A.A. Laporte Payne letter 22 February 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 22 February 1917




Feb 22 1917.




You are spoiling me horribly you know. I am getting so many letters that when the post does not bring one from you I am quite angry – not with you of course but with the post.  But you are not so generous with your kisses.  I am only to get consignments apparently on Mondays and Fridays or perhaps an odd two thrown in every now and then.  I quite realise that there must be an enormous demand for them – hence the scarcity for me.  But please try and make a few more exceptions to your rule for me!!


Now don’t you think I am horrid. If it is at all possible to misconstrue what you write I do, don’t I?  You see I should not pretend to misunderstand you if I were not so sure as I am of what you meant.


I am sure I should be very angry with you if you were orthodox as you call it. I want you to be as mad as you can.  As far as I am concerned you can be as unconventional as you like.  I much prefer it, and so do you I think.  Shouldn’t we horrify the dear ‘worthy’ people by such things as becoming more unconventional and mad.  Unfortunately you are almost as bad as I am in not writing what you want to write so perhaps after all we should not shock very many by what we write.  As for what we shall do!  I am not responsible for my actions, you know, at times.  If I got the chance I could kiss you until you could not kiss any more.  I wonder who would tire first.  But that would be most improper wouldn’t it?  I must not let my imagination run riot – or I shall be shocking you next – or are you like me, not shockable?


Last night I had a rotten time I was up to 6.20 a.m. on the telephone. You see we had a ‘little affair’ on and it is my job to see that the liaison between infantry & artillery does not break down and I had to keep in touch with an officer who was with the front line at the other end of the phone.  It is quite interesting at times when Generals & Colonels are not cursing and fuming.


All day to day I have been out visiting battery positions, O.Ps and telephone stations on a sort of tour of inspection and I did not get back till eight, very tired and covered in mud – so you see how much I need you to cheer me up with kisses. I hope you are keeping well and not pale as you were when you wrote.  I wonder if I could have bought any colour back.


We are moving in a day or two which is annoying. I hope we have fine weather for it.  our next office will probably be in a dug-out.



With all my love & kisses

Ever yours


3rd Australian DA Operation Order 10 21 Feb 1917

SECRET                                                                                             COPY NO 4.






Reference Map: – HOUPLINES 36.N.W.2) 10,000

N.E. 1.) parts of Edition 6 (redrawn) C.


The 3rd Australian Divisional Artillery will take over the Artillery support of the whole Divisional Front at an early date.


The arrangements will be as follows:-

LEFT GROUP.          30th Battery.                            )

29th Battery.                            ) Will remain

108th Battery (2 Sections)       )


CENTRE GROUP     25th Battery.                            )

26th Battery.                            ) Will remain

107th Battery (2 Sections)       )


RIGHT GROUP         Will be made up as follows.

27th Battery – from 7th F.A. Brigade.

31st Battery – from 8th         “

D/3 Battery –  from     (1 Section 107th Bty.

(1       “      108th Bty.


C.O. – Major F.P. Derham D.S.O.

Adjt. – Lieut T. Morell

O.O. –


Group Commanders will arrange the positions for these Batteries to cover the whole of the Group Zone, and they should also be able to cover the Subsidiary Line from these positions without moving.


Left & Centre Group Commanders will inform D.A.H.Q. of any alterations necessary in the positions of their batteries.

Major Derham will inform D.A.H.Q. of the positions to be occupied by the incoming batteries.


All extra communications necessary will be laid immediately.


On the order to carry out this scheme, the 175th Brigade & “I” Battery R.H.A. will occupy reinforcing positions as follows:-

A/175              – 2 Sections C.26.c.41.05.) Att

1 Section   C.27.a.10.82.) Left Grp.

B/175.             – Remains in present position, Att. Right Grp.

D/175              –  1 Section remains – Att Right Grp.

1 Section reinforces 108th Bty. at C.26.b.95.63. – Att. Left


“I” R.H.A.      – C.27.a.60.82) Att. Centre Grp.


