Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne undated

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne undated

 

Scottish

Churches’ Huts

Headed notepaper

Dear Vicar,

I thank you very much for your letter, which I very much appreciate, in view of the amount of work you must have to get through; and I am very small in the scale of importance. I hope Mr Stedman is now all right again.

 

I am sorry to say that as regards work I have not fallen on my feet. Our work has to be done in rushes, and added to this conditions are strange to me.  All days are alike, and one can never leave the office until 10 pm, although we get plenty of time off for exercise.  However, I am getting on better now.  What I shall be put too eventually, of course, I do not know.

 

With regard to religion, since I have been in France I have become a bit of a heathen, but I must make an effort to get to Church.

 

An official list to work with has just been completed.  I understand the Chaplain is highly connected.  One of the fellows in our Dept of work is thinking of becoming a R.C.  he is attached to a well known *** IIII ****, and had done some platform speaking.  He is a Welshman, and of course a ritualist.  He is a very nice and a very clever fellow.  Some of the R.C. churches here are fine old buildings, and the ceremonial arrangements do not seem out of place, although, of course, I do not agree with then.

 

I have heard the Y.M.C.A. and the Salvation Army etc. Huts criticized unmercifully by some as money-making concerns etc.  fellows in the army are given to exaggeration, but the fact remains that something for nothing is the only sign of usefulness in the eyes of many.  Present Salvation is well laughed at.

 

Many of the fellows I have come across have evangelical convictions, which keep them, and also others in order, although they think it best to keep to Army ways, and so they swear, and make fun of the sexual question etc.

 

The married folk I have come across are, as a rule, clean in their talk, although there are many exceptions.

 

Impurity is very bad in the Army. I think myself that the Govt should not allow non-commissioned officers to talk loosely on sexual questions during the performance of their duty.  Some never speak without introducing the subject in some jocular form or other.

 

I, personally, am very thankful for the true religious convictions that are to be found in many, not withstanding their outward demeanour.

 

With best wishes

I remain, Yours sincerely

J.S. Plumridge.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Sept 1915

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne

 

Extracted from

 

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

—————–

 

1915

 

 

September 6 1915.

R.P.

R.A. Headquarters, 34th Division.

Tidworth, Hants.

 

There are 4 officers on the Staff, and we have three cars, so we are all well off for transport. The General is Brig Gen F. Elmslie C.B., but is a dug out, and has already commanded the Artillery in another Division, but he was not allowed to go overseas with them.  There are 23 Headquarter clerks and servants.

 

It is very cold and damp in camp. It rains most of the time.  The whole Division is under canvas, 3500 horses, guns, wagons, & men.

 

I have got quite good groom and servant, and my two chargers arrive on Wednesday from Salisbury.

 

September 4 1915.

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

 

“I have the unfortunate job of Mess Secretary, and what with contractors putting up tents, grocery bills, wines, servants, my life would be wearisome indeed if it were not for the fun you can get out of it. It has been very cold lately.  The band is playing China Town.  I went to Salisbury the day before yesterday.

 

September 9 1915.

 

Really beautiful weather, I am leaving this afternoon for two days on business I shall be back on Saturday morning. I have two new horses, or rather mares, one chestnut and one bay.  They are not so good as my last but still they are better than the rest of the chargers here.  At least they are English and not Canadian.  One is to be called Peg o’ my heart.  She is chestnut, so the name suits, the ginger hair.  Unfortunately last night she got unmercifully bitten by the other.  What shall I do with such a cannibal?  I see this morning news of a Zeppelin raid.  It is most amusing here at times.  The mules get loose and rush about camp at night, kicking all and sundry.  The wasps are awful.  The night before last two officers of our mess and a friend who was dining with us, turned out after dinner armed with a petrol can, some Daily Mails, electric torches, to burn out a nest situated just behind our servant’s tents.  They had already tried to destroy it but had failed.  These brave men, all recently returned from the front, were more frightened of wasps, I hope than they are of Germans, for they were scared.  One with the Military Cross ribbon on his tunic more so than the others.  He let us call him B.M., held the torch at a safe distance with G. still further in the distance offering wise advice but no help.  The guest held a paper funnel at arms length.  I, the very junior, tried to pour buckets of petrol down the hole, when out came the beasts, and hurled themselves at the lights and the onlookers.  Alas! I was the only casualty, and retired with an arm like a real German sausage.  A hither-to admiring crowd of servants around shrieked with delight.  The morning after the wasps were as happy as ever.  They probably thought that it was a remarkably fine and warm night for this time of year.  We are never off duty here.  At the moment I am supposed to be working out a scheme for a Divisional Concentration March, but I have got fed up with it.  I must go and find the Vet for my horse, then to the Ordnance to draw some stores, then to Salisbury to get a saddle.

