War Diary of AA Laporte Payne
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda & Correspondence
Sunday December 5, 1915.
“We arrived here on Thursday last in the wet & mud by road. There is no station within thirteen miles. I had three wagons full of forage, rations and what not.
My days are as follows:
7.30 a.m. Rise.
Order dinner and see to the general management of the Headquarters staff and our household. We have eight horses, thirteen men to run the place for three officers. The house has two sitting rooms, four large bedrooms, and at the top accommodation for the orderlies, servants and clerks.
8.45, a.m. The General and Captain Waller and I go to the ranges for firing. My job is to check the laying of each gun to see that it does not fire in the wrong direction and so do any damage to persons or property. This goes on all day with no time for lunch until 4 p.m., when we return and change our soaking things and have hot baths.
It has rained every day so far, and on Saturday it did not stop. My Burberry is no good it lets the rain through badly.
At night there is all the correspondence to see to, and the accounts to do. Rations and forage are always wrong. They do not come out to Sutton Veny as regularly and correctly as they should.
We dine at eight. I shall in future sympathise in future with housekeepers. It is an awful job. I shall be glad to give it up at any time. We have had the Colonel of each Brigade staying with us every night in turn. Sunday is no exception. This goes on for twelve days. I am absolutely fed up with it. I do not want this job at all.
The ammunition arrived and there was no place to put it. So I was ordered to find a place. I managed after a hunt to store it in a room the size of a very small bedroom, which was completely filled to the roof. I hope it does not blow up. This out-house now contains 1200 rounds of shrapnel and 400 rounds of 4.5 Howitzer ammunition. I superintended the unloading of this at ten o’clock at night in the pitch dark and pouring rain. What a life! It is not as if I should have the pleasure of firing it off. Others will have that job while I look on and see that the round does not blow up an inoffensive citizen of the Plain.
December 11 1915.
“The weather has improved a little, but last Thursday it rained hard all day. I shall be glad when firing practice is over. It is very monotonous. We leave on Wednesday I think.
There is a new Staff Captain here now. Rew has been given the push. Captain Beal posted in his place was Adjutant to General Kirby in France, and has been over there five months. It will my turn next and I shall not be sorry.
December 27 1915.
175th Brigade R.F.A.
Codford St. Mary
“I arrived here on Sunday night and managed to get my kit housed out of the pouring rain. Today the weather has been very bad, with a high wind.
Orders for a move to Egypt have been cancelled for the time being.
THE 175th BRIGADE R.F.A.
This Brigade was raised locally in Staffordshire by Lieut. Colonel E.C. Meysey Thomson, M.P. Recruiting commenced on June 20th 1915, and closed approximately on the 12th August 1915, when the Brigade joined the 34th Division and moved to Kirby Malzeard.
On the 30th August it proceeded to Tidworth, and on the 2nd September Lieut. Colonel E.H. Stevenson, D.S.O., R.F.A. assumed command of the Brigade.
On the 2nd October the Brigade moved to Corton to complete training, and in December was warned for service in Egypt, but this was cancelled a week later.
Finally on the 3rd January it was warned for active service in France.
THE THIRTY FOURTH DIVISION.
ROYAL FIELD ARTILLERY.
Lieut. Col. E.H. Stevenson D.S.O.
Adjutant. Lieut. T. Payne.
Orderly Officer 2/Lieut. G.M.A. Fletcher.
O.C. Captain A.C. Crookshank.
2/Lieut. S.W. Woodrow.
2/Lieut. D. Lowden.
O.C. Captain E.C. Howard.
2/Lieut. A. Roberts.
2/Lieut. J. Amour.
O.C. Captain G.T. Spain.
2/Lieut. A.B. MacDonald.
2/Lieut. R.W.R. Fleming.
O.C. Captain A.P.Y. Langhorne D.S.O.
Lieut. C.F.T. Hopkins.
2/Lieut. A.A. Laporte Payne
2/Lieut. C. Freeman-Cowan.
Brigade Ammunition Column.
Lieut. G.B. Morgan
2/Lieut. W.C. Hickman.