XIII CORPS “I” 9 January 1917

Norman Richardson

2nd Lieut.

18th D.L.I.

Attached XIII Corps I.



9th January 1917.





Command Posts.

Telephone centres.


Routes and approaches.

Observation Posts.


Field Kitchens.

Machine Guns.

Trench Mortars.




Army H.Q. (First Army).                               —–      HAVRINCOURT.

Group H.Q. (‘A’ Group)                               ——     VAULX-VRAUCOURT (?)

Divisional H.Q. at :-                                      ——-   VAULX-VRAUCOURT




Regimental & Brigade H.Q.:-                     ——     GREVILLERS


PYS (M.2.c.64.05.and 55.20.) or (M.2.a.1.1.)

IRLES (G.31.a.7.4.) or (G.31.b.6.4.)



ACHIET-le-PETIT (G.13.a.)



R.9.b.                          —          Eastern end of GRANDCOURT, S. of Road –

Regimental Command Post.

R.5.a.00.20.               —          PETIT MIRAUMONT. – Regimental Command Post.

R.5.a.45.20.               —               “            “               –       “                   “              “

R.4.a.2.1.                   —          In Ravine                      – Bn. H.Q. and Aid Post.

R.4.b.4.3.                   —          House in MIRAUMONT – Regimental Headquarters.

R.4.b.80.25.               —          MIRAUMONT                        – Regimental Command Post.

L.35.c.4.1.                  —          Farm in  MIRAUMONT        – Artillery Headquarters.

L.32.b.5.7.                  —                                                          – Brigade Battle H.Q.

L.32.c.9.2.                  —          PUISIEUX Trench               – Battalion H.Q.

L.26.a.3.1.                  —          Dugout in  PUISIEUX Trench       – Telephone Post.

L.25.a.8.2.                  —          in POM POM ALLey            – Regimental Command Post.

L.25.a.0.6.                  —          SERRE.                                 – Telephone Centre.

L.20.a.65.65.             —          PUISIEUX House East Regimental Command Post.

L.20.a.0.3.                  —          Dugouts W. of PUISIEUX  -Regimental Battle H.Q.

L.20.a.40.98.             —          PUISIEUX; large corner House in Market Street –

Battalion H.Q.

L.19.a.05.60.             —          Dugouts in HOCK Trench  – Regimental Command Post.

L.14.c.1.2.                  —          W. of PUISIEUX                   – Battalion Command and

Telephone Post.

L.7.c.8.1.                    —          S.E. of ROSIGNOL WOOD – Regimental Command Post.

L.7.c.3.5.                    —                 do                       do                 do              do

E.30.d.8.1.                 —          RETTEMOY FARM              –  Battalion Command Post.

E.28.d.9.9.                 —          GOMMECOURT WOOD     –  Battalion H.Q.

K.36.a.8.6.                 —          S. of  SERRE                        – Battalion H.Q.

K.36.c.12.30.             —          Dugouts in Support Line    – Regimental Command Post.

K.30.a.2.3.                 —          W. of SERRE                        – Battalion Command Post.

K.30 (unlocated)      —          SERRE                                  – Battalion H.Q.


K.24.c.8.6.                 —          N. of Trench junction          –  Battalion Command Post.

K.24.b.4.9.                 —          E. end of STAR WOOD      – Battalion H.Q.

K.18.d.0.7.                 —          W. of LA LOUVIERE FARM – Battalion Command and

Telephone Post.

K.12.b.31.22.             —          ROSSIGNOL WOOD           –     do             do

K.12.d.32.02.             —          Dugout in Support Line      – Battalion H.Q.

K.6.c.25.70.               —          Trench N. of ALTER

GARDE STELLUNG           –   do

K.4.b.6.4.                   —          GOMMECOURT.                  –    do

K.4.b.35.92.               —                 do                                    –    do





ACHIET-le-GRAND (G.10.a.6.1.) E. of Cross Roads.

DIERVILLE FARM (just N. of F.28.a.8.8.)

GOMMECOURT   (K.4.b.3.3.) Artillery Telephone Exchange.









ACHIET-LE-GRAND.                                                          Railhead.

Large ammunition dump at Station, both sides of railway.

Ammunition dump at G.4.c.58.40. W. side of bridge.

Ammunition dump at G.10.c.22.60., in dugouts West embankment.

Supply and Pioneer dumps on both sides of railway in G.10.a.



G.13.d.9.5. N. side of railway.

G.13.d.6.8. approx ammunition dump.



Ammunition dump at crossing, H.26.d.5.3.

H.26.b.55.05. W. of village.



H.21.d.8.3. and 9** E. side of branch line.

Ammunition dump at ST. AUBIN, H.28.a.



Dumps at R.1.b.5.0. and along valley at L.31.c.0.3.



G.17.b.2.1. in Sugar Factory, Ammunition Dump.



Pioneer Park at F.28.a.3.1.

Dumps of material at L.3.d.0.3. and N. of Railway junction at L.9.c.2.8.

Dump at L.9.b.7.8.


COURCELLES-le-COMTE.                                                           Railhead.

Ammunition dump East end of village.

Pioneer dump near Railway at A.16.d.4.9.



Dump on side of road in B.26.a.



Dump in L.8.d. central, near road.

Supply dump at L.8.d.2.9.


GOMIECOURT.                                                                    Central Ration Depot.


Dumps al level crossing G.6.b.10.95. and on railway at B.25.c.2.6.



Ammunition dump at E.28.d.55.50

Pioneer dump at E.28.d.9.9.



Timber dump at R.8.d.5.4.

Timber and wire along railway at R.9.b.7.5.

S.A.A. dump in dug-out at R.9.b.63.28.



Ration dumps at G.32.c.1.9. and near Church.

Grenade dump at G.26.c.6.1. S. of Cemetery.

Dumps at G.26.c.20.65. and at G.32.a.4.6.

