War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Mar 1918
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
March 4 1918
Once again I have returned to my battery after a few days away on a job, which has all gone to the winds and for nothing owing to the sudden change in the weather and the heavy rains we have just had. However it is childish to be annoyed. I have been attached to another battery, which I do not like.
What do you think of the Wimbush prosecution? I saw an account in the Times. Well! I suppose some people are like that, always thinking of their beastly skin or the inside of it. I see Gilbert Frankau has been invalided out of the Gunners. Now he will be able to spend his whole time writing, and not doing it in Government’s time.
What a censor! The two latest absurdities, prosecuting Gwynne. So they cut off the names of places on my Rome post-cards, which were probably printed in Bavaria! As if any intelligent person could not recognise the views on the cards. But I suppose they must do something to justify their existence. But there are too many of them at it, instead of using a shovel in the front line.
It is comparatively easy to get leave in Italy, but most difficult to obtain a warrant for home and all that it means. Only the staff can get that.
March 8 1918
The weather has sadly interfered with our plans here.
There is no prospect of leave for me. Some get it by pretending to be sick, but I have no desire to follow them home by adopting their methods.
March 11 1918
The weather has been delightful here the last two days. At present my quarters rather resemble a pig sty, but at least I have a sleeping compartment to myself. It is now summertime and not dark until nearly eight, and much warmer.
I am now back at the wagon lines after a time in the gun line. I wonder how we shall like it when it gets really hot.
There is a new book out by a man to whose lectures I used to go at Cambridge, “Church and State in England to the death of Queen Anne” by Professor Gwatkin, since dead. I am afraid I shell not be able to read it until the war is over; and when will that be? A seven year’s war, a thirty or even a hundred year’s war!
It is so late that the cocks are crowing, and I have to be up at five! However as my Father used to say “Example is better than precept.”
Novels are like drugs so I eschew them.
M.F.L.P. March 11, 1918
I have just returned after a lengthy stay in the gun line, to the wagon line, and it is now so late that the cocks are crowing. And I have to be up at five.
The weather is at present beautiful. The others have invented a game, some mad game, a mongrel half badminton, half quoits. It makes me too hot. And I have even played football. But I was fearfully stiff afterwards. The Veterinary Officer played goal, for the officers against the sergeants and the rest. He has a fat red face, and a bald head, and confesses to 30. The right back was the fat adjutant in yellow socks. A major of 45 was the other back. I played right half, and the result was a draw.
Mine is the unfortunate captain’s job. At present I am up to my eyes in indents and requisitions. From guns to whale oil, and from horses to shirts! My correspondence is mostly of rude letters from A.O.D., D.A.D.O.S., S.C.R.A., and other horrid people. “Why did you overdraw one ration on 15.2.18?” “You cannot have Scissors. They are not authorised.” But they expect the men’s hair to be cut.
R.P. Sunday March 17 1918.
I am so sorry to hear about the raid. I hope it did not upset you too much, for you must be getting quite accustomed to them now.
We are extra busy just at present, so we are out of mischief. The weather is glorious with plenty of sunshine. Some of the trees are quite green. It is not dark until eight p.m. At night when the sun goes down or in the shade during the day it is cold, otherwise it is just right.
Leave is still a great way ahead. The list is longer than I care to contemplate, but we have to lump it. It is all in this great game.
March 17 1918
Italian Expeditionary Force.
It is a glorious Sunday evening, though the air is a bit cool. Already some of the trees are green. The weather is the usual topic of the resourceless, but I hope my references to climatic conditions may be forgiven as they are not padding but quite sincere. I love weather like this, and I am easily influenced by environment.
We have moved again, and only arrived this evening after a long journey, tired and dusty. I have a bedroom to myself and a table too, where I can write, so I am fortunate. It is difficult now to think otherwise than in terms of guns and horses. The prehistoric antebellum days of youth seem so far away now.
It would seem that we are out here in Italy for the duration, but I hope not. I shall try and get back to France somehow.
The Boche do not seem in a great hurry to make their long talked of attack. Perhaps they are thinking better of it. They may be bluffing to keep us quiet. But I think it probable that they will do something.
In my leisure moments I have been reading William James’ “Varieties of Religious Experience”, which is excellent.
Frankau is going to write for the Tatler. What a paper to write for, but I suppose it pays well.
The papers do not take much notice of us out here, which is as well as it prevents us thinking we are doing anything important. There really is nothing much going on. I hope we are doing some good here. At any rate the Austrians have not had it all their own way opposite us.
March 25th 1918.
Journey from Italy to France.
Entrained at POJANA, near CAMPODORO on March, 25, 1918.
Piacenza March 26, 1918.
On arrival billeted at EPAGNE, near Abbeville.
P.P.C. of Monte Carlo. Post mark 29 MARCH? Toulon.
F.S.P.C. 30, March 1918.