A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 10 October 1917

A.A. Laporte Payne letter to Muriel 10 October 1917




October 10th 1917




Your two letters have just reached me here – thank you so much for them. You have been most good in writing so much in spite of my long silence.


I am at Headquarters for a few days taking over the adjutant’s work for the time he is away. He is probably going on leave in a short while and I am to come up again.  There is no further move in his permanent departure yet but he may go any time.  I hope not: he is a very good fellow.


The weather is very bad here and I suppose it is so with you as well. It is very cold and rains most of the time.


There is no prospect of a move yet. I should rather like to see something of the real fighting.  They seem to be doing very well from all accounts.  The Boche don’t seem to know quite what to do.  Although the progress seems to be very slow we seem to get our objectives every time and kill plenty of the Hun.


I hope Winnie Sharpley enjoyed her week end with you. I am sure she did.  Had she recovered from the effects of entertaining so nicely the Colonel?  He gets on most peoples nerves most horribly.  He has been in a very bad temper the last few days.  I think he is at last getting fed up with the war.


How is Mrs Cross now? I was so sorry to hear that when you wrote on the 3rd she had a bad headache.  I hope she is better.  Please give her my love, and Mr Cross – & not forgetting Betsey too.


Thank you for the photo of Clare Murphy. I see that it is in the ‘Tattler’ too.  Yes she was the one I met at Murphy’s place.  She must be a very interesting individual.


And how goes Finchley? Have you been having any more riding?  I have not been out for three days.  I am living in a tumbledown farmhouse and my bed room is a cupola erection without one end.  However we manage to keep dry and there is a fire – at least in the evenings.  I get to bed about midnight and unfortunately I have to get up early to send off the reports for the previous twenty four hours.


How is the face now? I hope quite better and no more signs of it at all.


I have just been called off to turn on the batteries – the Boche has been making himself a nuisance again.

With all my love dearest

& many kisses

Ever your



Operation Order No 116 R. West Kents 10 October 1917

No 6




Lieut.-Colonel W.R.A. DAWSON D.S.O. Commanding 6th (S) Battalion

The Queens Own (Royal West Kent Regiment)

10th October 1917

MONCHY TM 1/10,000


INTENTION. 1.        A bombardment combined with a raid will be carried out on ZERO day with a view to:

  1. Killing the enemy.
  2. Obtaining identification.
  3. Destroying dugouts, machine gun emplacements, etc.


  1. At ZERO the Battalion will raid the enemy’s front trench system which is composed of two lines of trenches (STRAP TRENCH and BUCKLE TRENCH) from BADGER TRENCH (inclusive) to about O.8.b.6.3 in STRAP TRENCH and O.8.b.80.15 in BUCKLE TRENCH, with the 6th Battalion The Queen’s Regiment on the right flank and the 7th Battalion the Norfolk Regiment on the left flank.


ZERO.                        3.         ZERO day and the hour of ZERO will be notified later.


ARTILLERY. 4.        (a).  At ZERO minus 6 hours the artillery of the Corps reinforced by other guns will commence a bombardment.

(b). At ZERO an intense barrage will be concentrated on the German Front Line.

(c). At ZERO plus four minutes the barrage will lift from the German Front Line to a point 150 yards East of it.

(d). At ZERO plus six minutes the barrage will lift on to the protective barrage line.

(e). At ZERO plus 30 minutes the time for withdrawal will be notified by the intensification of artillery fire.

(f). At ZERO plus 35 minutes the barrage will come back 100 yards.

(g). At ZERO plus 45 minutes the artillery will cease fire.


OBJECTIVES. 5.       The objectives will be:-

First Objective STRAP TRENCH.

Second objective: BUCKLE TRENCH.



  1. (a). The Raiding Party will be divided into four parties of one Officer and 50 O.R.’s each numbering from the right: No 5 Party: No 6 Party: No 7 Party: No 8 Party.  In addition one Lewis Gun Section will be attached to No 6 Party.

