George Ryan’s letter home dated 29 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 29 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
29 Oct 1915

Dear Ma,

Received your letter of Oct 7. I’ve found out that brothers have to take a second place, as you say, & I’ve also found out that pals have to take second place. It’s a month now since I heard from a certain pal of mine (I won’t mention any names) & my elder sister only writes when she thinks of it – which isn’t very often – so together they must be having a very busy time. I hope you won’t let things go too far. I should like to be home to be able to act as – well never mind what. There’s one thing about it if they have not got time to write a letter they have not time to read one so they save me the trouble of writing.

We fired 10 rounds on the 30 yds range Wed morning. We are going to Jaffapore next month to do our annual firing course.

The news in the papers has been very good each day for the last fortnight. I hope it will continue; we seem to be in the thick of it now. I reckon it must end some time next year. By the way it’s a year ago to-day we left Southampton; it seems much longer than that. I hope next Oct 29 will see us making preparations for leaving India for Southampton.

Tell dad I should like him to pump up my bicycle tyres each time they get vary soft, as a pal tells me they don’t perish so quickly if they are pumped up now & again.

Hope you are all well.
Love to all,
Yr affectionate son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
22 Oct 1915

Dear Ma,

Many thanks for your letter of Sept 30. Sorry to hear about C. Dixon being wounded. I already knew about Alf Ham. I think I’ve told you before he was one of the chaps we left behind at Sittingbourne.

Thirty two of us spent 2 days under canvas this week at Cossipore, Tuesday to Thursday there was a Hindoo Festival & the next day there was a Mohammedan Festival. The Mohammedans at their Festival kill a cow, which is considered a sacred animal by the Hindoos, & if they can they like to kill it in front of a Hindoo Temple, which of course causes trouble. Well we had to be at Cossipore close at hand in case there was any trouble. There was not room for us all in the Guard Room so we had to camp out at the back. However we were not wanted so we “struck” camp & came back yesterday. It was jolly rotten up there for us as we could not go out & there was nothing for us to do. We were supposed to be ready to turn out in a few minutes, at any time. We had to march there & we had to march back as there we[re] no “Gharies” available. The Ghari-wollahs were taking part in the festivities I suppose. On Thursday we had to let down the tents & beds & load them on the wagons. It wasn’t half hot. We’d done quite enough by the time we got back. I’m not looking forward to going to Jaffapore next month where we shall live under canvas while we do our firing.

It’s very nice under canvas as far as sleeping goes but there are no conveniences & nowhere to keep your things. And then of course there’s plenty of them wretched ants, all sizes – 1/8 ” up to nearly an inch, & they get all over the place.

Moving to Dinapore seems to be a “Washout” now. The Colonel got the move sanctioned but it would have to be at the Battalion’s expense but it’s all fallen through for some reason or other.

Have my photos that I sent you kept alright? I notice one of those I’ve got left is a bit dis-coloured.

Hope you are all well.
Love to all from
Yr loving son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 22 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
22 Oct 1915

Dear Dad,

Thanks very much for your letter. I’m glad you are still keeping on full time at the shop.

No doubt there are a lot at work at Enfield but I’ve got some idea of what it must be like. The Factories here & at Cossipore & Ishapore are fairly big & are working at top speed. It’s a sight when they all come trooping out all dressed in different coloured rags & 9 out of 10 carrying umbrellas which they have to open as they are searched when they go out.

Thanks very much for looking after my bike. I don’t think there’s any need to pump up the tyres, as they are not on the ground. Unless you think it will help to keep them from perishing.

Told Ma all the news so can’t write any more & I’ve got to get ready to go on guard.

Yr loving son
George

George Ryan’s letter home dated 15 Oct 1915

George Ryan’s letter home dated 15 Oct 1915

On headed notepaper with regimental crest 9th Middlesex Regt.
Dum-dum.
India.
15 Oct 1915

Dear M & F,

Thanks for your letter of Sept 23rd. We still get newspapers alright. I don’t see how they could stop them.

Yes I wish I could come home & look after my sisters. Apparently they want a little looking after. But I don’t think you will see me home till 3 or 4 months after peace has been declared.

R. Bales had a serious illness I think a few months ago but I should think he’s alright again now. Have E & C Clark joined anything?

Our paper says this morning that there’s been another Zeppelin raid over London, but they did no damage to Public Buildings. I hope it wasn’t in your district. It’s time they found some means of stopping them. I notice Bottomley put rather a “puzzler” in his article in the Sun. Pictorial a few weeks ago when he asked how it was they never raided Paris now.

You asked me last week if there was anything you could send me. There are one or two odd things you might send next time you are sending anything. I’m pretty well off in clothing as after we got that £3= a little while ago I got some vests & khaki shirts & I’m going to get some thin socks & Pyjamas when I go to Calcutta to-morrow; they are quite cheap there. In my top left hand draw I think you’ll find a couple of hexagon shaped pencils, with protectors & rubber; you might send me those, also my “Shorthand Instructor”, my watch wrist strap – if it’s still knocking about – & some grey darning wool & a yard of ¼ “ elastic. And I should like you to get me a couple of tooth brushes, (shaped), a bottle of Brilliantine & a pipe. I can’t get any decent darning wool or tooth-brushes. I’ve paid 12a for the latter & I’ve paid 4a but neither are much good. You know the size bottle of Brilliantine I used to have. Don’t pay more than 9d for it. I don’t think you can get it locally but I expect Dad passes a barber’s. I’ve drawn the pipe I should like on the back of this sheet. Get a good one, a “Brumfit” or “Civic” or something of that sort. Pipes are not up to much here unless you pay a lot for them. The one I’ve got now I paid 2s/6d for in Calcutta but it isn’t a very good one, although it’s English make. (Peterson’s)

I only paid 3d insurance on Dad’s cigars so if your rates are no dearer its worth while insuring parcels. The rate goes with what you value the contents at. I think ours is 3d up to £1=.

