Bibby CDG, Joseph William

Born Hull 15/01/1888. Son of William Bibby (1859-1926) and Lucy Maria Hammond (1866-1950), of 23, Seaton Street, Fountain Road, Hull. He had three brothers, and seven sisters. Employed as a Slater, and working in Wincolmlee, Hull. Described as 5 foot, 6.5 inches tall, 158 lbs weight, 40 inch chest, very good physical development, blue eyes, light brown hair, fair complexion, Roman Catholic religion. He enlisted in Hull, on 14/09/1914. Served with the 12th and 11th East Yorkshire Battalions, in Egypt and France. Appointed Sergeant, on 09/08/1915. Wounded twice. Awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre (CDG), in December 1919. Killed in action, on 28/06/1918. His army effects were left to his father, William Bibby. He is commemorated at Ploegsteert, Arrondissement de Mouscron, Hainaut, Belgium. His death was reported in the Hull Daily Mail, on 15/07/1918. He was awarded the Belgium, Croix De Guerre, for devotion to duty and beating back an enemy attack on his outpost, in December 1917. His father collected the medal, from Hull’s Lord Mayor at the Guildhall (HDM 30/09/1919). he is commemorated on the WW1 Memorial at St Charles Borromeo Church, Jarratt Street, Hull.

Hull Pals Memorial Post. SERGEANT, JOSEPH WILLIAM BIBBY 12/90. Born in January 1888, Joseph was the eldest of eleven children to William and Lucy Bibby of 23 Seaton Street, Fountain Road, Hull. A Slater before the war he enlisted at Hull City Hall on 14th September 1914 originally joining the 12th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 3rd Hull Pals. He served in Egypt and on the Somme until August 1916 when he was shipped home ‘sick’ with what appears to have been asthma, possibly the result of a gas attack, but just as likely an ongoing condition brought on by stress. He recovered through the first half of 1917 eventually being posted to the garrison at Withernsea where he spent May 1917 as his comrades fell to the machine guns at Oppy Wood. He returned to France late in July and served until wounded in the buttock on 31st March 1918. Again fortune seemed to smile down on him for he missed the carnage at Armentieres, not returning to the line until 15th June. Joseph William Bibby was killed in action on 28th June 1918 at La Becque, blown to smithereens by his own artillery and what was left of him buried in a grave no-one ever found. His name is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial; he was 30 years old. Two of his brothers also served, Andrew went on to become a Chelsea Pensioner, but all his records were burned by another brother, Harry, who never recovered from what he saw; Harry’s records describe him as “mentally deranged due to war service”. Joseph had also been awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery.

The attack on Oppy Wood, part of the Battle of Arras, was a significant battle for the East Yorkshire Regiment and particularly for the city of Hull.  All four Hull Pals battalions were involved on 3 May and all suffered heavy casualties, with 40% of those present killed or injured. 2nd Lieutenant Jack Harrison, a local teacher and rugby player with Hull FC, won a posthumous Victoria Cross for his bravery in rushing a machine gun position to protect his platoon. His body was never found.
The village of Oppy in France had been in German hands since October 1914 and was part of a formidable defensive system including trenches, dug-outs and thick barbed wire defences. During the Battle of Arras, which began in April 1917, the British tried to take Oppy. The first attack was a failure. A second attack was partially successful. The third attack on 3 May, known officially as the Third Battle of the Scarpe, was again unsuccessful with significant loss of life. The troops were ordered to attack at 3.45am, rather than at dawn, and the defending Germans could easily see the line of British soldiers clearly lit by the full moon. The British continued to attack Oppy and were finally successful the following year. The City of Hull Memorial at Oppy was unveiled in 1927 and commemorates the men of the Hull Pals who were killed on 3 and 4 May 1917.

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Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium