Category: snow

“You cannot imagine the beauty of the panorama…

“You cannot imagine the
beauty of the panorama. It was simply
wonderful. The Alsace mountains, the valleys, the woods, — all this, still covered with snow and a
large part bathed in sunlight, seemed to breathe of peace, while in the midst of this grandiose spectacle we little human
ants are firing cannon and rifles, and making fairly bristle with barbed wire
these quiet forests.”

WW1 – A Soldier Unafraid: Letters From the Trenches on the
Alsatian Front
– Photo: WW1, Alsace, French Alpin & photographer admiring the valley,

“Un blessé à Montauville — urgent!&ldquo…

“Un blessé à
Montauville — urgent!“
Calls the téléphoniste

There’s snow on the wind, there’s rain on the wind,
The cold’s like a rat at your bones;
You crank your car till your soul caves in,
But the engine only moans.”

WW1 American ambulance driver’s poetry – History of the
American Field Service in France
– Photo: WW1, Eastern France, American ambulance drivers trying to start their car in a snow storm.


                                            “Code name: Poilus d’Alaska”

When WW1 began, Californian Kenneth Marr,
and two Alaskan dog-handling Indians, went on a secret mission organized with two
French Army officers to secretly deliver 300 sled dogs from Alaska to France. The
dog sled teams nicknamed “Poilus d’Alaska” were trained to evacuate wounded
French Chasseurs Alpins from the snow covered Vosges
on the Swiss end of the Western Front. Once he delivered the dogs, Marr
stayed in France to join the American Field Service as an ambulance driver. As many ambulance drivers did, he then enlisted in the Lafayette
Escadrille as a pilot in 1917.
His fellow airmen nicknamed him “Si”
because of his friendship with the two Alaskan tribesmen, sometimes known as
Siwash Indians.

First to Fly:
The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille
– Read
more about this great story here and here – Photo: WW1, Vosges, France, Chasseur
Alpins and his “Poilus d’Alaska” dashing through the snow. La contemporaine. Bibliothèque, archives, musée des mondes contemporains

‘Now that the sky has cleared of snow the whit…

‘Now that the sky has cleared of
snow the white streets reflect a brightness, we see
the women
everywhere, driving busses and taxis and acting as street-car
conductors One stumbles wearily from house to house with a
mail bag slung over her shoulders
, as the delivery of letters is very heavy
tonight, and late because of the storm. WOMEN are everywhere, some, going
to midnight duty for a special shift of work, carry their babies in their arms,
little heads peeping from under the mothers’ black shawls. They all look very
brave, but their faces are white and very tired. God cherish these women of

The Lady’s Home Journal, Volume 34 – Photo: WW1 – Paris, women at work on a roof – Excelcior – Here, awesome French slideshow of autochromes showing these ‘wonder women’ at work during WW1.

“Long convoys stretch endlessly on the road li…

convoys stretch endlessly on the road like giant caterpillars. It snowed
this morning and the valley is sure pretty. But the aggravation
this weather causes in the trench is the only thing we can think of.”

Translated for this blog from the French book « Avec
les territoriaux en 1914-1918: la vie quotidienne des Poilus sur le front des Vosges 
– Photo WW1, Marne, “an endless convoy”. Archives de la Marne

“On a journey to bring in wounded her car beca…

a journey to bring in wounded her car became
stuck on the high part of the road where the going was very bad and snow
had piled up. So having nothing else to use, she took off her petticoat and
put it under the wheel, which was then able to get a grip of the road, and she triumphantly finished her journey and
brought the blessé safely to Hospital.”

War Girls: The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in the First
World War

Illustration : WW1 VAD Convoy – a car skidding in the snow on a mountain – by British
lady, Olive Mudie-Cooke, official war artist & ambulance driver.


                                                           Comfort Zone

WW1, near Gerardmer, Vosges Mountains, France – “The ambulance alpine is in charge of evacuating the wounded
through treacherous terrains, especially in winter. It is also a place where tired soldiers and dispatchers can drop in to rest after a long run”

WW1 French surgeon Journal
de medecine et de chirurgie pratiques

– Photo: WW1 Gerardmer “Poste de Reconfort”. In 1915 & 1918, the American ambulance drivers used to take their breaks there. See the ECPAD’s awesome slide show.

“March 2 1918 –  Very cold. — Abou…

“March 2 1918 –  Very cold. — About 3 in. of snow. Hard time keeping
fire going. Wood wet.”

American ambulance driver in Argonne, Verdun sectorThe diaries of Samuel M. Keplinger – Illustration: “Cold Nights Coming on” by  A.E.F. captain and  awesome artist Walter Jack Duncan. See more @The Smithonian

“We have worked and sweated in rain, mud, and …

“We have worked and sweated in rain, mud, and snow — at times
conditions have been very severe and at others we have practically loafed and
enjoyed ourselves. At present we are behind the American lines and the rumble
of guns is constantly in the air. Americans are everywhere — Eugineers, Doughboys,
and Marines, drilling and toiling, bringing closer the days of peace when we
shall all return home.”

February 1918, American Marine’s letter in Gondrecourt, Meuse, FranceDear
Folks at Home
– Photo: February or March 1918, Meuse, France, American soldiers in the snow and in great spirit! Archives du Ministère
de la Culture – France

“I don’t envy these observers suspended in a s…

“I don’t envy these observers suspended in a small wicker backet
that gusty winds swing between earth and sky for hours and hours”

WW1 French soldier’s diary – Translated from the French “Journal de marche d’un artilleur de
campagne / Fernand Laponce”
– Photo: WW1 Alsace mountains, France – French soldiers manning a 
balloon in wind and snow… @Bibliothèque de
documentation internationale contemporaine