F. Smith letter 31 May 1917

May 31st 17

Dear Father

I thought I would send you a few lines as I have plenty of time to spare at present. There is not very much news to tell you, but no doubt you are always pleased to hear from me.
First of all I am wondering what the news is; did you send last week’s Pictorial as I have not heard from you lately?
We are still in the same camp, & I don’t mind how much longer we stay here; there are no inhabitants living near so we do not get to hear much what is going on I expect you know more than we do.
I am going to ask you if you would mind sending me some money as I am broke at present. I could manage alright if we were paid regularly, but sometimes it goes over a week & as there are several canteens here & I am very fond of chocolate, biscuits, &c that accounts for the milk in the cocoanut; so if you would not mind sending me a 10/- note it will come through quite safe if it is registered it will be very welcome for emergencies.
How is Wood Green looking I suppose everything in the garden is coming on lovely? Are the streets lit up as of old I suppose you often go to the Empire &c?
Do you ever see anything of young Ramsey I have not written to him for a long time now.
Well I think I must finish now.
Hoping you are all enjoying the best of health glad to say I am tres bien

With much love from
Your devoted

Alf Smith post card 12 May 1917




To T. Smith Esq., 24 Palmerston Rd., Bowes Park London N 22 England.  Postmarked Field Post Office 68. 13 MY 17

I am quite well

I have received your ****

Letter follows at first opportunity


Signature only. A. Smith

Date May 12th 17

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne May 1916.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne May 1916.




I took the battery out in drill order. Starting at 8.30, a.m., we came into action twice.  The horses went well.  We practiced jams and casualties several times.  I worked out the battery line of fire by compass and T.O.B.


We got back at 3, p.m., after quite a useful outing. Then I turned the battery on to harness and vehicle cleaning.


The Captain returned from the line and told us all about the new position.

In the evening there were showers, which effectively dirtied the vehicles again.


TUESDAY MAY 2, 1916.


The Captain went away on a Field Day with the Infantry. We continued the usual routine with gun pit digging.  Then there was a thunderstorm, and it continued wet for the rest of the day.  The Captain inspected the harness, barrack rooms and vehicles, all of which were fairly good, though not as good as they had were owing to the heavy rain.

There was a strafe about iron rations




I took early morning physical drill, and after breakfast the guns with detachments mounted to Zudausques, some way away, for gun emplacement digging. A lot of work was done.  It was very hot and I got burnt.  We arrived back about 5, p.m.

The Captain was out to dinner. I received five letters and a parcel of cake.




It was a fine day. We went out on Bivouacing practice.  Then I took stables, paid the battery, and supervised fatigues in clearing up for we are moving soon,

Cheadle has been sent to a Trench Mortar Battery, and also from our battery Corporal Broadbridge and Beaumont.


FRIDAY MAY 5, 1916.


This was our last day at Bayenghem. It was fine and hot.  The rooms were cleared up and the vehicles packed.  I had a bath and went to bed early.



May 4, 1916.

The weather continues fine and hot in spite of one or two thunder storms. The foliage here is beautiful.  The trees are full out, and the orchards one mass of bloom, rhodendrons too.


My tenure as battery commander has come to an end. It lasted for a week.  On Saturday we turned out for the Colonel’s inspection and he complemented us.  On Sunday I was out for a field day with the infantry.  Monday we had a day out on our own.  The whole battery turned out at 8.30, a.m., returning at 3.30, p.m.  Yesterday I took the guns and detachments out to practice quick digging of emplacements.  We left at 8.30, a.m., got to the scene of our labours at 11, a.m., digged until 2.30, p.m., and arrived back at 5.30, p.m.  It was hot and I got quite burnt.  My hands too are raw.   The whole Brigade were out digging in a long line.  It was a sort of competition.


In our seclusion here we occasionally hear a rumble of the guns, when the wind is in the right direction.


It is extraordinary how quickly one can become accustomed to this strange life and all it implies, when one is compelled to live it. One thing is very tiring, and that is being constantly on duty day and night.  One has one’s meals and sleeps as it were on duty.  But there is a feeling of uncertainty about everything, which is enlivening.  One never knows what is going to happen next.  We have not the slightest idea what may happen tomorrow or even in a few minutes time.  This prevents one becoming really hopelessly bored.  Even here we live on the edge of the precipice of the possible.


