War Diary of AA Laporte Payne October 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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




10th October 1917

R.P. October 10, 1917.

The Boche have been air raiding a good deal lately here. During the recent fine weather the drone of their machines seemed continuous at night.  How did Dr. Norburn enjoy the experience of a London raid.  I am sorry you have had another.


The weather is quite wintry now. It rains most of the time and is very cold.


I am at Headquarters doing the Adjutant’s work for a few days. He is going on leave.  I shall be in charge while he is away.  But I return first to the wagon line for a few days’ rest.  It is good to have a room to sleep and dine in again, and a fire at night.  My bedroom is a cupola erection with one side open.  But when I come back I shall be in the house and sleep in the office.


The Boche are having a thin time, at least I hope so. They have realised that their counterattacks are too costly.  We are all going to have a bad time this winter, but I think the next six months will go far in breaking up their moral.  Then we shall get our chance, but not till then.


I must close, as the Colonel is waiting for dinner.


October 10, 1917.

For a few days I am at Headquarters, doing adjutant’s work. The adjutant is away and is probably going on leave shortly, and then I may have to do his work again.  I do not like office work.  His permanent departure has been postponed but he may go any time.


The weather is as usual cold and wet. It rains most of the time.


There is no prospect of a move yet, but I expect we shall move south soon. Progress there seems to be very slow.  But I hope we are killing plenty of Hun.  I should not mind seeing something of that fighting, for though conditions are no doubt very bad there, it is better than sitting still and being shot at.


The Colonel has been in a very bad temper lately. I think he is at last getting fed up with the war.


I have not been out for three days. I am living in a tumbledown farmhouse, and my bed room is a cupola erection without one end.  However we manage to keep dry, and we have a fire in the evenings.  I go to bed about midnight, but have to get up very early as I have to send off reports for the previous twenty-four hours.


As the Boche has been again most objectionable, I have just rung up the batteries and set them off retaliating.


R.P. October 16, 1917.

The weather is atrocious. It is blowing and raining hard.  I have just returned to the wagon lines from a trip down south to the scene of big things.  I came back in a fast car belonging to the R.N.A.S.  We got in about 10.30 p.m., and found everyone abed.


I have just finished reading “The Faith and the War” edited by Foakes Jackson. I was very interested, but it will not be read much as it is difficult reading.


A discovery interesting from an archaeological point of view has been brought to light this week near Gaza a mosaic of Bishop George, the patron Saint of England, A.D. 561.  It was excavated in a portion of captured Turkish trenches under fire by ANZACS.  The circumstances are interesting.  If we lived in ancient or medieval times it would be deemed a good omen or a sign from God that we shell ultimately conquer.  May it be so.


The Boche is making a horrid noise to night.


Now we are trying to settle down for the winter. I do not like the idea of spending it just here.  We may of course be moved.  You never know what may happen at a moment’s notice.  There is a great demand for stoves.


October 16, 1917.

Twenty minutes ago I returned to my shanty, where I am living alone again. Since I last wrote I have left Headquarters, and have been away down south to the town, or rather what was a town, and I have just returned to find much correspondence.


I believe today is the 16th.  I have no one to ask.  I had dinner in Dunkerque, and then came back in a car with two R.N.A.S. fellows.  Those fellows can drive, especially after a good dinner.


It is blowing hard and raining again.


A noise has worried me at times here. It is very faint and far away, but seems to get into my head.  At first I did not know whether it was only in my head or not.  It sounds like the noise made by rubbing a wet finger on the edge of a tumbler only much shorter in length.  I have found out what it is.  The noise is made by a bell buoy out at sea some distance away.  It is a gloomy sound and most monotonous.


Would you mind sending out to me the Times Literary Supplement, and the Bookman. If you should see any good articles in the Nineteenth Century, the Hibbert Journal, or the Quest, would you let me have them.  As the winter comes on and the winter evenings are long and dreary I must have something to read, and novels usually bore me to tears.


I read Blackwoods every month. It is usually excellent.


October 20, 1917.

Brigade Headquarters.