 

September 9 1915.

 

I obtained two chargers from the Remount Depot, Salisbury, two chargers, Nos, 3981 and 4028.  They were certified by the Veterinary Officer as being “properly shod and free from Disease”.  I went for them on the 8th September, and took them on charge on the following day.

 

(The first is a chestnut mare, and I named her Peg o’ my heart.)

 

Servant 12472 Gunner Ernest Thompson.

 

Religions in four Brigades of Artillery.

 

Church of England                 3256

Wesleyan                                 236

Roman Catholic                      182

Presbyterian                               72

Jews                                           24

Others                                     114

———

3884

 

34th Division/1100/A

Headquarters

Royal Artillery

 

The following telegram has been received from War Office.

“223 S.T. Reference your 1100/A dated 9th instant A.A.A. War Office wires 4327 M.S.Q. appointment of 2nd Lieut. A.A. Laporte Payne, Royal Field Artillery, as Aide Camp to General Officer Commanding 34th Divisional Artillery has been approved with effect from 25 August 1915”.

This reference to your R.A. 4537 dated 7th instant.

R.F. Lock.

Major. D.A.A. & Q.M.G.

34th Division.

Cholderton.

16 September 1915.

 

September 23 1915.

Tidworth R.A.H.Q.

34th Div.

 

There has been a field day today, and now it is pouring with rain. We move from here on October 1st, and bivouac on the road to Warminster.  We take up our new quarters on the 2nd at Sutton Veny.  This will prove our last move, I hope, before we go overseas.  The Plain in the winter is too awful for words.  I am thinking of motoring to Bournemouth on Sunday.  We are having a series of dinner parties in the mess.  The General asks in a lot of old fogies, and the conversation is most boring.  You can imagine what agony I endure sometimes.  The servants are quite raw, and I have to train them as best I can.  They were miners a few months ago.  They are much better now, but I am always anxious how the food is coming up, or whether the drinks or soda-water are running out.  Housekeeping must be appalling, but usually one does not have six dishonest men doing away with every bit of food and all the drink they can lay their fingers on.

 

There are ladies to entertain too. The General’s wife and friends, and the Brigade Major’s mother and other relations, either for lunch or tea.  The B.M. has brought a two-seater Humber.  It is still raining.  There is no whiskey, no soda-water and no fruit for tonight’s dinner party.  Fancy going 14 miles to shop.

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Sept 1915

Alfred George Richardson’s Diary Sept 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.

 

Lovie Chateau

Wednesday 1st September 1915: 7.15 am went to 3 Towers Chateau in motor & laid cable to Briele.  Went to 11th Batt.  Saw Dove etc.  4 shells burst near in a field.  Back at 4.15 pm.

Thursday 2nd September 1915: Very wet.  Practicing speaking & morse telegraphy on Portable D.  In aft we made a Ladder Cable but abandoned it.  Wet.

Friday 3rd September 1915:     Lecture by Lieut Wells on Code Time.  Using telephone all day.  Good practice obtained.  Very wet.

Saturday 4th September 1915: Practicing with Telephone all day.  Recd parcels from Alan Todd & Mr. Hanson.  Also Letters from them & home.

Wretched weather.  Wet through Thurs, Friday & Sat.

Lovie Chateau nr Poperinghe

Sunday 5th September 1915:   Reveille 6 am.  Full Dress Parade at 9 am before Major Grubb D.S.O.  Raining hard all day.

Monday 6th September 1915:  Using “Wired Wireless” i.e. two D’s & two WW’s on the same line.  Wonderful invention.  Using Portable D phone.

Tuesday 7th September 1915:  Took down air line from Cable Camp to Signal Office.  Practicing on Buzzer.  Repairing a length of Cable.  Football at night.

Wednesday 8th September 1915: Left Cable Camp at 9 am – 4th Sect arrived at 10.30 am.  Afternoon holiday.  On Guard at H.Q. at night.

Thursday 9th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15 am.  Back at 11.45 am.  Letters at 7 pm.  Afternoon spent in writing letters.

