Tag Archives: Whitsundtide 1916.

11th JUNE 1916: ‘THIS WHITE CARNATION I PICKED FROM SOME GROWING BY THE TRENCH’.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY.

SOUASTRE.

7th -11th June Sun: Divisional Reserve. Furnishing working parties. 

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Bertie Hibbett

Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MARIE NEAL HIBBETT, 95 Foden Rd Walsall.

‘Evermore to rejoice in His Holy Comfort’. (1)

‘I will come to you’. ‘My Peace I give unto you’ (2)   Collect & Gospel for :-  

                                        Whit Sunday. June 11/ 16.

White Carnation.
White Carnation ‘picked from some growing by the trench’. June 11th 1916.

My Very Dear Mother,

I cannot just lay my hand on your last letter with that most appropriate text you wrote at the top. Yes I am learning a lesson from that text today. It is not for us to know the times or the seasons. It is not for us to plan out the future but to take each day as it comes (3).

I am so sorry for not controlling myself that day.  One of my comrades said I should follow him for Leave. I committed again a great folly, but as Sydney said I may go any day now

Since that day he went on leave Leave has been reduced to one man a Battalion a day, excepting Sun & Mon when two go.

Queen Cakes.<http://greatbritishchefs
Queen Cakes.

We went digging today & I thought of you all at Church & at dinner time. I understand it is the Sunday School Festival today (4). I wonder if you all went?  I am writing on a pad Mrs Hurst* sent me in a parcel with some fruit, coffee, sardines & some homemade Queen cakes (5). She sent the bananas green, thinking they would ripen on the way – good idea?

Centre: Sgt S. HIBBETT when training as a Sergeant.
Serjeant Sydney Hibbett. 1916.

Sydney heard from Miss Foster* today. He is keeping quite well & smart & always finds a cheery word for me, like Basil does for Mummy.

I hope you are not making elaborate preparations & putting yourself unnecessarily out of the way. Remember that I am coming Home just for a quiet time with Dad & Mum & brothers & sister. I shall not care for the bell to be kept ringing & Mum’s rooms & floors to be spoiled

The Hibbett Family at Tea: Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida.
The Hibbett Family at tea on Holiday at Abergele, North Wales:  Mother, Bertie, Sydney and Ida. August 1914.

I just feel, after this fatigue, that I could have a real rest at Home with Home people; to have friends would cause me to exert mental efforts in the way of manners & habits.

As for meals –  just those good wholesome puddings & plain teas will please me as well as anything.

I will close, hoping Our Lord, of whom we learn today is the Comforter, will give you strength & comfort to wait in hope. I trust He will send me Home in safety. Let us thank Him for all His mercies that He has bestowed upon us all these many months.

Vernon sends me the Observer (6) each week now apparently. I have had little time for writing.

Best love to all.  Bertie.

ekphotoartgallery.wordpress.comimgresPS  This white carnation I picked from some growing by the trench. White for Whitsuntide.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Mentally & physically exhausted, Pte Bertie Hibbett longs for rest – & the quiet of Home. The news that Leave was restricted to one soldier a battalion must have been devastating. His digging ‘fatigue’ could well have been repairing  the long & dangerous communication trenches, over the ridge from the Divisional Reserve at Souastre to the Front at Fonquevillers. Under close German observation these fatigues were conducted mainly at night.

Deprived of Church services, my father took strength from the Book of Common Prayer Readings & Prayers for the day – Whit Sunday, always a favourite festival for him. He took comfort from a white carnation picked by the trench and from the cheery word of his brother. His Mother’s advice ‘to take each day as it comes’, my Dad often passed on to me.

(1) Collect for Whit/ White Sunday/ Pentecost (50 days after Easter). Book of Common Prayer. 1662. God who as at this time didst teach to hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them of the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things: and ever more rejoice in his  holy comfort. . .’

(2) Gospel for Whit Sunday/ Pentecost: John 14.15f. Jesus’ Discourse on ResurrectionEternal Life

(3) ‘It is not for us to know the times and seasons’: Acts 1.7. Jesus’ spiritual answer to his disciples’ political question ‘Will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel’. i.e. Are you going to lead a rebellion against the Romans?

