The feature Page
Jack Bibby

1st Bn Lancashire Fusiliers
1945 to 1948

My late father, Mr. Jack Bibby of Ormskirk served in the Lancashire Fusiliers from 1945 -1948 and was in India with 1st Battalion (I think) from November 1946 to October 1947.
The following information might be of interest and it would be wonderful to find out more details of my father's service in the Lancashire Fusiliers. As is always the case, my father did tell me some stories of his army days, but I did not interview him enough, and now it is too late: he passed away on 2nd March 2009. And as I have lived and worked in southern Germany for the last 29 years, I have not had as much opportunity as I would have liked over the years to meet and talk with him.
The facts as I know them are as follows - though some of the dates may be inaccurate: Jack Bibby was born on 8th June 1927 in Ormskirk, Lancashire and was an apprentice watchmaker when he was called up. The call up date was 2nd August 1945 and his Army Number was 14058585. His basic training took place from 22nd August 1945 in Berwick upon Tweed, as far as I know (Unit 59 PTW ?) and he was transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers on 13th September 1945. He embarked in Southampton on 16th October 1946 and disembarked in Bombay 04th November 1946 (Unit: 02E India Command). He was located at 1st Lancashire Fusiliers on Indian Census of 30th November 1946. His unit was based mostly in Lucknow and (later I think) Ranikhet. The Fusiliers duties as he recalled them were "internal security"; guarding British and Indian establishments - stores, arms dumps and key installations such as water works, stations and government buildings in and around Lucknow city. He was, he told me, a Bren gunner and signaler. He became a one star fusilier on 22nd November 1946 and a two star fusilier on 28th March 1947. Returning to the UK, his unit embarked in Bombay on 28th October 1947 and disembarked in the UK (presumably Southampton) on 16th November 1947. He then spent his time waiting to be demobbed at Wem in Shropshire. He told me that the locals didn't really know what to make of the unit when the marched through the town - heavily tanned, with hackles in their "chapatti hats" and tropical khakis. He also told story about illicit Friday night bus trips from Wem to Liverpool, from where he continued on to Ormskirk for the weekend, the bus returning to Wem on Sunday evening. He told me that they once thought they had been "found out" when a young officer enquired about these "goings on". In the end it turned out that he just wanted to use the bus too! I wonder if someone might be able to corroborate the bus? Jack was released to Class 'Z' Royal Army Reserve on 06th May 1948 and discharged from the Reserve on 30th June 1959.
I have recognised some of the motifs I know from my father's time in India on the Homepage. My father told stories about "flag marches", though he said that they "didn't survive long" after his arrival in Lucknow. Sergeant Major "Kitna" Price was also subject of some of his stories. Whether from hearsay or personal experience I cannot say). He seems to have been just as much in awe of him as everybody else - though I cannot remember the exact stories he told about him. I do remember telling me though about something (slightly coarsely) called "the barrow load of virgins patrol", which seems to have consisted of escorting a "cart full of Maharaja's daughters" from A to B - though I have no notion of the geographical place nor what institution A or B might have been. I do know though that he enjoyed it! For one thing because on that patrol he didn't have to carry the Bren gun and was allowed to strap a "great big revolver" to his webbing belt - at least that is what he told me. My father told me about Indian Officers with the "Kings Commission" who had to be treated like British officers and seemed to have been particularly fond of a "Sikh major… much better educated than me - a good leader" I wonder who he was? He also told of an Indian medical officer, "a very respected man".
My father's favorite memories were of the patrols (out of Ranikhet I presume) into the "northern hill country", visiting remote villages usually as escorts for Indian police officers. He described that time as "great days in magnificent, quite awe-inspiring scenery - away from the heat of the plains."
Another, quite personal and rather funny story he told was of a nameless big, street wise Liverpudlian who desperately wanted to get into the Army but couldn't pass water at the military physical, so Jack, helpful and friendly as always, did it for him. Sometime later, in India I presume, they met again - perhaps the nameless Scouser was seconded to the Fusiliers(?) I don't know. Still, when the big Liverpudlian, who obviously, on the strength and health of Jack's water, had successfully enlisted, recognized Jack he loudly declared "See this fellah here? He pissed for me! He's my friend!" So in the following period Jack had a faithful friend who would always stand by him and get him out of a scrape. Once again I don't know the exact truth content of the story. The beginning of it, at the military physical, is probably impossible to corroborate! But I do wonder if anyone recognizes the big Liverpudlian?
Those are the facts and stories as I know them. Any information to fill in the blanks would be very much appreciated.

