Category: snow

‘December 10 1918 – On wood cutting detail. Bu…

‘December 10 1918 – On wood cutting detail.
Buy 6 eggs. First I had in 4 months! Sure good. On guard duty tonight.’

American ambulance driver in Lissendorf,
– Diary of “Hap” Gruenberg, Ambulance Company 167,
attached to the 42nd (Rainbow) Division.
Photo: 1918,  American soldiers on “wood cutting detail”.

“Thusday November 14 1918 – Maybe moving to Ge…

November 14 1918 – Maybe moving to Germany. On loading detail as usual. Go to
church where Lul has our beds made in rooms – Cook bacon, spuds, and willy. Friends
come over and stay a while. Good fire in room. Will sleep good.”

American ambulance drive in
the Meuse sector, France – Diary of Happy  Gruenberg of
Ambulance Company 167,  serving with the Rainbow Division –Photo: 1918, American soldiers relaxing by the fireside. Illinois University Library


                                                           “A certain breathless horror”

“I have seen the wounds of France — the
entrails of Reims and the guts of Verdun, with their bare bones thrown naked
to the insulting skies; villages in dust and ashes—villages that lay so low
that they left no mark beneath the snow-swept landscape; walls that stood in
wrecked and awful silence; rivers flowed and skies gleamed, but the trees, the
land, the people were scarred and broken. Ditches darted hither and thither and
wire twisted, barbed and poled, cloistered in curious, illogical places. Graves
there were—everywhere and a certain breathless horror, broken by plodding
soldiers and fugitive peasants.”

After the WW1 armistice, US
Army Major J. E. Spingarn
writing from Germany where he was serving. Photo: 1918, exploring the snow-swept ruins of Reims, France. La Contemporaine

“With this first snow, gently covering the bar…

“With this first snow, gently covering the barns and sheds, woods and fields,
graves and crosses, along came winter… and silence and peace.”

1918, France
– D’une guerre mondiale à l’autre: (1918 – 1945) – Photo : WW1 – La Contemporaine

“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.