War Diary of AA Laporte Payne March 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

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

—————–

 

1915

 

 

 

March 8, 1915

R.P.

“Training has been considerably stiffened up. There are parades on Sunday mornings and on other days before breakfast and after tea in addition to the normal work.  There are night marches and trench digging.  I have been inoculated with two doses, and as a result I am rather stiff and sore.   The 48 hours off duty which we are supposed to have, needless to say I never got.

 

Tomorrow I am motoring over to Ipswich where the 84th Brigade is stationed.  We are expecting to go into huts on the 20th of this month.  Leave has been cancelled from certain places such as Colchester, Braintree, Woolwich, Ipswich on account of the outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis which is bad.

 

We have had several officers convalescent after wounds posted us. Major Caruthers, Major Cornes and others.

 

On Sunday morning I took Church Parade of about 400 men. Then I groomed my own horse.  Each officer has to be able to do this.

 

 

The Dardanelles show seems to be going well.  How foolish the Turks are to join this war. Turkey will be the first empire to fall, and it should mean the end of the Ottoman Empire in Europe.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

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

—————–

 

1915

 

 

 

March 8, 1915

R.P.

“Training has been considerably stiffened up. There are parades on Sunday mornings and on other days before breakfast and after tea in addition to the normal work.  There are night marches and trench digging.  I have been inoculated with two doses, and as a result I am rather stiff and sore.   The 48 hours off duty which we are supposed to have, needless to say I never got.

 

Tomorrow I am motoring over to Ipswich where the 84th Brigade is stationed.  We are expecting to go into huts on the 20th of this month.  Leave has been cancelled from certain places such as Colchester, Braintree, Woolwich, Ipswich on account of the outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis which is bad.

 

We have had several officers convalescent after wounds posted us. Major Caruthers, Major Cornes and others.

 

On Sunday morning I took Church Parade of about 400 men. Then I groomed my own horse.  Each officer has to be able to do this.

 

 

The Dardanelles show seems to be going well.  How foolish the Turks are to join this war. Turkey will be the first empire to fall, and it should mean the end of the Ottoman Empire in Europe.

 

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Mar 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Mar 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.

 

Doncaster.

 

Monday 1st March 1915:         Reveille 6 am.  Packed Kits & left for Doncaster 9-45.  Arrived 10.30.  Gun Drill in afternoon under Sergt Maj. Cotton.  Went to “Palace” at night.

Tuesday 2nd March 1915:        Stables 6.30.  Breakfast 8 am.  Exercising horses in morning & Gun Drill in afternoon.  Grand Theatre at night “Tommy Atkins”.

Wednesday 3rd March 1915:   Stables 6.30.  Gun Drill in Gun Park in morning. Stables 11.30.  Afternoon holiday.  Had a rest in billets. Out with Arnold at night.

Thursday 4th March 1915:       Gun Drill both morning & afternoon.  Stables 6.30, 11.30 4.30.

Friday 5th March 1915:           Gun Drill both morning & afternoon.  Went down to Rly Docks & practiced entraining horses & guns.  Hard work.  11th Batt beat 10th by 7 mins.

Saturday 6th March 1915:       Gun Drill in morning.  Had my photo (together with Arnold) taken in town.  Stables 3.15.  Picture House Café at night with AGR, Arthur. King, Watkinson, Stockdale, Roberts & Ralph.

Sunday 7th March 1915:          Stables 7 am.  Church Parade 9.30 am.  Afternoon spent reading & writing.  Out in town at night with Arnold.

Monday 8th March 1915:        Gun Drill morning & afternoon.  Out with Arnold at night.  Picture House Café.

Tuesday 9th March 1915:        Gun Drill morning & afternoon. Arnold goes home on 4 days leave.  Lucky Beggar!!  Out on night    manoeuvres from 6-12 pm.  Trenching.

Wednesday 10th March 1915: Gun Drill morning & afternoon.  Out with Tommy Butler at night.

Thursday 11th March 1915:     Stables 7 am.  Gun Drill morning & afternoon.  Stayed in at night because was “stony broke”.