Here I am as I feared and foretold. I am in the unenviable position of having to try and act as Battery Commander and Adjutant.  Both the Major and the Adjutant are away on leave, and I only am left a remnant in Israel! this land of bondage.


Since I last wrote I have been up at the gun line, and running like a frightened hare between battery and Brigade Headquarters. I have had a lovely time!  Not even shelling can distract me now.


At the moment the Boche is shelling us. The moan of the shells is like what I imagine lost souls make, and the burst like the splash and shake of their arrival in hell, a splash like the one the All Highest, Kaiser Bill, would assuredly wish to make wherever he goes, and the buzz of the splinter bits, like the annoyances expressed by the previous occupants at being joined by a greater fiend than they.  He would certainly make them do the goose step.


I am reading a book by Augustine Birrell, called “Selected Essays”.


How is England?  Are you all provided with tin hats and dug-outs now?  I wish we had some of the latter here, but any attempt to dig is like Moses striking the rock, water gushes forth.


The wretched telephone has been going all day. There is considerable movement in transport on the road tonight, and I have been afraid of my gees getting damaged on the way.  However it is alright, they are all safely gathered in, and tucked up for the night as long as the Hun does not shell the wagon line.  One officer made his way across country in the dark with no light to avoid the road and fell into an enormous shell hole full of water.


The Colonel has just wandered in to the mess in his pyjamas, and asked me to see to something so I close.


R.P. October 24, 1917.

The Colonel and I are alone at Headquarters. I forgot the Doctor.  He is of course here too.  There is no signals officer or orderly officer.  A new signals officer arrives tomorrow.  It means that I have to see to the whole of the work at Headquarters as well as keep an eye on the Battery.  It is a bit of a strain, especially as the Boche has been very aggressive lately.  There has been no mail for three days, which is sad.  It is very cold in my office.  There is no fire there.  The sign of smoke is to be carefully avoided if you wish to live in peace.


The office was in a mess when I came in. I have insisted on having every paper carefully sorted away and indexed.  Today I have dealt with no less than two hundred separate memorandums, papers and returns.  This is a paper war, thanks to our precious staff.  I know that half is never read by the battery officers.  There is no time.


Here is an example of the Staff’s belief in the powers of the parson at home. What faith!  Here is a reply I have just received from Corps Headquarters with regard to a man’s application for special leave consequent upon serious difficulties and trouble in his family circle.


“Numerous societies etc. exist for the purpose of giving assistance and advice in such cases, and a letter to one of them or to the clergyman of the man’s parish would probably be effective.”


French news from the Aisne is encouraging.  I hope success continues.


There is a howling gale blowing this evening. It is omnipresent in a room with no windows.  Papers fly all over the place as if possessed.


October 24, 1917.


What a night! The wind is howling about our old farmstead; but no doubt you know that too, just over the narrow seas.


Here there is only the Colonel and the Doctor on Headquarters now. The Signal Officer, the Orderly Officer, and the Camouflage Officer have all left.  A new “Signals” comes tomorrow.  The Colonel is a Colonel, and the Doctor is a doctor, and an Irishman and a Roman Catholic with rather pronounced ideas and a tender skin; he also has crude notions about history and literature.  So we have not much in common.  However we do not see much of each other.  I spend the whole day in the office now, I regret to say.


This evening I was in my bedroom, also the office, having a bath in a canvas bucket, when I has no less than five telephone calls in three minutes, all demanding my attendance at the receiver in a state of cold nudity.


There has been no English mails for three days, which is rather boring.


The French are going strong on the Aisne.  Good luck to them.


October 28, 1917.

I am shivering with the cold. The Doctor is writing home, and ends with “I am too cold to write any more.  Au revoir.”  He goes and sits by the fire.


It is about tea time, and I have left my combined office, boudoir and bedroom, which is much too draughty. The mess is not much better, but a fire has just been lit, as it is now dark.  Through a side window, which is without its glass, I can see the silhouette of a farm house a short way away.  It is the home of a 60 pdr. battery, and they are now being heavily shelled with 5.9 Howitzer shells.  I hope the enemy battery does not switch a few minutes more left.


