Category: neverforgotten

                                  “And the gra…

                                  “And the graves of our dead dotted new fields in
France.”

‘March 6 1918 – General Pershing in town this morning. 3 trips to
Vacqueville
, brings in thirty-three French who had been gassed. At 4 p.m.
funeral is held for the Americans.’

Badonviller, Lorraine sector
American ambulance driver’s log – Record of S. S. U.
585
– Photo: March 1918, a cemetery in Lorraine, American and French
soldiers at a grave site of a fallen Rainbow Division comrade. Blamont Info.

‘January 23 1918 – Inspection of cars, q…

‘January 23 1918 – Inspection of cars, quarters and grounds.’

In the Meuse, France, American ambulance driver’s log –

Record
of S. S. U. 585
– Photo: January 1918, Eastern France, Inspection day. US Army Signal Corps

‘January 22 1918Dearest Dear: — Just a word to…

‘January 22 1918

Dearest
Dear: — Just a word to tell you how my world is turning
around. It is turning around very rapidly, as I have been doing spirals. Meaning you’re hung up in space some three thousand feet when you cut
down the motor and start. For a second, everything is silent as the silence of
night, when you’re walking towards a precipice. Then I tried to think of my
instructions — absolutely useless. I was thoroughly frightened and nearing the
precipice. I pulled the plane over and down and
made her spin lightly. And off she went, the clouds whirling by as in a cyclone
— a war of the gods and the wind roaring at me like a fog-horn and pulling on me
hard. Down, down towards the earth, as in a falling merry-go-round the plane
led me like a bolt, through space.

I remember thinking that
if the bus did smash, it was still a great adventure, ‘midst the wild,
invisible forces of the clouds, high up from other humans.

The
spiral was increasing in rapidity and the wind was roaring so loudly and the
plane whizzing me around so fastly and downwardy that I started to wonder
whether I was in a “vrille” or not.

I looked back inside the
machine again and recovered promptly, with another one thousand and one
prayers to something, someone, somewhere.

Enfin — I felt the
machine grip earth again, I felt as though I had just finished a heated debate
in the Senate, and won; had just finished a complicated trial for suicide, and
won; had just finished a desperate suit for a star in the Century, and won.’

American volunteer in France, initialy a truck/ambulance driver, in aviation training. He died in a training accident 2 days after this letter, January 24 1918. – A Poet of the Air

‘January 20 1918 – As you know, I lead a…

‘January 20 1918 – As you know, I lead a very strenuous life
and even Sundays are not free here… The soldiers are so
hungry for the sound of an American woman’s voice that it is pathetic. When I
travel I am constantly stopped by our men who beg me just to speak to them. On
one occasion I used a slang expression to one of them and he just slapped his
leg in delight, saying, “That’s the stuff—that’s what I like to
hear.”
it is so pathetic to me. One fellow asked one of our nurses if she would mind if he read his mother’s
letter to her.

Really, a great deal is done to
fill this need both by the Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A., but they don’t begin
yet to touch it. It is such a colossal task.’

Elizabeth Ashe,
American Red Cross nurse in France – Intimate Letters from France During
America’s First Year of War
– Photo: 1918, YMCA postcard, American Women (Red
Cross/YMCA workers) & American soldiers.

                                              …

                                                                Sleeping quarters!

‘January 9 1918 – Our
cantonment is usually some dilapidated barn or house. At present I sleep in my
car and find it much more comfortable because the cantonments’ rats and fleas
are too much for me. But now, these things are minor details and should not be
brought up.’

American ambulance driver, Willard Taylor’s letter – Photo: Sleeping quarters in an Ambulance Ford – from the awesome site

Henry Howard Houston II in a Time of War”

                         “Now …

                   
    

“Now I know why they
call us the A.E.F. It means ‘Ass End First!”


Winter 1917-1918 in France, was one of the coldest in living
memory. American soldiers faced subzero temperatures without adequate supplies
of blankets, gloves, or overcoats. Some of them had no shoes that would fit and
were marching through the snow and ice with rags wrapped round their
feet. Then on Christmas Day, in a
heavy snowstorm, orders came to march to the area south of Langres.
This long march was part of the training and despite the blizzard, for 3 days the
division marched over ice covered roads. Chilled to the bone, the Rainbow Division made that
memorable march, and through it, never lost its spirit. It was the Unbeatable
Spirit of the Rainbow Division.

History of the A.E.F.
The American Promise, Volume C: A History of the United States – Photo: December 25 1917, photo of this famous march, the"Valley Forge Hike"

‘I am in Paris – I won…

‘I am
in Paris – I won’t mar my Xmas letter by writing of gloomy things,
so it must be brief as nothing is very cheerful at present, although the
Germans seem to be checked in Italy. Our bureau may extend its activities to
Rome, in which case I will probably be sent there. My work is intensely
interesting. We have at present about 600 children under our direct
care whom we house, feed and clothe, besides those under the care of the
doctors and nurses in about ten dispensaries. We open a big welfare center in
Paris January 1st with the Rockefeller Institute people, who are launching a
big tuberculosis campaign.’

December 1917, American Red Cross lady’s letter home. Intimate Letters From France – Photo: 1917, France, Red Cross worker with 2 little refugees under her care. Library of Congress

‘Among degradation, death and inhumanity the i…

Among degradation, death and
inhumanity the innocent play and affection of
a kitten or puppy transcend the darkness
.’

“Animals in the First World War” – American soldiers on a break in Chaumont. Two of them are
playing with the company’s kitten. Chaumont US Memory (Awesome French Facebook
Page)

“Today I made 22 pies, 300 doughnuts, 700 cups…

Today
I made 22 pies,
300 doughnuts, 700 cups of coffee. We have a French stove, the oven holds one
pie, and you can imagine the work, and only wood to burn!

November 1917, American
lady, Salvation Army Volunteer in France. American Women in World War I
Photo: American ladies, Salvation Army volunteers, baking pies near the front in
France. US Signal Corps Archives

‘No wireless class this afternoon and I put in…

No wireless class this afternoon and I put in the time in studying and fooling with the range—finder. Tomorrow is a legal holiday for all the soldiers
and we are going to have some Thanksgiving! There’s 130 lbs. of turkey for one
thing. The cooks and kitchen police will work all night tonight, then mail will be
given out, so there’s little more a fellow could ask for!’

November 1917, in Brittany, France – On the Western Front with the Rainbow Division: A World War I
Diary.
Photo: 1917, American army cooks in Brittany, cooking up a storm.