A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 16 October 1917.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 16 October 1917.

 

B.E.F.

16 ? October 1917

 

My darling,

 

Twenty minutes ago I returned to my shanty, where I am living alone again. – Since I wrote to you last 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 a lovely pile of correspondence – two dear letters from you and some delightful sweets – and the book.  Thank you so much dearest – but you must stop you are sending much too much in the way of letters and parcels – you know you spoil me dreadfully.

 

I have an idea that to-day must be the 16th.  I am not sure, and I have no one to ask.  Everybody was in bed when I got back.  I had dinner in a place beginning with a D and then came back in a car with 2 R.N.A.S. fellows.  Some of those fellows can drive – especially after a good dinner.

 

It is blowing hard and raining again. I should like to know how many days in the year it rained.

 

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 rubbing a wet finger on a tumbler only much shorter in length.  It is a bell buoy some distance away. Eureka! But it is very monotonous.

 

Did not ‘No Man’s Land’ come out in some magazine. I have been looking through its pages and I am sure I have read ‘The Man Traps’ and ‘Morphia’ somewhere else.  Did you read it all?  It is extraordinarily clever I think.  Thank you for allowing me to keep the ‘Student in Arms’ for a time.  I want to lend it to one or two fellows.  You had better buy yourself a new copy and put it on my book bill.  I hope you are keeping an account of the books you are sending me, because if you don’t I shall feel bound to send them back in good condition which I cannot always guarantee.

 

Why are you so afraid of my laughing at you? Why should you think that I looked annoyed at something or another.  I can’t think what puts all these things into your head.  It must be my fault for I must have given you a very wrong impression.  I am very sorry and I must try and mend my ways.  Perhaps I shall learn in time.

 

What a long bike ride you had with Evelyn. I wish I could have been there too.  You must be having much better weather than we are to get a bike ride nowadays.

 

Mrs Cross does not seem to be at all well lately – what with headaches and neuralgia – please give her my love & tell her she must get better forthwith. I am very sorry for her.

 

You are keeping quite fit and well – all spots gone – I hope. How is Mr Cross? – still carrying on at the station.

 

I remember hearing Jane Harrison – Fellow of Newnham, lecture at Cambridge and I have read some of her articles – she had a fight once with Gordon Selwyn – fellow of Corpus and now Warden of Radley – a literary fight I mean – and the blows were in pamphlet form.  Don’t believe all you read in Jane Harrison by a long way.

 

In your next letter you might give me Manning’s initials (the Rector of High Barnet) if you don’t mind.

 

Maude does not seem to want to return home again. It looks as if she never would get away.

 

If I could rely on you to send me the bill and if it were not troubling you too much I should ask you to send me out the Times Literary Supplement and the Bookman (monthly I think). If you do please let me know how much it is with the copies or else I shall return them unread.  If you should see any good articles in the Nineteenth Century, the Hibbert Journal, or the Quest when you are looking at a bookstall I should be glad of any such.  See how I rely on you and how much I am worrying you!  As the winter comes on and the evenings are long and dreary I must have something to read, and novels usually are too much for me.

 

Have you another photo of yourself – the one I like best – to keep for me when I return – your photos are getting so dirty here but they will do for active service – everything gets filthy in no time.

 

I read the Political Article in Blackwoods this month and thought it was very good. Do you read the magazine every month?

 

I must dry up now or I shall be asking you to do something else and you will be so annoyed with me.

 

So glad to hear that Betsy is not being choked with smoke any more.

 

Much love to you my darling,

& many kisses

Ever your

Arch; Divl.

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Report on Raid of October 14th 1917 by RWK 15 October 1917

Report on Raid of September October 14th 1917

 

Composition of Raiding Party

 

No 5 Party       (Right Flank)

No 6 Party

No 7 Party

No 8 Party       (Left Flank)

 

Party Sectors as per attached Sketch Map.

 

The Raiders began to form up in our Front Line at ZERO minus 45 minutes and all were in assembly positions by ZERO minus 10 minutes. During this period the German artillery was practically silent.  Our barrage started promptly at ZERO.  German barrage started to come down at ZERO plus 3 minutes, but was only light at first, all raiders were clear of our front line by that time.  The attack was carried out as during practice, both waves went over in distinct and maintained formation.  Communication was established on both flanks immediately.  O.C. Raid (Captain L.C.R. Smith) took over a wire with him which was established in the German Front Line.  One message was received from him, despatched at ZERO plus 7 minutes, saying “All objectives carried, prisoners coming in.”  This wire was out about ZERO plus 10 minutes.