(b). Parties will file out of their dugouts and form up in their assembly positions, which will be marked by Notice Boards, beginning at ZERO minus 45 minutes as follows:-

No 5 Party via POMMEL ALLEY at ZERO minus 45 minutes.

No 8 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 45 minutes.

No 7 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 35 minutes.

No 6 Party via New Communication Trench at ZERO minus 25 minutes.

(c). The boundaries of each party are shown on the attached sketch map, also the positions of the gaps in the German wire through which each party will pass.

(d). Each party will attack in two waves.  The first wave will go through to the second objective, the second wave will go to the first objective.

(e). At ZERO the parties will leave the trenches and form up under the barrage ready to advance as soon as it lifts.  At ZERO plus four minutes the raiding party will follow up the creeping barrage and enter the enemy’s trenches.

(f). On reaching their objectives each party will take steps to establish communication on the flanks.

(g). A block will be placed in Badger Trench about 40 yards East of its junction with BUCKLE TRENCH, and an offensive patrol will push forward as far as our barrage permits.  Precautionary blocks will also be established on the outer flanks of parties 5 and 8 in STRAP TRENCH and BUCKLE TRENCH  until the flanking patrols have established touch with the Battalions on either flank.  These patrols will use bullet and bayonet and not bombs.

(h). At ZERO plus 30 minutes withdrawal will commence.

The order to withdraw must be given by word of command.

The time for withdrawal will be judged:-

(a). By watch

(b). By the intensification of artillery fire.

Communication Trenches between German Support and German Front Line will be used as far as possible. The evacuation of the Support Line will be covered by parties in the German Front Line, and when complete, the withdrawal from the Front Line will commence, evacuation being covered by snipers and Lewis Guns situated in selected shell holes in No-Man’s-Land.

Parties on returning to our Front Line will re-assemble in their respective dugouts and await further orders.



  1. Two Signallers will be detailed to accompany O.C. Raid. They will take a telephone and run a wire across No-Man’s-Land.  This wire will be run direct to relay post which should be established in the dugout in SADDLE SUPPORT about O.8.c.5.9.



  1. Parties will occupy dugouts on Y/Z night as follows:-

No 5 Party.  Northern dugout in HOE SUPPORT.

No 6 Party. Dugout South of PICK AVENUE.

No 7 Party. Dugout North of new communication trench.

No 8 Party. Southern dugout in SADDLE SUPPORT.


  1. A party of 2 N.C.O.s and 8 Sappers will be placed at the disposal of O.C. Raid for the purposes of demolition.
  2. The Raiders will wear drill order. They will carry two No. 23 Mills Bombs – 50 rounds S.A.A. Nos 5 and 8 parties will carry two sandbags per man.  In addition each ”Blocking Party” will carry two shovels.
  3. All identifications will be removed. A strip of 4 x 2 will be tied on both shoulder straps of the men taking part in the raid.
  4. C. Raid will take special steps to obtain all possible identifications and information about the enemy, e.g. shoulder straps – official documents – letters etc.
  5. Prisoners will be handed over to O.C. Front Battalion at Battalion Headquarters in GORDON AVENUE. Receipts will be obtained.
  6. Signal between units will be a steel helmet raised on a bayonet. Divisional pass word will be ”WHISKEY.”
  7. The position of Advanced Dressing Station will be at (PICK CAVES) O.7.b.80.25.
  8. Time for the synchronisation of watches will be notified later.
  9. Battalion Headquarters will be situated at the Junction of GORDON AVENUE and the CAMBRAI ROAD. (O.7.d.3.0) 7.b.80.25.


H.G. Dove

Captain and Adjutant


Copy No 1 to War Diary.

