Category: thursdaythrowback

“Thursday October 24 1918 – Left for Ess…

“Thursday October 24 1918 – Left for Essey at 8.15am. Nothing
to do. Nous avons bu cet après-midi et ce soir. We had drinks this afternoon and evening.
No action from Jerry.”

American ambulance driver (who likes writing in French) leaving Bouillonville for Essey,
Meurthe et Moselle, France
Franklin & Marshall College – Photo: Fall 1918, somewhere in Eastern France, American ambulance driver enjoying a few drinks.

BRITISH FRONT – Oct 18, 1918 —To go into…

BRITISH FRONT – Oct 18, 1918 —To go into Lille this
morning was as good as anything that can come to a man who had seen four years
of war, and I am glad that I have lived to see the liberation of that city. I
saw the joy of thousands of people who, during all those four years, have
suffered tragic things, unforgettable outrages to their liberty and spirit.

It seems a miracle to them, now that it has come suddenly, and
they fill their streets like people in a dream. I saw the joy of vast crowds
and It was overwhelming. A lady broke through the ring, and, clasping both
hands, said: “I embrace you for the joy you have brought us.” She
kissed one on both cheeks, and it was the signal for general embraces.

The New York Times Current
History: Oct.-Dec., 1918 – Photos: October 1918,  the British army enters Lille, France
Library of Congres & La Contemporaine



“Why, you must be Americans!”

‘Thursday October 10, 1918 – The villages
of Escaufourt, St. Souplet and Vaux-Andigny are captured. When the
Americans entered these villages they were mistaken for British. They were
repeatedly kissed, the more emotional kissing the rifles and bayonets! It was
not until the villagers offered tea to the soldiers, when the latter produced sugar for
it, that they perceived who their deliverers were.

you must be Americans
!” and there was another outburst of enthusiasm!’

Photo: October 10 1918
during the Hundred Days Offensive – A French lady offers tea or coffee to
American soldiers, in Becquigny, a town they just captured. American
armies and battlefields in Europe
– Photo: US Signal Corps

See Google map

‘Many meals were improvised from the variety o…

‘Many meals were improvised from the variety of storages the Boche
had left. One storage was found by some of our men from which they obtained a
dinner of boiled potatoes, sausage, German bread, and plenty of beer. Men smoked fine cigars, but the cigarettes found
were poor.’

September-October 1918, during the Meuse Argonne Offensive: The story of “E” company, May-1917 to April-1919

Historic photo taken October 4 1918, in Consenvoye, Meuse. happy American
men of the Thirty-third Division, who drove the Germans out of Forges, in
a captured German dugout, enjoying the Germans’ beer, cigars, and bread! Official
A.E.F. Photograph – See Google map



September 13, 1918, St. Mihiel

In September 1918  in the St Mihiel drive, an immense dark cloud hung for days over the advancing troops.  As the French, German and
Americans nervously prepared for battle the cloud seemed eerie and
foreboding.  The Germans called it “the cloud of blood.”

WW1 Canadian illustrator,
Kerr Eby,

captured the scene: weary, bent men on the march under a massive, mysterious
and symbolic cloud, the human element being tiny and inconsequential.

After the war Eby wrote: “Maybe there is not one thing that can
prevent another war but I do know that if
everyone who has any feeling in the matter at all said what he felt in no
uncertain terms—and kept saying it—the sheer power of public opinion
would go far to make war impossible.

Sources: Hillstrom
Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College

“All along the road, I see lots of fruit trees…

“All along the road, I see lots of fruit trees, especially plum
trees loaded with juicy mirabelles*. As I march, every little while, I
stop to pick handfuls of these delicious treats to eat on the way.”

*Mirabelles: small plums growing mostly in Lorraine
and very popular in France. They are enjoyed fresh, and cooked in cakes, tarts,
, and of course, brandy! The picking season is from mid-August to late

 WW1 French soldier in Lorraine, France – Carnets de guerre d’Alexis Callies: (1914-1918)
– Photo : August 30 1918, Lorraine, France, a French ladies & a soldier
picking mirabelles.

‘Old, narrow streets carried …

‘Old, narrow streets carried us back into the Middle
Ages, a time when the streets would
have been packed with shrines and oaths and meaningful whistles and women
leaning seductively from high balconies.’

WW1, American ambulance driver in France & Italy, John Dos Passos “The Fourteenth Chronicle: Letters and Diaries of John Dos Passos“ – Photo: 1918, a village in Italy, filming an American Red Cross Ambulance on one of these narrow streets. Library of Congress

“Thursday August 22 1918 – We slept in S…

“Thursday August 22 1918 – We
slept in Sacy last night.  Early this morning we moved again to woods outside
Vic-sur-Aisne. I go for water to Vic in my car — go twice. A heavy job.
Came back & all fellows had gone swimming but had to stay in camp.

cannonading the last 2 days & nights. Moved again about 15 Kilometres north
to Morsain!”

 American ambulance driver’s diary in Aisne sector. See Google mapDiaries of Samuel Keplinger. Photo: 1918, France, American ambulance drivers, “in a Manet-inspired dejeuner sur l’herbe pose. From the awesome Black Cats Amherst Twitter  & book “The Black Cats of Amherst”

“When I go to this camp, I always salute Miss …

“When I go to this camp, I always salute Miss Given
Wilson the head of the canteen and a perfect dear. It is wonderful what she
has done here. She started with a small canteen. Now
there is an officers’ mess and a nice sitting room, large kitchens and bath
house equipped with hot showers, clothes sterilizers, etc. Really, these ladies have
changed the whole atmosphere of the camp, and are doing an enormous work.”

1918, American
aviator in Issoudun, Letters of an American Airman – Photo: 1918, Issoudun, An
American Aviator saluting Miss Givenwilson, chief of the canteen of Issoudun aviation
camp in France. Library of Congress.

‘I’ve got a Boche drinking-cup – I…

‘I’ve got a Boche drinking-cup – It holds more than a
half-pint, the Boche cup, and it’s always good for you to have a big cup,
because if you’ve got a cup that only just holds a half-pint, then you get your
half-pint of coffee or wine or holy water or what not and it’s got to be filled
right up, and then you spill it!’

French soldier’s memoir – Le Feu – Photo: Summer 1918, Apremont, French soldier in a shelter drinking “his coffee, or whine or holy water” – La Contemporaine