Central depot for frames and timber at G.26.c.20.65. and G.32.a.4.6.



Large munition dump along S. edge of Wood (G.1.b.62. G.2.a.10).



Ammunition dump in dugouts near road junction K.18.d.38.85.

Pioneer dump at K.18.d.4.8.



Large ammunition dump in brickfields, L.35.a.

Pioneer, supply and grenade dumps near sidings at L.35.b.2.1.

Supply dumps at L.35.c.4.6. and in yard of large farm at L.35.c.4.1.

Ration dump in chalk quarry L.35.d.1.8.

Large dumps at L.30.a.5.3., Goods Stations.

Dumps at L.30.c.4.0., S of Goods Station, and in dug-outs in bank at


MORY (N.E.).

Dumps by the railway sidings.  Supply depot for 2 Divisions.



Ammunition dumps at L.20.a.4.6., W. side of road and at L.26.a.7.2.

Pioneer dumps at L.21.d.9.0. and L.15.c.3.3. in loop of tramway.

Dumps at L.14.d.4.3. and W. side of tramway at L.15.d.1.9.



Ammunition dump in S. corner at K.12.d.45.90. and in dugouts about


Pioneer dumps at K.12.b.1.8. and K.12.b.7.2.



Dump of wire and timber at L.25.b.5.3.

Dump at L.25.a.3.7.



Ammunition and Pioneer dumps in K.6.b.



Dumps at K.24.b.2.9., in N. of wood, and at K.18.d.5.1. N.E. of wood.



Ration dump in farm buildings at I.1.b.6.6.





The following routes and approaches have been more or less confirmed by recent photographs and prisoners statements:-


