DIARIES OF

SAMUEL MILLER KEPLINGER JR.
AMBULANCE DRIVER

AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE
WWI -- FRANCE
JULY 1917 TO MARCH 1919

©Copyright by
Miller M. Keplinger

2006

 


Samuel Miller Keplinger, Jr.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

SOMME --- 8/2/1917 to 10/30/1917

VERDUN --- 11/3/1917 to 12/8/1917

REPOSE AT ANDERNAY --- 12/8/1917 to 12/27/1917

PERMISSION AT ROUEN --- 1/1/1918 to 1/7/1918.

CLERMONT en ARGONNE --- 1/8/1918 to 5/13/1918

REPOSE AT EPENSE --- 5/14/1918 to 5/27/1918

RAMBLUZIN --- 5/27/1918 to 7/23/1918

EN ROUTE TO VIERZY --- 7/24/1019 to 7/29/1918

MARNE -- AISNE --- 7/30/1918 to 8/27/1918

AISNE --- 9/5/1918 to 9/19/1918

REPOSE AT DAMMARTIN --- 9/19/1918 to 9/25/1918

PERMISSION AT AIX les BAINS --- 9/25/1918 to 10/5/1918

BACK TO AISNE --- 10/5/1918 to 11/15/1918

HOSPITAL TIME --- 11/16/1918 to 12/4/1918

MOVE TO GERMANY --- 12/5/1918 to 1/10/1919

SERVICE CITATIONS

WAR STORIES BY SAMUEL M. KEPLINGER Jr

LETTERS AND NOTES

MAPS

KEY --- Battle --- Date --- City ---Map
NUMERICAL LIST OF MAPS BY AREA
NUMERICAL LIST OF MAPS

PREFACE

Samuel Miller Keplinger Jr. left three boxes of memorabilia that contained among other things; two diaries, one of 1917 and one of 1918, two photograph albums of pictures taken during that period of time, a set of German maps taken from a warehouse in Marle, France {after its recapture) on November 7, 1918 and a book of letters from Harry Grew Crosby to his family also during that period of time. Harry Crosby and Samuel Keplinger were in the same ambulance unit although they were in different groups within that unit.

This project started by scanning all the photographs in the most complete album, a few of which are used in this printing of the diaries. The photo album was divided by the several campaign areas in which the ambulance unit served. The diaries, of course, followed the dates of those campaigns. Using the two sources plus following the routes on the German maps, along with some help from Crosby's book "War Letters (of) Henry Grew Crosby", the format for this project was developed. Some quotations from Crosby's book are in italics to more accurately describe the conditions. Samuel Keplinger had, probably sometime after the events, marked all the roads traveled during the various campaigns except for the last event, the "Move To Germany".

There were no entries in the 1917 diary prior to a note indicating the cars (ambulances) were obtained August 1, 1917. There were four loose photographs taken on the ship on the way to France. An entry on July 10, 1918 states that, one year before, Samuel and Max Rose landed at Bordeaux, France.

It appears that the 1917 diary might have been completed after the fact and the day-to-day details are not included. The 1918 diary, starting with the permission (leave) in Rouen, gives more of a day-to-day detail description of the events experienced by Samuel.

Except for a few empty spots in the diaries they gave a pretty complete picture of the activities of those years. It is believed that some of the periods of empty spots covered time "en permission" or on leave.

A few stories about the events, as verbally told by Samuel, are included at the end of the diaries.

Included in this book are copies of the German maps covering the areas that Samuel traveled during his war experience. He had marked the roads over which he traveled in the battle areas but did not mark the maps covering the last movement to Germany as the army of occupation. They were marked, using the diary descriptions of the move. The towns and cities on the maps that are mentioned in the diaries are highlighted to make it easier locate the cities. The title page of each section is a key map showing the location in France and the numbers of the maps involved in that section. Also, there are three lists to help the reader to follow the routes traveled by Samuel. One is sorted by battle and the dates the cities were mentioned. Another is a numerical list by battle and the last is a numerical list of the maps.

 

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

Samuel Miller Keplinger Jr. was born on December 7, 1894 in Franklin Pennsylvania to Samuel Miller Keplinger Sr. and Rachael Anna (Mitchell) Keplinger. SMK Jr.'s nickname was "Kep". He had three older brothers, Robert Lyman, Walter Franklin and Raymond Gray. Walter Franklin served in the cavalry during the Spanish-American war at the turn of the century. "Kep" graduated from high school in Franklin in 1914 at the age of 19. He had worked with his father at the Atlantic Refining Company (oil) where his father was a master machinist.

In 1917 SMK Jr. was working for J. Howard Smiley at the local stock brokerage where he had access to books and did stock price posting on the large board.

Samuel Miller Keplinger Jr. volunteered for the American Field service along with another man from Franklin, Maxwell (Max) Rose. He was on the ship "Touraine" on July 6, 1917 and arrived in Bordeaux, France on July 10, 1917.

Samuel returned to the United States in March of 1919. He began work at Mr. J.H. Smiley's brokerage but was not allowed the same responsibilities that he had enjoyed before volunteering in the American Field Service. He left the brokerage employment and, in either 1919 or 1920, traveled to Parkdale, Oregon where he lived with Charles S. Bowe, an apple and pear orchardist. He worked as a rodman on a survey crew surveying the section of the Mount Hood Loop Highway that bypassed Parkdale. He also worked as a "ditch walker" checking the integrity of irrigation ditch-banks in the Parkdale area.

Samuel met Nettie Platt who, with her twin sister Nellie from Waterloo Iowa, was working in the general store, in Parkdale, owned by Robert McIsaac. In November of 1923, Samuel and Nettie were married, moved to Portland, Oregon and later to Southern California. They had two children, Elizabeth Platt (b 1924) and Miller Mitchell (b 1930).


SOMME --- 8/2/1917 to 10/30/1917