T.N.B. Cree R.N. 18 Apr 1916

Midshipman’s Journal

T.N.B. Cree R.N.


H.M.S. MINSTREL                                                               At MALTA


April 18th         This morning I turned out at 8.45 a.m.  I got well through with the charts in the forenoon also made out report on the compass.  I looked up Callaway and lunched with him then went ashore and purchased a cap.  I also hunted for Mudford and took a ticket at Maricks.  A big mail was received and I got letters from Mother, Dad, Mrs. Philips, Uncle George & George.

I went to see Sacre about mess business and sampled his whiskey, met Walker and dined with him.  We afterwards went to the opera, ‘Tales of Hoffman’.  For some unaccountable reason am more struck by the singing than the beauty of the singers.  I suppose they can’t have been very beautiful.  One I noticed had a gigantic *** (she was also in Faust and Mme. St. Jeanne).  Return on board after a buck rarebit and the club.  Borrowed 10/- from wine accounts.



Pte. A Smith 18 Apr 1916

Pte. A Smith

No 27521

“C” Co12th Batt

Essex Regt



April 18th


Dear Father


You will know by the reply that I received your letter in good time; I did not expect to get it so soon.  Thank you very much for replying at once if you could manage to let me know as soon any other week you are going away it will do fine.

They are not issuing any passes for the holidays so I shall have another try for next week.  I am glad you are going to Farnham, & hope you will have a good time it makes a very nice change if you get good weather.  It has been blowing very hard here lately.

Thank you very much for promising to send me another parcel on Wednesday.  I need not tell you that I enjoyed everything the other contained there is only a few cigarettes left now.

Have not anything else to tell you now.

Hope to see you soon

Remember me to all at Farnham; also Jess & Ethel hope they are all well also yourself.


With much love

Your devoted



Royal Artillery 18th Division 18 APR 1916

Stamp of Commanding Royal Artillery 18th Division 18 APR 1916






Gun emplacements strong.

Their visibility from the air to be tested by Corps Squadrons.

All dugouts to have two exits. Is this necessary for Arty?

Arrangements to be made for the storage of large quantities of ammunition.

Special arrangements for heavy artillery ammunition in order to save labour.



Special trenches desirable for artillery wires: several cables in each.

Value of multi-core cable.

O.P. telephone exchanges.



Importance of studying positions of hostile batteries.

The undulating nature of the country must often force the enemy to place his 77 m.m. in forward positions, or else to put them further back to avoid dead ground, unless he makes up his mind to rely entirely on machine gun defence in certain localities.

It should be considered whether it is better to leave certain marked-down batteries alone until the day of attack. Noted.

Certain Heavy Howitzers to be earmarked for counter-battery work with aeroplanes.

Heavy guns to be used for bombardment if not doing counter-battery work.



Care must be taken that observers are not deceived by dummy Maxim emplacements and observing stations. Almost impossible to say which are dummy & which are real. Emplacements which remain undiscovered & are consequently not dealt with are the trouble.



Wireless stations for the various Headquarters to be as little exposed as possible.

Spare wireless sets?

Dropping stations for aeroplane messages necessary in case wireless instruments get jammed.

The possibility of infantry laying out ground signals during the advance.   Consider

Wireless stations to accompany field artillery in the advance.

12”, 15” How and 12” gun personnel to be attached to 8” and 9.2” Batteries for practice in aeroplane work.

Field Artillery to be practiced in aeroplane work.



Distribution of heavy guns and howitzers: some well forward to deal with the hostile artillery and balloons.

The bottoms of valleys unsound for gun positions on account of gas shells?   Yes

Arrangements to be made to deal with hostile batteries wide on the flanks of the attack.                                                                                                                               Yes

Value of the use of single forward guns in the preparation of the infantry attack.

Value of enfilade fire.                                                                                                 Yes

Emplacements in or near our front line system to be prepared where hidden from view. The question of the occupation of these positions by guns to be used immediately after the assault to be borne in mind. ?                                                       Yes

Positions beyond our front line to be generally selected and allotted beforehand. To be done.