Friday 10th September 1915:   Went for rations at 9.15 am.  Letters 12 noon.  Afternoon holiday.  Went to Poperinghe with G. Smith to see “Fancie”.  Met Mr. Kaye.  Lovely evening spent.  Back at 9.15.

Saturday 11th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at 12.  Aft holiday.  Football Match with R.A.M.C.  Letter from Arnold to say he is sick in base hospital.

Poperinghe.

Sunday 12th September 1915: Went for rations 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Aft holiday.  Had a good bath.

Monday 13th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon.    Went to 49th Div Baths & had a good hot spray bath.  Good joy ride in wagon.

Tuesday 14th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Writing letters in afternoon.

Wednesday 15th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon. Reading & writing in afternoon.

Thursday 16th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Aft spent reading.  Went to Elverdinghe at night for bricks.

Friday 17th September 1915:   Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon.  Went to Elverdinghe at night.  M.P. killed in aft there.  Ruins terrible.  Sights! yes.

Saturday 18th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Went to Elverdinghe to prepare for wagons for tile.  30 shells dropped in.  Exciting time.  Souvenir hunting.  Plenty of unexploded shells about.  Church in awful condition.

Sunday 19th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon. Afternoon spent writing letters &making a good tea.  Early to bed.

Monday 20th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon.  Received ** from home & fountain pen.  On Guard H.Q.  Cold night.

Tuesday 21st September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters 12.  Moved position into a neighbouring farm field.  All day spent in making bivouac. Butler joins in.

Wednesday 22nd September 1915:      Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters 12.  Taube over & dropped 3 bombs on road near by.  Chased away by 7 Vicker’s Biplanes.  Escaped easily.

Thursday 23rd September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  General visits us & has inspection.  Taube over us at tea time flying fast & very low.

Friday 24th September 1915:   Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Afternoon reading.

Saturday 25th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters at noon.  Aft holiday.

Sunday 26th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon.  Afternoon spent in bivouac writing & reading.

Monday 27th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Letters noon.  Harness cleaning in afternoon.  Went for ride to Couthof with Capt. R.H.W.

Tuesday 28th September 1915: Rations 9.15.  Raining hard.  Letters noon. On H.Q. Guard.  Wet through.  Cold & damp.

Wednesday 29th September 1915: Went for rations at 9.15.  Raining hard.  Got wet through & caught a chill.  Went to bed in afternoon.  Feeling rotten.

Thursday 30th September 1915: In bed all day.  Caught a chill.  Stomach upset.  Sick at night.

G G Hammond letter Sept 15

No 3142 P/e G.G. Hammond

2/7th Bat Mc/r Regt

D Compy 15 Platoon

Crowborough

Sussex

Sunday

Dear Father & Mother

I must thank you for the nice cake you sent me.  We enjoyed it very much and the boys thought it was fine.  I had a F.S.pc from Fred this week he is alright.  Has Turk become more sensible yet?  I think he would make a good mascot for our Battalion.  Have you seen Arthur yet he went home last week and he promised to call round.  I have been expecting to see the Colonel any day.  I believe he asks you if you can find 80 to 100 £ a year.  I shall say “Yes” as I believe it is only a bluff, but if it should be true I dare say you could manage nearly 80 £ some how.  Ashman has been made a L/cp.  I should have had two stripes by now only for the commission.  There is another rumour about the Dardanelles.  I hope it is not true, if it is I suppose I shall have to go unless I see the Adjutant.  You see it is always a long time before you can manage to see the Colonel.  It took Arthur 3 week- at least he says it did.  I believe Mr & Mrs Spencer are coming down again next week with the baby.  In the next parcel you send could you enclose some boiled ham – home made of course.

I was on Post Office orderly yesterday – running about with telegrams – and who should I meet in there operating – but Charlie Higgins.  He is going to write to Fred.  How’s Pa going on I never hear much about him.  Nothing more to say at present

Love George

Communications in a Division

COMMUNICATIONS OF A DIVISIONAL SIGNAL COMPANY

 

DURING THE BATTLE OF LOOS

 

PREPARATORY.  Division Fighting Headquarters were in dug-outs about 2000 yards behind the front line, with Advanced Division Headquarters about 1 ½ miles, and Division Headquarters 6 miles to the rear.