The doctor keeps interrupting me as I write, asking me to listen to jokes in a paper he is reading. I do detest people who persist in reading out extracts from papers one can read for oneself when one wants to, especially when you are doing something else.


After strenuous efforts the Doctor managed to mend the old gramophone last night. So to sooth us we had music (?) from “Bubly” and “Zig-zag”.  We needed something to cheer us.  Soon after we were heavily shelled.


I see poor old Trevor Pearse had been wounded. I hope not seriously.  Well! I suppose one cannot go on for ever in the front line.


F. Smith letter 31 October 1917

Oct 31st 17


Dear Father


I will now write you a few lines to let you know the latest news.

I am now with the Batt again, came back last night & feeling much better so when you write put No 10 Platoon not ‘C’ Company’s Mess.

Thank you very much for your nice parcel.  I enjoyed all the goodies very much; it came in very welcome as we are billeted miles from anywhere no chance of buying anything.

I was glad to receive Ethel’s letter.  No doubt you are beginning to wonder when I shall be coming home it is no use to think about it yet as there are a few more men besides me in the army & there is no chance of going until you have been out here 13 or 14 months you have to take your turn so I am not thinking about it until next March but I hope the blooming war will finish before that.

Ciss wrote to me to-day, I am glad you have been staying with them.  I guess you have some lively times in the cold store when the enemy is about I bet you want some spirits to warm yourselves afterwards.  I see you have had to keep a sharp look out when the full moon is on I could not make out what was meant by it at first as I had not read anything about it.

How is everything going at home according to what I can hear people are beginning to get fed up with the war n’est ce pas it is just about time.

Have you seen anything of Darvills lately I hope they are all well.

Well I think I must put a full stop as the news is exhausted & I want to answer several other letters that have collected lately.

Hoping you are all merry & bright & in the best of health.  Keep smiling

With much love from

Your devoted



Routine Orders 3rd Army 31 October 1917



By General Hon. Sir J. H. G. Byng, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., M.V.O.


Wednesday, 31st October 1917.




1218 – Economy in Paper.

Many cases have come to notice recently of the wasteful manner in which A.F. B.158 is used by units for their returns of officers and warrant officers. As many as 20 copies of the form have been used in the compilation of one of these returns, and the number of names on each has varied from twelve to six.  These names could well have been written on one sheet of blank paper attached to one or two copies of the form.


In view of the question of paper shortage, which has become a very acute one, it is essential that every economy be exercised in the use of forms, and in the case of the form now under observation, where it is impossible to place all the names on one or two copies of the form they should be continued on a blank sheet of paper which can be affixed to the form.

(A.C.I. 1584 of 1917).


1219 – Leave – Entry of in Pay Book.

A recent inspection at a Base Port of the pay books of a number of soldiers proceeding on leave revealed the fact that in 24 per cent of the books examined, G.R.Os. 1267 and 2684 had not been complied with.

It is pointed out that it is impossible to ensure the accuracy of the return rendered monthly under A.Gs. D/1978 of 16-9-17, if these records are not kept up as ordered.

An immediate inspection of the A.Bs. 64 of all ranks in the Third Army will be instituted by all Commanders of Units, and this inspection will be carried out every month in future.

This order is to be republished in all Corps, Divisional and Brigade Orders.


1220 – Infectious Disease amongst Civil Population.

All cases of infectious diseases occurring among the civil population will be notified by Maires to Town Majors, who will place the infected premises out of bounds to British troops and at once report the case both to the O.C. the Sanitary Section of the district and to the D.M.S., Third Army, direct. Where the occurrence of such cases comes to the knowledge of Town Majors, without having been reported to them by Maire, similar action will be taken, with the addition of a note to the effect that the case has not been reported by the civil authorities.


1221 – Courts-Martial.

  1. On 21-7-17, after being warned to parade for the trenches, No. S./15240, Pte. T. Ward, Gordon Highlanders, absented himself from his unit and remained absent until he reported himself at St. Omer about 20-9-17.

