War Diary of AA Laporte Payne June 1916

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




June 1916.


JUNE 1, 1916.

Brigade War Diary.

The 175th Brigade formed part of the “I.O.” or Left Group in action.


A Battery, and B. Battery were in action 400 yards East of Albert and 200 yards north of the Albert-Bapaume Road.


  1. and D. Batteries, 175th Bde. and C/176, Bde were in action in or near Authuille Wood (?)


June 2 1916


Lately the weather has been fairly fine but cloudy. We had one day’s rain.  When it does rain everything gets in a filthy mess of chalk and dirt.


I am living in Dug-outs made by the French early in the war. They are strong, but ugly and dirty.  They smell  rather unpleasantly, and there is plenty of company, what with rats, mice, spiders, snails, beetles, flies, and worse horrors.


But what a paradise for a schoolboy! I should have revelled in this place years ago when I had a taste for entomological pursuits.  Butterflies of all sorts abound here, and there are millions of dragon flies.  The bull frogs in the marsh make an extraordinary sound at dusk.


In some places and at some moments here it is hardly possible to believe that a war is on, and that men are shooting one another next to one. You can look for miles and see no one and nothing but a beautiful countryside, fields of poppies, cornflowers, daisies, and other field flowers, and beautiful trees.  Then you look closer and find long thin lines of excavated earth edged with dull rusty brown wire.  If you turn a corner you might see a white country road crossing with an enormous pale crucifix on an ugly wrought-iron frame at least 20 feet high.  And underneath on the grass tired infantrymen in trench helmets quietly smoking their pipes, just waiting.  Further on a pump under some trees and a long line of water carts waiting their turn to fill with the coveted liquid.


Further on still on the side of a chalk hill there are rows of entrances into great dug-outs one above the another, all neatly labelled and numbered. In an adjacent field four low grass mounds indicate the presence of a battery of field guns.  then suddenly without sound of warning four ear-splitting cracks, not quite one, and four spurts of flame, and the illusion of rural peace is shattered.


During training at home we used to consider solemnly the “danger angle”. In other words we were taught that the guns of a battery should not be placed in front of and too near those of another battery for fear of prematures and what not.  Here no one considers that.  Guns are one behind another like the audience in the dress circle.


If I sit in the entrance of my dug-out an18 pdr battery 200 yards behind fires just over my head and splits my ear-drum. And so it is everywhere, 18 pdr batteries one behind the other, 4.5, Howitzers behind them, then 60 pounders, and larger and larger guns and Howitzers still further back for miles up to the 15” somewhere or other near the base.  But unless you look carefully you cannot see these hidden jacks-in-the-box until you nearly have your head blown off.


But up in the air there are always aeroplanes to be seen. Further back are a fringe of our observation balloons.  Wherever you go there is barbed wire and trenches dug in rear positions.  Telephone lines hang from every conceivable object or trail along the ground.  So in our rural walks you are either precipitated into a ditch, tripped up by loose wire, or stunned by the guns.  something is sure to get you.


3rd JUNE 1916.

No. 59.



Covering a period of 24 hours ending 6, a.m. 3.6.16.



CORPS FRONT. (Right Division).  There was considerable artillery activity throughout the day.

The artillery carried out retaliation on six occasions.

Our light trench mortars fired at “Y” sap, La Boisselle, and the trenches to the right causing a hostile trench mortar to cease fire. Horns were sounded in the hostile trenches while our mortars were firing.

Several patrols were out at night, but beyond sounds of work, nothing unusual was discovered.


Hostile. The enemy shelled Mercier Street, X.20.4., Pocran Street, Atholl Street, and Gowrie Street, with 77 mm and 15 cm.

At 10.25, p.m., our front and support lines were heavily bombarded by 10.5 cm shells.

At 4.30, a.m., the enemy shelled Dundee Avenue and Battalion Headquarters with 77 mm and heavy trench mortars.

The hostile machine guns were rather more active at night.


At 11.20, p.m., during the shelling of la Boisselle the enemy fire two white rockets.


W.W.T. Torr, Captain,

General Staff,

III, Corps.


JUNE 3, 1916.


Night of 3/4 June

Saturday – Sunday.

A Battery’s position at Belle Vue Farm, Albert fired on at midnight by lachrymatory shell heavily.


The Germans bombarded and raided our trenches. They got into our trenches, but were turned out.



June 3, 1916.

We are extremely busy now. Our nights are spent in firing and our days in digging.  We get more like moles every day.


I very much enjoyed my trip to England.  It seems like a pleasant dream now, and I can hardly believe it ever happened at all.  I suppose it did.


The weather has changed for the worse again, and it is raining and much colder.


It will soon be two years since the war began, and still there are no signs of finishing it.


Will you get me a small tube of Tabloids Hypodermic Morphine Sulphate, Gr. ¼ from Burroughs Wellcome & Co. It is a poison, so if they will not let you have it ask a doctor to get it for you.  It is useful if anyone gets really badly damaged.


If you get a Sketch of May, 24th you will see a photo of a church near us.



3rd June 1916.

NAVAL ENGAGEMENT. LONDON.  June 2nd.  Secretary Admiralty makes following announcement.  Afternoon Wednesday, May 31st., Naval engagement took place off Jutland.  British ships on which brunt of fighting fell were Battle Cruiser Fleet, some Cruisers and Light Cruisers supported by four fast Battleships.  Amongst these losses heavy.  German  Battle Fleet aided by low visibility avoided prolonged action with our main forces and soon after these appeared on the scene, enemy returned port, though not before receiving severe damage from our battleships.  Battle Cruisers Queen Mary, Indefatigable, and Cruisers Defence, Black Prince sunk.  Cruiser Warrior disabled and after being towed some time, abandoned by crew.  Also known, destroyers, Tipperary, Turbulent, Fortune, Sparrowhawk, Ardent lost, and six other not yet accounted for.  No British Battleships or Light Cruisers sunk.  Enemy’s losses serious.  At least one Battle Cruiser destroyed, and one severely damaged.  One Battleship reported sunk by destroyers during night attack.  Two light cruisers disabled, probably sunk.  Exact number of enemy destroyers disposed of during the action cannot be ascertained with certainty but must have been large.




(June 2nd.)

Last night we blew some craters on Vimy Ridge, and in combination with our artillery bombardment penetrated the German trenches at a few points. Our infantry subsequently withdrew.  The repulse of “strong English Forces” in this vicinity referred to in to-day’s German communiqué is not correct.




Sharp fighting has taken place today in the Ypres Salient on a front of approximately 3000 yards between Hooge and the Ypres-Comines railway. The Germans began an intense and sustained bombardment at 9.15, a.m., which extended not only over the front mentioned above but also in the area behind.  This was followed about midday by hostile infantry attacks, which succeeded in penetrating our front trenches at several points but were repulsed elsewhere.  Fighting continues in this locality.