  1. Track, leaving road from BUCQUOY at F.26.d.10.25. to N. corner of BIEZ WOOD following N. edge of Wood, leaving N.W. corner and meeting light railway at about K.6.b.20.95. which it follows to K.4.b.80.25.
  2. Road, from L.3.a.8.4., BUCQUOY, to S. corner of BIEZ WOOD, cutting across N corner of SQUARE WOOD. Then by tracks and trenches beside the dividing line between K.6.a. and c., and thence alongside road through K.5.b. and a., cutting off about K.5.a.65.35. to K.4.b.95.10.
  3. Same as (2) up to L.1.d.2.5. where road branches off, passing N. corner of ROSSIGNOL WOOD. Tracks lead off this road to the WOOD and BERG GRABEN.
  4. Road running through L.8. and 14 to L.14.a.65.10., thence by track to L.14.c.1.9. and then alongside railway past S. edge of BOX WOOD to K.18.d.95.40. whence tracks run to LA LOUVIERE FARM and ROSSIGNOL WOOD.
  1. By road to PUISIEUX, through PUISIEUX by MARKET STREET, down SERRE ROAD to L.25.a.3.9. then:
  1. Through SERRE village to K.30. central, and into communication trenches which cross SERRE trench, (L.30.a. and c.: TUEBINGER STELLUNG) or
  2. Down lane S.E. of SERRE past L.25.a.45.65. to K.30.d.25.10., where PENDANT ALLEY WEST (LANGER GRABEN) is entered, or
  3. Down SERRE ROAD to L.25.a.0.7., then through communication trench past K.30.b.6.8. and K.30.a.3.7.
  1. By road, through PUISIEUX into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD, into PUISIEUX Trench and C.T’s running off Westwards.
  2. By tracks, leaving ACHIET-le-PETIT – PUISIEUX ROAD at about L.16.c.7.0., crossing through L.21.b. and c., following close to road and converging at L.20.c.8.2. leading into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD. Thence, by tracks, running through L.25.d. and c. converging just S. of cross-roads in K.36.a.
  1. Leaving ACHIET-le-PETIT – PUSIEUX Road at
  1. About L.16.c.7.0. by track to railway junction in L.22.c.
  2. About L.18.c.2.8. and meeting railway at L.23.a.25.25. and then to railway junction in L.22.c.
  3. From L.22.c. route diverges:-
  1. By railway, running through L.27.b. and a., L.26.b., into PUISIEUX VALLEY ROAD, into PUSH ALLEY, TEN TREE ALLEY and GLORY LANE.
  2. By track, through L.27.a. and c. to PUISIEUX ALLEY and PUISIEUX Trench.
  1. By road through G.19 to GOODS STATION, than along railway.R.3.b.4.5. – R.3.a.2.5. – R.2.b.9.8.L.33.c.7.2. – L.33.c.1.7. – L.32.d.7.6.  ***************************************** K.30.c.65.13.             (S. of SERRE).K.30.b.45.40.             (House in SERRE).K.4.d.85.75.               (S. of GOMMECOURT).L.32.a.9.2.                 (PUISIEUX TRENCH).L.28.c.central            (     do                     do         ) O.P. on ridge.L.24.b.95.80.            (E of STAR WOOD).L.14.c.2.2.                  (Red house in PUISIEUX).  R.2.b.90.15.               (Behind PUISIEUX Trench) – Conspicuous artificial mound, slit  SUSPECTED.K.30.a.6.2.                 (W of SERRE).K.30.c.2.9.                 (covered with chalk).K.12.d.65.05.             (FARM Trench, S. of SUNKEN ROAD).K.11.b.3.6.                 (S.E. of NAMELESS FARM).K.5.c.25.33.               (Junction of LEHMANN GRABEN with 3rd Line).K.4.d.2.5.                   (Front line, W of SUD GRABEN).                                     TRENCH).L.14.a.3.0.                  (PUISIEUX). R.2.d.8.5.                   (S. end of RIVER Trench).*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*BILLETS AND DUGOUTS*****************************************PUISIEUX:                Dugouts and cellars.Dugouts, 2½ Kilos S. of village. Road.LOGEAST WOOD:   Chiefly in S.E. corner.                                    areas.?COURCELLES-le-COMTE: Dugouts, 8 or more, each connected, and each holding GOMIECOURT:        In Church (?)IRLES:                       Dugouts and cellars.BEHAGNIES:           Houses and barns.ERVILLERS:   K.12.b.27.60 – ROSSIGNOL WOOD.K.18.b.35 or 39- Permanent.(K.24.b.15.95 – near STAR WOOD.ACHIET-le-PETIT, brought up once in every 24 hours, either day or night into main street about G.13.b.84  ************************************R.1.a.5.5.                                                                                           R.1.d.2½.3.R.1.d.½.5.                                                                                          R.1.d.7.4.R.1.d.2.5.                                                                                           L.20.a.1.4.R.2.b.20.15.                                                                                       L.32.a.89.38.Q.6.a.50.60                                                                                        K.35.a.4.1.Q.6.c.6.5.                                                                                           K.35.a.8.7.L.20.a.0.2.                                                                                          K.30.c.2.9.K.35.a.8.7.                                                                                         K.29.b.4.1.K.35.c.92.75.                                                                                     K.29.b.62.89.K.30.c.75.50.                                                                                     K.23.b.7.0.K.29.b.4.6.                                                                                         K.4.d.2.5. (O.P.?).K.29.b.7.1.K.29.d.1.3.K.24.c.45.15.K.24.c.75.90.K.23.d.7.9.K.4.a.22.49.K.4.c.79.47.K.4.d.05.50.  ————————————————–K.35.a.8.3.                             K.35.c.30.10.                                     K.35.c.8.3.K.30.a.10.85.                         K.30.a.2.2.                                         K.29.b.75.25.K.29.d.2.3.                             K.23.b.8.3.                                         K.23.b.9.2.K.17.d.35.10.                         K.11.a.25.75.                                     K.11.d.80.30.K.4.a.9.3.                               K.4.b.03.38.                                       K.4.b.10.03.R.1.d.5.5.SUSPECTED.K.30.b.2.9.                             K.29.d.39.45.                                     K.29.d.41.31.  ————————K.35.d.0.7.                             K.29.d.4.5.                                         K.35.c.6.8.*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*************************
  3. K.36.c.1.2.                             K.35.c.8.8.
  5. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  6. K.29.d.3.8.
  7. K.4.b.08.08.                           K.4.b.1.1.                                           K.4.b.05.18.
  8. K.4.a.68.45.                           K.4.a.7.5.                                           K.4.a.99.31.
  9. K.24.a.0.1.                             K.24.a.1.0.                                         K.17.d.2.1.
  10. K.29.d.4.4.                             K.29.d.6.1.                                         K.29.d.6.2.
  11. K.35.c.35.30.                         K.30.a.00.75.                                     K.30.a.45.03.
  14. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  15. K.4.d.3.4.
  16. K.4.c.85.45.
  17. K.4.c.32.88.
  18. K.4.a.43.95.
  19. K.24.c.8.6.
  20. K.24.c.6.4.
  21. K.24.a.5.3.
  22. K.29.b.40.55.
  23. K.29.b.5.7.                                                                                         K.4.d.68.22.
  24. K.29.b.2.1.                                                                                         K.23.d.8.7.
  25. K.30.c.2.1.                                                                                         K.29.b.8.9.
  26. K.35.c.8.8.                                                                                         K.29.b.53.69.
  27. K.36.c.0.1. (in front of front line)                                                    K.29.b.47.13.
  28. Q.6.c.63.34.                                                                                       K.35.a.7.3.
  29. Q.6.a.60.40.                                                                                       K.35.a.6.5.
  30. R.2.d.4.2.                                                                                           L.32.a.90.45.
  31. R.1.d.4.7.                                                                                           L.22.a.9.3.
  32. R.1.d.0.4. (2 guns and very strong point).                                   Q.6.c.50.30.
  33. R.1.c.3.1.                                                                                           R.1.d.3.5.
  34. CONFIRMED.                                                                                   SUSPECTED.
  36. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  37. R.5.c.44 – Crucifix in MIRAUMONT.
  38. 200 yards W. of road in L.13.a. (Drives up every night and goes away again at once).
  39. (K.18.d.5.1. – STAR ALLEY, or
  40. K.12.c.9.2. – In SUNKEN ROAD.
  41. E.28.d.84.80 – GOMMECOURT WOOD.
  43. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  44. EPINOY.
  45. SAPIGNIES:             3 Regiments and 2 F.A. regiments.
  46. PYS:                           Cellars and dugouts.
  47. MIRAUMONT:           Cellars and dug-outs, (N. end only).
  48.                                     30 – 40 men (A.10.c.5.0).
  49. ABLAINZEVILLE:    Houses and barns.
  50. BIHUCOURT:           rest billets (for 1day) for troops moving up to line from back
  51. BUCQUOY:               Cellars and dugouts (L.3.b.2½.2½.).
  52. ACHIET-le-GRAND: Also in hut barracks W. of Station and N. of ABLAINZEVILLE
  53. ACHIET-le-PETIT:    Dugouts and cellars (G.13.b.65 and G.13.d.97)
  54. SERRE:                     Dugouts and cellars.
  55. R.2.b.9.2.                   (Ridge W. of BAILLESCOURT FARM).
  56. L.7.c.4.1.                    (S.E. ROSSIGNOL WOOD)
  57. L.20.a.30.95              (PUISIEUX).
  58. L.26.c.25.25.             (series of O.P’s) (Junction of PUSH ALLEY with PUISIEUX
  59. K.4.d.68.22.               (Front line, W of LEHMANN GRABEN).
  60. K.5.b.29.05.               (behind GOMMECOURT).
  61. K.5.c.50.05.               (Junction of BECKER GRABEN with 3rd line).
  62. K.11.b.3.0.                 (Slit in Bank).
  63. K.18.c.90.35.             (STAR WOOD).
  64. K.30.b.30.35.             (SERRE).
  65. K.35.b.8.2.                 (SERRE TRENCH).
  66. ——————————————-
  67.                                     visible.
  68. R.3.a.2.5.                   (Ridge N.E. of BAILLESCOURT FARM).
  69. Q.6.a.43.70.               (MUNICH Trench).
  70. L.13.b.7.8.                  (N. of PUISIEUX).
  71. L.19.d.20.36.             (Camouflaged tree on SERRE Road, about 15 ft. high).
  72. L.25.a.30.85.             (junction of roads).
  73. L.28.c.95.00.             (BEAUREGARD DOVECOTE) Platform in most Southerly tree.)
  74. K.18.c.35.50.             (W. of LA LOUVIERE FARM) Battalion O.P.
  75. K.24.c.8.6.                 (WALTER TRENCH) – Battalion O.P.
  76. K.30.d.18.06             (S. of SERRE).
  77. K.35.d.1.7.                 (Mound near SERRE Trench).
  80. *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  81. L.33.b.1.3. – L.32.b.5.0.
  82. L.34.c.9.1. – L.33.c.7.2. – R.2.b.9.8.
  83. The following tracks are in area W. of MIRAUMONT
  2. At a dugout in GOMMECOURT E.28.d.8.8.
  1. In W. corner of BEITZ WOOD at K.6.b.63.72. there are several very deep quarries.
  2. Four large quarries at PUISIEUX used by the enemy:-
  1. VAQUETTE QUARRY L.20c..63
  2. DESSENNE QUARRY (L.20.c.65.63.)
  3. Quarries of the Rue de la Chappelle (L.20.a.52.42.)
  4. Quarries of the lime maker hauel (L.20.a.2.9.)
  1. K.11.a.60.23. (HEBUTERNE – CRUCIFIX Road) (photo: 5 AE 327)
  2. K.11.b.95.25. (The CRUCIFIX) (photo: 5 AE 324)
  3. K.17.b.41.92 (SUNKEN ROAD) (Photo 5 AE 190)
  4. K.17.b.32.52. (HEBUTERNE – LA LOUVIERRE FARM) (Photo 5 AE 190)
  5. K.18.a.65.10 and 82.01 (HEBUTERNE – LA LOUVIERRIE FARM)
  6. (Photo 5 AE 149)
  7. K.13.a.55.65 (SUNKEN ROAD, N. of BOX WOOD)
  8. K.29.d.41.07 ( ***** from SERRE)
  1. WATER SUPPLY.Well in STAR WOODThe Sugar Factory at G.17 (BIHUCOURT) was used by 52nd Division as a mineral water factory.*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*
  2. PUISIEUX: has good supply; SERRE: not good. Mineral waters are much used.
  3. About K.4.b.69.07, K.18..20.85.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne December 1917