By the way I hope you have not kept any of my under clothing – shirts, vests, pants, ties collars – what Dad can’t wear, put in the Rag-bag.

We are still arguing among ourselves as to whether we are going to Dinapore so answer this to Dum-dum. I suppose if we do move we shall only be given a few hours notice, as usual.

Hoping you are all well.
A touch of Prickly Heat now & again is the only trifle troubling me.
Love to all, from
Yr affec son
George

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Oct 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

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

—————–

 

1915

 

 

 

October 5 1915.

R.P.

Royal Artillery Headquarters,

34th Division,

Elm Lodge,

Sutton Veny

Nr. Warminster.

Wilts.

 

“We have just completed two days move in the rain, on Saturday and Sunday. Yesterday I went back to see that the old camp was cleared up.

The Brigade Major and I reside here alone, but the office is on the ground floor. The camp itself is about three miles away, where the troops are in huts.

 

October 7 1915.

 

R.A.H.Q. 34th Div.

Elm Lodge

Sutton Veny

 

“We moved here on Saturday and Sunday last in the wet. We got soaked to the skin.  It did not stop raining once.

 

Luckily I travelled by car, but the troops got horribly wet, poor wretches. My housekeeping duties are not so oppressive now, partly because I am more accustomed to them, and partly because the General is not living with us now.  He has a house in Warminster, and a wife to cater for him.  Our mess has therefore dwindled to two, the B.M. and myself.  Unfortunately our H.Q. Office and Mess are fully 3 miles away from the camp which is now of hutments; but it does not take long in the new car, a 30/60 horse power 6 cylinder Sheffield-Simplex.

 

Last night we went into Bath.  The B.M. with his people, and had dinner at the Empire Hotel and went to the Dollar Princess afterwards, returning about 12.30 a.m.

 

The floors of the mess were polished today, and we are to have rugs. The house was in a filthy state when we came in, but I am learning the use of Zog, Bluebell and soda.

 

 

October 18 1915.

 

I motored to Bath on Saturday afternoon, called on some friends, and then went to the Pump Room Concert.  This week the Brigades are cooperating with the “feet” in night operations.  Wednesday night is the only one off, and we make an expedition to the Theatre at Bath.  Sutton Veny is enough to provide a suicide’s grave.

 

November 3, 1915.

R.P.

“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.

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Oct 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Oct 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.

 

Poperinghe.

Friday 1st October 1915:         Went for rations at 9.15.  Cold wind.  Bad headache.  Stomach upset.  Afternoon at the latrines & in the bivouac.

Saturday 2nd October 1915:    Went for rations at 9.15.  In bed with chill.  Shivering all over.  Bed all day.  Feeling rotten at night.

Sunday 3rd October 1915:       Still rotten.  Rations 9.15.  Back at noon.  Afternoon holiday.  Cold day. Reading & writing.

Monday 4th October 1915:      Went for rations 9.15.  Back at noon.  Helping to put up stables in aft.  Poperinghe bombarded.  41 shells.

Tuesday 5th October 1915:      Went for rations at 9.15.  Back at noon.  Football match.  We won 3-2, I scoring last goal.  Afternoon letter writing.

Wednesday 6th October 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Back at noon.  Helping Dick Clarkson to put up horse jumps.  On H.Q. Guard.  “Stood to” at 4.30 am. Cold.

Thursday 7th October 1915:    Went for rations at 8.30.  Back at 11 am.  In afternoon helping Cpt P.H. Walker with the horse jumps.  P.H.W. jumping later.

Friday 8th October 1915:         Went for rations at 8.30.  Back at 11 am.  Wrote 3 letters before dinner.  Helping T.O.B. in aft with new stabling.

Saturday 9th October 1915:     Went for rations 8.30.  Back 11 am.  Made some jelly & custard.  Afternoon – playing football.

Poperinghe & Brielen.

Sunday 10th October 1915:     Went for rations 8.30.  Afternoon holiday.  Fine & warm.  Football H.Q. guard – 15 Shells into “Pop”.

Monday 11th October 1915:    Rations 8.30.  Back at 11.  Won 3 1st prizes with mules, N.C.O’s mount & harness.  Out at Pop. For P.H.W.

Tuesday 12th October 1915:    Went for rations at 8.30.  Back at 11.  Afternoon holiday.  Football & writing letters.  Evening we had a sing-song.

Wednesday 13th October 1915: Went for rations 8.30.  Back at 11.  Helping T.O.B. with Stabling.  Afternoon holiday.  Played football.

