War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Nov 1918

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Nov 1918




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




November 11, 1918

R.A. Mess, Woolwich.

The irony of Fate! As I left the medical board this morning, having been passed fit for G.S. overseas, I heard the bells going for the signing of the Armistice.  Woolwich went mad, but I did not.


I rushed up to town to the War House, but the “dug-ins” were taking a holiday, and no one was there.


I had only an hour in town as I am on duty here.


Further movements I know not.


So war is no more.


And it is raining fast here.


Sunday November 17, 1918.


I had to take Church Parade her this morning. Only a small party!   A thousand men and the R.A. Band!  The General was on parade, and distributed medals, after which ceremony we marched to the Garrison Church to return thanks for peace.  It was horribly chilly on parade.


Thanks to the unrestrained merriment of civilians, all officers and men have been confined to barracks, and no leave granted. Such is the way troops are treated; but we must expect that now the war is over.


I do not know when I shall get away from here. All sailings to France have been cancelled.  I have been down here a week but it seems ages.  The major who followed me in “C” Battery is here after recovering from gas in hospital.

Alf Smith postcard home 29 November 1918





Nov 29th 18

Mr & Mrs. A.E. Smith 152, High Street, Southend on Sea Essex England.

Postmarked FIELD POST OFFICE A.D.3 1 DE 18.


My Dear Albert & Affie,

There is not very much to write about at present, but I thought I would send you a few lines to let you know I am well on the way for Blighty now, expect to be in England early next week so you may bet I shall soon be home now.  Roll on the boat & then what a merry time eh!  Glad to say I am quite well we have had a very rough time but we are getting plenty of food & every attention now; you will not think we have been Prisoners of War if we stop here long to what we were a few days ago I hope you are all in the best of health Am looking forward to seeing you all soon.  Au revoir Alf.


Postcard received home from Alf Smith 26 November 1918



Senders address

Name Smith Christian name Alfred

Rank Private Camp No. E.K. 6

Regiment 53rd M.G.C. Regtl STAMM No 97544

Camp of Friedrichsfeld near Wesel.

Postmarked FRIEDRICHSFELD bei WESSEL * 11 18 and London Nov 26 18.


Mr. & Mrs. A.E. Smith

6 London Road

Southend on Sea

Essex England.


Friedrichsfeld October 13th 18


My Dear Albert & Affie,

Many thanks for letter of Aug 30th going grand now had another help parcel & biscuits also 1st grocery parcel came this week address quite correct have had a ripping dinner to day could write volumes if space would allow I had another letter from Ciss dated 25th Aug when writing to my old No with Stamm: No 97544 shall be writing to Ciss on Wednesday if letter cards come & will put my full address then.  How does the apple jelly go?  I would give it jelly if I was home.  Glad you are all well & hope you are as happy as I am now.  Alf.



Cover dated 17.10.18 but no letter.

German censor stamp Gepruft freigeben 92

British Opened by Censor P.W. 985

Letter home 23 November 1918

Nov 23rd 18


My Dear Father


I am writing this letter back in our own lines again no longer a prisoner of war; arrived here yesterday.

It is grand to be free again & to see the back of Jerry; there is plenty to tell you & I shall no doubt have a lot of news to hear from you.  We do not know what has been happening in the world for the last eight months.  I am just anxious to get home now which I do not think will be very long.

You will be glad to know I received your private parcel last Monday week & I thank you all very much for the contents.  You may guess what went first the chocolate it was jolly good.  The razor goes fine it was a treat to be able to have a good shave also to clean ones teeth again.

Tell Peter the pipe goes fine.  I am sorry I did not receive any of the cigarettes Ciss sent for me but it took anything so long to come & just as we were getting started with parcels the war finishes; but it is a great blessing to think it is over it is what we have all been longing for.  I had a grocery parcel the same day as yours came that was the second one.

Well Dad how are you all in the dear old home-land I hope merry & bright.

It is a great to see our army rations again we are expecting a cigarette issue to-night.  I saw some of our boys to-day going through here they looked very smart after Jerry’s army & a bit different to what we look at present it is a case of holes in me coat & patches &c rather thin but we shall soon pull up now we are back with our own people again.  I am looking forward to some more good feeds of turkey ** again soon also some good old currant duffs.  Cheerio it will not be long now & we will make things lazy.

Have you heard from Southend lately I hope Albert, Affie & Joyce are quite well give them my love & tell them I will write soon if possible but I do not know the rules yet & I think we shall only be staying here a day or two.

Please remember me to Mr. & Mrs. Darvill & family I hope they are all well, I wrote in answer to his letter but I found out afterwards that the mail never went as we had to leave our camp in a great hurry owing to our boys advancing.

Well I think I must finish now. Keep smiling.  I hope you are in the best of health also Jess, Ethel & Winnie & all at the Anchor & I hope we shall all be able to drink our health there soon in a little drop of whiskey.  I believe we get a rum issue to-night.

Am going for a walk round the town now there are plenty of fine shops here & the flags are all flying.

So Au revoir

With much love from

Your devoted




P.S. Have just seen two English papers the first since we were captured.


Alf Smith postcard 23 November 1918



To Mr & Mrs Smith, 152 High Street, Southend on Sea. Essex. England.

Postmarked FIELD POST OFFICE TP 5 23 NO 18.


I am quite well

I have received your letter dated —–

Letter follows at first opportunity


Signature only. A. Smith

Date Nov 23rd 18



Reference from Brigadier General Pearson

Pte A. Weatherhead served under me for nearly two & half years – for the last eighteen months as my servant. As a soldier he was a splendid example of smartness & cleanliness.  Keen, honest, most energetic, & of perfectly sober habits.  As a servant he was the best I have ever had & I can most strongly recommend as a valet should he care to take up such work.  He is a thoroughly able man & most willing & ernest at all he does.  I recommend him for any position of trust.


  1. Pearson Brig Gen.

Cmdg 160th Inf Bde