Category: war

“Gillette Face”

“Some of the places here
are in tough shape from artillery and wanton destruction, but as Sherman said, "War is Hell.”

Outside of having a clean face,
which is compulsory, or rather the “Gillette Face”, we all have them,
but I won’t vouch for the rest of myself…”

WW1, American soldier in France, The Gillette Blade – Photo: 1918
or 1919, France, American ambulance drivers, snapping a “selfie” after their
morning shave, Weber State University

“November 10 1918 – We talked with many civilians and heard
of the boche treatment etc. We shook hands with one old lady who said we were
the first Americans she had seen and she beamed over with joy of their liberation
from the boche. On call this
evening. Beaucoup traffic. Getting more « guerre »
before it ends. We sure do, as the boche are shelling Mezières. The hospital
full of sick civilians has been struck and was burning.”

American ambulance driver in Mezières, Meuse Argonne, France – Arthur B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History –
Photo: WW1,  France, American ambulance
drivers talking with a French lady.

of Kentucky Archives

                                     November 7 1918, False Armistice and a Real Party!

‘When United
States press flashed word to its client papers in the US that an armistice was
signed November 7, 1918, homefolks in hundred of cities didn’t doubt the
report. When the premature news reached the states at 11.56am. factories, boats, and
railroad locomotives tied down their sirens and whistles. Workers poured out of
shops and offices closed for the day. From coast to coast, people came out on the street
to hold impromptu carnivals. The Secretary of state denied the armistice report
in Washington and newspapers began to print the denial late in the afternoon.

This had small
effect on dampening the public spirits, and persistent denials by government
officials didn’t quiet the celebrations until late evening.’


                                                       10-24-18 – At home in a shell hole

‘They told us to dig ourselves in for there was gone to be a
hard fight of it – We carried tin
roofing down form some old building in the town. we got it fixed up just about
right when we had to leave it and go back about 5 kilometers to guard some shells
and didn’t send no rations along with us. We got back at dark and put up our
pup tent and laid down and talk things over. Mind we didn’t have anything to
eat since morning and no supper. Went to bed hungry.’

October 1918,
American soldier in the Meuse Argonne sector, France – Photo & text: Diary of William A Livergood. A
tale of a soldier who served in the World War in France.

‘Awakened at 1:30am. and marched a
couple of kilometers to train. It was 2:30am when we arrived at railroad. At 3,
we boarded the train. Not bad at all. Room to lay out and sleep.

Started at 6:30! Imagine getting up at 1:30am fully dressed and
packed, to catch a 6:30 train! Slept from 6:30 till about 8… . Scenery

October 1918, American soldier leaving the Meurthe et Moselle sector, France for Hooglede Belgium
Who Won the War – Photo: 1918, France, American soldiers leaning out the
window of a train. The National WW1 Museum and Memorial

“October 18-20 1918 – Still bad weather so I hugged the
stove they put at the post. Evacutation to ligineres today.  Austria threatens to surrender and Germany
wants to parlez longer. The Belgians, French and English have taken Zeebrugge and have reached the Holland border.”

American ambulance driver in the Argonne sector – Google map of his route – Arthur B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History
Photo: October 1918, a thawing out party in the Argonne forest, France – The National
WW1 Museum and Memorial

                                                                     C’est fini! Almost…

14 1918 – Today we heard the great news of the beginning of the end of war. For
the past week rumors have been spread around concerning peace. Yesterday
morning, on one of my trips I passed a lieut who hollered to me “C’est la fin
de la guerre! The Boche haven’t fired a shot since midnight!
” I took his words
for it and continued toward the front. Just after I passed Cheppy, one of Jerry’s
whistlers passed over my machine and lit the mud on the side… Well, anyway, it
spoiled my happy dream of an
armistice. But after reading today’s paper, I cannot help feeling that the war
has reached its last lap.’

ambulance driver’s diary, in the Meuse Argonne sector – Diary of Allison LePontois  Crile
Archive Center
– Photo: 1918, American soldier in France reading good news –   The National WW1 Museum and Memorial

The news for October 13-14
1918 – The Germans accept the Armistice
terms proposed by President Wilson. They also engage in a general retreat
along the Western Front in France stretching from the Northern sector to the Argonne Forest, and abandon positions along the Belgian
t, as the French, American, British
and Belgian armies steadily advance.

                                                             Good Morning!

WW1 Awesome American soldiers’ morning routine at camp.

“Wednesday October 2 1918 – “The news is marvelous –
Bulgarian has consented to a complete surrender – St Quentin and Cambrai have
been partly taken by the allies – Turkey’s fall is imminent. How can the
Germans hold on?”

Indeed, German military commander Hindenburg, could not have
agreed more! In his memoirs, he wrote about the Meuse-Argonne
offensive: “It was plain that this situation could not last. Our armies
were too weak and too tired. Moreover, the pressure which the American masses
were putting on our most sensitive point in the region of the Meuse was too

American ambulance driver’s diary in the Meuse Argonne
sector – Arthur B Eddy’s WW1 diary – Orleans County Department of History – Photo: 1918,  German prisoners in Argonne. Argonne 14-18

                                                         Struggling through the Argonne

“Every man who served in the regiment will have many pictures
like this in his mind – trucks, caisons, fourgons, and “slat
wagons”, struggling along through the mud and long, straggling lines of
engineer and pioneer infantry lads carrying German shell baskets full of rocks
and dumping them into the mud-holes.”

Note: in
the Meuse-Argonne sector, the roads across No Man’s Land were almost
impassable and ammunition, food & water supplies moved very slowly. Even the Ford ambulances experienced difficulty
in getting to the dressing stations.

Text & photo: early October 1918, Argonne, France History of the 113th Field
Artillery 30th Division

One of the very best books about the epic Meuse-Argonne offensive: To Conquer Hell: The
Meuse-Argonne, 1918 The Epic Battle That Ended the First World War