(June 1st.)

Italian Theatre.  In the Val Terragnolo another enemy assault on the Passo Buole was repulsed.  The enemy have captured Arsiero and Asiago.


French Front.  In the Verdun area west of the Meuse, French counter attacks regained a little of the ground lost S. of the Bois de Carrettes.  East of the Meuse strong enemy attacks are reported along the whole front Thiaumont Farm – Vaux – Damloup.  All assaults were repulsed except south of Douaumont Fort where the Germans succeeded in penetrating the Southern part of the Bois de la Caillette, in the neighbourhood South of Vaux Pond.


Towards evening the principal effort made by the Germans was directed against Vaux Village.  The Germans attacking in mass were repulsed with heavy loss.

The Germans penetrated the outskirts of Damloup Village of which the French retain possession of the greater part.


Sun rises          3.38 a.m.                     Sets 7.56 p.m.

Moon rises       8.27 a.m.                     Sets 10.51 p.m.


Forecast. Wind N.W. 15 mph but 5 mph at night.  Cool, cloudy with sharp rain at times.  Fair bright intervals.  55 to 60 in the day.  40 to 45 at night.


JUNE 4, 1916.


Night 4/5 June.

Sunday – Monday

The 21st Division raided.  A heavy bombardment.  Our Battery was heavily shelled by Tear Shells.


The Night of JUNE 4/5, 1916.

Brigade War Diary.

About 1, a.m., a heavy fire by the enemy commenced on the right of the Group. All Batteries prepared for action.  Hearing that there was an attack on the Right we cooperated with the Right Group by providing a barrage on the German trenches.  For some time it was thought that the Germans were attacking our trenches also, but this turned out to be wrong.


At about 9, p.m., heavy shelling began again on our right and on our trenches about Keats Redan and Dunfermline Street.  Our Batteries immediately opened fire on the enemy front line.  On information from Right Group, we again formed a barrage to support them.



June 5, 1916.

The weather has changed for the worse, and it is cold and wet. We spend our time digging and observing during the day and firing at night.


Our dug-outs are nearing completion. They will be quite comfortable when they are completed.  The Mess is excellent.  We have a new gramophone, and some new records.

My section of guns is still in action in another battery’s position. Our battery is now “C” Battery.


NIGHT, 5/6, June.

Monday – Tuesday.

The 34th Division raided the enemy trenches.  We put down a heavy bombardment.  There was no retaliation.


JUNE 5, 1916.

My job is at the O.P. again, and here I am installed for a week. As the nights are so short I have to sleep here.


The last two nights the Boche has been very annoying. The first night he made a raid and well shelled us with tear and other shell.  I mislaid my goggles and wept copiously.  We retaliated, effectively I hope.  Again last night there was a strafe.  I had gone to the battery for dinner at 8.30 p.m., and the fun began at 9 p.m.  It was a nuisance as I had to go to the O.P. at once.  Like a fool I promptly lost my way in a maze of derelict trenches.  It was so beastly dark; but I managed to extricate myself after about half an hour’s stumbling in wire and other obstacles.


We are fairly quiet here during the day, but at night there is always something doing.


There are some funny stories about the raid, but I suppose I had better not repeat them in case the censor takes it into his head to tear this up. These poor officials must do something to justify their existence.  The amusing part about it is that in all probability their activities are quite useless, as the Boche over the way are certain to know more about what is going on here than we do, even of our own plans.


What bad news it is about the naval engagement. I am afraid it will hearten the Hun.  I knew a fellow on the Black Prince.


The weather is wet and cold again. Today it is not at all pleasant.  In the “Sketch” of May 24th there is a rather good photo of our “parish church” out here.


The cigarettes are most soothing and arrived as usual when most needed.


My sleeping bag was put outside this morning and I have just discovered that it is as wet as wet can be.


I suppose town will see fewer and fewer men in mufti now the precious married men have to come out, but I suppose London is just as full of Khaki as ever.


The Night of June 5/6, 1916.

Brigade War Diary.

At 11, p.m., the Group bombarded the southern outlying trenches of la Boiselle in support of a raid by our infantry. Fire was continues until 12.15, a.m.



June 10, 1916.

Up to the present I have been at the O.P., but now I am at the Wagon Line.


June 11, 1916.

Kitchener’s death was a great shock to us out here.  We have had a week of very bad news.


I spent last week at the O.P. It rained most of the time.  Now that I am at the wagon line the weather is no better, and the mud seems much worse than it was in the winter.


Then Colonel is away ill, so Captain Langhorne is in charge of the Brigade for the present.


I am alone at the wagon line, but last night I dined at the Divisional Ammunition Column. They live well.  We had soup, cold lobster and salad, joint and vegetables, peaches and cream, and cheese and cream.  They even produced clean tablecloth and napkins.


The Royal Regiment is now 200 years old, for it was established in 1716 with two small companies, in all about 188 officers and men. At the present time it numbers more than a thousand batteries and has personnel of more than a quarter of a million.  And we still need more.


JUNE 11, 1916.

C/175, Brigade, R.F.A. France.

I have been confined to the O.P., but I returned to the battery yesterday. The weather is foul, and the mud seems to be worse than it was in the winter.  The O.P. is in the chalk hill side, and leaks badly.  Last week under these conditions was not very pleasurable.  The F.O.O. has to sleep there now as the nights are so short.


We have had a certain amount of excitement. For three consecutive nights either the Boche raided us or we raided them, and the consequential bombardment upon the S.O.S. was both loud and long.  On two nights we were presented with lachrymatory shells, which caused us all to weep copiously.  It would be most amusing, if it were not so inconvenient.


Should you receive a series of Field Service Post Cards, and no letters, you will know what has happened. It is rumoured that letters will be stopped soon for a while to prevent news getting about.


We have indeed had bad news this week. The first news of the sea fight was most gloomy.  Then we heard about Ypres.  And finally we heard of the tragic death of Lord Kitchener.  It all gave us the hump out here, but I think the death of K cast the deepest gloom.  Poor old K.  He was a great soldier, and had somehow won the confidence of the man in the street, which is of incalculable importance in time like these.  He is quite irreplaceable.  I wish that in his stead the whole lot of politicians had been drowned in the deepest seas, and chiefly Lloyd George.  Or Asquith.  But I don’t suppose that that weak old man can be of much weight.  Mrs. Asquith, no doubt, runs the war from Downing Street.  If such like had gone down we should have had bonfires out here.  Most here I find are of this opinion.


