War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 August 1917.
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
17th August 1917
August 17, 1917.
August is now living up to its reputation. It might be April or March.
The team horses are not looking up to the mark. The rain and mud have spoilt their coats, and I have not enough men to groom them properly. The gun-line have too many up there and many are on leave.
The attitude of people in England now is strange. The men come back from leave with impressions they should not have. I have asked several how they enjoyed their leave. A typical answer I get is “Oh! Alright, sir, but everybody is fed up with the war, and grumbling”. Now this is strange. Surely the troops out here are the ones who might be expected to grouse immoderately, and be forgiven. There is no comparison between the conditions. If at times the men here do grumble, there is hardly one who wants to get out of it or finish the war until we have the Boche well beaten. Thank heaven, there is no peace talk out here. I have come to the conclusion that all the men who have got any spirit at all are out here. At home you have now only physical wrecks, politicians and socialists avid for higher wages as munition workers. If you come across any mumblers of peace tell them off on our behalf. Out here we are quite cut off and inarticulate as the war correspondents have no time for the opinions of mere regimental officers or troops.
A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 17 August 1917
Aug 17th 1917
My own dearest,
I am so glad to hear that you are a united family once more. You must be very glad to see them both again after such a long time away. How were they after their strenuous time in town – Mrs Cross cooking & housekeeping and Mr Cross moving? I hope you survived the gay time you had at Bagston Hill and will not find Welshpool too dull for you. The weather too ought to behave itself a little better for you now – it is struggling hard here but is not succeeding very well. How long are you going to stay up north? I suppose you will not be able to face town in August.
What a relief it must be to get away from fruit picking, small quarters and early hours. You used not to like Sundays, but don’t you appreciate them now after your late experiences?
Are you getting any tennis or is it too wet? August seems to be living up to its reputation! It might be called April, I think, or even March. Perhaps September will make up for it.
Have you heard anything of Maude? I think she ought to have come away when you did. She will be quite a hardened old farmer when she arrives home again.
It is just about feeding time for the horses and they know it and are getting very impatient. They are not looking up to the mark – the rain has spoilt their coats and I have not enough men to groom them properly; so many drivers are on leave. I shall be glad when all the men have had their leave. The men who are going now have not had any at all since they have been out, poor devils.
There is no news to tell you. Everything goes on as usual. The attitude of people in England towards the war is annoying me at present. The men come back from leave with impressions they should not have. I have asked several how they enjoyed their leave and the answer I usually get is “Oh! Alright, but everybody is fed up with the war, and grumbling”. Surely the men who are entitled to grouse are the fellows who have a rotten time of it and if they do so at times there is hardly one who wants to get out of it until we have well beaten the Boche. There is no peace talk out here thank goodness. If you come across any such creatures you might tell them off from me will you?
How are you keeping dearest? Quite alright I hope.
I am still living for leave and you but the former seems a long time coming.
With all my love & kisses