G. Hammond letter 22 July 1917



My dear Father and Mother

Gladys’s letter of the 11th was most amusing I can imagine Ma saying “What have you brought now?” and poor old Pa saying in a very meek voice a lawn mower, then I suppose Ma would say “Well we don’t want any more rubbish” in about a fortnight she would say it cuts the grass very nicely.  Well we are still by the sea and very pleasant too we had rather an unwelcome visitor this morning in the form of a 5.9 shell but he didn’t go off so it doesn’t matter.  Things are quite noisy here but we don’t get very much of it.  It would be rather a novel wedding accompanied by confetti in the form of bombs.  Still such things are very common here and one gets quite used to it.  Glad you received the cheque OK.  I had a letter from Hilda tonight saying Gladys had arrived.  I suppose she will know more about the family than I do for I have never seen Pa. I can imagine Ma **tting off to the plot and then giving Pa such a lot of valuable advice.  The only thing is if ever Ma starts pulling my leg I shall ask her if she has had any enlargements lately.  That is her week spot.  I like Gladys quiet suggestion that she will welcome any tray cloths I would like to send , well the first opportunity I get I will send her some the joke will be she will never finish them.  We are a long way from the place where I brought the last but I may be able to do a bit.  At the present moment I am the proud possessor of a German cap badge don’t for one moment imagine I have been busy killing Boche Oh No just found the helmet you know.  I had a Field Card from Gus tonight it has taken 5 days to come so no doubt he is a very long way off.  I am still waiting for his address and am damned tired of asking for it.  I would love to have seen Pa wrestling with that lawn mower.  It does keep him busy.  I am *** what with the clock and other little details does he find much wrong with the bicycles lately.  How’s the gramophone going now?  I do hope you are buying a lot of records.  I shall want to play it a lot when I come home.

It is a long time since I had a letter from Bill.  I hope you will buck him up.  The Major tells me he has recommended me for promotion today but I am not very confident.  It did not take Dolly long to get married perhaps she wanted to make sure.  Well this is all at present, mind that lad doesn’t get into trouble with that lawn mower.  I suppose he finds the oil very expensive now.  I am as brown as a berry, in fact you won’t recognise me when I come home for my moustache makes a very good disguise.  I have a little puppy now which was borne in the trenches so I am keeping it for a souvenir.

Well Cheer Oh!

Fondest love



War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 19 July 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




19th July 1917


July 19, 1917.

The Major has returned, so that responsibility has been shifted from my shoulders, but I am sorry in a way. Running a six-gun battery is generally interesting, often exciting, and is assuredly the best command in the field without exception.  So I have come down to the wagon-lines for a bit of a rest.  But I have plenty to do looking after the horses, carting ammunition every night up to the gun-line, which is a long and tedious business, when the Boche shells the road a nasty business.  From our first wagon-lines we have been forcibly ejected by the Boche.  So we have had to erect other horse lines, water troughs and harness sheds elsewhere.


Have you guessed where we are?


I have a bell tent now, and a camp bed of sorts, which is better than a soaking corn field.


Hitherto the weather has been bad, but today it is gloriously fine. I might get some bathing if there was less to do.


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

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



July 19th 1917




Many thanks indeed for all your letters. They arrived in a bundle owing to the disorganisation of our mail consequent upon the move here.  You must punish me severely for not writing to you more by neglecting to send me any news if I behave like this again.


Thank you too darling for your kind messages. I value your congratulations much more than the promotion.  After all it is only an acting captaincy and liable to be lost at any moment.


I am very glad you enjoyed Mr Cross’ visit. I had a most kind letter from him the same mail that brought all yours.


After all your hard work you will be very glad of a holiday. Mind you have a good rest and recover from the effects of your toil as a farm labourer before I come home on leave.


Please thank Mrs Lowe for her kind messages & tell her I am sorry not to have had the letter!!


How is the picking getting on? And how is Maude behaving herself?  Look after her well and send her home in good condition.  I hope you will have a good holiday with Mr & Mrs Cross.  You will be returning home I suppose about the middle of August.  What a long time you will have been away!


Well! Reg is married I suppose. I hope he will keep or be kept quiet now for a bit.  Miss Scarfe is engaged and Humph too, I hear, to a nurse.  He has not taken long has he?  What’s the matter with everybody?


The Major has returned I am glad to say so I have come down to the wagon-lines for a bit of a rest and I am not sorry. Still I have plenty to do looking after the horses and carting the ammunition every night which is a long job.  Like Messrs Paice & Cross we have been forcibly ejected from our lines by the Boche and we have had another camp to construct, and horse lines to make and water troughs and harness sheds to erect.


Mother has guessed where we are. I wonder if you can.  We have had an extraordinarily busy time.  I don’t get the comparative luxury of Headquarters now but still at present I have a tent and a camp bed which is a lot more than a wet corn field which is all we get in the gun line.


The weather has been very bad lately but to-day it is gloriously fine. Just fine for an afternoon of tennis or bathing.  The latter I might get if there were less to do.


I hope you are both keeping well. Give my love to Maude and thank her very much for her letter which I will answer as soon as I can.


I am longing for leave and a time with you. I hope when I do get away the weather will be fine.  I am just living on for that time.  What a long time it seems since my last leave.


With all my love, darling

And many kisses

Ever your


A A Laporte Payne F.S.P.C. 14 July 1917.

F.S.P.C. 14 July 1917.



I am quite well


I have been admitted to hospital sick wounded and am going on well.


