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
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.
152 High Street
Southend on Sea
Jan 21st 17
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
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.
Pte. A. Smith
3rd Essex Regt
Att 27th Training Reserve
Jan 17th 16 Year should be 1917
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.
With much love from
WAR DIARY of AA Laporte Payne 16 January 1917
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.
A.A. Laporte Payne letter 16 January 1917
January 16th 19167
You perfect little darling! So that was the secret. Thank you so very very much for it. it is beautiful. I was more than delighted to get it as you may guess. I like the colouring very much indeed. Your lips look very kissable in the picture. I wish I could have the original all to myself. I am afraid though you would have a very rotten time. I am sure you would hate to be made untidy and ruffled. Wouldn’t you? I shall have to be careful. But an intoxicated person is hardly responsible for his actions.
I am so very sorry to hear about Mrs. Cross’ accident. I do hope it did not upset her very much. Thank heaven you weren’t there. You seem to be very lucky in getting out of these accidents. I am glad I was not in the carriage for it would have been doubtful whether I was not the sort of person to bring bad luck. I hope Mrs. Cross has recovered from the effects.
So you are staying the night with the Gardners – oh! I hope they are well and that you enjoyed your visit. Thank you for finding time to write to me from there. (That is unkind isn’t it. well I can’t help it sometimes). You don’t mention Humphrey but I suppose he was there. I am getting on quite alright. The Colonel has been behaving himself very nicely, I am glad to say. In this comparative comfort existance is not so bad, but I feel a brute when our fellows are having such a rotten time in the trenches – but I suppose this won’t last very long.
Please forgive this short note but I must get one off by this post to thank you for what you have sent.
With love and kisses
A.A. Laporte Payne letter 14 January 1917
January 14th 1917
How the time goes and nothing to shew for it except piles of papers. There has been plenty going on to keep one busy but I am afraid my thoughts and my interest are elsewhere – with a girl who has been ‘silly’ enough to thinks she is in love with me. Don’t you think she is very silly, but I love her all the more – if that is possible –for being silly in that way. Heaven only knows why she did it for I am sure I never made love to her – simply because I thought it an impossibility and there was no reason why I should not love her without her knowing it – and apparently she did not – until I was weak enough to tell her so. Don’t you think it was very weak of me? But then you see I had spent a delightful week, seeing her every day and on the last night when I had to come back to this and its many possibilities she looked so infinitely adorable and kissable and not being other than human I – well you know the rest. She really was a witch that night. What do you think were my thoughts on that taxi ride home from town that evening? I am afraid it was then that I made up my mind – wasn’t I wicked? Given the least chance I determined then. She lay back in the taxi with her hat on the floor and her hair delightfully ruffled, looking flushed and disconcerted I thought. I wonder if she were. It was a good thing for her that she had a chaperone then.
I wonder if she remembers the morning she went to Waterloo and was left alone in the house with me by her ‘unwise’ mother (bless her) and how reluctant I was to leave. I was very near misbehaving myself then; but you see it was daylight – and after all one’s first kiss should be in the evening; preferably in a cosy room by a fire after dinner,but a beggar can’t be a choser. There were many other occasions – some perhaps she can’t remember but others no doubt she can – among them the halfpenny incident. I often wonder what would have happened if there had been no war. Would she have been the same?
I am so sorry that you have had the hump lately. I do hope you are better. Do you often get that complaint? I hope not. I suffer very badly.
So my note smelt of scent. I certainly do not use any unless the beastly barber puts some on me – but that is only in England. It did not leave here smelling of anything except perhaps tobacco. I can only put it down to your lady postman. Was it very strong and cheap? I rather like a faint suspicion as long as it is good.
Are you keeping alright dear? No colds I hope. The weather is truly awful.
With my best love and a long long kiss
212 Vicarage Rd
Dear Ted & Mary
Please find enclosed 10/- for insurance. I think this brings me up to date at least. I think I have paid 10/- per year since 1902 that is for 15 years ago. £- 10 – 0 and ** the amount payable about £4. It seems to me that has not been a paying spec has it?
By the bye how many hundreds are you putting in the War Loan? Unfortunately my assets are not very liquid and I shall have to look on. Last week end Billy Humphries was over on leave this being his first. He is in the 9th Division among the Jocks. Isn’t that Fred’s Division? We told him to look out for Sapper Hammond. If Fred is in the 9th you might ask him to look up Serg Humphrey of the Special Gas Sec (92) Q Co 4th Special Batt RE.
Incidentally he left Con an engagement ring so I suppose we may say she’s engaged. She has not yet been out of doors but she is making steady progress. Still it may be quite another month before she can venture back to business. I heard they were serving the troops round Colchester with gas helmets. Surely the Huns are not coming to drop tear shells amongst us. The Zeppelin scare has practically died out altho one or two rounds will keep up the patrol. What sort of a time did you have. Ours passed over quietly but apart from the weather, which was vile, quite enjoyably.
The talk of Victory is not quite so confident. I should imagine the Huns will feel that the peace door has been banged to when they read our terms as sent on to President Wilson. And yet one feels that anything less will not be a sufficient lesson to teach our enemies that those who take by the sword must fall by the sword.
Well trusting you are all in the pink.
With kindest wishes from all
Please acknowledge receipt of 10/-
Cover to Mrs E. Hammond, 9, Countess Street Stockport, postmarked 11.15 AM
13 Jan 17
Dear F & M
Just a short line to say I’m gogging along OK in 1917. I received your last letter a few days ago and suppose you received one from me about the same time. Any how if my letter got astray I would like to say the parcels etc arrived here OK. There is really nothing to relate. Just jogging along quietly. Our Boys played a football match against a neighbouring Divn and we had quite a good afternoon. How are things at home, heard from Geo lately? Suppose everyone is in the army by now. Suppose Gladys has settled down to her studies again.
I am trying to turn into a pipe smoker since I received the pipe & pouch.
Well I think this is about all at present. Hoping you are all well