Tag Archives: WW1 Steel Helmet.

13th FEB. 1916: PASSED AS A SNIPER BUT NO HOME LEAVE.

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT, attached Notts & Derby TransportPAGES 4-6 of  LETTER to IDA HIBBETT, 95, Foden Rd Walsall. 

(Sun. 13th Feb. 1916?) (1)

. . . .  They have passed me as a qualified Sniper (2) & I satisfied our old Coy. Com. Capt List-r (3).

British Sniper. NB Steel helmet issued 1916.
British Trench with Sniper and dead /sleeping soldier?  NB Steel helmet issued 1916.

He has a brother in the 3/ 5th (S.Staffs) who wrote to him concerning Sydney.  Captain L — r, now Major, is acting as Colonel while R—r (4) is away.  I am sorry for a reason; Sydney’s release will be delayed again.

I am what you might call ‘humbly’ glad you liked my small gift, & really did not think it would give you so much pleasure as you made out in your letterThe cross  must be yours for all time.  (I don’t know so much that I shall have a cross dangling from a watch Chain)I might go in for a couple of wrist watches.  I say two – so that I can take the average, or otherwise the medium (sic) time (5).

Camouflaged Springfield Rifle with telescope. www.pinterest.comimgres
Camouflaged Springfield Rifle with telescope. https://www.pinterest.comimgres >

I shall have to finish on this fourth sheet.  

I am especially glad that you received my letters on the dates which were most appropriate. 

Now, dear Sister, don’t you think it would be a weee bit impertinent to bother the Colonel aboot Leave It is like this, you cannot die of your own accord before your appointed time, you cannot die before God wishes you to die& so with everything in life. I shall have my Leave in all good time; do not think for a moment that I have been easy going & let opportunities slip, far from that.

In the Corps (6) we are now attached to there is no Home Leave, so I have heard.  We shall be leaving the Corps at the end of the month & then Leave will start againThere are lots of other men – & so accordingly there are lots of other men’s parents who are just as anxious to see their relatives.

Oh! Bukhshee* was very fond indeed of me, I might say without any self-assertion. Luckily he saw me again on entraining, & after we were dismissed, immediately came up & shook hands with me.  He also gave me his address & your letter has just reminded me to write to him.  He & thefrogeater’ will serve as jolly correspondence chums when ‘aprés le guerre’ (7).

Thank you very much for your advice. Yes Sydney & Bertie have a very brave & patient Mother.   So Mum was very different from those ‘silly, three fat ladies’ who clung to Dodger for protection. (8).

Best love to all,

Bertie.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

Whilst his family would have been pleased Bertie had passed as a Sniper they were obviously very anxious to see him on Home Leave. He had been in France & Flanders for almost a year.

(1) 13th Feb. is the most likely date for this Letter.

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James Paris Lee. 1831-1904.

(2) Pte Bertie’s Lee-Enfield Rifle, took its name from the designer of the rifle’s bolt systemJames Paris Lee , British Canadian & later American manufacturer  – and the factory in which it was designedthe Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield.

(3) Captain Lister*. Old Company Commander. (4) Lt. Colonel Raymond Raymer* 1/5th S. Staffords.

(5) Pte Bertie wanted to know the Greenwich Mean Time & new Summer Time at Home to compare with the time in France‘Mean’ time rather than ‘medium’ is meant.

(6) Notts & Derby (Transport Coprs). (7) Bukhshee Ichbye Singh Waltu* an Hindustani soldier met at Marseilles Joe Albene*, farmer landlord of Pte Bertie’s billet at Bellancourt.

(8)Ref. to Basil’s actions during Zeppelin Raid over Walsall. 31st Jan -1st Feb.1916. See New Page: ‘My Memories’ A.H.H. 1967. published 10th Feb 2016.

NEXT POST: 20th FEB.1916.

 

 

 

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15th Oct. 1915: FINEST MARCH PAST I HAVE EVER SEEN: ‘WAR WORN – LOST HATS – TIRED MUDDY LOOK’.

BERTIE HIBBETT: 19 in 1914.
BERTIE HIBBETT:
.

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.

Leuy Cozens 1914
CAPTAIN TIM COZENS.  Killed in Action. 

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.

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ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1Pte Bertie Hibbett had been in Hospital at the B.E.F. Base in Rouen, since 10th August.   (2Captain 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.

WW1 Steel Helmet.
WW1 Steel Helmet.

(4) Lost Hat: steel helmets were to save countless lives after they were issued in 1916. cf <https://www.pollingerltd.com&gt;

Sabine Baring-Gould.

(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.

NBBrother 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.