Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 13 June 1915

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 13 June 1915


9 Arandale Road

  1. Cheam





To Rev W. La Porte Payne


My dear Vicar,


I am taking the liberty of writing you these few lines. Thank you very much for your last kind letter with all the news it contained.


We hope you are each keeping well and that the work goes forward in the Parish. I hear a little about it from Mr Taylor.  I am pleased to inform you that we are all three keeping well at present, Terrence has been under the Doctor here for a Fortnight but is now better and started school again.


Mrs Smith and myself are keeping very well. We went to the 8 o/c Celebration this morning together and of course our thoughts flew to Finchley.  My brother has been over to see us on several occasions & has stayed two week ends with us.


My brother in the Army has gone back into the firing line, though the splinters of shell are still in his arm. It is quite two weeks sine I heard from him.  My Nephew was well last I heard from him.  S.L. Smith has been promoted to Lance Corporal.


I am still making progress in Business and in health, and would be quite happy if it were not for the dark cloud of the past, and the pain & suffering I caused others. I am pleased to say Mrs Smith seems better on the whole, her sister is coming to stay with her on Tuesday next.


I hope Mrs. Payne and your family are each keeping well.


I have often wondered how Archie was getting on, especially when I see the large lists of Officers that are falling day by day. Please to kindly remember me to Mr. Mannering.  You must have your hands full just now with your staff reduced.  We were wondering if you were having the Garden Fete soon & know what an extra burden that is upon you.


I am still bearing you and the Parish up in my poor prayers, that Our Father may reward you for all your goodness & kindness & give you His blessing in all things.


With our united kind regards & good wishes


Believe me

Dear Sir

Yours v. sincerely

Wm. Smith.


War Diary of AA Laporte Payne June 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne


Extracted from


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






June 13, 1915.


83rd Brigade

Heytesbury House


“I am unable to get away this week end. It has been truly glorious weather, much too hot for work.  We had two field days last week .  This week we are doing night digging.

I motored over to Bath one evening early last week and went with some friends to hear the band of the 1st Life Guards.  We got back about one in the morning.  The roads here are full of vehicles of every description ever invented since the Flood, from the donkey cart to the large steam lorry.  Even the railway has been carried along the Codford Road.  Hundreds of led horses, wagons of forage, stores, cause a vast confusion, and a solid block of sweating horses and men.  Everywhere and above all is thick dust, turning the troops white.


I have just managed to get a beautiful little mare. She looks well, and is full of life.  I have entered her for the Divisional Horse show to be held soon as a final social function.  The Howitzer Brigade are firing this afternoon about eight miles away, and most of the officers have gone over there.


I had to go to Church Parade this morning in the tin tabernacle. A most awful little parson preached.  He wore his wife’s fur stole round his neck.  It may have been white once.  Last Sunday afternoon I went to the Cathedral Service at Salisbury, and then had tea with some friends.  Field Days.  Colonel’s galloper.


June 22 1915.


“I had a most amazing journey last night. I caught the 9.50, from Paddington, and could not get further than Swindon, even with the help of a goods train.  There I got a room at the local Railway Hotel, until 4.30, this morning, and then travelled by the early morning train to Heytesbury, arriving at 8.10 A.M.  Today I have been Brigade Orderly Officer, and had the cleanliness of the camp to see to, and other similar duties, among them the inspection of prisoners in the cells.  One is a trifle mad, and threatens to murder any one who goes near him.  Tonight we are out picketing.  Tomorrow there is an inspection by the General in preparation for Thursday, for rumour has it that the King and Kitchener are going to review us on that day.  But I always doubt rumour.  There is little news in the Times today, bar the War Loan.


Heytesbury Hole is just the same, 1only whiter with age and dust. The 17th Division are just arriving, so more dust.

The Colonel had been away fishing and is in a good mood.


June 23 1915.


I thoroughly enjoyed my week end at home. I had a long journey back via Swindon, where I spent the four midnight hours in the local Railway Hotel, and arrived at Heytesbury at 8 a.m. the next morning.


Tomorrow the King and Kitchener review us at Stonehenge, about fourteen miles from here.  The whole Division will turn out.  I am acting as Colonel’s Orderly Officer, so the Adjutant and I go by the saluting point together.  I hope my mare does not run away with me.  Tomorrow stables are at 4 a.m., and we start on our journey at 6.30 am.  We shall be dusty when get there, unless it rains which it is trying to do now.  The weather is on the change.  The dust has been somewhat trying lately, covering everything with a white deposit.  The day has been spent getting ready for tomorrow.  Yesterday we spent the night, “picketing out” on the Plain.


The Divisional Horse Show is on Saturday. I am putting in my new mare.


