Tag Archives: WWI

My Grandfather’s Words: Tuesday May 14, 1918

Mashine gunner.Warriors themeI awoke this morning pretty early. The fellow with the bull horn voice started it again as soon as it was daylight and there was no more sleep for any one.

I washed when I could, which was not for some time as only one person could fit into the washroom at a time. After a while we had our breakfast. About eight thirty we got into a town where the train had to stop. They got us off and marched us about a mile and a half through the town. It did us good, limbering us our muscles and taking the cramp out of our backs.

After we got back to the train it was some little time till we pulled out. I think we were in Arkansas, but not sure. We had our dinner (lunch) in the usual manner. about 4:20 the train pulled into Little Rock, Arkansas. Here it appeared we would stop a while, too. They unloaded us and gave us a sharp walk up from the depot and around the capital. When we re-boarded we had to wait nearly an hour before pulling out again. I should mention that it was at this time I realized that Gilbert was not on the train. I went up and down, going through each train car searching for him. There were two other troop trains, and I thought he might be on one of them. (Mary wrote soon after this to tell me about his furlough)

I was concerned but we had supper soon after leaving Little Rock. So ended another day.

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part B)

The Wait was Over

The officers finally came and passed up one line and down another until they had looked over us all. There were three train loads of men drawn up there. It took some time to inspect everyone.

Then, they started line by line down to the boarding tracks where the trains were waiting. We were quickly loaded on and one after another the trains pulled away from the station. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part B)

My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

Time to Pack

I don’t remember the time I woke up this morning, but I remember I went and had a cold shower just about day break.

The previous evening I had had my arm with the boils on it looked at by a doctor. He told me to go on sick report in the morning. So I went. There were so many there before me. The doctor just put iodine on my arm and bandaged it up again. It must have been nearly 8:30 when I got out. I hustled for the mess hall and arrived just in time. I nearly missed my breakfast. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Monday May 13, 1918 (Part A)

My Grandfathers Words: Sunday May 12, 1918

I awoke rather early this A.M.

Was pretty nervous and did not know what time they would call us for breakfast. I did not exactly know how the leggings went on, so I inquired and soon found how to adjust them. The call came to get up. I think I was nearly dressed. Gilbert was next to me. I think he was already awake when I reached over and touched him. They called us out for breakfast and lined us up in columns of four to march to the mess hall. After morning mess we were told by the corporal who had us in charge that as far as he knew there would be nothing doing until after noon mess at least. Continue reading My Grandfathers Words: Sunday May 12, 1918

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 Part B

If you haven’t been following along, this is a multi-part series lifted from the pages of my grandfather’s diary from the 1918. He has just entered the service during WWI. This is Part 2 of His First Day in the United States Army.

Still Naked.

I was taken by the arm back to the place where I was grabbed out of line, and was started past the typewriters again. Certain lines were typed on my cards and papers, which I was to collect somewhere along the line. Finally we got to a man who was stamping names and numbers on a little aluminum disk. We were each given two of these with our names and service number on them These we were told to string on the card string we still had on our necks that we’d been given at the registration hall.

From here, we were passed to a little place in the last corner where one man disinfected a spot on our right shoulder blade, another shot a syringe of anti-typhoid stuff in, and a third man swabbed the place with iodine.

I forgot to say that we left our blankets at the door when we first entered the torture chamber much earlier in the day. All this time we had nothing on. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 Part B

My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 part A

Saturday

The train arrived in St. Louis about 10 AM, and after being switched around the train yards a while, we were hauled out to Jefferson Barracks. We were ordered to stay on the train until we had orders to get off. This being our first orders they sounded rather harsh.

At the Barracks we were ordered off the trains and lined up two by two and marched to the registering hall. We were registered and given a string with a tag on it for around our necks. The tag had our names and the group we were classified with. After standing there for some time we were taken to a barrack and told to rest a while. They showed us where we could wash and get a drink of water. It was now nearly noon. Most of us were very tired and hungry. Mary girl had given me a lunch and some cake and popcorn and candy. So I fared better than some of the boys who had no breakfast.

About half past twelve they lined us up and took us to the mess hall for dinner. The mess hall was a huge structure capable of seating several thousand men at one time. We were seated at long tables. We ate everything we saw. I guess I don’t remember much of what they offered. But we ate it, whatever it was. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Saturday May 11, 1918 part A

My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 10, 1918

 

I was up this morning about 7:30. I guess Mary and I cried a little. It may be the last night we ever spend together on earth. We were both rather sad. I did not feel like going anywhere so read a little, helped Mary fix up my bag – took the black Gladstone bag with me. She, dear girl, had many things for me to take that I knew I could not take. We had gone to meeting (the Plymouth Brethren church service) the evening before and then bought some oranges and apples. We had a time getting home with them as it rained and the bags burst. We carried them in our pockets.

Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform
Mary in her Red Cross nurses uniform

Mr. Leask (Mary’s father) and Ed were coming home at noon to bid me goodbye. They were going to have a kind of extra dinner, but I had to report at two o’clock at City Hall, so had to leave before they arrived.

Honey girl went to the car line with me. I guess we were both near crying.

I arrived at City Hall. The chairman of the board did not show up til nearly three. I could have had that hour with Mary, as well as not. Continue reading My Grandfather’s Words: Friday May 10, 1918