Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 10 Sept 1914

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 10 Sept 1914
Sept 10
My darling one,
I am such a happy boy with a mail today, letter 2 & 3 arrived also 3 others, and we have been longing for news for days & days – my precious one what a journey back you must have had, do you mean to say you did it all alone without a man of any kind? I always understood you were taking a man – I heard from Charlie your journey was adventurous & was really getting anxious – The little photo is quite sweet, and it is so nice to have it.

You must all be pleased with the news now. The tables seem turned in the opposite direction and the only bad point is the discomfort of following behind an army – filth & dirt are not pleasing but our Med Off is tackling it well.

I managed to get some cigars & cigarettes so am full of smokes. Am wondering if my uniform will hang out much longer – my one coat is dirty my tartan knickers are stained, petrol only seems to clean them for a day or so – we had rain yesterday which has laid the dust & it is cooler – flies are beginning to increase & worry.

I fear there are many anxious ones at home, the long list of heroes – I cannot help thinking that some of the Regt will eventually turn up & that they are not all dead, it cannot be so. So many have turned up suddenly from anywhere.

Country now is very short of supplies, we have to send the French officers in cars to forage in the rear – but all our supplies come up wonderfully well fed with bread, meat, cheese, bacon jam & Rhum when wanted – motors have made enormous differences in supply – we are halted today, have time to settle up my work & write.

Prisoners are passing through they say they are very glad to be taken by us, and our men are good to them giving them water & rations.

Daily Graphic of 8th actually here today – I enclose a line to mother, please send on.
All my love, god keep you safe
Yr
Jimmie

With envelope addressed to Mrs J. Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. England. Signed Dick Cunyngham. Passed by Censor No 224 cachet. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 SP 13 14 & ARMY BASE POST OFFICE dated SP 17. 14

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Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 5 Sept 1914

Dick-Cunyngham letter to wife dated 5 Sept 1914
Sep 5
My darling one,

I seem to have so little time to write but things are better tonight & I have time. Times still very strenuous – I fear news of Regt is very sad but we must hope for the best – I saw the few two days ago all very well & cheery – Willie Marshall feels it badly – have only just heard poor Shafto’s death – I am so sorry & I fear it will be some time before complete lists are out.

Still very hot by day & I long for Indian khaki – I find I sleep almost better outside than in a house & it is much more healthy.

My precious one I do long for news of you, mails have been very bad, only 2 letters so far, but will probably get a bunch in a day or two. Days have gone so wearily I have lost count completely – I believe it is Sunday tomorrow.

Find it hard to get cigarettes here – a kind man gave me ½ dozen yesterday – your meat lozenges are very useful & they do keep one going especially during a night march – I suck 2 or 3 & they help to keep me awake.

We are such a party now, nearly 40, difficult to feed, but so far resources of country have saved us. I see I am graded for A.P.M. as a D.A.A.G. Deputy Assistant Adjt Gen which means I believe pay at 550£ per annum. Far more than I expected or deserve. Would you keep a Copy of Gazette giving all names of Staff of Exp Force.

I do so long to have a peep at you in the little house, hope Mrs Clue is doing you well. Charlie writes your journey was exciting. I always thought it would be with Rhoda & her car. Dinner time not bad cook. Hope to learn how to make omelette before long –

All my love, my darling, one & kisses for Betty
Yr own Jimmie

With envelope addressed to Mrs Dick Cunyngham, Mount View, Crownhill S.O., S. Devon. England. Redirected to 72 Overstrand Mansions, Prince of Wales Rd, Battersea Park, London S.W. Signed Dick Cunyngham. Passed Army Censor No 224. Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 42 dated SP 6 14. Also postmarked Crownhill 7.30 p.m 16 Sp 14.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Sept 1914

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

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

Correspondence

—————–

 

September 1914

 

UNIVERSITIES & PUBLIC SCHOOLS FORCES

ROYAL FUSILIERS

 

EPSOM September, 1914

 

1st Battalion, No 1 Company, Section 4.

