Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 22 May 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


MAINZ Germany


Wednesday May 22nd. Dentist 8 a.m. he appears to be trying to kill the nerve & I am to go back on Friday if any more pain, otherwise wait till Monday.

Small walk to gardens 10 a.m. & had a good rest there. Very hot again.  Bembe sent for me about forbidding Continental Times & Gazette des Ardennes; German General wanted to know if true, so stated my reasons for doing so.  Lecture on Salt Trade by Capt Brown, unable to attend.  Too hot & depressing to walk after dinner, result I did not get to sleep till after 1 a.m.  Must keep up evening walk, think it helps sleep.


Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 21 May 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


MAINZ Germany


Tuesday May 21st.  Got up early to see Dentist but he did not come.  Letter from old Bouverie Clark dated London May 2nd.  Had long interview with German General 10-11.30 a.m. on various points.  Number now in Camp 1 Br Gen., 8 Lt. Cols., 7 Majors, 121 Captains, 125 Lieuts., 341 2/Lieuts, R.N.V.R. 2 Lieuts, 8 Sub Lts 1 Mercantile Marine Capt.  Total 614.  Had good walk with B.M. after supper for 5o minutes.

NOTES ON RECENT FIGHTING – No. 11. 21 May 1918

K.J. Bunting Capt.

Issued down to Divisions

(for distribution down to Battalions)



(Issued by the General Staff)


Attention is called to the following points with regard to the employment of mounted troops :-

  1. Whether in attack or defence cavalry and cyclists, if they are to be used to the best advantage, must work in the closest co-operation with the other arms and the fullest use must be made of their mobility.
  2. In mobile warfare one mounted man who knows how to use his rifle is, owing to his mobility, of more than three equally well trained men on foot. One bullet from the flank has more effect than three bullets from the front. Recent operations have emphasised the fact that a sudden burst of fire from a comparatively few rifles coming from a flank can disorganize a hostile attack far more effectually than a much larger body of fire coming from the front. Cavalry, owing to its power of combining fire action with mobility, can, if properly used, always delay the advance of the enemy’s infantry. Cavalry, therefore, even when employed as infantry in the line, should never be far from its horses.
  3. Dismounted cavalry cannot be used to the best advantage if brigades and regiments are broken up and sent in small detachments to reinforce infantry units. Every effort, therefore, should be made when cavalry is put into the line to keep brigades and divisions intact with their machine guns, R.H.A. and R.E. It will then be possible for the cavalry commander to maintain a mobile reserve to be employed wherever the tactical situation may require. The value of such a reserve was brought out on several occasions during the recent operations. In the fighting between the Somme and Marcelcave from the 27th of March to the 3rd of April, a mounted force varying from one regiment to one brigade was retained as a mobile reserve by the cavalry divisional commander. The situation on our right was always uncertain and sometimes critical. This mounted force supported the infantry as far south as Aubercourt and Hangard and the reconnoitring detachments which it provided did valuable work south and south-east of Villers-Bretonneux.
  4. The cavalry, R.H.A. batteries and M.G. squadrons found it surprisingly easy to break off an engagement. This was largely due to the maintenance of the mobility of these units and to the training in open warfare which they had received. A cavalry division was holding the line north of the Somme from Sailly Laurette to the west of Morlancourt on the 26th and 27th of March. Although hotly engaged with the enemy in front of Sailly Laurette on the evening of the 27th the division was able, upon receiving orders to do so, to break off the engagement at 4.35 p.m., and at 10.30 p.m. was assisting in the defence of the line from Warfusee Abancourt to the Somme at Bouzencourt.
  5. Throughout the recent operations invaluable work was done by small officers’ patrols. Experience has proved that reconnaissance by mounted patrols is probably the best means of obtaining the necessary information with regard to the enemy’s movements and the position of our own troops. It is impossible to attach too much importance to the training of officers and men in this work.
  6. The following points with regard to the work of mounted troops in action were noticed during the recent operations:-
  1. There was a tendency when coming into action to dismount too soon. When galloping up to a position units should remain mounted up to the last possible moment.
  2. A senior officer should always be left in charge of the led horses, and he should have a few spare mounted men to act as messengers. The position of the led horses has frequently to be changed owing to shell fire, and, unless the closest liaison is maintained with the fighting troops, there is a danger of losing touch.
  3. The Hotchkiss gun proved a most useful weapon. Its fire was invaluable in covering the withdrawal in rearguard actions. All reports shew that pack horses must always accompany troops when dismounted. The Hotchkiss gun and ammunition must be brought up on pack as near to the firing line as possible. Casualties among the Hotchkiss gunners were heavy. It is necessary, therefore, that a large reserve of these gunners should be trained.   Printed in France by Army Printing and Stationary Services.                                                                                          PRESS A-5/18.
  4. 21st of May, 1918.

