Category: in the mud

‘We unloaded in a river of mud and we did skid and balk. The…

‘We unloaded in a river of mud and we did skid and balk. The mud
came over our ankles in places and of course this had to be a time when I
didn’t have on my rubber boots. I was painted and plastered with mud when I got
home, but it soon dried out and it’s all off now. Well, we got out all right
and came home where we had confiture [jam], bread and hot coffee before going
to bed. I had been on the road 14 hours in rain, mud, cold and a joggle camion
[truck] but I really didn’t mind it at all.’

Fall
1917, American amblance/truck driver’s diary in Aisne region, France – Text and
photo: Rauner Special Collections Library

‘November 8 1917— Called up to evacuate some 20…

‘November 8 1917— Called up to evacuate some 20 wounded—all by the
same enormous ‘bombe de tranchée from a Minnenwerfer. Because we were able to
get the cars closer to the front
line poste instead of waiting for the blessés to be carried down the slippery
road, the evacuation was completed at 9:30 P.M. instead of the estimate of 2:00
A.M. We had to go back but had a terrible time finding the
poste, occasionally getting so mired
that we had to wait for a
star-shell to see the way. But we finally made it and slept on chicken wire bunks with the brancardiers.’

American ambulance driver’s diary
in the Marne region, France – Diary of Jerome Preston – Photo: 1917, Eastern France, American ambulance parked as close as possible to the poste, on a dry spot of ‘road’.

‘Oct. 8th 1917,  Mendinghem* – I would never have believed…

‘Oct. 8th 1917,  Mendinghem* – I would never have believed that weather
could be so atrocious. I have just returned to this forlorn camp after 24 hours
in Camiers. A howling wind and rain all the way, and here everything is wet,
sodden, and cold. At Proven just now we ran into a brigade of dripping troops
going to the Front, and we were held up for half an hour while the poor fellows
trudged past, followed by their kitchens and limbers. It was almost as bad
going down on Sunday. This certainly is not a propitious time to hit the
Germans again. ‘

*Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem were the popular names given by the troops to  casualty clearing stations set up for The
Battles of Ypres
during WW1.

American surgeon’s diary based in

Belgium and Northern
France

From a Surgeon’s Journal – Photo: October 1917, stuck muddy road in this area. BnF

‘It’s been raining continuously for several days and you have no…

‘It’s been
raining continuously for several days and you have no idea what mud is until you
have run a car through this mud and then tried to wash it off. I came off 24
hours’ duty at the hospital-church yesterday and then attempted to live up to
regulations by washing my car. I ran it down to a running brook. The car was
caked several inches thick, as it made several trips the night before, and
after two hours’ steady scrubbing I tossed aside my worn sponge and gave up the
job. Some of the mud did come off, but the brook water had left broad streaks,
effectively disguising the car, but not brightening it, and when I finally got
it parked, it looked worse than ever. The spigot shower got most of the mud off
my slicker and shoes, although it didn’t exactly dry them; but a quick change,
a cup of coffee, and all was well! And even the war was forgotten when a letter
came giving all the news from home!’

August 1917, near Verdun, American ambulance driver’s letter – History of the American Field Service in France – Photo: Summer 1917, near Verdun American ambulance drivers washing their ambulance. Une Effroyable Boucherie.

‘The last three days I have been running the wrecking car and…

‘The last three days I
have been running the wrecking car and since it has been raining for a couple of days it has been
some job. When it rains here the roads all disappear and two or three inches of
slimy mud take their place. Consequently lots of cars slide off into the
ditches and we have to haul them out.  We come in so tired from a fifteen to 

twenty hours’ struggle that we flop into bed without even taking our boots off!’

August
8 1917, near Verdun – American ambulance and truck driver’s letter – Camion
letters from American college men
– Photo: Deep in the mud – 1917,
Verdun