Jack Bibby's Photo collection

William Bibby
"Father of Jack Bibby, 1st Bn LF India (see link)

Willam Bibby
Date unknown

William Bibby circa 1917
in "Hospital Blues" I am told

A locket or metal case which apparantely saved him
from much more serious injury or even maybe saved his life when he was hit (in the bottom) by shrapnel
again, so I am told
It is a Victorian Silver Vesta case,
for keeping matches dry.

added 19th Jan 2012

David Bibby
(Jacks son)
Konstanz, Germany, 11th August 2010

Isn't it wonderful to have found Frank who knew David's father in the 1st Bn all those years ago?

Frank has replied to David as follows:-

Replies to David Bibby queries

Yes I confirm that your father was with the 1st Bn LFs. In fact in “B” company, where I was company clerk. I remember this draft arriving and I did in fact march them from the guardroom to the billets. Kitna being Kitna could not resist a shout from about 100yds “ Get a grip on those men Cpl.”
In fact if you look in my photo album, he is in the group of “B” company at Rhanikhet 1947.
Also I am in your dad’s photo album on pae 2. I am the one without the shirt.
After 6 Infantry Training corps at Berwick on Tweed it is likely that he would have gone to Alnwick for more advance training.
The company was not based in Rhankhet but went there for about 6 weeks for a summer training camp. Rhankhet being in the Himalayas, it was much cooler of course, and was of course a peace time hill station. The terrain was too difficult for ordinary so it was more like a holiday.
As you say, duties in Lucknow consisted of internal security but there was very little action. There was an occasional show of force in the city (which was out of bounds)
Composed of about 3, 3ton trucks fully loaded with armed men but without a round of ammunition between them. I did not experience any great anti British feeling; most of the disputes seemed to be between the Hindus and Muslims.
He would be a Bren gunner within an infantry section.
The one and two star ratings are pay scales as a measure of efficiency
Believe me you can believe any stories about Kitna, and then some!
The geographical locations A to B would be within the city of Lucknow, which is an extremely large cantonement and was out of bounds to us. There may have been tripe to other cities like Cawnpore about 48 miles away, but I don’t personally remember them
As your father said, King’s Commissioned Indian officers where to be given the same respect as British officers, but I didn’t see much of this happening.
My experience of first medical inspection before call up was a one to one with a M.O at Preston Lancs but this could vary in different towns I suppose. There was one man I remember, who would fit the bill, but I think he was a good bit older and possibly had been with the Chindits
On your photo album, Page three, Very Likely Rhanikhet. I never saw so much scrub in Lucknow
Page five, No this is Lucknow
Page six. Your dad was a big pal of Bill Fryer and they were always together. Maybe from civvy street or during their training.
Page Nineteen. Yes Kathgodam railway station. Nearest railhead to Rhanikhet. The buses had no windows and the seats were slatted wood.
Page 21. Probably near Rhanikhet. There were many small rivers within reach but I notice the people on the picture are Indians so might not have been on a walk. The rivers were snowmelt from the higher hills.
Page 23 Good picture, which I haven’t seen before. My office was in the centre of the low block on the right.. The fountain I mention in my profile can just be seen at middle left
Page 24 Looks like the officers married quarters at Rhanikhet. I remember they were perched on a steep hillside.
Page 26 and 27. As t the road from Kathgodam. The road continued like this for 48 miles and climbed and then dropped almost to plain level., sometimes with a very steep drop at the side.
Page 29. Almost certainly Field Marshall Auchinlech
Page 30 This looks like a platoon photo rather then a company photo. Almost certainly at Rhanikhet