War Diary of AA Laporte Payne
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
5th October 1917
October 5, 1917.
I have settled down again somewhat to our common task, so I do not feel so rebellious.
It is now very cold, a gale is blowing, and it is pouring with rain accompanied with thunder and lightening.
The Major has relieved me at the gun line, so I am back at the wagon line again. My abode is a tiny shanty, 10 feet by 6, and it possesses no door. Of course the opening looks in the direction from which the wind is coming. Still I am feeling fairly cheerful.
I have just received a parcel from home, so I have had a tea party of five to partake of it. The Major, another captain, John Amour and a R.H.A. subaltern. All of these have now gone their several ways, leaving me alone with the drivers and horses.
John Amour is not at B, Battery’s wagon line now, and I do not care for the subaltern who is in charge there now. So I am like Crusoe living alone, with occasional interludes when I go over to see Capt. Gilbey, who is O.C. of our Brigade Ammunition Column. He and I rode into a neighbouring town last night to do some shopping. He is an expensive fellow, and bought some extraordinary note-paper, and I weakly followed suit, hence this atrocious stuff. I am trying to get a stove for my hut, but as everyone is doing the same such things are rather hard to find.
I was glad to see my mare again. She is in good condition in spite of standing out in the cold and rain. I really must try and rig up some sort of shelter for her, or else she will get pneumonia. On exercise this morning she gave me a good gallop across the sands.
The Boche seem to be giving London quite an exciting time again. I hope they have not been too near you. Lloyd George has been making an ass of himself again, and raving about giving them hell. Does he not yet know that the Boche have been doing that sort of thing to French towns since the war began? I have yet to learn that bombing is worse than shelling. But I suppose an Englishwoman is more precious than a French one, and a creature who votes at home for his beastly party than a fellow who fights out here. What does he suppose we have been doing out here all these years? If we have not been as effective in giving the Boche hell it is the fault of the politicians and of no one else. Reprisals, per se, unless they have some military value, will not make it any better for us now. And it is contemptible to squeal as soon as the war gets near them, when they never did so when the French suffered.
Please send “No-MAN’s-Land” by Sapper.
So the Special Constables are to wear tin-hats, according to the Continental Daily Mail. I should love to see Inspector Cross in one. I will send him mine if he would like it. The beastly thing gives me a headache. I generally carry mine over my arm like a baker’s boy his basket.
Did you see those priceless photographs of Horatio Nel – I mean, Bottomley in a tin hat and a gas mask? What a specious rogue the man is.
No doubt he thought himself a finer fellow that his namesake. Why do they allow such a man out here! I am sure the troops do not want to see him.
My servant cannot cook for toffee! He will soon ruin my digestion altogether if he produces many more dinners similar to the one he gave me tonight.
We have some good news again from Ypres, but I am afraid this weather will put a stop to anything much more now.