Tag Archives: Wulverghem Trenches

5TH APRIL 1915: NIGHT RATION PARTY, WULVERGHEM TRENCHES

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

WULVERGHEM TRENCHES

April 5th Mon:  Sniping frequent all night. Searchlights used on both flanks & our working parties much hampered (1). Damage to breastwork by shell fire made good. 10a trench again shelled in afternoon, also Wulverghem village. Casualties: 2nd Lieut F. Eglington & 9531 Pte W. Horton ‘B’ Coy wounded by shells. Heavy rain, much water in trenches.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to MOTHER, 95, Foden Rd. Walsall.

Easter Monday. April 5th / 15

My Dear Mother,

Just a few lines to say I met Sydney on the night of Easter SundayThe meeting came quite as a surprise, little did I know I should see him in such a place.  I was one of the ration party making its way late at night over the country (1) ; we halted at some part of the line of trenches for rations & I came suddenly upon Sid.  We laughed  We shared the remains of the parcel I kept in my valeise (sic) this morning.  Sid looks very well.  

It is raining this afternoon & I am writing this in the dugout.  Well I have written to Mr Darling* & acknowledged Mr Hurst’s* parcel in the way of a letter.  This is some of the note he sent me.

For the first time since confirmation I have missed Easter Communion dear Mother, yet circumstances could not be helped.  I read the Collect & Epistle etc for Easter & part of the Communion service in this dugout.(2)

I remember your very kind letter last. Yes the soap was lovely.  We have not yet finished the 1st parcel.  Sid has some cigs left & there is some cocoa & oxo left. I did not come across the emery paper until later on for it was at the bottom of the box.  Many, many thanks for it –  greatly indebted to you for it will come in handy now the rain has rusted the bayonet Hard up for a wash in these trenches.  As for a change did you get my letter saying we could do with one change of shirt and pants& if you like an under-vest.

I guess Basil is looking  very much forward to his holiday in Manchester, what oh!  Tell him to remember us to relatives there and hope he will return home the better for his stay there.

I saw a photo of a Captain Sidebottom of the Lancashire regiment reported killed or wounded.  A.D. Jones* has promised it me. I hope to send it you later.  Perhaps you knew him, I have heard you talk about those people at home.

Well I’ll close now.  V. Evans* has come back too with Sid. 

Best love to all.  God be with you.   Bertie.

PS  Tell Ida we have been to the 2nd place she mentioned in her letter.

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Pte Bertie (night ration party) in danger of snipers. (2) Easter Day CollectBook of Common Prayer. Thomas Cranmer, AD 1662: Almighty God, who through thine only begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life . . .

Epistle. Colossians 3.1. St Paul, AD 40:  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set you affection on  things above, not on things on earth. For you are dead. and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Gospel. St John 20.1: The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre and seett the stone taken away . . . (AD 90 -100).

NEXT POST: 8th April, 1915.

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4TH APRIL 1915: EASTER DAWN, WULVERGHEM TRENCHES.

5th April 1915 Dawn
Easter Dawn. Home Words, Vol XLV No.4.   April 1915.

SOUTH  STAFFORDS  WAR  DIARY

WULVERGHEM TRENCHES  (Pte Bertie Hibbett in Trench 8)

3rd April 1915 Brigadier Gen. E. Feetham (1) visited trenches of Battn. on taking over command of Staffs Infy Bde.

Trenches in considerable disrepair. Gaps between 10a & 10b.  Practically impossible to visit them in daylight. V. little wire. Work on improvements & extensions commenced at once.

Trenches 10a & 10b  subject to enfilade (2) fire from left  – & 8 & 9,  from right (MESSINES HILL).  CasualtiesKilled:- 8137 Pte A. Hunt, ‘D’ Coy; 9579 Ptes T. Childs,  ‘A’ Coy. Wounded: 9866 Pte G. Derby, ‘A’ Coy; 8765 Pte W. Law ‘B’ Coy.

