Category: fridayflashback

“June 22 1918 – A French officer came up with …

“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,
The Compensations of War – Photo: 1918, France, American soldiers
being decorated with the Croix de Guerre.

“Although Khaki was always terrified of the sh…

“Although Khaki was always terrified of the shells, he would
never let me go to work alone – One day I was driving a load of badly wounded.
So khaki licked their hands and lay down beside them: he loved them so much,
all these brave soldiers, and they loved him and stretched out their hands and
patted him.”

 WW1 American ambulance driver & his doggy in France – Khaki
the Dog story, here – Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural

“A French observation balloon looked for all t…

“A French observation balloon looked
for all the world like a
gigantic pig without legs, peering at

The Saturday Evening Post, 1918 – Photo: June 15 1918, A French ballon flying over Issy-Les-Moulineaux, near Paris, France.


                                                                 And I said a little prayer

Bill said: “as
soon as you pass the bridge go like the devil. It’s
hell on that road they’re shelling hell out of it.”
— Comforting words these and
my spirits rose accordingly. I hurriedly cranked my car saying a little
prayer that I would have the guts to go thru with it. As we left the poste we
could see them breaking on both sides of the bridge, sending up big clouds of
dust & smoke. I saw them but somehow
they didn’t seem to register on my brain. I saw them &
that was all. The road surely was being shelled. Shell holes,
branches & wires littered the road. Despite this, from the time I
said my prayer,
I had

the most peculiar feeling almost
of abstraction, the shells didn’t worry me in the least because something
inside me kept saying “you’re safe” “they won’t hit you” “don’t be afraid”. As
we dashed along the road, it seemed that I was
merely driving along a country road at home. A most peculiar feeling and I can’t
express just exactly what it was…

Friday, June 14 1918, near the front in Northern France, American ambulance driver’s diary – The Compensations of War. Photo: 1918, France, American ambulance dashing along the road.

“Hélène was very easy-going, a real darling….


was very easy-going, a real darling. It was not always possible to feed her frogs, rats, or
snakes, but she would happily accept fresh fish and canned sardines. She was just happy… Only dogs could get on her nerves!”

Photo: June 15 1918, The Ace
pilot Lieutenant René Fonck and his pet cigogne, Hélène, in the train.
Hélène was the mascot of the Cigognes squadron — “The Storks squadrons”. ECPAD, France – Text: 

(In French)


                                                                 “In a terrible rut”

“Am on the rocky road to ruin. I can’t
think — can’t use my brain. In other words I am dying — if not dead —
from the neck up. Lazyiness is slowly but surely becoming dominant. I just want to sleep. Ye Gods, how I wish
we would strike an active sector! Am going to make one last effort to get out
of this terrible rut. Walk, & walk; Write & write; Read editorials,
good articles and stock news.”

May 1918, American ambulance driver in Rambluzin, Argonne sector, France – Diaries
of Samuel Keplinger
– Illustration: 1918, a pensive soldier from the beautiful book “Somewhere in France”

“The French poilu and the American soldier are…

“The French poilu and the American
soldier are no longer foreigners to each others. They laugh
at the same things. They have built their friendship upon a foundation
of smiles and laughs. In this war, a laugh is as good as a

(Laughter as a factor in winning wars)

June 1918, Scribner’s Magazine, Volume 64 –– Photo: American & French

soldiers &
BFF. “Doughboys,
the Great War, and the Remaking of America”

“June 1 1918 –  To Vill…

“June 1 1918 –  To Villers-Cotterets, where Division is located.
Section ordered to Park cars in square in front of château. Most of cars sent
out at once. Many of them to Dampleux, where poste is established. Boches very
near Villers Cotterets
. Most of blessés are evacuated to Betz. Cars busy all
day and far into night. Ready for “get away.” No civilians left in town. Situation critical”

Chateau-Thierry sector where things start heating-up – American ambulance driver log –

of S. S. U. 585

– Photo: 1918, somewhere near the front, American ambulances “all sent at once”. La Contemporaine, France.

                                  “DO NOT GO O…

                                  “DO NOT GO OUT THERE… WITHOUT YOUR MASK

course, we always wore a helmet and carried our gas mask! When
in a forward position no sensible man ever permits himself to be separated from
his mask. We made it a practice not to go even from one room of the house to
another without taking our masks along and placing them in a convenient position where they could be slipped on at a
moment’s notice.”

June 1918, American doctor in France – The Boston Medical
and Surgical Journal
– Photo: famous photo taken 100 years ago today, in Saint Sauflieu, Somme, France.

“Friday May 17 1918  &nda…

“Friday May 17 1918 

– There’s a place to swim here.
Also ample opportunity for washing!”

American ambulance driver’s diary en repos in Epense, Marne, France – photo: May 17 1918, Epense, sweet pic of ambulance drivers going for a swim in a US White truck. Note the Ford ambulance parked in the courtyard. Text & Photo:
Diaries of Samuel Keplinger