Tag Archives: WW1 Army accommodation

1st APRIL 1915. NEUVE EGLISE: Life & Death & Parcels.

South Staffordshire BadgeeSOUTH  STAFFORDS  WAR  DIARY


29th  March, Mon.  Entrenching exercise. 2 Coys moving. 2 Coys afternoon trenches opposite one another 40 X apart (yards?).  30th March, Tue.  Entrenching practice and Bomb Throwing practice.
31st March, Wed.  Constructing  Barbed wire Entanglements, construction of hurdles &  improvement of trenches, morning.  At 1.15pm orders received to march to Bailleul . Moved off at 3.30 pm. Arrived Bailleul at 5.0 pm. Billeted there for the nightCertain proportion of Officers went to Neuve Eglise to inspect trenches & take over huts for Battn.
March Diary Signed by R.R.Raymer*, Lt.Col. Comdg. 1/5th Bn. South Staffordshire Regt.
BULFORD CAMP: NEUVE  EGLISE   1st April, Thur. Morning in  Billets. Bn paraded at 2.30 pm & marched to  ‘Bulford Camp’ one mile SW of Neuve Eglisevacated by 2nd Bn Kings Own (R. Lancaster Regt).  Arrived Camp  5.0 pm.  (1)

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to FATHER, 95, Foden Rd, Walsall, (H.W.W.Parr censor)1st April 1915

April 1st Thursday Morning.

My Dear Sir,

We are on the move again.  I believe we are going into the trenches again & will probably be in on Good Friday and Saturday.  I expect to see Sid today.  He is still away (1).  We were digging trenches yesterday morning & had to hurry back to the barn & go without dinner & dress in full pack & be off.

So what became of your handsome parcel?   I carried it along the march for some distance & then it dropped.  A. D. Jones then gave a hand (2).  I managed to get it here safe & thought best to open it just to see if anything important was inside.  What a fine handsome neatly made up parcel it is, some of Dad’s handling I bet; nothing whatever smashed. I just had  one cake & opened a neatly rolled handkerchief & read Ida’s letter.

– Yes it would be better to send separate parcels to my opinion, but what say you ?

Dear Dadit is encouraging just to see the way you address our parcels, for it reminds me of your deep consideration for us & pleasant cheerful face, as though as to express the idea that after all there is no reason to pine over this war.  Of course the sooner its over the better, but we must not come to terms of peace on any ground  – and then again what is the fighting?

Let’s hope for Eternal Life & we shall see one another again in happiness.  In past wars there have been men return home safe and sound.  Let’s hope that Sid & I will.  But what I cannot get cool about is the thought of seeing chums wounded when I myself am not & to return home after seeing fallen chums.  

Vernon, Sid and I – wasn’t it lucky we all got together weeks last Tuesday night when we went to the trenches last time.

I was kindly remembered by Mr A.E. Hurst last Sunday.  He sent me an interesting letter & a parcel full of good things, stationery, text books and some Cadbury’s Chocolate.  I’m glad you got the newspaper.  I will begin to conclude my letter now.  I still find it difficult to write short letters.

Afternoon.  Another long march just finished.  Am in a most comfortable wooden hut.  A cannon has just gone off, shook the place my word!  the loudest I’ve heard.  With the old QMS boys again.

Tell Mr Venables* Arthur B. looks very wellWe’ve all got parcels.  I’ve had to carry Sid’s parcel again, this time I tied it on my pack.

I wish you and Mother & all at home, as well as Harold & Miss Bore, a very pleasant Easter, hoping you will spend it all together round the tea table & remember Sid and me at Church

The weather is simply lovely and bright;  rather warm on the march.  We had had very cold weather & I have had chapped hands early part of the week.  Basil would like to be with us, but there are more than myself who think it best & fortunate that he is under age & not with us.  I still think of his exam and hope it will come off lucky.

I wrote a letter to Miss Foster before this, & just after the post came I got parcel of Cadbury Chocolate for Sid and me.  Sid is still away. After opening the parcel I put the handkerchief back again & paper on top & wrapped it up again.  I think I shall open it now for I don’t know what we shall do next.  Oh how nice it would have been to have had Sid with me & to spread the lovely napkin & divide the luxuries for tea.

