WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 23 May 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 23 May 1917

 

Extracted from

 

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

Correspondence

—————–

 

May 23, 1917.

 

The Artillery of the 3rd Australian Division consists of

  1. GROUP, 18 pdrs. 5 Batteries       30 guns.
  2. GROUP. 18 pdrs. 6 Batteries       36 guns.
  3. GROUP 18 pdrs .           6 Batteries 36 guns.
  4. GROUP 4.5, Hows. 6 Batteries       24 Hows.
  5. GROUP 1. 4.5 How
  6. 18 pdr. 4 Batteries 24 guns and Hows.

 

Heavy Trench Mortars (9.45”)   9.

 

AMMUNITION.

 

6” Gun                                    500 rounds per gun to be dumped.

9.2” & 8”                     800                      do.

6” How.                      1000

60 pdrs                                    1000

12”                              400

15”                              100

18 pdrs.                      1300

4.5” How                    1100

H.T.M. (9.45”)            130

2”T.M.                         200.

 

The 3rd Australian Divisional Artillery Groups.

 

Groups.           Commanding.                         Composed of.

  1. Lt. Col. H.D.K. Macartney             7th A.F.A. Brigade.

38th R.F.A. Bde. (Army).

  1. Lt. Col. W.G. Allsop. 8th A.F.A. Bde.

3rd A.F.A. Bde

  1. Lt. Col. W. Furnival 175th Bde R.F.A. (Army).

12th A.F.A. Bde (Army).

  1. Lt. Col. H.L. Cohen, D.S.O. 6th A.F.A. Bde. (Army).
  2. Lt. Col. W.H.L. Burgess, D.S.O. Howitzers.

 

Situations.                                           Call.

 

  1. T.29.d.85.50. G.K.64.
  2. T.22.b.2.1. G.C.39.
  3. T.16.b.99.31. G.C.38.
  4. C.1.b.7.6. G.L.54.
  5. B.12.central. Defensive Brigade        G.K.6.

 

The I Group Exchange at T.17.d.15.50.                     E.S.

The Group of Group Exchange at Petite Munque

Farm, T.23.d.75.85.                                                    D.A.

The Observation Exchange

Posts U.13.d.25.15.                                                    L.H.

Observation Posts.

 

May 23, 1917.

A letter from home dated the 17th arrived before one of the 14th.  Our post is very disorganised.  There was no mail for four days, and then we had 41 bags for the Brigade, and I know some more are missing.

 

It has been wet again the last two days, but it is fine today and very hot. I spend my time constructing Dug-outs, and burying cable.

 

There is going to be some difficulty in watering horses here soon in spite of the rain recently. Rations have been cut down slightly, but there is still enough to eat.  I hope food problems at home are not worse.

 

The Colonel has come back, and is in quite a good temper.

 

Letter to Muriel 23 May 1917

Letter to Muriel 23 May 1917

 

B.E.F.

May 23rd 1917

 

Please forgive a hurried scrawl, darling, as I want to rush a letter off to you this evening. Thank you very much for your two letters.  Our post is very disorganised – your letter of the 17th arrived before one dated the 14th.  There was no mail for 4 days, and then 41 bags of mail arrived here for the Brigade, and I know some more are missing.  I have just received a letter from Maude.

 

It has been wet again the last two days, but it is fine to-day and very hot indeed. It is hard and warm work making dug-outs and burying telephone cable in this weather – for that is what is now fully occupying my days.

 

Let me know how you are getting on and how you like your work. And please also send me a photograph of yourself in working clothes and don’t forget the clay pipe and a stick I think it is very good of you to go working in this weather.  Don’t get too brown and strong.  I hope you will like your stable companions.

 

I have no news to tell you at present. We are all trying to work hard.

There is going to be some difficulty in watering our horses soon in spite of the rain we have had recently, and rations have been cut down slightly, but the men still get enough to eat. I hope food problems at home are not worse.

It will be quite a new experience for you, working away from home won’t it? I should love to come down and see you – but I don’t suppose you would want me to get in the way.

 

If only there was nothing to do now and no war on wouldn’t it be lovely to go off into the country by ourselves with nothing to worry us. The country is looking just lovely now.  I suppose if it were always May we should not appreciate it.

 

The month has or rather is going very quickly – only another week to the end of the month – and then June. I wonder where we shall be at the end of summer.  I hope the old Boche will be out of Belgium and France.

 

The Colonel has come back and is in quite a good temper I am glad to say – and he is now working hard. The horses are very fit and I hope they will fulfil expectations.

 

Are you still thinking of me and waiting for me to come and kiss you again – you have been rather sparing of your paper kisses recently; the last consignment was only two or three.

Has Mrs Cross returned home yet? She wrote me a letter a few days ago.  It was very good of her as I had neglected to write so long, but I am sure she will forgive me.  Mr Cross is going away again too – how empty Benchfield will be!

I must close now.

Hoping you are quite well and enjoying your work.

With all my love, darling and many kisses

Ever     Yours

Archie.

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 19 May 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 19 May 1917

 

Extracted from

 

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

Correspondence

—————–

 

May 19, 1917.

Saturday evening.

There has been no mail for three days. It is extraordinarily hot, and there is much to do.  I have hardly been to bed.  The Colonel returns today, and he is sure to come back in a bad temper to the enormous amount of work he will have to get through.

