War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 16 April 1919
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
April 16 1919.
A/76th Army Brigade R.F.A.
I have I hope taken root at last; but you never know in this army of ours.
Our high elevation here gives us the full force of very strong winds, but the wonderful view is usually obscured by frequent heavy rain and hail showers. It has been a very cold spring. The good weather only lasted three days. The Captain is coughing and sneezing like a soda water bottle, so I suppose I shall be in a like condition in a day or so.
We are miles away from anywhere, and some distance from the rest of the Brigade, so we are not worried much by senior officers and the staff. But yesterday the General did arrive with the Colonel and the A.D.C., who was at school with me at Cheltenham. He seemed fairly satisfied.
My harness is not over clean, however, and I expect there will be trouble before long if it is not better. I am very shorthanded at present, as many men have been demobilised, none taking their place. There are a lot of horses to look after as well, about 170, among them a whole section of greys, which look very fine.
There is only one captain, a ranker, and one subaltern with me. One subaltern is away with the guns, which are being calibrated on the other side of the Rhine. Another is going on leave as he has not been home since last October, and yet another is attached to B Battery, as they have only a Major and a Captain.
The Boche villagers here are an extraordinary crowd. They are very polite, and I take what straw and wood I like without paying for it, which is a novelty. All have to be in their houses by nine unless they get permission from me to be out. If they are caught out the sentries arrest them and they are subsequently tried for the offence. They seem to be doing a lot of work in the fields, when they are not in church to which they go regularly every morning. I am living in the school house, and have quite a good mess, and an excellent piano. We use all their crockery and cutlery without payment. Nearly all the men have beds. Unfortunately there is nothing for the men to do when they are not working, and there is sometimes a little trouble.
We had a service on Sunday afternoon, the wretched padre having to come miles, and a sort of concert in the evening. It is much too wet to play games at present.
One of our subalterns, Isgar, is a Somerset farmer.
Do you remember the pre-war Empire Days and the thoughts of a possible German menace. Well, here we are on the Rhine.
C.R.A. Brig. General M.P. Monkhouse, C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O.
76th (Army) Brigade, R.F.A.
C.O. Lieut. Colonel R.G. Thomson, C.M.G., D.S.O.
Major, R.E.M. Wheeler, M.C.
Captain F.C.R. Prior-Wandesforde, D.S.O.
Captain J.D. Tremlett M.C.
Major E.S.G. Howard.
Captain E.H. Prior.
Lieut A.H. Hamilton-Gordon.
Major H.E. Cheeseman
D Battery (Howitzer.)
Major A.A. Laporte Payne.
Captain S.H. Hilyard.