“December 13 1918 – We go downtown
most every evening. Just for the exercise or what we call window shopping. We
have such long evenings. The factories close at 7pm, then it’s fun to be downtown when everybody is
gone. They have more shows, silent movies, running now. Some are pretty good.
We saw one last night. The French pictures are explained in French to English.
But the American pictures are only in French. But it’s good to see American
scenes and American people.”
American ambulance driver in France in Limoges, in Central France – Loren Elliot’s letters – Ambulance
Cie 347, 87th Division – Image : theater
interior, lithography by Mabel Dwight.
“Wed. December 11 1918 – We have been kept
very busy until yesterday.
Now there is prospect of three weeks of rest before we go to Alsace, Lorraine,
or the vicinity of Cologne.
I was much amused by Father’s advice not to come home in a crowded ship before the influenza epidemic was over. I will wait if you wish; I must
wait no matter what we wish. There is no “dope" about our return. I do not
expect it for several months, not till the transportation system of the War
Zone is reestablished.
For now I
am going on permission
and may spend Christmas in Paris. Then I want to see the Riviera and some
American ambulance driver in Belgium – Ambulance
Service in France: The Wartime Letters of William Gorham Rice, Jr – Photo:
1918, Soldiers enjoying the sunshine of Nice in France
“The job is
done and now for us, the USA is the dope“
“Tuesday December 10 1918 – We have pretty good sleeping
quarters now and no more night work, which is mighty good to all the boys
knowing that we can go to bed and get full nights sleep. What we are most
anxious for at present is the order to pull for the shore. The job is
done and now for us, the USA is the dope. We hear all kinds of rumors but
nothing that one can put any faith in. It’s just a matter
of time and it seems mighty long.”
American truck driver in France – The letters of Laurance Bucknam
– Photo: 1918, France, seemingly pensive American ambulance & truck drivers. Tennessee State Library & Archives
‘December 10 1918 – On wood cutting detail.
Buy 6 eggs. First I had in 4 months! Sure good. On guard duty tonight.’
American ambulance driver in Lissendorf,
Germany – Diary of “Hap” Gruenberg, Ambulance Company 167,
attached to the 42nd (Rainbow) Division.
Photo: 1918, American soldiers on “wood cutting detail”.
8 1918 – Finished the work on my car in the morning
and, after lunch, went on duty in
Trois Vierges. We found two railroad cars full of boche stuff! There were
beaucoup spiked helmets so we bought several of them. These helmets are selling
$40 a piece in Paris.’
American ambulance driver in Luxembourg – Arthur B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History –
Photo: After the war, American workers sorting out “boche stuff” and playing “Kamerad” while
wearing spiked helmets – US National Archives
“The roads all along were
muddy and rotten!”
1918, American ambulance
driver driving through Belgium and Germany – Arthur
B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History – Photo: December 8 1918, GMC American ambulance stuck in the mud in Germany.
‘December 7 1918 – A good day work on the voiture cleaning the carbon and grinding
the valves. Beaucoup fatigué so turned in early for a good sleep.’
American ambulance driver in Germany – Arthur B Eddy’s diary –
Orleans County Department of History – WW1 American ambulance driver working on
December 5 1918 – Pulled
this A.M. at 8:15. Reached Ottweiler by noon – every car, even the truck and
kitchen. Our barracks are poor, 16 men being quartered in two rooms over a cafe
on the main street and the rest of us in a theatre about a block away. Our cars
are parked in the town square. We have been warned to guard everything we own
as we have stationed an armed guard over the cars and kitchen night & day.
This is not as good a town as Zweibrücken and these Prussians surely are
menacing. They are nicer to us however than they are to the French.”
ambulance driver in Germany, on the way to Coblenz. See Google map – Grant R. Willard, American Volunteer –
Photo: December 1918, Germany, American ambulance drivers and soldiers in their
billet. Note the snow inside the window!
‘December 5 1918 – We were in Luxembourg until yesterday when we started along the river Moselle until we finally crossed some little
stream and were in the ancestral home of the squarehead. It was really quite a
thrill and if anyone had told me a month ago that I would be in Germany today I
should have put them down as mad!
We followed along the river to Trier and
from there came over to where we now are, a village called Salmohr, not far
from Wittlich. It is the invasion of Germany but vastly different than I ever
thought it would be. The invasion is more a pleasure trip than anything else.
We arrive and billet just as we did in the French rear area towns
are friendly and ten minutes after we were in Germany the streets were full of
Germans and Americans swapping cigarettes and having the time of their life!’
In Salmohr, Germany (Google map to see his route) American ambulance driver’s letter home – World War 1, Letters
Home From Paul Hills, American Ambulance Driver – Photo: WW1, American soldier
offering a cigarette to a civilian.
‘December 3 1918 – This morning we went to Trois Vierges and got
a bath. The bath house is at the railroad station and it is a real
steam bath furnished to the railroad employees. Believe me it was a fine
shower, and when I got out I felt lighter in spirit and otherwise!’
American ambulance driver in
Luxembourg – Arthur B Eddy’s diary –
Orleans County Department of History – Photo: WW1 soldiers washing in a shower
room filled with steam.