We have just received yesterday’s papers. I am glad to see Asquith has been forced to make up his mind at last.  I think the rebellion in Ireland has been of some use; but I am afraid it will terrify our brave ministers into keeping more troops at home.


Young Stone seems to be one of the lucky ones.




I rose at 5, a.m., finished packing and had breakfast at 6, a.m. The battery left billets in column of route for Wizernes arriving at the station forty minutes late on scheduled time.  We entrained in just over the hour.  Staff Captain Beal was there with the usual R.T.O.  A section of the Brigade Ammunition Column accompanied us under a new officer.  I loaded the wagons, and though the train was a long one, I only just got the vehicles all on.


Captain Langhorne, Holt and I shared a first class compartment, a good lunch and tea.

The day was showery.

We started at noon, and went by St. Omer, Calais, Boulogne for the Somme area.


SUNDAY MAY 7, 1916.


The Battery detrained at Longeau near Amiens, and later marched to billets at Behencourt.


May 8, 1916

The Brigade marched to Albert.


On the night of the 8/9th one section of A/175th Brigade relieved one section of O Battery R.H.A.


MAY 12, 1916.

The Group consisted of A.B.C. and D. Batteries, 175th Brigade, and C. and D. 176th Brigade.


A/175. Bde. was in a position vacated by “O” Battery R.H.A.

B/175. Bde. occupied empty pits.

D/176 and D/175 Bde. were out of action.

All reliefs were completed by this day.

D/175 Bde. were working on their new position with the guns out of action in the wagon lines.

R.P.                             Friday May 19 1916.

I arrived safely here after a rather long journey. I thoroughly enjoyed my leave. C.T.P. saw me off.  We left Waterloo about 4.30, p.m., and arrived at Southampton after 6, p.m.  The boat did not leave until 10, p.m., so we got permission to leave the docks and go into the town for dinner.  After sailing we had got some way when we were held up by fog, so we were late.  Then we left by train about 2, p.m., and arrived at our destination about 2, a.m.


We are very busy indeed. Our dug-outs are splendid and afford excellent protection.  All are working like niggers.


The fine weather seems to have returned, and it is very hot here.

The posts are atrocious. We have just received Monday’s papers!


MAY 22, 1916.

The Howitzer Brigade was split up, one battery being posted to each 18 pdr. Brigade, which sent one 18 pdr battery to form with the remaining Howitzer Battery the 176th Brigade.


This necessitated a change in the denomination of the batteries.

C/175. Bde. becomes C/176 Bde.

D/175.            do        C/175.

D/176.             do        D/175.

C/176.             do        D/152.


MAY 24, 1916.


Return from leave. The journey was worse than I expected.  I left home at 2, p.m., and Waterloo at 4.30, p.m., arriving at Southampton about 6.15 p.m.  We found that the boat did not sail until 10 p.m.  After a lot of bother we managed to get leave to go into the town and get dinner.  Four of us went to the South Western Hotel, and had a good feast to cheer us up.  The boat started about 11 p.m.; but did not get far as we had to anchor on account of fog.  Consequently we did not arrive at Havre until midday.  The train made up its mind to move at 2 p.m., which for some unaccountable reason it did.  Our destination was reached at 2 a.m. (Greenwich time).  After that I had eight miles to drive in the mess cart to our wagon lines.  The sea was calm as I have ever seen it so nobody was ill.  I enjoyed my leave, at least I think I did.  It seems like a pleasant dream now.


The weather has changed. This last week has been beautiful and very hot.  Now it appears to be on the change.


The country here is beautiful, but terribly spoilt by large encampments. Under a new arrangement our battery becomes C Battery, not D any longer.  The Captain is away on leave.


R.P.                                         May 28. 1916

I have got my section in action on its own, and am for the present permanently in the gun line and not the O.P.


In the battery’s new position, some way away from where I am now, the men have dug enormous dug-outs. The position is delightfully situated on the edge of a wood.  The mess is 15 feet down, its walls are hung with canvass.  We have our meals in a wood, where it is shady and cool.


Most of our firing is done at night now, which is rather a nuisance, as we are fully busy all day long digging. I have to go to bed with a telephone next to my ear.