  • O.
  • C. No 1 Coy.
  • C. No 2 Coy.
  • C. “X” Coy.
  • Ditto
  • C. 6th Bn. The Queen’s.
  • C. 7th Bn. Norfolk Regt.
  • To 6th The Buffs.
  • 7th E.S. Regt.
  • Medical Officer.
  • 37th Brigade.
  • -Col Tabor.




F. Springett letter 9 October 1917





Oct 9th 1917



My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome letter received tonight also the 10/- note.  Thanks very much indeed for it, its jolly good of you to think of me.

Glad to hear that you were quite well as it leaves me “Top Hole”.

It as been awful weather here since Saturday but as dried up a bit today.  We could not go out at all on Sunday.  It rained all day even the Church Parade was postponed.

Yesterday we went for a route march we shall get plenty of them now.

Thursday Evening

Thank goodness we shall soon be out of canvas.  I think we go early next week.

I can tell you Sid, its getting jolly cold at night times.  They have just issued us out with an extra blanket which will make it a little better.

Well Dear, Sid I think I have any more news this time once, again thanking you kindly for the 10/- so I will say goodbye.

Have you got a photo of yourself to spare, if you have send it along please.

Best Love

I remain

Your Affec Brother

Frank W


56153 Pte F.W. Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

284th Infantry Battn

Bourne Park Camp


Nr. Canterbury



With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked Army Post Office 35 9 Oc 17

G. Hammond letter 6 October 1917

YMCA headed notepaper
Canadian War Contingent

My Dear Gladys,
Your letter of 23/9/17 arrived some days ago and I was very pleased to receive same it did take a long time to write but the letter made up for that.
I am glad that Aunt and Uncle were able to get a holiday and I am very sorry to hear that the weather was so bad, over here it has been delightful until just recently and now well it is non bon.
Yes I expect that George and Fred were present at the recent advance we have made.
Yes we had a rough time last month but now we are now again out on rest.
Glad to hear that the allotment is still going strong . strange to say we too get beans in the shape of “pork and beans”. Say how many people had you to get to help pull up the swede and I am sorry to say that I must say good bye to the pickles as I am afraid both George and Fred will have their chance before me.
You must look fine with two black eyes and it isn’t surprising that you find it impossible to go and view the good things laid out.
About that war work you say “N-est-ce pas” I cannot define that exactly but think it means “Do I believe you?” or “Do you believe that?” why sure I do, I am confident that the whole show will fall flat.
Yes it is dark in the evenings now but it is wet and we will soon have Christmas here again Oh I wish they could finish La Guerre before than.
Well I must finish now as there is really no more to say. How are my Aunt and Uncle I hope they are well.
Well bye bye
Love to all
Yours George

37th Infantry Brigade Operation Order No 150 5 October 1917

SECRET                                                                                                          Copy No 6




Ref: MONCHY Trench Map

J Corps   T.S. 73.C.

October 5th 1917


  1. A Bombardment combined with a Raid will be carried out on “Z” day, about Octr. 12th , with a view to demolishing the enemy’s Front Trench System between CAMBRAI ROAD and the BOIS des AUBEPINES.


  1. (a) The bombardment will commence at Zero – 6 hours and will be continuous. The Artillery of the Corps is being reinforced – the total number of guns employed will be :-


Heavy Artillery


15” Howitzers………. 1

12” Howitzers………..3

9.2” Howitzers……   20

8”  Howitzers…   …..27

6”  Howitzers   ……..65

60 pdr. guns……    …17


Field Artillery


4.5” Howitzers……….28

18 pdrs……………… 74


  1. and R. Trench Mortars



6” Stokes Mortar………6

2” Trench Mortar……   12


(b) A practice barrage will be carried out by artillery covering this Bde. Front at 1 p.m. on “Z” day.

(c) Details of Artillery, M.G. and T.M. Barrages will be notified later.

(d) Three Sections of No. 3 Special Coy., R.E. are to place a Smoke and Thermite barrage on the enemy’s trenches for 500 yds on each flank of the raid.


