War Diary of AA Laporte Payne March 1918

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne March 1918




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




March 5 1919

It is dull here now. We are overhauling equipment and handing it in for storage.  All the horses have gone with the exception of a charger for me and the mess cart horse, and a large number of the men.


I went into Amiens the other day, and to day I go to Abbeville on duty.


The Brigade sign is a dolphin, which the Colonel calls the “flying slug”.


Prices of everything seems to be very high. My Captain who has just come back from Paris says that it is expensive there. Amiens, Doullens and Abbeville are bad enough.


March 14th 1919

I have just returned from Paris after an enjoyable visit with Prior.  We went out to Saint Cloud.


March 23 1919

I leave A/155 today for another unit, which I have not yet ascertained.


March 27 1919.


Just arrived.


March 28 1919.




This the first Boche town I have been in is the place where I detrained. We left our village of Soues near Hangest, half way between Abbeville and Amiens, a party of two captains, three (3) subalterns, a large number of men, and myself in a lorry as far as Amiens.  It was a bitterly cold day.  There we entrained in a long train made up of German cattle trucks, which have been handed over since the Armistice.  Seven Officers were in my truck.  The beastly thing had great sliding doors, but we managed to scrounge a leaky stove without a top, and there was no trouble in finding plenty of wood and coal.  But the smoke was a foul nuisance.  Whenever we opened the sliding doors to let the smoke out we were frozen in the draught, if we closed them we were suffocated with the smoke.  I was very glad I had my camp bed, so I managed to make myself fairly comfortable.  We were in this train two days.  I was O.C. train, and I was very lucky that I did not lose any men on the way up.


We travelled through the devastated areas, which was most interesting. I realised more than ever the wretched Hun’s damage to France.  For one whole day we saw nothing else than smashed bridges, towns and villages.  We passed through Villers Bretonneux, Peronne, Cambrai, Mons, Lutte, Charleroi, Namur, Liège to Cologne, arriving about 8 a.m.  We then came to this hotel and had baths, shave and a good meal.


The town is full of troops, and the Boche must be making a great deal out of us. But things are not very expensive as yet.  The prices are high, but we get 52 marks to the pound.  I am paying seven marks a night for quite a good bedroom, and that is only about three shillings in English money.


There are some god Officers’ Clubs here but otherwise nowhere much to go to. The shops are excellent.  We hear about the starving Hun, but they all seem to be fat and well living here.  It is curious how many of them speak English.  So far I not come across a man who did not understand what I said, even in the small shops, and all the porters and waiters do.


Several of the theatres and concert halls have been taken over by English concert parties, and I went to one last night. The orchestra was composed of English soldiers with a few German cello players.  I am sure they think us utterly mad.  We do not behave like Boche Officers, and we are treating them much too well.  It is an experience I would not have missed for anything.


Captain Prior and I with one or two others go to Duren this afternoon.  At present it is snowing hard, which is uncomfortable when travelling.



Programme commencing at 6 p.m.

The Woman’s Theatre Company, under the personal direction of Miss Inez Bensusan.


Songs and Comedy Songs.

Two Sketches entitled, “Mrs. Haslemere’s Hoard” “A Bit of Blighty.”


Report of Drifters off Mudros 14 March 1919

Report of Drifters off Mudros 14 Malta 1919


Lieut. R.H. Palmer. R.N.V.R.

D “Northesk” II No 2022


March 14 1919

Captain K

H.M.S. “Pyramus”




I have the honour to forward for your favourable consideration a request that I may [be] presented with a certificate of conduct during the time that I have had the honour to serve under your command – Nov 4 1918 to March 13 1919 –

May I also take the opportunity of expressing my thanks for your various kindnesses to me and to say that it has been my duty to obey commands it has been the greatest pleasure to me to render any little assistance to the service within my capabilities.


I have the honour to be


Your obedient servant

Reginald H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.


Report of Drifters off Syra 14 March 1919

Report of Drifters off Syra 14 March 1919


Lieut. R.H. Palmer R.N.V.R.

D “Northesk” II 2022


March 14 1919

Captain K.

H.M.S. “Pyramus”





I have the honour to report that the letter given to me to deliver to Lieut Berkeley of H.M.T. “Eva Wales” has been undelivered owing to “Eva Wales” having sailed before my arrival.


On arrival at Syra at 1300 today I reported to S.N.O. and also informed him I had this letter to deliver.


I was told that Eva Wales had left Syra with the other Trawlers on the previous day & as there is no ferry between Syra & Malta I am returning the letter to you.


We arrived at Syra without incident although the speed maintained only averaged 7 Knots; this was due to three factors: –

The dirtiness of the bottoms of Northesk & Prime, the heavy load of stores in the holds of Hopeful & Comely and that we had very heavy weather from DORO to Syra.