The Captain is just now going on leave.

The weather has been bad again, but today is hot and glaring.


We have to be careful of ammunition still. I suppose we shall have to be until the slackers at home can give up their bank holidays and easy hours and supply us with more ammunition and big guns.  I cannot understand why those who live in safety at home should have holidays and high pay while the wretched tommy in the trenches has to put up with constant hard labour, little pay, and sudden death and wounds from shells fired by guns we cannot counter for lack of sufficient shells and heavy guns of the right sort.  No doubt Lloyd George has his eye on the ballot box instead.  He is a crafty creature.


H.E. WITTY May 1916

H.E. WITTY May 1916


  1. Section


1st May 1916.  Monday.  Inspection of new gas apparatus – in action fired 10 rounds counter-battery work – gloriously fine again – letter from Alice.  ANS.


2nd May 1916. Tuesday.  Thunder showers today result in occupation of tents – getting in wire from old gun position this morning – finished at noon.  Reading in the afternoon – letter from R. ANS.  Also p.c. from Frank.  Wrote Cissie.


3rd May 1916. Wednesday.  On C.X. line in the morning – reading in afternoon – very little doing – cloudy but fine.  Letter and papers from home.  Letter from Scott.  ANS.  Sent P.C. to Mrs. Witty re Ernie.  Bott at Spinney.


4th May 1916. Thursday.  Another glorious day – on battery – fired 10 rounds – Excellent shooting 5 O.K.s Observer reported a huge explosion the smoke from which covered the wood.  Letters from N.T., Mrs. Phillipson & Gilbert.  ANS.


5th May 1916.  Friday.  On line to C.X. – Called on CG2a – very hot – returned at noon – had a dip in the stream in the afternoon – Footer match with Guards won 2 – 0.  Note from R.


6th May 1916.  Saturday.  Turned out at 3.45 – spent day at Spinney with Mallins – very quiet – thundery showers – Letter from Carter – Very good night.  Major went on Leave.


7th May 1916.  Sunday.  Returned in car at 6 a.m. – turned out very wet during the day – Bridge tournament won by Giles and Calley.  Nothing doing owing to inclement weather.  Letter from Mr. Taylor and Norman S.K.  P.C. from Mag.  To be answered tomorrow.


8th May 1916.  Monday.  On duty – much trouble with the lines especially gun line owing to placing of wire round iron supports resulting in ”baring” the line & causing an earth through the wet medium, C.X. line “DIS” Also Gill at CANAL BANK – BOTT on duty with me.  In action in morning – fired 12 rounds on trenches – indifferent shooting.  Letters from Gilbert.  Y. Post from home – arrival of 53 Siege.


9th May 1916.  Tuesday.  Off duty – very wet and cold – read all the day – Pcl from home.  Letters R. Frank M. Mrs. Gill & J.B. from Ma.  ANS.  Bott went to POP.


10th May 1916.  Wednesday.  On 4 Siege line – left 9-0 – found line very faulty at NO 2 GUN – Double line from Old Billet to NO 2 – found break near DIRTY BUCKET CORNER – shell had burst just beneath – returned 3-30 pm – Footer in Evening NO MAIL – rather showery but much warmer.  Lost with Guards 4-0.  Fired 16 rounds – 8 O.Ks – 4 UN –


11th May 1916.  Thursday.  On gun line – all morning – Signs V Gunners in afternoon DRAW NIL-NIL.  Very warm but slightly dull – appearance of 53’s gun on our loop – Letters Home Frank R and N.T.  ANS.  Wrote R – 12th.

12th May 1916.  Friday.  On Hdqr line today with Bott – met some of 17th Siege returned from Dardanelles – very warm – Reading in afternoon.  Letters Ma and Peg.  S.C. from Scott.  ANS.  Very quiet on front 35 shelled yesterday.


13th May 1916.  Saturday.  Very heavy rains – nothing doing at all.  Spent a good part of the day reading my French Classic.  NO MAIL for me.  Rotten day for grub – is the shortage only temporary or permanent we are wondering Days rations – bread butter cheese.


