Diary of S. S. U. 19

AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE

 

MY MARRAINE

Oh petite «marraine ».
Living in Epernay;
Do you love me just the same
As you did that happy day
When I stopped you on the street
To inquire an address
And you looked so awfully sweet
That I wanted to caress?
Then you showed me the place
Where I wished so much to go.
And I could tell by your face
That it was your house, you know.
And we had a little tea,
And we played a little game.
Now, how often, do you think of me
My Epernay "Marraine".

Robert M. SCHOLLE

 

OCTOBER

Our last number of the diary left the men en repos at M... Those were good old days for they smacked of fire-places, pine logs, rabbit hunts, walks and felling trees. The quarters there were better than we had ever had before or since. We were quartered five or six in a room. Each room had a good fire place. Like Sam McGee, this was the first time we'd been warm since we left home. Around the fires at night the talk went back to the days at G. a. B. and though we were happy by our hearth we longed nevertheless to be busy once more. Thus passed the early part of October.

Oct. 9. --- "Shorty " Longhlin, Ed. Shaw and Father Jatho returned from a permission passed in the Alpes.
Oct. 10. --- "Billy Sunday" Winslow returned from a few days spent at Paris. Chef Mac Pherson has started a co-operative where may be purchased chocolate, cigarettes, cakes, snatches, briquet supplies, chewing gum, writing paper, etc. M. Fesquet, maréchal des logis, is in charge of the French end of the section during Lieut. Lory's absence on permission.
Oct. 12. --- Woolf has been taken to the hospital with an attack of appendicitis.
Oct. 13. --- "Walk" Smith, "Mike" Dougherty, Belcher, "Dixie" Bridgers, "Billy Sunday" Winslow, "Brandy" Symonds and sous-chef Willcox who started out with the section when it was first organized, have left, some returning to the States, others are entering some other service. They have all completed six months of service.
Oct. 14. --- Pay day for the new men.
Oct. 15. ---

Six of the men --- Catuna, Hoskins, Scholle, Gildersleeve, Smith and Nash have made a bet not to shave till we move.

It looks now as if they would be rivals of Old Rip. How dangerous too! Just think what would happen if their beard caught in the fan of their voiture.

Bigelow starts on permission.

17. --- Chef Mac Pherson on permission.
23. --- Sous-chef Rie announces the following appointments under the government service, 1st Serg. Paul- Rie, Sergeant Chas. A. Shaw, Corporal Herbert E. Bigelow.
24. --- Word came that we are to move. Chef Mac Pherson returns.
25. --- Woolf returns with his appendix.
26. ---

With everything in readiness to move --- the men were awakened at 5 :30. In groups of three under Bigelow, Rie, "Shorty " Longhlin and A. Shaw --- the men set forth to their respective posts. Each group has been assigned to a certain contingent on the march--- to pick up all who fall out. Every road is burdened with soldiers on the march, pack trains, gun carriages, baggage animals, wagons, smoking kitchens, trailers and ambulances. Our cars were kept busy all the time.

The day was cold and gray. A mist hugged the ground, so thick that the marching soldiers looked like a phantom army appearing for a minute only to be lost again to view. In and out of the mist one could see the busy little ambulances, darting, dodging and snarling up and down hills, thru dirty ruined towns carrying sick and footsore. I can not tell you how many men those cars carried or how far they travelled only they worked until the weary engines were glad to cry enough. We put up for the night in an old deserted house at I... cold and uninviting. Our of our cars under Woolf hit a cow but outside of that the blessés were few. It was dark when the cars began to arrive.

Oct. 27. --- Up at 5:30. Like ants on a loaf of bread the cars climbed the neighboring hills for another days hard work. Another town to sleep in --- thirty five, in the garret of an inn at M...
Oct. 28. --- Still on the move To night we camped at I... Our abode is a loft, cold and airy. We are to stay at I... till further notice.
30. --- Discovered two cooks. Owing to the departure of our French cook for parts remote, it looked as if the section would have to fast, but Geo. Smith and Hoskins offered their services. Not only did they provide some tempting dishes but created a new dish : "Apple Duff Dix-Neuf.

 

NOVEMBER

Nov. 1 ---

We move to a new stable. More room and less smell.

Lavender and Scholle gave a party. American cigars and white wine were the refreshments.

2. ---

Hoskins takes charge of the setting up exercices.

Top Sergeant Rie left to-day for the school at Sandricourt.

4. --- Royce spends his permission in Paris. The days are much the same, except for kitchen, cantonment, car duties and the regular setting up work we are free.
9. --- Pay day. Mon vieux our chef's dog was injured by a camion.
12. ---

Seven new men arrived to day. Six of them are from the Allentown Camp. Shepard conies to us as cook. He has cooked in the regular army for three years.

The seven were sent out from Paris to Chalons. From Chalons they were sent to S... At S... they were told that our division was at C... M. Hearing that our division had moved they embarked on a train. Without blankets and very little money they travelled three days. Cabinned in stuffy cars - half-frozen they arrived at I... only to be told that our section was not there. Back they came to Paris where there finally put on our track.

The following is a list of the men:

Car Name Home College
619 Williams, Harry J. N.-Y. City

Fordham
615 McGovern, Paul J. Meriden. Ct.

U. of P.
624 Hope, Wm Bridgeport. Ct.

"
595 Smith, J. M. Rutledge, Pa.

"
616 Jenney, E. B. Bennington, Vt.

"
636 Heraty, Philip. Mauch Chunk.

"
  Shepard, James. Fort Bliss, Tex.  

Nov. 13 ---

To-night a party was held in honor of the new men.

Hoskins has been appointed chauffeur of the staff car.