S. School Cert. 1914(4) St Paul’s Sunday School, Walsall. Bertie Hibbett had passed his Sunday School Teacher’s Examination in April 1914. Some of his class kept in touch with him during the War & sent him little gifts.

circa 1890

(5) Queen Cakes Patty Tins  c.1890; recipe older than reign of Queen Victoria? cf Historic Food Website. 

(6) The Walsall Observer.

NEXT POST: 18th June 1916.

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6th JUNE 1916: WHEN SHALL I GO ON HOME LEAVE -THIS YEAR? NEXT YEAR? SOMETIME? NEVER?

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

SOUASTRE DIVISIONAL RESERVE.

6th June Tue: Marched to new billets at SOUASTRE , arrived at 10.pm.

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Bertie in Uniform

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

Hand delivered in envelope addressed: ‘To Dearest Mummy from her loving Bertie’.

I had another volunteer to pose for me for this. Drew it in less than 10 mins.

Cartoon This year
WHEN SHALL I GO ON HOME  LEAVE. Cartoon:  Pte A. H. HIBBETT, 1916.       

                                                                                  Tuesday June 6/ 16.

WHEN SHALL I GO ON HOME LEAVE ? This year? Next year? Sometime? Never?  Nearing the Top. (1)   

My Very Dear Mother & Father & all of you,

Your ripping parcel came this dinner time. I have just read the letter.  Am sending this letter with another comrade out of ‘A’ Company who is going today on leave. Remember me writing at Easter sayingLet us hope (D.V.) that I shall see you at Whitsuntide(2). 

All my comrades & Sydney say I shall be going Home this week. The boy who is going today says I follow tomorrow. He lives near Home & said he will take it to my Home if he does not post it. He will most likely tell you I am following him on Leave tomorrow.

You had an idea we were about to go to the trenches!  Well as a matter of fact we move from this Place of Rest towards the line today. Time was getting rather anxious about Leave. I have washed a shirt, that comfortable shirt you sent last, so that I can wear it for when I go.

I might go to have tea with Sydney this evening, but on these ‘moving’ days we are busy packing up etc.

I will conclude now. I think I have said too much with regard to Leave. Sydney’s Leave came suddenly but as you seem to be anxious for news of my Leave I have told you as much as is wise to.

Battle of Jutlasnd
Battle of Jutland, off Coast of Denmark. 31st May -1st June 1916. <http://www.britishbattles.com&gt;.

We all know of the Naval activities & I am pleased we won (3).

Goodbye for the present. Thanking you all again for your kind wishes.

I see Dodger had a go at printing the label this time.

Your affec.  Bertie. 

PS Send Ida this month’s Pickwickian Leaflet (4).

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

The tension & anxiety for Pte Bertie Hibbett must have been almost impossible to bear a hundred years ago – on the move but not knowing where  – to ‘Leave Parade’ & Home  – to the Front & Battle with always the thought that he might never see his Home again. He plays a childhood game, does a sketch & washes a shirt; homely comforting activities.

(1Nursery Counting Game: Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief.  Fortune-telling Song counting plum stones, daisy petals or grasses etc. to answer questions: What will I be when I grow up?  or When will I marry? ‘This year, Next Year Sometime, Never‘.  Rould Folk Song Index No 802.

‘Nearing the Topdouble meaning here for Bertie – ref to nearing the top of the grass and ‘Going over the Top‘ into No Man’s Land and to Battle.

 (2) D.V.  Deus Vult Latin ‘God wills it’/ ‘God willing’  Whitsuntide: 50 days after Easter (Pentecost/ ‘pente’ Greek for fifty). Major Christian Festival. Celebrates the Gift of Holy Spirit on disciples of Christ. Acts 2.1-31. 

John Jellico Admiral of the Fleet.
Admiral of the Fleet, John Jellicoe.
www.eyewitnesstohistory.comjutland1
<http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com&gt;

(3) Battle of Jutland: North Sea off the coast of Denmark. 31st May -1st June, 1916. Largest Naval Battle of WW1, Both sides claimed Victory, with great loss of life.

Royal Navy, under Admiral John Jellicoe, lost 14 out of 28 battleships and twice as many lives as Germany (which lost 7 out of 16 dreadnought battleships) but British achieved long-term aim to prevent Germany gaining access to Britain & the Atlantic. 

Pickwickian Leaflet.
Pickwickian Leaflet. May 1916. A.H.H.

(4) Pickwickian Leaflet for June 1916 has not survived.

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NEXT POST: 11th June 1916.