14th May 1916.  Sunday.  Turned out at 5.30 and went on 4th Siege line.  Broken at Old Billet.  KARTE FARM and around 35 Siege the scene of heavy shelling of recent date.  Returned about noon – spent afternoon putting in a window in corner of hut.  Parcels from Ma and Crimmis (Books) and letter from Alice.  Ans.


15th May 1916.  Monday.  On duty – much trouble with CX line and 4 Siege.  Line laid out to HILL TOP – not used as aeroplane sent a few observations.  Fired 20 rounds on Sap 15.  Indifferent results.  NO MAIL for me.  Very nice night.  Planes bombed POP early this am.


16th May 1916.  Tuesday.  OFF DUTY – very fine day – visit to POP.  Letters Gilbert & R.  ANS.  Had a good time in POP – pictures very good.  Supper at the “Twins” Stam.  They (twins) most interesting.  Slept out in field.


17th May 1916.  Wednesday.  Turned out at 2.45 am and went to CANAL BANK O.P. with Tribe – glorious day very enjoyable – shelled and bombed – bullets very common – things very quiet at battery air craft very active.  R.A.M.C. men congenial company.  Letters Mother N.T. and Woodthrope.  ANS on 18th.


18th May 1916.  Thursday.  Relieved at 10.20 am.  4 Siege at fault.  Returned to camp noon.  Episode of two cars.  Race on YPRES road. Douglas injured – fractured foot.  Rowell killed wiring in No MANS LAND.  Letters N.T. (note re Rowell) and Reg.  ANS.  S.C. from Scott.  Glorious day again.


19th May 1916.  Friday.  On battery in morning and afternoon – fired 3 rounds only in morning owing to presence of hostile aircraft – fired 13 rounds in afternoon – including 4 O.K.s 2 Ys and 2 Zs – Another glorious day.  Slept out again and had a good night.  P.C. from Gladys.  ANS.


20th May 1916.  Saturday.  On line to battery – poling in morning – had a dip in the brook in afternoon – splendid weather – Gun in action – fired 7 Rds Indifferent shooting.  Bottrill at CANAL BANK with Ward.  Letter from Scott.  ANS.  Poor grub day to day – 3 loaves for 18 men daily bread ration.  Bully and pickle for dinner. Ugh!!


21st May 1916.  Sunday.  Gas helmet inspection – otherwise nothing doing.  Playing Bridge – another glorious day.  Pcl from Renie.  ANS.  Also dropped P.C. to Frank for shirts pants etc.



22nd May 1916.  Monday.  Putting up Headquarters wire along the Brook – also tested 4 Siege line from O.B.  Returned at noon.  2.30 Bott and I went up to LA BELLE ALLIANCE (trench O.P. finally reached by adopted the snake mode of progression) Campbell and the Thistle.  Difficulty in getting C.X. – at last communication established.  Opened fire 5 and fired 15 Rds in the ** on HIGH COMMAND REDOUBT.  Excellent shooting barring 3 “very” short.  Little retaliation.  Opened again 6.10 and fired 4 Rds.  Left O.P. 7.30.  Reached camp (very wet) *** pm.  NO MAIL.


23rd May 1916.  Tuesday.  Testing lines – poling 4 Siege Line – connecting up old NO 2 D.S. line to CG4a.  Very fine day.  Returned 12.30.  In action again.  NO MAIL – 10 rounds fired counter battery work – Good.  Phell in Infantry Camp *** getting gun away.


24th May 1916.  Wednesday.  On duty – very quiet day – rainy NO MAIL – night duty with MC.


25th May 1916.  Thursday.  Knowles left to return to Eng. Porton last Tuesday.  Bott at Court of Inquiry – cold and showery.  Off duty – Letters Mother N.T. Miss R. (French) & Douglas.  Papers Mother – ANS.


26th May 1916.  Friday.  Off day – nothing doing – played Bridge in morning and footer in afternoon.  Right X against L. X.  Lost 3-2.  Good MAIL.  Letters R. Ma and Mr Carter, Humberson and Mr Millington.  P.C. R. & Mag.  ANS.  Bott at POP.  Fine day.


27th May 1916.  Saturday. Another fine day – testing battery line in morning.  Played in married v single in afternoon.  Score NIL – NIL.  On C.X. line in evening.  Much activity in the air.  Letter Peg and Alice.  ANS.