 

LINES BACK.  Four lines, partly poled cable, partly buried and partly pinned in trenches were laid from Advanced Division Headquarters to Division Report Centre.  These lines provided two telephone (earth return) circuits back to Advanced Division, one vibrator circuit and one line “spare”.  All telephone work was transmitted at Advanced Div. Headquarters, “G” messages being given “priority”, and this arrangement worked satisfactorily all through the Battle.  It was found, however, that telephone calls from the Corps were unduly delayed and during the morning of after assault, the Corps ran a pair of wires with ring telephones direct to the Staff dug-out.  Sounder working was not used forward of Advanced Division Headquarters.

The C.R.A. had a separate Signal Office, with two lines back to his Headquarters Exchange (which was near Advanced Division Headquarters) and communication forward to his Group Commanders with Infantry Brigades, who were connected with their group exchanges.

At no time during the Battle was there heavy shelling behind the line of the Divisional Report Centre, and the lines therefore were very little broken.  Test points with line men had however, been provided at two intermediate points, but these proved superfluous and were called in.

Considerable trouble was experienced during the time preceding the battle through rearward trenches being used to accommodate working parties, which not only pulled down the wire but burnt off most of the insulation with their cooking fires.

It is recommended that, if at all possible, one or two poled cables along the sheltered routes be provided at least as far as Divisional Report Centre.  This ensures good telephone communication up to this point, no matter what the weather may be like and, should the Divisional Headquarters advance, they provide a point from which wires can be easily extended, and facilitate taking over should the Division be relieved.

 

LINES FORWARD.  Brigade Headquarters were in dug-outs about 700, and the Reserve Brigade Headquarters in a farm cellar about 1,000 yards behind the first line trenches.  Three wires were taken by different routes to each Brigade Headquarters to provide one vibrating line, one telephone line, and one ‘spare’ – the ‘spare’ being a buried line (three feet deep) common to the two Brigades.

The Reserve Brigade had tees off all these lines and so was in direct touch with the front Brigades, but it would have been better had it had a separate line in addition.

These lines were very little broken at any time during the bombardment or battle.  On the day of the assault, however, it turned out very wet (after a long period of dry weather) and some of the older trench lines gave indifferent signals, so the buried line, which was excellent was chiefly used for the telephone.  Though for the first day this buried line was not broken, it was subsequently cut to bits through fire directed on a battery which, advancing, sighted itself in close proximity to the buried route.

Brigade lines to Battalions, and Battalions lines to Companies were all pinned and knee height in trenches, with staples about every 10 feet.  Alternative lines were arranged, and these lines all stood up very well, the bulk of the enemy fire being directed on our front system of trenches.

The parties carrying up Gas Cylinders during the night prior to the assault necessitated constant maintenance of the lines.

 

ORDERLIES.  Each Company furnished orderlies to Battalion Headquarters, each Battalion furnished orderlies to Brigade Headquarters and each Brigade furnished orderlies to Divn Headquarters.

These orderlies were used as despatch runners, assisted in carrying signalling equipment, and were available in case communication by wire was interrupted.

 

THE ASSAULT.  By direction of the General Staff, the supporting line laid two wires per assaulting Battalion as they advanced.  D 1 was used for this purpose.  Actually only one of the wires somlaid was over through and that only for a few minutes.  Subsequent examination discovered that most of the men who were laying the lines had been killed.

It is not recommended that any wires be laid forward to enemy trenches till we are firmly established therein.

The assault of the left Brigade at daybreak was successful.  The assault of the right Brigade was hung up till the afternoon.

 

ARRANGEMENTS FOR ADVANCE OF BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS.  Brigade Sections were provided with two light Indian drums of D 5 wire (each drum carrying about ¾ a mile of wire) with which to extend themselves in case of an advance.  These drums were carried on light stretchers made locally.  The onus of leaving one good line behind them was laid on each of the forward Brigade Sections, the Reserve Brigade being warned to come in on one of these lines should it advance, and to further extend it should pass beyond the assaulting Brigades.

Strict injunctions were issued to Brigades that, should they advance, they should on no account, close down their signal office till another office has been opened in their new position, and secure communication established thereto, and that until such time as the new office had been established they should work from the old Signal Office by orderly.  Though these instructions were carried out it was found that an insufficient number of orderlies to keep satisfactory touch with Brigade Headquarters when it advanced were left behind did not always know in which direction to look for their advanced headquarters.

