War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 5 August 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

EXTRACTED FROM.

 

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

Correspondence

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5th August 1917

 

August 5, 1917.

We have been quite flooded out. We do not require a dove here.  We know when the floods are subsiding when we see the horse’s ears semaphoring above the water.

 

It was great sport fishing for floating wagons and our precious ditch bridges with drag ropes. You know the physical geography of this delightful country, so you can imagine the conditions after a sixty hour storm.

 

There is a subaltern here in the adjoining wagon-lines of our Brigade, a delightful fellow and a Scotchman, and he makes me howl with laughter at his antics and grousings. He is really most amusing.  I should fade away with melancholia if he were not here.  He is the brightest spot in the landscape.  The sight he presented when he arrived at my tent late the other night in the pouring rain was most comical.  He had waded over knee deep in water, and forgotten the water hidden ditch half way across.  His great wish now is to ride into a small town some way away where there are some English or other nurses.  He says that if he does not get a sight of an English girl soon he will languish and die.

 

The new subalterns we are getting as reinforcements to replace casualties are truly awful. They seem to be worse than useless, and do not know which end of the gun shoots out of.

 

My mare is looking very well, and appears to be thoroughly enjoying life. I have a new groom now to replace the one the Colonel robbed me of.  This fellow is quite good, and keeps my large quantity of saddlery clean.  Nothing looks so pleasing as a good horse, well groomed, and well polished leather.  But he is not so good as Scarret, my former groom.

 

Noon, and time for stables so I must go.

 

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 5 Aug 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 5 Aug 1917

 

B.E.F.

August 5th 1917

 

Dearest,

 

So you have left your farm work at last and are now enjoying a well earned rest. I expect you are glad it is over; it must have been rather trying at times.  Thank you so much for your two long letters – one from Eardiston & one from Bagston Hill, and also for the lovely cake which arrived at the same time.  It is delicious and came as a welcome relief from rations.  As I don’t know whether you are going north to Wales and as Mrs Cross told my people it was very unlikely that they would be able to get away, I am sending this letter to Benchfield.

 

I am very glad to hear that you are having such a good time with Mrs Lowe. I hope she looked after you properly.  Thank you very much for ‘old Jo’s letter which is very amusing.  It is a nuisance for you that Mrs Cross has had to move just at this time but I hope it will turn out alright and you will get your holiday together.  How are they keeping?  Please give my love to Mrs Cross and also to Mrs Lowe and the big boy and thank her for her kind message.

 

Are you not going to the sea this summer? It is lovely at the sea sometimes under certain circumstances. Just now it is not at all pleasant.  We have been quite flooded out.  We knew when the flood was subsiding when we see the horse’s ears semaphoring above the water – so we had no need of a dove!  It was great fun rescuing floating wagons and bridges with drag ropes.  You know the geography of this delightful country so you can imagine the result of a 60 hour storm.  I have a subaltern with me – a delightful fellow – a Scotchman – and he makes me howl with laughter at his antics and grousings.  The sight he presented when he arrived at my tent the other night after wading knee deep in water and forgetting about the ditch half way was most comical.  His great wish now is to ride into a town some way away where there are some English nurses – he says that if he does not get a sight of an English girl soon he will languish and die.

 

The new subalterns we are getting to replace casualties are perfectly awful. They seem to be worse than useless, and don’t know which end of the gun shoots out of.

 

My mare is looking very well and is thoroughly enjoying life. I have a new groom now.  The Colonel wanted my last so I had to give him up.  This fellow is very good and keeps my large quantity of saddlery very clean and nice.  Nothing looks nicer than a well groomed horse and polished leather.  Don’t you think so?

 

What do you think of the news in the papers. It is a great pity that the weather has interfered again.

 

Noon has just gone so I must go to the stables.

With all my love dearest

Ever your

Arch.