WWI Doughboy Letter – Barre, VT Boy Compares Streets of France to the Granite Streets of Barre


A letter was delivered to Mr. Elmer Clark of 76 Maple Avenue, Barre, VT. in February of 1918.  I’ve included a snapshot of 76 Maple in the photo below:

76maple

76 Maple Avenue, Barre, VT

The letter provides the Vermont World War One historian with a wonderful snapshot of life in France in the early days of American involvement.  Sgt. Edward Clark was a truck driver who delivered supplies to front line troops but had the security of rear echelon  protection to write his letters.  Please enjoy this transcription and try to put yourself in Ed’s shoes:

Edward Clark  Letter Cover

Edward Clark Letter Cover

(Page One)

Dear Sis,

Just a few lines to let you know that I am well and feeling fine.  We are stationed about 100 miles from the front and have to go up there every other day with supplies.  To get back to when we first landed in France we received out trucks at a certain place and then drove them over land to General Headquarters.  On reaching that place we were attached to that troop and have been with them ever since. The trip overland was about 400 miles so we had a good chance to see that part of the country.  [Sgt. Clark appears to have refreshed his ink supply] From what I heard about France before I came over I thought that I would see greater things than we have in the States.  But now if you should ask me I would say that France was 600 years behind the U.S.A.  All there is to see is stone (Page Two)buildings two and tree stories high and the streets of Barre would make these streets look like a dump. When they talk about sunny France they will have to talk about it to someone else besides me.

Barre011a

I have received six or seven letters from Gin but none from you.  What is the trouble, have you forgot that I am living?  What is Elmer doing?  From what I hear it must be a hard winter on him. We are in luck for one thing and that is we can go around part of the day in our shirt sleeves but in the morning and night we need our coats on.  Not that it is so cold but it is damp and it goes right through you.

(Page Three) Is Royal staying with you yet? Gee it must seem good to him to get off the farm.  How is Steve and all the rest of the folks?  Well sis from the way things look over here we will be here for some time to come.  Gee if I could only get back in the gold old U.S.A. They would never get me to come over here again.  Well it is time for lights out so I will have to bring this to a close.  Love to all.  Write soon and often.

Brother,

Ed

Sgt. Edward Clark

Motor Truck Co. 304

General Headquarters

A.E.F

Want to read the letter in the original script?

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Page 2 of Letter

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Page 1 of Letter

Page 1 of Letter

WWI 2nd Cavalry Postal Cover Letter – Fort Ethan Allen Vermont Letter January 1918 – Good Details!


Followers of PortraitsofWar will know that I was lucky enough to acquire a great letter written by a member of the 2nd Cav while the unit was stationed at Fort Ethan Allen in my current hometown of Colchester, Vermont.  Obviously anything related to Fort Ethan Allen will be of interest to me and, by association, PortraitsofWar.  The letter was written by a Mr. Everett Hall from Connecticut, and includes some good cavalry related details as well as some tongue-in-cheek Vermont humor.  Alright!

Fort Ethan Allen,

January 18th, 1919

Dear Marion,

Your welcome letter received.  Also the postal.

Tell Kermit I thank him very much for the wash cloth.  It is a dandy and will be fine when we get over accross(sic). And the way things look now we may be over anytime.

We are having fine weather now.  Lots of snow, nearly three feet, weather is war.  About zero. {YES!  Awesome line}

I am getting so I can stick pretty good bareback. We get fifty munutes every other day monkey drill now.

Just got my last two test papers back.  I got a 98 on first aid and a 91 on guard duty. We have school every day on military matters.  And a test about three times a week.

Just like going to school again only that its different studies.   Have to use algebra too.  We have to study everything first aid for both men and horses.  And the best way of defeating an enemy.  Learn someting new every day.

There’s lots of Manchester fellows in now.  That man you spoke about, Thrall, is here. I heard his name called the other day.  I haven’t seen him to know him yet. Funny how you meet people you used to know.

I see both of A.L. Brown’s boys are going and Allen Balch.  I went to school with Marion Brown.

Well there’s not much news so I guess I’ll have to stop and get fixed up for inspection tomorrow.

We have all kinds of inspections now that we are getting ready for leaving.

With lots of love,

Everett

WWI 42nd Division Doughboy Sends Home a Real Photo Postcard


Ever wonder how doughboys sent their photo postcards home?  I actually don’t own a single example of a postmarked photo postcard from the war, but recently came across a grouping that contained an envelope and postcard sent home by a 42nd Division soldier.  A member of the 151st Field Artillery, Frank Svec sent home a studio portrait shot of himself.  Not incredibly rare, but a good example of how WWI photos were sent during the war.  The 42nd Division is one of my favorite divisions, so this is an addition “kicker”.

Amazing 103rd Infantry Regiment Field Written Poem – “Somewhere in France” – 26th Division


Sometimes a true gem will turn up among the pages of boring WWI eBay listings.  In this case I was able to purchase a small lot of photos and letters for less than $10, and discovered an amazing field written poem by a battalion runner in the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th “Yankee Division” (my favorite division BTW).  Although the photos that came with the grouping are unrelated to the 103rd, I thought I would post the poem and transcription as a memorial to all those who died in the trenches of France.  Memorial Day is only a few days away and I think it is a fitting tribute to the men and women who served during the First World War.

Please visit Soldier’s Mail for other photos and interpretations of further 103rd Infantry Regiment related material.

Written at Apremont France by Battalion Runner  Blanchard of Company F of the 103rd Infantry Regiment of the 26th Division



Somewhere in France

I

A soldier boy lay dying,

On a road “somewhere in France;”

he had tried to get through a barrage

Tho he knew he stood no chance.

A pal knelt down beside him

While the tears ran down his cheek

For this soldier was his lifelong friend

And he longed to hear him speak.

II

When the dying soldier opened

Up his eyes, and look around

And saw his dear old pal

Kneeling side him on the grounf

He smiled and said “They got me Jim

Yes got me with a shell.”

“My orders were to take this note

Through water, fire and hell.”

III

“Take this message Jim and run it thru

Do not stop for me

It means two hundred lives and more

Its for our company

Fritz made a fake attack this morn

Just it break o’ day

If you can only get it rhu

We’ll make those dam Huns pay”

IV

“And when you get around to it

Just write a line or two,

To my mother and my sweetheart Jim

Old pay so good and true;

Tell them I tried to make it

Thru gas, barrage, and shell

That my resting place is heaven

For I when there thru a hell.”

V

Then the dying soldier closed his eyes

His pal with tender care,

Gently laid him down

And smoothed his bloody ruffled hair,

And with a sob of anguish

He started down the road,

In his hand he held the message

That was written out in code.

VI

Jim got the message there in time

To quell the Germans’ bluff,

He told the story to the boys

How the blood got on his cuff,

The dying words of Bill his pal

A runner dead and gone

And the company paid their last respects

To the brave but silent form.

~Wrote at Apremont by Batt. Runner Blanchard

At the conclusion of a dream – YD Co. F 103. Inf.