The accused was tried by Field General Court-Martial on a charge of Desertion, was found guilty and sentenced to Death.

The sentence was duly carried out at 6.26 a.m. on 16-10-17.

  1. On 20-8-17, No. S./15954, Pte., N. H. Taysum, Black Watch, paraded with his company and proceeded to the trenches. At 8 a.m. on 21-8-17, Pte Taysum was absent and remained absent until he surrendered as an absentee at 10.50 p.m. that night.

The accused was tried by a Field General Court-Martial on a charge of Desertion, was found guilty and sentenced to Death.

The sentence was duly carried out at 6.26 a.m. on 16-10-17.

Attention is directed to Circular Memorandum on “Promulgation of Death Sentences” A.G. B./8001 of 26-12-16.


1222 – Lost Passes.

The following is a list of Lost Passes for week ending 20-10-17:-


British Serial Card Passes –

9159, issued to No. 20447, 2/A.M. Edmondson H., 13th Wing R.F.C.

9437, issued to No. M2/166952, Pte. A. Hicks, att. R.C.E.5.


British Serial Card Passes:-

7751, issued to Sergt. Dean, 21st Divl. Signals.

14987, issued to Pte. T. Huntingdon, A.S.C., M.T., att 4th London Fd.        Ambulance.

5776, issued to No. 75501, Spr. A.T. Willding, 8th Bn., Canadian Railway            Troops.

—— issued to No. M2/045862 Pte. J. Howley, A.S.C.

Other Passes –

Carte d’Identite No. 5288, in favour of Interpreter Goubaux, att 40th Division.


1223 – Discipline.

Para 4 of A.R.O. 1043(as amended by A.R.O. 1152) is cancelled and the following substituted.

  1. MESSES. At the discretion of Commanding Officers, beer, cider and light wines only may be sold and consumed during canteen hours in recognised Sergeants’ and Corporals’ Messes. They may also authorise the issue of beer to the troops with meals in camp or billets under the supervision of an officer. In the case of all purchases of beer, cider and light wines, whether for Officers’ or N.C.Os’ Messes, or for Canteens, the purchaser must be in possession of a written order signed by an Officer not below the rank of Captain and stamped by the Orderly Room stamp of the unit concerned.




1224 – Fuze No. 101 E.X. for 6-inch Mark VII., and Mark XIX. Guns.

Owing to prematures occurring (outside the bore) with 101. EX. Fuzes with 6-inch Mark VII. and Mark XIX. Guns, the use of No. 44 Fuzes will, so far as possible be reverted to with H.E. shell for these two natures of gun.

No. 44 Fuzes are now available at Ammunition Railheads to be drawn in replacement of all No. 101. E.X. Fuzes held with this ammunition.

Fuzes No. 101. E.X. and No. 101. X.E. will be used only when Fuzes No. 44 are not available.

Fuzes rendered surplus at Railheads by the exchange will be sent to the Base.

Authority; Q.M.G., 17/10 (Q.B.2) dated 23-10-17 – O.A./78/225.


1225 – Fuzes T. and P. for 60-pdr. Shrapnel Fired with Reduced Charge.

The No. 82 fuze will function, and may be used, with reduced charge in this gun: a suitable fuze-scale is incorporated in the new Range Table, 40/W.O./4306, dated 9-17, which has been issued to all concerned.

Fuzes No. 83 Mark III. will also shortly be available for use with reduced charge for this nature of gun.

Authority; – Q.M.G., 49/6 (Q.B. 2) dated 22-10-17 – O.A./78/167.


1226 – Ordnance Q.F. 18-pdr. Air Recuperator. – Lubricating of Guides.

The following stores are authorised for the lubrication of the surface of the keys on bottom of recuperator case Q.F. 18-pdr. recuperator.

per carriage.

Lubricators, Stauffers No. 3 pattern H.                     1

Pipe lubricating Recuperator guide                             1

Clip pipe lubricating Recuperator guide                     1

(Complete with screws).

Indents should be submitted through the usual channels.

