George Ryan’s letter home dated 30 July 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 30 July 1915
30 July 1915

Dear M & F,

Received your letter of July 2. I suppose you don’t know the post leaves London a day earlier now, that’s why I’m getting your letters a week late. You should post early Thurs morning or Wed night, but perhaps you will have found it out before you get this. I can’t do anything this end about the parcel of cigarettes you sent; I can only write & complain. Several fellows have written but it doesn’t seem to do much good.

Uncle Jack might have had my violin for Reg. You had better get rid of it; it’s no good keeping it.

I’m at Cossipore again this week, among the ants & mosquitoes. Shall be glad to get back to Dum-dum on Monday. I can sleep alright there but very few fellows can get much sleep here at night-time.

We’ve got our pith helmets at last. They are a bit lighter than the others, which we only wear for ceremonial parades now. (Church Parades etc.)

The Prickly Heat hasn’t improved. I got a bit wet coming back from Calcutta Mon night, that did it a bit of good. Rain doesn’t cure it but it eases it a bit. Chaps that have got it all over run out when it rains at night-time.

Heard from Bert again this week; I’m glad he’s being kept at home for a bit.

Hope you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr affec son

53 Infantry Brigade Order 29 July 1917

53 Infantry Brigade Order 29 July 1917

SECRET. 18th Division No. G. 570
53rd Inf Bde.

Reference Attached Map.
The Artillery arrangements for the general pushing forward of patrols on the 18th Divisional front from the GREEN LINE at zero plus 8 hrs. 40 mins. are as follows. Similar arrangements have been made for the patrols of the 30th and 8th Divisions.
A. 30th Divisional Artillery Group (less 1 Brigade).
Plus 7.40 – 8.40. Search 18th and 30th Divisional areas between the protective barrage line and the first line of posts to be established with all available guns (probably 5 Brigades R.F.A.) at rate of 1 round per gun per minute.
B. Plus 8.40. – 9.5. Search 18th Divisional area between the 1st and 2nd line of
posts to be established, and form protective barrage on 18th and 30th Division flank and front line from J.10.d.5½.6. northwards.
Not to fire within 400 yards of the western line of posts after 9 hours.
Rate of fire 1 round per gun per minute.
NOTE. In all cases, when searching forward from the protective line in front of the GREEN LINE at 7 hrs. 40 mins. sufficient 18 pdrs will be kept on this line till 8hrs. 40 mins. to mark its limits.
A. Plus 7 hrs. 40mins. – 8.40 mins. Search area on 8th and 18th Divisional front
between the protective barrage line and the first line of posts to be established, with 36 heavy guns and howrs., and paying particular attention to all houses and woods in area. Rate of fire ½ round per gun per minute.
B. Plus 7.40 – 8.40. Four 9.2” Hows. And six 60 pdrs. Search trenches in
BROODSEINDE – MOLENAARELSHOEK from J.4.b.6.0. – D.28.b.9.3.
Rate of fire ½ rounds per gun per minute.
C. P8.40 – 9.5. Search area on 8th and 18th Divisional fronts with every
available gun and howitzer, between the 1st and 2nd line of posts to be established, but not to shoot within 500 yards of the Western line after 9 hours and to pay particular attention to the trench system from J.4.b.4.0. to the railway at D.22.b. west of BROODSEINDE – NOORDEMHOEK RIDGE and to the Ridge itself. Rate of fire 1 round per gun per minute till 8 hrs. 50 and then ½ rate.

From 9 hrs. 5 to 9 hrs. 30 the protective barrage covering the 8th and 18th Divisions will be formed by 52 heavy and medium guns and howitzers and all the F.A. of 8th and 30th Divisional Artillery Group which can reach, 500 yards in front of the line of posts.
The protective barrage is shewn in ORANGE on Map.

From 9 hours 30 minutes onwards this line will remain the S.O.S. line till news is received of the exact positions where posts have been established.


