War Diary of AA Laporte Payne July 1919
Brigade Diary, Personal Diary, Operation Orders, Note Books, Memoranda
July 10, 1919
D/76 Bde., R.F.A.
I have just returned from Wiesbaden and a trip up the Rhine, which I much enjoyed. I went with the Adjutant. We occupy ourselves with sports, horse shows, races and dinners. I had five dinners in one week. We gave one to the officers of the Brigade the other day, and it was a great success. Tomorrow I go to Cologne for three days.
We were inspected the other day by the Army Artillery Commander.
My companion for so many months now, Captain Prior, has left us. He is a regular and has been transferred to England preparatory to going out East. I heard from Colonel Congreve the other day. He has been reduced to the rank of Major and posted to command a battery in Ireland. He does not seem to like it much.
So peace has been signed at last. It has made no difference to us here. The politicians seem to have made a good mess of it. The Boche are just the same as ever. They will not change. They say that they will never pay the indemnity, and that there will be another war in ten or fifteen years. I should not be at all surprised, for they are filled with thoughts of revenge. They will always hate the French, and the French know it. A German of intelligence, and considerable local importance to whom I spoke the other day, asked me this question. “If you had lost the war, would you have acquiesced?” I replied, “No, I suppose not.” At which he smiled and said, “Neither shall we.” Well there have always been wars on this frontier ever since the Romans had their German frontiers problems and I suppose it will go on.
July 10 and 12 1919
To be held on the Race Course
On July 10 & 12, 1919
First Race 14.00 hours each day.
1st Race. General Officers Inter-Corps Hurdle Race, open to teams of three officers not below the rank of Brigadier-General.
2nd Race. Maiden Plate, open to Infantry, R.E. and R.A.M.C.
3rd Rhineland Steeple-Chase. Winner 1500 marks.
Horses of the Allied Armies.
4th Robertson Plate. 2000 marks. Horses of Allied Armies ridden by officers.
2nd Race Allied Steeple-Chase. Allied Armies.
3rd The Cologne Plate. Horses of Army of the Rhine.
5th Victory Plate, Horses of Allied Armies.
July 22 1919.
The weather has been very bad here lately. We have made a tennis court, which plays quite fairly well. It has taken a lot of making, but the servants have done splendidly. It is in a meadow, and after daily rolling with a horse and roller, much levelling and cutting it is in fair order, but it now rains. However we are hoping to have some games soon.
Tomorrow is our Divisional Horse Show. Our Battery has 15 entries, a show team of six grey horses and gun, show driving, jumping, chargers, polo ponies etc. The men have worked well, and the harness and vehicles look splendid.
We have just had some races and are looking forward to some more.
I spent Peace Day as follows. I got up at 6 a.m. and then drove in a car through Euskirchen to Bonn, where I saw a large number of our men on board a pleasure steamer, which went up the Rhine. As the trip takes six hours against the stream I did not go. Instead I had a good look round Bonn, saw the University which I thought a nasty dirty place, and the students, disreputable and childish, the cathedral, and the Protestant Church. The gardens are rather good. I had breakfast at the Grand Hotel Royal, and visited the Officers’ Club, which is in a good place overlooking the Rhine.
About midday I took the train to Coblenz, had lunch and saw a good deal of the town which I did not much like. At 4 p.m. I met the boat with our fellows on board. We loaded up with cakes, cherries, gooseberries, and beer, and then we started on the return journey downstream, which only took two hours instead of six. It was well worth doing. We passed Andernach, Brohll, Sinzig, Remagen, Drachenfels. But I must say I thought that the Rhine was much finer than it is.
We arrived back in Bonn about 6.30 p.m. The men under one of the officers returned direct to the battery by lorry, arriving home after 8, p.m. Another officer and I took the train from Bonn to Cologne by the river arriving at 7.15 p.m. Then we had dinner at the Officers’ Club. We left Cologne at 9.50, p.m. and arrived at our home by train at 11 p.m. The total cost to me was Breakfast, 7 marks; lunch 9 marks; tea 5 marks; dinner 12 marks, total about ten shillings in all. I had nothing to pay for the car, railway journey or steamer trip.
I very nearly went on the Victory March in Paris. But in the end no officer went from the Brigade. the English contingent was very much cut down.
I have also visited Wiesbaden and Maintz. I must go to Trier now. I was offered a trip with the Polish troops through Germany the other day, through to Poland and home by Vienna but I could not get away.
THURSDAY JULY 24 1919
Romerhof Race Course, near Lechenich.
D/76 Bde put in 20 entries, won five prizes:
O.R.’s Jumping. 2nd
Pair of wheel horses in harness.
Champion L.D. Horse 2nd.
Pair Lead Horses in Harness.
W.O’s & N.C.O’s Horse under 15 hands.
E.A.L.P. Sunday August 3 1919.
The weather is awful, and is hindering our tennis and other occupations.
We are still trying to educate the men, much against their will. I take history and literature classes in the afternoons. Other classes are in mathematics, geography, dictation, agriculture and motor mechanics, taken by the subalterns and the padre.
One of our men, who went on leave on the 25th July, has been found dead in Box tunnel near Bath in mysterious circumstances. He lived at Bristol. Foul play is suspected.
I have just come back from the Cavalry Division Races. The wives of English Officers are beginning to appear now.
One wife caused amusement. She arrived with a mere captain then she was seen with a staff captain, and later with a cavalry staff major. Bets were made on the height she would attain to. Then she appeared with a full blown Brigadier, and finally, glory of glories, she was seen walking in the paddock with no less a divinity than the Commander-in-Chief himself. Hubby, poor man, was left a long way behind.
I got five prizes in the Divisional Horse Show. Tomorrow we have two horses jumping in the Rhine Army Horse Show.
The Boche are having a dance in the village today. I stopped it last week.
Tomorrow we are celebrating the 4th August. The men are having a whole holiday with cricket in the afternoon, and a concert party coming in the evening. In the officers’ mess we are having 15 guests to dinner, including 4 girls from the educational centre at Euskirchen.
We had Lena Ashwell’s Concert Party here the other day. It was the first time I had seen them.