Archie A. Laporte Payne letters home October 1914

Archie A. Laporte Payne letters home October 1914


On plain notepaper.



Links Rd



Oct 2 1914


My dearest Mother & Father,

Many thanks for letters & forwarded correspondence. Will you let one know all particulars for Sunday, as I may be able to get off?  I could not last Sunday as I had orderly duty to see to.


Yes I should like a pair or so of Hick stockings. Don’t send pyjamas yet.  I am hoping to leave here any day now.


We are very busy. We have been paid!!!!  15/- we got each.  What a lot of hard work for a mere nothing!  It was in 10/- note & 5/- postal order.


Please give me Reggie’s address in case I can’t get away.


I hope you are all well & flourishing. Everything going right.  All here is as usual.  Drill all day long with route marching.  It gets rather boring.  We have no rifles or uniforms yet.


With much love to you & all


Your affectionate son



P.S. What does Reg want for his ordination & Maude for her birthday?



On embossed notepaper.


At Alton

Alexandra Park.



Oct 5 1914


My dearest Mother & Father,


Many thanks indeed for your letters and parcel. I have made the stupidest mistake I have ever made in my life.  I had worked it out alright and I was to get to the ordination service on Sunday morning from here.  I left early and got to town with some other men and I took a ticket to Chelmsford instead of Colchester.  I missed the early train but got to Chelmsford at 10.30 of course I soon found out my mistake but there were no more trains to Colchester till late afternoon and I had no money to rattle a can so I had to return to town & went to Uncles for the day.


I was most sorry to miss Reggie’s ordination but I was with you all in spirit.  I am glad to hear it went off alright.  I have written to Reggie.  I was very angry at my stupid mistake.  I had Chelmsford in my mind all the time I am afraid.  If I am in England I must go to his priest’s ordination in stead.  Reg must be very glad to be settled.  We have not got our uniforms yet but hope to do so soon.  I wish I could get my commission.  We are still very busy and at the end of the day fairly tired so we retire early.


They are putting up the huts here now so I expect we shall be soon getting into them.


I hope your harvest went off well & that there were good congregations. If I am gazetted soon I shall come home at once to get uniform etc & have a rest.  I hope I get an artillery commission but it is very doubtful.


There is absolutely no news to tell you. Everything goes as usual.  We did some skirmishing this morning & a route march this afternoon.


Hoping you are all keeping well with much love to you all.



Your loving son



On embossed headed notepaper.

Royal Field Artillery


R.A. Crest.

Oct 19 1914


My dearest Mother,


Arrived here safely & found my quarters – in tents – everything is overflowing. I have very nice officers over me.  I have met men I know.  One of them is Dennis – a Whitby friend of Reggies.


Will you please send me two large towels, a pillow case (perhaps 2) an extra rug – (my own if possible). I shall get on here quite alright.  The two Dexters have got commissions here.  There are several Cambridge men here.


Hoping you are all well & flourishing. I am alright here.  The open air will do me good.  I shan’t be under canvass long.


Best love



Your loving son




On headed notepaper.


R.A. Mess

Royal Field Artillery,


R.A. Crest.

Friday Oct 23 1914


My dearest Mother & Father,


Many thanks indeed for your letters & parcels which have all arrived quite safely. The washing and rugs have all come.  I am having quite a good time here.  There are about 50 Sub Lieuts several Cambridge & Oxford men.  We get up about 6. am and I go on parade at 7.  I was posted to the 260 Battery & I found only one officer – a sub Lieut of 2 months training in command in a major’s position.  He usually is away & I was told to carry on – so I am here in command of 270 men for marching drill on parade ground & route marching etc.  since then 2 other subs have turned up & are my juniors & I divide the battery into two sections & they take one each while I watch & then I join them up & drill them together.  You should have seen me the first morning.  I was all alone & did not know any drill at all.  It is quite different to the Infantry drill – so I used to march them about & look at the drill book when the men could not see me & then I gave the next order.  I can get on alright now & teach the 2 new subs – Eh what!  You should have been on parade when General Maxse came past and I gave him the battery salute.  We have no horses yet in our battery – but there are lots here – we hope to have some soon.  There is no accommodation for officers mess so we (one other chap & myself) have found a very nice family to give us three meals a day – for £1-1/- week each – we get splendid meals – 4 course dinner – 3 course lunch & breakfast.  They keep 2 cars.  We are still in tents – but it is not very cold.  I am afraid week ends are impossible yet.  Colonel English is all against them – as the men cannot get off.  Today we paid the men and every day I have to inspect the kit and barrack rooms & tents etc. etc.


Some of the officers here are very nice and we get on quite well. Parades are 7 – 8, 9 – 12.15, 2 – 4.15 – lecture for officers at 5.30.  then we are supposed to work at night – but we are pretty tired by that time.  The only old regular officers here are acting Colonels commanding a brigade – all the rest are subs.


We are in the 18th Division of artillery under a Brigadier General who is Col. English, divided up into four Brigades under 4 Colonels.  My brigade is the 83rd under Major Richardson.  Each Brigade is composed of 3 Batteries – I am in 260th under Lieut Gardner – an old Cant man.


Each Brigade is composed of 2 Sections of 2 guns each with a sub Lieut in comnd of each. Or 4 sub sections of one gun each under a Sergt – so you see I am really acting captain in our battery with 2 subs & 4 Sergts under me – What ho!


Tomorrow we hope to start driving drill – all the men are divided into Gunners or Drivers. I don’t want a knitted helmet as I have got one.  I have called on Mr Harris & he has given me a pocket barometer which we have to get – a most expensive one.


My cold is alright now & I am feeling very fit.

I have been to the Cups Hotel for a meal. I do hope you are all keeping well.  I must try to get off sometime & see you all.  We shall be here ages and the men will want a lot of knocking into shape.  Some things that happen are most amusing.  There is some talk of going into huts at Ipswich – and I shall have to put in some time at Woolwich & Shoeburyness.  We are all being inoculated by batches.  My turn has nor come yet,


With much love to you & all.



Your loving son



Without cover.


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