2nd Lieutenant Laurence Bosdet Hibbs

Royal Militia Island of Jersey / 7th Royal Irish Rifles

Died: 21 March 1916

Age: 21

Laurence Bosdet Hibbs, son of James Hibbs, of Rouge Boullion, Jersey, was born 2nd June 1894. He was a chorister of Winchester Cathedral until his voice broke, when he entered Victoria College, in September 1908. He won the King’s History Prize in 1911, and two years later obtained a Channel Islands Scholarship for Modern History at Exeter College, Oxford. Even in his school days his character and gifts were not those of the ordinary schoolboy. He took no great interest in games, but nevertheless got his football colours for two years. As a young boy, he had shown exceptional promise as a pianist and many will remember his finished performance at the College Concert of 1912. One of the mainstays of the newly-instituted Debating Society, he was a keen controversialist and always ready to espouse the unpopular cause, to which indeed his disposition commonly inclined him.

On most political questions, he had already formed advanced opinions, and held strong views upon the unrighteousness of war; though he belonged to the OTC, it was rather as a matter of loyalty to his school than because his heart was in it, and on parade there was always an air of protest visible to the seeing eye. All this however was thrown to the winds on that Fourth of August 1914, and it was with no divided mind that he came up to College to ask to be recommended for a commission. He was blest with a twinkling eye and a great sense of humour. His contemporaries will not readily forget his “Old King Cole,” or his astonishing falsetto in “She stoops to Conquer.” He was a keen chess player, and played for the University as well as for his College, being president-elect of the Exeter College Chess Club when the war began.

A straightforward Britisher of the bull-dog breed, the magnetism of his personality and the trust which he inspired were almost painfully illustrated when the men of the Militia, being somewhat indiscreetly told to range themselves with the subaltern in whose Platoon they wished to serve; with one accord made a line for Hibbs. He was gazetted to the 3rd (South) Battalion, RMIJ in August 1914, and volunteered for service at the front when the Jersey Contingent was formed. With it he went to Ireland to join the 7th Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles, and in December 1915 went out with them to France as machine gun officer. He died at Lapugnoy on 21st March 1916, after a very short illness.

The above text appeared in the Victoria College Book of Remembrance which was published in 1920.

The link to the Channel Islands Great War Study Group website is: