H.E. WITTY Nov 16

H.E. WITTY Nov 16


  1. Section


1st November 1916.  Wednesday.  On lines all the day from 6 a.m.  Rotten time in MAMETZ WOOD.  Last three days notable for shortness of rations.  ¼ loaf per day and bully. NO MAIL again.  New pn almost ready.


2nd November 1916.  Thursday.  On telephone during the day – also fatigues removing stores for dug-out erections etc.  MAIL up.  Letters  Mother N.T. and Miss Carr (re Tetley’s’ Memorial Scheme).  Ans 3rd.  Preparation for action.  Gun returns from Havre.  BADGY PACKS UP tomorrow. Lucky Beggar. First news of Eric Dunn’s death.  Learnt form a Bridlington Free Press that I picked up in a German dug-out in FRICOURT.


3rd November 1916.  Friday.  On teleph[one] 5 a.m.  Nothing doing rest of day.  Hun planes active.  German spy in vicinity.  All ranks warned to be on look out.  Lt in Garrison.  FRICOURT wood. Heavily shelled by 24 cm (60 rds).  Few casualties.  One man blown 50 feet into the air escapes with ‘shock’.  One falls 20 yards from our hut.  NO MAIL.  Fine day.


4th November 1916.  Saturday.  On telephone 9 – 1.  Had a bath down in the Bosche dug-out this afternoon.  On duty again tonight.  In action registration work near Bapaume.  Shippen at O.P.  Australians came out of the line today – In sorry plight.  Not so hardy as our boys. NO MAIL.


5th November 1916.  Sunday.  Very stormy day.  In action preparatory to the successful attack on Warlencourt & the Butte.  On telephone 1 – 5 am and 5 – 9 p.m.  Move up forward tomorrow.  Good mail.  Letters R., Bee, Harry, Dorothy, Douglas & paper from Scott.  Ans.


6th November 1916.  Monday.  Removed to new billets at last.  Oh my what a ‘home’.  12 of us in a dug-out (Bunks) 12’ x 8’.  I am sleeping near the roof about 18” to roll into bed.  Good view of Mametz Wood opposite.  Fired 12 rounds on Amn Dump in LOHDART WOOD.  Letters from Alice, R., Gladys, Wally Taylor.  Papers from home.  ANS on 7th.


7th November 1916.  Tuesday.  On telephone duty for 24 hours.  A wet miserable day.  Spent a good night in my new abode altho’ much difficulty in rising etc.  Nothing of interest today.  Pcl and letter R.  Letters Ira, Scott F.C.M.   Had a cold night on duty.


8th November 1916.  Wednesday.  A blizzard of a day.  In action on dug-outs.  Aeroplane observation.  Putrid shoot owing to gun sinking 10 rounds none within 200 yds qtg.  NO MAIL.  Met a Scarbro’ boy in 5th Yorks.  Gave me all news of the boys.  Hope to see them shortly.


9th November 1916.  Thursday.  On telephone (24 hours).  In action on M.6.a.7.0.  Fired 15 Rds.  Satisfactory shoot.  Also one “simultaneous” rd.  Hun planes and batteries very active.  A lovely sunny day. NO MAIL.  Pay.

10th November 1916.  Friday.  On battery.  Good shooting today.  Intense air activity both British and Bosche.  Hun battery washed out.  Met St. Martin’s man who directed me to 5th YORKS camp.  Boys up the line but luckily caught Walter Witty just before he left.  Is now a “runner and sniper”.  Fine day.  NO MAIL.


11th November 1916.  Saturday.  On telephone all the day.  Good MAIL.  Letters Mother, Mag, Ma, Mr. Leslie, Mr. Carter. A. Houham, N.T., (Pc) Norman.  Another fine day though cold.  Not in action owing to lack of Amn.  Issue of winter clothing.  Fur coats etc.


12th November 1916.  Sunday.  On O.P. with Mr. Tribe.  Walked both ways.  Beast of a journey.  Very dull and quiet on the whole. Eaucourt well strafed.  Fine day – quite warm.  Pcl from Hilda.  Letters R. and G.  ANS (by P.C.).  Boddy goes sick with bad knee.


13th November 1916.  Monday.  On telephone – nothing else doing. Wilson taken to Hosp with “Bright’s disease”.  Very fine day.  LX moves up to new pn.  NO MAIL.  Very warm day (for November) but very foggy.  Received news of capture of Beaumont Hamel where the W. Yorks were badly cut up on July 1st.