 

J.P.D. Clarke.  Sergt.   “Long John”    C.C.C. Camb X

Williams          “Bimph”                                  X

Osborne           “Ossy”

Harry Richards            “Loose Lizzy”

Roland Richards         “Rolly”                                    X

E.C. Collins                 “Lottie”           C.C.C. Camb

P.D. Gilmour Ellis       “Gil”

A.A. Laporte Payne    “Algy”             C.C.C. Camb

 

———————–

 

September 20 1914

R.P.

Sunday

Alton

Links Road

Epsom

“I was first of all billeted in a public house with three other men. When in the town later I met a friend who said he was in a palace, so I got leave from a Special Constable to move there.  On the next day, most unfortunately, we were re-billeted by companies, and we have landed up in a much smaller house and the food is not nearly as good.  But eight of us all friends are billeted together in two adjacent houses.  It is great fun.  I have met several men I know.  There are 3500 of us here now.  I dined out this evening with Richards at the house of friends of his, named Mountain.

 

SEPTEMBER 24th 1914

 

Having obtained leave of absence I called on Major C. Lancelot Storr, Rom 206, War Office, who took details of such qualifications as I had, and said he would do what he could. He informed me that the application from Cambridge University had been mislaid, but that he would put a fresh application for a commission through for me.

 

I obtained leave to go to town by saying that the War Office wanted to interview me. So a full blown private marched boldly into the “Holy of Holies, armed with a sheet of foolscap on which I had set out my name, age, school, University, degree honours, cadet corps service, and the fact that I had been for four weeks or so a private in H.M. Army.

 

I received the advice from an old soldier that “ the thing to do is to make the most of yourself, and not belittle your achievements. Humility does not pay in the army.”

 

 

September 24th 1914

PUBLIC SCHOOL BRIGADE

ROYAL FUSILIERS

 

Private A.A.L. Payne has leave of absence until 10 p.m. September, 24th 1914

 

H.E. Bowes Lyon

O.C. No 1 Company,

No 1 Battalion.

 

 

W.L.P.

“Colonel Griffin ….. is wondering what the War Office have done for you today, and says if you would like a commission in his battalion, the 11th Middlesex Regiment, write to the Officer Commanding this regiment, Hydrabad Barracks, Colchester, and ask for a commission as a 2/Lieut.  State all qualifications.  There is at present one vacancy for a 2nd Lieut. And one or two vacancies in the 12th and 13th Battalions.

Our love to you, my son. May the right decision be clear.  I esteem your prompt response to the call of duty.  The strongest fortress of prayer is yours.

Your affectionate Father.

 

Form M.T. 397                                                                        WAR OFFICE

LONDON, S.W.

25th September 1914

 

Sir,

With reference to your application for appointment to the Special Reserve of Officers, I am directed to inform you that the applications for such appointments already received are far in excess of the vacancies available. It has therefore not been practicable to grant you a commission in the Special Reserve.

I am to say, however, that your name has been placed on a waiting list of candidates for appointment to a temporary regular commission for the period of the war, and you will be duly informed if, and when, there is a vacancy to which you can be appointed.

If you are desirous of taking up such an appointment it will not be necessary for you (or any other person on your behalf) to address any further communication to this Office on the subject. Owing to pressure of work it will not be practicable to reply to such communication if sent.

If, however, you do not wish to be appointed to a temporary regular commission you should at once notify the fact to this Office.

 

I am,

Sir,

Your Obedient Servant,

  1. Grant, Captain

for Director of Military Training.

 

Secretary of State for War.                                                                 War Office,

Whitehall,

S.W.

25 Sept 1914

 

Dear Mr. Payne,

I have handed your application personally to the Assistant Military Secretary, so I hope you will be fixed up before long. You may have to wait a week or two.