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 20 May 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


MAINZ Germany


Monday May 20th.  Whit Monday.  General Holiday.  Very hot.  Worked at Shorthand morning.  At lunch Lycett brought me 2 letters both from Daisy dated April 28th & May 1st.  Such joy to get first news of home & my wire reached her on the 28th. Our lucky number again.

Wrote & posted post card in the afternoon.

Had good walk after supper.

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 19 May 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


MAINZ Germany


Sunday May 19th.  Early service 7.45 a.m.  Slept well.  Morning Service 10 a.m.  Usual address 1.30 p.m. which I proposed to discontinue now unless specially ordered – a good thunder & hail storm about 4.15 p.m.  No letters forthcoming.  Williams got 2 letters.  Small walk after super but was very hot & close.

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 19 May 1918

War Diary of AA Laporte Payne 19 May 1918




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



May 19 1918



I am at present on night duty, and have to fire the battery every half hour with some extras thrown in. In these latter days an officer has to be on the telephone all night, and I am relieving two weary subalterns who have been on night duty most nights.


I believe today is Whit Sunday, but I am not sure. The wilderness here is covered with dandelions run to seed, so it shews that spring is somewhere about, and fevered imagination conjures up visions of England in spring.


But the weather is at present perfectly lovely, and I am going about in my shirt sleeves. The sun had been with us for at least three days, and rain is overdue.   It is a bit misty, which hinders observation somewhat, but that is not a great evil.


Leave is further off than ever, and certainly not before the next great Boche attack takes place, which is expected daily. He should hurry up, or he will be too late.  It is sure to rain hard in June.


Our dug-out drips dirty water, and is infested with black beetles and rats. They are only what Shipley might call “The Minor Horrors of War”.


For the past fortnight I have been in command of “C” Battery, whose Major has been away ill, but he has returned now. So I am back at “A” Battery again.  It was rather a nuisance as I do not like picking up the threads of another man’s job.  However I had no choice, as orders are orders.


The day before yesterday I spent with the Infantry as Liaison Officer, and yesterday I spent the day up in the clouds, literally, up in a sausage balloon for observation work. It is quite interesting and the country side looks most curious from four thousand feet up in a basket.  My companion was a Flying Corps Officer, who frightened me with horrible details, e.g. if the gauge reads 70 the balloon would burst, and if a Boche plane came over I was to throw myself over the side head first attached to a closed parachute!  However we landed safely about 6.30 p.m. and stayed for a cheery dinner with the Wing Officers, and went for a mad drive in a tender afterwards.


To day I have been observing from our O.P., registering the guns for various shows, which do not appear in the official communiqués, which usually state “All quiet on the Western Front”. That is of course not so.


There have been some changes in the Brigade lately. Poor old Bell has been badly wounded.  I am distressed at losing him.  Amour has his job, and is a captain at last, and about time too.  Our senior has been made a captain in another battery, and we have two new subalterns.


I have just finished firing until 2 a.m. There are a large number of Very lights and Flaming Onions about tonight.  The latter are a species of Boche incendiary anti-aircraft quick firing shells.  Both sides are very restless tonight, especially the Boche.  I wonder why.  Although it is very dark there are several planes up.  A boche machine gun is making a dismal rattle ahead, while behind a 6 inch Mark VII gun, quite close, fairly takes one’s breath away when it fires, which it does very frequently.  Here besides me there are such instruments of torture as field telephones and such evil spirits as telephonists who disturb even a moment’s slumber with a whispered “You are wanted  on the phone, Sir.”


However as Marcus Aurelius says “Where a man can live, there he can live well”; but it is a hard saying.


Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 18 May 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


MAINZ Germany


Saturday May 18th.  Very hot day.  Walked with about 50 others from No 1 Block along Rhine northwards through edge of Town.  Saw 2 passenger steamers going to Bingan & Rotterdam.  Milton Hayes fainted during walk & German woman gave him glass of milk.  Quite tired after walk – slight rain in the afternoon.  Drummond completed 20 years service today.  Bad day for food.  Rations getting shorter; about 60 more arrived.