizbang Dugout, Hill 60 & Family Holidays.

24th APRIL 1915. WULVERGHEM: BOMBS, BULLETS & BISCUITS.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

NEUVE EGLISE

April 24th Sat.  Drill – Route March. Working Party of 200 men on G.H.Q. Line, 8 -12 midnight.  

SYDNEY HIBBETT 20 in 1914.
SYDNEY HIBBETT
21st Birthday 17th May 1915..

Lance Corp. SYDNEY HIBBETT: LETTER to sister IDA HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall  – in which he gives a description of Wulverghem village, its shattered Church and Priest’s House. (1)

Saturday Afternoon                                                                                                     April 24th 1915        ‘Himley Hall’ (2)

My Dear Sister Ida,

I am taking this, the first opportunity to answer your last two letters to me.  Many thanks  for your interesting chat and also for your good opinion of our doings.  It cheers one up & eggs one on to know that you are all thinking & praying for us when you have time. 

I was very glad Harold got my letter & ‘love’ & that you saw it.  Ask him if he got my instructions about Eddie & George not touching my Velox motor as it is important (3)  & (4).

I received (also Bert) your letter yesterdaythe post always arrives about tea-time here at the Rest Camp. I was glad to hear from the Overend girls & I sent Winnie a Field PC by return, thanking her for the chocolate, or rather acknowledging the receipt of same & her letter you enclosed.  It is very nice to know these people think of you.

As for courage & determination, I don’t think we remember that when they are shelling us, as I described to you before.  If  you are on sentry  you have to still look over the parapet or through the loophole, as a matter of course, just to see if the beggars are watching the shells burst & then of course you take a sight on the blighter & perhaps over he goes& there’s another for Whitby Abbey! (5).

The Lyddite are the worst shells as the fumes make your eyes smart so that you cannot see properly (6).

Our partner ‘E’ Coy. was shelled again on Wednesday & though not a man was hurt their dugouts & parapets were thrown down & in an awful mess.  Several shells did not burstthere was a distant boom, a swish overhead, bump, but no explosion.  Very funny to see the chaps’ faces when it didn’t burst.   Well we came out of the trenches for the 3rd time on Thursday night at the usual hour when you would be asleep in bed.  What would happen if all of us went to sleep then?

My platoon has not been in the trenches this time.  When the Batt. went in last Sunday night we stopped at a farm in the rear which was our billet for the time (6).  We slept in a barn & though bullets at times flattened themselves on the walls & in the yard we managed to keep clear of them, except for one or two who were hit in the arm & head.  They are bullets that don’t strike the trenches’ parapets, but flying over continue until they descend in the farm which is close to a very much shattered village (7).  

This village (about as big as Uffington (8) would be very pretty in peace time & especially now in the Spring but Good Lord!  it is now a disorderly heap of bricks & wood. Every house is shattered, the church has one wall of the tower left, the clock remains at 6.10, the windows are broken & bent beams lie all around; graves have disappeared & only a great hole remainsThe chairs inside are matchwood.  The Catholic Priest’s house opposite was a very beautiful residence once, but all his pictures & library & household effects are littered about  – valuable theological books are there – still whole, but neglected & dusty.  Then his garden is still beautiful with flowers and shrubs but littered with biscuits (9) & refuse.  In short a ghastly mess. 

Well on Monday, a beautiful hot day, & very still & quiet except for an occasional ping from a passing bullet, I had the job of getting all the good timber floors & doors etc out of these houses & handing it over to the R.E. to make trench gratings etc from Will finish this tomorrow as I am wanted outside.       ***************

Sunday 6.pm.   We have been building up the parapets in our reserve trenches from 10 am till 3 pm & so I am rather tired.  The Germans sent some shells over us which exploded near the village. The holes could be seen & the earth & stuff went skying up.  We were all digging hard, about the time you would be having dinner, when suddenly we heard the swish of the first shell coming over – down we all jumped into the trench & crouched thinking we were their blessed objective – but it passed over & I was just in time to see the shell burst near the village a few hundred yards away.  Well we had it like this for about half an hour, our Territorial battery replying & then it ceased.

It has been very warm todaythe artillery of both sides, especially our own, has been very busy lately & today also.  We could see the gun flashes & hear the blessed shells. 

I received a nice writing pad & material from Miss Negus (10) today & also a lovely box of chocolates & parkin from Auntie Pat* yesterday – nothing is left now!  They had Church parade while we were away digging, so I have read the Psalm over for today myself (11).

Bert’s feet are still bad & he does not do many parades so that he can get them better.  Nothing to worry about.(12)

Must close now.    Best love & wishes,  

Your loving brother,   Sydney.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Bruce Bairnsfather. Bullets & Billets. 1916. Chapter XXIII has a similar but more detailed description of the state of the Wulverghem Church & Priest’s House, 1915. The Project Gutenberg ebook  produced by Jonathan Ingram, Steven desJardin & Distributer Proofreader

(2) Himley Hall, Dudley, Staffordshire: Home of the Lords of Dudley* (since 16th Cent. Owners of coal and iron mines) – playful contrast with Sydney Hibbett’s present billet!

(3) Eddie & George – possibly young Hibbett cousins in Yorkshire. (4) Sydney Hibbett’s Velox was one of only 21  automobiles made by Velox Motor Company of Coventry (established 1902. Directors: George H. Davie & A.F. Harris). Grace’s Industrial History Guide.  

(4) Whitby – 16th Dec. 1914 suffered 7 minute German bombardment from sea, .  Abbey seriously damaged. (5) Lyddite is picric acid (Greek for ‘bitter’ reflecting taste/smell): formerly called ( TNP) 2,4,6 trinitrophenol  – primarily an explosive, also used in medicine/anaesthetic.  Lyddite Shells were high explosive shells, capable of piercing armour, used in Boer War & WW1.  Common Lyddite shells detonated/ fragmented into small pieces in all directions (but no fire). See Pte Bertie Hibbett’s letter of 23rd April, 1915.

(6Souvenir Farm/ Ration Farm? (7 ) Wulverghem. (8) Uffington in Lincolnshire (2 miles east of Stamford, i.e. close to Rutland – early 19th century home of Hibbett family). 

(9) Biscuits. It occurs to me (brought up in a Vicarage) that these  could be large unconsecrated Priest’s wafers ready for the Mass – even if a more humble biscuit they create a poignant image.  

(10Miss Negus (unable to trace). (11Psalm for 24th day of month: Ps.116 -119. Book of Common Prayer, 1662.

(12Bertie Hibbett’s April letters make no mention of his sore feet (no doubt to allay his Mother’s anxiety) but to be excused parade is indicative of something to worry about‘. 

NB  Useful Links: Hellfire Corner. The North Staffordshire Regiment at Wulverghem.  Contains pictures of Pte Bertie Hibbett’s Trench 8. <http://hellfirecorner.co.uk/wulverghem.htm  >

Bruce Bairnsfather: Bullets & Billets ebook

NEXT POST: 25th APRIL 1915. Letter from Godmother Mary Foster, Fernleigh, Nottingham.