There are too many enemy aliens or sympathisers in high places at home. And K should have been given an adequate escort.  Assuredly the politicians, with the exception of one or two, are very glad to get rid of K.  He should have come out here to take command of the armies he raised.


However we still hang on here, and we hope to be doing something more shortly. I suppose I must not give you news of what is going on although no doubt our friends over the way know more about it than we do.


The papers have told us the Hun has been through our lines where we were before we came here. They went right past the O.P., and almost to the battery position before they were turned out again.


I went up this morning to the home of a squadron of the Flying Corps and learned something about observing from a plane. I have serious thoughts of taking up flying.  I was told they might accept me at a stretch, if I applied.  It certainly is not a dull life, and they live in comfort free from mud and the everlasting shelling.  I must think about it; but I do not want to leave a unit with horses.


We have a battery of gramophones here, three of them.


June 15, 1916.

At wagon line. The mud gets worse.  Summer time.  The change took place last night.


I have a room in a house (farm). The men and horses are in a field.  I dine with the Column, the R.Es, or with another battery wagon line.


JUNE 17, 1916.


At the moment I am at the wagon line, packing ready for a move. We are in an open field.  The only clothes I have are those I wear.  The rest have been sent back somewhere.  So I bivouac here.  Sit on an ammunition box, suck sweets from home, listen to the strains of the gramophone with Ethel Levy singing “That Hula, Hula”, read “Town Topics”, live actually in or on the horse lines, existing on rations.  What a sordid existence!  There are mud, flies, frogs, all manner of creeping things and incinerators.  Yet there are also buttercups and daises, and now and then the welcome mail, our sole link with home and civilization.  Letters take a long time to get to me.  The postman arrives at the wagon line, hands the mail bag to the orderly corporal (a smart young regular) who sorts and hands my letters to my servant, who then allows me to hear from home.  A letter from my Father dated May 28 arrived yesterday evening.


We are working day and night. The horses are thin, poor beasts, and so is the wagon line officer.  Thank heaven the weather has changed, and it is really fine today.


I expect to go to the gun line on Sunday. The men have worked splendidly, and the dug-outs are really excellent.


I scratched my hand the other day, quite slightly, but it became poisoned, and the result is a bad hand and numerous bandages. But it is better now.


So you have had some tennis. We get a good deal out here but chiefly at night.  Then our opponents get very noisy, and fling lachrymatory balls about.  Our game at present is deuce, but it may be server’s advantage shortly.  Our news is copyright at present.  One day you will hear all about it, no doubt.  Any attempt to infringe the copyright causes the mythical censor to materialise too effectively, and as I have no wish to make his acquaintance I had better say nothing.


What an awful June it has been. The mud is making a feeble attempt to dry up now.


We have summer time now.

I wonder when you will get this letter. Say Wednesday.  Well next Wednesday afternoon between 2 and 4.  I will set apart a few shells on your behalf and send them over as a present from you to our friends over the way.  Perhaps being dedicated by you they will do some damage, and will bring us good luck.  We need it.  What a lot we owe them.  K will take a lot of avenging, and there are many friends too.


The Royal Regiment is 200 years old. It started with an establishment of two companies in 1716.  In all about 180 men.  Now there are more than a thousand batteries.



June 17, 1916

The horses are looking very thin. They have had so much to do lately.  But now the weather is better and things look brighter.  We have summer time out here now, so the days seem longer.  I am still in the wagon line, but expect to go up to the guns in a day or two.



June 17, 1916.

I have no news for you. Later on perhaps there will be some.  We are all very busy.  The mud is drying up at last.


I should like to be at home in June next year, but I have my doubts about it. We shall need more troops out from England, and a very different staff to what we have in order to finish this war quickly.


At present I am bivouacing in an open field at the Wagon Line. So I have my habitation amongst the buttercups and daisies, mud and horses, creeping things and fouls.  It is not so bad when it is fine.  All the surplus kit has been sent to the rear, but I still retain the gramophone.  The horses are looking rather thin, poor things, they have had a great deal of work to do lately.  We have no battery pets now, having lost the dog and the cats.



June 17, 1916

Soon we hope to avenge on our enemies the death of Kitchener.


We have been out here 6 months and more now, and only one week out, but it is not so bad.


I shall have a tale to unfold when I can get away from the wretched censor.


I hope to go up to the gun-line on Sunday.


What did you think of the Birthday honours in Military Crosses: mostly A.S.C. and Army Pay Department.


Blind shells, i.e. those that do not go off, we call “Yanks” after our dear friends the Americans who strafe, but do not come off.


The Boche is very fond of using lachrymatory shell, and then everyone weeps copiously, unless you happen to be the proud possessor of handy goggles. He has been fairly quiet lately.  Perhaps the Russians have made him thoughtful.


Should no letters turn up at home, not even Field Service P.Cs, you will know that such have been stopped, and you may draw your own conclusions.


Here were inserted four pages of John Masefield’s “The Old Front Line” relating to the Somme.



At a point where the 34th Division’s most northerly boundary cuts the German Front Line and where Mash Valley Road joins the trench, there is a sap running out through the enemy wire to a strong point underneath the embankment on our side of it.  Its map reference is X.14.a.3.5.


On the night of the 2/3 June an officer’s patrol found the sap strongly held, and a short encounter with bombs took place. Some of our bombs fell in the place, but the damage is unknown.  Our patrol retired unhurt.


This strong point enfilades our side of the embankment.


South of this point the German wire is extremely strong.


On the Bapaume Road at X.14.c.1.8. there is a cart, and a short sap leading to it.


Further south a system of trenches crosses the Bapaume Road and forms a prominent salient enfilading the whole of Mash Valley.  These trenches are known as “Y” Sap.


JUNE 22, 1916.

Brigade War Diary.


Final Orders were issued.

2nd Lieut. C. Freeman-Cowan was killed by a shell.

He had just completed the “I.O.” Group Telephone Communication System.



June 23, 1916.

This afternoon I had my hair cut by one of our shoeing smiths, and now my head looks like a freshly cut cornfield, all stubbly. Another event this afternoon was a violent thunderstorm which half filled our dug-outs with water, but has cleared the air a little.


JUNE 24, 1916.

“U” DAY.

The day was dull and wet.

The work done by the battery was chiefly wire cutting. We shot over tasks W,1, and W,2. Our communications with the Battery were interrupted for three hours by a 5.9” blowing up the 8th Division Cavalry bridge and destroying our wire.


I had to go to the Battery at 4.30, p.m.  There were several prematures in Blighty Wood.


The wire cutting in the evening was not successful. I stayed the night at the O.P.  There were gas alarms but nothing came of them.  It was a noisy night.


“ROGER” (gas) did not go out walking.

