Welcome to The Bay Museum Website

The Bay Museum is a friendly museum situated on Canvey Island. Based in a degaussing station, it now offers a wealth of artefacts, books and displays focusing on both local and world military history. Open from 10am till 4pm, the museum also organises trips to France and Belgium to experience the battlefields first hand, as well as helping you research your own family military histories. The museum is run by volunteers who always warmly welcome visitors and are never short of a war story!

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F. Springett letter 18 March 1918

Somewhere in France


Monday March 18th 1918



My Dear Brother Sid,

I received your welcome letter today so pleased to hear that you were quite well.

So sorry I haven’t been able to write but I have been awfully busy you know.  We are going up the doings again tonight.  Ha Ha.

Yes those cigarettes & toffees were jolly good they came just as I were going up to the line.

It was awfully good of her, I have written to her.

Her brother is in a very good lot I have seen quite a lot of those chaps up this way.

Glad to hear that you had a nice time at Gravesend.  We are having some lovely weather out this way now.  We can do with it too.

I had a letter from home yesterday and they told me that Ted took Lilly home for the week-end and then this morning I had a letter from her.

My word I do get some letters.

You can guess where I am when I send cards but don’t worry about it there’s no piece made for me. Ha Ha.

I wrote to Dad yesterday and ask him for a few things of course we can’t keep getting chatty out here. Ha Ha.

Yes I suppose you have some lively times up your way but my word I can tell you we have a few.

Dear Sid, you need not trouble to send those mittens on just now “thanks” the weather is getting better and I shall not need them. “Thanks all the same.”

If you don’t receive letters from me for a few days don’t worry about it it’s because I am up the doings. Ha Ha.

Well Sid, I don’t think I have anything to say this time. Hang on in the works as long as possible.

Hope this letter finds you in the best of health as it leaves me A1.


Best Love

I remain

Your Loving Brother



With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Field Post Office 5X A 19MR 18. Passed by Censor unreadable.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 Mar 1918

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 Mar 1918




Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda



R.P.                                      Sunday March 17 1918.


I am so sorry to hear about the raid. I hope it did not upset you too much, for you must be getting quite accustomed to them now.


We are extra busy just at present, so we are out of mischief. The weather is glorious with plenty of sunshine.  Some of the trees are quite green.  It is not dark until eight p.m.  At night when the sun goes down or in the shade during the day it is cold, otherwise it is just right.


Leave is still a great way ahead. The list is longer than I care to contemplate, but we have to lump it.  It is all in this great game.


March 17 1918


Italian Expeditionary Force.


It is a glorious Sunday evening, though the air is a bit cool. Already some of the trees are green.  The weather is the usual topic of the resourceless, but I hope my references to climatic conditions may be forgiven as they are not padding but quite sincere.  I love weather like this, and I am easily influenced by environment.


We have moved again, and only arrived this evening after a long journey, tired and dusty. I have a bedroom to myself and a table too, where I can write, so I am fortunate.  It is difficult now to think otherwise than in terms of guns and horses.  The prehistoric antebellum days of youth seem so far away now.


It would seem that we are out here in Italy for the duration, but I hope not.  I shall try and get back to France somehow.


The Boche do not seem in a great hurry to make their long talked of attack. Perhaps they are thinking better of it.  They may be bluffing to keep us quiet.  But I think it probable that they will do something.


In my leisure moments I have been reading William James’ “Varieties of Religious Experience”, which is excellent.


Frankau is going to write for the Tatler. What a paper to write for, but I suppose it pays well.


The papers do not take much notice of us out here, which is as well as it prevents us thinking we are doing anything important. There really is nothing much going on.  I hope we are doing some good here.  At any rate the Austrians have not had it all their own way opposite us.

Letter home 15 March 1918






My dear old dad,




            I haven’t half neglected you lately have I, but I have had just nothing to tell you.




            There is a good old noise going on up the line.  The Boche has been chucking his weight about quite considerably, but he has been getting tit for tat all night, especially in the air.  Our fellows have been very successful lately – downing Hun planes right & left.




            I heard a good tale about Cambrai the other day.  A certain cavalry general was waiting anxiously for news from the front & for a long time none was forthcoming.  Suddenly a cloud of dust appeared & a horseman was seen galloping like mad down the road.  It was an Irish infantry soldier covered with mud & blood & sweat, hatless, & mounted on a cavalry horse & wielding an enormous cavalry sword.  The general stopped him & asked him what was going on in front “Be Jesus, yer honour” was the reply, “Oiv’e killed every —— Ulhan in the north of France.”  Not bad is it?