A/287              – Remains in present position – Att. Right Grp.




W.D. Nichols

Major R.A.

B.M., R.A. 3rd Aust Divn.

Issued at 8 p.m.


By D.R.



Cop No 1. War Diary.

  1. File.
  2. 3rd Aust. Divn “G”.
  3. Right Group.
  4. Centre Group.
  5. Left Group.
  6. 9th Infantry Bde.
  7. 10th “ “
  8. 11th “ “
  9. Major F.P. Derham.
  10. O.C. Signals.
  11. Arty Signal Officer.


WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 18 February 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 18 February 1917


Extracted from


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




February 18, 1917.

We have become an Army Field Artillery Brigade.

I have just begun to read H.G. Wells “Mr Britling sees it through”. It seems a lot of rot.


I have an early lunch today as I have to make a long expedition. We shall be on the move again shortly, so there are a lot of arrangements to see to.  I hate moves.


Alf Smith letter 18 Feb 1917



Feb 18th 17


Dear Father


I guess you will be surprised to see I am still at Felixstowe after receiving my card.  Well we were ready to leave at 5 P.M. yesterday, had my kit on when it was cancelled so you can see we were nearly away.  I do not know the reason, but they say it was owing to a Naval battle the boats were sounding the syrens all the afternoon.

Well I am writing to wish you many happy returns of your Birthday.

I shall be pleased to hear from you to know that you are well, a post card will be sufficient in case I do not receive it.  I don’t know when we shall be leaving now, it may be to-morrow.

Well I think I must finish now (short & sweet) I know you don’t like long letters. Just going down to the Pavilion to hear the band.

With best wishes & good health.

Hoping you are all well.

With much love

From your devoted



F Hammond letter 18 Feb 1917



Dear Mar & Par

Just a line to let you know I am Gogging along OK.  I received the parcel from Mr Tabor and sent them a letter of thanks.  Fancy I could hardly believe Gladys was vingt anne.  It seems impossible to think she has nearly reached her majority.  Hope we shall all be at home to celebrate that occasion anyhow.  Willie also must be feeling rather an old bird in fact your humble can’t call himself a chicken altho I feel younger now than I did avant la Guerre.  The thaw has set in now and of course everywhere’s muddy.  Would liked to have heard Par’s old march.  I’m beginning to think we were always a military family.  Even in pretty Billie’s days.  I suppose everything is under Govt. control now.  We still enjoy plenty of food so don’t think the U boats have made much difference up to now.  Suppose Geo looked OK.  He will have plenty to do if he comes out here as there’s plenty to do.  Has Geo Hand been sent out yet what is his address may be able to drop across him-  Well I think this is all this time hoping you are all keeping well


A.A. Laporte Payne letter 18 February 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 18 February 1917


Feb 18. 1917


So many thanks for your delightful letter and the delicious cake, which arrived quite safely. I enjoyed both especially your letter of the 12th. I am so glad to hear that you are better and that the rheumatism is not very troublesome.

So you are going to work on the land. It is very brave of you but don’t make your hands hard and your shoulders round. I should be very angry with you if you did that.

If my letters prevent you doing your work properly I must cease writing mustn’t I? Or at least write formal ones as I used to do. Let me know what you think.

I am sorry to hear that Mrs. Cross is losing her voice or rather was. I hope she is better now. Everyone at H.Q. as got a bad cold at present except me. I suppose it is my turn next.

Next time you write address the envelope 175 Brigade R.F.A. Army Field Artillery, B.E.F., France. That excites your curiosity doesn’t it! But I can’t tell you any more that that by letter.

So you still follow your intellectual pursuits. I am very glad to hear it. I have had no time to read lately. I am sure I shall lose the power to read shortly. Have you read “Mr Britling sees it through” by H.G. Wells. I have a copy which I am going to read sometimes in spare moments. Even if you do read a lot of such things as you are reading it is not necessary for your stockings to get bluer. Blue stockingness is an attitude which I don’t think you will fall into – at least I hope not, I am sure you won’t.

