Tag Archives: YMCA.

5th NOV: GUY FAWKES NIGHT IN THE TRENCHES & A GRENADIER SINGSONG.

South Staffordshire Badgee1/5th SOUTH STAFFORDS WAR DIARY

FOUQUIERES

3rd – 4th Nov. In Rest Billets. (Refitting Bn after Battle)

5th Nov. Fri: Marched at 8.30 am to PARADIS  near MERVILLE  and went into Billets.

Map Bethune to Nevee Chapelle.
Map Bethune to Nevee Chapelle.

Bertie in Uniform Pte BERTIE HIBBETT: LETTER to Mother, Marie Neal Hibbett, 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.

GUY FAWKES DAY. 5 th Nov/ 15

My Very Dear Mother,

parachuteflare
PARACHUTE FLARE.

Another coincidence MumToday, or rather tonight, will be the unique Bonfire Night.  For the purpose of seeing the enemy’s movements at night star lights (1) are used & these lights have been improved & there are many different kinds, some giving off an illumination like those of the Flower Show (2)  Indeed every night in the trenches is a Guy Fawkes  affair, what with shells & star lights.

And again another feature, which is all the more unique, is that I am undergoing a course in bombing.  I was examined in the oral part yesterday (3).

The Batt. has moved further away todaySydney I’m partly sorry to tell you is in Hospital with influenza, but I think it is the only way of obtaining a rest, – as the Doctor put it alsoThirteen went including Arthur Brown* who came back, I think on Wednesday, after 3 or 4 days.

I hope you aren’t giving up making toffee on this bonfire night  & I hope Dodger will enjoy a lump and not deny himself a second piece either. I was not able to see the Observer  about the attack, (Vernon having gone to Hospital when your letter of  Tues 26th arrived, about the Bishop at St Paul’s) – but never mind I am not the worse off. 

The bombing party will go near the Batt. tomorrow.  I am afraid this letter will not be accepted here.  I shall have to keep it until I get to my Company.  I shall be rather glad when I get back to my platoon again.

Mrs Evans sent a parcel to Vernon when he was in Hospital, the parcel went to the trenches & I had a letter from her saying the contents were for Sydney, myself and pals.  Wasn’t it jolly good of her to think of us.  We must bear in mind it is not so much the gifts as the thoughts, especially nowadays.  I am looking forward to a parcel from you as I expected one today if the Batt. had not moved.

I suppose all the little boys in Walsall will substitute the dummy of Guido for William eh! 

News in the papers has somewhat surprised us out here.  Oh! that reminds me, we Grenadiers (4) had a bit of a concert in the barn here on Wednesday last & I gave the men an effort of mine.  We shall very likely have another soon. When I entertain any party I like to give them a really good piece of recitation or a jolly good song.  So I wonder if you could try & send me that poem Ida loved so much ‘The Highwayman came riding, riding, riding up to the old inn door’ (5). I should be delighted if you could.  Don’t think that I am absolutely theatrical with the men, but I have come to the conclusion that one cannot get on with such a crew of chaps like these without chumming up & being merry with them.

Any other humorous poem you’ve got just send along by return post & obligeIda loved to gather us around the study fire & have a little ‘Sing Song’.

Well, what think you of these two I’m enclosing? Laddie in Khaki’ (6) was sung by a lady (of means) in the YMCA at the Base when I was thereIFSL01532

As for the other it is appropriate for a fireside song & reminded me of the singsongs we had round the fire at Home Sweet Home, the Little Grey Home in the West.

Best love to all,  Father and bestest love to Mummy, 

Bertie Arfer.

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

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) “Star shell”: artillery shell for illuminating Battlefield & No Man’s Land at night, to catch enemy patrols or wiring activity.   Fuse burst at a given height igniting a magnesium flare which burned while the shell, with parachute, gradually fell to earth. Multi-coloured flares used for passing signals. <https://www.firstworldwar.com&gt;

(2) Flower Show: Aldridge near Walsall held a annual Flower Show and no doubt Mr Frank O. Bates*,  exhibited his roses. cf. Letter: 12th July 1915.

