Category: ww1 american ambulance drivers

             “He will take the tiniest bit of raw meat
from one’s fingers just as gently as a dog”

“The love that our soldiers show for animals
is a lesson and a sermon on kindness to animals. I have visited a number of army camps and the kindness which service men shower on
their mascots is wonderful. Whether the mascot is a
dog, monkey or raccoon, the men have all, without exception, been very kind to
their pets.”

1919 – American soldiers and their pets – Animals, Massachusetts SPCA

– Photo: WW1 American soldier and
his raccoon. US National Archives

“We are coming home! It’s unbelievable, impossible, but it’s true — we’re coming home! We have to keep on repeating the words ourselves; even
then they seem a legend.”

Early 1919 “What It Means To Come Home” – McClure’s
Magazine, Volume 51
 – Photo: New York Harbor, early1919, “The Return
of the Victors” – Here: Troops boarding the
“Manchuria” at St. Nazaire. January 10, 1919
– @
The National WW1 Museum and Memorial

                                                               Wet pants?

an hour and 45 minutes’ continuous climb we reached a house halfway up the
mountain where we rested. Then our guide said “Follow me!”, and we started
down the hill. Talk about speed! Soon I heard someone screaming. Setting my
brakes into the snow, I looked around and there I
saw the rest coming down with lightning speed. Loosening my brakes I was off
and got to the foot of the mountain in about eight minutes. Wet pants? Oh, Boy!
They sure were! It reminded me of my kid days, sliding the
cellar door.’

1919, Doughboys on Leave to the French Alps Memoirs
of France and the Eighty-Eighth Division
– Photo: WW1 American soldiers
having fun in the snow – US National Archives

                                    “All people become brothers under your
tender wings”

‘The American policy against
fraternization with the Germans was a dismal failure, and everyone knew it. As the occupation wore on, and the soldiers got to know the families with whom they were billeted, a natural
kind of friendly relationship developed. At night they would sit around the
firesides of the German families with whom they lived and drink
a glass of wine or beer with the family despite the strict orders against

WW1, American soldiers in Germany
The Rainbow Division in the Great War: 1917-1919 – Photo: 1919, Germany, an American soldier and a German
family acting silly – Missouri Historical Society – “All people become brothers”: Ode to Joy by German Friedrich Schiller

Note: Here, page 252, the AEF General order No. 218 forbidding
of American soldiers with the Germans.

was a pet crow. He was a very saucy
and funny looking bird”

‘This crow may
have been a French crow or a German crow for all he knew or cared. There were plenty of European Swallows, Crows and
Magpies, but generally speaking fewer birds were observed in France than in
Ohio and Alabama.”

Birds Observed in France and Belgium During
the World War by a Private Soldier – The
Oologist, Volumes 48-49 – Photo: WW1 American
soldier and his pet crow – US National Archives

‘January 4 1919 – On duty with
the MD. In the morning I took him over to the clothing co-op at Kandel and
while waiting for him, I found a barrack filled with boche military outfits
including good new spiked helmets! The building was well guarded but a poilu
sneaked in and got a couple of souvenirs for me.’

ambulance driver in Kandel, Germany –  Arthyr B Eddy at War – Orleans County History
Photo: WW1 American soldier and a French man with German souvenirs. The State Archives of
North Carolina

                                          “Are we happy? I’ll say we are!”                             

“lt is so warm all the time, we don’t even
sit by a fire! I hear you have been having snow and cold weather in the states…”

January 1919, Limoges, west-central France, American ambulance driver serving with Ambulance
Company 347, 312th Sanitary Train, 87th Division, AEF – Text and Photo: Loren
Elliott’s Letters 1917-1919

were made to drill us; these usually ended, after a half hour of calisthenics,
in a game of some kind, and we then retired to our billets for the rest of the

1919, American soldier in France – Heaven, Hell,
Or Hoboken
– Photo: WW1 American soldiers’s calisthenics time – US National Archives

Germany, the kids, or “hunlets” as the doughboys called them, used to flock around
us with souvenirs to swap for tobacco, chocolate, or soap. If a field kitchen paused for business by the roadside, if a car
halted at a city curb, the children swarmed around
it like bees around a honey-pot, and always with souvenirs to swap.’

American soldier in Germany – The Command is Forward: Tales of the A. E. F.
battlefields as they appeared in The Stars and Stripes
– Photo: WW1 official USMC photograh, showing a US soldier offering cigarettes to a boy, somewhere in France of
Germany – Archives Branch, Marine Corps
History Division


“Take a good look at me, Old Girl” 

lot of us boys in the AEF had a sayin’, when we were comin’ into New York
harbor, looking at the Statue of Liberty, we’d look a long time, then we’d say
to the statue: “Take a good look at me, Old Girl, because if you ever want to see me again, you’ll
have to turn around!”

The statue and the American dream
– Photo: December 28 1918, taken by
American ambulance driver Harvey Ladew Williams who served in France
& Italy during WW1 – The Harvey Ladew Williams II Papers, 1917-1918.

Note: from France, waiting for the boat that
would  bring him home, Harvey wrote to his
mom: “We are waiting patiently for the
boat to get ready to leave, but the uncertainty of it all makes it rather
provoking… Hoping I’ll be with you all for New Year’s.”
  And he was, as this photo shows.