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.