Friday 12th March 1915:         Stables 6.30.  Rifle Drill in morning & afternoon under Sergt Barker.  Went to “Grand” Theatre.

Saturday 13th March 1915:     Stables 6.30 pm.  Rifle Drill in morning.  Out in afternoon with Corp Wilf Dawson & at Picture House at night.       Arnold returned Sat midnight after ripping 4 days at home.

Sheffield.

Sunday 14th March 1915:        Church Parade 9.30 am at Wheatly Church.              Resting during rest of day.  Out with Arnold.

Monday 15th March 1915:      Rifle Drill all morning and afternoon.  Out at night with Tommy Butler.

Tuesday 16th March 1915:      Rifle Drill under Sergt Spence.  Out on night manoeuvres from 7 – 12 pm, digging trenches round guns.

Wednesday 17th March 1915: Left Doncaster at 9.56 am for Sheffield where we arrived 11 am.  On Gate Guard 2pm – 6 pm.  Stables Picket at 6 pm.

Thursday 18th March 1915:     Stable Picket at Glossop Rd.  Monotonous job.  Rose at 4.20 am & had stables thoroughly cleaned by 6.15.  Nothing special happened.

Friday 19th March 1915:         Gate Guard.  Rose at 5.20 am.  Reveille 6.  Baths in morning 9.10.  Received large parcel from home.

Saturday 20th March 1915:     Stable Picket.  Rose at 4.55 am.  Received pcl from Miss Whitaker.  Gate Picket at night.

Sunday 21st March 1915:        Gate Picket.  Boy Scouts meeting in Barracks.  1st night off since leaving Doncaster.

Monday 22nd March 1915:      G.O.C. R.A. inspects Column, Billets & Stables.  Exercising horses in afternoon.  Stable Picket at 6.

Tuesday 23rd March 1915:      Stable Picket.  Whitewashed stables.  Took all day.  Dead tired.  Gate Picket at 6 pm.

Wednesday 24th March 1915: Gate Picket.  Nothing happened out of ordinary.  Night off at last!!!!  Cinema House Café with T.O.B. & Groth.

Thursday 25th March 1915:     Exercising horses.  Rifle shooting at Mid. Rly. Sheff. Club.  Stable Picket at night.

Friday 26th March 1915:         Exercising horses in morning. X Under arrest & brought before Lieut Fairburn.  Let off.  Lecture on Map reading 5 – 7.30.

Saturday 27th March 1915:     Exercising horses in morning.  Lecture 12 – 1.  Stables 3.45 – 5.  Gate Picket 6 pm.

X N.B.  Sergt Maj. Cavanagh & Sergt Hird reported me for supposed “neglect of duty” viz: – Not giving reveille till 6.10 am on Thurs morning.  Absolute lie.  Hence verdict & 4days leave.

Ben Rhydding – Scarboro.

Sunday 28th March 1915:        Gate Picket with Forster, Butler & Lupton.  Reading all day with Billy Groth, who has returned from Hospital.

Monday 29th March 1915:      Stable Picket relieving Br. Smith in morning.  Rifle Range in afternoon.  Passed 1st & 2nd tests.  Came home on 4 days leave.  Left Sheff 7.5 Ben R 10.26 pm.

Tuesday 30th March 1915:      Went to I.G.S. & saw G****.  Sang School Holiday Hymn & was given 3 cheers by scholars.  Pleasant morning.  Played golf with Dad & Miss Whitaker.

Wednesday 31st March 1915:             Went to Scarboro’ for the day.  Left Ben R 7.38 arrived Scarboro’ 11.14.  Saw Grandma  & Auntie.  Saw effects of German Bombardment of Dec 16 1914. Rough Sea.  Ripping day.  Left 5.55. Home 9 PM.

March 1915

The 10th March 1915 saw the commencement of the Battle of Neuve Chappelle by British forces of the First Army under the command of General Douglas Haig. The task of the First Army Corps was to take Neuve Chappelle and finally Aubers Ridge less than one mile to the East. The First Army Corps consisted of British and Indian forces. The whole British Army was very inexperienced in trench warfare from Senior Leadership down to the soldiers in the line.

