George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 26 Nov 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
26 Nov 1915

Dear M & F,

Thanks very much for your letter of Nov 4 also for the parcel of Tobacco & Gums which I received at Jafferpore the day after I wrote last week. I’ve had 2 or 3 of the chocolates with my bread & butter at tea-time each day, they are alright & the gums are quite a treat. They kept quite alright & they did not taste of Tobacco. The fags are all gone but about 4 so there’s no need to say anything more about them.

I didn’t do so well as I expected at Firing. I missed two days; that made a lot of difference. But I expect we shall fire another course before next Sept. We might possibly fire again next March at Dinapore.

I’ve asked Mr. Walker to send you an extra £1= I have not been able to go up to Calcutta to get anything so will you get them all something for me for Christmas about 2/- also something for yourself & what’s over put to the “General Expenses”.

We are moving on the 9th or 10th of next month but 40 of us are to be left behind. We don’t know who they will be yet.

Hoping you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr loving son

Answer to Dinapore.

George Ryan’s letter home dated 12 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 12 Nov 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
12 Nov 1915

Dear Ma,

Received your letter addressed to Dinapore safely. Glad to hear you got the silk alright. I hope you didn’t have to pay anything on it did you? & I hope dad won’t have to pay anything on the cigars. One of our chaps sent a box home & his father had to pay more than they cost for duty.

Please don’t think I’ve gone “dit’lo” or daft as you say at home, but we are going to Dinapore. At least, so we are given to understand at present. Of course it may be altered again. At first we were going next week, but the latest is that we go on the 9th of next month. The signalling section were to have gone last week. They got packed up & were all ready to go, but they are still here. I expect they will wait & go with us now. You can answer this to Dinapore but don’t be surprised if I tell you next week to write here again. But I think we are going this time though.

The parcel of tobacco & sweets hasn’t arrived this week, I hope I shall get them next. I was disappointed I didn’t get them this week.

Hope you are all well,
Love to all from
Yr loving son

George Ryan’s letter home dated 5 Nov 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 5 Nov 1915

5 Nov 1915

Dear M & F,

Many thanks for your letter of Oct 14. I’ve also heard from Bert & May this week. Before I opened their letters I guessed they both blamed each other for not writing before & when I did open them I found that was the case. Bert said he had left it too late the last two weeks & if I wanted to blame anybody I must blame my sister & May says its Bert’s fault she doesn’t write as he keeps her out till it’s too late.

I notice you have sent me some Tobacco & sweets. Thanks very much, I hope I shall receive them alright when the Parcel Post comes in. It should be in to-day but I’m at Cossipore this week so if your parcel has arrived I shan’t get it till to-morrow.

We are going to Jafferpore on the 14th but only one Platoon is going at a time so we shall not be there more than about 10 days.

If you have not already sent those things I mentioned a few weeks ago you might also send my dancing shoes & a pen-knife which you will find I think in one of my top drawers. If you’ve already sent the other things don’t make a special parcel of these two things; there’s no hurry. Some of the fellows are learning to dance & later on they hope to arrange one or two dances.

Cannot tell you the name of the boat we are coming home by as we are spending Christmas out here this year. We might spend the next one at home but we can’t say yet though.

Hope you are all well.
Love from yr loving son

P.S. Received Selfridges warrant safely, thanks.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Nov 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne


Extracted from


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






November 3, 1915.


“Last Sunday I spent with S.E. Swann at Shirehampton near Bristol.

We are having a Route March on Friday for the whole Division. The artillery takes up six miles of road alone plus 270 yards.  The whole Division 15 miles.  I spent some time making out a road space table for the Division.


November 8 1915.


“The Staff Captain is away and I am doing his job. He is ill.


The General is leaving the Division, and that means I loose this job. I do not want to go with the General, as he is not going to France, so I shall probably apply to be posted to a Brigade going overseas soon, as I am tired of being in England.

Unfortunately one has to go where one is sent in the army.


November 8 1915.


Elm Lodge, Sutton Veny.


“The Staff Captain is away ill, and I have to try and do his job as well as my own.

I was on duty over the week end but I managed to get a good long ride on Sunday morning, also a lunch and tea out with friends near here. My mare has been recognised as an animal that has done something or other before the war.  She has nearly broken my neck twice already.



25th November, 1915



The 34th Brown Division moving in a hostile country via FROMENSUTTON VENY on WYLYE is marching on the 25th November as left flank guard to the 12th Corps which is marching via MAIDEN BRADLEYNMONKTON DEVERILLNHINTON on FORFINGBRIDGE.

