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.