Category: war

“Teaching the men to sing is now a part of the…

“Teaching the men to sing is now a part of
the daily routine in many camps. The song is a splendid ally;
it helps to keep the morale of the soldiers at top-notch fighting efficiency.”

1918,  US Army Officer – Songs Our Soldiers Sing, Sunset,
Volume 40
– Photo: 1918, American soldiers – Singing Practice

“Sunday evening, May 19 1918 —  At last …

“Sunday evening, May 19
1918 —  At last we are having a rest.
We are now in a billet and I slept last night with my shoes and sox and shirt
off and I’ve had a bath and washed my towels and underwear and I feel 500%
better!”

American embedded
journalist serving in the infantry with the Rainbow division, somewhere in Northeastern France – Somewhere Over There – Photo: WW1, Meuse region, France, American soldier doing his
laundry.

“Sunday May 19 1918 – We have been…

“Sunday May 19 1918 – We have been having a spell of really hot weather. A Protestant Chaplain held a service for us in English. In the afternoon we
played baseball then sat around under the trees and sang.”

In Champagne Ardenne region, France, American ambulance
driver’s diary – Diary of Jerome Preston. Photo: WW1, Northeast France,
American soldiers and ambulance drivers singing under the trees after mass. La
Contemporaine, France.

‘A very small dog grey and white, a little dir…

‘A very small dog grey and white, a little dirty and beaucoup
timide
…  This little dog who always rolls with us now, ‘talking’ to
everybody he meets on the way… At night he sleeps with us and we named him “Bes”
for “Asbestos*” –  Ahem… How
interesting… We just found out that he is a she!’

*Asbestos is a Greek word for eternal.

E.E. Cummings, WW1 American ambulance driver from the beautiful “Selected Letters of e. e. cummings” – Photo: WW1
American ambulance driver in his tent with the section’s doggy.

“How sad I am at times in my solitude and how …

“How
sad I am at times in my solitude and how I long to see you all again. I think so
much of you all. There are moments when I wish I had no family, that I were
alone in the world, because I feel that I would be less apprehensive. What
would I care for death whom we meet face to face every day? Then come moments when
my confidence returns, and I repeat the phrase which Marguerite sent me on a
scrap of paper— “nothing will happen to thee unless God wills it.” So
all will go well…”

WW1 French soldier’s memoir
A Soldier Unafraid – Letters From The Trenches On The Alsatian Front
Photo: May 19 1918, a French soldier’s moment of solitude on a bridge in Sewen, Alsace, France. La Contemporaine, France.

‘Mystery and loveliness are woven into t…

‘Mystery and loveliness are woven into tulle,
and tulle is the stuff that wedding veils are made of’ 

“Wartime brides were urged to be patriotic by dressing well to
boost morale. Descriptions of society bridalwear evoke a
sense of lavish indulgence, with luxurious brocades,
flowered silks, shining taffetas and featherlight chiffon. The predominant
fashion was to layer heavy fabrics with fine, and to combine
patterns with plain sheens. French knots were a popular
decoration, fabric flowers and covered buttons, although
on cheaper dresses these buttons were made of cardboard and liable to
collapse in a rain. If the wedding dress was plain,
a billowing fulllength veil more than compensated. Vogue rhapsodised that
‘mystery and loveliness are woven into tulle, and tulle is the
stuff that wedding veils are made of.’

Photo: Spring 1918 “A romantic dream of a dress” – Text & Photo: Great War
Fashion: Tales from the History Wardrobe

“Friday May 17 1918  &nda…


“Friday May 17 1918 

– There’s a place to swim here.
Also ample opportunity for washing!”

American ambulance driver’s diary en repos in Epense, Marne, France – photo: May 17 1918, Epense, sweet pic of ambulance drivers going for a swim in a US White truck. Note the Ford ambulance parked in the courtyard. Text & Photo:
Diaries of Samuel Keplinger

“It takes two to play a Wedding March – one pl…

“It takes two to play a Wedding March –
one plays “here comes the bride” the other “there goes the groom.”

With so much death, marriage was the counter-balance and a
belief in the future. A wedding could be
difficult to arrange for couples separated by the war. Hastily arranged ceremonies
during a leave from the front caused Dorothy Parker to quip : ‘It takes two to play a
Wedding March – one plays “here comes the bride” the other “there goes the
groom.”
Certainly weddings were often hurried affairs, and images of munitions
workers wearing their overalls, nurses their veiled uniforms, or bride and
groom dressed in military uniform,
suggest that their work clothes could be
worn with pride.

Dressed for War: Uniform,
Civilian Clothing and Trappings 1914-1918
–  A happy couple pass under an arch of Lewis
guns as they leave a church following their wedding in spring 1918. The Telegraph

“And we would not worry about anything when sm…

“And we would not worry about anything when
smoking a nice little cigarette, which was delicious, and maybe the last one…”

French soldier’s memoir – Un Croisé: Samuel Bourquin (1887-1918) : sa vie :
extraits de ses lettres
– Photo : May 18 1918 A nice little cigarette in Royaucourt, Somme, France
La Contemporaine France

“The other day we took a bottle of pinard out …

“The other day we took a bottle of pinard out under the apple trees and drew
over a group of poilus, who sang their songs some happy, some
passionate, and others sentimental — so justifiably sentimental during those hours
of reflection and uncertainty…”

WW1 American ambulance driver’s diary in France – History of the American Field Service in France – Photo: 1918, France, sharing a bottle of pinard under the trees