They are still building huts here. The place may be completed after we have left.

Heytesbury is white with dust.


(Left Heytesbury on Tuesday afternoon, June 30th 1915).


Alfred George Richardson’s Diary June 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary June 1915


1915 diary shows Bombardier Gunner (Signalling Dept) A. G. Richardson 4th Section, West Riding Divisional Ammunition Column R.F.A., Norfolk Barracks Sheffield.

Home Address:- Station House, Ben Rhydding near Leeds. Yorks.


Au Grand Bois d’ Estaires.

Tuesday 1st June 1915:            Went to Estaires for forage.  Received letter from W. Jennings.  Also parcel from home.

Wednesday 2nd June 1915:     Went to Estaires for forage.  Received letter from Mr. Atkinson & Aunt Etty.

Thursday 3rd June 1915:          Went to Bac St. Maur for forage, via Estaires. Afternoon “nothing doing”.

Friday 4th June 1915:              Went to Bac St. Maur for forage.  In afternoon went to Estaires on a mule for papers.

Saturday 5th June 1915:          Went to Bac St. Mann for forage at 7.30.  Back at 12.30.

Sunday 6th June 1915:             Went to Estaires at 6.30 am for forage.  Back at 9.30. Reading & sleeping rest of day.  Bathing.

Monday 7th June 1915:           Went to Estaires for forage at 6.30 am.  Got some fishing tackle for Mr Walker & myself.  Grand bathe in pool.  Heat terrible.

Tuesday 8th June 1915:           Went to Estaires for forage 6.30 am.  Washed blankets & trousers.  Afternoon thunderstorm.  In bivouac all aft. At night, we beat H.Q. (5-1) at football.

Wednesday 9th June 1915:      Went to Estaires (6.30) for forage.  Doing nothing special during rest of day.  Out at night.

Thursday 10th June 1915:        Went to Estaires at 6.30 am for forage.  Fishing at night at swimming pool.  Caught very large eel: also a small one.  Smith 6 small ones.

Friday 11th June 1915:                        Got up at 4 am & went fishing but had no luck.  Only caught small roach.  Went to Estaires for forage in morning.  Out at night.

Saturday 12th June 1915:        Went to Estaires for forage at 6.30 am.  Made a “Reserve” forage place.  Working all day.  Out at Estaminet at night.

Sunday 13th June 1915:           Went to Estaires for forage at 6.30.  Church Parade 9.30.  Rest of day spent resting & reading.  Sang Hymns at night round camp fire.

Monday 14th June 1915:         Went to Estaires for forage at 7 – 9 am.  Received pd & letter from home asking me to get a photo taken of the grave of J.W. Kettlewell, only son of a M.R. Goods Guard at Ben Rhydding.

Tuesday 15th June 1915:         Went to Estaires for forage at 7 am.  Back at 9 am.  Filling nosebags in morning.  Went to Estaires for bran.  Found out cemetery & also a photographer.

Wednesday 16th June 1915:    Went to Estaires for forage at 7 am.  Back at 9 am. Went to Doulieu at 10 am for clover.  Back at 1 pm.  Went to Estaires cemetery & had the grave of J.W. Kettlewell (2nd West Yorks) photographed.  He died at Neuve Chapelle.

Thursday 17th June 1915:        Went to Estaires for forage at 7 am.  Back at 9 am.  Went to Doulieu for clover, but there was none today for us.  Filling nosebags at night.  On Guard.

Friday 18th June 1915:                        Went to Estaires for forage at 7.  Back at 9.              Filled nosebags.  Went to Estaires for photos of grave.  Disappointed with result “no bon”.

Saturday 19th June 1915:        Went to Estaires at 7 for forage.  Went to Fleurbaix to see Arnold.  Left 10.30 arrived 12.45.  Left 3.40 arrived home 5.50.  Beautiful up altho.  Ruins etc visited.

N.B. Estaires Cemetery, with the numerous graves of heroes who all fell at Neuve Chapelle, looks indeed a piteous, yet glorious, spectacle.

Sunday 20th June 1915:           Went for forage at 6.30.  Church Parade 9.30. Reading & writing.  Sunny & fine.

Monday 21st June 1915:          Went for forage at 7.  Back at 9.  Wrote to Arnold.  Grand day.  Went to H.Q. for stores.  Out at night.

Tuesday 22nd June 1915:         Went to Estaires  at 7 am for forage.  Back at 9.  Filled nosebags.  On Guard.  Raining.

Wednesday 23rd June 1915:    Went to Estaires at 7 am. for forage.  Filled nosebags. Cricket Match with 3rd Section.  Abandoned owing to storm.  Took 2 wkts for 15.  Went fishing caught 1 eel.