  1. Immediately after the bombardment the 35th and 37th Bdes will carry out a Raid under a creeping barrage between BEETLE TRENCH inclusive and INFANTRY LANE.

The Raiding Parties will leave their trenches at ZERO and will form up under the barrage, ready to advance as soon as it lifts.


  1. At ZERO plus 4 minutes, under a barrage of Artillery, T.M.s and M.G.s, Raiding Parties consisting of 5 Officers and 200 O.R.s of the 6th Queen’s and 5 Officers and 200 O.R.s of the 6thW. Kent Regt., with Raiding Parties of the 35th Inf. Bde. on the left will enter the enemy’s trenches at selected points with a view to :-

(i)                 Killing the enemy

(ii)               Obtaining identification.

(iii)             Destroying dug-outs, M.G.’s and T.M. Emplacements etc.

and withdrawing to our own lines at a time which will be notified later.


  1. The Raid by 37th Bde. will be carried out with the 6th Queen’s on the Right, and 6th R.W. Kent Regt., on the Left.

Each Battalion will furnish 4 parties of 1 Officer and 50 O.R.s ; the four parties of each Battalion will be commanded by a Captain.


  1. In accordance with the above paragraphs , the following are shown on attached map marked “A”:-

(i)                 Brigade Boundaries.

(ii)               Boundary between Battalions.

(iii)             Forming up places of Raiding Parties.

(iv)             Areas to be raided by parties; parties are numbered one to eight, from right to left.

(v)               Gaps to be cut in enemy’s wire.


  1. Details as to action of Lewis Guns, to be found by Officer Commanding Front Line Battalion, and snipers, to be detailed by Officer Commanding 37th Sniping Coy., to cover the withdrawal of the Raiding Parties, will be issued later.
  2. (a) The Raiding Parties prior to the Raid, will be accommodated as follows:-

6th Queen’s Dug-out in KNIFE TRENCH. Three Southern Dug-outs in HOE SUPPORT TRENCH.

6th R.W. Kent Regt. Northern Dug-out in HOE SUPPORT. Three Dug-outs (1 unfinished) in SADDLE SUPPORT, S. of PICK AVENUE.

Raiding parties will occupy these Dug-outs before daylight on ”Z” day.


(b) On the occupation of the dug-outs in the SUPPORT LINE by the Raiding Parties, the following moves will take place;-

Front Line Bn.  will occupy dug-outs in SPADE TR., leaving a light garrison in the Front Line, and Sentry posts in SUPPORT LINE.

Support Line Bn. Will move 2 Companies from SPADE TRENCH to LES FOSSES FARM and SURREY CAVE.


(c) At ZERO -6 ½ hours

The O.C. Front Bn. will arrange to clear Saps and Front Line with the exception of sentries in armoured sentry posts.


(d) At ZERO minus three-quarters of an hour the Raiding Parties will begin to move up to their assembly positions as follows:-

(i) 6th Queen’s via GORDON AVENUE and POMMEL ALLEY.

(ii) 6th R.W. Kent Regt., via New C.T. to be constructed South of TITES COPSE, from O.8/3 to SADDLE SUPPORT.

(e) Raiding Parties on their return will occupy dug-outs in SUPPORT LINE, where they will remain until conditions are normal.

(f) The Front Line will be re-occupied by its permanent garrison as soon as possible after ZERO, the remainder of the original troops in the line returning to their normal positions as soon as the Raiders have vacated the Support Line.


  1. C., 87th Field Co., R.E. will detail parties of R.E. to accompany the raiders for demolition purposes. Numbers will be notified later.


  1. The O.C., Front Battalion will arrange to have gaps made in our own wire during the night previous to ”Z” day, at points opposite the assembly places of Raiding Parties.


  1. Raiding Parties will be equipped with rifle, bayonet, 50 rounds S.A.A. and 2 No. 23 Mills bombs. Any article likely to afford an identification will be removed. A strip of 4” x 2” flannel will be tied on both shoulder straps of the men taking part in the Raid.


