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!
Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen
Friday 19th April. Heavy rain during night. Slept fairly well. Issue Bully Beef & biscuits at 1 p.m. About 40 French officers went away and about same number English arrived at 2.30 p.m. Much colder & not able to sit out. Bed 9 p.m.
PoW postcard to Red Cross Geneva 19 Apr 18
Please wire to my wife at 28, Coleherne Court, London S.W. 5 that I am a prisoner of was at KARLSRUHE and am well, and require clothing, and parcels. Would you also ask her to wire reply.
J.K. Dick-Cunyngham Br. Gen
Postcard headed Kriegegenlargenen Sendung Absender Br General J.K. Dick-Cunyngham 152 Inf Bde. Offizier-Kriegsgefanlager Karlsruhe.
Addressed to Red Cross Society, Section Anglaise Geneva. Switzerland
Postmarked Karlsruhe (Baden) 1 19.4.18 8-9V
K.J. Bunting Capt.
Issued down to Divisions
(for distribution down to Battalions)
NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 6.
(Issued by the General Staff)
- The following translation of a German document (I/a48580) indicates good dispositions and handling of our machine gun units, during the fighting in March. It emphasises again the value of the disposition of machine guns in depth – both in attack and defence. In the attack, security against counter-attack is thereby given to the flanks; in defence, provision is thereby made for resistance to the enemy’s attempt to widen any gap into which he may penetrate.
- Fire effect is the essential. Therefore, an extensive field of fire (1,000 yards or more) is required for machine guns; direct fire must be a primary consideration; and the employment of guns singly should be avoided. Generally, forward guns should be employed in pairs, and guns in rear should be in pairs or groups of four, so as to facilitate control of a considerable volume of fire.
- In defence, the disposition of machine guns in depth must be based on definite plans for restricting the area into which an attacker might penetrate. The enemy generally attempts to effect penetration at the weaker portions of the line and to take our more strongly prepared positions in flank and reverse. This should be anticipated and should not necessitate bringing our machine guns into action in unforeseen directions as has sometime occurred.
- Single guns with hostile infantry may be dealt with in previously prepared defences by single 18-pdrs in advanced positions, and on all occasions by the fire of rifles and Lewis guns used boldly in front of the main position.
TRANSLATION OF A GERMAN DOCUMENT.
C.G.S. of the Field Army
Ia/II Nr. 82373 op. 30-3-18.
- During the course of our offensive, the principal resistance was offered by the machine gun nests distributed in depth. Their total destruction by the artillery bombardment prior to the assault, even when this was of considerable duration, was not achieved and cannot be expected. We must be satisfied with the neutralization of as large a number as possible of these nests by means of heavy artillery fire and bombardment with blue cross gas shell.
- The method outlined above has apparently not been employed universally, but where it has, it has been successful and casualties have been light. I request that steps be taken to ensure that this method is brought to the knowledge of all units as early as possible. The idea of compelling success by the employment of masses of troops must be absolutely eradicated. This merely leads to unnecessary losses. It is fire effect which is decisive, and not numbers.
- The heavy machine guns should generally be employed to keep down the occupants of the objective of the attack during the infantry attack, and to follow the latter up by large bounds. They also afford security against the enemy’s counter-thrusts.
- The engagement of those machine gun nests which remain in action will then be carried out by single guns (of light Minenwerfer), which are under the orders of the most advanced infantry, follow this infantry as close as possible and fire over open sights at close range (1,1000 yards). It is advisable that batteries allotted to individual battalions should always be the same. Under the protection of the fire of these guns (or Minenwerfer), the infantry will advance by bounds with quite weak groups, the light machine guns forming part of these groups.
- The extraordinary moral and explosive effect of the medium and heavy Minenwerfer has been once more proved during the attack on the 21st March. The selection of the position of the Minenwerfer companies during the advance must be based on the consideration that they must be able to bring their medium Minenwerfer into action as soon as the attack comes to a standstill, especially against defended villages, farm buildings etc. There is no question of employing heavy Minenwerfer and Flugelminenwerfer in open warfare; there is therefore all the more reason to make use of them in trench warfare. Apart from the preparatory bombardment prior to the actual attack, their principal task will always be to annihilate the enemy’s infantry. Villages which lie within range form, on account of their strong garrisons, particularly suitable targets.(Signed) LUDENDORFF.GENERSAL HEADQUARTERS,
- Printed in France by Army Printing and Stationary Services. PRESS A-4/18.