28th May 1916.  Sunday.  Turned out at 5.30 Am and went to ROUEN FARM in car to patrol C.X. line.  After great difficulty discovered the break inside the insulation.  Much shelling with 5.9s in our neighbourhood.  Returned to camp after getting line in order at 1 am.  Letter Alice.  P.C. Frank.  ANS.  Sent 30/- to Frank Monday.  Pop shelled with 4.2s.  Another glorious day.


29th May 1916.  Monday.  In battery putting up lines and putting up the poles with insulators in morning – on battery line at Billet in afternoon.  Fired 5 Rds 23s – Aeroplane Wireless gives out.  No MAIL – heavy shelling tonight.  POP shelled all last night.


30th May 1916.  Tuesday.  Much rain – slept out last night & was simply washed out – cleared up in the afternoon.  Nothing doing.  Letters R. and Douglas.  ANS.


31st May 1916.  Wednesday.  On telephone duty and night duty – Excellent shoot – 40 Rounds on two salients.  Many direct hits and much debris thrown up.  Letters N.T. home – Papers from home.  ANS.  Bott at O.P.

WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET May 1916

WAR DIARY OF 2/Lt. Alfred Benjamin STREET



1st May Monday.  Lovely weather except for a Heavy thunderstorm in the late afternoon.  Travelling all day, slept very well at night.  Hot tea and rum was provided three times a day at prearranged places.  Passed through Lyon in the early m’ning.


2nd May Tuesday.  Travelling all night slept well, woken by Ry. officials at Paris for instructions, had breakfast about 8.0 and arrived at Longueau 11.15 a.m.  Hill and a Lieut. White of the A.S.C. came along soon with lorries, started unloading Amm. but had to wait till 3.30 to use the Ramps until the French had finished off loading a train.  At 5.0 went off to La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) with Lt. White to fetch coupling pins from lorries then found the day before that they had been taken out of lorries at gun position the day before, had to hunt round for spare pins off various caterpillars and arrived back at Longueau 6.50.  Coupled up and got away at 7.30.  Were stopped twice on the road by Coupling pins between Caterpillars and gun working out, once by Belt breaking and once to tighten up new belt.  Also ½ hr. delay by Aeroplane scare.


3rd May.  Wed.  Parked at La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) by side of road at 3.30 a.m.  Just daylight.  Got the Caterpillars parked and men dismissed at 4.0.  Put my Valise down in White’s hut after having some grub and got to bed at 5.0 a.m.  Got up at noon, saw the Major who had come over and left La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) with three lorries full of stores at 4.0 p.m. for gun position, arrived there at 5.0 dropped stores, saw White and Lane who were digging with the Battery and then proceeded to Dernacourt to our Billets.  I got fixed up with an Infantry Officer quite comfortably.  Found Harvey in bed with a bad knee and Hart was on the sick list also, Melville and the Major quite fit.  The A.S.C. had been removed to the Siege Park at La Houssoye (Lahoussoye).  Got a huge pile of letters.


4th May Thursday.  Lovely fine day.  Orderly Officer in Billets all day. Battery went out to dig 2.0 p.m. till 8.0 p.m.


5th May Friday.  Fine but dull.  Batty digging dug outs 8.30 to 6.0 p.m.  With signallers in Dernacourt all the m’ning.  Hill came over.  After lunch went out to dug outs.  The roof of a splinter proof fell in owing to the rafters giving way.  Got it roofed again by 6.0 p.m.


6th May Saturday.  Fine but mostly cloudy a little rain in the m’ning.  Had good day’s digging at the Dugouts, covered another splinter proof and finished excavating one Dug Out.  Went with Church, the Col’s Ord. Off. to 83’s position to see an phone exchange.


7th May Sunday.  Dull day heavy shower in afternoon.  Working at Dug Outs and cartridge recesses all day 8.30 – 6.0 p.m.  Hindered by lack of timber.  Signallers digging cable trench between Dug Outs and batty.


8th May Monday.  Cold day very showery.  Ord. Off.  With Signallers all the m’ning.  Batty came in from digging after dinner.  Hack 2nd Lt. KOYLI with whom I shared a billet moved out in the evening.


9th May Tuesday.  Dull & rainy.  Drawing Stores from R.E. m’ning and afternoon in Albert.