The battle commenced at 8.05am with a 35-minute artillery barrage along the German Trenches at Neuve Chappelle. The attack by the British and Indian Infantry on a frontage of 4000-yards began immediately on cessation of the artillery bombardment. The centre successfully captured the village of Neuve Chappelle by 9.00am. The left flank had lost approximately 1000 advancing troops owing to undamaged German trenches. The right flank was in danger of being isolated and were ordered to halt and await further orders.

 

Communications were poor between Allied Command and the front line troops. The slowness and accuracy of intelligence was mainly because the front line telephone cables had been cut or destroyed by enemy shellfire. The Corps Commander Lt-General Sir Henry Rawlinson was aware only of the initial capture of the village but unaware of the gap on the left hand flank. Rawlinson ordered a general advance even though his support troops were unprepared. With the confusion, some of the British Artillery opened fire on friendly infantry. With the light fading in the late afternoon, the forward units were attacking without sufficient artillery support against a hardening German defence.

 

The Battle of Neuve Chappelle lasted 3 days, and on the 13th March 1915, the British troops repelled a German attack and immediately the BEF counter attacked. Many of their units had suffered high casualties so the British called a halt less than two hours later.                The attack was called off after the British had captured a salient 2000 yards wide and 1200 yards deep.

 

Following the naval bombardment of the Turkish forts during the attack in February 1915 and after some initial success, the Turkish forces proved to be of stronger opposition than was expected. The waters of the Dardanelles were thought to be heavily mined. Turkish forces had been redeployed to defend against infantry attack in the Dardanelles. The British attack ground to a halt after British minesweeping trawlers had failed to clear the mined area. Admiral Carden, the Commander in Chief of the Allied fleet in the Dardanelles, collapsed through ill health and his replacement was Rear-Admiral Robeck.’ On the12th March 1915 the Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener appointed Sir Ian Hamilton to take command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF). Lieutenant-General Birdwood, who commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) forces based at Cairo in Egypt, suggested the army had an input to support the naval attack. The MEF consisted of the ANZAC forces of the Australian and New Zealand armies together with British and French troops.

 

Hamilton left for the Dardanelles on the 12th March 1915 with the MEF and arrived on the 18th March 1915. He did not have sufficient information available, due to inadequate intelligence, regarding Turkish strength or the fighting capabilities of the Turkish forces. This lack of information led him to believe the qualities and tactics of the Turkish forces were not of any consequence. This belief was to prove disastrous.

 

In the Dardanelles three British battleships were sunk, a further three battleships crippled but not sunk. The British had lost 2/3 of their battle fleet in the Dardanelles because the mine clearing trawlers had failed to locate and clear the mined areas. On 22nd March 1915, Hamilton and Robeck decided that the remaining fleet would sail to Alexandria to enable repairs to be carried out. In the meantime, Hamilton arranged for his force to prepare for an infantry invasion of Gallipoli. Winston Churchill was adamant that the decision was taken without Government approval or knowledge. At the time these events were happening the British War Council did not meet, nor were they to meet again for another two months.

 

The 21st March 1915 saw the first German Zeppelin airships appear over the skies of Paris. The Germans sent aircraft to attack Paris between August-November 1914. The 30th August 1914 saw Germany dropping four 5lb bombs on Paris, the last “bomb” being a bag of sand. Attached to the bomb was a message saying, “The Germans Army is at your gates. You can do nothing but surrender.” This message had little effect because the citizens of Paris had become used to the daily aircraft flying over the city. With the arrival of the Zeppelin airships in March 1915, bombing raids against Paris had been established.

 

On the 24th March 1915 the Prussian born German General Otto Liman von Sanders was appointed to command the Otterman Fifth Army. Arriving at Gallipoli on the 26th March 1915 Liman von Sanders reorganised his defences to make the most of the advantage of the high ground. The Turkish army had the experience of fighting during the Balkan Wars the previous year. They had learnt from their campaign whereas their British and French enemies lacked experience in this type of warfare. This was to be the precursor to the Gallipoli campaign.

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