Orderlies should be picked men – selected for their intelligence and zeal, and should a move take place they should be carefully instructed as to where to look for new Brigade Headquarters.

 

LEFT BRIGADE.  The Assault of the left Brigade being successful, the Brigadier moved from his report centre almost at once, moving first to a former Battalion Headquarters and then to a Company Headquarters and then across “No man’s land” into German lines.  The Brigade extended from the Division, on existing trench lines (previously selected) as far as the front trenches, and thence laid D 5 as arranged, to the German lines and on to new position of Brigade Headquarters.  This line was on the whole satisfactory and was on no occasion dis[connected] for any length of time.

The restlessness of the Brigadier of the Left Brigade did not help towards good communication as his whereabouts were difficult to ascertain.  It is thought that a Staff Officer should always be left at the existing Signal Office till communication to a more forward office have been secured.

It is found that some Brigadiers are inclined to use their Signal Officers as Staff Officers and to send them forward to do reconnaissance work.  This practice should be discountenanced.

 

OBSERVATION OFFICER.  The German trenches were situated on a ridge the capture of which would give a view of the country beyond.  At the last moment the Staff decided to send forward a Staff Officer to observe and keep the G.O.C. informed direct on the situation.  A line was demanded to his observation post and it was suggested that when he advanced, a signaller should accompany him and ‘run a line’ to whatever position he should take upon the captured ridge.  This meant an extension of some two miles in length!  The signaller was also to carry visual equipment in case the line should go!

No time was available to lay a trench line to front trenches from which an extension could be made.  To meet the Staff requirements, therefore, a D 5 cable was laid during the night preceding the assault on the ground in the open from the report centre straight toward the German lines.  About a thousand yards of cable was so laid, and a T off D 3 was laid to the selected observation post which was in an old trench some few hundred yards away.  As soon as the German trenches were captured, the observation officer was to move forward.  To provide the extension required, a party was made up consisting of an officer, an N.C.O., and two men (all visual signallers), and a driver with horsed ‘spawn wagon’ – a local construction – carrying a drum of D 5 cable, a drum of D 3, and visual equipment.

This vehicle consisted of an airline barrow with extra wide flanges shrunk on to the wheels, an extended axle to provide a wider wheel base and more stability, angle iron handles and wooden shafts.

As soon as the Observation Officer announced by telephone that he was about to go forward, this party sallied forth and met him at the point to which the line had previously been laid, extending the line from there as they went forward.

The move forward, however, proved somewhat premature, for the attack of the Right Brigade, towards the centre of which the line was being laid, had been held up.  The party came under machine gun fire when about five hundred yards from our front line.  The barrow was upset and the horse was wounded and broke away (to return almost immediately to his picket line).

The party took refuge in a trench and opened an office from which the situation was reported.

In the afternoon after the surrender in front of, and the subsequent advance of the right Brigade, the ‘spawn’ wagon was righted and pushed forward by hand as far as the German wire.  (Note: The line had been laid beside a track which had previously been bridged over trenches to permit of the advance of artillery).  On reaching the German wire, an extension with D 3 cable was made to the top of the ridge to the selected observation post.  Valuable information was furnished by means of this line which gave excellent signals.  The officer i/c of the party was therefore instructed to extend it in German Trenches to the new left Brigade Headquarters.  This was successfully accomplished and the line was used thereto as a speaking line.  During the first day of the battle this line was only cut two or three times.

The observation officer returned to Headquarters at dark

RESERVE BRIGADE.  Towards late afternoon the Reserve Brigade supported the Left Brigade, its Headquarters moving to a dug-out within about a hundred yards of Left Brigade where it came into circuit on one of the existing lines.

To provide alternative accommodation, a party with a second ‘spawn’ wagon, carrying two drums of D 5 was sent out after night fall under an officer to lay a line by a different route to the advanced position of the Left and Right Brigades.

This line which was over 3 miles in length, was successfully laid alongside communication trenches.  The party returned with the ‘spawn’ wagon without casualties.

 

Right Brigade.  The attack of the Right Brigade had been held up till afternoon when the surrender of the enemy in front cleared the way and the Brigade swept forward.  Brigade Headquarters advanced in one bound to a point 1 ½ miles beyond the German front line, extending as it went with D 3 from the advanced position taken up by the Divisional Observation Officer.

Repeatedly broken by shell fire and repeatedly repaired, no useful results were obtained from this line, which was only through for a very few minutes.