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne




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





December 1917.



From Isola della Scala.


ASIGLIANO                         2nd December, 1917.

COLEREDO              3rd       do


PONTI DI BARBARANO    4th December, 1917


  1. MARIA near CAMISANO 5th December 1917. (Visited Vicenza, 6th Dec.)
  2. Giorgio in Bosco.
  3. ANNA MOROSINA. 7th December, 1917.


(XI Corps at Camposampiero 8th December)


R.P. December 2, 1917.

B.E.F. Italy.


The best thing for me to do is to write you a letter and carry it about with me until I get a chance of posting it.


We are without any mail from England.  I shall be glad to get news of you all.


This is very different to France.  It is an extraordinary country with a population poor and dull living in large farmhouses like enormous barns.  As the rooms have no fire places and the weather in bitterly cold it is not very pleasing.  However we are moving about a lot, and seeing the country, which is most interesting.


But we do not appreciate our privileges. Here we are caravanning over this land than which there is no better way of getting to know a country, with two horses for each officer, and wagons for our kit.  No tourist has such a chance and such facilities except at a great expense.  We are doing it at the Government’s cost.


I have just visited a delightful medieval fortified town quite out of the way of the usual run of tourists. It possesses an old castle sympathetically restored and furnished.


Captain Bell of B Battery is also interested in medieval history so we are having a jolly time together.


Tonight we are billeted in a large cold house, and we have just had dinner. It consisted of soup, and two large guinea fowl, which we purchased for the price of two shillings each.  Or to be more exact four lire a piece.  This with potatoes, cabbage, stewed apples, sardines on toast and cheese.


I am still in command of the Battery and am likely to be as there is no sign of the Major returning.  I have had the Battery now since July with a short interval.


The horses have improved on the march, and are looking very well. It freezes every night. I did not know it could be so cold in Italy.


The Italians keep their houses much cleaner than the Belgians. I hope to visit Rome and Naples later on, but before then I must swat up some history books.  Will you send me the book on Pompeii which is some where about.


December 2, 1917.

B.E.F. Italy.


No mail has arrived here for us yet, so we are without any news. I have not seen an English paper since we left France, and the only information we glean is laboriously from Italian newspapers.  It will be a great day when the mail arrives.


This is my first visit to Italy.  It is an extraordinary country, quite unlike France.  the people strike me as poor, dull and rather frightened.  Houses are large but clean.  As they do not possess fireplaces in most of the rooms we find it very chilly, and not very comfortable.  Interiors are barren, and what pictures they have are distinctly bad, except in a few cases in the chief churches, where they are all of a religious character.  The countryside is still medieval, with sudden and unexpected appearances of modern inventions and improvements.  Such as electric lighting in the most unlikely villages.


We are having a great opportunity of seeing the countryside, as we have been on the trek for sometime. Here we are touring Italy like a great caravan than which there is no better way of seeing the country, and all at the government’s expense.  No tourist has such facilities except at great cost and trouble.  I have just visited a delightful medieval fortified town, quite out of the way of the usual route of tourists.  It possessed an old castle which has been sympathetically restored, and is full of all the old furniture and decorations.


Captain Bell of “B” Battery is like me interested in medieval history, and we are having a jolly time together.