Thursday 14th October 1915:  Rations 8.30.  Back at 11.  Stabling with Butler.  On H.Q. guard.  Not a wink of sleep.

Friday 15th October 1915:       Rations 8.30.  Went up to Battery for gun-drill.  Saw Arnold.  Attchd to B gun with Cpl W. Dawson.  Good night’s sleep amongst the shells.

Saturday 16th October 1915:   Rose at 9.30.  Cleaned B gun with W.L.D. and Ray Renwick.  Fired 6 shell per gun.  All batteries round about firing.  Terrific din.  Result: stopped German attack 3 times.

Brielen near Ypres.

Sunday 17th October 1915:     Got up 9.30.  Went potato digging with Butler.  Gun laying & drill.  Out at night with Arnold.

Monday 18th October 1915:    Got up 9.30.  Gun laying practice.  German planes give battle to some of ours.

Tuesday 19th October 1915:    Got up 9.30.  German start “clodding” Dawson’s corner & kill R.E. Colonel.  Fired 8 shell from B gun in aft.  Went to Elverdinghe bricking 12-2 am.

Wednesday 20th October 1915: Got up 9.30.  German aeroplanes over.  Air duel.  Clodding the wood by the enemy.  Fired 10 shell per gun.  Went to Brielen village with Arnold.

Thursday 21st October 1915:  Rose at 5.30. & went with Horace Tennant down to O.P. & beyond.  Heavy artillery fired on both sides.  11th Battery in action.  Tenant & I between 2 fires.  30 shells near us.

Friday 22nd October 1915:      Rose at 9.30.  D gun firing 40 lb shells.  Quite a success.  We fired 8 rounds 50 lbs.  Playing at games at night.

Saturday 23rd October 1915:   Up at 9.30. Dawson goes to Wagon lines.  Sergt Gee back from leave.  Quiet day.

N.B. We knocked two trench mortars out of action on Friday.

Sunday 24th October 1915:     Got up 9.30.  My 19th Birthday.  Had a lovely tea with Arnold & Sergt Gee.  Beautiful cake from home.  Grand day.

Monday 25th October 1915:    Got up 9.30.  Terribly wet, 1st wet day for weeks.  Stayed in dug-out writing letters & playing games.            Gramophone on.

Tuesday 26th October 1915:    Rose at 9.30.  Potato digging.  Wet day.  Amused ourselves all day with gramophone, letter writing &           reading.

Wednesday 27th October 1915: Rose at 9.30.              Went to billets for meals.  In Brielen with Arnold shopping.  Fine day.  Many aeroplane fights.  Very thrilling.

Thursday 28th October 1915:  Rose at 9.30.  “D” gun firing 40 lb shells.  Quite a success.  Firing at German transports at Pilkem Cross Roads.

Friday 29th October 1915:       Rose at 9.30.  Fine day.  Firing 40 lb shell by aeroplane observation.  Went bricking to Elverdinghe 12 – 2 am.

Saturday 30th October 1915:   Rose at 9.30.  Fine day.  Aeroplanes up again & fighting enemy planes.  Fine sight.  2 “Archies” in action at billet.

Wagon Lines (1st) Poperinghe

Sunday 31st October 1915:     Rose at 9.30!  Potato digging.  Fine day, indeed, the last fine day for some time to come.  Aeroplane battles.

Recruiting letter Oct 15

War Office

Whitehall

S.W.

 

October 1915

 

Sir,

At my request, the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, representing all Political Parties working in conjunction with the Joint Labour Recruiting Committee are organising a great recruiting campaign to induce men who can be spared, to come forward voluntarily for service in the Army.  If this effort does not succeed, the Country knows that everything possible will have been done to make the voluntary system a success, and will have to decide by what method sufficient recruits can be obtained to maintain our Armies in the field at their required strength.

 

Mr. Asquith pledged this Country to support our Allies to the fullest extent in our power.  It was a pledge given on behalf of the Nation and endorsed by all parties.  Every man of military age and fitness must equally bear his share in redeeming it.

 

May I, as Director – General of Recruiting, beg you to consider your own position?  Ask yourself whether, in a country fighting as ours is for its very existence, you are doing all you can for its safety, and whether the reason you have hitherto held valid as one for not enlisting holds good at the present crisis.  Lord Kitchener wants every man he can get.  Will you not be one of those who respond to your Country’s call?

 

I am,

Yours faithfully,

Derby

Director-General of Recruiting,

War Diary 20th Siege Battery R.G.A. Jun to Sep 15

WAR DIARY

 

Of

 

20th Siege Battery R.G.A.

 

From 18th June 1915– To 25th September 1915

 

Place        Date    Hour                                                Summary of Events and Information

June

TAUNTON  18th 7.10 a.m.                 Entrained for SOUTHAMPTON to embark for FRANCE.  Arrived Southampton 12.5 p.m.  Sent to rest camp for night – guns left in docks – Transport had embarked at AVONMOUTH on the 16th inst.

SOUTHAMPTON 19th 5 p.m.            Cast off & proceeded across Channel escorted by destroyers.  Arrived at

BOULOGNE          20th  3.a.m.          & commenced unloading at 8 a.m.  Transport & Capt Fenner arrived from Avonmouth same time.  These commenced unloading at 3 p.m.  men marched to ST MARTINS Camp abt 1.15 p.m.