Authority; – O.S.M., 363/2 (B. 1), dated 24-10-17 – O.23/43.

As the above stores are not available in large numbers, early issue must not be expected in every case.


1227 – Pleyau Stereoscope.

Approval is given for the issue of one Pleyau Stereoscope to each Special Coy. (Cylinder or Projector) R.E. for use in studying aeroplane photographs.

Indents should be submitted through the usual channels.

Authority – Q.M.G. 11/1 (Q.A. 3) dated 21-10-17.


1228 – Soyer Stoves to be regarded as Area Stores.

With reference to A.R.O. 1143, dated 6-10-17, Soyer Stoves issued under the above authority, will be treated as area stores and will not be taken away when units and divisions move from one area to another.

If the number of Corps or Divisions is decreased after the stoves have been issued, any stoves thus becoming surplus to the scale referred to, will be returned to Base through O.Os. concerned.

Authority – Q.M.G. 7/15 (Q.A. 3), dated 22-10-17.


1229 – Air Recuperators, Q.F. 18-pr. – Care and Preservation of.

It is of great importance that the following instructions be carefully observed by the Commanders of Batteries armed with 18-pr. Guns with air recuperators, with a view to reducing the number of failures of Front Cap Recuperators.

The recoil adjusting gear should never be used until it has been ascertained that the Buffer Reservoir is properly filled.

Lack of oil in the Buffer Reservoir means lack of oil in the Buffer, and consequent high Buffer stresses, with the result that recoils are lengthened or the Front Cap Recuperator collapses.

The replenishing of the Buffer Reservoir is a simple operation and instructions for filling are given upon a plate attached to the cradle.

Authority: – Q.M.G. 3/2 (Q.B. 3), dated 24-10-17 – O/23/43.




Our batteries opened up promptly on time (5.50AM) but it was noticed that many batteries about C.4.5. and 6 and South of these Squares opened up a full minute ahead of our batteries at Zero Hour.
The enemy barrage came down about a minute and a half after Zero Hour.
5.55AM The enemy barrage was very heavy consisting mainly of 4.1s and 5.9s and was laid down principally on BELLEVUE CREST and the GRAFENSTAVEL ROAD. The enemy put up a very large number of Double Green Rockets at this time
6.00AM Enemy sending up many Golden flare and Double Green rockets and his barrage covers our whole front back to the old Support Line.
6.20AM The enemy barrage still very heavy and very intense on the zone immediately to our right.
6.30AM Our F.O.Os report that the Infantry got away to a good start and seem to be making good progress keeping well up to the barrage. Several Very Lights were fired on our front.
6.40AM Small parties of the enemy were observed running towards the rear of PASSCHENDAELE RIDGE.
7.00AM Our Infantry reported to be moving forward in the vicinity of DUCK LODGE. The C.M.Rs on the left have gained the Intermediate Line and the Infantry on our right can be seen pushing ahead and so far do not appear to have had many casualties.
7.10AM Our Supports were seen going up through a heavy barrage in the vicinity of FRIESLAND. Some prisoners were seen coming in on the right. Two enemy red flares sent up on our immediate left.
7.15AM The infantry on the right appear to be held up by heavy M.G. fire and are not keeping up with the barrage. 50 prisoners seen coming in. A large number of the enemy can be seen walking without equipment north along road through V.30.c.
7.20AM Our infantry reported to be about D.5. central.
7.25AM Our infantry can be seen in the vicinity of MEETCHEELE evidently organising for defence. One white Very light went up on the right brigade front.
7.30AM Enemy shelling on our immediate front becoming less concentrated.
7.35AM The Infantry appear to be held up in front of FRIESLAND COPSE but are making progress on the right.
7.45AM Enemy barrage now extends along the low ground from D.3. central to D.10. central and consists mainly of 5.9s
7.55AM Our infantry are still held up in front of FRIESLAND COPSE and some of the men can be seen working round it from the right.
8.00AM Our infantry reported to have passed the Intermediate Objective but heavy M.G. fire has been encountered inflicting many casualties. About 30 prisoners have passed through our lines belonging to the 364th Bavarians.
Enemy barrage appears to have shortened and is still very heavy.
8.15AM Our Infantry appear to have overcome most of the resistance around MEETCHEELE. About 100 of the enemy were seen to run through D.6.a. towards the rear.
8.30AM One Very light sent up on the Right Brigade front.
8.45AM Enemy barrage seems to have slackened off considerably.
9.00AM A large pillbox about D.5.c.90.98. is holding up the right brigade with M.G. fire and enemy snipers and causing many casualties.
9.15AM The Infantry appear to have captured and consolidated the high ground and pill-box in D.5.d. central.
9.50AM The enemy seems to have concentrated his shelling in D.4.d. and around WATERLOO.
10.10AM One hostile aeroplane registering on our forward batteries. Enemy seen concentrating about V.30.d.40.60. Enemy are now heavily shelling MEETCHEELE CREST, FARM and RIDGE.
11.50AM It is reported that the P.P.C.L.I. are established along the road from D.5.b.2.5. to D.5.a.4.7. and that the 49th Bn. are connected with them but slightly to the rear, and digging in in front of FURST FARM and GRAF WOOD, which separates our right flank from the 72nd Battalion. It is apparent that our infantry have suffered very heavy casualties from Machine Gun fire and sniping. Reinforcements can be seen going forward. The enemy barrage is now on BELLVUE CREST and MARSH BOTTOM.
Previous to this an S.O.S. had been reported on the zone to our Left on which all batteries opened up and it appears that the artillery has broken it up. The right brigade appears to have overcome all resistance around MEETCHEELE and are establishing a line close to there.
2.00PM The front has become very much quieter and the hostile shelling very light.
3.00PM It is reported that the enemy are massing for a counter attack about V.29.c.8.4.
4.50PM An S.O.S. was reported on our front and also on the zone immediately to our right. All batteries opened up at once but it was soon found out that our front was quiet, but apparently a counter-attack had taken place in the area to our right.

