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 focussing on Military history. Open from 10am till 4pm, the museum also organises trips to France and Belgium to experience the battlefields first hand. The museum is run by volunteers who always warmly welcome visitors and are never short of a war story!

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War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 November 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




17th November 1917


A, Battery 175th Brigade, R.F.A.




Two Sections              One Section                TOTALS

Train No                      Train No

232                              235


Officers…                                  4.                              2.                                  6.

Other Ranks…                        121.                             64.                               185.


Light draught..                                    )113.                            57.                               123.

Riders                                      )                                                                       47.

Heavy Draught                          4.                              2.                                 6.


TOTAL HORSES..                                                                                        176.


Guns 18pdr. Q.F.

with Limbers                           4.                                 2.                                 6.

Ammunition Wagons              8.                                 4.                                 12.

Wagons G.S….                       3.                                1.                                 4.

Water Cart                              1.                                 -.                                  1.

Mess Cart                                                                    1.                                 1.

Total Vehicles                                                                                                 24.


17, November 1917





Entraining Station, Loon-Plage.


TRAIN Serial Nos.                 UNIT.                         Time of                        Date.

No.                                                                              Departure.

  1. B.40.                           Headquarters

B.43a.                          1/3 How. Battery        11-45                           18th Nov.

  1. B.43.                           2/3 How. Battery        17-45                                do
  2. B.41.                           2/3 A. Battery             23-45                                do
  3. B41a.                           1/3 AB                                    5-45                            19th Nov

B42a.                           1/3 BB

  1. B42.                            2/3 BB                         11-45                                do
  2. ½ Brigade Amm. Col.                         17-45                                do
  3.         do                                                               23-45                                do


Acting Traffic Officer




16th Nov. 1917


(The whole Brigade want via VINTIMILLE with the exception of Train No. 3 2/3, A. Battery.)


F Springett letter 17 November 1917

56153 Rfln F.W. Springett
A Company 3rd Platoon
51st G. Battn Kings Royal Rifles

My Dear Brother Sid,
Just a few lines in answer to your letter of a few days ago, so sorry to hear that you have a rotten cold. I am still very well at present.
Its awfully cold here now, you must excuse the writing as my hands are nearly perished.
Glad you have plenty of work to do, hope you may continue to have plenty.
We still keep fairly busy, plenty of route marches, and all that sort of thing.
We went through the Gas Chambers on Thursday of course I passed alright Ha Ha.
I think I told you I were a Lewis Gunner didn’t I, well we are going to pass our test next week. I want to pass, and I don’t think it matters thank you.
I can’t promise to be home for Christmas yet.
Sid, probably I shall though, for the last time. Keep this to yourself, don’t tell them at home.
Well, Sid I had a decent parcel from home again this week. It was alright.
You might address my letters as Pte again until I tell you to alter it, they are a funny lot.
I suppose Ted is still alive and enjoying himself. I don’t hear from him yet.
Yes, this is rather quiet down here now, but it is a lot better place than Harwich, my word that was some place.
I suppose you didn’t keep on smoking did you Sid, that wasn’t in your line “was it”?
I don’t think I have any more news this time. So Goodbye Best Love
I remain
Your Affec Brother
Frank W
Write soon

With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent
Postmarked Margate 9.45PM 17 No 17

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 16 November 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




16th November 1917

R.P. November 16, 1917.



Yesterday I arrived safe and sound, but completely disgruntled, and found everything as I expected. The Major is still away sick, and being in command I shall be responsible for the move.  You can guess where to.


Things are in a great mess, but no doubt they will straighten out in time.


On the boat coming over I met Sidney Swann and Ted Collins and also two of our subalterns returning, having been recalled also. I met Reg at the Officers’ Club in Boulogne, and dined with him and Swann and Collins.  I saw him again the next morning.


I managed to get a car to take me all the way to the wagon lines, so I was very lucky.


That night we had a Brigade dinner and I was vice chairman, and had to make a speech.


I am so sorry I had to leave so early. Thank you for getting up to see me off.  I hope you were not very tired.


The course served me well as I was able to see you all before I go far away where no leave can be expected for a long while.


November 16, 1917.

Yesterday I arrived quite safely here, and found everything in a great commotion, as I expected. The import of the wire which brought the Colonel and myself back here was as I thought.  So now you know where we are bound.  Everything is upside down.  The course at Shoeburyness which should have given us six weeks at home, just enabled up to get two days in England.  Well! The best laid plans of mice and men…. And we are but mice now.


I had two hours in Folkestone. On board I met Sidney Swann, the Cambridge, now a chaplain, and Ted Collins, a very old friend from Bath, who is in the Cavalry, also two of our subalterns in the same plight as the Colonel and myself.


At Boulogne I met Reg, at the Club, and he, and Swann, Collins and I had dinner together.  That night I stayed in Boulogne, and in the morning got a lift in a car with our two subalterns to the wagon lines.  That night we had a Brigade dinner.  I had to make a speech!  Jock Amour toasted the ladies.  Very appropriate, wasn’t it?