During the night the Battery fired on Enfilade Targets and over the places where wire had been cut during the day.




JUNE 25, 1916.

“V” DAY.

A finer day.

From 6.30, to 8.30, p.m. we fired on wire with perhaps better success. The Hun retaliated.

During the day we fired a bombardment practice and in special bombardments on Pozieres and Contalmaison.


At night the Division carried out a raid.


(O.H. says, “south of La Boiselle, the 34th Division found them (the trenches) strongly held and failed to get in; opposite Ovillers, too, the 8th Division reported the trenches full of men, but managed to capture one prisoner.)


JUNE 26, 1916.

“W” DAY.

The weather was much worse and very showery.

It was also a heavy day. Firing was continuous.  The Hun retaliated.

The trenches were shelled, chiefly the following near the O.P.: Barrow Street, Coniston Street, and Ryecroft Street.

At night there were two direct hits on the roof of our O.P. dug-out, which blew the lights out but did no further damage.


“ROGER” went walking at night.


During the day we fired practice bombardments and cut wire. The Practice Bombardment was from 9 to 10.20, a.m.

Smoke was discharged by the Division.



June 26, 1916.

I cannot write more than a line as I have no news that I can tell you and very little time to write that. We are more busy than we have yet been.  The weather still vies with the Boche in frightfulness.


I am writing this letter in the deepest dug out that I have hitherto lived in.

When the statue falls I will let you know. Some say it will fall soon.  But no doubt the papers will mention it when it does.


(A series of Field Post Cards from the 1st July onwards)



From I.O.

By Purser F.J. 26/6/16

Service Instructions I.O.


I.O. /63 26th.

The G.O.C., R.A. noticed the following points in connection with the Special Bombardment and during wire cutting yesterday AAA. (1) Timing in L Group did not appear good AAA. (2) Very high Shrapnel useless for anything AAA. (3) Sweeping at Frontal Barrage must be carried out if front to be covered is wide AAA. (4) Pauses at lifts should not occur. AAA. These were very noticeable today. AAA. (5) When wire cutting a Cor. giving a large percentage of grazes usually gives best results.


(26 June 1916)

SECRET B.M. 148.

O.C. C/175.


102 Inf. Bde. are sending out Patrols tonight between X.13.d.4.6. and X.14.a.5.5. between hours 12.30, a.m. and 2, a.m. Please take necessary precautions.


26/6/16                                                                                    H. Hamilton Fletcher.

Lieut. And Adj.

Left Group. R.A.


No. 1.  23o R. 30’        4800

No. 2. 22o R  30’        4700

No. 3. 21o R  30’        4650

No. 4. 20o R  30’       4600


JUNE 27, 1916.

“X” DAY.

We cut wire all day with intervals for practice bombardments. The Boche retaliated but not so heavily.


JUNE 28, 1916.

“Y” DAY.



Orders were received that “Z” or Zero Day was postponed.

“X” and “Y” Days were to be repeated.


(N.B. The O.H. calls the two extra days “Y.1” and “Y.2” which were interpolated between “X” and “Y”.)


JUNE 30, 1916.

Lieut. Colonel W. Furnivall, R.F.A. took over command of the “I.O.” Group and the 175th Brigade at 9, a.m. in succession to Lieut. Colonel E.H. Stevenson.


H.E. WITTY June 16

H.E. WITTY June 16


  1. Section


1st June 1916.  Thursday.  3.0 am Enemy plane passed over camp and dropped 9 bombs on POP.  OFF DUTY – nothing doing – visited POP tonight – little damage.  Letters Scott, Gilbert, R. Mrs. Smith.  Pcl from home.  To be answered tomorrow.  Another fine day.


2nd June 1916. Friday.  Standing by all day to “man handle” the gun – fired 6 rounds on trenches.  Another fine day – Letters Doris and Kathie (chocolates).  ANS.  Much activity in the air.  Positions shelled with 4.2s – many “duds”.


3rd June 1916. Saturday.  Turned out at 10.30 last night.  R.X. took gun up into YPRES.  We laid a line from Bty to 35 Siege at dawn.  Stayed in Vlam for a time & then sent back to billet at POP in car.  Had a sleep in the morning and was again sent out to SPINNEY HO with Thribe for observation work.  40 Rounds on trenches.  Unsatisfactory shoot.  Returned to CAMP 8.30 having a puncture en route.  No Mail today.  Very fine and glorious.  When in YPRES saw wounded from the German attack on Canadians who had to vacate trenches.  Serious Report Received Report of Naval Battle of May 31st.


4th June 1916. Sunday.  Another quiet day.  In morning out on the lines with Bott.  Nothing doing in afternoon.  LX relieved RX at YPRES.  ”Man from Glengarry” from Douglas.  Acknowledged.  Rain during afternoon.  Bott’s visit to POP.  Bty returns to Billets from YPRES.


5th June 1916. Monday.  Turned out 2.45 went to C.A., with Mallins.  Quiet day, accompanied M. to YPRES 7 P.M.  Returned for his “tin hat”.  First experience of “weeping shell”. Variety of gun shelled – motor car put out of action.  Arrival of LX with gun again.  Letters R., Gladys, Douglas, J.B. (O.H.).


6th June 1916. Tuesday.  5 pm watching German working parties.  Relieved 6.30 by CG4B – returned to camp for breakfast.  ANS yesterdays mail.  P.C. from Frank.  ANS.  Repairing HD-QR line across Rly in afternoon.  On battery 3 hours during the night.


7th June 1916. Wednesday.  Turned out 6 A M and went to YPRES.  Stayed there all day.  Rather warm at times – Viewed the remains of the cathedral – Disastrous effects.  Splendid houses.  Amn columns wiped out.  Learned of Kitchener’s death.  Letters Mother, Hilda to be answered later.  Slept in cellar – beastly cold.


8th June 1916. Thursday.  Still at YPRES.  Nothing doing.  Other gun in action at Vlam.  20 rounds on trenches.  Very quiet with us.  Returned to camp 10 P.M.  Letter Ma.  Much rain.


9th June 1916. Friday.  Out on CX line in morning with Bott.  Shelling new emplacement.  Nothing doing in the afternoon – spent the time reading.  NO MAIL – Showery yesterday slightly cold.  Wrote Hilda, Ma and Mother.

10th June 1916. Saturday.  Parade 6 A.M – nothing doing all the day.  Calley returned from O.P. with his face terribly swollen with mosquito bites.  Mail up before noon – draw our own from POP post office.  Letters R. Alice.  Papers Ma & Scott.  ANS.  Cold and showery.  Good news of Russian successes.  Had to write Ma and Hilda again as letters returned by Censor.