Divisional Headquarters now talked about a move forward, and a cable detachment was sent to lay a line from the point selected for new Headquarters to the Right Brigade.  This detachment met a crump, was unable to find the bridges across the trenches in the dark, and returned.  Orders, however, had been received meantime that the Right Brigade would be relieved, and the Brigade returned to its old Headquarters in our trenches, coming back in circuit on the old lines.  The projected move of Divisional Headquarters was therefore abandoned.  During the night Signals the line laid, in the first instance, for the Observation Officer began to fail, owing to the passage of advancing Artillery, and before morning had been cut to bits and had to be abandoned.

 

Second Day.  The Left Brigade was to continue the attack.  Staff decided to again send out an observation Officer, and it became necessary to lay another line.  Profiting by the previous days experience the line was this time laid (by a spawn wagon party) close to a communication trench so as to be out of the way of traffic.  It was successfully laid, gave good results, and was subsequently extended to Left Brigade.

The second line which had been laid by spawn wagon the first day was now constantly getting broken by shell fire.  An Officer was therefore sent out with a party and arranged for two test points, by means of which faults were quickly localised and repaired.

This arrangement worked admirably.

 

Visual.  Visual from a station near Divisional Fighting Headquarters to Brigade Headquarters was arranged and tested.  It was not however required, as the lines stood up.  It was arranged to send forward another station to the captured ridge should the brigades advance beyond, and communication by wire fail.

Actually the long advance of the Right Brigade came rather suddenly, and before the visual station had got out (some 2 ½ miles over deep mud) and got into touch, the Right Brigade was relieved.  As it turned out the night was misty and visual would have been doubtful.  The visual stations were supplied by Divnl. Cyclist Company.

It is recommended that in order to keep in touch with Brigades which advance quickly, as did the Right Brigade, a visual station be pushed forward to some suitable forward point to which communication has been established by wire.  It is thought that communication by wire will prove impossible.

The visual station should be held in preparedness as far forward as possible.

A certain amount of visual flag and lamp was used between brigades and battalions.  Between Battalions and Companies, 8” home-made wooden discs were used.

 

Wireless.  A trench set was allotted to the Left Brigade, and was to accompany Brigade Headquarters when they advanced.

Actually at the moment of the advance the shelling was so heavy that the brigade section officer decided to leave the set behind and to send for it later.  It would probably however have been better to take it along in the first instance, for considerable time was lost later on in finding it and getting it to new position of Brigade in the German lines.

It was finally set up just behind the ridge and got into touch with the parent pack set.  The aerial was only broken once or twice.  Actually no messages were sent by wireless.

 

Pigeons.  Each Brigade had a Pigeon station.  The only time, however, that communication by such means would have been useful was when the Right Brigade pushed right forward, and it was then night.

 

General.  The resources of the Company were very much strained through having to arrange for, equip, and man three distinct headquarters.

It should be impressed on the Staff that after brigade headquarters advance beyond their fighting positions, they will be lucky if they have one line through to each brigade, and that talking should be cut down as much as possible.

The example of the General Officer who, in the middle of a battle wrote a message of 138 words, dictated it personally down the telephone, and then handed it to Signals for transmission, is not one to be emulated.

Much time is frequently lost in delivering messages owing to the difficulty in finding brigade and other headquarters.

Signal Officers should bear in mind the necessity of signalising the presence of their Signal Office.  Flags Distinguishing Telegraph should be carried, and it is even advisable to place orderlies at junctions to direct message carriers to headquarters.

The “Spawn Wagons” proved invaluable.  In case of necessity the horse can be unhooked and the wagon lifted across a trench.

Every Divisional Signal Company should have them.

The routes to be bridged over our own and the enemy’s trenches should be carefully ascertained beforehand, as it may become necessary to send a Cable detachment or a spawn wagon party.

No means on maintaining communication should be neglected.

The Motor Cyclist with the Signal Brigade managed to get his bicycle forward and it proved invaluable.

Where the enemy trenches are on a ridge, Brigadiers will almost certainly want to move forward as soon as the ridge has been captured.  This should be foreseen and extensions prearranged.  Signal Officers should not neglect to inform offices working to them of any impending or projected move.  Should they at any time not be working direct to headquarters they should keep headquarters informed as to where messages for them should be sent for delivery.

It was found that lines carefully pinned Knee-height in trenches gave good results.  Gunner lines laid, in spite of all advice to the contrary, outside trenches, were absolutely useless.