53px-N°23_MkII-Version_Fusil(3) Bombing Course: Training in throwing  & firing Mills grenades: stick attached extended their throw.  Used effectively in Battle of Loos/Hohenzollern. See Post 13th Oct.1915. Also 20th -31st July 1915.

Alfred Noyes. 1880 -1958.
Alfred Noyes. 1880 -1958.

(4) Grenadier: (from French ‘grenade’) ‘bomb thrower’ from 17th cent.

(5) Alfred Noyes: 1880-1958. English poet, short story writer & playwright. Born Wolverhampton. The Highwayman: ‘best narrative poem in existence for oral delivery‘. Voted 15th in The Nation’s Favourite Poem. BBC poll. 1995. Film made.

The Highwayman: The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.  The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.  The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   And the highwayman came riding—Riding—riding—The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard. He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred.  He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there   But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter, Bess, the landlord’s daughter, Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair. (Part I verse 1 & 3).1906.

(6) Laddie in Khaki: Ivor Novello. 1893 -1951. Words: James Edward Myers. 1915.

There is a girl who waits at home Who’s full of charm and grace.  Tho’ her heart is saddened She keeps a smiling face. Ask her whom she’s thinking of All the livelong day With a smile that lights her face. She  will softly say: ” Laddie in khaki I’m waiting for you. I want you to know That my heart beats true.  I’m longing and praying And living for you, So come back little laddie in khaki!”.

NEXT POST: 7th Nov. 1915.

Advertisements

14th SEPT. 1915: ROUEN NO 9 HOSPITAL: ‘I PRAY TWICE A DAY FOR YOU MUM’

Bertie in UniformPte BERTIE HIBBETT,  No 9  GENERAL HOSPITAL, ROUEN: LETTER to HIBBETT FAMILY 95 Foden Rd. Walsall.

Holy Cross Day. (1) Tues. Sep 14 / 15

I wonder who Dad will give this letter to?  Will he read it himself first?  Let me know if you have got this letter by return of PC.  

My Dears  – Dodger, Champion & Mummy (2),

Just eaten one of those many apples which smelt as good as it tasted, and then I set to work re-reading all the letters I’ve had from Sweet Home since I sent my last green to Mumtaking notes as I re-read them for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, as I could not hold all of them in front of me to refer to, especially Ida’s long scroll of the Committee’s parchment (3), and also Basil’s many sheeted epistle .

Now I promised this letter to be plain, short & serious, but how ever can I!  I have had something from the post every day I have been in Hospital since the 10th when I got Mum’s letter of the 5th (Sun) –  the record coming to a climax today & yesterday when I got Ida’s letter including Mum’s off the sheet & Basil’s & one from Cousin Muriel she can write well both in hand & in grammar. The final –  The Limit came today when I opened your other hamper of good stuff.

Dodger, you said Lissie (4) had brought you something from Venables*, were they the delicious cheese tarts? –  and Mum you didn’t finish your letter eitherI’ve caught you this time, Ha hee.  Did Basil get his letter I enclosed in the green to Mum & Dad?

I really thought I had thanked you for all.  I’m sorry, very, if I did not say I got  a bit of cash  – which came in useful, as I missed pay day again, coming here on the Tuesday.

Now Dodger your description of Home was simply delightful to read & you’ll be surprised that I did not sentimentally faint, to long all that much to come Home.  I hope you will not look at that in the wrong light  – what I’ve just said – especially Mum. 

Yes I can picture you now Dodger coming down stairs after washing off the smoky grime of the journey.  How miserable too the journey for you must have been, but I was so very pleased you loved the sight of Home again. 

I am human & sometimes long to  come Home & I think Ida will agree with me that if I give myself to that feeling & did not try to master that longing & check it I should not live happily out here.   I say I made short notes but it looks as though this letter will persist in great length, try how I might. 

Did Ida & Mum read Dodger’s letter before he sent it off?  Ida ought to be proud  that Basil loved to meet her at the station.  Ida is a genuine Champion for advice, & if she could not see her way to give advice she would show wisdom I mean she will help Dodger to pass his exam next time & she has bucked me up a lot too, I could say more on this but must stop.