A White Force, strength estimated to be about 2 Inf. Brigades and 1 F.A. Brigade, the advanced guard of a White Corps moving south from SWINDON, is reported to have spent the night of 24/25th November in Billets at LITTLE CHEVERILL and WEST LAVINGTON.






The object of this Exercise is (1.) to practice the Division in deploying rapidly to a flank and attacking an enemy who has just moved into position: (2) to practice intercommunication and the rapid transmission of information to Report Centres: (3) to practice the supply of ammunition and the handling of casualties.



(Brown Force)

At 9.50 a.m. on the 25th November, 1915 the 34th Division marching S.E. is disposed as follows,

  1. Advanced Guard. Head of Main Guard at Railway Station Bridge SHERRINGTON.
  2. Main Body. Head at the Road Junction at Boyton marching on the LONGBRIDGE DEVERELL-SUTTON VENY-SHERRINGTON-WYLYE Road.
  3. Flank Guard. Head at N of Upton Lovell marching on the HEYTESBURY-CODFORD ST. MARY ROAD.



1 Bn. 103rd Inf. Bde.

Motor Machine Gun Battery.



Div. H.Q.

103rd Inf. Bde. (less 1 Bn.)

160th F.A. Bde. (less 1 Batt)

209th Field Co.

Bearer Div. 103rd Fd. Ambul.

102nd Inf. Bde.

175th F.A. Bde.

208th Fd. Co.

Bearer Div. 102nd Fd. Ambul.

176th F.A. Bde.

Div. AMM. Col.




  1. Sqn. N. Irish Horse.

34th Div. Cyclist Co.

101st Inf. Bde.

152nd F.A. Bde.

207th Field Co. (less Pontoon and Trestle wagons).

Bearer Div. 104th Fd. Amb.


At 9, a.m. the G.O.C. 34th Division receives the following reports:-

  • 21-25th Nov. Aerial Reconnaissance report the head of a hostile force, estimated at two Divisions, marching on POTTERNE ROAD left DEVIZES at 8.30 a.m. today and a small hostile force, estimated ar 2 Inf. Bdes. And 1 F.A. Bdes left IMBER marching south at 8 a.m. A.A.A.  From 3rd Corps 8.55 a.m.
  • 10-25th Nov. Following report just received from “C” Sqn. Div. Cav: – Have located some hostile infantry and artillery on the line 575-484.  they appear to be starting to entrench themselves.  I cannot work round their flanks as the ground West of Pt. 575 and east of point 484 is marshy and impassable.  From Flank Guard 8.50 a.m.


(SD) N.G. Cameron.

Lieut. Colonel.

General Staff.


Sunday November 28 1915.



“We have had several Field Days lately, and we have been very busy. This week has been a round of Brigade Inspections on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, on Thursday a Divisional Field Day.  It was very cold too.  Waller is away, so the General and I are alone.


On Thursday we go to the Ranges for firing practice. Headquarters have taken Tilshead House with stabling for 22 horses for a fortnight.  We have to get our provisions from Devizes, ten miles away.


Next Tuesday there is to be a Divisional Route March, and on Thursday we move to Tilshead.

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Nov 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Nov 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.


Wagon Lines (1st) Poperinghe

Monday 1st November 1915:  Rose at 9.30.  Nothing doing all day.  Said “Goodbye” to Arnold & left the guns at 6.30 pm in the mess cart.  Terrible night.  Raining hard.  Wet through.  Stayed at wagon lines.

Tuesday 2nd November 1915: Up at 7.  Raining hard.  Nothing to eat.  Already “fed up” with the wagon lines.  Very ungenerous.  Mud awful.  Bdr Forster & Wilde leave for D.A.C.

Wednesday 3rd November 1915: Up at 7.  Spent whole at wagon lines.  Raining.  Mud terrible.  Miserable doing nothing.  T.O. Butler leaves with his kit & mine.  Had an awful night.

Thursday 4th November 1915: Left wagon lines at 7 am on forage wagon & arrived back at 9.30.  Had a wash! (1st time for 4 days).  Rowdy interview with P.W.H.  Working all aft.  Went to Elverdinghe 6 pm – 12 pm.

Friday 5th November 1915:     Up at 6 am to go for forage & rations.  Mud terrible. Back at 10.30 am.  Letter writing until dinner.  Working on new stables in afternoon.  On Guard.  Raining hard.  Cold.

