all night last night. The greatest temptation I ever had was to sneak off in
the forests of Villers & go to sleep. It is an absolute fact that I fell
asleep 8 or more times on the road. I wake up with a start — just in time to
dodge a truck! My lids can not be held open. Water, whiskey, coffee nor
anything will not keep me awake.
still running. Others going thru same thing.”
August 1918, American ambulance driver in the Aisne sector, France – Diaries of Samuel Keplinger – Photo: 1918, France, American ambulance driver taking a nap.
‘June 12 1918 – Worked on car all day. Pretty tired after work. Fine
weather continues. Wonderful sunsets. Stays light until 10 P.M.’
In Rambluzin, Meuse, American ambulance driver’s diary – Diaries of Samuel Keplinger –– Photo: France, WW1 American ambulance driver working on his ambulance in the sunset.
“April 1-2 1918. Still working on cars. Have two posts Mery and Montieres. Division is relieved.
Still hold in reserve. More sleep.”
American ambulance driver’s diary in the Somme during the German offensive. Special
Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University – Photo: WW1 American ambulance drivers working on an ambulance (not a Ford!) and a poilu qui regarde.
Just a mass
of stone and debris now.
1918 – All day all night on duty along holding
down 3 posts under terrible road fire. Fell asleep on trip to Rollot. Fell on
face. Eye slightly blackened. Still getting my wounded to Ressons. Just a mass
of stone and debris now. On duty at Mortemer 155 battery across street from our post. Shake
building. All windows out. Door off. Go to sleep on floor. 3 hours sleep. New
division and section come to relieve us.
American ambulance driver’s diary in the Somme region (in the thick of the fight) – Photo: 1A mass of stone and debris. Photo and text:
Special Collections Department, Stewart Library, Weber State University
‘February 26 1918 – On duty at Beauchamp
evacuation hospital again. Rolled for sixteen
consecutive hours and some tired.’
American ambulance driver’s diary in Clermont-en-Argonne – Diaries of Samuel M Keplinger – Photo: 1918, a tired American ambulance driver is taking a nap at the poste de secours. Collection JMPicquard – Images de 14-18
‘October 25 1917 – Back at camp again after 52 hours of service at postes,
with probably not more than 12 or 14 hours of sleep, snatched at odd intervals,
during the whole attack. For the first 24 hours the whole Section was
“rolling”; then the cars which were on duty the night before the attack
were sent back to camp, and as they came up again the rest were relieved. Just got up this evening after sleeping all afternoon, and in fairly
American ambulance driver serving in the Battle of La
Malmaison sector, Aisne region, France – History of the American Field Service in France – Photos:
WW1 American ambulance drivers resting on cots. Library of Congress
‘September 16 1917
14 camions [supply trucks]
were called at 4:15am so at 5am we pulled out for a 12 ½ hour trip. We
saw some real sights. At one place where we stopped we saw a big sign
painted in white over the front of a big factory with now only a
wall standing, bearing the words “Gott strafe England 1914-15”. This shows
how bitter the Germans are. We were on the road just 12 ½ hours today so when
we got home, I was some tired, believe me.’
American truck driver’s diary/letter in Aisnes – A daily
diary of the Great War – Library Muse Darmouth College Library – Photo:
September 1917 in the Aisne region, France, American supply trucks passing through Braine
on their way to Bucy-le-long (Michelin map) – BnF