From the above it should be noted –

(1). That the protective barrage 500 yards in front of GREEN LINE will require to be clearly watched to see when it lifts. There will be so much shooting further to the west that unless watched it might lift unnoticed.
(2). There will be no creeping barrage in front of the patrols.
(3). The quicker patrols make ground the more advantage will they be able to take of the confusion created by the area shooting which is taking place east of them.

William Myht Lieut Col.

Notes of Message from Army Commander 27 July 1915

Notes of Message from Army Commander 27 July 1915
27th July 1915
In the course of his remarks, when addressing the Troops, the Army Commander said that he had not come there that morning to hold an inspection parade, but rather to say a few words to the Brigade before it left to join the new Army to which it was being transferred.
He was glad to say that, the long period during which the men had been engaged in Trench Warfare, had not caused them to forget how to stand still and to handle their Arms; their Clothing was against them and it would not have pleased those who were used to Aldershot Parades, but those who really knew soldiers, were able to judge, in spite of Clothing, and the Brigade had turned out as it ought to have done.
The General went on to say that, he need not remind his hearers of what they had done in the past, for that would be found written in the records, which would form the History of the War. Those, however, who were acquainted with the facts, knew the part which the 5th Division and the 14th Infantry Brigade had taken, in the early part of the War, and they knew that part had been at least an arduous one.
During the period that the Brigade had been in the Sector which it was then leaving, it had been occupied with Trench Warfare rather than with active operations against the Enemy, with one or two exceptions when although not actually employed as a Brigade, two of its Battalions – the Devons and the East Surreys – had been very hotly engaged at “Hill 60”, and by their efforts, had contributed very greatly, to the retention of that Hill.
Since that time, the Brigade had continued to be engaged in Trench Warfare, but Trench Warfare was not to be rated the dull sort of fighting that some were prone to think, as Army Commanders knew full well. Comparisons, the General remarked, were odious, but he had no hesitation in saying that, so far as the 2nd Army was concerned, and for that matter, so far as the Expeditionary Force was concerned, no Brigade had won so high a reputation for Trench Warfare as had the 14th Brigade, under General Maude.
During the operations that had taken place in the YPRES Salient, the 14th Brigade had been engaged in fighting which might be characterized as “Dull” from the Newspaper point of view, but the General reminded his hearers that unless a Commander can rely on the Troops that are holding the Line, he cannot withdraw troops as he otherwise might, for fighting else where. Whilst commanding the 5th Corps, he knew that the Line occupied by the Brigade was absolutely safe, and, he added, it was to the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and men whom he was addressing that he ascribed as much credit as he did to those who were engaged in the more active fighting.
The Army Commander concluded by saying that the Brigade was going to a new Army under General Monro and to a new Corps under General Morland, respectively, both of whom knew full well, the reputation of the Brigade.
On those whom he was addressing would devolve the responsibility of living up to the reputation which they had made and of forming the nucleus of the new Army, for they would be the veterans, and the 14th Brigade standard would be the standard which other Brigades would emulate; it must and it would be a high one, and if all the other Brigades reached it, both the Army and the Corps Commander would have confidence.
The General then expressed his sorrow that the Brigade was parting from the 2nd Corps and the 2nd Army, and wished them the best of luck.

23rd ARMY BRIGADE R.F.A. 26July 1917

H.Q. 23rd ARMY BRIGADE R.F.A. Stamp.

SECRET. Sa/43.

O.C. All Batteries.

(1) The RAID on DEVILS TRENCH will take place to-night 26th inst. Zero hour 10.45 p.m.

(2) Barrages will be those laid down in Sa/37 as amended by Sa/39 only.

(3) The Howitzers will shoot as laid down but will take 1 gun off their barrage for the following special task.
M.G. at I.26.c.93.14.
Rate of fire for this Howr
Zero to Zero +6 ………… 3 rounds per min.
Zero +6 to Zero +16……. 1 “ “ “
Zero +16 to Zero +30…….2 “ “ “
Ammunition BX with a few LACHRAMATORY mixed in if favourable.

(4) Watches will be set by phone at about 8 p.m.