11th June 1916. Whit Sunday.  Turned out 2 am – left 3.15 am.  At O.P. with Tribe – had a very quiet day.  Many heavy showers – Spent most of the day studying the countryside from Fusilier Farm to La Belle Alliance.  Saw large German working party near Essex Farm – Letters Scott, Gilbert Humberstone, Pcl Gamages.  ANS 12th.


12th June 1916. Monday.  Ans Correspondence – relieved 5 a.m. arrived camp 7 a.m. after having coffee in POP. – Very wet again.  Letter from Kathie.  ANS 13th Very cold and stormy.  Gun moved to VLAM- fired 18 Rds.  Calley at Bty.  Bott at O.P. with Tribe.  Unsatisfactory communication with CX.  Did nothing all the day except read.  Arranged to take Frost’s duty as he is destined for Wireless at YPRES.


13th June 1916. Tuesday.  On telephone duty 2.30 a.m…  New idea 4 hour shift at night 3 hour shift during the day 3 telephonists do duty for 1 week.  On telephone duty today.  Received orders to pack up for “somewhere” – Note from R.  ANS with Field P.C.  Heavy rain continues.  On duty – up to 2.


14th June 1916. Wednesday.  Departure of LX 6 am for the South.  Still on telephone.  Change to Summer time at 11 P.M. advance watches to midnight.  Letter and papers from home.  P.C. Norman and Douglas.  ANS.  Weather still unsettled.  Introduction of Daylight saving at 11 P.M.  Box of chocs from Gladys.  ANS.


15th June 1916. Thursday.  On CX in morning – came off duty 1 a.m.  Found break in insulation.  Many Guards in vicinity.  Nothing doing in afternoon – much dryer.  Letters R., Hilda.  Paper (Scott) ANS.  Saw photo of gun in Daily Mirror.  June 9th.


16th June 1916. Friday.  Much nicer day today – reeling and overhauling cable in the morning.  Nothing doing in the afternoon.  Letter Walter Coleman.  ANS.  Making preparations for the move.  6 a.m. parade (Summer time) becomes fashionable.  On telephone tonight.  Received Postcard of Sergt Clements and his bride.  Great Russian successes – Attack near Hooge – Gas reported 12.15 a.m.  Turned out 3 A.M.


17th June 1916. Saturday. Battery went up to VLAM with 118 Rds. A.A. and I left our telephone.  No firing.  Through some mistake gun went up to VLAM when it should have “stood by”.  Boys returned 1.0 a.m.  On duty during the day.  Lovely June day.  No Mail. Smash up of Lt. Reid’s machine (the aviator who recently won the M.C. & whose photo appeared in Daily Mirror.)


18th June 1916. Sunday.  Had a church service in the Barn – bishop of Winchester ***.  Chaplain Revd. Talbot M.C.  No early parade.  Getting in cable (D5) at old Billet.  While waiting for a lorry on the road opposite *** Prince of Wales passed us in search of his car.  Hospital Farm burnt down yesterday (shelled).  Letter R. and Frank M. (P.C.) ANS.  Cold last night – fine day today.


19th June 1916. Monday.  On telephone 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Also on CX after brekker.  Had a bath before noon – Ron.  Nice day again, P.C. from Gilbert.  Ans.  Wrote Frank and Mr. Carter re Maths Books. The dinner “Menu” – a la Francais.  Landing of French plane – obtained ‘arrow souvenir’, sent souvenirs to R.  The dinner “Menu” – a la Francais.


20th June 1916. Tuesday.  Overhauling cable all the day – glorious weather – No Mail.  On telephone 9-1 (a.m.).  Arrival of 86 – interview with Major Thorpe 11.15 p.m. when he came to HD. QRS. via us.  Expect we shall soon be moving.


21st June 1916. Wednesday.  On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – very little doing.  Weather fine.  No mail – Expected arrival of Capt Hedgeland (Temp Maj) to take command vice Maj. Graham.


22nd June 1916. Thursday.  Baths.  Arrival of Capt Hedgeland from 89 Bty. – Good first impressions.  Early parade – overhauling cable in the morning.  On battery and laying line to advanced position on North Loop in afternoon.  Shoot cancelled owing to a mistake of targets made by aeroplane observer.  Reeled in wire and returned to camp 6 p.m.  Splendid ideal June day – Bosches planes very active.  Mail in.  Letters Mother, Hilda, Kathie.  Paper (Scott).  ANS.


23rd June 1916. Friday.  On telephone 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. – very hot – Thunderstorm – on line to R.E.  Good Mail.  Letters (R), (Ma), (Frank A.) Housham, Douglas.  Pcl from home.  Ans.  ”Kelly” under arrest for various crimes at CX.  Candlin returns today.


24th June 1916. Saturday. On CX line in the morning – repairing broken air line near old No 2 position.  Had coffee at farm house – Excellent “driving band” souvenir.  Mademoiselle and the Scotch fiancée.  Out again after tea on CX.  Shortage in air line.  Back about 8 P.M.  Mail.  Letters Scott and Bott.  Papers O.H.  ANS.  Very fine yesterday.  86 opens fire.  Arrival of 116 with new guns.


25th June 1916. Sunday.  Gun prepares for VLAM.  Came on duty 2 a.m.  Gun went up to VLAM 3 a.m.  unloaded Amm put gun in position.  Detachment returned 8.0 a.m. “Badgy” first went up ti VLAM.  Then Calley, Shippen, Cardlin.  Gill O.P.  Bombardment 2 p.m.  Pcl from N.B.  Letter from R to be answered tomorrow.  50 fired Rds on Salient.  Good shooting – Mallins O.O.


26th June 1916. Monday.  On CX line in morning with A.A.  found line badly broken across line near No 2 Gun.  Repaired it in a heavy thunderstorm – Wet through – Partly dried ere return to camp.  Letters R. and Gilbert.  ANS.  Occasional heavy showers of rain.  On duty 9 P.M. to 1 a.m.


27th June 1916. Tuesday.  On telephone 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – wet and miserable – nothing doing.  86 in action – shelled in the morning.  Arrival of 118 – 9.2 howitzers.  No Mail. Reading in afternoon & evening.


28th June 1916. Wednesday.  No early parade.  Still much rain.  On line in South Loop.  Nothing doing in afternoon.  Change in weather – On CX line at night.  Mail. Mother, N.T., (Pc) R.  Papers Mother & Scott.  ANS.


29th June 1916. Thursday.  On telephone 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. – also on Gun telephone part of morning.  Gun standing by on Nr 3 Posn from 8 a.m. to sun down – nothing doing.  Very fine but rather cold and windy.  Letters R. and Mr. Carter.  Books etc from Mrs. C.  ANS.