I have carried V. Evans’ parcel & Sanger’s.  Vernon is with Sid & Corp. Sanger*.  I shall have to close now with the very best of wishes & happiness.  I am keeping jolly well.  There goes another Jack Robinson –  I don’t think!  (4)


PS Have written to Miss Foster & will write to Mother later.



(1) Neuve Eglise Fr. /Nieuwkerke Flemish. (2Sydney Hibbett (with Vernon Evans & Sanger) was no doubt involved in preparations for move to Bulford Camp, & Wulverghem Trenches, opposite Messines.

(3Bertie was trying to carry a parcel about 8 miles to Bailleul on top of his full pack. By the time he finished this letter he had carried it another 9 miles to Bulford Camp. (4) A ‘Jack Robinson’: 1st WW  nickname for a shell or bomb . (Identity 18th C. real person lost: term assoc. with immediate/ sudden change ‘as quick as you can say Jack Robinson’).

NEXT POST:  2nd APRIL, 1915. Also Update of Welcome Page.

8th Dec. 1914: Bishops Stortford Corn Exchange, Army Orders & Underwear.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT  to Mrs Marie N. Hibbett at 95, Foden Road, Walsall.

Corn Exchange (1),                                                            Bishops Stortford.                                                                                Tuesday night. Dec. 8 / 14



My Dear Mother,

We are moving tomorrow to Saffron Walden, a provincial town about 12 miles north.  I daresay Syd has told you.  We had orders to pack ready and leave nothing behind, else we shall not see them again, for arrangements will be entirely different from what they have been with regards to communication from here to Luton.

I send home the two pairs of jypamas (sic) and the once pair of  Sunday boots.  I am bound to send these home now.  I have my valise, haversack etc stuffed already and there are still more things to go in.  If I need the army undervest I will write for it.  I found it too rough and not such a comfortable make as yours.  I have worn the trouser parts of the pyjamas while being here.  I do not think I will be able to wear such things again now we are on the move. I changed my underwear last Saturday night, after going to the Baths at a College in the morning  (they are not to be compared with those at Luton – of course these were free – all ‘A’ Company went by orders).

I read the Walsall paper you sent (3) (Evans* had one which I read the day before) and received the Parish Magazine this morning which I shall enjoy reading in my spare time.

We, the trio ( Syd, V. Evans and I ) will try to get together when we get to the new place, where I sincerely hope there will be comfortable house billets – ( of course we must get used to places more like the trenches or what shall we do when we have to sleep and dwell at the Front).  Of course things have been awkward somewhat here, and trying to comply with Army Orders.  I preferred sleeping at the proper place.

Have you received the blankets from Luton yet? (4)

I will pay the carriage forward for this and then I think it will get to Walsall all right & safe.  I am not only squeamish about sending parcels carriage forward, but I do not like the idea of you paying at your end when I can afford to pay at this end –  only when I’m really & excusably hard up.   Thank you for the letter (you said we could read one another’s ) and for the Yorkshire Herald cutting.  The Yorkshire Hussars are going to Harlow where Sir E. Wood (5) saw us on Friday.

I think we shall be in England by Christmas so there’s a chance of sharing the turkey & pudding with you.  I know you’d like us to.  Goodbye for the present.  I’m writing this in the Drill Hall – time’s up – ink bottles are going  – shd’v re-written this (6) – so sorry.



NB. On 5th Dec. 1914: King George V th visited the Front and on 7th Dec. Lloyd George became Prime Minister.

(1)The Corn Exchange appears to have been used as a Billet as well as a Drill Hall in 1914. (2LatinA Noble Pair of Brothers, ref. to stoicism in face of uncomfortable billets.  (3) Walsall Observer, Dec 1914: reports increasing number of photographs of local Casualties; requests for mittens & other comforts for the Front; Bishop of Lichfield called for  ‘Christmas as Usual‘ to help keep up soldiers’ ‘confidence’. (4) Blankets appear to have gone missing in transit home. (5Field Marshall Sir Evelyn Wood VC.  (6) Ref. to untidy writing and crossings out.

NEXT POST:11th Dec. 1914: Training in Saffron Walden: Trench Digging. Long Letter: Part 1, pages 1-13  to brother Basil.