V.C. Ritchie, Lt. R.F.A.
ADJUTANT 23rd A. Bde. R.F.A.

82 Squadron, Royal Air Force. Op Order 20 July 1918

No. 82 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

TO-MORROW, 20-7-18

The XXII Corps in co-operation with French and Italian troops will attack tomorrow morning.
Owing to the very short notice and difficulties with regard to the use of French maps, the usual procedure of a Corps Squadron will be modified as follows:-
(1). Contact, Counter attack and Artillery Patrol duties will not be allotted to special machines, but Pilots and Observers will combine all these three duties.
(2). Pin points will not be used in dropping messages, but the positions required will be indicated carefully on a skeleton map carried by the Observer.
(3). Communication with Artillery, both ours and French, will be entirely by dropped messages using the above-mentioned skeleton maps. Wireless may be used for urgent messages with regard to enemy movement, which may be sent in clear.
(4). TRECON Aerodrome (Western side) will be used as an advanced landing ground. Officers will report to the B.I.O. there before and after each flight.

The Corps Dropping Station will be at either AY or HAUTVILLERS and will be indicated by ‘XII’.
Divisional dropping station (51 and 62 Divisions) will be at ST ILOGES and will be marked ‘XI’.
Infantry Brigades have been allotted ground strip calls as follows:-
51st Division.
152 Brigade – A.
153 “ – E.
154 “ -F
62nd Division.
185 Brigade – H.
186 “ – K.
187 “ – L.

Pilots seeing any of these letters on the ground will at once mark position on skeleton map and drop report, stating time, at Division or Corps, acknowledging by the call letter and ‘RD’ on klaxon. Similarly, Pilots ordered to find one of these units will sound call letter on his klaxon and drop any messages near the ground strips.
Messages dropped to Artillery will be normally in skeleton map with clear indication of time, nature, and movement of target. If battery is able to reply, another skeleton map shewing approximate fall of rounds will be dropped.

Owing to the wooded nature of ground and the presence of troops of many nationalities making it difficult to identify troops on our front line, information is particularly wanted as to the line our barrage is covering at a given time. British troops have been ordered to wave their hats at British contact machines.

Machines will carry either wireless or a camera and 18 plates.
Bombs will be flown on machines to the advanced landing ground and left there for Pilots specially detailed for bombing.
Each Officer will be in possession of sheet 10 1/250,000 marked map 1/80,000, 4 copies skeleton map. At least six message bags and an official report pad will be carried in each machine.

The Wireless Officer will arrange an aerial to be in working order at Trecon by 7 a.m.

N.C.O. i/c Photography will detail three Photographers to proceed in Wireless tender to Trecon and will supervise the fixing of cameras (8 & 4½“) under orders of the Flight Commanders. Any plates exposed will be developed at Trecon by the French.

The Equipment Officer will detail a red cross tender, an orderly tender and two motor cyclists to be at Trecon by 7.30 am and report to the B.I.O.
One tender, making several journeys will transport mechanics and two tool boxes per Flight to Trecon as soon as the last machine of each Flight has left Haussimont.
‘A’ Flight will detail one N.C.O. and two men and a tool box to proceed with the above mentioned orderly tender leaving the aerodrome at 6.30 a.m.

Owing to the fact that the line is in a more or less fluid state, the exact ‘jumping off’ point for tomorrow’s attack cannot be indicated. Italian and French, and possibly American troops, may be involved and the very greatest care is necessary before any ground target is engaged either by bombs or machine guns. No Pilots, but those specially detailed, may carry bombs, which will be left at Trecon.

The N.C.O. Armourer will arrange for ammunition and necessary spares to be carried on orderly tender leaving at 6.30 a.m. together with two Armourers.

