Category: neverforgotten

“It was a good laughter when we were resting b…

“It was a good laughter when we were resting between two
murderous marches; it was a good laughter for a find of a handful of straw, or
a hot meal; it was a good laughter for one night’s respite; good laughter for a
dug-out that was deep and solid, a winged piece of fun, a stave of a song.”

French soldier’s memoir “Les Croix de Bois” – Photo: WW1, Ardennes sector, France French
soldiers sharing a hot meal in the trench – La Contemporaine

“The craving for hot chocolate and cigarettes …

“The craving for hot chocolate and
cigarettes is extraordinary and we get a good deal of both – from the Red Cross, YMCA
& Salvation Army – In
fact we have cocoa every morning for breakfast!”

Fall
1918, American ambulance driver in the Meuse Argonne Sector, France – With the Ambulance
Service in France: The Wartime
Letters of William
Gorham Rice,Jr., S.S.U. 166 – Image: 1918, at the front, France, YMCA lady serving hot
Chocolate to American soldiers.

                                              …

                                                       10-24-18 – At home in a shell hole

‘They told us to dig ourselves in for there was gone to be a
hard fight of it – We carried tin
roofing down form some old building in the town. we got it fixed up just about
right when we had to leave it and go back about 5 kilometers to guard some shells
and didn’t send no rations along with us. We got back at dark and put up our
pup tent and laid down and talk things over. Mind we didn’t have anything to
eat since morning and no supper. Went to bed hungry.’

October 1918,
American soldier in the Meuse Argonne sector, France – Photo & text: Diary of William A Livergood. A
tale of a soldier who served in the World War in France.

                                     The walki…

                                     The walking patients were started on their long journey

‘October 8 1918 – The rescue of the Lost Batallion was followed by a complete dispersion of the Germans and
left an immense amount of work for the ambulance men. What
a spectre met our eyes! Scores of dead and wounded lay stretched out in the
swampy forest, indicating the misery they endured in the Annex of Hell. The scene could never be obliterated from
memory. No masterful orator could describe that
spectacle; no painter of ancient or modern times could depict its horrors. The weirdest
imagination could never set forth the suffering, misery, and courage of the
Beleaguered Battalion.

Far into the evening we
worked, dressing wounds, carrying litters, and loading ambulances. The
seriously wounded were sent by direct route in machines, while the walking
patients, because of the shortage of ambulances, were started on their long
journey, assisted by the ambulance men along the road. All were taxed to the
limit of their strength.’

The
Ambulance men’s work, following the rescue of the Lost Battalion in the Argonne
Forest, Meuse, France
307 at home and in France – Photo: October 1918, Argonne Forest, wounded American soldiers aided by medics returning on foot.

Note: superb & short PBS video:  ‘The Great War’ – The Lost
Battalion
– and the new
beautiful book about this epic story “Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War’s Lost
Battalion”

“Almost expressionless, silent, they resign th…

“Almost expressionless, silent, they resign
themselves to the attendants as if these men are the deaf ministers of some
inexorable power.”

WW1, France, American ambulance writing about the wounded he sees and rescues on the battlefield  – A volunteer poilu – Photo: famous and poignant photo taken September 26 1918, in Varennes-en-Argonne, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. This poor soldier of 

the 110th Infantry (10th Pa.)

has just been wounded,
and is receiving first-aid treatment from a comrade.

                                     “Even the…

                                     “Even the little children seemed to
realize what it meant”

“September 12 1918  – We advanced almost steadily and we were
within a couple of kilometers of
Thiaucourt.

Great craters caused by the enemy’s mines were being filled in.
Thousands of shovels were at work. Culverts
were being rebuilt. Trenches were filled in or
bridged over. And even at this early date a passable road was beginning to take
shape.
It was a gigantic task, accomplished in no
time. As the workmen and American engineers moved
forward they left a road behind them where nothing had existed before and did their job with 100% efficiency, and they did it with a smile.

We crawled along and finally gained the other
side of No Man’s Land. Our ambulances were the first motor transportation to cross this road,
finally pulling into Thiaucourt at about 4 o’clock.

The streets were lined with the rejoicing inhabitants,
as their four years of bondage
over French Lorraine
was restored. They wrung our hands with tears streaming down their cheeks, even the little children seemed to
realize what it meant.”