Saturday 6th November 1915: Went for rations at 6.30 & back at 10 am.  Letters noon.  New stables in afternoon.  All camp awakened at midnight to fetch 4 wagons out of ditch.  They were returning from Elverdinghe full of bricks.  Poor night’s sleep.


Sunday 7th November 1915:   Up at 6.30 for rations.  Back at 10.  “Woodbines” issued (35).  Raining hard.  Mud 9” deep.

Monday 8th November 1915:  Rose at 6 am to go for rations.  Back at 10.  Roads simply treacherous.  Fine day.  Working & filling sandbags all afternoon.

Tuesday 9th November 1915:  Rose at 6 am to go for rations.  Back at 10 am.  Breakfast.  Letters noon.  Working at new stables.  On Guard.  Terrible night.

Wednesday 10th November 1915:  Went for rations at 6.30.  Back at 10 am & then had breakfast.  Letters noon.  Working on new stables.  Good night’s sleep.

Thursday 11th November 1915: Rose at 5.30 am to go for rations.  Back at 11.  Letters 12.  Working hard all afternoon at new stables.  Parcel & letters from home.

Friday 12th November 1915:   Rose at 6.30 am & went for rations.  Back at 11. Letters noon.  Working at new stables all afternoon.  Early to bed.

Saturday 13th November 1915: Rose at 5.30 to go for rations.  Joined Div. Train at 7.  Back at 11.  Went for coal in afternoon.  On Guard.  Wet & cold.  Beastly.

Sunday 14th November 1915: Rose at 6.30.  Went for rations.  Good tobacco & cig issue.  Fine day.  Building new (winter) bivouac.

Monday 15th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Went on Sick Parade with 5 boils on my neck.  Dressed them 3 times during day.  Early to bed.  Made fire in bivouac.

Tuesday 16th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor at 9 am.  Received 3 letters & 3 papers.  Writing letters & reading all afternoon.  German shelling a good deal.

Wednesday 17th November 1915:  Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor at 9 & 2 pm.  Boils improving.  Wet day.  Letter writing & reading all day.  Early to bed.

Thursday 18th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor at 9 & 2 pm.  Boils getting on much better.  Plenty of matter issuing.  Wet day in aft.  Great Air raid by 10 German planes.  Bombs dropped quite near us.

Friday 19th November 1915:   Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor at 9.  Went with Harry Eagle for letters at noon. Reading & writing in afternoon.  Paid 25 francs.

Saturday 20th November 1915:  Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor at 10 am.  off duty.  Spent day in reading & writing.

Sunday 21st November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  On duty again although alt doctor.  Went to Amm Col with Amm Stuck.

Monday 22nd November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Neck healing up.  Went for rations.  Back at 4.  Good dinner.  Early to bed.              Frosty.

Tuesday 23rd November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Went for rations at 11 am.  Back at 4 pm.  Roads terribly treacherous.  On         Guard.  Very mild. – Rain.

Wednesday 24th November 1915: Got two teams off to Ypres at 6 am.  Saw Doctor at 9.30.  Neck nearly better.  Went for rations at 11.  Back at 3.30 pm.  Writing letters until tea.  Early to bed.

Thursday 25th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Rations 11 – 3.30 pm.  Roads simply awful.  Letter writing before tea.  Bed 7 pm.

Friday 26th November 1915:   Rose at 8 am.  Doctor 9.30.  Rations 11 – 3.30 pm.  On H.Q.            Guard.  Spent night in ** Bed 8 pm.

Saturday 27th November 1915: Terribly frosty.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Rations 11 – 3.30. Recd Gum boots, So’ Wester & waterproof waistcoat from home.

Sunday 28th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Out for rations 11 – 3.30.  Terribly frosty.  A.S.C. wagon stuck 3.30 – 5 pm.  Received Oilskin from home.

Monday 29th November 1915: Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor 9.30.  Terribly wet.  Raining all day.  Oilskin etc simply grand.  Received weekly pcl from home.

Tuesday 30th November 1915:  Rose at 8.  Saw Doctor for the last time at 9.30.  Neck quite better.  Rations at 10.30 – 3.30.  On Guard.  Not so cold as of late.  Decent guard on.