Informed D.A. & Q.M.G. base that I should be ready to start day break on 22nd inst.

BOULOGNE    21st                            Caterpillars & lorries finished unloading by 9.30 a.m.  Belting for fan drive of caterpillars had to be procured.  Guns & lorries taken up the hill to Napoleon’s monument at 5 p.m.

22nd 5.30 a.m.            Guns & caterpillars, 1 officer & 20 men – started to march to AUTIGNES, about 22 miles – Men & lorries started at 7.15 a.m.  Caterpillars broke down once or twice, probably from going too fast, and did not arrive till 11 p.m.

AUTIGNES     23rd 9.15 a.m.             Under orders from G.H.Q. ST OMER.  Started for TILQUES about 10 miles.  Caterpillars arrived 4 p.m.

TILQUES        24th to 29th                  Waited at TILQUES.  Got orders to march to  HAZEBROUCK to join IInd Army.

30th 7.30 a.m.             Marched to HAZEBROUCK, about 17 miles.  Caterpillars & guns arrived 4 p.m.

July

HAZEBROUCK 1st 10.30 a.m.         Marched to POPERINGHE & then to ELVERDINGHE.  Most delayed at start by No 2 gun getting too close to ditch at starting & getting a wheel down – 3 horses to extract.  Got No 1 gun into position selected by Gen. Uniacke 2nd Group H.A.R. by 3 a.m.  Just getting light.  No 2 placed under trees.

 

July

ELVERDINGHE 2nd                         At work on position, luckily a dull day & no aeroplanes.  At 9 p.m. started to get No 2 gun in position: finished by 11 p.m.

3rd                          Telephone lines laid to forward observing position by Capt. FENNER.

4th                          Difficulties about water supply, which were overcome.

5th                          Shells about 100x to left flank of battery – pieces all over the battery.

6th                          Bombardment by 5th Division on our front at 5 a.m.  Infantry attack to take short length of trench quite successful.

7th                          Blowing hard & some rain.  3 rounds per gun were allotted to us to settle platforms.  Asked that aeroplane might observe these when it was possible to fire.  Looked for alternative position in afternoon.

8th                          Still blowing hard – Went with Kingscote to see a Forward Observing Station close to trenches.  Aeroplane work impossible.  West Riding Field Artillery arrived in evening.

9th                          Dull weather.  Aeroplane work impossible.

10th                          Dull weather.  Clouds low.  Aeroplane work impossible.

11th                          Too windy & cloudy.  Aeroplane work impossible.  Went in afternoon to see Left half Battery which had arrived in position at NIEPPE.

12th                          Nothing doing.

13th                          Unfavourable for aeroplane work.  About 16 – 4.2” shell round house in which Officers are billeted, looking for A.A. gun which was in action on previous evening behind house.

6 p.m.               Bombardment by Germans – Attack stopped by Our Artillery – Much firing which died away about 11 p.m.

14th 3p.m.                 3 rounds from No 1 in direction of LANGEMARCK Stn.  1st round only was observed –

1 round from  No 2  aeroplane then went home without a word.

15th                           To see Gen Uniake at H.Q. 2nd H.A.R.   Told I could fire 6 more rounds with aeroplane.  Went to look at another Forward Observing Station, with Capt. FENNER who had been taken round French Stations on previous day by French Officer Capt. MARTIN in charge of all French O.P.s  Previously I had made acquaintance of Commandant Ricard & several other French Officers of French Heavy Artillery.

16th                           Too rough to shoot.

17th                           Emptied No 2 gun in direction of LANGEMARCK.

18th                           To windy to shoot in morning. Prevented in evening by presence of German aeroplanes which circled in front of us for an hour and a half.

ELVERDINGHE 19th                        Registered cross roads at PILCKEM with 3 rds from No 1 in morning & LANGEMARCK Station with rounds from No 1 & No 2 in afternoon.  Again aeroplane went home before we had finished.  Much delayed by German aeroplanes which were frequently over us.

20th                       No firing.  Aeroplane came out to register at about 6.30 p.m. but Hostile aircraft were in front of battery.

21st                      Aeroplane went up three times to register 1st occasion 8 a.m.  Clouds too low.  2nd at 6 p.m. when Hostile aircraft were in front and 3rd at 7.30 p.m. Hostile aircraft still about – Aeroplane went home about 7.50 p.m. at which time Hostile aircraft disappeared also.

VERDINGHE        22nd                     Aeroplane should have gone up at 7 a.m. but prevented by engine trouble.

4 p.m.          Fired 12 rounds (5 from No 1 & 7 from No 2) into and about buildings in B.6.d.  Last round struck ruins of old brewery. Raining most of the time.  2nd charge used – accuracy moderately satisfactory.

23rd                       Sergeant Mason (pay sergeant) joined from base HAVRE.

2.45 p.m.     Fired 3 rounds from No 1 & 5 from No 2 at building in B.6.d. with 2nd charge & in very high wind (about 60 fs) all but first & last rounds hit buildings.

24th                      No firing.

25th                      112 rounds with 3rd charge at buildings in C/C.  Error of 3o  in line from No 1 to start with due probably to incorrect registration by airman on PILCKEM Crossroads – Direct hit at 7th round. – Observed from GAY FARM.