GENERAL There was a very high wind during the morning and we had about 20 aeroplanes up but they had great difficulty in manoeuvring. There was very little enemy activity.

Adjt 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 28 October 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 28 October 1917

Brigade Headquarters.


My own,

It is a very cold day and I an all on the shiver – do you ever get the shivers? The Doctor is writing home also.  He writes “I am too cold to write any more.  Au revoir.”  And goes and sits by the fire.

Teatime will soon be here. I have left my combined office, boudoir and bedroom, it is much too draughty – and am sitting in the mess which is not much better but it has a fire.  Through the window which is lacking glass I can see a farm a short way away being horribly shelled with 5.9” Howitzer.  I hope they like it.

Thank you very much for your last letter. You are getting as bad as me in forgetting the date.

Fancy you being frightened of me – to be vulgar – I don’t think. It is rather the other way round.  Why did you suddenly make that resolution – what circumstance or process of thought caused you to be suddenly so very definite?  It’s a very poor compliment to pay me don’t you think?  I can’t imagine anyone being frightened of me – what do I say or do that make me such an objectionable person!

Really I don’t think you are a bit – perhaps it was that you wanted something to say to annoy me – now I am being horrid so I must kneel and ask you to forgive me.

How are you all? Is Mrs Cross any better than she was?

The doctor keeps interrupting me and asking me to listen to a joke in a paper he is reading. Don’t you hate people who will persist in reading extracts from books or papers that you can read when you want to?  Especially when you are doing something else – and that so important as writing to you.


In case you should be thinking of sending me out any literature please don’t do so just at present. I am so busy and I have quite enough to go on with for the present thanks to you.

I want to know whether you did read Franklin’s book.

After strenuous labours the Doctor managed to mend the gramophone last night – so to sooth us we had music (?) from “Bubbly” and “Zig-zag”. We needed something of the kind last night – the atmosphere was very rarefied.

I see poor old Trevor Pearse had been wounded – one can’t go on for ever I suppose. I hope it is not serious.

With all my love darling

& many kisses

Ever your



Do you want to see me again or was last leave too much for you?

