Hugh Robert Hibbert

This photo is a detail from a group photo of officers of the 1st Battalion which was posted to India from 1858 to 1870. Hibbert was commanding Officer from Dec 1863 after he purchased the position for 3,500 pounds. He retired by sale in Oct 1871. Some of his letters are kept in the National Archives and can be read online. On 20th March 1865 he wrote to his father from India:

"We are all well and are still enjoying a most charming climate. I suppose we shall still catch it in the summer but as I hope to spend three months of that in the hills where I can pick my own climate I do not anticipate much annoyance. I am agreeably surprised with India, tho' it is not a place I should like to live in and shall not wish to stay a day longer than was absolutely necessary. The pay no doubt is the great thing and that certainly is very good. I have fitted myself out here completely with everything, horses, furniture and all the many requisites for a house and send home 50 pounds a month regularly and shall soon be able to send home double that sum monthly which will soon clear me in England."

He was born on 19th Dec 1828 at Birtles Hall, Over Alderley, Cheshire, the son of Thomas Hibbert. Hugh entered the regiment in 1847 and went with them as a captain to the Crimea. He reached the rank of Brevet Major in 1855 without purchase due to exhibiting bravery and leadership on the battlefield. He was married to Catherine Lee in 1861 and they had 5 daughters and 1 son. Although the family home was Birtles Hall, Over Alderley in Cheshire they lived at Broadgate, Barnstaple, Devon where he died in 1895. His father Thomas built a chapel at the entrance to the Birtles Hall estate and filled it with valuable oak carvings, stained glass and brass from various sources. Colonel Hugh donated the chapel to be the Parish Church of Over Alderley & Birtles and it became St Catherine's, dedicated on 24th Feb 1890.

More Information about Hugh Hibbert who was a good friend of H.H. Munro (Saki) can be found here

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by Stephen Luscombe