Category: french

‘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.

“In times of calm, aside from the work at the …

“In times of calm, aside from the
work at the poste de secours, our life is not the soldier’s life in the trench.
We eat, sleep, play cards, hunt wild boars in the nearby woods, and at night
pay visits to our sweet little girlfriends!”

WW1, France, French truck and ambulance driver
(and later officer) « Des bagnards au Gotha », mon journal
de 14-18 – From the fabulous site “Chtimiste” – Photo : WW1, Champagne, France, a content French driver.

                                         “I co…

                                         “I could not entirely agree
with Clemenceau’s view”

“Chaumont, Sunday, June 23, 1918 – M. Clemenceau came to Chaumont today for a conference on increase of
American manpower. I took Clemenceau to see some of our troops. As we motored along through the rolling country of the Vosges Mountains, Clemenceau
and I discussed the situation of the different Allied countries and their
relative standing after the war. He went to some length in his conjectures. He said, “Great Britain is finished,
and in my opinion she has
seen the zenith of her glory” I said “what makes you think so Mr. Prime
minister?” He replied, “First of all, the immense drain of the war will make it impossible for her to retain commercial
supremacy. Second, the experience of her Colonial troops in this war will make
their people more independent and she will lose her control over them.” I could
not entirely agree with Clemenceau’s view and said, “Mr. Prime Minister, I
think you are mistaken about the British and believe we shall see them fully
recover from the effects of the war.” Continuing, I said, “What about France’s
future?”  “Ah! she will once more be the leading power in Europe,” he replied. “But you do not mention
Germany,” said I. He replied, “The Germans are a great people, but Germany will
not regain her prestige and her influence for generations.”

He spoke of the other countries only
casually and made no predictions about them.”

General Pershing’s diary in Chaumont France – My Experiences In The World War – Photo: June 23 1918, Clemenceau and Pershing in Chaumont. See more photos @ Conference de Chaumont  &  100ans en Haute-Marne