War Diary of AA Laporte Payne August 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne


Extracted from


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






E.C. No. 2/61612(N.A.)


War Office.

London.  S.W.

19th August 1915


(A.G. 6.)


Royal Field Artillery.                                      Sir,

Temp. Lieutenant A.A.                                   I am directed to inform you that the

Laporte Payne.                                                Officer named in the margin has been

From 4 “B” Reserve                                        posted as specified and should be

Brigade, Royal Field                                       Ordered to join.

Artillery.                                                          I am, Sir,

To 34th Divisional                                                        Your obedient Servant

Artillery, Ripon                                                           A. Young, Lieut-Colonel,

For Brigadier-General.

Director of Personal Services.


The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief,

Eastern Command in Horse Guards. S.W.




General Officer Commanding, Troops.


For necessary action.


Horse Guards, S.W.                                        C.A. Harding, Captain

August 21st 1915.                                            A/D.A.A.G. Eastern Command




G.O.C. Troops No. 13875/38

Officer Commanding 4th “B”  Reserve Brigade R.F.A.


For information, action and return please.


Woolwich                                                                    W.D. Nixon, Captain

23/8/15                                                                        Garrison Adjutant.


(Herewith copy of letter posting you. O. Marr, Capt.

Adjutant , 4th “B” Res Bde R.F.A. (26-8-15)


August 25 1915.


161st Brigade R.F.A.

South Camp



I arrived here this evening about 6 p.m. and managed to find a Division here, but as they have not heard anything about me I go on tomorrow to another Division and make enquiries there.


(Subsequently I was gazetted to the Personal Staff as A.D.C. as from this day, 25th August 1915, and transferred to the General List.)


Second Supplement to the London Gazette of Tuesday, 21st September 1915.


August 26 1915.


34th Divisional Artillery Headquarters

The Clergy House



“This is the account of my wanderings in search of a Division and a home. I caught the 9.13 a.m. train to Kings’ Cross, and from there the 9.50, a.m. to York, where I arrived about 1.45 p.m.  There I  changed and waited for three quarters of an hour.  Then I trained to Thirsk, changed again for Ripon where the train deposited me at 6 p.m.  There appeared to be about 80,000 troops in the neighbourhood, and nobody knew anybody else or where anything was.  Finally I wandered out to the 31st Divisional Artillery, and reported there; but they had heard nothing of me.  As it was late they took pity on me, and gave me part of a room to share with another man in a hutment.  There I stayed until this morning, when I came to the 34 Divisional Artillery.  I ascertained that I had been sent on approval to the G.O.C.R.A.  At present he is in France, but returns on Monday when I hope he will confirm my appointment as A.D.C.


The Brigade Major here is Captain Waller. Yesterday he received the M.C. from the King.


The Principal here is Mr. Major, or rather Vice Principal. He edits the Modern Churchman.  This evening he took me over the Cathedral.


The Division moves on Saturday to Salisbury Plain, Tidworth Pennings of all places! We  shall probably be travelling most of Saturday & Sunday.


It has been extraordinarily hot here to-day.


Later. I am remaining on here till Monday, when I travel in charge of the Headquarters Staff by train.  We go to Tidworth Park, then to Sutton Veny, and are due to go to France in October.


Saturday, August 28, 1915.


Plans again altered. We start tomorrow at 5 a.m. by troop train for Salisbury.  That means shuntings on to sidings for a whole day.  I dine with the Principal here tonight.


August 30 1915.


R.A. Headquarters, 34th Division.




On Friday afternoon I went to Fountains Abbey, which is a most beautiful place I think I have ever seen. On Saturday I met the General, and I am appointed temporarily as A.D.C. to see how I get on.


On Saturday evening I went out to Copgrove Rectory to dine with the Rector who is also the Vice-Principal of the Ripon Clergy School, Mr. Major.  He has a delightful old Rectory, full of old furniture.  It rained hard on my return journey, and I got soaked.


