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Remembered Today:

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) Wolseley J.P Bibby


BlackWatch

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I recently acquired a WWI period Wolseley sun helmet attributed to Second Lieutenant John-Patrick Bibby of the 2nd Battalion Cameronians (Scottish Rifles). I thought some of you might want to see it. 

 

John Patrick Bibby was born in Hambledon, Hampshire on the 9th November 1892, his birth registered at Droxford in the fourth quarter of that year. He was the second eldest son of Colonel Alfred Bibby (formerly 4th Hussars) and Hylda Bibby and he appears as an eight-year-old on the 1901 census living at Bordean House, Langrish, Petersfield. Colonel Bibby, who had retired from the army by 1901 was, at 54 years old, twenty-two years older than his wife. He was also quite comfortably well-off and employed ten servants. John's brother Francis Stephen Bibby, four years younger than him, also appears on this census return and like John he would also lose his life serving with the Cameronians in the First World War.

 

By 1911, John was at school at Eton and appears on the census as an 18-year-old schoolboy. He joined the school cadet contingent and was subsequently commissioned on the 1st April 1912 as a second lieutenant with the 3rd Battalion, Scottish Rifles. This battalion was a part-time, home-based battalion only and eighteen months later, on the 10th December 1913, he opted for a full-time career in the military joining the Scottish Rifles with a regular commission.

 

John Bibby served at home until the 23rd January 1914, embarking for Malta the following day. I believe that shortly before he embarked for Malta he would have purchased this Wolseley. He was still serving in Malta when Britain went to war in August 1914, the battalion stationed at St Andrew's Barracks.

 

On the 15th September 1914 the battalion set sail for Southampton and on arrival went into camp at Baddesley Common near Romsey. The battalion subsequently moved to Hursley Pary, Winchester and joined the 23rd Brigade in the 8th Division.

 

On the 4th November the battalion was back in Southampton, setting sail on the SS Cornishman and arriving in France the following day.

 

2nd Lt. Bibby would serve in France until his death on the 10th of March, 1915, at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. 

 

The day on which he died – 10th March 1915:

 

John Bibby was killed during the battalion's attack on Neuve Chapelle. In his history of the Cameronians, Colonel H H Story MC records that there was an eerie silence when the first waves went over at 8.05 but "then, with a sound as of a nest of giant hornets suddenly let loose, the air was filled with streams of lead from German machine guns and rifles." Soon, all officers had become casualties, with total casualties for the day recorded as 469 killed, wounded or missing. Thirteen officers, including John Bibby, were killed that day. Lieutenant Bibby made the ultimate sacrifice for King and Country. 

 

As I said previously this Wolseley would've been worn by Bibby when he was in Malta in 1914. The Wolseley itself is in good condition with it's beautiful original black plume and flashes. It's original chinstrap is broken on one end but I still managed. The Wolseley also came with its original tin with Bibby's name on it. In the tin is a second chinstrap that is black chains. This is my first WWI period Wolseley to a Scottish regiment. I have one arriving in a few days to the 14th Hussars that I may do a post on in the future. Thank you for reading and I hope you have all enjoyed this post.

 

 

 

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Edited by BlackWatch
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Excellent Post, very interesting.  Thank you.  As with so many families at that time I cannot help but think of how Alfred and Hylda Bibby must have felt to lose both their sons.  We can only speculate how the rest of their lives must have been.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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1 hour ago, FROGSMILE said:

Excellent Post, very interesting.  Thank you.  As with so many families at that time I cannot help but think of how Alfred and Hylda Bibby must have felt to lose both their sons.  We can only speculate how the rest of their lives must have been.

 

Frogsmile,

 

Thank you for your kind words. I also cannot imagine what Alfred and Hylda Bibby went through after the passing of two of their sons, John Patrick (aged 22 when he died) and his younger brother that was also in the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles), Francis Stephen (aged only 18 when he died). This is my first named object to a KIA in my collection, and it is historical objects named to people like 2nd Lt. Bibby that tell us a story, and remind us of the ultimate sacrifice that these soldiers and their families made for their country. 

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Dear Black Watch,

Well done to have secured such a good piece of Militaria - not to mention having researched the Bibby family so diligently. 

In retrospect, an attack as late in the day as 8.05 would seem to invite disaster, but that sort of thing was seemingly part of the BEF "learning curve"...

Hopefully, you will find the 2Lt J. P. Bibby 15 Trio at some stage: why not?