I have the honour to be Sir


Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 11 March 1919

Letter to Rev. R.M. Laporte Payne 11 March 1919


Oval stamp of 707th M.T. Company

No 4151. Date 11.3.19.

Army Service Corps.

Rev Laporte Payne,

Christ’s Church,

  1. Finchley,

London W.




M2/203809 Pte Bowman F.W.


The above mentioned man, whom I understand is known to you, and who is presently serving in the unit under my command, has made application to me for compassionate leave in order that he may be able to proceed to the United Kingdom for the purpose of putting his home affairs in order.


From the documentary evidence which he has produced, it would appear that the relations existing between he and his wife are rather unsatisfactory at present. There does not appear, however, to be any neglect on the part of his wife, so far as the children are concerned, and, in the absence of definite proof, of such neglect, there is little hope of his application for leave being granted at present.


If it is not encroaching on more important business, I shall be obliged if you will kindly make enquiries and let me know as early as possible what exactly is the position of affairs and in what state the home is being kept.


Pte Bowman’s home address is 14 Castle Way, N. Finchley W.


I have the honour to be,


Your obedient Servant,

Signature unreadable Major R.A.S.C.


In the Field,                                                                O.C. 707 M.T. Coy., R.A.S.C.


Report of Drifters off Mudros 6 March 1919

Report of Drifters off Mudros 6 March 1919



D “Northesk” II (91)


March 6/19

Navigating Officer

H.M.S. “Europa”


It is requested that as I am leaving for England in a few days with a Division of Drifters, that my Standard Compass may be repaired & adjusted before sailing.


This compass has been out of action since my taking over command of Northesk but it is almost essential in such a long voyage as I am now undertaking.


R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.


War Diary of 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade February 1919



From FEBRUARY 1st. – To FEBRUARY 28th.




RENAIX         1.2.19             Batteries having turned guns, technical stores, and vehicles at BAISEAUX returned to RENAIX with horses and harness leaving KAIN at 0900 hours and arriving at RENAIX at 13.30 hours.


  • Church Parade for R.C.s in Renaix Stone Church at 10.00 hours and for other denominations in Harmonie Hall, Grande Place, at the same hour. 9th Brigade CFA. supplies Town Picquet for four days commencing today.


  • Preliminary inspection of all harness and saddlery by Commanding Officer preparatory to handing in at 14.00 hours.


  • Central Store Room for all Brigade harness and saddlery selected in 31st. Battery CFA. Lines, 955 Rue Jean Nassau. Batteries all busy cleaning and oiling harness for turning in to Brigade Store Room.


  • Final inspection by Commanding Officer of all harness at 10.00 hours. In afternoon batteries turned in all harness to the store room. C.A. Smith was put in charge of all harness until called for by lorries.


6.2.19              Staff Captain ”Q” inspected harness in Brigade Store Room this morning; The Y.M.C.A. held a Cinema show in Harmonie Hall this evening.  First lot of fifty horses under Lieut. F.W. Case and Lieut. G.B. Alexander were sent to GHENT to be handed over to the Belgian authorities.


7.2.19              Part of the harness in the Brigade Store Room was taken away in two lorries at 09.00 hours.  9th Brigade Concert Party under Lieut. H.B. Devine gave first performance in Harmonie Hall at 18.00 hours.


  • Balance of harness was taken away in lorries to-day. 9th Brigade Concert Party gave second performance in Harmonie Hall at 19.00 hours. Second batch of fifty horses were sent to ALOST under Lieut. R.A. Gall and Lieut. A.D. Mason to be handed over to the Belgian authorities.


RENAIX           9-2-19           Church Parade for R.C.s in Renaix Stone Church at 10.00 hours and Other Denominations in Harmonie Hall at same hour


  • 9th Brigade Concert Party gave a third performance in Harmonie Hall this afternoon at 14.00 hours. M.C.A. gave a Cinema Show in the same hall this evening.


11-2-19            Details for the demobilisation of the balance of the Brigade arrived to-day.  Everybody busy packing and getting documents ready for the move.


12-2-19            First draft consisting of 1 Officer and 56 men per battery and 2 men from Headquarters left RENAIX at 06.30 hours by lorry to entrain at BAISEAUX for LE HAVRE.  190 All Ranks left RENAIX by lorry at 13.00 hours for KAIN where they will stay for the night and march to BAISEAUX tomorrow morning.


13-2-19            Leave party of 3 Officers and 104 Other Ranks left RENAIX for BAISEAUX by lorry at 06.30 hours.

Party at KAIN left there at 07.30 hours to march to BAISEAUX. Demobilisation train arrived six hours late.  Finally left BAISEAUX en route for LE HAVRE at 17.00 hours.  Party of 1 Officer and 40 Other Ranks per battery left in RENAIX to look after balance of horses until handed over.  They will proceed on leave when horses are finally disposed of.


14-2-19            Brigade on train en route for LE HAVRE.