As the Major seems to be permanently sick, and is still away, I am again in command of the Battery, and short-handed.  It involves a great deal of work when we have a long move.  Having had a pleasant stay in Blighty snatched away in that fashion, I am a bit disgruntled, not unnaturally.


You will have to procure some very different maps now if you still take an interest in our movements. The Colonel is very pleased with the move and himself.  He thinks he is going to win “great honour and glory” where we are going.  I doubt it.  we shall probably find ourselves in a horrible mess.


Well! Well!  Au Revoir.




  1. The Brigade will entrain at LOON-PLAGE for MODANE.
  1. Units will be at the entraining station 3 hours prior to the time fixed for departure.
  1. Distance to LOON-PLAGE from here is 15 miles.
  2. SUPPLIES. 14 days supplies will be in lorries at LOON-PLAGE on the morning of the 18th inst. Units will send one officer, one N.C.O., and a small party to meet the Adjutant at that hour and that place for the purpose of dividing the supplies.
  1. Headquarters will leave the wagon line at GHYVELDE at 4 p.m. on the 17th inst.




POSTING Captain W.V. Greetham, 15th Hussars, is posted to the 175th Brigade, R.F.A. as Advisor in Horsemastership with effect from todays date.

2/Lieut. H. Griffiths C/175 Bde. R.F.A. is posted to B/175, Bde. R.F.A. with effect from todays date.


War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 14 November 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




14th November 1917



175th (Army) Brigade, R.F.A.             S/1085.

  1. The Brigade (Less C Battery) will be withdrawn to their Wagon Lines on the night 15/16th inst., when they will come under the orders of G.O.C.R.A., XVth Corps.
  2. The responsibility for the Artillery Defence of the Front at present covered by E Group will be taken over at 4.30 p.m. on the 15th inst by O.C. B Group.
  3. The necessary adjustments of S.O.S. Lines are given in the 42nd D.A. Instructions No. 29, attached hereto.
  4. Move to Wagon Lines at GHYVELDE will be commenced directly darkness sets in.
  5. Acknowledge.




Adjutant, 175th Bde. R.F.A.


(The Brigade left the 42nd Division and their zones were covered by spreading the zones covered by Sykes Group and the remainder of E Group (400th Battery and B/210 Battery, and E Group came under the command of O.C. B. Group)


Message from GOC 51st Division 13 Nov 1917.

Message from GOC 51st Division 13 Nov 1917.





Message from the G.O.C. to be read out to every man at Dinner on November 13th 1917.




Today is the Anniversary of the Capture of BEAUMONT HAMEL. This was the first real opportunity the Division had of shewing its superiority over the enemy.


The following is an extract from the message sent by the Corps Commander after the Battle:-

“All the world looks upon the capture of BEAUMONT HAMEL as one of the greatest feats of the war, and to those who know the ground and defences it must ever be a marvellously fine performance.”


Since BEAUMONT HAMEL the Division has inflicted several crushing defeats on the enemy, and has established a glorious record unsurpassed by any Division in the British Army.


The reputation of the Division is known throughout the Army: it is appreciated by the enemy.


I am absolutely confident, and I feel that every man in the Division is confident, that, given a fair chance, the Highland Division can always defeat the enemy.


I send every man my heartfelt wishes for the best of good luck in the future.


G.M. Harper

Major General


51st (Highland) Division

13th November 1917

Alf Smith letter 12 November 1917

Nov 12th 17


My Dear Father


Thank you very much for Sunday Pictorial.  I have been waiting to hear from you but no doubt it was owing to me telling you not to write when I went to the rest camp.

Well it is about the same as usual not a lot of news to tell you but I expect you are glad to hear from me if it is only a few lines.

What do you think of this weather it is blooming rough out here now.  We came here about 5 A.M. yesterday morning soaked through so we had a day between the blankets to allow our clothes to dry.

You will be surprised to hear I met Sid Taylor last week he had been looking out for me for sometime & he discovered that we were billeted close together but we were both moving the next day so I don’t know where he is now I have got his address so I might run across him again he looks very well.

How are you all getting on at home have you had any more air raids lately?  Do you have much trouble to buy provisions now I suppose there will not be many people making Xmas puddings this year.

Cannot think of any more news. Hoping you are all enjoying good health glad to say I am tres bien.

Au revoir

With much love from

Your devoted



Letter from Jack Hammond 12 November 1917

Sent with letter of 23 Nov 17



PS Bill sent me a bottle of pickles the other day


Dear old Jack

Your’s to hand I recognised the place immediately, rather bon beer there evidently we crossed on our journey.  You will be glad to learn that I am now a captain .  you are an old dog to have the cheek to go on leave while your young brother is doing the old shell hole work but take it from me old man you *** to be steady with the ***.  I am not exactly sweating on leave yet being the 5th ***.  I should think in a months time I ought to be somewhere near.  We may get home together yet.  I suppose it’s too cold to do any bathing where you are.  We had quite a nice lot of swimming here.

I am looking forward to a good bottle of Bass it will **** something to get tight now at home.  Well so long drop me a line as soon as you know you are going.  I would not mind a round on the links with you.  I think most of the time would be spent in the Golf House.  Don’t forget to buy some **** when you go home.

Yours *** *** Jack