Category: french

       “Suddenly, everything stopped and folks…

      
“Suddenly, everything
stopped and folks around the country started dancing in the Streets.”

“The joy was real – This
Armistice spirit was more than just
fortitude: it was a fundamental optimism that enabled people to rebuild, and to
live and love again. The war had made life and love even more precious than
they were before.”

November 1918, France – Soldiers, Volume 45, Issue 11 Department
of the Army and “Peace at Last: A Portrait of Armistice Day, 11
November 1918″

– Image: November 1918, Meuse sector, France, dancing in the street.

“October 10 1918 – Nearly 10,000 French …

“October 10 1918 – Nearly 10,000 French civilians have been liberated from the Germans by the
advancing British and Americans. Four thousand civilians were
found in Bohain alone. They were in a pitiful
condition, having been without food for three days when rescued. Tears of joy
coursed down their emaciated cheeks.”

October 10 1918, Battle of Cambrai, France – The New York Times –The European War. Vol 17 –  Photo: October 10 1918 –  British soldier with little children (some wearing German helmets) in Bohain, near Cambrai – Imperial War Museums

‘Four poilus join in a game of manille, that w…

‘Four poilus join in a game of manille, that will last
until night blacks out the cards.

Cocon
and Tirette are recalling their memories of barrack-life. The impressions left
upon their minds by those years of military training are ineffaceable.

I can hear some of the talk and guess the rest of it. Always the same tale that they get out of their military past. He wasn’t afraid, he spoke out loud and strong!

Some
scraps of it reach my ears…’

WW1 French soldier’s memoir –

Under Fire: The Story of a Squad (Le Feu)

– WW1, Oise sector, French soldiers playing cards and relaxing. La Contemporaine

“We all wanted war trophies to bring home: emp…

“We all wanted war trophies to bring home: empty shell cases, bullet
cartridges, and more than anything else, these German spiked helmets.”

WW1 French soldier – Saint-Martin de-Fontenay: un XXe siècle tourmenté – Photo :
Wounded French soldiers returning to
Paris with trophies from the battlefields. Paris War Days

Note the soldier’s trendy pointing at the
helmet.

‘Thursday September 5 1918 – Busy evacua…

‘Thursday September 5 1918 – Busy evacuating beaucoup blessés
{many wounded soldiers} – Army advanced past Fismes – Got some fried eggs for
dinner and read until twelve!’

American ambulance driver in the Aisne sector, France –  J. Reah Hollinger’s diary – Franklin & Marshall College – Photo: WW1, France, American soldier reading outside his billet. La Contemporaine

“August 21 1918 – I took some pictures t…

“August 21 1918 – I took some pictures this morning. The weather
was a little cloudy but there was a good light to shoot photos. The boches
are joining us en masse and all these prisoners want only one thing: stay with
us. They all complain a lot… They tell us that it became impossible for them to
fight with an empty stomach!”

Moroccan soldier in the French army – Lettres de paix et de
guerre de Bernard Guersent
– Photo : August 21 1918,  Aisne sector, one French African soldier leading
a column of German prisoners. Note in the background, French peasants
& soldiers working in the field – La Contemporaine

“l am surprised at the English the French can …

“l
am surprised at the English the French can speak. We can talk to them in our
language, and they understand us. The other day a group of kids stood outside
singin : ‘Hail, Hail, the Gang’ s All Here’.  Most of the French people smoke a great deal. Little boys six and seven years old ask us for
cigarettes; they inhale as well as anybody too!

The
country here is very beautiful, makes me think some of Wisconsin.”

Summer 1918, American soldier in France –

Brodhead’s Tribute to Her Men of the Service,
1914-1918

– Photo: WW1, Meuse, France, American soldier fishing with French kids.

Thursday July 25 1918 : Vavincourt — abo…

Thursday July 25 1918 : Vavincourt
— about an hour ride from Bar-le
Duc.
Water pronounced absolute “defendu.” Beer holds sway – Not much to do except talk to a few of
the French ladies & buy beer.

American ambulance driver in Meuse, France – Diaries of Samuel Keplinger – Photo: WW1, France, Americans & French becoming “bons amis”.

“When the Americans fire a s…

“When the Americans fire a shot everybody sticks his
head over the gun pit to see if it hits the mark—if it does, we cheer, and if
it doesn’t, we swear— while the French all duck their heads when firing. Every
American soldier over here comes from “Missouri,” and they all have
to see everything that goes on, even though they could get “picked”
off by some “sniper” when they stick their heads up.”

1918, France, American soldier’s letter home –

The
Wisconsin Magazine Of History

– Photo: 1918, France, American snipers “sticking their heads up”. Library of Congress

                                              …

                                                   “We simply couldn’t stop devouring”

“There we had food: hot
rice that filled up your stomach, and we simply couldn’t stop devouring,
greedily, with full cups of boiling hot coffee, less for true hunger than for
the bestial delight of eating, to make up for those days of abject distress, to
feel ourselves stuffed full.”

WW1 French soldier’s memoir, from the beautiful “Wooden Crosses” – Photo: WW1, in Aisne, France, French soldiers’s meal in a trench. La Contemporaine.