Category: tuesdaythoughts

“There is no armistice for Charley or for any …

“There is no armistice for Charley or for any of the others in that ward. One of the boys began to sob. I went and talked soothingly to him, but what could I
say, knowing he would die before night? Well, it’s
over. I have to keep telling myself,
it’s over, it’s over, it’s over. But there is still that letter to write to
Charley’s mother. Can’t seem to put myself together.”

November 1918, after the armistice, American
nurse in France “I saw them die” – Photo: 1918, France, American nurse in her room – Schlesinger library – Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University.

Note: “Charley” was a patient who had just died.

‘November 13 1918 – I have been so busy …

‘November 13 1918 – I have been so busy celebrating that I
haven’t had time to write for a while. I suppose everyone is happy in the
States but I’m sure they can’t celebrate like they do here. They say it will
last for 8 days! But I don’t see how they can keep it up that long. I have been
downtown the last two nights and never had so much fun or laughed so much in my
life!

But oh, how anxious we are to start home! Of course we don’t
know a thing about it yet. I am sure counting on being back by early spring.

I can dream of home tonight.’

American ambulance driver in France – Loren Elliot’s letters
– Ambulance Cie 347, 87th Division – Photo: November 1918, celebrating
the armistice in France. US National Archives

“I have never seen a happier lot of old people…

“I have never seen a happier lot of
old people in my life than the French civilians whom we liberated after four
years of captivity. Our P. C. was in what had once been a village inn. The owner
was old and little and lively and pious. She gave us a warm reception when she
heard that I belonged to the Old Church.“I have been doing most of the preaching
to the people around here the last four years – I tell these people that God
sent the German Devils amongst them because of their sins. I preach so much
that they have given me a nickname. They call me “Madame Morale”. And I preach to
the Germans, too. I tell them they will all be in Hell if they do not mend
their ways.”

November 1918, Father Duffy, Army chaplain
serving with the 42nd Division (Rainbow Division) in
Brieulles-sur-Bar & Authe, Meuse Argonne, France. Father
Duffy’s Story: A Tale of Humor and Heroism

Photo: iconic photo taken November 6 1918, in
Brieulles-sur-Bar, showing Mr.
and Mrs. Baloux, who were prisoners for four years thanking two
American soldiers; left to right: Philip Tanger, of the 77th
Division, and Allen Floyd, of the 42nd Division. This famous scene was also
captured on film! See the YouTube video (at the very end of the video)

“Our boys are still advancing…

“Our boys are still advancing having met slight resistance. Apremont is
so far behind the lines now that even the big guns sound far off. Many
prisoners are passing down the road. About 3000 were assembled in the
field near the Chateau. Very young! Some look worn and very exhausted. All seem
to be very thankful and satisfied with their present lot.”

American ambulance driver in the Meuse Argonne sector, France – Grant R. Willard, American Volunteer – Photo: November 1918, smiling German prisoners, some of them very young, in Meuse Argonne sector, France. Ministere de la Culture, France.

Note: November 6
1918: On the Western Front, Germany is now retreating as French
and American troops cross the Meuse and move to take Sedan – That same day,
Arthur B Eddy, another American ambulance driver wrote in his diary “The huns are
retreating all along the lines so we’ll soon clear French territory. Our
General predicts the German capitulation in 8 days”

“They were a motley crew; every type was repre…

“They
were a motley crew; every type was represented—the gunman and the gangster, the
student and the clerk, the laborer and the loafer, the daily plodder, the
lawyer. From the variety of languages spoken one might have imagined himself at
the Tower of Babel. These divers types, accustomed to every condition of life,
knowing for the most part no master, were to bow down before the military God
and emerge from the melting pot of training, an
amalgamated mass of men of whom America might well be proud.”

History
of the Seventy Seventh Division, August 25th, 1917, November 11th, 1918
– Photo
: World War I in Ohio

“He fell in October 1918, on…

“He fell in October
1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the
army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the
Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as
though sleeping.”

All
Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria
Remarque
‘s beautiful novel & later a film, describing the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental
stress during the war – Photo: 1918, France, a German soldier, “as though
sleeping”
La Contemporaine

                                              …

                                                     

“It all looked so quiet and
peaceful”

‘October 30 1918 – We’re having the prettiest weather, real October weather,
and a white frost every night. Yesterday we
rode out to the edge of town on a car, then walked out into the country. First
time we had been out in the country since we were here. We were out where we could look down in the prettiest
valley
I ever saw. It is a good farming country and everything is pretty and green yet except a few leaves
are falling. And so many peaceful looking little homes and
meadows with sheep in them and people working in the
fields gathering in their crops and sowing wheat. It all looked so
quiet and peaceful that you couldn’t think that there
could be a war going on.’

American ambulance driver serving at Base Hospital # 28 in Limoges, and visiting the Limousin/Creuse in France – Letter of Lauren Elliott’s Letter, Amb Company 347 – 312th Sanitary Train – Photo: October 1918, American ambulance drivers touring the countryside in France.

“Was that not a weird, strange game of hide an…

“Was that not a weird, strange game of hide
and seek that was being played? It gave me the creeps, that idea of
battling with an enemy you could not see!”

Photo: 1918, in the Meuse, France, American snipers wearing sniper suits. Erik
Villard
 
Digital Military Historian for the US Army

Note: The sniper suits, used by both Americans and Germans, were made of burlap, resembling in appearance
the teddy-bear pajamas
which little children wear. They were colored to match
the terrain, either painted to resemble rocks or fitted with a grasslike
covering. An adjunct to this suit was the cloth
cover for the sniper’s rifle.

WW1, France,
Harry
Lauder
, entertainer at the front & America’s Munitions
1917-1918

“The general situation looks better every day …

“The general situation
looks better every day – Something real big is bound to happen soon. We’ve got
‘em, Mother.  Without a doubt we’ve got ‘em!
They are still
scrapping up here like demons and it may take another year to completely round
them up and we will have to pay a price for them but it’s worth it. So just
hang on tight, little mother, while we take this last bump in high speed. We
are going right through to the Rhine anyway, and maybe further but I
don’t think that will be necessary.

With a heart full of love”

October 1918, France, Grant Willard, American ambulance driver’s sweet letter to his mom – Photo:  WW1, Grant
R. Willard & the men of his Ambulance section in France – Text & photo: Grant
R. Willard, American Volunteer

‘At the moment it is more beautiful than words…

‘At the moment it is more beautiful than
words can say. With the light of the moon upon them, the walls of the ruins are
like obelisks in some garden of the gods. Bats are flitting up and down above
the road and an owl is calling. All the place shows up brightly in the moonlight. It was once
the Place, the central square, the heart and marketplace of a community. Now it
is like a cemetery or place of death.’

WW1 American
ambulance driver on the western front – Harper’s
Magazine, Volume 134
– Photo: WW1, a soldier in the night gazes at the ruins in Ypres, Belgium.