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.