I am being sent down to the base.


I have received your letter dated telegram  parcel


Letter follows at first opportunity.


I have received no letter from you lately for a long time.


Signature only: Arch


Date July 14 1917


Addressee Miss Muriel Cross C/O Post Office, Eardiston Tenbury Wells Worcester   Postmark ARMY POST OFFICE 18 JU 17.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 16 July 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




16th July 1917


R.P. July 16,1917.

Since I last wrote we have moved to quite a new place. We were five days on the road, and travelled mostly at night, arriving at our destination usually at about 11 a.m.  Then we had to make our camp, water and feed the horses and what not.  So we get very little sleep.  As the Major is still away I am in command of the Battery.


The day we arrived behind the line here we got into camp at 9 a.m. Then I had to accompany the Colonel to reconnoitre battery positions.  We moved into action that night, which meant spending the whole [day] making gun pits.  In the morning I had to go to the O.P. to register the guns.


Since we moved into the line we have been living in the open in a cornfield with no shelters at all for anybody for two days. To add to the discomfort it has poured with rain the whole time, and the mosquitoes and sand flies have added to our misery.  The men are very tired; but we are still going strong.


Today is a perfect day. I should like a bathe.



To Staff Captain, R.A.

XV, Corps.

Ref. C.471.

(A.M.S. 4th Army 146/35.)


Acting Captain ARCHIBALD ALDRIDGE LAPORTE PAYNE is recommended for promotion to Temporary Captain.


  1. Furnivall.

Lt. Col., R.A.

Commanding 175th Brigade R.F.A.



July 16, 1917.

We have completed our move. For five days or rather nights we travelled along the roads of France going steadily north.  Usually we started at 1 a.m., arriving at our destination each day at 11 a.m.  Then we made our camp, watered and fed and groomed the horses.  Our next business was to ascertain and allot billets before the Brigade arrived.  After dinner we packed in readiness for our next stage on the journey that night.


We arrived at this place at 9 a.m., and I was immediately ordered to accompany the Colonel to reconnoitre battery positions, which took us all day. That night we moved into action.  Building rough gun-pits occupied the whole night.  The positions were and are in open fields.  The next day I spent in the Observation Post registering the guns.  Two following days were spent in a similar fashion.  The Major is still away, so I had to take the Battery into action.


For the first two nights in our new position we lived and had our being in a soft corn field run to seed, with no cover at all, either from the enemy or the weather. To add to our miseries it poured with rain during the night time.  I slept in a “two-men” shelter with one of the subalterns.  The thing is like an inverted V, so low that your nose stuck into the canvas top, so short that if your head was underneath feet stuck out at the other end.  The Boche, sand-flies, and mosquitoes complete our tale of woe.  Eating our meals and compiling daily returns for H.Q., importing ammunition, stores and what not, and urging the gunners to fresh efforts nightly to construct some sort of gun platforms in pitch darkness, all these things are enough to try the tempers of more saintly creatures than we are.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 16 July 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 16 July 1917



July 16th 1917


My darling,


Forgive my long delay in writing to you. I am awfully sorry.  Thank you very much for your letter of the 11th.


I have never been so busy before.


We have moved and travelled for five days or rather nights – usually starting at 1 a.m. and getting into camp 11 a.m. Then we had camp to make and horses to groom and feed & then pack for the next day’s move.  We arrived at this place at 9 a.m. and immediately I had to go with the Colonel reconnoitring positions which took us all day and we moved into action that night.  We were up all night building gun pits etc and the next day I spent ranging the guns from the O.P. as also the following  two days.  The Major is still away so I have been in command.


We have lived in a cornfield for two nights with no cover at all and to add to everything it poured with rain during the 2 nights and the Boche, sand-flies, & mosquitoes do not leave us alone – all this with numerous returns for headquarters have annihilated my correspondence – so you will forgive won’t you darling. I literally have not had a moment.


I will try and write you a proper letter tomorrow.


I am glad you enjoyed Mr Cross’ visit.

Forgive more now.


With all my love & kisses

Always yours


A Smith Post card 15 July and letter 16 July 1917



To T. Smith, 24 Palmerston Rd, Bowes Park, London N22 England.  Postmarked Field Post Office 20.  16 JY 17.


I am quite well

I have received your letter dated 9th July Regd

Letter follows at first opportunity


Signature only. A. Smith.  Date  July 15th 17


July 16th 17


Dear Father


I am writing to thank you very much for the 10/- note received yesterday; it came as a pleasant surprise.  We have been paid more regularly lately but money is always useful I did not change the other one until last week.

Have you seen anything of the air raids lately, I hope not as they do not give a very enjoyable time.  I heard from Ciss the other day they certainly came too close there to be pleasant but it was a good job none of them was hurt.

We are still at the same place & not having a bad time we do not have so many hours on parade as we have been getting.

What do you think of the war news lately I don’t think you & Mr. Fillary will have to go I fancy it will be settled before then; I don’t think it will last long now by the look of things the Russians are doing very well again.  I am looking forward to soon being back in good old Blighty again.

The weather has been rather changeable lately but still very nice not too hot.

Have you heard from Albert Taylor lately I hope he is well I should like to write to him if you know his address.

I am glad to say I am very well & I hope you are jogging along merry & bright & that you are all in the best of health.

I think I am dried up for news now so must finish off.

With much love from

Your devoted



P.S. I should be glad of a tin of Harrisons if you get this before you send a parcel but otherwise there is no hurry as I still have one full tin.