10th May Wed.  Dull early but turned out bright and sunny day, chilly wind.  Out digging Dugouts 8.30-6.0p.m. Harvey got up in the evening.


11th May Thursday.  Dull all day but cleared up in the evening.  Out digging from 8.30-6.0p.m.


12th May Friday.  Fine warm day, fairly sunny.  Ord. Off. and had a slack day.  Got through a lot of letters.  Capt. Hart went on leave.


13th May Sat.  Very wet day.  Drew Stores in the m’ning.  Lt. Half went to Baths in Albert.  Went on motor bike up round Sand Pit in afternoon.  White left for course.


14th May Sunday.  Fine day but dull, rain in the late evening.  Went with Corp. Sandwell to the O.P. in Trench 15 above Sand Pit.  Wasted a lot of time through lack of Directions.  Went to reconnoitre possibilities of Visual Signalling between O.P. and battery: returned to billets at 1.30.  At 2.30 went with Major & Corp. Sandwell in car to gun position and at 4.30 went on to O.P. site in Kinfauns Ar taking Kipling as mining expert.  Returned to Billets at 6.30.


15th May Monday.  Very wet until11. a.m.  In billets all day.  Drew Cash and paid Batty in afternoon. Harvey with 4 Sigs went out to man O.P. for 26 S Btty. From 9.0 a.m.



16th May Tuesday.  Lovely fine sunny day.  Went with Corp. Sandwell and 3 other signallers to O.P. above Sand Pit and got into communication with party near Dug Outs.  Returned to billets at 1.40.  Sent Corp. Sandwell up to O.P. with Lamp to Stand towards Batty between 8.0 and 9.0 p.m.  I went with 3 others to pick up the light at Batty end, very successful.  Batty did not parade during the day but at 8.0 p.m. – 2.0 a.m.  Met Twinch in the m’ning up by O.P., he is in 25th S. now, he also gave me news of Yale in 46 and told me where he was at Beaussart N of our position.


17th May Wed.  Lovely sunny day.  In Billets all m’ning. Went with Corp. Sandwell to locate a position for Visual Signalling from O.P. near Osha Redout to battery: not very successful as position was rather far from O.P. started at 2.0p.m. ret 5.45.  Btty digging by night.  Wore Steel Helmet for first time,


18th May  Thursday.  Weather same.  Paraded at 7.30 with Party of 3 Sigs and one O.R. for O.P.  Had a long and very hot march there arr 9.30.  The O.P. belongs to 26th S. LX, Arthur Lemmit’s old btty, but has been appropriated by 7 H.A.G.  Mair came up in the morning, Riley their new Sub. in afternoon and Capt. Duke in the evening.  Fairly quiet day, some Hun shelling afternoon and at dusk, quiet night, lay down from 10.30-2.30. am.


19th .   Was relieved very punctually by 60th S at 9.0 and marched back to Billets.  After lunch went out with the Major to our position for an O.P. near Trois Meules.  Lay down after tea until the Major woke me up to go out to Btty position and lay out the Line of Fire for each gun.  He took 2 hrs over it and then his result was of little use as Lane had to do it again next day when laying down the beams.  Lane and two gun Detachments went to live in the Battery Dug Outs.


20th May Saturday.  Weather same.  With signallers for half the m’ning and then biked out to the Btty position and in again for lunch.  Rested in the afternoon.  Paraded with Signallers at 8.0 p.m. went and dug cable trench to dugouts, returned at 12.0 m’dn’ght.


21st May Sunday.  Weather same.  Paraded at 8.0 a.m.  Went out to the Btty position, met Church out there and discussed various points re Signalling, returned to lunch.  Corp. Collins to Hosp. with measles and 22 of the Batty isolated.  Rested in the afternoon.  Paraded 8-12 m’dn’ght.  Signallers digging cable trench and remainder working on Gun pits.  Capt Hart ret from leave.


22nd May Monday.  Fine sunny day, shower in the evening.  Btty paraded 4 p.m.- 12.0.  In afternoon attended to message re moving out of our Mess billet.  After dinner went on bike to La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) to accompany No 1 & 2 guns to position near gun position, left La Houssoye (Lahoussoye) at 8.0 p.m. arr soon after 12.0 and got guns parked by 1.0 a.m.