30th June 1916. Friday.  Warned for Kelly’s court martial at H.Q. 10. a.m.  in the room of trial as K’s escort from 10 a.m. to 12 NOON.  Major’s able defence of K.  Maj Orton (22) President.  Weak points on both sides.  Returned 1 a.m.  Out at 4 p.m. laying line to Frascati O.P.  Returned 11 P.M.  Mail. P.C. (Pant) and pcl from Mrs. Coleman.  To be ans tomorrow.

WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET

WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET


Last entry 30 June 1916


1st June Thursday.  Fine day f’ly sunny.  The Hun put 6 shells into the Dump at the end of the village between 7.0 a.m. and 8.30. and 4 in the afternoon near the Inf Camp E of the village.  The Battery moved out of the village to the Dug outs and a Billet in Albert.  The suspected Measles cases were left.


2nd June Friday.  Fine sunny day.  The Hun 13 or 15 cm. gun was again active about the same time on the dump at Meaulte.


3rd June Sat.  Fine sunny day with heavy shower of rain about midday.  Hun again did some shelling about 7.0a.m. and off and on throughout the day round about.  Went a walk with Young after tea to collect “souvenirs” and obtained some useful information.


4th June Sunday.  Fine sunny morning, dull afternoon, windy evening.  The Hun was using his 13 cm. gun again.  We retaliated with 2 to 1 – 6” Mk VII on Bazentin le Petit dump.  Went with Capt. Miller (Signals) after dinner to see one of his digging parties at Trois Meules.


5th June Monday.  Fair day sunny at times and showery. Col. Kaye of 34 H.A.G. arrived and dined with us as did also Major Nott.  Spent an interesting time piecing together air photos.


6th June Tuesday.  Very wet all the morning, cleared in the afternoon and was a fine evening.  Busy day in the office.


7th June Wed.  Fairly fine but showery, steady rain in the evening.  Went with Miller to Amiens at 4.0 p.m. had tea and dinner there and did some shopping.


8th June Thursday.  Fine morning but turned wet in afternoon and evening.  First day of dumping, train due at 10.30 a.m. and arrived at 4.0 p.m.  The Hun was again shooting with his H.V. gun this time at the Balloon in the valley near us.


9th June Friday.  Fine sunny day but a heavy shower about 5.0 p.m.  The Hun again fired at the Balloon between 7.30 and 8.0 a.m. but without success.  Member of the reassembled Court Martial at 10.0 a.m.  Very busy in the office.


10th June Saturday.  Fine morning but several Thunder showers during the day.  Another busy day.  The Hun did not give us our m’ning hate.


11th June Sunday.  Fine day fairly sunny.  Easier day.


12th June Monday.  Dull day turned to rain in the afternoon.  Went out with the General for the latter part of the morning.  Late sitting at the office.


13th June Tuesday.  A very wet muddy day.  Fairly late sitting at the office.


14th June Wed.  Drizzled during the morning but turned fine and sunny after midday.  After tea went out with the General and Col. Hamilton to 57, 109 & 40 at Martinsart & Aveluy also to Major Collingwood 10 S. in Albert on the way back.  Put the clocks forward one hour from midnight.


15th June Thursday.  A dullish day but fine.  A fairly busy day.


16th June Friday.  The first fine sunny day for some time.  After dinner went to Albert and watched Major Collingwood’s Btty put 9.2 in position.  Walked back at 1.30 a.m.  A lovely night with full moon.


17th June Saturday.  Fine day sunny.  Very busy in the office, typing out copies of Secret documents for the groups.


18th June Sunday.  Fine sunny day.  Not quite so strenuous at the office.  Three 75 cm. Batteries came into the village last night.


19th June Monday.  Fine but dull and heavy.  Fairly busy day.  The Intelligence Officer Grey and a spare Signalling Officer turned up for duty.


20th June Tuesday.  Fine sunny day.  The Hun had a long but unsuccessful shoot at the Balloon during the morning.  Went to La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) after tea with Major Nott.  Dined there saw Hill, Hutchings & White and brought back a motor bike.  Late sitting at the office.


21st June Wednesday A fine sunny day.  Not over busy in the office but a late sitting.  Young, Holden and I motored over to Baizieux and Henencourt after tea.  General Rawlinson commanding 4th Army came to see the General in the afternoon.


22nd June Thursday.  Fine hot day.  Very fairly busy, late sitting.  Drove over to the Canteen at Henencourt after tea.  The Hun shelled No. 14 Kite Balloon persistently during  the evening.


23rd June Friday Hot sultry day which broke into a thunderstorm with heavy rain in the afternoon.  Our kite Balloon No. 14 broke away in the storm but luckily there was nobody in it.


24th June Sat.  Fine day with a shower in the m’ning.  This was “U” day on which our bombardment started.  It was quite a normal day on the part of the Hun.  Late sitting at the office, mostly due to the cancelling and re-cancelling of orders.



25th June Sunday.  Fine sunny and warm.  V day.  All the guns were turned on Poziers at 10.0 a.m., on Contalmaison at 10.30 and Bazentin le Petit at 11.0  I watched the first two from the top of the hill, appeared very effective and later was reported so by the R.F.C.  A fairly active day all along the front.  There was a practice lift at 4.0 p.m. and about this time our aeroplanes dropped some special French bombs on 2 Hun Balloons which immediately set them on fire very effectively.  14 allied Balloons could be seen in the air at one time during the day.  The Huns retaliated pretty fiercely all day and gave Albert a full share.  Fairly busy day in the office but not a very late sitting.


26th June Monday.  Fine till afternoon when there was a heavy shower and then it rained hard in the late evening.  W day.  XV Corps liberated Gas in the morning and we did ditto at 6.0 p.m. but the wind had dropped considerably and it seemed to hang rather, it was accompanied by smoke.  We continued bombardment and again had a practice “lift”.  Went out with the General after tea, saw 61st S. 8” firing, passed 48 and had a word with Sgt. Robinson.  Fairly busy and fairly late sitting.  The Hun put a few shells into Dernacourt 2 at about 1.30 p.m. and 6 at about midnight.


27th June Tuesday.  Not a very fine day, some rain.  X Day.  The 12” gun on the Ry fired at 5.0 a.m. and shook so much dust off the ceiling of my billet and also blew out a hole in the wall that I decided to vacate it and go into a tent near the Signal Dug Out.  A fairly busy day.  We continued our bombardment together with a practice lift in the early morning and a raid at night.


28th June Wed.  Y day.  A heavy thick damp m’ning.  Orders came in about 10.0 a.m. to cancel Y day programme and to ease up.  48 hrs. extension to programme was given.  Cleared up in the afternoon and was fine and sunny.  An ordinarily busy day.