- 19th April, 1918.
- GENERAL STAFF,
Major-General G.T.C. Carter-Campbell, D.S.O.
Commanding 51st (Highland) Division
Friday 19th April 1918.
The following congratulatory message has been received by the G.O.C., from Lieut-General Sir R.C.B. HAKING, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding XIth Corps –
“I wish to place on record the fine performances of the 51st Division during the recent fighting and to thank all the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and men under your command for the splendid fighting qualities they have displayed when being attacked by greatly superior forces.
I am anxious that all ranks should appreciate the fact that though the Division has lost heavily during the last few days, it has saved the situation on our front, and by its stubborn resistance has gained time for reinforcements to arrive and restore the battle. I had the great pleasure this afternoon of describing what you have all done to the Field Marshal Commanding-in-Chief, and he has directed me to thank you in his name, for the successful manner in which you stopped the enemy’s advance and to congratulate you on your splendid fighting powers.”
The above will be communicated to all ranks.
A.A. & Q.M.G.
51st (Highland) Division.
100 Arcadian Gardens,
Bowes Park N22
April 19 1918
In reply to letter which I received on Monday April 8 and was pleased two know you are well I am pleased to say we are getting settled down at the above address I have enclosed a ten shilling note which I no doubt will be useful. I have sent a letter to Southend on Thursday and sent on the letter I had from you and hope it will find them all well. Pleased to say Ciss and all are well, Ethel has started at the Southgate Council last Monday, I shall be please to have a letter from you when convenient to you with best wishes from all.
Registered Letter returned to Post Office by Military Authorities (Expeditionary Force) as undeliverable.
Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen
Thursday 18th. Hot shower bath 8.30 a.m. breakfast in room. Roll call 10 a.m. finished letters etc. Midday meal 12 noon. Sat out in camp, quite warm – from 1 – 3 p.m. Some 40 officers left & new ones came about 3 p.m. including 2 Lt. Cols in 60th one Birch – other –
Supper consisted of 3 tiny bits of meat in stew – Bed 9 p.m. slept well.
War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 Apr 1918
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
R.P. April 17 1918.
In spite of the weather all is well. Italy must have stolen all the sun and left us the wind and rain.
I am still with the battery I am glad to say. No Headquarters for me, if I can help it.
The Boche has been lying low here for a bit. Perhaps he had a little too much of it the other day. We are quite prepared for him. Once he gets in the open we can account for masses of them. We may lose a bit of ground now and them, but he cannot go on losing men at this rate.
Poor old Armentieres has gone and with it many familiar places such as Bailleul, Steenwerk, Neuf Berquin, Neuf Eglise, and others. Occupying those places will do the enemy little good if he cannot get further.
You ask me if I have a billet. No thank you! I am better off in an open field. We are hardened soldiers now. Ask Trevor what he thinks of billets. Besides there aint any.
April 17, 1918.
The mail has at last delivered up all the letters addressed to Italy, which is one bright spot in the wilderness.
Our men grumbled when in Italy at being so far away from home; now I ask them how they like it now they are back here again. Italy at least had more sun and fewer shells.
The Boche have taken many familiar places, where we spent many days, Armentieres, Steenwerk, Bailleul, Vieux Berquin, Laventie, Fleur Baix, and are now pushing north and west towards Neuve Eglise and Hazebrouck. Well! I suppose we must expect to lose a bit of ground when they put in so many troops against us. It can’t be helped. However they seem to have suffered severe casualties.
We are now awaiting his next onslaught in the south. I bet the German fighting man hates it like hell. We do not like it much situated as we are between two fires, the Boche and the staff.
The poor old gees are done in; but so far I have only lost two, so I must not complain.