I dreamt about you last night and such a nice dream too I hope the opposites don’t come true as you say there are exceptions I hope to every rule. What an age it seems since I saw you last I am getting quite impatient & irritable because of its length – and I have no hope yet of getting away yet unfortunately.

I am always thinking of something I want to tell you but I can’t write. I must keep a book of notes and go over them when I see you or I am sure to forget when I do see you in the excitement of the moment.

I have got to have lunch early to day as I have to make a long expedition so I must hurry up if I want to send this by to-day’s post.

We shall be on the move again shortly so there is a lot of preparation to be got through. I hate moves.
With all my love & kisses. Ever yours Archie.

Defence Scheme 17 Feb 1917


Right Group No. S/540



The Brigade Major R.A.

3rd Australian Divisional Artillery.


Reference BM/S62




Section 6 Last Para.  It is presumed that “O.Ps” refers only to such O.Ps as are being used as Night O.Ps.  The establishment of telephonists does not permit of all O.Ps being manned at night nor do I consider that it would be of any value.


Section 7 Para 4.  as far as this Group is concerned it is impossible to establish visual signalling between O.Ps and Group Head Quarters


Section 14. Should not squares I.21. and I.27. be included in those allotted to the Right Group?  I presume that the 3rd New Zealand Field Artillery Brigade are responsible for O2 – 3 and 8 and I.26-31-32 and 33.


Section 16. Line 5.  Should not this read “from I.17.d.3.7. to I.9.c.6.4.”


Appendix I.  Right Group Head Quarters are situated at I.1.c.10.60.

Trenches on our Front are not now called by numbers. They are known by names of localities and Gaps.


Appendix II.  I.7.b.90.82. is incorrect.

I.7.b.98.98. 4 guns (2 others could be put in houses adjacent).   I.7.b.85.80. 2 guns firing North of our Front.

H.24.c.18.15. should be H.24.c.16.18.


Appendix IV. Night Lines of No 1 Howitzer of D/175 should be at I.27.a.43.85. instead of I.27.a.46.88.


Appendix V.  What is rate of fire please?


Para 1. 2 4.5” Hows. of H.E.6 should bombard Cross Roads and Trenches at Le QUESNE.


Appendix V. Para 2.  For I.16.b.6.0. to I.11.c.4.0. read I.11.b.6.0. to I.17.c.48.00..  For I.17.a.4.3. to I.11.c.4.0. read I.17.a.00.30. to I.11.c.48.00.


Appendix V. Para 3.  For I.21.d.20.48. read I.21.d.20.43.


Appendix VI.  H.T.M. position is I.15.c.99.76.

Maximum arc on Enemy Front Line I.22.a.25.51. to I.21.c.89.55.



Medium Trench Mortars.

Pin Point in Enemy Front Line.

POSITION                             ARC OF FIRE.

North               South

I.16.b.08.40.                            I.16.b.83.10. to I.16.d.60.96.

I.16.c.70.92.                            I.16.d.57.82. to I.16.d.20.36.

I.16.c.68.89.                            I.16.d.60.94. to I.16.d.20.44.

I.15.d.92.47.                           I.22.a.66.80. to I.22.a.28.57.

I.15.d.75.34.                           I.22.a.50.80. to I.22.a.10.41.

I.21.b.10.87.                            I.21.b.80.20. to I.21.b.14.11.

I.21.c.08.82.                            I.21.c.90.54. to I.21.c.48.11.

I.20.d.60.62.                           I.21.c.75.25. to I.21.c.16.00.

I.20.d.58.40.                           I.27.a.17.98. to I.26.b.99.82.


2 Positions firing into NO MAN’S LAND ONLY




Appendix VII.  Correction B/175 H.1.d.40.38.

Omissions H.Q. 175th Bde R.F.A. G.12.b.90.20.

175th Bde Amm Col A.29.a.00.30.


I.W. Le Cockroft

Major R.F.A.

Cdg Right Group Artillery