14th November 1916.  Tuesday.  In action – fired 20 rounds on the Butte.  Good shooting.  Very little doing.  Many prisoners taken near B-H.  Walked to FRICOURT twice.  LX settle down here. NO MAIL. Owing to shelling of ALBERT.


15th November 1916.  Wednesday.  On telephone – intensely cold.  NO shooting as tgs out of range owing to strong head wind.  All lines completed to both guns.  Xchange and H.Q. NO MAIL.  Departure of 48, 26, 50 and 60.  Shall we move next?


16th November 1916.  Thursday.  On the line to old position and new Pn.  Called to see Bott at Railway Cottage.  Very fine day but intensely cold.  Fired 20 rounds on the BUTTE.  Good shooting. NO MAIL.  A.A.s excellent pcl.  Cally at O.P.  Had a tempr headache which slightly eased toward night.


17th November 1916.  Friday.  Nothing doing much.  Intensely cold weather.  Spent afternoon on fatigues and collecting wood from MAMETZ WOOD.  Walked down to FRICOURT in evening for Mail (5 miles).  Letters and Books from R.  Papers from home.  Poor rations lately.  Snow falls during the night.


18th November 1916.  Saturday.  A.A at O.P.  Biscuits today.  No bread.  On telephone with Calley.  Glad to say better rations came up today for tomorrow,  bully for dinner though. NO MAIL.  A sudden fall in temperature leads to drizzling rain which changes the snow covered ground into the customary mud.


19th November 1916.  Sunday.  Off duty.  Spent greater part of day in bed.  Weather still bad.  No shooting. NO MAIL.  Detachments spend day building dug-outs for LX.  Read “My Indian Queen”.



20th November 1916.  Monday.  On telephone – Received TIMES WEEKLY this morning.  Shippen at O.P.  very cold tonight as we have no stove.  Improvement in rations altho’ bread still scarce.  Finished “A ransom for LONDON” (Fletcher).  A.I. NO MAIL.

21st November 1916.  Tuesday.  Off duty.  Walked up to Railway Cottage to take Bott’s Mail.  Yesterday’s mail arrived this morning.  Letters N.T., Home and Grace.  Walked down to FRICOURT tonight but found no mail had arrived.  Warm but foggy.  NO O.P on ac of fog.


22nd November 1916.  Wednesday.  Another thick foggy day.  Very little doing.  5 “leaves” come in tonight to leave Albert Sat.  good Mail.  Pcl & letter (R.) and also pcl from home.  Letters Eric, Douglas & Kathie (P.C.).  ANS.  Much warmer.


23rd November 1916.  Thursday.  On telephone duty – Fired 22 Rounds C.B.  not very satisfactory.  Run by ”Subs”.  A fine warm day.  Surprising.  NO MAIL.  Dump moving to BAZENTIN.  5 men to go on leave Sat.  will they manage it?  Wrote County Correspondence College.


24th November 1916.  Friday.  Commencement again of “refresher” classes “Lamps and Flags”.  Rather chilly and foggy.  Difficulties in drawing rations from B-N.  letter R. and Badgy.  ANS. (former with P.C.).


25th November 1916.  Saturday.  Very wet miserable day.  Spent most of it in bed.  More excitement as 5 more leaves have come in.  rumours of a move forward to Delville Wood to be within range of Bapaume.  Letters N.T., Scott and Gilbert.  ANS.


26th November 1916.  Sunday.  On telephone with A.A.  Candlin, Winter, Banks,  Agony, and Salt go on leave.  Ten gone.  Hopes rising.  Wet miserable day again.  Letters Frank (aw) R., Ma, Home and Gladys.  ANS.


27th November 1916.  Monday.  An awful day both as to weather and my internal arrangements.  In bed all the day with cold, flu and diarrhoea.  Pcl from home Papers “Times” and “Scott”  P.C. (Bridge).  Read ‘Aleans Wife’.


28th November 1916.  Tuesday.  Another miserable foggy wet day.  Nothing doing. NO MAIL.  Felt much better today though still groggy.  Another day bin bed.


29th November 1916.  Wednesday.  On duty with A.A.  Feel much improved.  Alford made temp Captain.  Some excitement. No Mail again.  Weather still foggy and miserable.