4th April. (Easter Sunday).  At 3.15 pm German Artillery began to shell Trenches 8 & 9 afterwards attacking 10a.  Later they shelled Wulverghem village., & set on fireGable Farm’.  At 2.pm just before shelling began a white flag  was shown in enemy trench opposite to Trench 8. (Pte Bertie’s).

Casualties: Wounded by shell fire:9110 Sgt J. Hayward & 7667 Pte F. Stockholm. Much firing during the evening.  8109 Pte A. Weston, ‘C’ Coy wounded while carrying rations to trenches.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETTA Little Book of Words & Doings. Easter Dawn:  ‘with Sam Harvey* on Listening Post at ruined house in front of trenches at Messines. Drizzle & rain chiefly all day. Wrote to Mr. Darling* (3) censored by Lieut Wright*. Remember rain making the blue lead run. Beautiful sunset & fine on close of day.  

LETTER  to Mother, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall.  (Middle page 3 found in mud stained envelope dated May 2/15)                                                                                                                                                          . . . told my ‘mate’ it was Easter SundayThe greeting was not recognised by him at first and then I guess we both thought of home & last yearEaster evening was different, the sun sank in a veil of crimson and purple with a thrush singing an evening hymn. ‘£8 for a violet (?)’

Well Sid went and picked some of those lovely light blue May flowers, the Forget-me-nots, & I thought of the brilliant idea of sending one in my letter to adorn the heading of a real May Day story letter.

We are about . . . (censored). . . and we are sorry for we’ve had a lovely time in the . . . (censored). . .  trenches.

The weather is simply glorious, like June.  Picture me on sentry from early dawn, watching the sun rise in all its splendour, then the thrush whistling its morning sacrifice & the lark at heaven’s gate singing.  Later in the day I heard the faint call of the cuckooThere I stood for two hours, standing, watching, waiting under a cloudless sky.  I frequently heard the buzz of those birds, the aeroplanes.  I would gaze into the sky but could see nothing. . . (censored). . . although he was in the ethereal blue.

Sid and I were together in one dug out (and by the by it was the first occasion of [his] taking  command).  Sid & I tried to make our corners as homely as possibleI gave him half of a number of cigarette cards & he went and got some flowers.  Sid you know was fond of bringing you flowers, and added to the decoration of his part, while I rummaged among my letters for some PCs.  I had the one of ‘Home’, 95 Foden Road, Harold’s PC of St Paul’s and Sunday S. Scholar’s PC of the Hospital, – all three on a shelf over my head. I placed Basil’s lovely PC of  ‘The Dingle’. . .

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1Brg. Gen Edward  Feetham, C.O. Staffs Infantry Brigade. (Killed in Action 29th March 1918. Age 57 yrs. memorial Picquigny Cemetery). (2) enfilade (or flanking attack) fire that can travel the length of a trench or column of soldiers/ medieval tactic used by English yeomanry against French in  Hundred Years War 1337 -1453).  (3) The Revd. E. More Darling, Vicar of Walsall.

(4) ImageEaster Dawn: Church Magazine Home Words Ltd 11 Ludgate Square. (Vol. XLV. No. 4. April, 1915). ‘ NB  Easter Day,1915 was actually 4th April. It is likely that Bertie saw this picture only after he came home and wrote ‘Bertram on Listening Post. Easter Dawn. April 5th/ 15.’

Poem: Adelaide Anne Proctor, 1825 -1864.

Adelade Anne Proctor. 1825- 1864. Poet & Phlanthropist.
Adelaide Anne Proctor.

(Poet & Philanthropist working for unemployed women & homeless):

Be strong to hope, oh Heart!  Though day is bright, The stars can only shine In the dark night. Be strong oh heart of mine,  Look towards the Light!          

Be strong to bear, oh Heart! Nothing is vain: Strive not for life is care, and God sends pain. Heaven is above, and there  Rest will remain!

(5) Sydney Hibbett could have been promoted to Lance-Corporal or Corporal in the days he was away.

NEXT POST: Easter Day5th April 1915.