During the St Mihiel Drive, American surgeon and ambulances following the American troops who liberated
the city of Thiaucourt in Lorraine. Wade in Sanitary! –  Photo: September 1918, St Mihiel sector, American automobile driver with little French children whose city has just been liberated. La Contemporaine

Note: Capturing Thiaucourt was a big deal because of its railroad capabilities and it being the main
supply route of the German forces in to the St Mihiel salient.
Today, this part of France remembers with this article
and photos
of the Americans liberating Thiaucourt, published in the Republicain Lorrain.

It fills our brain with sorrow, It fills our …

It fills our brain with sorrow,
It fills our heart with pain—

But, above the wreck and the ruin,
Tall and straight as a lance
The tower is looming proudly—

It stands erect in its Glory,
Shattered and tattered and torn,

To tell to the World the story,
To tell to the still Unborn,
The Tale of the Hate of the Vandal—

He who in wilful envy,
He who in vulgar spite,
Is robbing the world of its treasures

He asks for a place “In the Light”,
Drive him back to the Darkness—

The Darkness from whence he came
There to nourish his Malice,
To wallow there in his Shame.“

—Fontenoy, Aisne, 1918, "American soldier’s verse

                     ‘The spire of the cathedr…

                     ‘The
spire of the cathedral, a wonderful thing of delicate lines and love’

‘Sometimes
we would cross the river and look back at the cathedral, high and beautiful
above the huddle of old, old houses on the quayside, with a faint light on its
pinnacle and buttresses and immense blackness beyond them.

“Those
builders of France loved their work,” said Palmer. “There was always war about
the walls of this cathedral, but they went on with it, stone by stone, without
hurry.”

We
stood there in a long silence, many times, and out of those little streets
below the cathedral of Amiens came the spirit of history to teach us the
nobility and the brutality of men, and their incurable folly, and their
patience with tyranny.

“When is it all going to end, Palmer, old man?”

“The war, or the folly of men?”

“The war. This cursed war. This bloody war.”

“Something will
break one day, on our side or the other. Those who hold out longest and have
the best reserves of man-power.”’

That day came
indeed on August 8 1918, a
black day of the German Army’, when for the first time, the coalition of
Allied nations fought under one strategic command, using tanks and air power to
push forward.

Text: 1918, British
reporter Philip Gibbs in Amiens – Now It Can Be Told – Photo: Amiens, a view of the
Cathedral from the river.

Amiens100
See all the international commemoration events in France @The United States WW1
Centennial Commission,
also on Facebook & Twitter

‘July 5th 1918 – We are told that a numb…

‘July 5th 1918 – We are told that a number of Frenchmen in Faverolles crawled
out beyond the wire the night of the 3rd, returning 20min later. When the morning of the Fourth
dawned No Man’s Land was dotted with small American flags!’

American ambulance driver in Boursonne, Aisne, France
The Compensations of War – Photo: 1918, France, French soldiers carrying
American flags

July 4th 1918, Paris – It was a grand da…

July 4th 1918, Paris – It was a grand day, full
of heart-warming feelings. Up near the grand stand the crowd was condensed into
one huge nosegay of black bobbing heads. On the
grandstand famous personages made their appearance, ambassadors and ministers,
the great of earth. They were greeted with cheers, but not with a real ovation.
They were not the stars in this cast! Who cares for diplomats, phrase-makers,
phrase-breakers, swivel-chair-nobles when the real heroes, the French and the American poilus, the saviors of Paris, pass by? Certainly
not the Parisians.

And so they then turned their
gaze, thousands on thousands of brown Gallic eyes upon the exact point
down the street, where the American soldiers would
arrive. And suddenly a shout – not exactly a shout; rather, a big happy
hurrah—burst simultaneously from thousands of grateful happy hearts.

Here they come! Les Américains! Here they come! Strong emotion swept
the crowd like a breeze: Vive I’Amérique! Vive les Américains! And all
that excited sea of souls laughed and cried and shouted and sobbed and rocked
in glad exultation over these fine, big, clean garçons who had fought so
splendidly, so desperately, so victoriously beside their own brave poilus.

The Saturday Evening Post, Vol 191 – Photos: Independence Day 1918
in Paris. La Contemporaine. More photos of this beautiful day @ Gallica