  1. Prisoners will be handed over to O.C. Front Battalion, who will arrange to escort them direct to Bde. H.Q., from which place they will be forwarded to Water Point at MAISON ROUGE.


  1. Any special medical arrangements will be notified later.


  1. The signal between Units will be helmet raised on a bayonet.

The Divisional pass-word will be ”WHISKEY”.


  1. “Z” day, ZERO hour, and arrangements for synchronisation of watches will be notified later.



Signature unreadable


a/Brigade Major

37th Infantry Brigade

Issued thro’ Signals at   p.m.


Copy No 1 & 2 6th Queen’s.                          14 C.R.A/ 12th Div.

3      6th Buffs.                              15 36th Field Ambulance.

4 7th E. Surrey R.                      16 35th Inf. Bde.

5    6th R.W. Kent Regt.               17 36th Inf. Bde.

6    6th R.W. Kent Regt.               18 154th Inf. Bde.

7    37th M.G. Company.              19 Staff Captain.

8    37th T.M. Battery.                 20 Bde Signal Officer.

9    37th Sniping Coy.                  21 O.O. File.

10 62nd Bde. R.F.A.                   22 War Diary.

11 87th Field Coy. R.E.

12 5th Northants (Pioneers)

13 H.Q. 12th Division ”G”

Report 5 October 1917

B.M. 609.


1st E. York, R.

9th K.O.Y.L.I.

10th K.O.Y.L.I.

15th Durh L.I.

64th T.M. Bty.


The battle of yesterday was the greatest success gained by the British Army in the war. The German losses were enormous.  Our objectives were gained practically everywhere.  So that the success can be thoroughly exploited elsewhere it is absolutely vital that the flank the Division now holds should remain firm.  If we are forced back success elsewhere will be endangered.  All ranks must know this and must be prepared to hold on to the last, even though we may have to stay here several days.  No men of the Empire can do this better than the North Country men of this brigade and that they will withstand any attack the Germans may endeavour to make I am confident.



Brigadier General

Commanding 64th Inf. Bde.


F Springett letter 5 October 1917





Oct 5th 1917



My Dear Brother Sid,

Just a few lines in answer to your welcome letter I received today so pleased to hear that you were quite well as it leaves me still “Top Hole”.

Yes we have had an air-raid nearly every night since we have been down here and it makes us rather late at night.

They have come right over our camp mostly every time but luckily have not dropped any bombs, you see we are only sixteen miles from Dover.

Still we don’t take much notice of them we have had so many lately.

It as been showery here this last day or two and it makes the place very muddy.

Very sorry to hear that you haven’t got much work to get on with, hope you will soon be busy again.

We have been issued out with new Short Le Enfield Rifles and they are jolly particular about them too.  We are training a bit stiffer again now of course you know what for.  Still I suppose that’s what we are in the Army for. Ha Ha.

I am a Lewis Gunner now and I have been put in No 3 Platoon today they keep shifting us about.

Well Sid, I certainly hope you don’t have to do this sort of thing it’s alright at times but take my advice and dodge it.

Still you have done jolly good up till now.  “Three Years eh” Ha Ha.

Well, Sid I can’t get a week-end yet. I tried today but they won’t hear of it.

I tell you that if they won’t give me one shortly I shall take it and chance what I get. Ha Ha.

Well I must close as it’s getting dark, hoping this letter finds you quite well.

Well Goodbye

Best Love

I remain

Your Loving Brother

Frank William.

I have been thinking about poor old Walter today.

Still I will have my revenge.

56153 Pte FW Springett

A Company 3rd Platoon

284th Infantry Battn.

Bourne Park Camp


Nr. Canterbury


With cover to Mr S.K. Springett, 29 Bath Road Dartford Kent

Postmarked ARMY POST OFFICE 35. 5 OC 17