F Smith letter 27 October 1917

Oct 27th 17


Dear Father


I thought I would send you a few lines to let you know that I am better, & now at a reinforcement camp waiting to join the Batt again; by the time you get this letter I shall be back no doubt so I shall be very pleased to hear from you.

If there are any letters or parcels sent I will answer them as soon as I return as they are not sent on here.

How are you keeping this weather I hope quite well & still as jolly as ever; it is looking very wintry now.

No doubt you will think this a very short note but there is not much news to tell you.  I am just going down the village to try & get some eggs & chips so aurevoir.

Hoping you are all in the best of health.

With much love from

Your devoted



Special Report on 3rd C.D.A., O.O.143 BY Lieut A.B. Manning 26 October 1917




October 25TH 1917


As far as could be observed in poor light, the opening barrage was good. There were occasional high bursts apparently caused by poor ammunition.  At Zero plus one minute enemy barrage opened in response to golden spray rockets.  This barrage was placed along the low ground in D.9.b. and D.10.a. and in the vicinity of WATERLOO.  It was thin at first but gradually increased in intensity with an occasional burst along routes of approaches.


At zero plus ten minutes enemy shortened his range and when light made observation possible our troops could be seen consolidating along crest line in line with Pill-boxes in D.4.d. central. The enemy shortly opened a heavy fire with 5.9s along this line.


Judging by enemy flares our troops appeared to be held up in the vicinity of SNIPE HALL, but our men could not be distinguished through smoke.

Situation remained stationary for some time with the enemy directing a fairly heavy scattered fire on D.9.b., D.10.a., D.4.c. and d., being heaviest along line of pill-boxes in D.4.d. central.


On the resumption of the barrage the smoke screen hid everything. Screen was very good, although an improvement could have been made by regulating the fire so that all shells would not burst simultaneously as was the case with this one.  As a result the smoke screen occasionally became thin, though not thin enough to permit observation.


At 8.30 am our infantry could be observed retiring from crest of BELLEVUE RIDGE apparently without any pressure of enemy in front.


At 9.30 a.m. enemy fire slackened very considerably and at 10.00 AM was only just desultory.


Some small scattered parties of our men could still be seen along high ground in D.4.d. central.


Enemy contact planes flew over at 6.45AM and our first plane was over at 7.10AM.


At 12 noon our Infantry could be observed advancing towards the ridge they had left about D.4.d.0.5., d.0.8.



(sgd) A.B. MANNING


Brigade F.O.O.

October 26th 1917

9th Canadian Artillery Brigade Intelligence Report 26 October 1917

APPENDIX 15 or 16
October 26th 1917

Visibility – Very poor in the morning. Fair at times in the afternoon.