Thursday 24th June 1915:        Went to Estaires at 7 am for forage.  Saw Herbert Routledge.  Went to A.C. at Sailly sur la Lys with ammn.  Back at 8.30 pm.

Friday 25th June 1915:                        Went to Estaires at 7 am for forage.  Storm.              Terrific rain.  Went to La Gorgue for a bath.  Ripping.  Singing at night.

Saturday 26th June 1915:        Went to Estaires for forage at 6.30 am. Reading & writing all morning.  Went to H.Q. for stores.  Finish Cricket Match with 3rd Section.  Scores: – 3rd – 100          4th – 21  My batting was 9 no out.  My bowling was 2 wkts for 10.

Au Grand Bois d’ Estaires – Caestre – Watou.


Sunday 27th June 1915:           Went to Estaires for forage at 7 am.  Filled nosebags.  Rest of day reading, writing & sleeping.  On Guard.

Monday 28th June 1915:         Went to H.Q. forage.  Filled nosebags all day. Wrote 3 letters.  Received pcl from home.  Letter from Arnold & Miss Whitaker (at Llandudno).

Tuesday 29th June 1915:         Went to H.Q. for forage & rations at 7.30 am. getting ready to move off (to Poperinghe?).  Cricket at night.

Wednesday 30th June 1915:    Went to H.Q. for forage & rations at 7.30 am.  Raining hard.  Fine in afternoon.  Cricket at night.  Church Service at night – Prayers etc by Cpl of N.H.Y.

G G Hammond letter Jun 15

P/e G.G. Hammond

2/7 Bat Mc/r Regt.

D Compy 15 Platoon




Dear Father & Mother,

I am sorry I was not able to write early last week but as I told you on my PC from Tunbridge Hilda and all the Southport people came over to see us last Thursday and did not go back until Friday so I have not had much time for writing.

On Wednesday Captain Nasmith asked me if I would take a strip, I was not over keen but eventually I offered to take it on.  I waited until Friday when the appointments were up on orders but strange to say my name did not appear on the list.  I was a bit surprised but not sorry, during the day I was looking out for the Captain to ask him about the commission when he saw me and called me to him.  He said “I have not put your name on the list for stripes as I am going to try to get your commission through.”  I thought he had forgot all about it.  I have not seen the adjutant yet & things will have to look up as I am down to go to the Dardanelles with the next draft & may possibly be home on leave next week if things are not moving with the commission

There is not much doing on here at present, we were out until 1-30 am on Friday on a night scheme and were fairly tired out, we have been having a fortnight special training.  Did you see that Granger had been killed.  The 7th have caught it pretty heavily.  They say down here that there are only 80 men left but nothing is official.

I had a very good week last week, it was quite a pleasure to see some friends.  Willis wrote me a PC but I have not answered it until today.  I do hope my application comes off.  I suppose you have seen Arthur by now he is over to order his uniform.  How is Ma keeping?  Did you go for your Whitsuntide walk I forgot to ask you before.  There are woods full of bluebells down here & ferns in great quantities.  Could Ma send one on of her own made soda cakes.  It would be very acceptable down here also any other luxuries she may think of.  Have you heard anything about Dick Lister being killed I heard a rumour down here.

It has been frightfully hot down here.  It has just been raining for the first time for about a month.  It gets very warm climbing the hills with full pack on.  If I come on leave I shall bring my kit bag as I have any amount of stuff which I must leave behind.  Have you heard from Bugsy again lately.  I am going to write to him today.  I am sorry Gladys had not won the Tennis Championship, is she on the League team.  I think she ought to stand a fair chance.  I don’t know how I shall go on when this war is over I seem  to have forgotten nearly all my business but I suppose I shall pick it up again quick enough.  Have you seen Donohues lately.  I have not written to them since I came down here.  I think I will write again today.

Write soon as there is nothing much doing down here and it is very interesting to hear from you.  I am going to see Captain Nasmith today to see if there is anything doing, if I am coming on leave I will **** as we don’t get any notice I hope its off with the draft as I an almost sure I could get a commission, still it does not matter very much.  Don’t forget the cake &c

