A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 19 May 1917.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 19 May 1917.




May 19th 1917.




Guess what that means. Only your last delightful letter of the 12th has kept me from going quite mad.  There has been no mail for 3 days.  I have had no time to write.  It is extraordinarily hot – and there is too much to do – and I have hardly been to bed.  Further the Colonel returns to-day and he is sure to come back in a bad temper to the enormous amount of work he will have to get through – so you can imagine how your last really lovely letter has helped.


Why shouldn’t you call me what you like – are you still shy with me – as you say in you used to be? It is about time you were not, young lady.


We are now where I said I should be going back to after my leave. You may remember it.  Keep your eye on it.


Thank you for drinking my health on Saturday night last. It is Saturday night or rather evening again – and my thoughts are with you darling.


It is a perfect evening – just lovely for you and me alone. Instead of that I am in a tent near a main road – the traffic and the consequent dust is continuous.  Overhead are Boche aeroplanes and the A.A. guns are going all out.  Quite near is one of our captive kite balloons up with two officers in it observing from a great height.  If the Boche send over large long distance shells or an aeroplane to bring it down the unhappy observers have to throw themselves out and hang on to a parachute.  I should not like their job at all.


I wonder where you are now. Have you left to work on the land?  I do hope it will be fine weather for you – it is so awful when it is wet.  At any rate it will be warm and that is something.  Look after Maude if you are with her.


I am glad Mrs Cross is having such a good holiday. Please give her my love and also Mrs Lowe and thank her for the delightful present of ‘heaps’!!


The mare is rather tired. She was out until 5.30 a.m. yesterday morning and has not had much rest poor thing.


Everything is a bit upside down at present so you will forgive scrappier and scrappier letters won’t you darling?


And so the war goes on. Suppose it never ends – But it must one day mustn’t it?


The trees are full out now and the country is looking just lovely, except up in the scarred and torn front line and along the dusty traffic routes.


The officers are in a terrible way. It is getting difficult to get whisky and other drinks now.  I don’t mind at all as I never cared very much for whisky and hardly ever touch it – and the wines the French are selling now are pretty bad – so I drink tonic juice when I can get it.  it is much better don’t you think so?


Your cakes were lovely, darling. We thoroughly enjoyed them.  One fellow came in to tea promptly to have some – and the doctor wants me to send his love & thanks – but I told him certainly not.  They are all married on Headquarters except the Colonel who is still unattached – at least he was before he left – and myself.


Nothing but interruptions – phone going all day long. Please do this, please do that – why wasn’t this done – please explain that &  so on.


Well I must close now.

With all my love my own darling

And many many kisses

Ever your own


Message from Army commander to 51 Div 19 May 1917

Message from Army commander to 51 Div 19 May 1917




To 51st Division


Day of month 19


Third Army wire of last night begins aaa Convey to 51st Division my congratulations on their great gallantry at ROEUX and CHEMICAL WORKS on 16th May aaa GENERAL ALLENBY aaa



17th Corps

F Smith letter 19 May 1917

May 19th 17

Dear Father

At last I am going to try to write a few lines; we have been in the trenches for nearly three weeks, & now in reserve expect to go out on Monday for a rest so have not had a chance before.

First of all I must thank you very much for your parcel received yesterday.  I never had one come out at a better time we were short of food & no smokes so you can guess I soon reduced it in size; we finished the cigarettes, chocolate, cake, biscuits, & paste you could not have sent a nicer assortment.  I will let you know how I like the jelly next time I bet it is jolly good.  I only used the Harrisons once as we left for the line & I forgot to bring it with me so I am well supplied at present.

I have not had a shave for a week, & about a fortnight since I had a wash so you can bet we look bright articles but I hope to have a good scrub soon; that was very nice soap you sent in your previous parcel.

Well Dad I was very pleased to receive your letter & paper also one from Jess.

I am glad Albert Taylor is well I suppose he was home for a few days leave. What does he think of the war; fed up I expect.

I hope you will have a good time at Southend should just like to be coming along with you.

How did Ethel enjoy her holiday in Yorkshire I expect she is looking quite sun-burnt.

Well I think I must finish now just going out to do a bit of digging.

Glad you are all in the best of health.

Au revoir

With much love from

Your devoted Son