Memorial lectures will mark centenary of Captain Bibby

Captain Roland Bibby at the front of his platoon in Burma
Captain Roland Bibby at the front of his platoon in Burma

A prominent figure in the world of North Eastern dialect studies will be celebrated at an annual lecture in Morpeth.

This year’s Roland Bibby Memorial event will not only mark the centenary year of his birth, but will be made up of two lectures.

Roland Bibby was the founding Chairman of the Northumbrian Language Society, and a lecture is held each year in commemoration and to pay tribute to the work he did.

In 1946 he was at the forefront of the party of people who were instrumental in the formation of the Morpeth Antiquarian Society.

The Northumbrian Language Society has existed since 1983 to promote, preserve, research, publish and enjoy the rich dialects from Northumberland to North West Durham, including Tyneside, and the descendants of the speech of the Angles, which have survived particularly in the Northumbrian ‘burr’ area.

Mr Bibby died in 1997 and each year a memorial lecture is held.

This year there will be two speakers.

Jonnie Robi will talk about North East voices in the British Library sound archives in his lecture, Sounds Familiar.

And he will be followed by Ian Wilson, who will talk about experiences in the forgotten army in Burma during the Second World War.

Mr Bibby was Captain and officer in charge of No 1 Signal Platoon in The 9th Battalion the Border Regiment, which took an active part in the Ghandi riots until July 1943 when 9 Border joined 17th Indian Division.

They first made contact with the Japanese in the Chin Hills of Northern Burma, fighting many hard patrols and losing many lives, only to be buried by a jungle track.

It was at this point when Captain Bibby stared to write his moving Chin Hill Rants.

Some of his poems written in Burma will be read during the lectures.

The lectures will take place on Saturday, October 14, at 1.30pm, for a 2pm start in Morpeth Town Hall.

There is no charge and all welcome.