Love George

F Hammond letter 25 Jun 15

Green envelope FPO 28 27 Ju 15 to E. Hammond 9 Countess St Stockport

62210 RE

HQ 28th Bde

9th Sig Co

25 6 15

Still as fat as ever


Dear Ma & Pa

Received Pa’s letter OK the other day.  We are still in the same place we were last time I wrote but expect to be moving by the time you get this.  The weather has been glorious until today when we had a thunder storm.  There is very little news to tell as we have not been anywhere since last I wrote.  You can see we are pretty well in the country here as I have not seen a shop of any kind since we have been here.  I could do with a little tobacco as I have now run out and don’t seem to get any chance to buy any.  I see Lloyd George is fairly waking the old country up.  I see the Russians seem to have been forced to do a rather long retreat.  It is quite useless to expect anything else while the Germans have a preponderance of equipment.  There is plenty of heavy fighting this side and I think we shall gradually wear them down.  The French seem to be making headway.  If you send a parcel you might put a tin of Keating’s Powder in as it is very necessary in these parts.  I have not tried any French dishes such as frogs but they keep one awake with their croaking at night.  The brook here is literally packed with them.  Glad to hear you are all well.  Sorry to hear Gladys has got her usual complaint.  I suppose they would think Pa was my brother now he has such a fine row of teeth.  Do they still take him for a detective or Kitchener?  What has become of Geo?  Never hear from him.  Remember me to all enquiring friends.  Will drop you a line if anything interesting occurs.



F Hammond letter 18 June 15

On embossed Government notepaper

62210 RE


Attached 28th Bde

9th Scott Div

18 June 1915

Dear Mar & Pa

I received Gladys letter of the 14th OK.  We have moved again from the place I wrote last.  I don’t think we shall move much more.  We are a few miles behind the firing line.  We are in a very small village and even pumps are unknown.  There is a sort of brook runs along the road where the natives fetch their drinking water, wash their utensils etc in it.  I have not tasted water for a week or should I say practically since I landed in France without it being boiled first.  I have been working night again from 12 md to 8am.  We sleep in the fields which we prefer to the barns however I slept in a haystack the last 3 days.  Several of us go down to the La Basse Canal for a swim every day which is quite refreshing.  I can make them understand what I want as far as food and drink is concerned now.  There is rather a funny fellow who I knock about with when he wants some milk he asks for Dooley I suppose Gladys will know what he means and when he wants eggs he says durs hoofs.  There seems to be two words in French which the natives make very good use of.  One is compre and the other is no compre.  When they don’t wish to understand they say no compre altho I am rather inclined to think at times they are pulling out legs.  I am pretty well supplied with tobacco altho my cig supply is done out at present.  If you send any cigs now & then send Gold Flake.  With regard to grub we get plenty of it.  If you are really hungry of course one of Mar’s cakes occasionally would soon find a home.  Some of the fellows here get parcels and give you some so one likes to return the complement occasionally altho I can get along alright without and do not want you to start sending a lot of parcels.  I have a few francs by me but you can’t buy side issues in these villages.  We are in a farm house here and the cocks and hens are making their morning carol.  The Jocks have to be rather careful with their baw bees.  One sent a rather amusing letter home the other day.  He started something like this – Dear Mother I am sending you  five francs but not this week.  I heard about the Zeps paying Angleterre a visit.  I haven’t seen any round here.  I think it would be too healthy for them.  I wouldn’t mind the express occasionally.  We have been getting the D. Mail a day old up to now but rather question it when we make our next move.  There was rather a good article in it yday about machine guns which I think deserves attention.

Well I think this is all this time.  Hoping you are all well.  I will now go and waken the cook from his greasy bed and afterwards have a cup of coffee from the farmer.

Bye Bye


I got a letter from Will the other day.

F Hammond letter 9 Jun 15

62210 RE


Attached 28th Inf Bde HQ

9th Scottish Div

June 9th 1915

Dear M & P

I got Gladys parcel yesterday for which many thanks.  The matches are quite unique.  I suppose you are all back again now and that Gladys is at school again.  We are having good weather now.  I did not see Asquith when he was over as we are a few miles from there.

However Fd Marshall Sir J French inspected us about a week ago.  He is quite a stiff built man and grey.  He looks very well.  We have moved from the place I wrote from last and are now at a farm house.  We have been sleeping out lately.  There are some Indian Cavalry in the village here.

We paid them a visit the other day and they gave us some of their grub which they called chuppatti.  It was like an oatcake and they put ghee on it which is clarified butter.  One of our lads tried their curry and he thought he had swallowed the cruet.  Fancy Bert Sheldon donning that uniform on.  Geo seems to have struck a rough lot.  I think he would have done better had he not rushed into it as he always does.  I hope he finds something better.

I think it is a wise thing in the making Ld (Lloyd) Geo the minr (minister) for munitions.  There is no doubt about it the High Explosives are very essential.  It is about time that we should be properly supplied with everything.  Of course we are.  Really wonderfully equipped but we can’t have too much artillery.

Well the post is due now and I think I am wondering a bit so Bye Bye for present.

Hoping you are all well


Is Turk a real Turk or has he any fight in him?

Just smoking one of those fat cigs.

I feel like a Staff Captain