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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Kim,

 

Thank you. I have a currently three Wolseley sun helmets to Scottish regiments, but this is still the only one out of the three that is WWI period. I really like the Black plume on the Wolseley, really makes is stand out in my collections. I would like to gather more Wolseleys WWI-II period for my collection (especially one to the Black Watch with a red plume/hackle some day) but they rarely turn up, especially WWI period Scottish Wolseleys. I have a really nice Wolseley to Sergeant Mitchell of the 14th Hussars coming in the mail that I may post on in the near future. Maybe I'll be lucky and come across a few more Scottish Wolseleys WWI-II period in the near future. I'm afraid I can't take the credit for the intense research of the Bibby family and had someone who's done research for me a couple of times now do it, that being said I did know some things about Bibby prior to me getting professional research done. I knew he was a KIA when I bought the Wolseley, and upon doing some digging (and there's actually already a topic on him on this forum but nothing to do with this Wolseley) I found out more about the Officer and when and where he died (Neuve Chapelle). I knew basic information (names of his family members, son of Alfred and Hylda Bibby, his rough age, etc) I originally, upon purchasing the Wolseley when I saw it was listed to a KIA, thought he may have died while wearing this Wolseley at Gallipoli or something but I was glad I was wrong. I needed some help to figure out where he was stationed prior to WWI, and it all maid sense when I saw he was stationed at Malta. I've seen period photographs of Officers wearing the same type of Wolseley while in Malta 1913 and 1914. In the picture below, note the two Officers in the top row wearing the same type of Wolseley. This Wolseley I would have gotten even if it wasn't named, however it is always nice to have a story behind historical uniforms, headgear, and other objects, and in this case, it is a bit of a tragic story. I glad that in making this post this soldier's story gets to be known by more people. I will display this Wolseley well as to properly honour the fallen Officer. 

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Edited by BlackWatch
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Dear Black Watch,

It is your research, even if one pays a researcher to do it (which I do routinely).

Many thanks for posting the highly-interesting 'Embarking for Malta 1911' picture, showing the various forms of headgear, en vogue at the time.

The officer standing at far right was as immaculate as one could get!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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15 hours ago, BlackWatch said:

I really like the Black plume on the Wolseley, really makes is stand out in my collections.

On a tangential point, the black hackle continued to be worn by the Cameronians in the Balmoral bonnet from about 1952 through about 1962 at which time the glengarry replaced the Balmoral in all Scottish regiments except the Black Watch.  The black hackle then reappeared in 2006 when worn by the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland in the Tam O'Shanter as a thread back to the Cameronians.

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Hello Gordon92,

 

Thank you for the information, I have seen a WWII period picture of Cameronians training and they have balmorals on with black hackles. I actually forgot for a while until you brought it up today. When I think of balmorals with hackles, I usually think to the distinctive red hackle of the Black Watch. I have a really nice Black Watch Officer's black balmoral WWI period with it's original period hackle that I will be sure to do a post on in the near future. I also have also seen examples to the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders with blue hackles. I would love to see the what Scottish regiments had plumes on their Wolseleys (if they had plumes I know some regiments did not) and what colours they were. The Cameronians as evident above obviously had a black plume, the Black Watch a red plume (or was it more of a hackle on the Wolseley instead of a big plume?). My inter-war/WWII period wolseley to the Highland Light Infantry has a white plume but I am not sure what they had, if anything, during the WWI period. I'll have to look more into the WWI period Scottish Wolseleys, and should I obtain another WWI period one in the future I will be sure to do a post here on it. 

Edited by BlackWatch
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6 hours ago, BlackWatch said:

Hello Gordon92,

 

Thank you for the information, I have seen a WWII period picture of Cameronians training and they have balmorals on with black hackles. I actually forgot for a while until you brought it up today. When I think of balmorals with hackles, I usually think to the distinctive red hackle of the Black Watch. I have a really nice Black Watch Officer's black balmoral WWI period with it's original period hackle that I will be sure to do a post on in the near future. I also have also seen examples to the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders with blue hackles. I would love to see the what Scottish regiments had plumes on their Wolseleys (if they had plumes I know some regiments did not) and what colours they were. The Cameronians as evident above obviously had a black plume, the Black Watch a red plume (or was it more of a hackle on the Wolseley instead of a big plume?). My inter-war/WWII period wolseley to the Highland Light Infantry has a white plume but I am not sure what they had, if anything, during the WWI period. I'll have to look more into the WWI period Scottish Wolseleys, and should I obtain another WWI period one in the future I will be sure to do a post here on it. 

 

I think you will find that in WW2 the Cameronians were wearing the larger Tam-o-shanter rather than the Balmoral (I have seen images of them wearing both in WW1), although to some the difference seems academic.

