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.