In the meantime, get Major Griffin to apply officially for you to go to him directly you are gazetted and ask him to address the envelope to me by name to save time. Let me hear if you are not fixed up, say, in 3 weeks time.

Very truly yours

  1. Storr.

Colchester

28.9.14

Sir,

As I have no vacancies for officers in my battalion I have forwarded your letter to Colonel Glover, commanding 12th Middlesex Regiment.

Yours faithfully

W.D. Ingle

Lieut. Colonel

Comdg. 11th Middlesex Regt.

 

Form M.T. 426 (M.T. 3)                                                                      WAR OFFICE

LONDON S.W.

30th September, 1914.

Sir,

I am directed to inform you that your application for an appointment to a Temporary Commission in the Regular Army has been received. The Cavalry List is full at present.  Will you kindly state by return if possible, whether you desire to be considered for appointment to a Temporary Commission in the Royal Field Artillery.

Please state exactly what previous military experience you have had and also what standard of riding you have attained. If you have hunted state for how many seasons and with what pack etc.

I am,

Sir,

Your obedient Servant

E.B. CLIVE Capt.

for Director of Military Training.

AA Laporte Payne Sept 1914

EPSOM September, 1914

 

1st Battalion, No 1 Company, Section 4.

 

J.P.D. Clarke.  Sergt.   “Long John”    C.C.C. Camb X

Williams          “Bimph”                                  X

Osborne           “Ossy”

Harry Richards            “Loose Lizzy”

Roland Richards         “Rolly”                                    X

E.C. Collins                 “Lottie”           C.C.C. Camb

P.D. Gilmour Ellis       “Gil”

A.A. Laporte Payne    “Algy”             C.C.C. Camb

 

———————–

 

September 20 1914

 

Sunday

Alton

Links Road

Epsom

“I was first of all billeted in a public house with three other men. When in the town later I met a friend who said he was in a palace, so I got leave from a Special Constable to move there.  On the next day, most unfortunately, we were re-billeted by companies, and we have landed up in a much smaller house and the food is not nearly as good.  But eight of us all friends are billeted together in two adjacent houses.  It is great fun.  I have met several men I know.  There are 3500 of us here now.  I dined out this evening with Richards at the house of friends of his, named Mountain.

 

SEPTEMBER 24th 1914

 

Having obtained leave of absence I called on Major C. Lancelot Storr, Rom 206, War Office, who took details of such qualifications as I had, and said he would do what he could. He informed me that the application from Cambridge University had been mislaid, but that he would put a fresh application for a commission through for me.

 

I obtained leave to go to town by saying that the War Office wanted to interview me. So a full blown private marched boldly into the “Holy of Holies, armed with a sheet of foolscap on which I had set out my name, age, school, University, degree honours, cadet corps service, and the fact that I had been for four weeks or so a private in H.M. Army.

 

I received the advice from an old soldier that “ the thing to do is to make the most of yourself, and not belittle your achievements. Humility does not pay in the army.”

 

 

September 24th 1914

PUBLIC SCHOOL BRIGADE

ROYAL FUSILIERS

 

Private A.A.L. Payne has leave of absence until 10 p.m. September, 24th 1914

 

H.E. Bowes Lyon

O.C. No 1 Company,

No 1 Battalion.

 

 

W.L.P.

“Colonel Griffin ….. is wondering what the War Office have done for you today, and says if you would like a commission in his battalion, the 11th Middlesex Regiment, write to the Officer Commanding this regiment, Hydrabad Barracks, Colchester, and ask for a commission as a 2/Lieut.  State all qualifications.  There is at present one vacancy for a 2nd Lieut. And one or two vacancies in the 12th and 13th Battalions.

Our love to you, my son. May the right decision be clear.  I esteem your prompt response to the call of duty.  The strongest fortress of prayer is yours.

Your affectionate Father.

 

Form M.T. 397                                                                        WAR OFFICE

LONDON, S.W.