 

No 5 Party.  (2nd Lieut. H.G.B. Slade) reports, Germans put up a slight resistance to us entering their front line, using a light Machine Gun covered by Bombers.  They were engaged by snipers and rushed.  A large number (about 40) of Germans ran back, followed closely by our leading wave which stopped at the German support line.  They were engaged with rifle fire and suffered heavy casualties from this and our protective barrage.  The German trenches and wire were almost obliterated.  Traces of BAKER TRENCH were found and a patrol pushed down it about 150 yards.  No Trench Mortar emplacements or dugouts could be traced in this trench.  Two dugouts were demolished about O.8.d.55.60 (German support line) and O.8.d.45.80. (German front line).  A Machine Gun emplacement was demolished about O.8 d.45.95.  Germans appeared thoroughly demoralised and many dead were seen.  The body of a man of the 163rd I.R. was found near junction of BADGER TRENCH and German front line.  This party sent back 10 prisoners including an officer.

 

No 6 Party.  (2nd Lieut. R.E. Davy, wounded) reports, a Machine Gun was firing whilst forming up in No Man’s Land from the direction of BOIS DU VERT.  firing high, no casualties from it.  No resistance encountered in either objective.  A dugout was found about O.8.b.50.15. (German front line) many Germans inside refused to come out – it was demolished.  About 20 Germans were seen to run back from the German front line and were caught by our barrage.  A patrol of 1 N.C.O. and 3 man was pushed out about a hundred yards East of the German support line, no live Germans were encountered but several dead were seen in shell holes.  This patrol observed a considerable number of Germans coming out of BOIRY.  German trenches and wire were flattened.  This party sent back 12 prisoners.

 

 

 

No 7 Party.  (2nd Lieut. J. Parminter, slightly wounded) reports, German front line entered without resistance.  Exact position of German support line could not be located as it was obliterated.  About where support line was situated some 20 Germans occupying shell holes and a portion of BAT TRENCH put up a fight, inflicting several casualties on us.  6 were sent back as prisoners the remainder killed.  Patrols report many German dead lying about.  A light Machine Gun was captured.

 

No 8 Party.  (2nd Lieut. W.J. Elliott) reports, The wire was not entirely cut on this party’s front, about 25 yards of German wire and trench appeared to have escaped out artillery.  The party, however, split in two, going to right and left.  Germans (about 15) were occupying this portion of trench and gave some resistance, they were engaged in front by bombs and outflanked.  The majority then ran back but were mostly knocked down by rifle fire.  The German support line was obliterated and several German dead found.  A dugout was blown up just outside our left flank by our Sappers at about 0.8.b.8.4., after 11 prisoners had been extracted.

 

It would appear that between 40 and 50 prisoners were started back to our front line, but of these only between 20 and 25 can be accounted for. Receipts are actually held for 31 prisoners but I think some of these may have been duplicated in error as I do not believe as many came through as the raiders actually claim.  Captain Smith, however, reports having seen many dead and wounded Germans in No Man’s Land as he came back, evidently knocked out by their own barrage.  Some dead Germans were also left in our trenches and about 8 wounded.

 

Our artillery preparation was perfect and our barrage could not have been better. Our casualties are, 2 Officers, 47 Other Ranks (Killed 4, Missing 23, Wounded 20).  A large number of these casualties were inflicted by German artillery as we withdrew.  The evacuation was carried out in perfect order commencing at ZERO plus 30 minutes in the following order

  1. Patrols
  2. Men from German support line
  3. Men from German front line

 

In all, 2 German light Machine Guns were captured and were sent back. These have not appeared and were apparently lost on the way back, but I have absolute proof that they were started on their way back.  Both were apparently British Lewis Guns converted.

 

A German aeroplane was flying very low over the portion of German Trench raided by us, firing a machine gun and dropping some bombs. He was previously flying dangerously low while we were forming up but fortunately did not appear to observe our movements.  Our aeroplanes did not seem to be sufficiently far forward or low enough to deal with this.

 

Note.  With reference to our casualties it is thought that several of the missing will eventually be accounted for as having gone through the dressing stations wounded.

 

W.R.A. Dawson

Lieut Colonel

Cmdg. 6th Bn. The Queen’s Own

(Royal West Kent Regiment)

15/10/17

 

 

 

 

Addendum No 2 to OO 116 13 Oct 1917

No 4.

ADDENDUM No 2

OPERATION ORDER No 116

By

Lieut.-Colonel W.R.A. DAWSON D.S.O. Commanding 6th (S) Battn.

The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

13th October 1917

 

  1. “Z” day will be 14th October 1917.
  2. ZERO hour will be 4.55 p.m.