G G Hammond letter Nov 15

P/e G.G. Hammond No 3143

2/7th Bat Mc/r Regt

D Comp. 15 platoon

Crowbro’ Sussex


Dear Father & Mother

What do you think of the glorious news?  I am delighted.  I was beginning to give up all hope but on Tuesday I thought I would try again.  I was very fortunate in seeing the Adjutant just as he was going to see the Colonel and he said if I cared to wait he would mention my application to him.  After I had waited about an hour I was called in and then the Colonel asked me several questions, where was I educated, what was my father – manager of the Pru in S’port, what I was in civilian life – student for D & C, if I had any private income, I said I should be funded by my father – the Colonel said I must be able to fund at least 50£ per annum.  Well Dad I think you will be able to manage that between you.  Willis will contribute something and I think that one of the family ought to be in the scheme.  It does not do for me to lay the law down about this matter as it all depends on you, but I am just wiring you all particulars.  I think it would be a good idea to approach Mr. Kemp if the thing comes off.  Will resume after answering these questions the Colonel said I could have my application forms, but the Adj could not give them to me at the time as there had been some alterations and they were expecting a new set from the War Office.  However he said he I should have them **, immediately they came I am a bit annoyed at the delay but can only carry on until they come.

I shan’t be sorry to get a commission as I have been picked out to be a grenadier being one of the bravest, coolest and most courageous men in the ranks – bow wow.  From what I can see of it, it is a most dangerous game and is known down here as the Suicide Club.  They only give them 24 to live at the front.  It is our duty to precede an attacking party and clear the enemy’s trenches with bombs, we have had several experiments with Gun Cotton, you would be surprised at the destruction made by the exploding of 1lb of Gun Cotton.

For our experience we had 1lb of Gun Cotton round the trunk of a tree about 10” in diam.  After the explosion the tree was a minus quantity.  There is a great risk of being killed by one of your own bombs as you hold until it is almost time for it to go off so the enemy won’t have any chance of throwing them back.  I shall have to see the Brigadier when I have filled my forms in and then it all rests with him.  I am very keen now.  Old Gus seems to be having a lively time of it with the lice, 50 of our chaps have been “chatty” through sleeping in an old (***) barn whilst on guard.  I don’t think it is worth while coming over to Sport as the only leave we get is 1 pm Sat until Sunday night & the fare is 18/9.  I would give any to be at home for about a week, it is a bit too bad to give me the menu of the dinner when I have to fight for my skilly.  The food is not much better, one day the whole Bat turned out on the parade ground as we had no tea- not a crumb – things looked very bad, but the S.M. promised them some so everything passed off.  I have written home for some food but don’t get any.  The cake Ma sent went in a meal.  Don’t send any tinned meat I get enough of it, Ma I could sit down and polish off the Sunday’s dinner for the whole family and then feel hungry.

It is awful in this hut, the windows have not been put in since the fire and it has rained in torrents this last 3 days.  Consequently the floor is all wet.  I could have had a pass for London this weekend but I think I will go next week if I can manage it.  I might see Will.  Has Gladys passed her exam.  I hope she dose well.  I am expecting my tin this week and will send a pc if it doesn’t come before Tuesday.  I have to buy a lot of my food.

I am sorry Gladys is not coming back to London with Uncle Will, it is not all that expensive and I should have a chance of seeing her.  Well I shall have to conclude now as a chap is going to the village so he can post this, if I miss him it will be Sunday night before there is a collection.  Have you sent for a birth certificate.  I think it would be advisable under the circumstances as everything seems satisfactory.  I will let Gladys swank me down Wellington Rd if it comes off.

Love George

F Hammond letter 28 Nov 15


28 Nov 15

Dear Mar & Pa

Here we are again back in the old spot.  I caught the train from Victoria alright had to stay for a day in a rest camp at Boulogne but managed to have a look round.  It is a very nice place many hospitals are there.  I eventually landed to the end of the train journey and had a good stiff walk of 8 miles landing in camp just in time for breakfast.  It appears that I had a day too little and that I should have had a postcard telling me to stay another day anyway its all the same now but a bit hard luck.  I am OK except for a bit of cold which I caught in Blighty but I shall soon get hardened again.  It has been freezing this last day or so and the ground is a bit firmer.  The flash lamp is a huge success.  If you send me anything out send me a refill also I forgot my shaving brush & soap.  You might drop those in.  How’s my dawg going on I would soon have trained him and made him a good house dog so that you would soon have heard when I land at night next time.  I suppose Gladys is looking forward to her Xmas holidays.  Sorry couldn’t eat any more onions or walnuts as I would liked to have made a bigger impression on them.  I have enclosed the form and hope you get it in time.  Let me know when you get it.




