WWI Pair. Hibdige. 12th Prince Of Wales Lancers later Tank Corps. Shirley, Southampton.



Availability: 1 in stock

Correctly named L-5662 Pte CW Hibdige 12-Lrs

William Charles Hibdige was born in Southampton in 1896 to parents William and Mary. In 1911, we find them at The White Hart Public House, High St, Shirley, Southampton and William is the pub keeper.

He attested into the 12th Lancers on the 10th of August 1914 in Southampton when he was 18.

An address found for him is Ships Hatch, Redbridge, Southampton. It is noted that he is a ships steward pre war.

He heads overseas to France in January 1916 and serves there until April 1918. We find a wound report for him dated 4/5/1918 with a next of kin living in Shirley. The nature of his wounding is not recorded.

The 12th Lancers deployed to the Western Front in August 1914. It remained there for the entire First Word War (1914-18), fighting in both a mounted and dismounted role, and winning many honours, including Mons (1914), Marne (1914), Aisne (1914), Ypres (1914 and 1915), Neuve Chapelle (1915), Arras (1917), Cambrai (1917), St Quentin (1918), Lys (1918), Amiens (1918) and the St Quentin Canal (1918).

“Calm Before the Somme”

1916 began with both Regiments resting and training behind the front lines. However, they soon began to prepare for the July Somme campaign. The cavalry, including the 9th and 12th Lancers, were to be used if the infantry broke through the enemy lines. Several times during the campaign they were called to stand ready to aid the infantry, and pursue the supposed retreating German forces, but were never used. They were aware they had escaped the horrors of the Somme.

“Standing in the Snow – the Battle of Arras”

The campaign near the French city of Arras was planned as a spring offensive in 1917 to break German lines. It failed and the 9th and 12th Lancers suffered many casualties waiting in the snow.

To support the planned breakthrough at Arras, both the 9th and 12th Lancers were reunited with their horses. They were to be used to support the infantry if they succeeded in breaking through the German lines. Under shell-fire, in blizzard conditions, both regiments suffered some of the heaviest casualties of the war as they waited for several days in one place. They also lost many horses to cold, exposure and lack of water. The night of 11th April 1917 is described as “the worst night of the war”. They suffered losses without engaging in direct combat with, or seeing, the enemy.

“1918: Lancer Wood and the last German Push”

The October Revolution (1917) and Russia’s withdrawal from the war enabled the Germans to transfer troops from the east to the Western Front. The Germans launched a massive offensive on the 21st March 1918. Both Lancer regiments supported the hard-pressed infantry. The 12th won praise at Bois de Hangard (France) which was renamed “Lancer Wood”. Casualties were heavy and the 9th lost more than a third of their men.

The cavalry then prepared for the Allied ‘Big Push’ of August 1918, exploiting forward as the war once became mobile again for the first time since 1914. When the Armistice was declared on the 11th November 1918, ending the war, the opposing forces were close to where they had started in 1914.

”The End of the traditional Cavalry?”

Trench warfare changed the cavalry forever. The future would be mechanisation.

After the war, both lancer Regiments kept order in occupied Germany; the 9th in Cologne and the 12th in Dusseldorf. From there they both went on to Ireland, which was in a state of armed republican insurrection against British rule.

We see him in January 1919 transfer into the Reserve Cavalry. William enlists into the Tank Corps in 1919 with the service number 311291.

William married Sybil G Aldis in 1919 and is with her and their child in 1939 living at Fermlea, Millbrook Road, Romsey & Stocksbridge, Hampshire. Here it is recorded he is working as a dock labourer.

Medals come with pritene very long original silk ribbons.


WWI Pair. Hibdige. 12th Prince Of Wales Lancers later Tank Corps. Shirley, Southampton.

Availability: 1 in stock

Scroll to Top