Category: ww1 american ambulance drivers

“June 22 1918 – A French officer came up with …

“June 22 1918 – A French officer came up
with his “felicitations” today. My “pourquoi?” elicited the answer “Croix de
Guerre!” and in proof he showed me a list of 14 men who are to be decorated. The section is
likewise to be cited. I’m awfully glad for the folks’ sake; how proud old Dad
will be and Mother too. Not sure I deserve a “Croix de Guerre” – certainly not when I think of
what the Frenchmen in the trenches go thru.”

American ambulance driver in Oise region,
The Compensations of War – Photo: 1918, France, American soldiers
being decorated with the Croix de Guerre.

“Although Khaki was always terrified of the sh…

“Although Khaki was always terrified of the shells, he would
never let me go to work alone – One day I was driving a load of badly wounded.
So khaki licked their hands and lay down beside them: he loved them so much,
all these brave soldiers, and they loved him and stretched out their hands and
patted him.”

 WW1 American ambulance driver & his doggy in France – Khaki
the Dog story, here – Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural

“June 18-20 1918. Section takes gas test. Grea…

“June 18-20 1918. Section takes gas test. Great discussion in
quarters over our cuisine. Lieut. Jamon wearing two galons today.”

In Dampleux, Aisne, France,
American ambulance driver ‘s Record of S. S. U. 585 – Photo: WW1,
France, American ambulance & truck drivers’ gas drill. La Contemporaine.

“The long twilight offers great openings for s…

“The long twilight offers great openings for songsters
and we reel off all the songs we know – very college-fashion.”

June 1918, France, American ambulance driver – In a letter to his father, he writes that singing brings back memories of college days – Text and photo from the beautiful new book “The Black Cats of Amherst”—  Also, here, the fun & smart Black Cats’ Twitter feed


                                                                 And I said a little prayer

Bill said: “as
soon as you pass the bridge go like the devil. It’s
hell on that road they’re shelling hell out of it.”
— Comforting words these and
my spirits rose accordingly. I hurriedly cranked my car saying a little
prayer that I would have the guts to go thru with it. As we left the poste we
could see them breaking on both sides of the bridge, sending up big clouds of
dust & smoke. I saw them but somehow
they didn’t seem to register on my brain. I saw them &
that was all. The road surely was being shelled. Shell holes,
branches & wires littered the road. Despite this, from the time I
said my prayer,
I had

the most peculiar feeling almost
of abstraction, the shells didn’t worry me in the least because something
inside me kept saying “you’re safe” “they won’t hit you” “don’t be afraid”. As
we dashed along the road, it seemed that I was
merely driving along a country road at home. A most peculiar feeling and I can’t
express just exactly what it was…

Friday, June 14 1918, near the front in Northern France, American ambulance driver’s diary – The Compensations of War. Photo: 1918, France, American ambulance dashing along the road.

“And just think that in five days the Croix de…

just think that in five days the Croix de Guerre will be presented to the
section, and pinned upon this beautiful flag, for our unit has been cited for its
splendid work, and it has been officially announced that we have a Croix de
Guerre coming. Hasn’t Stanford a right to be proud?”

Summer 1917, American volunteer Arthur Clifford Kimber.
In 1917, when the United States entered the war, he left Stanford University to
carry the first official American flag to the Western Front.
He stayed in
France as a volunteer ambulance driver, before becoming a fighter pilot. Sadly,
he was killed in action, on September 26,
1918, the first day of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, one of the last great
drives of the war.

Sources: The
Story of the First Flag
– Photo: 1917, in Champagne
sector, France, The American flag proudly displayed on an American ambulance. Source:
Awesome photo featured in article “Volunteer Ambulance Services” by Patrick
also co-author of the book “An American on the Western Front: The First World War
Letters of Arthur Clifford Kimber, 1917-18”
   @1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World


“Halte là!”

“The work at night is eerie,
and on moonless nights quite difficult. No lights are allowed, and the inky
black way ahead is packed with a discordant jumble of sounds as the
never-ending artillery and ravitaillement trains rattle along. we creep
past convoy after convoy, past sentinels who shout “Halte là!”
and then whisper an apologetic “Passez!” when they see the
ambulance; and it is only in the dazzling light of the illuminating rockets
that shoot into the air and sink slowly over the trenches that we can see to
proceed with any speed…”

WW1 American ambulance driver in France – Friends of France: The Field Service of the American
Ambulance Described
– Photo: WW1, France, a stop at a sentinel post. La Contemporaine

‘June 12 1918 –  Worked on car all day. …

‘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.

‘June 1918 – Billeted in a barn, hay lof…

‘June 1918 – Billeted in a barn, hay loft, clean. Our cooks on
job again. Had bath, washed cloth. Learning French!’

bugler and ambulance driver’s diary in Fayl Billot, Marne,
– Diary of J Reah Hollinger – WW1 Battlefield Medicine – Edward Hand
Medical Museum
Phtoto: 1918, American soldier with his French teacher.

‘I never thought that I would like to have my …

‘I never thought that I would
like to have
my coat stained with a black man’s
blood but if I could have eased that fine fellow one
jot of pain I would gladly have had my whole uniform wet with it’

American ambulance driver in France, impressed by the bravery of a wounded Senegalese
soldier suffering silently in his ambulance.  The Compensations of War. Photo:
this famous photo of wounded Senegalese soldiers was taken June 10 1918, in Monchy-Humières,
Oise, France