Observing stations in the enemy’s lines useful to us with a view to destroying the enemy’s second line, to be listed and roughly allotted.                                                   ? To be done.

Sections to be made on the map from the proposed observing stations to points in the enemy’s second line to test visibility.

Forward platforms to be prepared for heavy howitzers and 60-pdrs in our own line. Great care must be taken that the platforms are correctly sited.



Value of simplicity of tasks.                                                                           Yes

? The lane system.

Resting detachments.

Arrangements for plenty of food and water, etc.

The affect of the wind on the dust caused by the bombardment.

Arrangement for dumping.



Careful selection needed of barrage points.

The value of photographs.

Points of barrage may have to be changed on the second night from photographs taken on the preceding day.

The value of uncertain times of firing.                                                            Yes

The value of bursts of fire.                                                                              Yes

The intervals between fire should be irregular.                                               Yes

Guns should search and sweep.                                                                      Yes



Probable order of advance of batteries to be made out.                                 Yes

Exits from positions to be made.

Routes and roads to be reconnoitered, allotted and improved.

6” howitzers, horse-drawn, and 60-pdrs, to take part in the early advance.

Roads for heavy howitzers to be allotted.

Portable bridges for field artillery.

Record of bridges fit to carry heavy howitzers.



Care should be taken that all ranks are well instructed in the use of masks and goggles.

Oiling and watering front of emplacements to keep down dust.

Composition to cover fuses to prevent deterioration.



Officers to be earmarked to replace casualties.                                  To be done



(i) Fairly advanced positions abandoned too early in the advance.

(ii) Objectives chosen to suit battery positions instead of vice versa.


13 The new 6” How (26 cwt) can fire up to 4 rounds a minute.

14 Enemy’s reserve &c billets not to be shelled prior to operations.

15 Calibration of guns necessary, if properly carried out registration can be reduced to a minimum, above procedure necessary to keep the enemy in ignorance as far as possible of any increase of guns on our front.

16 Artillery Boards for all natures of Artillery to be provided.

17 Quicken up drill with all natures of Artillery and especially the loading of Siege and Heavy Artillery.

18 See necessary spare parts are to hand and available.

19 Angle of sight on registration cards.

20 Every precaution to be taken to ensure accurate shooting such as the best possible platforms to be provided.

21 Detachments to be kept fit and hard so as to be able to serve their guns to full advantage during a long bombardment.

22 All kinds of signalling Daylight and Visual to be established and practiced.

23 Maps with names of German Trenches to be taken into use by F.O. O’s.

C.R.A. 18th DIVN 18 Apr 1916

SECRET                                             BM-X                                      Apl 18th 1916




  1. Owing to the scanty information at present available it is impossible to fix definitely the limits of front and tasks to be allotted to each Group.
  2. It may be assumed that if the limits of the front remain the same as those mentioned by me at a recent conference with Group Comdrs, the zones will be approximately as follows:-

RIGHT Gp      A.8.b.45.55 to A.2.d.74.75 (Eastern Boundary)

A.8.a.20.33. to A.2.c.61.59 (Western Boundary)

CENTRE Gp    A.8.20.33. to A.2.c.61.59. (Eastern Boundary)

A.7.b.28.45. to A.1.b.73.23 (Western Boundary)

LEFT Gp         A.7.b.28.45. to A.1.b.73.25 (Eastern Boundary)

F.12.a.15.15 to F.6.a.54.10 (Western Boundary)

  1. If the front is extended as far East as A.9.a.55.50 then as follows:-

A.9.a.55.50. then as follows:-

RIGHT Gp A9.a.55.78 to A.3.c.58.46. (Eastern Boundary)

CENTRE Gp thence to Western boundary as in para 2.

LEFT Gp no change


  1. Van Straubenzee B.G.

C.R.A. 18th DIVN

T.N.B. Cree R.N. 17 Apr 1916

Midshipman’s Journal

T.N.B. Cree R.N.


H.M.S. MINSTREL                                                               At MALTA


April 17th (1916) Seeing this book lying in my drawer doing nothing I am resolved to recommence my journal.  A few details of my existence may be of interest later on.