26th                     No firing went to BAILLEUL to see IIIrd Group H.A.R. & enquire about move to NIEPPE.

ELVERDINGHE   27th      11 a.m.   12 more rounds – Direct hit on house engaged with 3rd round – Put 4 rounds round mound reported to be machine gun emplacement – No sign of movement so went on to some houses beyond – hit some outbuildings – observed from high tree – all the above shooting was done by ranging on line of observation which was satisfactorily done.

28th 8 p.m.           Took guns out of position & got them clear of village by 9 p.m. to march to NIEPPE via BAILLEUL.  Guns arrived BALLEUL (14 ms) 4 a.m. on 28th.

Men & lorries left at 10 p.m. arriving LE ROSSIGNOL farm at 1.30 a.m. 27th.

NIEPPE                   28th 10 a.m.        Commenced to prepare battery position, guns remaining on road at BAILLEUL.

10 p.m.        Guns brought into position – arming completed by 12.30 a.m. on 28th.

29th                      Digging in continued.  Went with Major Swayne & Capt Coe over KEMMEL observation station.

NIEPPE             30th                       Made arrangements to shoot with aeroplane observation after 3 p.m.  At 2.15 p.m. received telephone message to prepare to cooperate in an attack – nothing happened however and it appeared afterwards that wireless had broken down.  

31st                      Stood by in case it might be possible to shoot.  Completed dug outs &c.  at 7 p.m. received orders to return at once to ELVERDINGHE.  Guns being loaded, were emptied over German lines at 8 p.m. and by 9.15 were on the road to BAILLEUL.  They arrived 3 miles short of POPERINGHE at 4 a.m. & stopped there the day.

 

 

August

1st   3.30 a.m.    Started personally to report to 2nd Group H.A.R. which I did at 5 a.m.  Remainder of battery started in lorries at about 7.30 a.m. & arrived ELVERDINGHE about 11.0 a.m.

Was instructed by H.A.R. 2nd Group to go into former position if I could find place for No 1 gun whose place was occupied by a 60 pr of Galloway’s.  Went to see Galloway at 7.0 a.m. he went out at 9.0 a.m. to see if he could find another place for his 60 pr.  I found a good position for 8” Hows about 900 yards behind former position.  Reported to H.A.R. about 11 a.m.  Gen Uniake agreed to this position & we went in.  Guns arrived at 8 p.m.

ELVERDINGHE       2nd 3 p.m.        14 rounds fired to register Standard line and one other target.  5th round from No 1 gun HIT & 4th round from No 2.  Line laid out by compass.

3rd 3.30 p.m.     17 rounds fired registering German trenches (2)

4th                     Raining & misty nothing doing.

5th 4.0 p.m.       13 rounds registering 2 buildings, first of which was hit.

6th 3.30 p.m.     3 rounds registering No 1 on railway cutting.

7th 2 a.m.          10 rounds bombarding, railway cutting touch & touch in C.7.a.0.5. to 2.4.

4 p.m.          9 rounds registering German redoubt C.7.a.8.0 &.2 & farm C.8.a.8.2 used O.P. post of 10” How Bty 4 How Bde W. Riding Divn.

 

 

ELVERINGHE        8th 2 a.m.        10 rounds as on 7th.

6.30 p.m. to 8.        20 rounds on two German trenches, redoubt & farm already registered.  Capt. Fenner at O.P. could observe nothing after 1st round as whole front was covered with smoke of bursting shells.  The French were cooperating from the left.  At 9.30 p.m. Capt. Fenner left O.P. post to return but missing his way in a field a short way from O.P. was caught by a flare & fired on with rifle & machine gun.  Eventually got to cover in a ditch where he had to remain the night.

9th 2.30 a.m to 3          Bombardment of German trenches. Battery then stood by in case targets should be sent down by wireless aeroplane.  Nothing was received however.

10th                   No firing.

11th                   20 rounds allotted for destruction of buildings  – much delayed by enemy aeroplane in front of battery – fired one round only when we got information that wireless aeroplane would range us on German 17” How in FOREST D’ HOUTHOULST – apparently at least 500 yards beyond our range.  Fired 2 rounds first reported “Just Right, range correct.”  Second “Line correct about 100x short”.

12th 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.  Twenty two rounds fired at German strong post in C.14.a in conjunction with 4th Siege Battery & 49th Divisional Artillery.  Shooting not very good about 6 hits but one round fell 200x short – All from No 2 gun of which elevating gear is very loose and a good deal worn.  Also there is no clamp to elevating gear which may also have a deleterious effect on shooting.  Observed from Canal Bank with Capt. Heaslop of 4th Siege.

13th                     Went to see Gen. Uniacke 2nd Group H.A.R. who instructed me to fire a few rounds if enemy opened in the Canal bank.  Took Lt. Spring down to F.O.P. of 10th Howitzer Battery (W. Riding Divn.).  Fairly quiet on canal bank.  No firing.