All machines to be marked with contact strips and provided with klaxon horn.
‘A’ Flight machines to be ready if required to ascend at 5.30 a.m.
The following programme of patrols is, however, expected to hold good:-
7 a.m. to 9.30 a.m. ‘A’ Flight – 2 machines
8 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. ‘A’ “ – 1 machine.
9 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. ‘A’ “ – 1 “
10 a.m. to 12.30 a.m. ‘A’ “ – 1 “
11 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. ‘A’ “ – 1 “
12 noon to 2.30 p.m. ‘B’ “ – 1 “
1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. ‘B’ “ – 1 “
2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. ‘B’ “ – 1 “
4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. ‘B’ “ – 1 “
5 p.m. to 7.30 a.m. ‘C’ “ – 1 “
6 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. ‘C’ “ – 1 “
7 a.m. to dusk. ‘C’ “ – 1 “
Machines will carry camera or wireless at the discretion of Flight Commanders.

Squadron call letters for tomorrow will be ‘KL’.
All wireless messages will be preceded by Squadron call letters and Pilots personal number. Machines fitted with wireless should report ‘OK’ every 30 minutes.
NB. All Officers will be acquainted with XXII Corps Operation orders.

J. B**** Solomon
Commanding. No. 82 Squadron,
Royal Air Force.
In the Field.
19th July 1918.

Reply to letter re medal ribbons 23 July 1919

Reply to letter re medal ribbons 23 July 1919

From:- Officer i/c Infantry Records,

To:- Messrs Dennes, Lamb & Drysdale,
32, Alexandra Street,

Ref. No. 678 Sgt T.W. Dowsett late H.A.C.

With reference to yours of 21st inst., I regret to inform you that no authority has been issued to the effect that the 1914 Star Medal Riband may be worn by the Next-of-Kin of a deceased soldier.

Signature unreadable. Capt.
i/c Infantry Records,
4 London Wall Buildings, E.C.2.

Stamp of
NO Staw 1966
DATE 23-7-19

Amendment No. 4 to Right Group Order No. 1. 22/7/17

Amendment No. 4 to RIGHT GROUP ORDER No. 1. dated 21/7/17

(1) Reference RIGHT GROUP O.O. No. 1 dated 21/7/17, the Raid will now be postponed 24 hours owing to the feared loss of 3 prisoners last night.

(2) A Dummy Raid will take place at 10.30 p.m. to-night on the same portion of DEVILS Trench.

(3) The portion of the Bombardment from ZERO to ZERO plus 5 will be carried out but all guns detailed for Barrage A will be put down at ZERO on Barrage B.
RATE OF FIRE 3 rounds per gun and 2rounds per Howitzer per minute.

(4) 86th Battery. The special gun mentioned in Table Y will not fire.
(5) Watches will be synchronised by telephone at 7 p.m.

J.E. Lucket
2ND Lt. R.F.A. for
Lieut Colonel.
Commanding RIGHT GROUP.
Right Group.
4th Div. Arty.
12th Div. Arty.
11th Inf. Brigade.
1st Btn. Hants. Regt.
23rd. Brigade, R.F.A.
29th Brigade, R.F.A.
4th Div. “G”

32nd Brigade No….N/5

Amendment to RIGHT GROUP ORDER No. 1. dated
Add under special Guns
Opposite D/23 1 Howitzer on M.G. emplacement I.26.c.93.14.
Opposite 128th Battery. 1 Howitzer on M.G. emplacement I.26.c.72.15.

Both above Howitzers will fire 3 rounds per Howitzer per minute from ZERO to ZERO plus 6.
1 round per Howitzer per minute from ZERO plus 6 to ZERO plus 16.
2 rounds per Howitzer per minute from ZERO plus 16 to ZERO plus 30.
A few lachrymatory shell will be used by these Howitzers if wind is favourable.
ZERO HOUR will be 10.45 p.m.

J.E. Lucket
2ND Lt. R.F.A. for
Lieut Colonel.
Commanding RIGHT GROUP.
Right Group.
11th Inf. Brigade.
1st Btn. Hants. Regt.
29th Brigade, R.F.A.
23rd. Brigade, R.F.A.
48th Brigade R.F.A.
4th Div. “G”.
4th Div. Arty.