5.40AM The 3rd C.D.A. Operation Order No 143 opened promptly on time and so far as could be noticed was regular and well placed.
At one minute after Zero Hour the enemy barrage opened up on our front line in response to golden spray rockets. Rain started to fall about 5.50 AM obscuring vision.
5.50AM The enemy barrage became very heavy at this time on our front line.
5.55AM The enemy barrage was dropped to his old front line and they also heavily shelled D.4.d. central
6.10AM Our Infantry were observed apparently making satisfactory progress.
6.20AM The enemy started to shell pill-boxes held by us and his fire became more scattered.
5.9s and 4.1s were mainly being used by the enemy.
6.25AM Small groups of prisoners were observed coming towards our old front line.
Our Infantry could be seen around the pill-boxes at BELLEVUE and so far our casualties appear to have been light.
6.40AM Our Infantry had passed over the first crest and apparently considerable machine gun fire was encountered.
6.45AM One single Hun plane patrolled our front line.
6.50AM Our smoke barrage was observed. It is raining very heavy now obscuring all observation.
7.20AM Three double white flares were sent up from about D.5.c.20.00.
A few more prisoners also seen coming through our lines.
7.35AM One of our contact planes flew over our own lines.
The rain is very heavy now and the enemy shelling is becoming more scattered.
8.00AM Our observers report very heavy casualties in the left Brigade.
5 single white lights were sent up from about SNIPE POST.
8.05AM Our smoke screen reported very effective, although a strong wind is blowing at this time.
The enemy is now bombarding our old front line very heavily.
8.20AM The supporting infantry moving up on our right have apparently [en]countered very heavy machine gun fire and are being held up by same.
8.25AM Considerable enemy movement observed about D.5. central.
8.30AM It is reported that the brigade on the right are falling back slightly and the 9th Brigade are conforming to this movement.
8.40AM It is reported that strong point at N.5.c.05.25 is holding up the infantry advance, and many casualties have been observed here.
8.50AM The infantry attack seems to have stopped.
9.05AM The enemy are placing a very heavy 5.9 barrage across D.4.d.
9.10AM Many Very Lights have been sent up from around BELLEVUE and the enemy is heavily barraging this point.
9.20AM A considerable number of the enemy was noticed coming from D.6.c. into D.5.b. & d.
Our infantry can now be seen working around several strong points.
10.20AM It is reported that the 38th Battalion has withdrawn and are establishing a line about D.10.b.9.2., D.10.b.3.7.
12.40PM Hostile shelling has now slackened down very much and our Infantry are again advancing over BELLEVUE SPUR.
The enemy are reported holding a line about D.5.c.50.80. – D.5.c.90.40. and our infantry holding a line about D.5.c.10.25. to D.11.a.90.80.
Continuous sniping is being done by the enemy from about D.5.d.20.20., inflicting many casualties on our infantry.
Many of the enemy can be seen coming from PASSCHENDAELE along the road in D.6.a.
2.00PM Huns reported to have evacuated D.5.c. and our infantry have inflicted many casualties on them.
3.40PM About 50 prisoners have been captured in a HUN pill-box.
4.10PM A considerable number of the enemy was seen collecting on the PASSCHENDAELE in D.12.a. and were taken on by our batteries and dispersed.
4.15PM to 5.00PM Many double, red and green rockets are being sent up by the enemy.

Adjt. 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade.

F Springett letter 24 October 1917

56153 Pte F.W. Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

284th Infantry Battn





My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to let you know that I have arrived at Margate.  We are billeted in empty houses and they are fairly decent ones too, only of course some of the windows are out.

There are four of us in one room, and we have just got a nice fire together, and its jolly fine too, after the cold canvas life. Its raining jolly hard tonight.

Well, Sid I hope you are keeping fit, as I am very well at present.

I received your letters the morning as I left Canterbury and no doubt you have received the one I wrote last Sunday.

Well Dear Sid, I haven’t got much time tonight, so I will draw to a close. I will write a longer letter next time.

So Goodbye

I remain

Your Affec Brother

Frank William


With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Margate 9.45 PM 24 OCT 17

Alf Smith letter concluded 23 October 1917

Oct 20th 17

Dear Father

I will now write you a few lines although it will have to be short, but no doubt you are beginning to wonder why you have not heard from me before only whis-bangs in other words field cards.
Well I must start off by thanking you very much for the 10/- note received safely it is very good of you to send it as there is plenty one can buy such as fried eggs & chips &c which are tres bon for little mary. The good old Pictorial arrived yesterday.
We have been on the move lately & at the present time are sitting at a railway siding waiting for another cattle truck ride not a joy ride that will come later when we cross the Channel; but I expect we shall settle down somewhere & I will then write you a longer letter.
It is getting very wintry now there has been a lot of rain but to-day has been quite hot & bright again.
I had a letter from Ciss am glad you have been there to stay for a time it makes a nice change I heard from Albert & he said he will be moving shortly have you seen the alterations they have been making there.
Well I think I must finish now glad to say I am A1. Hoping you are all in the best of health.
With much love from
Your devoted

Oct 23rd

Dear Father,
As you see by the above I have not been able to post this letter before.
I am now in a rest camp came here this afternoon as I am feeling rather run down nothing much the matter; but it is no use to write as I only expect to be here for a few days I will let you have another letter soon.

Au revoir for the present.