23rd May Tuesday.  Dullish day, fine.  In the m’ning fatigue party pitched a Tarpaulin as a mess tent for when we move out of our Mess Billet.  Left Dernacourt for La Houssoye (Lahoussoye)  at 7.0 p.m., inner tube of back tyre burst at 7.20, got going again at 8.0 p.m. and met Caterpillars with Nos. 3 & 4 guns just outside La Houssoye (Lahoussoye).  They arrived near the gun position at 11.30 and were parked by 12.30.  Btty paraded at 8.0 p.m. to put in Nos. 1 & 2 guns, they went in fairly well but the pins on the aft part of the cradle were the cause of delay as usual owing to their getting bent in transit.  Got finished finally at 3.0 a.m. and returned to Billets.


24th May Wed.  Fine m’ning but dull, started to rain at midday.  At 11.30 I biked into Albert to Home Counties R.E. to see about getting some boxes made for using Elec. Sig. Lamps by day.  Rained all the afternoon.  Capt. Langford came over at tea time and left afterwards.  The Major put off putting the other two guns in owing to the wet weather making the ground so bad.  It stopped raining about 7.30. Harvey acting Adj for 7th H.A.G. while Anderson is on leave.


25th May Thursday.  Fine but dull.  Paraded 8.0 a.m. -12.0.  Proceeded with getting the gun pits of Nos. 3 & 4 ready for putting the guns in.  Paraded at 7.30 to put No 3 & 4 guns in.  It started to rain at 8.0 and continued pretty well all night.  Got No 4 gun in successfully by 1.0 a.m. but No. 3 could not finish getting the Howitzer in owing to the slope up to the pit and the state of the ground.  Had a hard job shifting the wheels away, the ground being very heavy and few men available.  Returned to billets at 4.0 a.m.


26th May Friday.  Fine day fairly sunny cool evening.  Btty paraded at 4.0 p.m. and Melville took them out to Btty position to finish putting in No. 3 gun.


27th May Sat.  Fine hot day.  Btty paraded at 8.0 a.m. and I took them out to Btty position to work till 12.0 and again 8. p.m. to midnight.  White returned from Officers’ Course.  The Staff Capt asked me whether I should care for the job of Ord. Off. to the General IIIrd Corps H.A. and whether I would care for him to apply for me, I replied I should.


28th May Sunday.  Dull early.  Warm and sunny later.  Melville went away on leave at 8.0 a.m. owing to his Father being very ill.  Leave for the men started.  In billets all day.  Did some extracting of notes for the Major.  Btty working 8.0 a.m. -12 and 8.0 p.m. – 12.


29th May Monday.  Fine warm sunny day, clouded over in the evening and rained after 9.30 p.m.  Reported to the Staff Capt. In the morning.  Saw Gen. Perkins who told me have me as Ord: Off; temporarily if my Major agreed.  Member of a Court Martial at 10.0 a.m.  Saw the Major at lunch who agreed to my going to the General, reported to him at 2.0 p.m. and started work straight away.


30th May Tuesday.  Dull morning cleared up in the afternoon.  In the office all day.  Went for a walk with Capt. Young before dinner.


31st May Wed.  Fine sunny day.  The General had Col. Hamilton, Capt. Hardy (D) & Capt. Bagnall to dinner, very pleasant evening.

A.G. Richardson’s Diary May 1916

A.G. Richardson’s Diary May 1916


Monday 1st May 1916:            Signalling with the Officers – on guard at wagon park.

Tuesday 2nd May 1916:           On guard all day at wagon park.

Wednesday 3rd May 1916:      Signalling with the officers one hour.

Thursday 4th May 1916:          Colonel returns from leave.  Signalling with Officers in morning.

Friday 5th May 1916:              Interview with the Adjt.  Signalling with the Officers.

Saturday 6th May 1916;          Signalling with the Officers & 1st Sect aft.

Sunday 7th May 1916:             Church Parade at 10 am.  Lovely ramble.

Monday 8th May 1916:           Signalling with the Officers.  Fishing with S.M. Spencer.

Tuesday 9th May 1916:           Signalling with the Officers.  1st Sect in aft.

Wednesday 10th May 1916:    Signalling with the Officers.  1st Sect in aft.