25th September 1914

 

Sir,

With reference to your application for appointment to the Special Reserve of Officers, I am directed to inform you that the applications for such appointments already received are far in excess of the vacancies available. It has therefore not been practicable to grant you a commission in the Special Reserve.

I am to say, however, that your name has been placed on a waiting list of candidates for appointment to a temporary regular commission for the period of the war, and you will be duly informed if, and when, there is a vacancy to which you can be appointed.

If you are desirous of taking up such an appointment it will not be necessary for you (or any other person on your behalf) to address any further communication to this Office on the subject. Owing to pressure of work it will not be practicable to reply to such communication if sent.

If, however, you do not wish to be appointed to a temporary regular commission you should at once notify the fact to this Office.

 

I am,

Sir,

Your Obedient Servant,

  1. Grant, Captain

for Director of Military Training.

 

Secretary of State for War.                                                                 War Office,

Whitehall,

S.W.

25 Sept 1914

 

Dear Mr. Payne,

I have handed your application personally to the Assistant Military Secretary, so I hope you will be fixed up before long. You may have to wait a week or two.

In the meantime, get Major Griffin to apply officially for you to go to him directly you are gazetted and ask him to address the envelope to me by name to save time. Let me hear if you are not fixed up, say, in 3 weeks time.

Very truly yours

  1. Storr.

 

Colchester

28.9.14

Sir,

As I have no vacancies for officers in my battalion I have forwarded your letter to Colonel Glover, commanding 12th Middlesex Regiment.

Yours faithfully

W.D. Ingle

Lieut. Colonel

Comdg. 11th Middlesex Regt.

 

Form M.T. 426 (M.T. 3)                                                                      WAR OFFICE

LONDON S.W.

30th September, 1914.

Sir,

I am directed to inform you that your application for an appointment to a Temporary Commission in the Regular Army has been received. The Cavalry List is full at present.  Will you kindly state by return if possible, whether you desire to be considered for appointment to a Temporary Commission in the Royal Field Artillery.

Please state exactly what previous military experience you have had and also what standard of riding you have attained. If you have hunted state for how many seasons and with what pack etc.

I am,

Sir,

Your obedient Servant

E.B. CLIVE Capt.

for Director of Military Training.

 

Archie A. Laporte Payne letter home 20 Sept 1914

Archie A. Laporte Payne letter home 20 Sept 1914

 

On headed notepaper.

 

Christ Church Vicarage,

North Finchley N.

‘Alton’

Lukes Rd

Epsom.

 

Sunday Sept 20 1914.

 

My dearest Mother,

 

Many thanks indeed for your letter and parcel which arrived safely. Thank you for your tie which is just right.  I am sorry you had a bother about the address.  I was first of all billeted in a pub – four men in a smelly little room – I was very bored – when in the town later I met a friend who said he was billeted in a palace – so I got leave from the special constable & went there.  They treated us like lords and my friend & I had a room to ourselves and a bed each.  Next day unfortunately we were all re-billeted by companies – and we have got in a very much smaller place & not nearly such nice food – but eight friends have got together in two houses.  We are up in the morning at 5.30, and we get plenty of work – but it will be rather fun I think.

 

I have met heaps of men I know. There are 3500 of us here now.

 

This afternoon & evening my friend Richards took me to some friends of his who have a gorgeous place here. We had tea & dinner there.  They are very nice.

 

Thank you very much for the really good time I have had at home – but I am glad you let me go off, as I really could not stay at home when everyone is enlisting. I may get a commission yet – but I don’t mind if I don’t now.

 

Will you get me a Vyella shirt Khaki – 10/6 at Army & Navy Stores – detachable shirt collar one and one collar (1/-) collar 15 ½ in – also please send me my Hawkes colour sweater.

 

We get very little time to ourselves – the Parade ground is miles away.

 

Hope you are all well & flourishing

With much love to you all

Ever

Your affectionate son

Archie.