14th                      Quiet on canal bank in morning.  Went down in afternoon 1.30 p.m. with Capt. Heaslop 4th Siege to their O.P. to put 20 rounds into buildings round crossroads C.1.c.7.2.  no 1 gun 2nd charge.  Shot well in spite of wind but deflection for wind worked out at more than stated in Range Table.  Good deal of damage done to buildings and possibly trenches which are thick round that part.  In retaliation presumably at 5.0 p.m. enemy shelled in the direction, but well wide of, 4th Siege & then went on to 7th Siege whose cartridges were destroyed together with their tackle store.  At 6.10 p.m. message received to put 20 rounds into LANGEMARCK which was done at once.  Shelling than seemed to cease.

15th                     Quiet day.  No firing.

ELVERTINGHE  16th                    Went down to H.Q. 147th Infy Brigade to ask what they would suggest in way of retaliation.  Asked them to let us know through 4th Siege with whom we are in communication when shelling became heavy.  They seemed to think that this was the duty of the Artillery Liaison Officer.

8.30 p.m.    Moved No 1 gun to grounds of Red Chateau just behind old position with a view to taking on German 42 cm How. at extreme range (Map range 10,600).  Got into position & ready for action by 1 a.m.

17th                     Too misty to fire in morning – Commenced firing at about 3 p.m. – Fired 8 rounds of which last was reported as 30x from target – Delayed by presence of enemy machines & eventually fired 9th round about 7 p.m.

18th                     Prevented from firing in afternoon by enemy aeroplanes & observation balloon.  About 1.0 p.m. enemy shelled all round gun position with 4” gas and shrapnel – one shell 2x from L gun wheel & one 8x from tail – Gr Warwick v. slightly wounded.  Shelling due to working & digging parties that swarm all round, & no doubt seen by aeroplanes.

19th 10 a.m.        Put 20 rounds into German redoubt C.15.a.3.2.  Short run by Capt Fenner 15 reported as effective & doing material damage.

4 p.m.      6 rounds at 17” How.  Wind too much from North – 3 rounds unobserved and 3 rounds short – not worth going on – impossible to reach it.  Received orders at 5 p.m. to take No 1 gun back to its original position during night.

9 p.m.     No 1 gun shifted & taken back to original position.

20th                     No firing.

21st                     No firing rain & wind.

22nd 10.30 a.m.   5 rounds at trench near KIEL COTTAGE – stopped firing as enemy observation balloon could have seen flash through gap in trees.

23rd                     As No 1 gun could not take on targets to the South of the BOESINGHE railway a place was prepared for it on left of No 2 in farm yard under walnut tree & gun shifted up at 8.30 p.m. in position & covered up 9.30 p.m.

24th                     Fired 6 rounds 2 from new No 1 gun & 4 from No 2 at house C.1.d.8.5 which was registered as new STANDARD LINE.

25th                     No firing – weather very bright but misty on ground.  Stood by 5.30 p.m. as aeroplanes were making raid on Forest D’HOUTHOULST.  Too misty for wireless aeroplane to see any targets so nothing was done.

 

 

ELVERTINGHE 26th 11.20 a.m.   In morning fired 20 rounds into buildings C.8.a.8.2 reported to be utilised as a headquarters – much damage seemed to be done.  Just previously as a 5.9” battery was very active along BOESINGHE front, put 4 rounds into the position suspected – shelling ceased at once – possibly coincidence.

4 p.m.     Fired 2 rounds at Battery V.19.d.3.9 with wireless aeroplane up – both rounds N.O. possibly blind though by a mistake they were laid 1 ½ o L and with about 400 yards too much elevation.  Wireless then appeared to fail & machine went home.

27th noon            Fired 20 rounds at Detraining Platform, Transport Park & Huts of German Light railway in U.27.c & d.  Ranged with wireless aeroplane – good effect.

7.20 p.m.     6th Divn Trenches reported being crumped ordered to retaliate on trenches nearest to those being crumped.  Fired 20 rounds at Redoubt C.15.a. by 7.50 p.m.

28th 10 a.m.        Received message that Gen Uniacke wished me to inspect position of 25th Siege Bty South of VALMERTINGHE – went off at once & found section of 25th Bty had left the night before – Position very open but guns had been there since May undiscovered.

Noon          Saw Gen Uniacke who told me I might have to move down to above position – told me to go to Left half and see whether Capt. Coe’s gun could bear up to the north.  Went to see Coe & found gun could be arranged as desired: returned to

3 p.m.        Gen Uniacke who told me to move that night.

Retaliated for shelling of 49th Div trenches with 12 rounds at redoubt in C.15.a.  Message to say our shells were falling short near TURCO FARM.  Could find no reason for this: firing on previous registration but 1 degree R of line fired on night before as it had been decided that on that occasion we were too much to the left.  Heard no more of this so presumed they were over our trenches.

Fired 12 rounds with aeroplane observation at battery U.19.d.3.9.  5 hits on emplacements, the first round being given a hit.

7.30 p.m.   Pulled guns off platforms.

9.30 p.m.   Guns left for new position.

VALMERTINGHE 29th    1 a.m.       Guns in position & covered up.  Lieut Glass & detachments remained with them.  Remainder came over about 10.30 a.m.

30th 3.30 to 6.30 p.m.     Fired 31 rounds registering points on trenches near HOOGE J.13.a.2.1. J.13.c.3.9. & J.13.a.0.3.  Long ranges, over 8800, guns shooting apparently 300x over R table.