Tonight we are billeted in a large cold house. We have just had dinner, our first meal here.  We had two large guinea fowl, which we purchased for the large price of two shillings each, or to be more exact eight lire the two.


Unfortunately the men have not yet got accustomed to the wine of the country, “vino rossa”.


Will you send me out Sabatini’s “Cesare Borgia”.


R.P. December 9, 1917.


Still no mail, so I cannot answer your letters, which I know are somewhere on the way here.


It is extraordinarily cold here, frost most of the day, and every night. We are still moving.  There is some sickness among the officers and men, but nothing much or serious.  It is due chiefly I think to the change in weather and living.  I am keeping very fit.


The Major is still away so I have the battery in charge. Everything goes well, the horses have never looked batter, and the men seem to be contented.


We are at present in a country village not too far away from a large town which we can on occasion visit to buy goods and spend a few moments. But the prices are going up against us now.


The houses we inhabit are rather cold and draughty at present, but no doubt they will be very pleasant in the summer. However we are seeing quite a good slice of this country at the Government’s expense, and at present are not in the line, so we must not grumble.


December the ninth 1917.



Still we have received no mail. I have never felt so cut off before.  I know some letters are on the way, for they have been seen, but they get hung in a most extraordinary way.  I shall be glad when proper postal arrangements are made.  It is miserable having no news of home.


I am well; but several of the officers and men are ill owing no doubt to the extreme cold, unaccustomed way of living and strange food and wine.


We are still on the move, and have seen a good deal of the country. It is a strenuous time for the men and horses.  The horses are fine.  The further they have to go the better they look.  Since we left France I have only lost two.  All the other batteries have lost at least a dozen or more, and they have mange, which we have escaped so far.  I tell others it is owing to good management but really it is due to good luck.


I am enjoying myself very much. My only regret is that I have not more time to get away and visit interesting places, which we are near, and to do some reading about them and the history of Italy.


We have been buying some excellent turkeys and ducks, but the prices are already going up rapidly. The inhabitants soon find that mess secretaries and the troops will pay almost anything for food.


It has been severely cold, frost day and night.


I have paid the men in lire this afternoon. I hope they won’t spend it all in vino, and cause trouble.


December 11, 1917.


Visited Padua.


R.P. December 15, 1917.

The mail has arrived at last, bringing about forty letters for me and many parcels. It was good to hear news of you all.


It is intensely cold here. I have purchased a large goat’s skin fur coat, grey in colour with the fur outside.  The horses do not like it at all.  They think I am a bear from the hills.  But it is very warm.  We get a good deal of sunshine, and it generally thaws in the middle of the day.


We are some way north of Verona, and still on the move.  It has been a most interesting trek.  But I shall be glad to settle down now.  I hope we get a decent billet with a mess and a fire place in it.


Tomorrow we move again. We shall start early.  All the horses are fit with the exception of one that got some glass in its foot.  I shall have to leave it behind with a driver to look after it until it is well enough to travel.


Orders have just come in (midnight). We move late, about 11 a.m.  That will give us time to pack at leisure.


December 15, 1917.

B.E.F. Italy.


Hurrah. The mail has at last arrived, and I have received between thirty five and forty letters, and some parcels.  I have not counted them all properly yet.  They were all most welcome, letters, chocolate, fruit and magazines.


I have not known whether to read letters just as they came to hand, or sort them in order of date. I began the first way, and then, finding it so difficult to grasp some references, turned to the other and slower way.


We left Belgium on the 18th of Nov (Sunday), just a month ago.  We pulled out of action that night.  I left England on Nov 14th.


We move again tomorrow. I have never had such a trek.  Letters have taken twenty-six days to reach us.


We have already partaken of spaghetti, macaroni, polenta, vegetable soup, and powdered cheese; for wine vino rossa, vino nero, chianti, which is very good, and a filthy liqueur well named grappa.


I have a wonderful fur coat made of goat skins, hair outside and grey in colour. I look like a teddy bear, and the horses do not like me at all.  But I shall need it in the snows.  Oh! and Oh!


The arrival of the mail bags was a great event. There were more than forty.


We are in a small mess. We crowd in there because it is warmer.  There are five subalterns and a doctor in it at present, and they are all jumping about, which is rather distracting for one who wants to write.  The Doctor has quarrelled with the Colonel and has asked if he can live with us.  He paid us that compliment, but I don’t know how the Colonel will take it.  he is such a strange man, and so easily takes offence.


We are still on the move but we must stop soon as we cannot get much further. The mountains look very fine from below.  I hope my view will not be any closer.  It looks very cold up there.


The horses are fit with plenty of work and plenty of oats.


R.P. December 18, 1917.

We have ceased our wanderings for the time being, and are fairly comfortably billeted in a village of no great size (Tezze). Instead for moving the battery about the Colonel and the Battery Commanders including myself are engaged in reconnaissance for battery positions and generally scouring the countryside some distance from the billets.  It has taken us up into the mountains.  It is rather trying at times as we have to go on our flat feet up bridle paths, and when we ride the roads are rather slippery.  However it has been good exercise and I am very fit.


For the men’s Christmas dinner we have purchased seven small pigs all alive. For the Officers’ mess turkeys.  There are eight officers in the mess now, so we are quite a large party.


The cold frosty weather has turned to a cold rain, which is very unpleasant.


December 18, 1917.

We have come to a halt for a bit, and I am spending my time riding all over the country with the Colonel and other Battery Commanders on reconnaissance. It is sometimes tiring when we have to get up at 6 a.m. to get to the rendez-vous and only get back at 7 p.m. after riding thirty or forty miles on horseback and walking for as much as seven hours on our flat feet.  This morning being fine I went without an overcoat for the first time, and a cold rain began before we started home for our lines miles away (at Tezze).


There are eight officers in our mess now, too many. At present we need a good billet, for we are living in the Kitchen of a rather poor class of house in a village.  It was all we could find when we arrived owing to the large number of troops who were here before us.