29th June Thursday.  Rather dull m’ning but later was light and fairly sunny.  Not over busy during the day but a late sitting.  Discovered that some of my kit left in my Billet had been taken away presumably by the French who had the next room, also the wall of my room where my bed stood had completely collapsed burying my kit bag.  Went to Heilly and Cerreuil with Miller after tea.


30th June Friday.  Dull and rather windy morning but a fine afternoon and evening with the wind dying away.  A fairly busy day (Y+2).  The 12” gun opened fire on Achet le Grand and Bapaume in the evening and continued on the latter at intervals during the night.  Went with Young and Miller to the Group H.Q.s after tea.  Fairly busy after dinner.

There are no further entries in the diary.

General Perkins: Brigadier General A.E.J. Perkins G.O.C. Heavy Artillery   III Corps.

Gunner Johnston was George Johnson 24591 48th Siege Battery R.G.A. CWGC record.


Meade King was Richard Evelyn Beauchamp.  Temp 2/Lt A.S.C. son of William Oliver Evelyn M K of Walford House West Monkton TAUNTON.   Somerset Record Office Taunton. See also National Archives officer’s records.

A.G. Richardson’s Diary June 1916

A.G. Richardson’s Diary June 1916


Thursday 1st June 1916           Went to Havernas for rations.  At Berteaucourt at night with Tommy & Cecil.

Friday 2nd June 1916               Went to Havernas for rations.  At BERTEAUCOURT at night.

Saturday 3rd June 1916           Learnt news of the Greatest Naval Battle in history which took place last Wed. off Coast of Jutland.  “Queen Mary” etc lost.  British losses stated to be 14 ships & German losses 8.  Went to Havernas for rations.

Sunday 4th June 1916              Latest news of Naval Battle British losses – 14.  German losses – 34 [20 torpedo boats].  Went to Havernas for rations.

Monday 5th June 1916                        Went to HAVERNAS for rations on bicycle at 10 am – 2 pm.  Further news of Naval Battle British losses not so bad after all. – Germans 34 boats.  On picquet.

Tuesday 6th June 1916                        Went to HAVERNAS for rations.  Nothing doing much.  Saw Cecil & Tommy.

Wednesday 7th June 1916       Briggs back from leave.  I return to the lines: cannot get on with my No 1.

Thursday 8th June 1916:          Reveille 5.30 am.  Simply can’t stand Sergt Redgrave.  Saw Tommy Butler at night.

Pernois – Mirvaux.

Friday 9th June 1916:              Rose at 5 am & with 2nd/Lt. Fitton, Kingswell, Turner & 2 others, went to R.A. dump at MIRVAUX.  “Snap” job – nothing to do.  Went with Fitton to PIERRGOT to find his billets.

Saturday 10th June 1916:        Rose at 10.30 am.  Simply nothing to do but no money to spend.  1st Dorsets leave.

Sunday 11th June 1916:           Rose at 11 am!!  Had a nice stroll with Turner.

Monday 12th June 1916:         Rose at 10.30 am.  Lovely holiday.  Simply nothing at all to do.

Tuesday 13th June 1916:         Rose at 10.50 am.  Simply “living to eat!!!”

Wednesday 14th June 1916:    Rose at 9.30 am.  Another nice stroll via Pierregot, Rubempre.

Thursday 15th June 1916:        Reading & writing all day.

Friday 16th June 1916:                        49th Div arrived in village.  D.A.C., R.A. H.Q., T.Ms, & A.S.C.  Still nothing doing.

Saturday 17th June 1916:        49th Div resting a little before going into action.  Units of R.F.A. dump some few articles in R.A. dump.

Sunday 18th June 1916:           Rose at 9 am.  Lovely day.  Applied for commission but Laycock sends me a nasty chit.

Monday 19th June 1916:         Head of the formation of a new section to be made on Wed.  Lt Scott as O.C., S.M. Sherman & myself as Q.M.S.

Tuesday 20th June 1916:         Last day at dump.  NAPOO.

Wednesday 21st June 1916:    Left R.A. dump and went to new Section “T” as Q.M.S. & clerk.  Lt. J.C. Scott as O.C., S.M. Sherman, Sergt Wheeler, Clarkson, Saddler ****.  Fine section indeed: – “Tactical”.

Thursday 22nd June 1916:       Busy with new section as clerk.  Taking in all details.  Went to dump to see Copley.

Friday 23rd June 1916:            Busy clerking all day.  Fine day.  Went to RUBEMPRE.

Saturday 24th June 1916:        Busy clerking.  Went for rations to Rubempre.  Went to “TYKES” with Routh.

Sunday 25th June 1916:           Fine day.  Went to dump on bike.  Busy clerking rest of day.

Monday 26th June 1916:        Received news that we are going into action “shortly”.  Orders arrive at 10 pm.  Cancelled at 10.10 pm.  New orders for the move issued 11 pm.  Working until 12.30 am.


Tuesday 27th June 1916:         Reveille 2.30 am.  Left MIRVAUX at 6 am & went on bicycle VIA Beaucourt, Contay, Warloy-Baillon to      HEDAUVILLE.  Arr 8.30 am.  Sect arrive 12 noon.           Office: – Bell Tent.  Fine Place.

Wednesday 28th June 1916: Rose at 8 am.  Returns 9, 12 & 3.  Went to wood near Thiepval.  Saw German trenches & batteries.  Bombardment.  “Great” sight.

Thursday 29th June 1916:        Rose at 8 am.  Sent all returns in.  Went to ACHEUX for rations.  Dinner 8 pm.

Friday 30th June 1916:                        Rose at 8 am.  Good deal of work as clerk.  Went to ACHEUX for rations.

Alf Smith Post card 30 June 1916



To T. Smith Esq.,

C/O Mrs. Mason,

The Alma Inn,

Heath End,


Nr Aldershot.

Postmarked 10.45 AM Harwich

June 30th 16


Dear Father

Just a few lines to tell you we have not left Dovercourt yet. We are all ready to go the latest report is Sunday night but I don’t know whether it is right.  Have not time to write more now; but will let you know as soon as we go.  Will you please thank Jess for her welcome letter I will write to her soon.  With best wishes to all.  Hope you will enjoy the green peas you see I know what you are going to have.  Alf



18 DA 29 June 1916


To,                                                                                                       A.B. No 240/50

Officers Commanding

as under.


Herewith copy of map of alternative route across our trenches prepared for use in the event of an advance.


Please pass quickly and the last named to return to this office.


A.F. Brooke

Captain R.A.

Brigade Major R.A., 18/Div.

H.Q. R.A. 18/Div.

28th June 1916


To, O.C. Right Group

Initialled 28/6/16     84/84


O.C. Left Group.