32nd Brigade No. ..N/1
48th Brigade R.F.A.
23rd Brigade R.F.A.
29th Brigade R.F.A.
27th Battery R.F.A.
134th Battery R.F.A.
86th Battery R.F.A.

(1) The raid will not take place tonight.
(2) The raid will take place on the night of the 26/27th inst.
(4) J.E. Lucket
2ND Lt. R.F.A. for
For Officer Commanding RIGHT GROUP. R.F.A.

Senders Number Day of Month In reply to Number
S/1 22
Reference amendment no 2 to Right Group order no 1AAA for I.15. read I.26.
From: SHED
Signature of Addressee



1. Special Operation.
O.C. “B” Flight will provide the following :-
1 General Patrol 4 a.m. to 6.30 a.m.
This Patrol to report by Drop Message to Corps H.Q. initial progress of operation.
2 machines to be on the Line on Contact Patrol by 5.55 a.m.
1 machine Contact Patrol 7.30 a.m. to 10.0 a.m.
1machine fitted with Wireless for Flash spotting to leave Aerodrome at 5.15 a.m. and return at 8.0 a.m.

2. Photography.
“C” Flight – 2 machines.
“A” Flight – 2 machines
To reach Trecon by 9.30 a.m. and pick up Cameras. Stand by from 10.0 a.m.
Area wanted Corps Front 4000 yards deep.
Leader to be provided by “C” Flight.

3. Low patrols.
10.0 a.m. to 12.30 “C” Flight.
12 noon to 2.30 p.m. “C” Flight.
2.0 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. “A” Flight.
4.0 p.m. to 6.30 pm. “A” Flight.
6.0 pm to Dusk “C” Flight.

4. Flash Patrols.
Pilots not employed on above duties will be detailed for Artillery Patrol duties during the day. Names to be submitted by Flight Commanders.

J. B*** Solomon
Commanding No 82 Squadron,
Royal Air Force.
In the Field.




1. The Squadron will move to Trecon to-morrow.
2. Reveille will be at 5.0 a.m.
3. Transport will be loaded as for previous move and drawn up on road under orders of the Equipment Officer ready to move off at 9.30 a.m.
4. Unserviceable Tenders will be left and called for during the day. Sgt Major will detail a rear Guard party of 1 N.C.O. and 6 men who will thoroughly Camp and quarters and will have one Tender to bring them to Trecon. Latrines to be filled.
5. All Petrol drawn from the French Park will be brought with and empty Cans returned. . (if empty only)

J. B*** Solomon
Commanding No 82 Squadron,
Royal Air Force.
In the Field.

O.C. A Flight.
S.M. R****

4.5” Howitzers. Table “Y”. 21 July 1918

4.5” Howitzers. Table “Y”.

Barrage F. Barrage G. Special Guns Remarks
D/23 Bty. R.F.A. Zero to Zero plus 5
On GUN Trench
I.32.a.65.15. – I.32.a.45.35. Zero plus 5 to Zero plus 30 –
I.32.a.65.15. –
I.32.a.70.40. –
86th Bty. R.F.A. I.32.a.45.35. –
I.32.a.28.75. I.32.a.56.52. –
I.32.a.28.75. Zero to Zero plus 2 –
Enfilading Gun on M.G. Emplacement at I.32.a.16.25.
128th Bty. R.F.A. I.32.a.28.75. –
I.32.a.10.95. Same as Barrage F. Zero to Zero plus 30 –
1 gun on M.G. at I.26.c.20.30.
12th Div. Arty. (2 Hows.) Zero to Zero plus 30 –
1 Gun on GUN Trench at I.32.a.80.00.
1 Gun on Trench Element at I.32.c.55.82.

Rate of Fire: –
Zero to Zero plus 5………………3 rounds per How. Per min.
Zero plus 5 to Zero plus 10…… 2 -do- -do-
Zero plus 10 to Zero plus 25……1 -do- -do-
Zero plus 25 to Zero plus 30….. ½ -do- -do-

Ammunition. B.X.