The feature Page
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.
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:-
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.