F Hammond letter 12 Nov 15



Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  I received Par’s letter and enclosure containing handkerchiefs and the present sent by Mr. Taylor it is very kind of him and I will drop him a line at first opportunity.  There is very little to say we are still in the same place and likely to remain here during the winter.  It is very quiet round here nothing only a cottage here and there which we patronise by partaking coffee & biscuits.  The weather is very wild at present but we manage to keep fairly dry.  The Section have started leave so its only a matter of a short time before I get mine.  Sorry to hear Turk has not been so well lately but hope he is OK by now.  I had a letter from Gladys while she was at Mae hope she had a good time and that she will pass her exam this time.  I haven’t seen Jim Hopkinson since but their HQ is about 6 miles from here.  I have had letters from several people lately so probably that would account for me not writing for so long however if I don’t write when there’s nothing to relate I will drop you a pc often.  Pa might remember me to Harry Bennett.  Glad to hear he volunteered anyway.  There’s a tale you might tell him of a man being in hospital and didn’t want to leave it.  The Dr. came round and asked him how he was going on.  Oh he replied my eyesight is still very bad Dr. what said the Doctor Do you mean to say my treatment isn’t doing you any good?  Alright my boy up you go.  You will make a good man for a listening post which is a very delicate job I can tell you.

Well bye bye for present


F Hammond letter 4 Nov 15


Dear M & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  I am still in the same place and are likely to remain here until 1916.  However some of us are getting leave so expect to be home between now and Xmas probably before.  There is very little to say as we are just keeping the line.  The weather has been very wet and the life of the tommies in the trenches is not at all rosy however they keep up their spirits OK.  I have had a pair of gloves leather with fur lining so shall not want mittens also had a cap comforter.  If I want anything I will write for it or get it when I have tested some of Mar’s onions & walnuts.  Hope all are well at home had a letter from many people lately including Geo, Willie & a parcel from Gladys Grimshaw with her life in London at the time of the Big air raid.  Yes I was sat round the cook house when up jumped Jim Hopkinson.  He is at Reninghelst and I said I would see him again but since then we have been kept up here permanently from where we are we can see the remains of the tower of Ypres cathedral.

Area of text crossed through.  You might let the lads know I am expecting to come home any day.  I will drop you a line immediately I get leave.  I think this is all this time we never know what day it is but I think it must be about a fortnight ago since I wrote however Cheer ho.  I don’t suppose there will be much doing now until the spring so shall not be able to give you any exciting news.  However one never knows out here.  I believe the King was very near us the other day.  I did not see him however.  Well Bye Bye for present.  I have written this in a hurry.  Love to all Fred.

November 1915

On the 4th November Sir William Birdwood was appointed to command the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, with Sir Charles Monro appointed to command the Salonika Force.


Great Britain, on the 10th November, formed a Requisition Committee authorising the requisition of ships for carriage of foodstuffs. The Committee prohibited voyages between foreign ports except under license.


Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna launches the Forth Battle of Isonzo on the 10th November, which was effectively a continuation of the Third Battle.


On the 21st November, the Serbian Vojvoda [Chief of Staff] Marshall Radomir Putnik ordered a full military retreat south and west through allied Montenegro and into neutral Albania. His forces were outnumbered and out outgunned. The weather was terrible, the roads poor and tens of thousands refugee civilians retreated along with the army. The retreating Serbs were left with very little supplies and food. The British nurse, Flora Sandes, recently enlisted into the Serbian army, retreated alongside the military forces.


The 22nd November saw the beginning of the Battle of Ctesiphon between British and British Indian forces against the Otterman Empire. Part of the Mesopotamian campaign, Ctesiphon lies on the western bank of the Tigris River approximately 26km (16 miles) south-east of Baghdad. The Otterman forces formed well-camouflaged and formidable defences with 18,000 troops facing 11,000 of the British forces. The British frontal attack was to consist of three infantry columns, and a forth column of cavalry and infantry was to swing round the left flank of the Otterman lines. After two days the British retreated, after suffering heavy losses.


On the 30th November, the triple entente of Great Britain, France and Russia, with Italy, signed the formal signature of the Pact of London. According to the pact, Italy was to leave the German and Austria/Hungarian triple alliance and join the triple entente. Assuming victory against Germany and her allies, the triple entente promised Italy territorial gains.