Initialled A.T. 29/6/16   D1/111


O.C. Centre Group.

Signed G. ***** R.F.A. F 682


Return to,

H.Q. R.A. 18/Div



C.R.A 18th D.A. 28 June 1916

“A” Form





G.O.C. H.A. XIII Corps

C.R.A 18th and 30th Divns


CA46                   28th June


Following is extract of instructions from 4th Army:-

  1. “Zero” will be postponed 48 hours 29th will become “Y1” day 30th will become “Y2” day 1st July will become Z day
  3. Special attention must be paid to the following:-       As regards Artillery
    1. To prevent all hostile movements and work both day and night. The night bombardment must be fully maintained.
    2. To complete wire cutting
    3. To take advantage of all favourable weather to destroy hostile batteries.
  1. To d*** the enemy by *** to carry out concentrated bombardments and night raids. These concentrated bombardments will take place:- “Y1” day – 4.0 – 5.20 pm. “Y2” Day – 8.0 – 9.20 AM. Subject to the above heavy howitzers and heavy gun ammunition must be economised.
  2. Programme for “Z” day will be as originally arranged.ACKNOWLEDGE by wire.                        131 Corps ArtyW. R. R***** ** R.A.
  3. 5.40 pm

A.B. 253 28 June 1916

A.B. 253


Right )

Centre) Group

Left   )



  1. “Zero” will be postponed by 48 hours 29th will thus become “Y1”day 30th will thus become “Y2” day 1st July will thus become “Z” day.
  2. Special attention must be paid to the following:-
    1. To prevent all hostile movements and work both day and night. The night bombardment must be fully maintained.
    2. To complete wire cutting.
    3. To deceive the enemy by continuing to carry out concentrated bombardments and night raids, the latter to be arranged between Inf Brigade and Group Commanders and to be assisted by Artillery fire. The concentrated bombardments will take place:- Y1 day 4.0 to 5.20 p.m. Y2 day 8.0 to 9.20 a.m. and will be carried out by XIII Corps H.A. Should Smoke be discharged at the conclusion of the Concentrated Bombardments the instructions laid down in Operation Order No 1 Appendix A para 14 will be carried out.
  1. Programme for ”Z” day will be as originally arranged.



Brig Gen

28th June 16                                                                                        C.R.A. 18th Div

18 D.A. A.B. No 240/49 28 June 1916

SECRET                                                                                             A.B. No 240/49


Right Group

Centre Group

Left Group


  • The attached copy of “Action of Artillery during the first and second phases” as laid down by XIII Corps is forwarded for your information.


  • In the attached letter the First Phase refers to Operations leading up to 18th Division “Final Objective” as at present laid down, and the green line referred to runs along the line of our present “Final Objective”. The Second Phase will consist of a movement of the XV Corps from West to East across the front of 18th Division “Final Objective” up to the Brown Line (N.B. The latter line runs roughly from Eastern corner of MONTAUBAN to Eastern corner of BAZENTIN le GRAND).


  • Reference para 1, this does not preclude the batteries referred to from registering previously to 15 minutes before Zero time, provided this can be done without disclosing the positions of these batteries.


  • Reference para 2. In carrying out the forward movement of batteries indicated, the primary consideration must be to ensure the defence of the new line gained at all costs by an effective shrapnel barrage available at any moment.  The second consideration will consist in placing batteries in such positions that whilst able to support the front at closer range they will be so sited as to be available to assist the forward move of XV Corps by bringing fire to bear on the German second line and on the ground between it and the CATERPILLAR WOOD Stream.


  • In order not to weaken the forward barrage unnecessarily the forward move will in all probability be carried out by one battery per group at a time, the remaining batteries of the group distributing their fire to cover the fronts left bare by batteries moving forward.


  • Every possible preparation should be made to ensure batteries sent forward being able to resume their duties in defence of the line with the least possible delay. With this object in view the positions, lines of fire, zones to be covered, and means of communication between Group and batteries in forward position, should be sufficiently prepared beforehand to admit of these batteries being available for the defence of the line with the least possible delay.


  • The Left Group H.Q., owing to situation of forward exchange in CARNOY, can be moved forward when required with sanction from Div. Art, H.Q. The remaining two groups’ H.Q. should not move forward until all their batteries are in forward positions, and communications established to new sites selected.  In every case of a move notification should be sent previously to this office.



  • It might possibly be necessary to move forward a third battery from each group to positions slightly in advance of the forward positions selected in CARNOY Valley, at a later stage in the operations. Group Commanders should consequently consider the possibilities of sending batteries forward up, to, or over the front German line should the necessity arise.


  • The movement forward of these batteries as stated in para 2 will probably begin after green line has been captured, and at least during the following night.


  • The role of the 50th Brigade R.F.A. will consist in the first place in maintaining the necessary forward barrage during the movement of other batteries. In the later stages the 50th Brigade R.F.A. will hold itself in readiness to move forward either to reinforce batteries of 18th Art. In their forward positions or for any other special task that may be assigned to it.


  • The zones allotted to Groups in advance of the forward barrage (line H) will correspond roughly to the respective fronts of Groups on this line.


  • Reference para 3. the gun sited at F.12.c.7.3. will be the first gun to be moved forward, and all possible preliminary preparation should be made for this move.

It is hoped that a party of R.E. or Pioneers will be detailed to assist in bridging trenches.

A position would probably be available in the vicinity of POMMIERS trench.

A party should be sent on in advance as early as circumstances will admit to reconnoitre route and position, the gun being subsequently moved forward as soon as possible after capture of the final objective.


  • The forward move of the second gun at F.17.b.2.2. will be regulated by circumstances. This gun being moved up to reinforce the first gun should circumstances prove favourable.


  • The role of these guns should be made clear to the officers in command, it should be clearly be understood by them that these guns are not to open fire except in case of actual attack or at an exceptionally favourable target. The gun being so sited as to enfilade the N.W. face of MONTAUBAN.


  • The primary advantage aimed at in the forward move of these guns is to shorten the communications between the Observation Post and gun. These forward guns should be provided with sufficient telephone equipment to allow of such communication being established.


  • The personnel of V/18 and W/18 Trench Mortar Batteries will be reserved for providing fatigue parties or reinforcements as occasions may arise.

One section of V/18 is being detailed to hold itself in readiness to assist the forward movement of the single guns.

Fatigue parties from W/18 will be provided to Groups to assist batteries in occupying forward positions in CARNOY Valley.

  • In order to facilitate control, the two single guns at F.17.b.2.2. and F.12.c.7.3. will come under tactical control of Left Group from 0 hour on Z day.


Capt., R.A.

Brigade Major, 18th Div. Artillery.


Copies to 50th & 51st Bdes. For information.