Individual Stories – WW1
Little is known of Rex and his reasons for enlisting. It may have been because of lack of work in 1915 or that his brother Joe and his brother-in-law Edward Montague Marvin may have encouraged him. The photograph that includes him, dressed in Civilian clothes, with the other Dibdin’s must have been taken between 4th August 1914 (Britian declared war on Germany) and April 1916.
|Letter from Rex to Lionel
13th September 1915 From France
“ My dear Lionel
I really cannot advise you to try for service over here. Its all very well – Ernest and Monty
( This may have been Montague Severn or Monty Marvin his Brother in law ) joining …etc Joe’s a bachelor ( see Photograph)….There are quite enough race-horses pulling dog carts as it is without you being led into foolishness by the example of your brothers and cousins! …”
The letter continues in that vein, strongly pointing to the valuable work that Lionel was doing in England as a policeman and engineer, and to the fact that he had a wife and children, as well as the responsibilities of a company to run.
By April 1916, Rex was in hospital in Sheffield and by June he is living at Scotton Camp recuperating and trying to put on weight. It is interesting to note that although he really would not have wanted to return to the front, the stupidity among officers and later on the difficulties of civilian life were a strong pushed for him to enlist again.
|Further Letters from Rex to Lionel
12th April 1916 From Block 2 Trivale Hospital Sheffield.
He refers to issues about Cadets and that NCO are well paid.
“I am doing the Government in for a new set of teeth and hope shortly to get my ticket.”
7th June 1916 From “A” Company SC Scotton Camp Yorks.
In this letter he is waiting to be discharged. As a result of the injustice and stupidity of officers and the level of boredom, he wishes to be out of there, even to go back to France, if only he could put on weight.
“Much discussion this morning as to whether polygamy will come after the war. Butchers strongly in favour, provided they get paid by results. ‘Families supplied daily’ if the bill is paid weekly.”
A later date. From Abbotsford, 41a Abbey Road, St John’s Wood.
He was pleased that Lionel had join in “The Rest” so as to have a chance to get his bearings.
Elsie his wife was nursing, in Maidstone, Mont (Marvin her brother) who was “crocked up”: Joe was fit, despite his adventures. “Civilian Life is Ruddy Rotten” and seeing Joe made him want to join up again.
Little is known about Rex’s activities immediately after the war except that records indicate that he worked for his father with the slate bed sewerage system but by 1922 was showing sign of a mental breakdown. The the war left Rex with paranoia and severe psychosis. He had a spell during 1923 in the Maudsley Hospital and in another mental rest home. His marriage finally faded in 1924.
The general view was, within the family, that he was genius and probably, he was of a very sensitive disposition. The experience of war could do nothing but harm.
It is an object lesson to look, again, at the Photographs on page 2 to see the change that war could have on a man.
After getting better in about 1918 he seemed to have any number of minor occupations that he fitted in with being a local “Gas Inspector”
More of the
life of of Reginald Aglio Dibdin