Our Christmas day under the conditions of war time and absence from home, could not have been better. I have done no work except to attend stables.  At midday I visited the men’s billets to see that the dinner of five pigs and Christmas puddings was as it should be, and the sergeants’ mess to drink their healths.


At our mess we had suckling pig and plum pudding for lunch, and soup, fish, turkey, plum pudding, savoury, fruit for dinner. To make the day complete we had a good mail from England.  The letters, parcels and the “Times” were all most welcome.  The eight in our mess had a jolly time.


Our reconnaissance is over, and I am now engaged in drawing maps and plans.


The other day we had a strenuous time. I was ordered to take the officers and N.C.Os of the battery, four of the former and six of the latter, with one or two others to view the positions we had already reconnoitered.  We rode about thirty miles on our horses, climbed on our feet and sometimes hands as well, one hill of over 1000 feet, and another of 4000 feet, to where the snow lay thick and hard.  It was frightfully cold.  Only four of us got to the top of the second hill.  As it was then very late and getting dark we came down in an empty Italian lorry by one of those great military roads recently constructed.  Straight up the mountainside it is only about two miles.  coming down by the winding military road it was twenty-two miles, and took one hour and ten minutes to do.  The road was very narrow, had many hair-pin bends, and was devoid of wall or parapet on the edge below which was sheer drop in to ravines.  It was quite exciting, as at times we dropped down the slope so fast.  We were like tennis balls in a tub, flung about from side to side.  However we escaped with our lives.


I really do not know how the Italian soldiery stand the intense cold in the mountains. I spoke to some of them so far as I could.  I also managed to get a piece of edelweiss.


Now we are training hard, and we need it badly. I like the life as a change, but hope to get some war soon.  The Colonel has been pleasant, and leaves me alone to run the battery as I think fit without interfering.  The horses are looking well in spite of the snow and cold.


With ten other ranks I represented the Brigade at a show the other day. It was for the benefit of the Italians, a sort of “see here we are” sort of thing.  It was bitterly cold on parade after a long drive in lorries, and we had no lunch.  We stood to attention on the square while all the national anthems of the allies were played.  Several men fainted.  I should we could have flattered our gallant Italian allies with less discomfort to the  troops.


I have an excellent billet with a bedroom to myself. There is a good deal of sickness about, but I am keeping very fit.  I hear that some of our mail was involved in the railway smash in France the other day.  Our mails at the best of times are very uncertain.  We are a long way from our base, and transport is by road.


It does not look as if we shall get much time for wandering about Italy now, but I hope to get to Rome and Naples later.


December 25, 1917.




We are having as good a Christmas as is possible away from England.  It is cold but bearable.  Two days holiday has been proclaimed, except for the necessary work in connection with the horses.


Today I rose moderately late, and went to stables. At midday I visited billets, and saw dinner served out to the men.  It consisted of seven little pigs, two vegetables, plum puddings, oranges, apples and nuts.  The suckling pigs, provided by the officers, had been purchased sometime previously, well fattened up, and slaughtered by the battery cook.  Roasting took place on the premises of the village baker.


The officers also duly celebrated by feasting. Breakfast: porridge, bacon and eggs, toast and marmalade; lunch: soup, roast pork, three vegetables, plum pudding, fruit with quite good white wine which I discovered, and liqueurs; then dinner: soup, fish cakes, two large turkeys with sausages and chestnuts, three vegetables, plum pudding, very excellent, pate de foie gras, fruit, and for drink: Italian champagne, liqueurs, coffee and whisky.  The cook excelled himself.


To crown the celebration a large Christmas mail arrived. With many welcome letters from home I also received others.  They were from anxious or angry mothers, wives, sisters and other relatives of the men, asking what had become of their sons, husbands, brothers, boys and what not, Tom, Dick, Bert, as they had not heard from them for a month or more.  On such lamentable occasions they would all write to the wretched battery commander.  One woman was quite cross with me, and demanded why I had not replied to her earlier letter.


I hope you are getting some of my letters now. I believe a train smash in France destroyed some of our mail.


We have bought two live pigs which we are feeding on the men’s leavings.


Jock Amour expresses himself as “fed up”, in spite of the fare. The Doctor is at present as there is a lot of sickness in the Brigade.  After this festival he is likely to be still busier.


Snow has arrived. It is not pleasant for the horses.  Neither do we want it.


So you have been helping at the Food Control Office. How on earth do you control food?  I know nothing about these new institutions.  I have only seen about three English papers in two months.


One of our batteries is in a sad way. It needs pulling together.  It is commanded by an elderly ranker major.  The horses have mange, and the men are dirty and slovenly.  Perhaps the latter is the cause of the former.  At present our battery has escaped mange.


Most of my nights lately have been spent drawing maps and making and considering plans and schemes, for all eventualities, after the day’s reconnaissance. It has been hard work but interesting.


One day lately we had a strenuous time. I took the Battery staff, four officers, six sergeants and others to see some possible battery positions, ways of approach, and the characteristics of the country up in the mountains.  We started at 7 a.m. on a cold and frosty morning.  We arrived back at about 8 p.m. very tired and stiff.  Altogether we rode 25 miles on horseback, walked 6 miles, climbed one hillock of 1000 feet, and a hill of 4000 feet into real hard and deep snow.  The climb up on the latter took two hours, straight up the side by a mule track.  From the top we had a wonderful view of the mountains and of the Austrian lines.


We considered it too tiring and perhaps rather risky to return the way we had come, so we went back in an empty Italian service lorry by one of the fine new military roads, which winds with many spirals and hair-pin turns down to the valley below. It was by this way twenty-two miles down, and took one hour and ten minutes including waits at places for vehicles to pass.


On top the cold was intense. The Italian soldiery up there have a very miserable time, and suffer much from frost bite.  I send you some edelweiss from there.