15-2-19            Arrived at LE HAVRE at 06.00 hours, 22 hours late.  The trip was made in box cars but each car was supplied with plenty of straw and fuel.  The Y.M.C.A. had a box car in which they installed a Canteen, so that in addition to the rations the Unit was able to enjoy Canadian Fruit and Biscuits on the way down.


16-2-19            Day was spent in getting ready for embarkation.  Bath Parades were held, and documents completed for embarkation.


17-2-19            Brigade was warned for embarkation to-night but no boat was available.


18-2-19            Embarked at 21.00 hours and sailed *****


WEYMOUTH 19-2-19           Arrived at WEYMOUTH 09.00 hours and entrained for MILFORD Station at 11.00 hours.  Arrived at MILFORD Station at 16.30 hours and march to Witley Camp.


WITLEY CAMP 20-2-19       First batch of documents received from Area Records Clearing House this morning.  Documentation commenced and men got ready for Medical Board.

21-2-19            First Lot of 260 men ready for Medical Board.


22-2-19            First 260 men Medically Boarded this morning.


23-2-19            Second lot of 46 men Medically Boarded this morning.



24-2-19            First 300 men boarded were sent on eight days Embarkation Leave.  Documents for 13 Officers completed and 10 Officers Medically Boarded.


25-2-19            Large batch of documents arrive from Area Records Clearing House.  Documentation of Brigade now almost complete.


26-2-19            Balance of men available sent on eight days leave to-day.


27-2-19            Last of men left at Horse Demobilisation Camp, RENAIX reported back from eight days leave.


28-2-19            Usual routine.  Documentation proceeding satisfactorily.



Commanding, 9th Canadian Artillery Brigade

The War Diary Ends here.







War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Feb 1919

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne Feb 1919




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




R.P February 8 1919.

155 Army Brigade R.F.A.




The above is my address. I have managed to get to Colonel Congreve’s Brigade, and at present I am commanding A Battery, but later I may go to C Battery.  I took three days on the journey here, and it was cold!  Now we have hard frosts and snow.  The Colonel is in bed ill, and is probably going away on leave soon.


February 13 1919

I am expecting orders to go to the 3rd Division in Germany as the Colonel has recommended me as a battery commander in the Army of Occupation.  This Brigade is being demobilized and the Colonel goes home on a month’s furlough.


It is a bit too cold here. Everything is frozen hard.


We are going out pig sticking on Saturday, which promises to be rather amusing. It is rather a shoot in the French manner, as the French here get them up, and go out armed with guns, knives, swords, revolvers, and trumpets.


February 21 1919

I am still with the 155, Brigade, but expect to leave at any time. I have been told to hold myself in readiness.


This unit is gradually being demobilized. Horses and men trickle away slowly but surely.  Today we handed in the guns and ammunition wagons.  Life her is very dull, and it is sad to see the unit being broken up.  Next Saturday there is to be a real pig-sticking with the men as beaters.


February 26 1919

Just a visit to Amiens.


Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919

Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919


S.O. 9th Div of Drifters

D “Northesk” II (91)


Feb 28/19

A.P. Office

H.M.S. “Europa”


The following small defects have developed in vessels in my Division, and it is requested they may receive attention before leaving for England: –

R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.


H.M.D. “Comely” No. 2387. (local No 96)

Engine defect: – Knocking in H.P. Valve covers require lifting.

Deck defects: – Compass requires refilling (very bad)

Hatch cover requires repairing as leaking badly through wear.


H.M.D. “Hopeful” No, 2386. (local No 95)

Engine defect: – Bilge valve at ship’s side is leaking & requires attention.







Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919

Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919



  1. “Northesk” II No 2022


Feb 28/19

A.P. Office

H.M.S. “Europa”


I beg to notify that no reliefs have been sent me for

  1. Smith Dk Hd

& S.J. Williams Tel

Who were discharged to H.M.S. “Europa” on Feb 14th.


It is requested that reliefs may be sent in order to complete complement.


I am without a signalman and am a W/T Operator short if these ratings could be sent me.


R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.


Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919

Report of Drifters off Mudros 28 February 1919




H.M.D. “Northesk” II No 2022

Feb 28/19

A.P. Office

H.M.S. “Europa”


The following changes in the personnel of crew of H.M.D. “Northesk II” have taken place: –


H.M.D. “Northesk II” N2022.


  1. Banham Dk Hd discharged to D. 2196.
  2. Reynolds     “ “ “    D. 2196.
  3. J. Daly           “ “ “     T.284.


all P.M. Feb 28/19


  1. Bailey   Dk Hd reported for duty on D. 2022.
  2. Perry       “ “ “      “     “ D.2022.
  3. Nichols     “ “ “       “     “ D.2022.


all P.M. Feb 28/19


R.H. Palmer.

Lieut. R.N.V.R.