War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 9 December 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne


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

9th December 1917.
R.P. December 9, 1917.

Still no mail, so I cannot answer your letters, which I know are somewhere on the way here.

It is extraordinarily cold here, frost most of the day, and every night. We are still moving. There is some sickness among the officers and men, but nothing much or serious. It is due chiefly I think to the change in weather and living. I am keeping very fit.

The Major is still away so I have the battery in charge. Everything goes well, the horses have never looked batter, and the men seem to be contented.

We are at present in a country village not too far away from a large town which we can on occasion visit to buy goods and spend a few moments. But the prices are going up against us now.

The houses we inhabit are rather cold and draughty at present, but no doubt they will be very pleasant in the summer. However we are seeing quite a good slice of this country at the Government’s expense, and at present are not in the line, so we must not grumble.

December the ninth 1917.

Still we have received no mail. I have never felt so cut off before. I know some letters are on the way, for they have been seen, but they get hung in a most extraordinary way. I shall be glad when proper postal arrangements are made. It is miserable having no news of home.

I am well; but several of the officers and men are ill owing no doubt to the extreme cold, unaccustomed way of living and strange food and wine.

We are still on the move, and have seen a good deal of the country. It is a strenuous time for the men and horses. The horses are fine. The further they have to go the better they look. Since we left France I have only lost two. All the other batteries have lost at least a dozen or more, and they have mange, which we have escaped so far. I tell others it is owing to good management but really it is due to good luck.

I am enjoying myself very much. My only regret is that I have not more time to get away and visit interesting places, which we are near, and to do some reading about them and the history of Italy.

We have been buying some excellent turkeys and ducks, but the prices are already going up rapidly. The inhabitants soon find that mess secretaries and the troops will pay almost anything for food.

It has been severely cold, frost day and night.

I have paid the men in lire this afternoon. I hope they won’t spend it all in vino, and cause trouble.


Alf Smith letter 7 December 1917

Dec 7th 17


Dear Father


How do you like this cold weather it makes one hop about when you put your head out of the blankets & have to break the ice to wash what do you say?

One good thing we can manage to keep comfortable in camp better than in the line we came out of the trenches last Tuesday night.

I received the two Pictorials together I could not understand not receiving the first one before but it appears it went to the 11th the address is quite plain enough but I had one go there once before so I thought I would mention it; if you make the 0 plainer it will be quite alright.

No doubt you will think I am asking for several things at once, but I should be rather glad of some money as we are supposed to be out for a rest until after Xmas although it looks rather doubtful to me at present but if we are we sure to go back to a town or village & there will be a chance of buying eggs & chips & a few other luxuries & I think they manage to have a good bust up at Xmas considering all things.

Old Fritz is not very thoughtful he is making us waste a lot of matches just write a few lines & the whistle goes for lights out. I hope he has not paid you any visits lately.

How do the shops look in London I suppose they are not making much show this year.

I received a letter from Lilian this week glad they are all well.

Have you seen the Tank in Trafalgar Square I expect it is a bit cleaner than what they are in this country.  Are you going to buy any shares?

Well I think I must finish now; cannot tell you any fresh news.

I hope you are all in the best of health.  Glad to say I am tres bien.

With much love from

Your devoted



F. Springett letter 7 December 1917





Friday Evening 1917

Same Address Deal



My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in haste hope they will find you in the best of health as it leaves me very well at present.

I have been down here since last Sunday but are going back tomorrow. “Thank Goodness for that”.

It is about 15 miles from Margate so you see it’s a decent little march.

I have just reckoned our marching up this week and by the time we get back to Margate it will be about eighty miles.  “Some boot leather gone.”  Ha Ha.

Yes I have had a fairly decent time down here only of course it’s a jolly quiet place as usual.

Dear Sid just excuse this very such letter but I really haven’t got any more time to spare.

I will write a longer letter next time.


I remain

Your Affec Brother

Frank W


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

Postmarked Deal 8 PM 7 DE 17