            Various parties of ministries &c are touring round the country but I haven’t seen anything of the railway party yet.  Perhaps they had a bellyful last time & are not too keen this time.




            I hope you have got rid of your cold & are feeling better now.  There seems to be a wave of sickness just here.  Three of our fellows are down with flu, & the Colonel is covered with boils & blanes.  I think we all want a dose of leave.  It is just on the cards that I may get in about a month’s time.  I am not building on it though.  I hope we shan’t have used up all the fine weather before I do get.  We are having topping weather just now.


            I hope mother is better.


            Very best love to all


                        Your loving son




F. Hammond letter 13March 1918



Dear F & M

Just a little note to let you know I am gogging along all merry and bright.  There is very little to report.  I had a letter from Jack the other day and am glad to hear he was practically himself again and no doubt back with his Battn again.  Evidently he was smuggled away in a village just across the hill from me at that time and was even visiting our Divl cinema show so you can see he can’t be so very malade.  The weather this month has been perfect and the birds have begun to sing their song first thing in the morning in fact everything is beginning to take a summer aspect.  How is Par getting along with his allotments.  Has he got anything below ground yet and does he find the tool house across the Road more amenable than of yore.  I suppose Gladys is very busy with her studies hope she will do well and keep her health suppose tennis will be all the go if the weather keeps like this.  Have they opened the Bowling Greens yet this year or are they making allotments of them.  How is Mar keeping hope she is looking after my dawg.  Fancy it will soon be Easter.  But don’t suppose there will be many Easter eggs going spare.  Still the weather is lovely and one wants little out here except a few francs in the pocket which I am glad to say I possess.  I think this is about all this journey.  Hoping you are all keeping merry & bright.

Cheerho Jack

F. Hammond

62210 RE

F Springett post card 13 March 1918



Mr S. K. Springett,

29 Bath Road,


Kent England


Postmark Field Post Office 5X + 13 MR 18


NOTHING is to be written on this side except the date and signature of the sender. Sentences not required may be erased. If anything else is added the post card will be destroyed.


I am quite well.

I have been admitted into hospital sick wounded and am going on well and hope to be discharged soon.

I am being sent down to the base.

I have received your letter dated telegram parcel

Letter follows at first opportunity

I have received no letter from you. Lately for a long time.


Signature only Frank

Date March 12th 1918




War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 11 Mar 1918

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 11 Mar 1918




Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda



March 11 1918


The weather has been delightful here the last two days. At present my quarters rather resemble a pig sty, but at least I have a sleeping compartment to myself.  It is now summertime and not dark until nearly eight, and much warmer.


I am now back at the wagon lines after a time in the gun line. I wonder how we shall like it when it gets really hot.


There is a new book out by a man to whose lectures I used to go at Cambridge, “Church and State in England to the death of Queen Anne” by Professor Gwatkin, since dead. I am afraid I shell not be able to read it until the war is over; and when will that be?  A seven year’s war, a thirty or even a hundred year’s war!


It is so late that the cocks are crowing, and I have to be up at five! However as my Father used to say “Example is better than precept.”


Novels are like drugs so I eschew them.


M.F.L.P.                              March 11, 1918


I have just returned after a lengthy stay in the gun line, to the wagon line, and it is now so late that the cocks are crowing. And I have to be up at five.


The weather is at present beautiful. The others have invented a game, some mad game, a mongrel half badminton, half quoits.  It makes me too hot.  And I have even played football.  But I was fearfully stiff afterwards.  The Veterinary Officer played goal, for the officers against the sergeants and the rest.  He has a fat red face, and a bald head, and confesses to 30.  The right back was the fat adjutant in yellow socks.  A major of 45 was the other back.  I played right half, and the result was a draw.


Mine is the unfortunate captain’s job. At present I am up to my eyes in indents and requisitions.  From guns to whale oil, and from horses to shirts!  My correspondence is mostly of rude letters from A.O.D., D.A.D.O.S., S.C.R.A., and other horrid people.  “Why did you overdraw one ration on 15.2.18?”  “You cannot have Scissors.  They are not authorised.”  But they expect the men’s hair to be cut.