War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 17 Apr 1918
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
R.P. April 17 1918.
In spite of the weather all is well. Italy must have stolen all the sun and left us the wind and rain.
I am still with the battery I am glad to say. No Headquarters for me, if I can help it.
The Boche has been lying low here for a bit. Perhaps he had a little too much of it the other day. We are quite prepared for him. Once he gets in the open we can account for masses of them. We may lose a bit of ground now and them, but he cannot go on losing men at this rate.
Poor old Armentieres has gone and with it many familiar places such as Bailleul, Steenwerk, Neuf Berquin, Neuf Eglise, and others. Occupying those places will do the enemy little good if he cannot get further.
You ask me if I have a billet. No thank you! I am better off in an open field. We are hardened soldiers now. Ask Trevor what he thinks of billets. Besides there aint any.
April 17, 1918.
The mail has at last delivered up all the letters addressed to Italy, which is one bright spot in the wilderness.
Our men grumbled when in Italy at being so far away from home; now I ask them how they like it now they are back here again. Italy at least had more sun and fewer shells.
The Boche have taken many familiar places, where we spent many days, Armentieres, Steenwerk, Bailleul, Vieux Berquin, Laventie, Fleur Baix, and are now pushing north and west towards Neuve Eglise and Hazebrouck. Well! I suppose we must expect to lose a bit of ground when they put in so many troops against us. It can’t be helped. However they seem to have suffered severe casualties.
We are now awaiting his next onslaught in the south. I bet the German fighting man hates it like hell. We do not like it much situated as we are between two fires, the Boche and the staff.
The poor old gees are done in; but so far I have only lost two, so I must not complain.