 

VALMERTINGHE

31st 4 to 6 p.m.    Fired 21 rounds registering BELLEWARDE FM., ECLUSETTE & trenches between.  Guns apparently shot 150x over R table.

 

 

Sept.

1st 4 a.m. to 4.30 a.m.    Fired 25 rounds into FORT 13 Elev 27o.

At 6 a.m. aeroplane arrived and 11 rounds were fired registering on points on trenches I.18.b.8.6, J.13.a.5.5. & 6.4. when presence of German aeroplane stopped further firing.

2nd 3.55 a.m.       28 rounds into J.13.a.5.5., 5.7., & 6.4.

7 a.m.          Registered J.13.a.5.0., J.13.c.7.8., J.13.c.4.7., – 14 rounds fired.  Also  J.13.c.9.2. at 8.25 a.m. 3 rounds.

2.5 p.m.        20 rounds at J.13.a.03 & 50 in retaliation.

3.35 p.m.      20 rounds at J.13.a.03 & 50 in retaliation.

5.45 p.m.      20 rounds at J.13.a.03 & 50 in retaliation.  Total fired during day 105.

3rd     3.45 a.m.      Weather v bad & platforms greasy – 12 rounds fired in bombardment.

4th      5.30 a.m.     6 rounds in bombardment I.18.b.9.9. to J.13.a.1.9 to J.7.c.11 to I.12.d.9.1. 4 rounds fired in unsuccessful registration.

23 rounds fired in bombardment 03 to 84 with aeroplane observation to start with.

6.35 p.m.     12 rounds in retaliation Q 48 to Q 44.

9.10 p.m.     12 rounds in retaliation Q 48 to Q 44.

5th      4.40 a.m.     14 rounds in bombardment Q 25 to Q 38.

12.5 p.m.     42 rounds in bombardment Q 25 to Q 38.

3.45 p.m.    12 rounds at trenches about Q 18 – Maj Creswell observing in front trench B.4.  Observation v difficult & complicated by the fact that 9.2s were firing in same direction at same time.

6th                          27 rounds expended in registering (at 2 different times) Q.8.0 & Q8.1 – observation probably very difficult for airman – most unsatisfactory shoot.

7th      6.45 a.m.     5 rounds registered both guns on Q82.  23 rounds in registering Q58, Q 48 Q 56, Q60.

8th                          19 rounds registering Q60, Q49 (both guns)

9th                          13 rounds registering Q 31, Q32, Q 43.

10th                         5 rounds in unsuccessful registration – plague of aeroplanes which prevented shooting.

 

 

11th    4.45 p.m.     9 rounds registering points Q.4.7 & Q.6.1. with aeroplane.

8 rounds checking registration of Q.3.6 (J.13.a.21) B.C. observing from hill 47.  it appeared that at least 1o (or about 200x) had to be added to original registration: possibly different cordite accounted for this, though subsequent shooting did not seem to prove that the lot used on this occasion was unusually low in M.V.

12th     11. a.m.      14 rounds fired – to register Q.75 with aeroplane: guns apparently shooting all over the place.

4 p.m.      Checking registration of the trench running N.W. from ECLUSETTE.   B.C. observing from hill 47.  result fairly satisfactory.  18 rounds fired.

13th    12.18 p.m.   4 rounds fired with aeroplane at Q. 69 after which machine had engine trouble & went home.

2.45 p.m.   Deputation of French Officers came round to see guns: Capt. Fenner forward but telephone line was cut & no communication at time.  3 rounds fired at Q. 36.

14th    11.50 a.m.   11 rounds in retaliation on Q.28 & Q.43.

15th      2.30 p.m.   12 rounds in unsuccessful registration with aeroplane of I.12.a.47 – 6 rounds N.O.

16th                        Both guns had Elevating gears taken up as much as possible in workshop of M.T. A.S.C. 5th Brigade, and 19 rounds expended in trial of both guns on Q. 36 result satisfactory.

18th      5.0 a.m. to 5.30.    Bombardment – 30 rounds fired on I.12.a.47 -72 – 85 (6 misfires)

6.40 a.m.   Registered with aeroplaneI.12.a.85, I.12.a.77 & I.12.b.36 – 14 rounds fired.

3 p.m.        16 rounds fired in unsatisfactory registration with aeroplane.

19th 4.50 to 5.20 a.m.        32 rounds fired in bombardment Q 69 to I.12.a.71.

10 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. 30 rounds fired in bombardment I.18.b.76 -67- 69.

11.30 a.m.     Registration with aeroplane – I.12.a.47, I.6.c.3 ½. 4, I.12.c.79.  18 rounds fired.

3.25 p.m.     Registration with aeroplane I.12.b.0.2 ½ & I.12.b.5.3 (unsuccessful) 17 rounds fired I.6.c.7.0 & I.6.c.45.

5.25 p.m.     10 rounds fired in retaliation – Total fired this day 107 rounds.

20th    12.15 p.m.   40 rounds fired at trenches S.E. of BELLEWARDE FARM:  B.C. observing from hill 47 – satisfactory result.

21st   5.5 a.m. to 5.45 a.m.             20 rounds fired in bombardment I.12.a.77 to 85.

