F Hammond letter 28 March 1916

28.3.16

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to say I am just gogging along nicely JA and still OK.  There is really nothing exciting to relate which usually means marking time.  The weather is very fickle just now.  One day it will sunshine the next it will snow all day & the next rain still old sol keeps trying to get the upper hand and already he peeps up quite early the birds joining in the chorus.

We possess a band in the Division now and are treated to music about twice a week.  We also possess a cinema show so you see we get some diversion from the monotony of trench warfare occasionally we have little straffs and the Bosche treat us to their Hymns of hate.  They usually pick Sunday as an especial day so we have begun to expect a little extra turn in fact that’s how we should know it was Dimanche day was it not for the civilian population donning their best black on and filling the estaminets with their cheap cigars.  I had a letter & small parcel from Gladys Grimshaw the other day.  She told me she was reading a book called the First Hundred Thousand strange to say I was doing the same.  It’s a fine book especially from our stand point as it was written by an officer in our Div & relates the life up to the end of the Loos affair.  If you get a chance read it.  (Staff Captain Beith 27th Inf) I hope you are all keeping well I might possibly get leave some time this summer some hopes – anyway some of the Div have started their second leave so there’s a possible – well I think this is all at present.  Oh it’s my birthday soon and I hear you are

 

MESSAGES AND SIGNALS

Fragment

 

Going to send me a parcel. What about one of Mar’s special cakes & pie would be relished.  I have friends to help me so long as you can get it in the oven don’t be afraid on us not being able to tackle it well bye bye for present

Gussie

 

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery Order 17 28 Mar 1916

SECRET

Appendix XI

Copy No 19

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery

Order No 17

 

28/3/16

Reference Trench Map

1/10,000 sheet FICHEUX

 

  1. House at X.3.d.8.9 is used as a dump and is to be dealt with as follows on March 30th.
  • At 7 a.m. 3 18pdr batteries Right Group

2 18pdr batteries Centre Group

will each fire 3 rounds gun fire with shrapnel.

  • From 7 a.m. – 7.45 a.m.

Section 6” Howitzers

One      8” Howitzer    6th H.A.G.

are each to fire 10 rounds.

(III)        From 7.45 a.m. – 8.15 a.m.

2 4.5” Howitzer batteries Right Group will each fire 20 rounds H.E.

(IV)        From 7 a.m. – 8.15 a.m. Machine guns of 134th and 166th Infantry Brigades are to cooperate.

(V)          From 8.15 a.m. March 30th 8.15 a.m. March 31st batteries detailed by Right Group Commander will fire salvoes at irregular intervals every hour in cooperation with machine guns.

100 rounds 18pdr H.E. and 200 rounds 4.5” H.E. are allotted for this purpose.

 

Note.

Ammunition expended on above tasks is extra to weekly allotment.

 

  1. Benson

Major R.A.

Brigade Major

55th (W.L.)Div. Arty.

 

 

Issued at 6 p.m.

Copy no    1.  Right Group.

  1. Centre Group.
  2. Left Group.
  3. 4th W.L. Bde. R.F.A.
  4. to 10 55th Div (G)
  5. 6th H.A.G.
  6. 37th Div Arty.
  7. 14th Div Arty.
  8. 164th Inf Bde.
  9. 165th Inf Bde.
  10. 166th Inf Bde.
  11. 7th Corps Arty.
  12. Staff Captain.

19, 20. War Diary.

  1. File

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery 28th March 1916

SECRET

Appendix X

Copy No 11

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery

Order No 16

 

28th March 1916

 

The reliefs detailed in 55th (West Lancs) Divisional Artillery Order No 15 dated 27th inst, are postponed until the weather improves.

 

2 days warning will be given before the reliefs will commence

 

  1. Benson

Major R.A.

Brigade Major

55th Divisional Arty.

 

 

Issued at 10 a.m.

Copy no    1.  Right Group.

