“June 22 1918 – A French officer came up
with his “felicitations” today. My “pourquoi?” elicited the answer “Croix de
Guerre!” and in proof he showed me a list of 14 men who are to be decorated. The section is
likewise to be cited. I’m awfully glad for the folks’ sake; how proud old Dad
will be and Mother too. Not sure I deserve a “Croix de Guerre” – certainly not when I think of
what the Frenchmen in the trenches go thru.”
American ambulance driver in Oise region,
France – The Compensations of War – Photo: 1918, France, American soldiers
being decorated with the Croix de Guerre.
WW1 French Doctor’s Selfie
“We were allowed to have a camera, but not
allowed to use it. Otherwise, as all the officers would always tell us, we’d be sent
to prison and get a black mark on our records, by some bureaucrat sitting comfortably at his
desk. What stupidy! Especially because this never kept us from taking photos —
up to the last day!”
WW1 French soldier writer Blaise Cendrars “La Main coupée” – Photo: WW1 Frantz Adam,
and photographer extraordinaire, taking a mirror selfie. Some of his WW1 photos are well-known. See a slideshow of his photos, here, at the bottom of the page. And a beautiful book of his photos.
WW1 French stretcher-bearer officer Marcel Chatenay enjoyed playing
with his camera. His album photo is interesting, at time intriguing. Aside from taking fantastic photos of life at
the front, he experimented with mirror photography, today’s selfies. When en
repos in his room, he loved to take mirror portraits of himself and his
friends. See his “selfies” here, and the
entire album @ Archives de la Ville de Saumur
“June 18-20 1918. Section takes gas test. Great discussion in
quarters over our cuisine. Lieut. Jamon wearing two galons today.”
In Dampleux, Aisne, France,
American ambulance driver ‘s Record of S. S. U. 585 – Photo: WW1,
France, American ambulance & truck drivers’ gas drill. La Contemporaine.
“The long twilight offers great openings for songsters
and we reel off all the songs we know – very college-fashion.”
June 1918, France, American ambulance driver – In a letter to his father, he writes that singing brings back memories of college days – Text and photo from the beautiful new book “The Black Cats of Amherst”— Also, here, the fun & smart Black Cats’ Twitter feed
‘June 1918, Alsace – I am
condemned to four days at a tiny post on a remote mountaintop. Even in the
middle of the day it’s cold. The post looks like a lumber camp clinging
precariously to the steep slopes. As for
the road to reach the post, it makes you revise your definition of a hill. It’s
steep and winding, 12 km long, taking more than one hour for the car to climb
it in low gear. I hope I won’t have any trips at night because my car has no
lights and the hill is something to think about even in daylight. This hill has
already played havoc with the breaks of all the
cars. The lieut suggested that we drag big logs behind us to slow us up…
looks as if every Ford in the lot might be in the scrap heap before long…’
Of Battles Long Ago: Memoirs of an
American Ambulance Driver in World War I – Photo: Alsace mountains, an American ambulance driving
up the actual road described in this entry.
June 1918, France – “Everywhere the American soldiers are stationed they make
friends with the children immediately. And the children, once the ice broken, are not backward. They see in these soldiers their
friends, their deliverers.”
The Literary Digest, Vol. 58 – Photo: 1918, in a village of Lorraine, American soldiers sharing their lunch with little French rascals. – Tourisme Lorraine France
We’ve had some pretty good times together, haven’t we?
“I get along beautifully with everybody and I wish I could tell you of all my
delightful experiences and all the charming towns I have seen already!
Now, could you ask for better
news of me, Daddy, than this letter holds?
I was thinking today of our
motor trips to Washington and Placid and what a good time we had together.
We’ve had some pretty good times together, haven’t we, we and Mommy? I often
think of Mommy. I know she must be pleased to know how contented and busy and
happy I am. Bless her heart, I wish I could talk to her, and tell her all about
my funny adventures and see her face light up. But I think of her a lot and
that’s almost as if I were talking to her, isn’t it?
Good night, Daddy, God bless
you and keep you.
Your son, Curtis.”
WW1 – From the beautiful book
“Letters from an American Soldier to His Father” –
Photo: American soldier with his dad. – National
World War 1 Museum and Memorial.
1918, Meuse, France – Dad and Major Ruby D. Garrett with “Commanding
Field Officers of 42nd Div.” – National World War 1 Museum and Memorial
“The lieut is a great
sportsman and built like Hercules. He wants to form a soccer team with the
poilus of the section. He already bought the ball (on his own dimes!) and begged me to join the team!”
1918, French soldier’s letter –– La camaraderie au front: 1914-1918 – Photo: A soccer game at the front – La Contemporaine