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!

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 16 January 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 16 January 1917


Extracted from


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



January 16, 1917.

We are getting along alright. The Colonel has been fairly sweet tempered, I am glad to say.  In this comparative comfort existence is not so bad, but I feel rather a brute when our fellows are having such a rotten time in the trenches.  But I suppose this will not last long for me.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 16 January 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 16 January 1917



January 16th 19167


You perfect little darling! So that was the secret.  Thank you so very very much for it.  it is beautiful.  I was more than delighted to get it as you may guess.  I like the colouring very much indeed.  Your lips look very kissable in the picture.  I wish I could have the original all to myself.  I am afraid though you would have a very rotten time.  I am sure you would hate to be made untidy and ruffled.  Wouldn’t you?  I shall have to be careful.  But an intoxicated person is hardly responsible for his actions.


I am so very sorry to hear about Mrs. Cross’ accident. I do hope it did not upset her very much.  Thank heaven you weren’t there.  You seem to be very lucky in getting out of these accidents.  I am glad I was not in the carriage for it would have been doubtful whether I was not the sort of person to bring bad luck.  I hope Mrs. Cross has recovered from the effects.


So you are staying the night with the Gardners – oh!  I hope they are well and that you enjoyed your visit.  Thank you for finding time to write to me from there.  (That is unkind isn’t it.  well I can’t help it sometimes).  You don’t mention Humphrey but I suppose he was there.  I am getting on quite alright.  The Colonel has been behaving himself very nicely, I am glad to say.  In this comparative comfort existance is not so bad, but I feel a brute when our fellows are having such a rotten time in the trenches – but I suppose this won’t last very long.


Please forgive this short note but I must get one off by this post to thank you for what you have sent.


Au revoir,darling.

With love and kisses



A.A. Laporte Payne letter 14 January 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 14 January 1917



January 14th 1917




How the time goes and nothing to shew for it except piles of papers. There has been plenty going on to keep one busy but I am afraid my thoughts and my interest are elsewhere – with a girl who has been ‘silly’ enough to thinks she is in love with me.  Don’t you think she is very silly, but I love her all the more – if that is possible –for being silly in that way.  Heaven only knows why she did it for I am sure I never made love to her – simply because I thought it an impossibility and there was no reason why I should not love her without her knowing it – and apparently she did not – until I was weak enough to tell her so.  Don’t you think it was very weak of me?  But then you see I had spent a delightful week, seeing her every day and on the last night when I had to come back to this and its many possibilities she looked so infinitely adorable and kissable and not being other than human I – well you know the rest.  She really was a witch that night.  What do you think were my thoughts on that taxi ride home from town that evening?  I am afraid it was then that I made up my mind – wasn’t I wicked?  Given the least chance I determined then.  She lay back in the taxi with her hat on the floor and her hair delightfully ruffled, looking flushed and disconcerted I thought.  I wonder if she were.  It was a good thing for her that she had a chaperone then.


I wonder if she remembers the morning she went to Waterloo and was left alone in the house with me by her ‘unwise’ mother (bless her) and how reluctant I was to leave.  I was very near misbehaving myself then; but you see it was daylight – and after all one’s first kiss should be in the evening; preferably in a cosy room by a fire after dinner,but a beggar can’t be a choser.  There were many other occasions – some perhaps she can’t remember but others no doubt she can – among them the halfpenny incident.  I often wonder what would have happened if there had been no war.  Would she have been the same?


I am so sorry that you have had the hump lately.  I do hope you are better.  Do you often get that complaint?  I hope not.  I suffer very badly.


So my note smelt of scent. I certainly do not use any unless the beastly barber puts some on me – but that is only in England.  It did not leave here smelling of anything except perhaps tobacco.  I can only put it down to your lady postman.  Was it very strong and cheap?  I rather like a faint suspicion as long as it is good.


Are you keeping alright dear? No colds I hope.  The weather is truly awful.

With my best love and a long long kiss

Always yours


Will Hammond letter 12 Jan 1917

212 Vicarage Rd



Dear Ted & Mary

Please find enclosed 10/- for insurance.  I think this brings me up to date at least.  I think I have paid 10/- per year since 1902 that is for 15 years ago.  £- 10 – 0 and ** the amount payable about £4.  It seems to me that has not been a paying spec has it?

By the bye how many hundreds are you putting in the War Loan?  Unfortunately my assets are not very liquid and I shall have to look on.  Last week end Billy Humphries was over on leave this being his first.  He is in the 9th Division among the Jocks.  Isn’t that Fred’s Division?  We told him to look out for Sapper Hammond.  If Fred is in the 9th you might ask him to look up Serg Humphrey of the Special Gas Sec (92) Q Co 4th Special Batt RE.

Incidentally he left Con an engagement ring so I suppose we may say she’s engaged.  She has not yet been out of doors but she is making steady progress.  Still it may be quite another month before she can venture back to business.  I heard they were serving the troops round Colchester with gas helmets. Surely the Huns are not coming to drop tear shells amongst us.  The Zeppelin scare has practically died out altho one or two rounds will keep up the patrol.  What sort of a time did you have.  Ours passed over quietly but apart from the weather, which was vile, quite enjoyably.

The talk of Victory is not quite so confident. I should imagine the Huns will feel that the peace door has been banged to when they read our terms as sent on to President Wilson.  And yet one feels that anything less will not be a sufficient lesson to teach our enemies that those who take by the sword must fall by the sword.

Well trusting you are all in the pink.

With kindest wishes from all



Please acknowledge receipt of 10/-


Cover to Mrs E. Hammond, 9, Countess Street Stockport, postmarked 11.15 AM

13 Jan 17

F Hammond letter 10 Jan 1917


Dear F & M

Just a short line to say I’m gogging along OK in 1917.  I received your last letter a few days ago and suppose you received one from me about the same time.  Any how if my letter got astray I would like to say the parcels etc arrived here OK.  There is really nothing to relate.  Just jogging along quietly.  Our Boys played a football match against a neighbouring Divn and we had quite a good afternoon.  How are things at home, heard from Geo lately?  Suppose everyone is in the army by now.  Suppose Gladys has settled down to her studies again.

I am trying to turn into a pipe smoker since I received the pipe & pouch.

Well I think this is about all at present.  Hoping you are all well

Yours Gus


WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 9 January 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 9 January 1917


Extracted from


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



R.M.L.P. January 9, 1917.

I have left the battery, and am now Brigade signalling officer at Headquarters. The Colonel sent for me.  I am not sorry; but it will stop any promotion for a bit.  But I should not have been made captain as one who has been a staff captain has been posted to the battery.


I now live in a large chateau in the town. It is not so bad; but I hope I shall not miss the fighting when the next push comes off.


WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 8 January 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 8 January 1917


Extracted from


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



January 8. 1917.

I am fed up with the war, it is worse than being in prison. It does not look as if it would ever end.


There has been another change for me I have left the battery. A man who has been a Staff Captain has been posted to the Battery.  Then the Colonel posted in orders that I had been appointed Brigade Signalling Officer, and I am now at Headquarters.  Orders have to be obeyed I suppose.  I get out of all O.P. work and live in a chateau further behind with a large bedroom and an office to myself, which is perhaps some consolation in a way while there is no real fighting going on but I hope to be back in a battery when the next show comes off.


The Colonel has been most decent to me so far; but he has the devil of a temper.


There are a lot of changes in the Brigade. Out of the whole lot which came out here only one battery commander and four subalterns remain.

We are still very busy here as no doubt you see in the papers.

I had a long walk this afternoon with the Doctor as I had to go somewhere on business.