 

ACKNOWLEDGE

 

H.G. Dove

Captain and Adjutant

Copy No 1 to War Diary

  • C. No 1 Coy.
  • C. No 2 Coy.
  • C. “X” Coy.
  • Medical Officer

 

 

Addendum & Amendment No 1 to OO 116 12 October 1917

No 5

ADDENDUM and AMENDMENT No 1

to

OPERATION ORDER No 116

by

Lieut.-Colonel W.R.A. DAWSON, D.S.O., Commdg. 6th (S) Battn.

The Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

12th October 1917

 

Para: 4.            (a).  For Zero minus 6 hours read “Zero minus 8 hours.”

 

Para: 6.            (h).  For “Evacuation will be covered by snipers and Lewis Guns situated in selected shell holes in No-Man’s-Land” read “Evacuation will be covered by one Lewis Gun with two pairs of snipers situated in shell holes about O.8.d.30.75 and one Lewis Gun and two pairs of snipers on Right Flank in shell holes about O.8.d/20.10.

Add

Para: 18.          In order to indicate to wounded men the direction of our line O.C. Front Battalion will arrange to send up three Red Lights in rapid succession at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on “Z” day from Sap 3.  These signals will be explained to all ranks taking part in the Raid.

 

Para: 19.          Four Stretcher Bearers with two stretchers will accompany O.C. Raid.  Six Stretcher Bearers will await orders in British Front Line with their stretchers in shelter about O.8.b.40.35.

They will proceed to Front Line at “Z” minus 45 minutes with No 8 Party.

 

H.G. Dove

Captain and Adjutant

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 10 October 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 10 October 1917

 

B.E.F.

Belgium.

October 10th 1917

 

Darling,

 

Your two letters have just reached me here – thank you so much for them. You have been most good in writing so much in spite of my long silence.

 

I am at Headquarters for a few days taking over the adjutant’s work for the time he is away. He is probably going on leave in a short while and I am to come up again.  There is no further move in his permanent departure yet but he may go any time.  I hope not: he is a very good fellow.

 

The weather is very bad here and I suppose it is so with you as well. It is very cold and rains most of the time.

 

There is no prospect of a move yet. I should rather like to see something of the real fighting.  They seem to be doing very well from all accounts.  The Boche don’t seem to know quite what to do.  Although the progress seems to be very slow we seem to get our objectives every time and kill plenty of the Hun.

 

I hope Winnie Sharpley enjoyed her week end with you. I am sure she did.  Had she recovered from the effects of entertaining so nicely the Colonel?  He gets on most peoples nerves most horribly.  He has been in a very bad temper the last few days.  I think he is at last getting fed up with the war.

 

How is Mrs Cross now? I was so sorry to hear that when you wrote on the 3rd she had a bad headache.  I hope she is better.  Please give her my love, and Mr Cross – & not forgetting Betsey too.

 

Thank you for the photo of Clare Murphy. I see that it is in the ‘Tattler’ too.  Yes she was the one I met at Murphy’s place.  She must be a very interesting individual.

 

And how goes Finchley? Have you been having any more riding?  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 there is a fire – at least in the evenings.  I get to bed about midnight and unfortunately I have to get up early to send off the reports for the previous twenty four hours.

 

How is the face now? I hope quite better and no more signs of it at all.

 

I have just been called off to turn on the batteries – the Boche has been making himself a nuisance again.

With all my love dearest

& many kisses

Ever your

Arch.

Operation Order No 116 R. West Kents 10 October 1917

No 6

SECRET

OPERATION ORDER No 116

By

Lieut.-Colonel W.R.A. DAWSON D.S.O. Commanding 6th (S) Battalion

The Queens Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

10th October 1917

MONCHY TM 1/10,000

 

INTENTION. 1.        A bombardment combined with a raid will be carried out on ZERO day with a view to:

  1. Killing the enemy.
  2. Obtaining identification.
  3. Destroying dugouts, machine gun emplacements, etc.

 

  1. At ZERO the Battalion will raid the enemy’s front trench system which is composed of two lines of trenches (STRAP TRENCH and BUCKLE TRENCH) from BADGER TRENCH (inclusive) to about O.8.b.6.3 in STRAP TRENCH and O.8.b.80.15 in BUCKLE TRENCH, with the 6th Battalion The Queen’s Regiment on the right flank and the 7th Battalion the Norfolk Regiment on the left flank.

 

ZERO.                        3.         ZERO day and the hour of ZERO will be notified later.

 

ARTILLERY. 4.        (a).  At ZERO minus 6 hours the artillery of the Corps reinforced by other guns will commence a bombardment.

(b). At ZERO an intense barrage will be concentrated on the German Front Line.

(c). At ZERO plus four minutes the barrage will lift from the German Front Line to a point 150 yards East of it.

(d). At ZERO plus six minutes the barrage will lift on to the protective barrage line.