 

FIRST BATTLE OF PYRES

Sept/Oct 1914       After the Battle of the Aisne, both the Germans and Allied forces had   entrenched. Each side was trying to out-flank each other in a bid for open warfare.

 

The trenches eventually reached the sea and the engagement was known as “The race to the Sea” As the entrenchment reached Ypres, the trenches stayed on the high ground by going to the East of the town.

 

A salient was forming.

 

10th Nov 1914      Following a number of attacks and counter-attacks, the entrenchment settled down into a semi-circle around Ypres.

 

Intense cold halted any further large-scale activities and both sides settled down to making themselves as comfortable as possible in the trenches.

 

 

(Map showing Salient forming)

 

 

THE FIRST BATTLE OF YPRES

 

 

Following the stalemate on the Aisne, in September 1914, both Armies tried to outflank the other northwards in the so-called “race to the sea”.      The Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, Sir John French, proposed to the French Commander-in-Chief, General Joseph Joffre that the British Army should take over the Northern section.

Through the channel ports, England could supply the BEF far more easily. Joffre agreed and arrangements were secretly made whereby the BEF relinquished their lines, which were smoothly taken over by the French units and the BEF regrouping in                Flanders between 16th to 18th October 1914.

 

The Belgian army were besieged in Antwerp. Although unable to offer any real assistance, Winston Churchill, understood the strategic importance of Antwerp. As First Sea Lord, he successfully argued the case for the Naval Brigade to defend this city. This gesture sustained Belgian morale, even though Antwerp fell into German control. The Belgians were forced to retreat, and Sir Henry Rawlinson’s 4th Corps covered the retreat. The “race to the sea” had established the hard-pressed Belgian army from the North Sea coast to the River Yser and Dixmude. The French army occupied the area between Dixmude and the Ypres-Roulers railway line, where upon the BEF occupied the area around the Eastern flanks of Ypres. The French army occupied the line from Armentieres southward to the Swiss border. This established the almost 500 miles of the trenches known as “The Western Front”.

 

The Belgian army had opened the lock gates at Nieuport allowing the sea to flood the low-lying land halting the German advance. In the oncoming flood the Germans lost many troops, together with masses of weapons, artillery and equipment. They were forced south to attack the Northern flank of the British held salient, to the East of Ypres. The Ypres salient was a defensive semi circle to the East of the city. When finally established the salient allowed the German artillery to attack from both front and sides.

 

The German army turned their attention against the British salient, to the north, east and south of Ypres. With the beginning of winter, the mud dominated the almost continuous night and day fighting. The Germans broke through the British line in the north. At the same time, the numerical superior German army broke through the lines at the southern end of the salient. After three days, constant fighting the central area caved in around the village of Gheluvelt and the BEF withdrew to a line just covering the city of Ypres. A surprise British counter-attack saw the British once again defending Gheluvelt. The Germans had failed to exploit the penetrations they had made. They did attack the southern part of the salient, at night, thus securing the high ground at Messiness’ Ridge. On the 10th November, the Germans launched an attack against the French army towards Dixmude.  The French line held halting the attack. The following day the Germans again attacked and broke through the British southern sector. By the German’s failure in not being able to follow up their attack, British reserve forces were able to drive back the German advance. Intense cold effectively halted any further large-scale activities therefore establishing the line around Ypres, thus forming the salient.

 

The First Battle of Ypres denied the Germans the channel ports but the cost to the BEF was enormous. Britain lost nearly all of the professional army. Halted at Ypres, the Germans adapted a defensive strategy on the Western Front. The First Battle of Ypres settled the Western Front as both sides dug trenches, stretching nearly 500 miles from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The BEF defended the northern line from Ypres to the sea, and the French Army defended the southern line to the Swiss border.

The end of 1914 and most of 1915 devoted the war to trying to force a victory on the Eastern Front.

 

 

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