30th November 1916.  Thursday.  The page covering 30th November to 6th December is missing


War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Nov 1916

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




NOVEMBER 3, 1916.

Brigade War Diary.

The 2.6” Newton Trench Mortars were placed in position on our front opposite the Railway Salient. These mortars co-operated in the Artillery Scheme for this raid, which was the first occasion on which these mortars had ever been used on the British Front.



Nov. 3rd to 12th 1916.

2nd ARMY.



175th BRIGADE R.F.A.



Lieutenant A.A. Laporte Payne A/175 Brigade R.F.A. is granted leave of absence from 3-11-16 to 12-11-16. with permission to proceed to London.


W.H. Hamilton Fletcher.

Lieut. Adjt.

for Lieut-Colonel

Commanding 175th Brigade R.F.A.


In the Field.


Recommended: W. Furnival.



Sanctioned: A.D. Kirby.

Brig Gen.


(Yellow ticket)

H.M. Forces Overseas (in uniform).


First Class.

Staff Captain R.A.

34th Division.

Extended to 13 Nov. 1916.



Returned from leave. Stayed the night with R.M.L.P. at 8, Talbot Road, Bayswater. W.


NOVEMBER 14, 1916.

I returned last night from leave, now but a dream. We exist for half a year solely for the purpose of living for one week.  Reg and I had breakfast on Sunday morning at 6.30 a.m., and he came to see me off at Victoria station.  I met a fellow I knew returning.  We had a couple of hours at Folkestone, which we spent on the Leas.  It was very calm, not like the journey over.  We left Boulogne at R a.m. the next morning, and arrived at the wagon line at noon, where I had a bath and shave.  I rode to the gun line in the evening.  Everybody was in a very bad way, and instead of being cheered up as I hoped I was still more depressed.  One sub was in hospital with influenza.  Another had rheumatism so badly that he could not ride his horse.  The remaining one was fed up because he had all the work to do.  the Captain was in a bad temper as he had fallen out rather badly with the Colonel.  What a cheery crowd!

We are in the same place but may move at any time.

I have just finished censoring letters, filling in returns and intelligence reports.


NOVEMBER 16, 1916.

It is bitterly cold here now. There is no fire and a keen wind blowing.  Last night I was down in the trenches acting as Liaison Officer.


November 20, 1916.


We are just as busy, and there is a lot of night firing again. Last night we had a church parade.  The Captain and I went.  Afterwards the padre came to dinner with us.

Your Christmas puddings will be most acceptable. Another man is providing the turkeys.  We must make it as like Christmas as possible.

It is very cold observing now. Three of us take it in half days at a time between us.


NOVEMBER 23, 1916.

I am alone at the battery tonight. One sub is in the trenches and two others have gone out to dine.  A furious strafe has just started.  One of our new windows has just gone with the concussion.  A bullet went through another and also the door of my bedroom, which is most annoying.  Our telephone wire has been cut and the wretched linesmen have been sent out to patrol the line.  We have not opened fire yet but expect a message from the trenches at any moment.


November, 23, 1916.


The records are much appreciated. Thanks very much.  We are still in the same place.  The weather is foul, much too cold and wet.  The Boche has shown unwelcome attentions to our mess.  They put a bullet through our window, and also through my bedroom door and into the wall beyond the bed while we were in mess last night.  These bullets which are overs from the trenches, generally at night, often hit our wall, but I wish they would not come inside.


NOVEMBER 26, 1916.

Last night I was in the trenches for two days’ tour of duty. My servant brought my letters down.


November 27, 1916.


Things are going on fairly well out here. It is a beautifully fine day today, but much colder.

I have started a stock pot for the men. I have not the least idea how it is done, but I have told the cook to put everything into it from bones to brown paper.

The trenches are in a horrible condition. The land is one vast bog.


NOVEMBER 27, 1916.

My name has been sent in by the Colonel for a Battery’s Commander’s course at Shoeburyness, and I was hoping to go to England, but the damned General stopped it.  For three days I dreamt about it, and planned all sorts of things.  I could do murder with the greatest delight.  It is now 6.30, p.m. Sunday night.


Monday morning 28th.

It is a glorious day today, but much colder. I am going to the trenches this afternoon with a signaller.  I have started a stock pot for the battery.  I don’t know in the least how it is done; but I told the cook to put in everything from bones to brown paper.