On Sunday morning I was up at 4 a.m., entrained the horses including the General’s two chargers, five tons of baggage, ten clerks, and myself aboard a troop train. It poured with rain the whole time.  We started at 7 a.m., and then crawled to Tidworth, where we arrived at 6 p.m.  On the way we stopped at Leicester, where the nurses of the Volunteer Aid served us with tea, coffee and cake.  We also watered the horses there.


When we arrived at our destination I met the Staff Captain and together we superintended the unloading and transport of the baggage to the camp by motor lorries.


There is only one hut in the camp, which we have for the Divisional Headquarters Office. I managed to get tents for the officers of the staff. It was a job to get the mess running at all.  However we are settling down.


The General, Elmslie, is a very fine looking chap. Waller, the Brigade Major is the son of the Dean of Kildare.  The Staff Captain is one Rew.


This afternoon I am going in to Salisbury.


(Train 5 a.m for 7 a.m. Troops 12 men, Horses G.O.C. 2 Capt Rew 2, Officers’ kit, Baggage 5 tons.)




G.O.C. General the Right Honourable Sir A.H. Paget, G.C.B., K.C.V.O.

Radnor House, Salisbury.





Tidworth Park.


Part 1.

Strength. 1.

2nd Lieut A.A. Laporte Payne R.F.A. reported his arrival on 25th 8. 1915., and is attached to Artillery Headquarters.

Lt. Col. K.J. Kincaid-Smith, D.S.O., R.A. reported his arrival on 1st September 1915, and is posted to command the 152nd Brigade, R.F.A.

Hubert F. Rew.


Staff Captain R.A.

34th Division


August 30 1915.


R.A.HEADQUARTERS, 34th Division



I am sitting in a large hut surrounded by clerks with noisy typewriters. Guns and wagons are making a great noise and dust passing up from the station.  The whole division is forming a new camp here to finish training before proceeding elsewhere – France, Dardanelles, Egypt, India, Who knows?  I hope France.  imagine the confusion.  It is taking R whole days, 12 trains unloading every 8 hours, guns, horses, wagons, baggage, men.  Tempers are shocking.  My head is a bit muddled.


Tuesday I travelled up to Ripon, arriving about 6 p.m. Dined and helped to run a concert in 161 Brigade Mess.  Slept in a hut on Wednesday.  Thursday I moved into Ripon Clergy Training College, where I was billeted.  Friday I went to Fountains Abbey in a car.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  The Elizabethan Mansion at the back was lovely.  It was a glorious day, and the creeper was just turning.  Saturday I packed and loaded 5 tons of stationary in a railway truck.  At night I went to Copgrove Rectory for dinner with the Rector and his wife.  It was a delightful old house full of queer passages, good old furniture brass and silver.  It was a great dinner.  We had Moselle, Claret, Portland Chartreuse to drink.  After dinner I did my best to admire his large collection of books and pictures.  It poured all the way home and I got very wet, however I was in bed by midnight; but up at 4 a.m.  I saw my four horses in the truck, and also my ten hangers on.  WE started about 7 a.m. thoroughly wet and miserable.  We arrived here at 6 p.m. and then had to unpack and get to camp 2 miles away.


I got to bed about midnight in a damp tent. Awfully jolly to be in camp again!  Today I superintended putting up tents for the H.Q. Mess, making horse lines, opening telegrams.  This afternoon I had a game of polo.  Now I am doing correspondence.  “Can I find a billet for a chauffeur”.  Can I get rooms for Col. So and So”  “Can I get a house for Mrs. Somebody-Else”.  To all of this I reply “NO!  not for love or money or influence”.  The place is full of khaki, that ubiquitous deadly dull colour.  I almost love a civilian.  I have just had put in front of me a large quantity of Memoranda and Bye-Laws of the Southern Command, and Salisbury Training Centre, which I must read, learn and inwardly digest.  The Mess bores me stiff.  All they talk about is the sins of the A.S.C., or horses.

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