Alf Smith’s letter 26 Jan 1917


Postcard addressed to T. Smith Esq., 24, Palmerstone Rd., Bowes Park, London N Postmarked Southend on Sea 5.45 AM 27 JA 17


152 High Street

Southend on Sea




Dear Father


Arrived home 7 P.M. had a good time.  Just returned from the pictures.

With best wishes from all.



A.A. Laporte Payne letter 22 January 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter 22 January 1917




January 22nd 1917




We have just completed a move which has unfortunately upset things among them the post. We are now in another part of the line,but not a great distance away from where we were before.  We have not got such a good billet as the mess was an empty room when we went into it but we have managed to steal some furniture so we are not so badly off.  The doctor’s and my bedrooms are in another house and are well furnished.


I suppose you are having very cold weather as well as ourselves. It is extraordinarily cold at present and it seems likely to continue.  The mud certainly does not trouble now but I think I prefer the warmer weather and mud.  I hope you are keeping well.  I know this weather suits you.  Thank you so much dearest for your letter and parcel of chocolate which arrived safely and came just when it was wanted.  We were chewing it in the office when we felt hungry and cold.


I am very sorry you had the misfortune to upset the salt, but why trouble? You have nothing else than good luck, do you?


You must certainly not sit up too late at night. It is very bad for you.  And certainly not in order to write letters to me however much I may want them.  I am afraid we here are getting into the bad habit of doing that.  We sit round the fire talking at night.  Going to bed is so cold.  Everything gets frozen even the sponge.


What a lot you are reading! You quite frighten me.  Now it’s Marcus Aurelius!  You will grow into a ‘blue stocking’.  I don’t like blue ones.  I like black and silk at that.  Pardon the verb ‘grow’.  What have you been doing in England?  Blowing up our ammunition.  Did you hear the explosion?  I suppose it would be heard all over the London area.  The papers seem full of it, although there is not much news as yet.


Leave for me does not seem likely yet I am afraid. I want it badly and yet for somethings I don’t want it.  It will be so awful having to return after it when I have seen you again in such different circumstances.  I wonder what you will be like this time.  I shall be very shy I know – perhaps I shall run away and hide!


It has been most annoying not having the post regularly but I hope now it will be better. Your letters are all I wait for now.  You have been most good in writing.  I do hope you don’t find it difficult to write now as you used to do.  How awful existence would be without your letters!  When I get home how on earth are we going to continue to meet alone sometimes.  Shall I ever be able to have you all alone to myself once or twice.  I shall then be able to bear seeing you when there are others about.  Do you remember how you tried to evade taking a taxi with me in town last time.  I thought perhaps you did not want to be alone with me anywhere – even in a taxi.  That made me determined to get a taxi.  But I shewed you, I think, how good I would be however great the temptation was.  But what opportunities I lost!  Shall I be able to make up for them in the future?  You will have to be very strict I am afraid.  As I have promised to dine our tonight at another Brigade Headquarters I shall have to stop writing.  I don’t want to go but I am afraid I shall have to now.  I would much rather stay in by the fire and write to you and dream day dreams – the latter very unprofitable but very nice.


With all my love, darling and kisses

Ever yours


George Hammond’s letter 21 Jan 1917

Broom Hill

Pownall Crescent



My dear F & M & Gladys

I received your letter OK and after a little study managed to translate it, I had a letter from Hilda saying you had written to her & expressing much delight.  I have duly noted all the details of your letter & will show my appreciation by complying.  I think your exam results are simply splendid.  I had a letter from Elsie saying how pleased she was & that you are sure to do well now.  I am so glad you managed to beat the other girl.  From the number of times you seem to be running into old Gill I think you had better give the hospital a miss.  We have been very busy this last week practicing the attack.  It was rather interesting and some of us were made casualties.  You would have screamed to have seen the perspiring stretcher bearers carrying me on a stretcher to the advanced dressing station.  After they had juggled with me on their knees for about 5 minutes whilst they were changing the stretcher I was finally carried away by two more orderlies who said I was the heaviest they had carried and started to do a little betting about my weight.  From there I was taken across a river on a raft and finally finished up in an inn.  I was supposed to have been wounded in the left ankle joint.  Well there is nothing much fresh just yet.  We may be leaving here sometime next week to make room for a provisional Battalion.  I don’t know whether you have had much snow, but it has done a fair amount here.  Enclosed you will find a cheque for 30/1, i.e. 10/- each as promised.  Don’t make beasts of yourselves.  I expect Pa will want to buy gramophone records with his.  Had a letter from Willis the other day

Well this is all at present

Fondest love  George


Written on 2/7th Battn Manchester Regt letterhead with matching envelope.  Addressed to E. Hammond, Esq., 9 Countess Street, Davenport, Stockport.  Postmarked COLCHESTER 10 PM 21 JAN 17.

Alf Smith’s letter 21 Jan 1917

152 High Street

Southend on Sea


Jan 21st 17


Dear Father


Just a few lines to let you know that I am home for a few days at last.  I could not let you know before as it has been postponed so many times but my patience has been rewarded at last.

I shall be coming to Wood Green on Wednesday morning & probably stay until about Friday.

I mean to have a good time while I am home.

Please excuse more news now.

Glad to say I am quite well & hope you are all in the best of health.

Well Au revoir for the present.


With much love

From your devoted





WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 17 January 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 17 January 1917


Extracted from


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



M.F.L.P. January 17.1917.

It is fearfully cold here. It is snowing hard now, and it lies thick on the ground.  Thank you very much for the parcel of books for the men.

Alf Smith’s letter 17 Jan 1917

No 27521

Pte. A. Smith

3rd Essex Regt

Att 27th Training Reserve

“G” Company

Parkeston Harwich


Jan 17th 16 Year should be 1917


Dear Father


Many thanks for your welcome letter received to-day.

How do you like this snowy weather?  It is very dirty here marching about, but one gets used to it & it is not so bad if you have got a good pair of boots.  Roll on when the summer comes.

It is ages since I have seen Miss Upton.  I am glad they are all well.

Thank you for the parcel, but I don’t think you will be able to send any more to Parkston. I am leaving here on Sunday unless there is any alteration.  I shall go to Southend first as I shall have to bring all my kit with me & I don’t want to cart it about.  I want to have a run round town to see Pat & Ciss if there is time so I shall probably come to Wood Green on Monday; but I will try & let you know more definite when I know for certain when I shall be leaving & how many days I have got.

We finished on the range last Monday. I am a 2nd Class shot & I believe a 1st but have not seen the scores yet.  I am not sorry we have finished it was terribly cold.

Please excuse more news now.

Glad you are all well.

Am looking forward to seeing you soon.


Au revoir

With much love from

Your devoted



WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 16 January 1917

WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 16 January 1917


Extracted from


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



January 16, 1917.

We are getting along alright. The Colonel has been fairly sweet tempered, I am glad to say.  In this comparative comfort existence is not so bad, but I feel rather a brute when our fellows are having such a rotten time in the trenches.  But I suppose this will not last long for me.