 

The black hackle was also worn in a white Wolseley helmet for hot weather review order.

 

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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15 hours ago, BlackWatch said:

Hello Gordon92,

 

Thank you for the information, I have seen a WWII period picture of Cameronians training and they have balmorals on with black hackles. I actually forgot for a while until you brought it up today. When I think of balmorals with hackles, I usually think to the distinctive red hackle of the Black Watch. I have a really nice Black Watch Officer's black balmoral WWI period with it's original period hackle that I will be sure to do a post on in the near future. I also have also seen examples to the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders with blue hackles. I would love to see the what Scottish regiments had plumes on their Wolseleys (if they had plumes I know some regiments did not) and what colours they were. The Cameronians as evident above obviously had a black plume, the Black Watch a red plume (or was it more of a hackle on the Wolseley instead of a big plume?). My inter-war/WWII period wolseley to the Highland Light Infantry has a white plume but I am not sure what they had, if anything, during the WWI period. I'll have to look more into the WWI period Scottish Wolseleys, and should I obtain another WWI period one in the future I will be sure to do a post here on it. 

BlackWatch....I would be most interested in seeing a photo of your WW1 Black Watch balmoral.

 

This my understanding of the Scottish regiments that wore hackles in Wolseley helmets with the usual caveat that there may be a few holes in my knowledge base on this point:

Royal Scots - none

KOSB - none

Royal Scots Fusiliers - white on right side.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) - black on left side

Black Watch - red on left side

HLI - white over red on left side, bandsmen and pipers red (My photo evidence is inconclusive on when these first appeared, and you may be right that it was an inter-war feature)

Seaforth - white on left side, bandsmen red, 1st Bn drummers red

Gordon - none

Cameron - white on left side

A&SH - white on left side, 1st Bn bandsmen and pipers red

 

Edited by gordon92
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5 hours ago, gordon92 said:

BlackWatch....I would be most interested in seeing a photo of your WW1 Black Watch balmoral.

 

This my understanding of the Scottish regiments that wore hackles in Wolseley helmets with the usual caveat that there may be a few holes in my knowledge base on this point:

Royal Scots - none

KOSB - none

Royal Scots Fusiliers - white on right side.

Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) - black on left side

Black Watch - red on left side

HLI - white over red on left side, bandsmen and pipers red (My photo evidence is inconclusive on when these first appeared, and you may be right that it was an inter-war feature)

Seaforth - white on left side, bandsmen red, 1st Bn drummers red

Gordon - none

Cameron - white on left side

A&SH - white on left side, 1st Bn bandsmen and pipers red

 

 

Gordon92, 

 

I really appreciate the list you just typed up there, now I have a greater understanding. I also saw an old post of yours recently to a WWI Seaforth Highlander Garrison Battalion tropical display with a lovely uniform and Wolseley with a white hackle. The Wolseley looks like a lovely piece, if you have any close up pictures of it I'd love to see pictures of it some time. As for the Black Watch balmoral, I'll make a new topic for it shortly after I post this reply. It's quite an interesting piece. 

Edited by BlackWatch
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20 hours ago, BlackWatch said:

 

Gordon92, 

 

I really appreciate the list you just typed up there, now I have a greater understanding. I also saw an old post of yours recently to a WWI Seaforth Highlander Garrison Battalion tropical display with a lovely uniform and Wolseley with a white hackle. The Wolseley looks like a lovely piece, if you have any close up pictures of it I'd love to see pictures of it some time. As for the Black Watch balmoral, I'll make a new topic for it shortly after I post this reply. It's quite an interesting piece. 

Glad to have helped.  As for the Wolseley on my Seaforth Highlander, I must acknowledge that I added the white hackle to harmonize with the rest of the uniform.  Nonetheless, it is a WW1 Wolseley with correct acceptance stamp as seen in the 2nd photo.  The 3rd photo shows the markings on the sweat band, a stylized L.I.G. and 87506 which identifies the owner as Leslie Ian Grant of the Royal Engineers; he was commissioned and survived the War.  The sporran which is discolored belonged to Private William Lawrie, 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders, who was killed in action at 2nd Ypres 26 April 1915.  The kilt was originally issued for WW1 based on its acceptance markings and then used by a Lt. CAC deBoinville who served in WW2.

 

Mike

 

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Edited by gordon92
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Gordon92,

 

Stunning display, I'm working on a couple of displays myself but they are coming along slowly and none are as complete as this one, although all the displays I'm working on are currently Victorian period. Thanks for sharing more pictures! Best regards,

 

-Jamie

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