No: I must just say one word more. I am cross at Ida for not taking notice of what I said in my green to her  – & Mummy I cannot let you off lightly ’cos I know you would get to know allas for myself I put all the blame on my rascally pate.  I do feel a hypocrite, yes Ida there are worse cases than mine, & I ought to have trusted that you would know my case was not all bluff (for they do not send anyone to Hospital for nothing) without me saying even a word . 

Oh I am sorry Mummy I have made you all more anxious, it was not at all my intention,  but my intention has been all along to make you happier Sydney, I have no doubt would have ‘scolded & reproached’ me dreadfully & rightly too I now  think.

Just a touch upon light trivials:-  I have mentioned the same Winnie unconsciously of Basil’s thought (you can tell by the time the letters were written). This Irish Sister laughs just like Winifred Overend   Yes Ida is a Champion with a knack of putting one right, & that put me in mind that Basil too becomes his nickname nicely when I read of his whimsical dodge at catching bunny rabbits on his record tramp to R.N.B. (5).

Now will that do for Dodger.  I will just wish him the best of luck in his next attempt. Is he going to school again? I hope so. QMS I suppose.  

Now for Mummy, as I read yours next I will say my say.  Yes I will try & cuddle round the cook to get me some of your nice apples roasted & will tell you if I succeed.  I will not miss out thanking you for every article in the parcel this time, starting with the welcome bit of cash.  I have not unwrapped it yet, but put it in my purse straight away.

I will keep to your advice Mum & buy, if I can get, milk, eggs & fruit.  I am sure of the last, but not so sure about the eggs because I am not at the Base & eggs are nowhere to be found to buy here.  As for the milk there is only tinned milk here, if none at all & if I am out of the Hospital tomorrow the only liquid milk obtainable is at YMCA & that is Horlicks Malted Milk. At any rate I will try my best to spend it wisely & think of Mummy as it dwindles down to a penny & then to a sou.

With regard to Sydney’s Com: I say what Mum sais, you seemed to want us both to be officers, but if you think, as no doubt what you say is true, we shall likely be parted, then I say Down with the idea.  Down with it.

-1
St Helena: Medieval Roodscreen Painting.  Combe Martin, Devon.  Eddie Sinclair Conservator. 2013.

I am quite well now Mummy & am happy, so you will be too in the future won’t you Mum?  I do feel a hypocrite when I am in my deck chair among the flowers & think of  Sydney up thereHow can I reconcile for what I have said & the consequences in the way of making you anxious again.  I pray twice a day for you Mum.  So let us both ‘Look up’ again.

I am writing straight away again you see for your kind things & will tell you how I enjoyed my tea with apricots, cream, sugar & cheese tarts.  I will reserve one for supper, & will make the parcel last out.  I am looking forward to the other part of the hamper & you will naturally have another letter from me but let me keep . . . . .

(end is missing)

************************** 

ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB
ELIZABETH HIBBETT WEBB

(1) Holy Cross Day:  Feast Day of Veneration of the Cross of Christ. St Helena of Constantinople 250 -330 ADPatron Saint of Archeologists is reputed to have discovered the true  Cross in Jerusalem. Mother of first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine (‘In hoc signo vinces – by this sign I will conquer’).

Sponsored walk from Bertie's old Theological College, Burgh to Skegness, in aid of Christian Aid.
The Revd A.H. Hibbett. Sponsored walk, Burgh to Skegness, Lincolnshire. 1967.

One of Dad’s favourite hymns: ‘Lift High the Cross’ 1887. Words: George Kitchin, Dean of Winchester. Revised 1916 by Michael R. Newbolt. Hymns Ancient & Modern.

(2) Basil, Ida & Mother. (3Education Committee paper from Arthur Hibbett’s office? (4) Lissie: Arthur Venables* little sister? (5) R.N.B. :  ?

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

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

14th Sept. Tue: CANADA HITS NR DICKEBUSCH.  Divisional Reserve.

NEXT POST: 19th Sept 1915.