Thursday 11th May 1916:        Signalling in morning with the Officers.  1st Sect in aft.

Friday 12th May 1916:                        Signalling with the Officers in morning.

Saturday 13th May 1916:        Signalling with the Officers.  Fishing with Shaw.

Sunday 14th May 1916:           Church Parade at 10 am.  Lovely walk with Cecil & Tommy.

Monday 15th May 1916:         x Received my stripe back & exonerated from all blame. Only the Adjt to be thanked.

Tuesday 16th May 1916:         Signalling with the Officers.

Wednesday 17th May 1916:    Signalling with the Officers.

Thursday 18th May 1916:        Went a long walk with Eagle & then played billiards Friday 19th May 1916:                       Sent to 1st Sect (near D.A.C.) to Capt Emsley with recommend from the Adjt & paid Bombr.  Also Cecil & Tommy.

Saturday 20th May 1916:        Placed into E Sub-Sect.  In stables all day.  Out in village at night.

Sunday 21st May 1916:           Reveille 6.  Stables 6.30.  Went to VIGNACOURT with 920 hand grenades to 146th Inf Bde.  Half Holiday.  Fine day.

Monday 22nd May 1916:         Reveille 6 am – Stables 6.30.  Grooming & cleaning harness all day.  Cecil & Tommy leave & go to 4th Sect.

Tuesday 23rd May 1916:         Stables 6.30 am.  Lieut P.H. Walker exchanges 18 old 4th Sect men but leaves me at 1st Sect.  “Ca ne fait rien”.  Harness cleaning.

Wednesday 24th May 1916:    Empire Day.  No special celebration.  Reveille 6 am.  Took 29 Reinforcements to M.O. for medical inspections.  Cleaning Harness.

Thursday 25th May 1916:        Received my old job back – Went for rations to Havernas at 10 am with Gnr Briggs.  Returned at 2 pm.  Drew stores at H.Q. with Q.M.S.

Friday 26th May 1916:                        Reveille 6 am.  Went to Havernas for rations 10 – 2 pm.  Saw Forster & Trench Mortars.  On H.Q. guard.

Saturday 27th May 1916:        Went to Havernas for rations with Briggs.  At Berteaucourt at night.

Sunday 28th May 1916:           Went to Havernas with Briggs for rations.  Out in the village at night with Cecil & Tommy.

Monday 29th May 1916:         Went to Havernas for rations.  Briggs goes on leave.

Tuesday 30th May 1916:         Went to Havernas for rations.  On piquet at night.

Wednesday 31st May 1916:    Went to Havernas for rations on bicycle.  At Berteaucourt at night.

18 Div Arty 29 May 2016




Hour                Time before Sunrise                Objects discerned



Hrs.   Mins.

1-30 a.m.                     2         15         Break of dawn.

2-20 a.m.                     1         25         Read watch.

2-30 a.m.                     1         15         See chalk trenches at 600 yards.

2-45 a.m.                     1          0         See earth trenches at 600 yards.

3-5 a.m.                       0         40         Distinguish trenches a mile off.

3-10 a.m.                     0         35         See aeroplane easily flying at 3000’

(Looks black cannot see colours.)

3.15 a.m.                     0         30         Distinguish men’s heads above trenches at 100 yards.

3-25 a.m.                     0         20        See foresight of rifle and men at 300 yards    sufficiently easy for accurate firing.

3-35 a.m.                     0         10         Perfect light to see any objects.




Sunrise at 3-45 a.m.


The morning was an average summer morning, clear sky with thin banks of clouds in the East.




18 Div Arty 29 May 1916

M.P. 6

18 Div Arty


I enclose plan showing routes of F.O.O lines as arranged.


Each red line represents a pair.


All lines except from battalion at A 7/3 to CARNOY exchange are under floor of trenches.


Will you please return this tracing when done with.


M.T. Porter Captain

O/C Sigs 18th Div


18th Div Art 28 May 1916

18th Div Art


I forward herewith tracing shewing German wire, correct to date so far as I can see.


I have not shewn front line wire as there has been no change in that. Gaps at KASINO POINT and BRICK POINT have been repaired.


  1. Thorpe Lt. Col R.A.

Comd. 82nd Bde R.F.A.