Category: tbt

’I could not stay back knowing you boys are up…

could not stay back knowing you boys are up here alone, with no one at all to
take care of you

September 1918 – ‘When the word came that the men were about to
move forward for the Saint Mihiel attack, Mrs. Fitzgerald decided to beat her way far beyond Toul, through to the battle line.

It took her five days to get there. It was well over a hundred
kilometres. She carried with her a hundred cartons of cigarettes, a big
boiler full of chocolate powder, a lot of tinned milk, sugar, and a little

the American soldiers on that road knew Mother Fitzgerald well. They remembered her kindness, her canteen, with its rows of canned peaches, its
cookies and candy, its chewing-gum and smokes — remembered her hearty:
“Go take what you want, and make your own change. The cash box is there on
the shelf before you. It’s your own money and your own home, dear — go

“That Damn Y A Record of Overseas

– Photo: September 20 1918,
Bouillonville, Meurthe et Moselle, France, Miss Fitzgerald, American YMCA
volunteer, serving hot chocolates to soldiers. Google map of her journey from her YMCA Hut in Andelot to Bouillonville, FranceThe National WWI Museum and Memorial

“September 13 1918 –  Streams of Yanks i…

“September 13 1918 –  Streams of Yanks in olive drabs, pouring into the
St. Mihiel salient, pressing close after the retreating Boche. Montsec, the
formidable fortified hill which fell into American hands in the course of the
first day of the assault, shows in the background. The column in the foreground
is an American machinegun company. In the background are the wagons of the Rainbow
Division. The scene is St. Baussant, which early in the first day of the
assault had been captured by Rainbow Division doughboys.”

With the Rainbow Division in France – Here, Google Map 

Missouri Digital Heritage

General Pershing’s diary: “Ligny-en-Barrois, F…

General Pershing’s diary: “Ligny-en-Barrois, Friday, September 13,
. The First Army attacked yesterday and the
reduction of St. Mihiel salient is complete. Our troops behaved splendidly. The Secretary of War visited two corps headquarters; returned to Ligny much delighted at our success. Pétain and I went to the
town of St. Mihiel today and were warmly greeted by the people. This is my
birthday and a very happy one.“

My Experiences In The World War – Vol. II

– Illustration: General Pershing entering St Mihiel and greeting
crowds of people in the square, Friday September 13 1918. Nartional Museum of American History.

‘September 13 1918 –  Arrived in Champag…

‘September 13
1918 –  Arrived in Champagne at 7am – Had
to find billets and act as interpreter – We chased around all day finding
rooms for ourselves and 20 officers – After settling, had supper and went to café.

Je bois trop champagne and bière. J’étais malade. [I drunk too much champagne and beer and got
sick.] Then went to bed.’

ambulance driver (speaking un peu French) near Epernay, in the Marne/Champagne sector – J. Reah Hollinger’
Diary – Franklin & Marshall College – 1918, France, Américains au


September 6, 1918  – Un…

September 6, 1918  – Unloading first American ambulances on the docks
at Bakharitza, Russia

“We are here living in our cars and we are told that we are
in for a long trip. There is a company of French cars alongside us. They just
came from the front. We have also some British troops.

The Bolsheviks are just ahead and blowing up all bridges to
stop us. We drew 6 days of ration in about 20 hours. Here the roads are the
worst roads in the world. The mosquitoes are awful they have me eaten alive.
The whole country here is tundra or swamps.”

Note: The Polar Bears, four Army units – the 339th Infantry Regiment, the 1st
Battalion of the 310th Engineers, the 337th Ambulance Co. and the 337th Field
Hospital of the U.S. Army’s 85th Division – fought in the Polar Bear Expedition
in 1918-19 against the Bolshevik Red Army to stop the spread of communism. They
fought under a midnight sun that only rose two hours a day, in minus 60 degree
temperatures, lacking supplies, clothing, food and medicines. Their ill-define mission
was so horrific that it became known as the acid test of “loyalty to the
county. When they war ended on Nov. 11, 1918, they remained on the arctic front and
fought until the spring of 1919.“

Photo, American soldier’s diary & note sources:

Polar Bear Expedition
Digital Collections


Heroic Story of the American WW1 Polar Bear Force in Arctic Russia

University of Michigan

‘I had broken my chain on the motorcycle and s…

‘I had broken my chain on the
motorcycle and stopped to repair it. Suddenly the anti aircraft guns broke
loose  – looking up I saw a German
aeroplane coming my way. Suddenly out of the clouds came a French plane but the
Boche got the best of it and it fell in flames to the ground less than a mile
from where I stood. But the German was crippled and kept coming lower and lower
and it looked as tho’ he was going to land right close to me. Suddenly another
plane this time an American attacked him and as he was nearly over me. The
machine gun bullets were falling pretty close. I lost no time getting in a
clump of trees. The Boche just barely cleared the top of a hill about 50 yards
from me and landed about a mile up the valley. The two German officers were
captured and I saw them that afternoon in Div Hdqts. A few days
later I saw the German plane in Nancy and bought a post card picture of it.’

WW1 American soldier in Lorraine, France –  Photo: September 6 1918, Nancy, Lorraine, France, French postcard showing the German plane mentioned in this story – Text and photo: Raymond Conard’s Military
Experience, 1916-1919

‘Thursday September 5 1918 – Busy evacua…

‘Thursday September 5 1918 – Busy evacuating beaucoup blessés
{many wounded soldiers} – Army advanced past Fismes – Got some fried eggs for
dinner and read until twelve!’

American ambulance driver in the Aisne sector, France –  J. Reah Hollinger’s diary – Franklin & Marshall College – Photo: WW1, France, American soldier reading outside his billet. La Contemporaine

“September 6 1918 – Very hot all day! To…

“September 6 1918 – Very
hot all day! Took in blesses
& malades. Beaucoup
avions over head. Dropped bombs very close. Kept us running for the trench.”

American ambulance driver in the Aisne sector, France – Diaries of Samuel Keplinger – Photo: WW1, “Hot day!” – Samuel’s ambulance section in the Aisne sector, France.

‘We are billeted in a tiny villa here, just ou…

‘We are billeted in a
tiny villa here, just outside the city and right on the beach. We draw rations
from the French Army and a red-haired Flemish lady cooks them for us.
Occasionally a train full of wounded comes in and we take them out to the
hospitals in the vicinity. Some German blessés arrived yesterday. Poor
devils! How melancholic they looked. An officer among them, though shot through
the shoulder, was still full of nerve and kept his head up; but the others were
too miserable.’

WW1 American ambulance
driver in Malo-les-Bains, Northern France, seaside resort on the east side of Dunkerque  – Photo: American ambulance driver at the beach. Text &
Photo: The Archive –  American Field

“August 30, 1918- The last week has been a qui…

“August 30, 1918- The last week has been a quite strenuous one.
We worked right along with another attack. The nights have been so wonderfully
clear with bright moonlight that the aviators have been fierce, bombing every
place most incessantly and shooting off their machine guns in all directions
along the roads and into the towns, all flying very low. Last Tuesday, they
bombed and bombed the town and landed three
bombs on the church where we were taking the wounded. One bomb hit right on the
building used for the reception place. There were many, many killed and wounded
in the town that one night. They also bombed along the line, so it was lust
like running a gauntlet keeping out of the way of the darn things. Every night
has been more or less the same thing and I am pretty well fed up with bombs.’

ambulance driver, in the thick of the Oise-Aisne battle (scroll down the page), France – Vaughan Horner letter – WW1
in Ohio
– Photo: WW1, France, American, French, and British ambulance taking the wounded to the church converted to a First Aid Station. La Contemporaine.