The poorer inhabitants are extraordinarily kind to the troops, the women especially so, in allowing them to use the fire in their only living room and in lending them utensils.


Cannot you come out here with Lady Plumer? Ask her if she would bring you.

Letter from F. Springett 28 December 1917







My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a line to let you know I arrived back safe at 10 o’clock.

They made us draw all our stuff. It was about 1 o’clock when I crawled into bed.

“And some bed at that too”. Ha Ha.  I hope you got back alright.

Well Dear Sid, I must thank you once again for all your kindness I’m sure it was a grand time for me, it couldn’t have been better.

Now I’m back once again at this job, talk about enough to make one fed up.

Still I shan’t always be in it I hope.

Well Dear Sid, I haven’t much to talk about. ” What I have written doesn’t sound too good “does it?”

Still, that’s how I feel tonight. Ha Ha.

Well Goodbye

I remain

Your Affec Brother



With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Margate 9.45 PM 28 DE 17

A. Smith letter & Post Card 21 December 1917



Postmarked FIELD POST OFFICE 20 22 DE 17

To T. Smith, 24 Palmerston Rd, Bowes Park, London N22 England.


I am quite well

I have received your letter dated Dec 17th 17 & parcel dated Dec 17th

Letter follows at first opportunity


Signature only. A. Smith  Date Dec 21st 17


Dec 21st 17


My Dear Father


Thank you very much for sending another parcel so soon they are always very welcome.  The biscuits are fine, also the cake, cigarettes & sweets; the marmalade will be a very nice change have not had any for sometime.  You can bet we are always anxious to see the mail, & there are plenty of parcels rolling up now I have been very lucky had a grand one from Ciss, also one from Albert & Mrs Pat have not quite finished the last so yours coming will just keep me going fine have not had to buy any fags for a long time.

Did Ethel receive my letter, as I mentioned that I have changed my address I will put it in this one to make sure:- Pte. A.A. Smith No 27521 53rd M.G.C. No 2 Section B.E.F. France.  I think I shall like it much better than the infantry.

Well what sort of weather are you getting? Oh golly it is jolly cold out here have had to break the ice to wash the last few mornings it takes some getting out of the blankets.

I am very glad you are spending your Xmas with Ciss as I know you will be at home there I should like to be with you all but I don’t think it will be long now.

We are in a nice little village, came here last Monday & I think we shall have a farely good Xmas there is a concert, whist drives &c arranged & I expect the dinner will be good will write & tell you all about it.

Am sorry I cannot send you any cards or anything but it is difficult to get them out here they are sold out as soon as they come in.

I had a long letter from Mr. Darvill the other week, have not had time to answer it yet. I guess you had a good time at the wedding that’s the stuff to give them enjoy yourself as much as you can.

Well I must say bon soir now. I hope you will all have a jolly good time write soon.

With much love to Ciss, Charlie & yourself & best wishes to Peter.

Hoping you are all in the best of health.


Your devoted



F. Springett letter 20 December 1917








My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a line to let you know that I shall be home on Saturday if all is well.

Hope you are still quite well. I am very well at present.

It’s awfully cold down here now.

We had the Huns over the other night again. They did a bit of damage this time too.

Hope to see you on Saturday.


I remain

Your Affec Brother



With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Margate 9.45 PM 20 DE 17

H. A. Titcomb’s Assessment of Air attack on Germany 17 December 1917.











From the point of view

Of air attack.






NOTE.           The Writer of this Report on Germany’s Iron Industry is a member of a Sub-Committee of the American Committee of Engineers in London.  This Sub-Committee was formed in September 1917, with the object of receiving and digesting any scheme or proposal helpful in solving the Submarine Problem, and forwarding any promising suggestions to the A.S.D., British Admiralty, and the U.S. Authorities.


Very few proposals have been received; and it appears probable that almost everything conceivable has been already proposed for dealing with Submarines after they have left their bases and are scattered over their fields of operations.


It occurred to the Writer that the Submarine Problem has a definite connection with many German Industries, among them Iron. This Report deals mainly with Germany’s Iron; but a similar study of other industries would be of great help in solving successfully the Submarine Problem.  (See pages 7 and 44.)


LONDON, 14th December 1917


Copy No 5.






SUMMARY.                                                                                                         Page

Coal and Iron. Iron more vulnerable than Coal………………………….…1.

Distance Tables…………………………………………………………………2.

Lorraine Iron Field….Its predominant importance: Enemy opinion……..…3.

Effective Bombing and Recommendations of F.W. Harbord………………4-5.

General. Other War Industries.  Sources of Information…………………..6-7.



  • The Iron Ore Deposits and Mines……………………………………….8

General Description and Geology: Nancy Basin: Mines………………..8

Water, Head-frames, Workmens’ Colonies. Open Pits…………………9

TABLE (1) Iron Ore production of Germany & Lorraine District……..10

TABLE (2) Where Lorraine Ore was smelted………………………….10

French Owned Mines should be bombed……………………………….11

TABLE (3) Detailed List Iron Mines & Production of Anxd Lorraine…12

TABLE (4)       do        do        do           do              French     do………13


  • The Blast-furnace Works of the Lorraine Field………………………….14

TABLE (5) Detailed List, Equipment and Production Anxd Lorraine & Luxembourg Iron Works……………………………………………..     15

TABLE (6)   do         do  Equipment and Production French Lorraine Iron Works……………………………………………………………………16

Reason why Blast-furnace Works are especially liable to injury…….17-19

Detailed Plan and 2 Photographs of Works near Kneuttingen Lorraine Red Ref. Nos 9 and 10………………………………………………………..20