  1. Centre Group.
  2. Left Group.
  3. 55th Div. A.C.
  4. 55th Div (G).
  5. 55th Div (G).
  6. 4th Div Arty.
  7. 37th Div Arty.
  8. Staff Captain
  9. 14th Bde R.F.A.
  10. War Diary
  11. War Diary
  12. File.
  13. 165th Inf Bde.
  14. 7th Corps Artillery
  15. Signals.
  16. 14th Div. Arty.

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery 55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery

SECRET

Appendix IX

Copy No 11

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery

Order No 15

 

March 27th 1916

Ref Map 1/20,000

Sheet 51c. S.E. & 1/100,000 sheet LENS

 

  1. The 68th and 88th Batteries R.F.A. are to be relieved by two 4 gun batteries – A Battery 123rd Brigade R.F.A. and D Battery 124th Brigade R.F.A. respectively, from 37th Division.
  2. This relief will be carried out by sections on the nights of 29/30 and 30/31st March as follows:- Centre and Left sections 68th Battery will be relieved by sections A/123rd Battery.       Right and Centre sections 88th Battery by sections D/124th.       Remaining sections 68th and 88th Batteries will vacate their positions on night 30/31st. No movement of vehicles to take place E. of BEAUMETZ before 6.45 p.m. each night.
  3. Sections 14th B.A.C. at SOMBRIN is to be relieved by section 123rd B.A.C. on March 31st.       Section 4th D.A.C. attached 55th D.A.C. at COULLEMONT is to be relieved by section 37th D.A.C. on same date. 4th Div. Amm. Echelons will be responsible for supply of ammunition up to 11 a.m. 31st March at which hour 37th Div Amm. Echelons will take over.
  4. Wagon lines 68th and 88th Batteries at BAVINCOURT will be taken over by relieving batteries.
  5. Sections of batteries and B.A.C. 14th Bde R.F.A. will as relieved, march to billets at GROUCHES to rejoin 4th Division under Brigade arrangements. H** 14th Bde R.F.A. will march to GROUCHES on completion of relief. Section 4th D.A.C. attached 55th D.A.C. will on relief rejoin 4th D.A.C. at GAUDIEMPRE under arrangements to be made by O.C. 55th D.A.C.
  6. all communications will be left intact, and trench maps etc handed over to relieving batteries.
  7. All further details of relief to be arranged direct between Brigades and Batteries concerned.

 

  1. Benson

Major R.A.

Brigade Major

55th Divisional Arty.

 

 

Issued at 11.45 a.m.

Copy no    1.  Right Group.

  1. Centre Group.
  2. Left Group.
  3. 55th D.A.C.
  4. 55th Div (G).
  5. 55th Div (G).
  6. 4th Div Arty.
  7. 37th Div Arty.
  8. Staff Captain
  9. 14th Bde R.F.A.
  10. & 12 War Diary.
  11. File
  12. 165th Inf Bde.
  13. 7th Corps Artillery
  14. Signals
  15. 14th Div Arty

Pte. A Smith, March 25 1916

Y.M.C.A headed notepaper

Pte. A Smith

No 27521

Reply to C Company 12th Batt Essex Regt

Stationed at Dovercourt

 

March 25 1916

 

Dear Father

 

You can see by the above address where I am landed. Beginning to settle down now it is all right except for the food that is why I am writing from the Y.M.C.A. hut. Have come here today for tea. The place is full of soldiers. There are 8 of us quartered in a private house. 4 in each room sleep on the bare boards, three blankets only; but still I am fortunate have got in with some very nice fellows.

When I left Southend on Wednesday we were sent to Warley. I was right glad to see the back of that place. When we arrived it was too late to see the doctors that day so had to spend the night in the barracks on a straw mattress jolly hard I can tell you. I saw the doctors the following day & came here on Friday.

Of course I do not know much of the rules yet but I am looking forward to getting leaf in about a month’s time I should think. I look a regular knut in khaki I can tell you. It is alright except for the boots they are devilish heavy.

We have to be in by 9 PM it is even darker here than Southend. This is where they have had some of the Zepp raids. It is a bus ride from Harwich.