1 p.m.        Ranged by wireless on trench I.12.a.64 -71 – 11 rounds

2.15             Continued                                                    – 3 rounds

4.22             Continued                                                    – 20 rounds Trench reported by airman well strafed except southern end.

 

 

22nd   12.15 p.m.    20 more rounds fired with wireless at above trench.

4 – 4.30 p.m.           24 rounds in bombardment.

23rd    4 a.m. to 4.25          20 rounds in bombardment on area I.12.a.71 – 80 & I.12.c.79.

7.35 a.m.    Registered with wireless I.12.d.29 – 7 rounds

12.45 p.m.  Did in, with wireless, trench I.12.d.29 – I.12.c.8 ½.9 – 33 rounds – satisfactory results.

24th 3.50 to 4.30 a.m.        40 rounds in bombardment – 13 misfires.

3.5 p.m.     20 rds on trenches I.18.b.99 – 07 -16.

3.31 p.m.   10 rds on trenches I.13.a.43-45.

25th 3.50 a.m.        Bombardment – HOOGE attack – 29 rounds to 4.20 a.m.

4.20                              Infantry attacked lifted to 94 -85 – 77 – 6 rounds

4.30               Lifted again to 36 – 29                          – 29 rounds – total 64 rounds

8.46 a.m.       Fired at 2’ interval 30 rounds at from 85 – 77.

10.23             Fired at Trenches J.12.a.77 – 76 -85   – 40 rounds.

11.42             35th round was premature at No 1 gun, burst 15 yards from muzzle – Killed Br. Powell, who was laying No 2.  Apparently by shock and Gr. Moss shell number at No 1 & wounded 7 others (5 slightly).  Piece of base pierced buffer tank putting gun out of action.

3.25 p.m.       No 2 fired 10 rds at I.12.a.47

11 p.m.          No 2 fired 8 rds on night line I.12.a.47.  total rounds this day 152.

F Hammond letter 16 Oct 15

62210 RE

HQ 28 Inf Bde

16 10 15

Dear Mar & Pa

Was very pleased to get your letter followed by the parcel which had to be repacked in London but from what the letter said I received everything I think.  Sorry to hear the Head Prefect is on the sick list again but I hope she will be OK by this.  I am on night duty and the office is in a small shed attached to a farm.  We are living in Tents & huts.  These appear to be an attempt at making us as cosy as possible during the winter months.  I believe it is very cold out here in winter but from the way they are putting these huts up we shall be able to stick it unless the Boches get fed up with their present position and retire a good distance.  You see it is all country round here and the only town near to Poperinghe is so often shelled by long range guns that it makes it rather unsafe to have many troops there.  I was there for a bath the other day one soon gets Hitchy Coo out here no matter what sort of vermin killer you get.  I had a letter from Geo tonight he seems to be liking it alright now.  Also had a letter and a big box of cigs from Willie.  Hear he’s been teaching the girls to swim.  We have been in this place since last I wrote you but we are moving forward tomorrow.  It would not be bad here at all only the water supply is very poor.  There is a YMCA tent where you can get nearly anything you want.  They hold concerts in it at night.  I believe the charges are very reasonable.  They are also erecting a cinema.  So you see things are not so bad I can tell you there are worse places than France & Belgium one may get to.  There was any English Divnl Band playing in a little village close by it did seem strange listening to Selections from “Our Miss Gibbs” in range of the Allemand guns.  I fairly enjoyed it.  It reminded me more of fifty for thee & fifty for me.  Of course you know the natives speak Flemish.  It is more like German to me.  Very guttural.  I haven’t really got going yet with it.  They seem to understand me alright.  I speak to them like an Hazel Grover and they compree.  I have brought one or two pcs which may interest you.  Keep them if they land OK.  I think this is all this time.  Remember me to all enquiring friends.  We have made slight advances round the area, Hohenzollern Redoubt etc.  I believe they are keeping them at it.  What about Bulgaria?  Well don’t worry it will all come right if the recruits turn up and the shells come.  I hear there’s no treating, what a game.

Love Burgy

F Hammond letter 3 Oct

After Loos night in Bethune then to Ypres until after Christmas 1915 in biro

62210 RE

HQ 28th I.B. 9th Sig Co

BEF Belgium

Oct 1915

Dear Mar & Pa

Just a line to let you know I am OK.  I suppose you read in the papers of the great battle in which our Division took a very active part.  I have very little to say about it there was some very heavy fighting and all did their best.  I believe perhaps we did not advance as far as we thought we would but I believe we were very instrumental in giving the French the chance to make such  headway.  As we drew the German reserves to us and our artillery must have hit them very hard.  The weather was very bad at the time the trenches being knee deep in mud & water however I took no harm and am quite well.  We had a short rest in Bethune & managed to get a good bath & change however we had a train journey northwards the other day and are now near the much talked of Silent City which the Belgian people were very proud of and which has been a thorn in the Kaiser’s prophesies.  The country round here is more wooded & hilly and not many villages.  The first night we slept on the ground but next day we managed to raise a bell tent which we still hold.  We have also been issued with blankets which is certainly a necessity in the open country.  We were inspected today by Genl. Plummer.  I think this is all concerning myself at present.  What is Geo address.  How’s the prefect going on and yourselves.  We are allowed to write one letter per week now.  So will be dropping you a line again soon.

Yours Fred.