  • Of Esch Region on Luxembourg Frontier and Photo of Works Ref


Detailed plan of Gelsenkircener Works at Esch Ref No. 15……….…… 22

Do     Section           do             Furnaces & Stoves……………………..  23

Do     Plan of Burbach-Eich-Dudelingen Works near Esch Ref No. 16…24



Coal Deposits and Coal Mines……………………………………………25

TABLE (7) Detailed List of Saar Iron Works, Production etc…………..25

Detailed Plan of the Works at Burbach…………………………………..26



General Description.  Other Industries. Harbours etc……………………27

Coal Fields and Coal Mines………………………………………………28

Westphalian Blast-furnace Works………………………………………..28

TABLE (8) Detailed list of Works.  Equipment.  Pig-iron Production29-30

MAP (5) The Vicinity of Ruhrort Harbour………………………………31

Detailed Plan of Krupp’s Rheinhausen Works Ref. No. 44………………32

4 Photographs of   do            do               do           do………………..33-34

2 Plans of Guttehoffsnungshutte at Oberhausen Ref No. 51……………35

Detailed Section through Power plant and Furnaces at Oberhausen……..36

Photograph of Blast-furnaces and Hot-blast Stoves at Oberhausen………36



Siegerland Manganiferous Iron Ore Field………………………………37

TABLE (9) Detailed List of Siegerland Blast-furnace Works…………..37

TABLE (10) Miscellaneous Blast-furnace Works in Western Germany…38



Secret Memorial of the Six German Associations……………………….39

TABLE (11) General Condensed Table German Blast-furnace Works.  Equipment and Pig-iron production………………………………………40

TABLE (12) Summary of Coal & Iron Production of Enemy Countries..41

TABLE (13) German Iron Ore Imports.  Swedish Ores. Dr. Beumer..42-43

Study of other German Industries suggested.  Photo…………………….44







There are 8 Copies of this Report. This copy in No 5.




George C. Lloyd, Secretary, Iron and Steel Institute, London.

Advisory Council Report on Sources and Production of Iron and other Dept of Scientific Industrial Research, 1917. Metalliferous Ores used in the Iron and Steel Industry Comite des Forges de France.  Circular No 666, Aug. 24, 1915.  Secret Memorial to Von Bethmann Hollweg by six German Industrial Associations.

The Question of Alsace-Lorraine.   Pubd. by The Ligue Patriotique des Alsaciens Lorrains. 18 Green Street, Leicester Square W.C. 2.

Gluckauf. April 1915 p. 425. 1914 p. 1444 Table (German Iron Ore Imports of 1912-1013) and December 1916, p. 1075, Table.

Iron and Steel Institute Journal 1917, vol XCV. P 310.

Iron Ore Resources of the World. Vol I. 1910. pp 1988-1993.

Mineral Industry 1913-1914.

Ore Deposits. (Beyschlag Vogt & Krusch) Vol II.  Translated by S.J. Truscott, 1916.

Statistical Report of the Iron Steel and Allied Trades Federation for 1916.

Zietschriftenschau des Vereines Deutscher Ingenieure. 1904 p. 1.





Engineering and Mining Journal. Vol 87, p. 1225. “Lorraine Deposits” (by T. Callot.  French Min. Eng.)

Gluckauf Ap. 1915 p 425. Tables of Production & Destination of Lor. Ores. Aug 1916. p. 1075.

Iron and Steel Institute Journal 1902 No II pp 353-358.

  1. Lorraine-Luxbg Ores (by Paul Nicou, Min Eng. Paris)

Le Genie Civil. April 1917 pp 217-227 by J. Tribot Laspiere (French Min Eng) July 21 1917.

Report on Resources & Production of Iron Ores etc p 55 London 1917 Advisory Council.

Ryland’s Directory of Foreign Iron and Steel Firms 1913 Ed. pp. 1210-1216.

Statistical Report of the Iron and Steel Allied Trades Federation for 1916 pp 35-36.

Stahl und Eisen.          1902. Tafel XI and p 554.  Maps Dr. Kohlmann. (Ore Deposits)

  1. pp 1282-1283 & Tafel XVIII; 1910 Tafel 28 opp p 1240 and p. 1375.
  2. pp. 217, 413, 469, 544. Maps & Sections of Ore Deposits (Dr. Kohlmann)
  3. Tafels 10 and 11; and various Maps.
  4. Tafel 28 – opp p. 1220.




Baedeker’s Rhine.

Iron and Steel Institute Journal No II 1902 pp 344-352.

Gluckauf 1910 Map opp p 1382. Coal.  1916 p 1075 Pig Iron.

Le Genie Civil. April 7 1917 Lorraine the source of Iron ore smelted in the Saar District.

Ryland’s Directory for 1916.pp 1210-1216. Blast Furnace Works.

Stahl und Eisen 1905 p 1336; 1906 p 1231; 1908 p 1265.

Statistical Report of Iron and Steel Allied Trades Federation for 1916 pp 35-36.



Baedeker’s Rhine.

Do     Northern Germany.

Electricity in Mining (Siemens Bros Ltd 1913) p 14. Gelsenkirchen Works.

Gluckauf 1910 p 5. Pig iron; 1913 map p. 1464 Coal; 1914 pp 493-494 Coal; 1916 pp Iron and Steel Institute Journal 1902 Vol 88 pp 309-338; 1975 Pig-iron.

1902 Autumn Meetings pp 1 to 38; 1917 Vol XCV p. 310 Coal.

Ryland’s Directory of Foreign Iron and Steel Firms pp 1210-1216, 1913 Edition.

Stahl und Eisen 1906 opp p 1100 Photos and Plans; 1907 p 1463 et seq;

1908 Tafel 1. p 144; 1910 p 436 et seq; 1915 Vol XXXV pp 578-579 Coal.

Statistical Report of Iron and Steel Allied Trades Federation 1916 p. 35 etc.



Baedeker’s Northern Germany.

Ore Deposits (Beyschlag, Vogt & Krusch) Truscott’s Translation 1916.

Gluckauf. 1916 p 1975. Pig iron Production.

Ryland’s Directory for 1916 pp. 1210-1216.