(e). At ZERO plus 30 minutes the time for withdrawal will be notified by the intensification of artillery fire.

(f). At ZERO plus 35 minutes the barrage will come back 100 yards.

(g). At ZERO plus 45 minutes the artillery will cease fire.

 

OBJECTIVES. 5.       The objectives will be:-

First Objective STRAP TRENCH.

Second objective: BUCKLE TRENCH.

 

PLAN OF ATTACK

  1. (a). The Raiding Party will be divided into four parties of one Officer and 50 O.R.’s each numbering from the right: No 5 Party: No 6 Party: No 7 Party: No 8 Party.  In addition one Lewis Gun Section will be attached to No 6 Party.

(b). Parties will file out of their dugouts and form up in their assembly positions, which will be marked by Notice Boards, beginning at ZERO minus 45 minutes as follows:-

No 5 Party via POMMEL ALLEY at ZERO minus 45 minutes.

No 8 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 45 minutes.

No 7 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 35 minutes.

No 6 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 25 minutes.

(c). The boundaries of each party are shown on the attached sketch map, also the positions of the gaps in the German wire through which each party will pass.

(d). Each party will attack in two waves.  The first wave will go through to the second objective, the second wave will go to the first objective.

(e). At ZERO the parties will leave the trenches and form up under the barrage ready to advance as soon as it lifts.  At ZERO plus four minutes the raiding party will follow up the creeping barrage and enter the enemy’s trenches.

(f). On reaching their objectives each party will take steps to establish communication on the flanks.

(g). A block will be placed in Badger Trench about 40 yards East of its junction with BUCKLE TRENCH, and an offensive patrol will push forward as far as our barrage permits.  Precautionary blocks will also be established on the outer flanks of parties 5 and 8 in STRAP TRENCH and BUCKLE TRENCH  until the flanking patrols have established touch with the Battalions on either flank.  These patrols will use bullet and bayonet and not bombs.

(h). At ZERO plus 30 minutes withdrawal will commence.

The order to withdraw must be given by word of command.

The time for withdrawal will be judged:-

(a). By watch

(b). By the intensification of artillery fire.

Communication Trenches between German Support and German Front Line will be used as far as possible. The evacuation of the Support Line will be covered by parties in the German Front Line, and when complete, the withdrawal from the Front Line will commence, evacuation being covered by snipers and Lewis Guns situated in selected shell holes in No-Man’s-Land.

Parties on returning to our Front Line will re-assemble in their respective dugouts and await further orders.

 

COMMUNICATION.

  1. Two Signallers will be detailed to accompany O.C. Raid. They will take a telephone and run a wire across No-Man’s-Land.  This wire will be run direct to relay post which should be established in the dugout in SADDLE SUPPORT about O.8.c.5.9.

 

MISCELLANEOUS.

  1. Parties will occupy dugouts on Y/Z night as follows:-

No 5 Party.  Northern dugout in HOE SUPPORT.

No 6 Party. Dugout South of PICK AVENUE.

No 7 Party. Dugout North of new communication trench.

No 8 Party. Southern dugout in SADDLE SUPPORT.

 

  1. A party of 2 N.C.O.s and 8 Sappers will be placed at the disposal of O.C. Raid for the purposes of demolition.
  2. The Raiders will wear drill order. They will carry two No. 23 Mills Bombs – 50 rounds S.A.A. Nos 5 and 8 parties will carry two sandbags per man.  In addition each ”Blocking Party” will carry two shovels.
  3. All identifications will be removed. A strip of 4 x 2 will be tied on both shoulder straps of the men taking part in the raid.
  4. C. Raid will take special steps to obtain all possible identifications and information about the enemy, e.g. shoulder straps – official documents – letters etc.
  5. Prisoners will be handed over to O.C. Front Battalion at Battalion Headquarters in GORDON AVENUE. Receipts will be obtained.
  6. Signal between units will be a steel helmet raised on a bayonet. Divisional pass word will be ”WHISKEY.”
  7. The position of Advanced Dressing Station will be at (PICK CAVES) O.7.b.80.25.
  8. Time for the synchronisation of watches will be notified later.
  9. Battalion Headquarters will be situated at the Junction of GORDON AVENUE and the CAMBRAI ROAD. (O.7.d.3.0) 7.b.80.25.

 

H.G. Dove

Captain and Adjutant

 

Copy No 1 to War Diary.

  • O.
  • C. No 1 Coy.
  • C. No 2 Coy.
  • C. “X” Coy.
  • Ditto
  • C. 6th Bn. The Queen’s.
  • C. 7th Bn. Norfolk Regt.
  • To 6th The Buffs.
  • 7th E.S. Regt.
  • Medical Officer.
  • 37th Brigade.
  • -Col Tabor.