This is the first time we have had free since we arrived; but I think one does get plenty of time when we are settled.

I do not know how long we shall be here. One does not know anything in the army.

Well Father I do not think there is any more news now. Hope you are well also Jess & Ethel.

 

With much love from

From your devoted

Son

Alf

 

P.S. In case you cannot make out the address;

Pte. A.A. Smith

No 27521

  1. Co. 12th Batt:

Essex Regt.

Dovercourt

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery Order No 14 March 24th 1916

SECRET

Appendix VIII

Copy No 19

 

55th (West Lancs:) Divisional Artillery

Order No 14

 

March 24th 1916

Ref Trench Map 1/10000

Sheet FICHEUX

 

  1. On March 25th batteries detailed below with 6” and 8” Hows of 6th H.A.G. will bombard Les TROIS MAISONS.

Right Group 4 – 18 pr batteries (less forward section L.Bty)  Objective Front line X.2.b.70.32 – X.2.b.90.15.  2 – 4.5” How Batteries (less I section) Objective Front line X.2.b.70.32 – X.2.b.90.15.

Centre Group 2 – 18 pr batteries Support and communication trenches on above front.

Left Group 1 – 4.5” How Battery Support and communication trenches on above front.

  1. At 10.30 a.m. the bombardment will open with a salvo to be fired by 6” Howitzer section (at R.14.b.), on which all 18 pr will fire 3 rounds gun fire with shrapnel, and will be continued with H.E. at a deliberate rate of fire by all guns engaged until 11 a.m.
  2. Ammunition (additional to allotment for current work)

Shrapnel                  H.E.

18 pr per gun                 3                          10

4.5” How per gun                                      10

  1. Benson

Major R.A.

Brigade Major

55th Divisional Arty.

 

Issued at 8.30 p.m.

Copy no    1.  Right Group.

  1. Centre Group.
  2. Left Group.
  3. 4th W.L. F.A. Bde.
  4. – 10 55th Div (G)
  5. 6th H.A.G.
  6. 164th Inf Bde. Signals
  7. 165th Inf Bde.
  8. 166th Inf Bde.
  9. 37TH Div Arty.
  10. 14th Div Arty.
  11. Staff Captain

18   War Diary

  1. War Diary

20   File

21   7th Corps Arty.

55th Division C/15 21 Mar 1916

SECRET

Appendix VII

 

55th Division C/15

 

SECRET

 

55th Division

 

  1. The 4th Divisional Artillery (less one Brigade) will relieve the 37th Divisional Artillery (less one Brigade) in the line.
  2. Reliefs will be carried out under arrangements to be made between C.O’s C. R.A. of the Division concerned, and be completed by 6 a.m. morning of April 1st.
  3. As soon as this relief has been carried out, one 18 pr Brigade 37th Divisional Artillery (less two Batteries) will relieve the 14th Brigade R.F.A., 4th Division now attached to the 55th Division, under arrangements to be made by G.OsC. R.A. of Divisional Artillery concerned.
  4. The Artillery of the 37th Division less D.A.C. will on relief occupy the huts on the slopes of the PAS – WARLINCOURT Valley. The encampments will be allotted by the Staff Officer R.A. 7th Corps.
  5. The 14th Brigade R.F.A. will on relief occupy billets at GROUCHES.
  6. The Divisional Artillery Ammunition Column will, on relief, be billeted either in HALLOY or GRENAS.

 

(Sd) F. Lyon, Brig. Gen

General Staff, 7th Corps.

20th March 1916

 

Divisional Artillery

 

For information and necessary action.

 

(Sd) J.G. Dill, Capt. G.S.

For Lt. Col. G.S.

55th (West Lancs) Division

H.Q. 55th Div

21/3/16

 

Headquarters 55th division (G)

 

This will leave us 4 – 18 prs short.

(Sd) J. MacMahon, Brig Gen.

Co

Cmdg. 55th Divisional Artillery

21/3/16