Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries April WWI

Gerald Benham’s notes from diaries

28 April Moved to Camp at Mistley.
6 “ Took over Holly House from Mrs Duffin.
7 “ Lois arrived to look over Holly House.
18 “ Met and dined with Dawes family at Mount Ephraim.
20 “ Lois Brian & Nurse arrived at Holly House.
Note. Several entries on good tennis matches at the Hemmings. Who were they!

26 April Moved from Boughton by rail to Camp at Little Clacton. Maz went to
Dolly Dawes family saw us off. Arrived Thorpe 8.21 pm. Camp 8.35
29 “ To tea with Grannie.

2 April On leave at Colchester until Saturday 6th April when I left by 8.43 train
for Liverpool St & stayed night at Great Eastern Hotel.
7 “ Reported at 1.15 pm at ALDERSHOT for Senior Officers Course.
12 “ Left by 3.20 pm from Aldershot on week end leave & returned by
evening of the 14th (Sunday)

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne April 1919

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne April 1919


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

April 4 1919.
A/76th Army Brigade R.F.A.
I have just arrived at this unit, to which I am attached. After wandering over a good deal of Germany I have at last come to rest.

I met Rex Collins in Cologne the other day. He is trying to get out of the army as soon as possible. The Colonel here is very decent. He has only been with the Brigade two or three days.

April 11 1919.
A/76th Army Brigade R.F.A.
I took over the command of this battery yesterday. We are in the hills all by ourselves. There is a wonderful view from my bedroom over the hills and pine forests.

The village is small and rather dirty, but my billet and the mess are quite good.

I knew one of the Battery Commanders before. He is Wheeler of A Battery. The Colonel, Thomson came to lunch yesterday with the Adjutant, Burston.

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.

A Battery.
Major, R.E.M. Wheeler, M.C.
Captain F.C.R. Prior-Wandesforde, D.S.O.
Captain J.D. Tremlett M.C.

B Battery.
Major E.S.G. Howard.
Captain E.H. Prior.
Lieut A.H. Hamilton-Gordon.

C Battery.
Major H.E. Cheeseman

D Battery (Howitzer.)
Major A.A. Laporte Payne.
Captain S.H. Hilyard.