The assembly of the attacking force in, and the subsequent passage of supports through the trenches renders continued maintenance essential, if the line are to be used for extension after the advance.

Lines laid on the ground or buried in shallow trenches across bare open ground which is not likely to be crumped often give most excellent results.  Trenches through places likely to be crumped should not be less than 6 feet deep.  Three feet trenches if used should be half filled in.  The advantage of this is that while fill protection is obtained against shrapnel fire, the trench is always easy to follow, and the wires are easy to find.

Moreover the unfilled portion of the trench gives a certain amount of confidence and protection to the linemen.

It has been found that where labour in not forthcoming to dig a deep trench through a crumped area.  Shallow open trenches give good results.

It should not be forgotten that two mounted Despatch Riders were found necessary and authorised for Brigade sections during the retreat.  These, and the mounted despatch riders belonging to Divisional Headquarters should be available in immediate readiness.

It is more than probable that in a moving fight these will provide the only possible means of rapid communication.

 

 

There is a schematic map attached to this report.

 

F Hammond letter 24 Sept 15

Day before Loos in biro

24th 9 15

62210 RE

Dear Mar & Pa

Was very pleased to receive letter from you also the good news regarding Geo.  Where is he now etc.  Can you give me his address altho at present time I shall not be able to write regularly.  Sorry to hear death of our ole friend Mr. Bottomley.  Hope Elsie H is getting alright again.  What about the Head Prefect I suppose you are quite a busy person now a-days Gladys.  You seem to have been enjoying yourselves OK.  Have you dropped your hair again now.  We are very busy and are likely to be until Xmas.  We are going in dugouts again today and are expecting having an exciting time.  I cannot say more at the present.

I see the new taxes are going to make people much more economical.  Look after old Turk.  Sorry we have given him such a name but hope Turkey will be ours soon.  Our lads are in fine trim.  Suppose Will will be very busy now.  Remember me to all enquiring friends

Fred

La Burg

F Hammond letter 20 Sept 15

62210 RE

HQ 28 I B

9th Sco Div

Just before Loos About 20 Septr 1915

 

Dear Mar & Pa

I received your cigs & letter OK about a week ago.  We were on the move when I got your parcel but we are now settled down to the trenches again but a little further South this time.  The country is more hilly round here and I may say things are more lively.  I am on night duty spending my time in the cellar of a shop which Geo was formerly acquainted with.  The people have flown leaving all sorts of concoctions behind.  No doubt Geo would know what is in them but I think many bottles have been mixed by amateurs or by amateur comedians.  The weather has been very wet since we came up here but fortunately is has been better today.  We had a Allegmane aeroplane over today.  It was quite exciting to see him hovering over our heads with the anti aerocraft guns potting away at him.  Anyway they made him retired altho they didn’t hit him tho I must say he was a very plucky man.  I received the Roll of Honour Book Par sent.  I was quite surprised to see so many names I knew.  I suppose that would be Jim Hopkinson in the 13th Sig Co of course.  My real address is 62210 RE 4 Sec 9th Sig Co but the quickest way for a letter is how I had addressed it on opposite page.  I have dropped lucky for a bed this time in a little room over un estaminet otherwise a beer house.  I have only to come down stairs & there you are of course it’s only my kid mentioning beer houses.  We are only allowed to be served between the hours of 11am to 1 pm & 6 pm to 8 PM so you see there is not much chance of the lads running wild in fact I have never seen a soldier drunk over here.  The landlord reckons he is selling English Beer.  He has a Bass advert on the wall but I am more inclined to think it is brewed nearer La Basse than Burton.  If you wish to try one it costs you 4d so you can imagine why Tommy is very sober out here.

I do not know what sort of a person the Frenchman is in Paris or the South of France but I may tell you they are all on the make haste where Tommy is.  Fortunately there is a Coffee Stall just across the road here and you can get things very reasonable.  Only wish there were more places of sort.  You can get 2 slices of bread & butter for a penny whereas if you go across to any estaminet it’s 2d for 1 slice.  I hope you will excuse me giving you the idea of the French but that is the general idea Tommy has of them.  Some of them are pretty decent but they are few and far between.  Well I hope Mar’s cold is OK by now & that business is pretty good with Par.  Suppose Gladys is back again now.  Have you found my dog yet?  We are expecting things to be exciting before long.  So bye bye for present  Fred