 

We are now where I said I should be going back to after my leave. You may remember.

 

It is a perfect evening. I am in a tent near a main road, and the traffic and the concomitant dust is continuous.

 

Over head Boche planes are up, and the A.A. guns are hard at it, as usual ineffectively. Quite near is one of our captive balloons of the kite variety, with two officers in it observing.  I am expecting them to come down hanging on to their parachutes.  I should not like their job at all.

 

The mare is rather tired. She was out until 5.30 a.m. yesterday morning.

 

And so the war goes on. Suppose it never ends.  But I conclude it will one day.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 19 May 1917.

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 19 May 1917.

 

B.E.F.

 

May 19th 1917.

 

M.O.D.D.L.W.

 

Guess what that means. Only your last delightful letter of the 12th has kept me from going quite mad.  There has been no mail for 3 days.  I have had no time to write.  It is extraordinarily hot – and there is too much to do – and I have hardly been to bed.  Further the Colonel returns to-day and he is sure to come back in a bad temper to the enormous amount of work he will have to get through – so you can imagine how your last really lovely letter has helped.

 

Why shouldn’t you call me what you like – are you still shy with me – as you say in you used to be? It is about time you were not, young lady.

 

We are now where I said I should be going back to after my leave. You may remember it.  Keep your eye on it.

 

Thank you for drinking my health on Saturday night last. It is Saturday night or rather evening again – and my thoughts are with you darling.

 

It is a perfect evening – just lovely for you and me alone. Instead of that I am in a tent near a main road – the traffic and the consequent dust is continuous.  Overhead are Boche aeroplanes and the A.A. guns are going all out.  Quite near is one of our captive kite balloons up with two officers in it observing from a great height.  If the Boche send over large long distance shells or an aeroplane to bring it down the unhappy observers have to throw themselves out and hang on to a parachute.  I should not like their job at all.

 

I wonder where you are now. Have you left to work on the land?  I do hope it will be fine weather for you – it is so awful when it is wet.  At any rate it will be warm and that is something.  Look after Maude if you are with her.

 

I am glad Mrs Cross is having such a good holiday. Please give her my love and also Mrs Lowe and thank her for the delightful present of ‘heaps’!!

 

The mare is rather tired. She was out until 5.30 a.m. yesterday morning and has not had much rest poor thing.

 

Everything is a bit upside down at present so you will forgive scrappier and scrappier letters won’t you darling?

 

And so the war goes on. Suppose it never ends – But it must one day mustn’t it?

 

The trees are full out now and the country is looking just lovely, except up in the scarred and torn front line and along the dusty traffic routes.

 

The officers are in a terrible way. It is getting difficult to get whisky and other drinks now.  I don’t mind at all as I never cared very much for whisky and hardly ever touch it – and the wines the French are selling now are pretty bad – so I drink tonic juice when I can get it.  it is much better don’t you think so?

 

Your cakes were lovely, darling. We thoroughly enjoyed them.  One fellow came in to tea promptly to have some – and the doctor wants me to send his love & thanks – but I told him certainly not.  They are all married on Headquarters except the Colonel who is still unattached – at least he was before he left – and myself.

 

Nothing but interruptions – phone going all day long. Please do this, please do that – why wasn’t this done – please explain that &  so on.

 

Well I must close now.

With all my love my own darling

And many many kisses

Ever your own

Archie.

F Smith letter 19 May 1917

May 19th 17

Dear Father

At last I am going to try to write a few lines; we have been in the trenches for nearly three weeks, & now in reserve expect to go out on Monday for a rest so have not had a chance before.

First of all I must thank you very much for your parcel received yesterday.  I never had one come out at a better time we were short of food & no smokes so you can guess I soon reduced it in size; we finished the cigarettes, chocolate, cake, biscuits, & paste you could not have sent a nicer assortment.  I will let you know how I like the jelly next time I bet it is jolly good.  I only used the Harrisons once as we left for the line & I forgot to bring it with me so I am well supplied at present.

I have not had a shave for a week, & about a fortnight since I had a wash so you can bet we look bright articles but I hope to have a good scrub soon; that was very nice soap you sent in your previous parcel.

Well Dad I was very pleased to receive your letter & paper also one from Jess.

I am glad Albert Taylor is well I suppose he was home for a few days leave. What does he think of the war; fed up I expect.

I hope you will have a good time at Southend should just like to be coming along with you.

How did Ethel enjoy her holiday in Yorkshire I expect she is looking quite sun-burnt.

Well I think I must finish now just going out to do a bit of digging.

Glad you are all in the best of health.

Au revoir

With much love from

Your devoted Son

Message from Corps Commander 18 May 1917

Message from Corps Commander 18 May 1917

 

GSO1

S.G. 259/189

 

Divisional H.Q.

18th May 1917

 

The Divisional Commander wishes to express his sincere appreciation of the resource and bravery shown by all which lead to the great defeat of the enemy on the 16th May.

 

He has great pleasure in communicating the following message from the Corps Commander.

 

G.O.C. 51st Division.

 

“Heartiest congratulations to you all on fine work on 15th and 16th and especially to General BURN and 152nd Infantry Brigade whose tenacity and pluck saved an awkward situation aaa The Division may well be proud of their latest achievement”

 

CORPS COMMANDER

Laurence Carr, Major G.S.

for Lieut Colonel,

General Staff

51st (Highland) Division.