Category: ww1 american soldiers

“We moved from Briey to Trier. This part of Ge…

“We moved from Briey to Trier. This
part of Germany is a strange contrast to the France from which we come. The
food is plentiful, the farms are wells stocked, the roads are good. In fact,
Germany today has no aspect of a nation who has been at war for over four years.
The people are friendly and several times on the road, I have stopped and had
dinner with some kind German family. Even the peasants have a sort of education,
most of them speaking two or three languages. They are ambiguous people,
leading equally a life at home of peace and culture, and a military life of war
and kultur.”

December 1918, American ambulance driver in Germany – Diary of Allison
LePontois – Crile Archive Center for History Education – Photo: December 1918, American soldiers at the Porta Nigra (Roman city gate) Trier
Germany.

                                            “N…

                                            “Nice,
France, a trip long to be remembered”

“Seven days permission with nothing to do was like heaven! Nice is a beautiful
place, full of flowers and the air full of perfume, the weather
warm and mild and many
congenial friends. I visited Monte Carlo and Monaco, but did not stay. Army
officers are not allowed to play at Monte Carlo at the present.”

1918, American soldier’s letter home – Pacific Service Magazine Volume (June 1918-May 1919) Volume
10
– Photo: 1918, two American
soldiers and a French friend in Nice, France – A grainy photo, but it still captures
the softness in the air, and the lady’s awesome pom-pom hat! The W&M Digital Archive

“We arrived in Paris last Sunday. lt was my fi…

“We arrived in Paris last Sunday. lt was my
first view of the city, and I had so many different impressions…One thing I did
notice was that the buildings were not over six or seven stories high. The
streets are very wide and they really have side-walks. It was a real ‘Gay Paree’.
We took a cab and looked over the interesting parts of the city; such as the Eiffel
tower, the Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, all around the Champs
Elysées, etc. This place was full of captured German guns, planes and tanks.
The plane which Guynemer used and died in is there. He brought down nineteen
Boche with his machine.

We
went through Notre Dame and the Madeleine too. It was wonderful.”

American
soldier visiting Paris after the armistice – Brodhead’s Tribute to
Her Men of the Service, 1914-1918
– Photo: After the Armistice, American Red
Cross man visiting Paris. Here, he is at Notre Dame, at the top of one of the
towers – Taken by American photographer Lewis Hine

                                          “Th…

                                         
“The
Rainbow boys are sure merry
little hikers!”

My birthday and we
celebrate by taking an “encore” hike. Started
hiking at 9:00 o’clock. Passed through Kyllburg and Malberg. Both of these
towns were fairly large and very beautiful. Managed to buy some postcards
of the different buildings. We reached Murlenbach at 3:00 P.M.
Hiked around 22 kilometers. Found out that Coblenz is now 83 kilometers away, and we’re
practically on a straight shoot to it now. The Brigade boys say we will take over a town about 10
kilometers out of Coblenz. It couldn’t possibly be our luck to anchor in the big
city —This is our sixth day of steady hiking, the
Rainbow boys are sure merry
little hikers!”

American soldier serving with the Rainbow
Division & marching to Coblenz, Germany. See Google mapOn the Western Front with the Rainbow Division – Photo:
December 1918, American troops marching through a German town on their way to Coblenz – Ministere de la
Culture, France

“Sometimes it’s not so soft to be a cook…

“Sometimes
it’s not so soft to be a cook; especially on a hike like that, when all you’ve
got is a dinky little field-range.”

WW1
American soldier’s memoir – Heaven, Hell, Or Hoboken – Photo: December 1918, in
Waxweiler, Germany, in the march to Germany, American soldiers’ meal break.
The cooks are tending a “dinky little field-range” – Mr. Tom Caulley’s collection

                                              …

                                             
“It’s
over, over here
, he sang softly to himself”

‘They boarded the train together and shared a compartment. The trip westward passed quickly, with
the other American officers chattering about enjoying Paris, happy that the
Armistice had been signed, relieving them from combat duties. He stood in a passageway for the longest time and noticed that not once on their trip toward Paris were they
sidetracked by a military train with priority transit to the east.

Clearly the war was over, and in the coming weeks
and months, thousands of American troops would jam into trains shuttling them
to French ports where they would board ships for passage to the States. It’s
over, over here
, he sang softly to himself
while gazing out at the passing French scenery.’

1918, France, after the armistice, American soldiers aboard a train to Paris– WW1
Fiction – Twist of Fate: Love, Turbulence and the
Great War –
– Photo: WW1 American soldiers aboard a train.

And ou la la! Not only cookies, one, two, thre…

And ou la la! Not
only cookies, one, two, three, but beaucoup cookies!

“Had quite a treat today in the form of sugar cookies!  They are something on the order of those
Mother makes and go good with a cup of hot cocoa!”

December 6 1918, France, George Rehn, American soldier’s
letter home  – The National WW1 Museum and Memorial – Photo: 1918, France, American soldiers enjoying “beaucoup”
cookies. Library of Congress

                                              …

                                              “I think we
climbed a thousand hills today”

‘December 2 1918 – Well, we did it, and we’re here, all of us, sore feet and all.
The hike easily covered 40 kil. And it was up and downhill all the way. They
call this little strip of country we just passed thru ‘Little Switzerland.’
Suppose it’s because of its mountainous terrain. If the Alps are any worse
than these hills then I don’t want to get anywhere near them. I think we
climbed a thousand hills today, and I don’t remember any of them having an
“other side.” Don’t remember going down a hill, it was always up. We must
be a million miles above sea level.

We started at 7:30am and reach this town of
Rosport at 5:00pm. It was steady going all the time. Rested for a half hour
at noon to eat a corn willy sandwich and rested about 5 minutes every 10
kilometers. We passed thru the towns of Bourglinster, Junglinster,
Beirbourg, Mompach, Dickweiler, and then stopped in Rosport
. We
are now within a 5 minute walk of Germany. Understand we have a short march
scheduled tomorrow. Sure hope it’s a damn short one.’

American soldier in
the March to the Rhine with the Rainbow Division – A Soldier in World War I: The Diary of Elmer W. Sherwood
– Photo: December 2 1918, Second Division, Second to None

“In addition to the hundreds of prisoners we c…

“In addition to the hundreds of prisoners we captured in the caves near Le Mont d’Arly
there were hundreds of small arms, individual shoulder
packs, horses, a wagon, and a little donkey. The
donkey may have been of French extraction but we kept him for a mascot.”

Reminiscences of Conrad S. Babcock: The Old
U.S. Army and the New, 1898-1918
– Photo: 1918, France, American soldier watching over a captured
donkey, “Friedrich Wilhelm” being taken by truck to the rear. Library of Congress

                                             D…

                                             December 1st 1918, entering Germany.

‘December 1st 1918
– This is the day the allies cross the German frontier but we have no orders
yet and will doubtless wait a bit. Everything froze and it’s mighty cold. It
took one hour to thaw the bus and get it working but she marched well! Today I
got an automatic revolver from a French malade and I will carry it from now on
as it has been reported that 2 Americans and 3 French officers have been shot
at the German frontier. Even our bombardiers are armed and the artillery men
have orders to circulate in Germany in groups of at least 4. My old revolver is big enough so that the
mere sight of it should scare any boche.’

American ambulance driver’s diary – Arthur
B Eddy’s diary – Orleans County Department of History – Photo: 1 December 1918. Soldiers from the
American 125th Infantry Regiment crossing the Sauer at Echternach and becoming amongst the first Allied soldiers to enter Germany after the
armistice.