Nov. 14. --- Shepard takes up his duties as cook. Jenney is placed in charge of the setting-up work.
17. ---

Inspection of machines and drivers Seemed like Sunday. Every body dressed up.

Chef Mac Pherson goes to Paris to take his oath of office as First Lieutenant.

18. --- Word came for the section to move. Ed. Shaw, Longhlin, Geo. Smith and Nash take up duties at our two posts at R...
19. --- Lieut. Mac Pherson and First Sergeant Rie returned to-day from Paris. Thru the efforts of Serg. Shaw and Corp. Bigelow the Section was successfully moved to S... Every thing had been transferred and places were being assigned the men when the officers arrived. We are quartered in a muddy village in the lofts of several barns. Scholle who dislikes rats finds the new apartments anything but pleasant to sleep in.
20. ---

Lavender, Royce, Vail and Jatho set off under Sgt. Rie, to relieve the men at posts.

I wish I could tell you my first impressions on beholding R... Imagine yourself suddenly thrust into a deserted city. All the marks of former beauty and prosperity remain even in the midst of ruins. The Church bells are silent. The car tracks no longer rattle to the moving car. The fancy shops which had formerly echoed to shouts and merry laughter, the gossip and flirtation of bargain days are silent, deserted, many a crumbled heap of plaster and bricks.

Heaps of débris fill all the streets. Broken glass lies every where. Whole blocks have been burned or shell torn to mere skeletons of chimneys and walls. Overall, the spires of the cathedral still cast their holy shadow --- like a mother determined to defend her purity and her children from all wrong. Silently we sent our cars along the paved way. No traffic or busy shoppers to be dodged. No traffic policeman to stop us. Only a dead wounded city to think of and a few shells to tell us our mission.

We have two posts one in a wine merchants house, the other in a hospital.

 Nov. 21. ---

The guns are roaring. It is raining. Think of the soldiers in the trenches. Jatho is sent to the advanced posts.

Catuna, Hope, Heraty and McGovern arrived for duty. There are to be five men at one place and three at the other.

Hardly a house but has a scar. In one park of the city is an arch---erected by Caesar to Mars the God of War. What a grim joke to the shell torn city. This evening there was a coup de main. Many shells were sent into the city.

Hope and Catuna were dispatched during the evening in company with Rie to our outposts. The shells from time to time gave them a clear view of their route. Jatho was despatched for wounded to another outpost.

Nov. 25. --- Solomon Garden of Corona, Alabama was added to this section and arrived to-day. Garden has attended the University of Alabama and Columbia. He has been assigned car 630.
27. ---

The second group of men under Sgt. Shaw, composed of Longhlin, Ed. Shaw, Nash, Woolf, Geo. Smith, Catuna, Hope, and Williams --- relieved the men at R...

J.M. Smith has been appointed assistant mechanician.

28. ---

Unusual activity at R... Anti-air craft guns busy. Longhlin returned from a twenty-four hour leave to Paris.

Jenney returns from hospital.

Nov. 29. ---

Thanksgiving Day.

Unusual activity in the Kitchen. Thru the efforts of Lieut. Mac Pherson and Serg. Rie two turkeys were discovered "somewhere in France." The section proved weak hearted when it came time to kill the birds so some French soldiers came to the rescue.

When roasted a goodly portion was taken to the men at the posts together with other good "eats". The men at S... sat down to dinner at 6:30 and I think it was truly a day of thanks--- giving if the menu had anything to do with it.

Potage
Vegetable Soup

Entrée
Roast Turkey and dressing à la S...
Brown gravy --- apple sauce

Vegetables
Potatoes baked brown
Turnips boiled

Salad
Salade à la Française

Dessert
Nuts, figs, dates, apples, cakes

Coffee
Wines and champagne.

Nov. 30. --- The men at posts under a heavy shell fire.


S. S. U. 19 ALUMNI

"Billy Sunday" Winslow had a narrow escape from drowning when the Finland was torpedoed.

Bridgman and Johnson are now flying alone.

Alexander doing well in aviation. Willcox has taken up work with the Red Cross.

Symonds is in artillery.

Ex-chef Gillespie led a volunteer section of Red Cross ambulances to Italy.


 

DECEMBER

Owing to the fact that half the section is on duty at one place, half at another it is rather difficult to keep track of the doings of all the men. One week half the men under Serg. Shaw take up their work at R... while the rest of the men under Serg. Bigelow do evacuation work at S... The two groups change places every other week.

At R... the quarters are comfortable, some of the men being lodged in a house formerly occupied by a prosperous wine merchant.

A garage close by furnishes a protection for the cars. Some men live at the hospital, a large affair where the great rooms for the sick and wounded are twenty-five feet under ground.

At S... we have a barn and a dark dirty house to live in. The barn is much the worse of the two.

Lavender was made corporal early in the mouth.

At R... there is some activity but not as much as advertised. Every fair day sees many aero-plane battles. The shells come in frequently. We have been occupied lately in carrying men gassed by shells. Heraty, Vail and Bigelow came face to face with a gas attack but did not get enough to do harm.

Perhaps the narrowest escape was that of Shorty Longhlin. He set out to get some wood when a shell exploded close at hand. A piece of the éclat landed one foot away from where he stood.

Another day "Ed" Shaw and the Corporal went after a blessé to one of our forward posts. While there a gas shell came in. I asked "Ed" to tell me about it. This is his story: The corporal and I had just landed at the out post when we saw there was something wrong. I felt a queer sensation around my nose. Then I began to sneeze and I sneezed for nigh on to twenty minutes the corporal doing the same.

Most of the men in the section go after blessés. Jenney makes them. One day he hit two Frenchman, one wagon and ran into a ditch. Another day he tried knocking down a wall. I am not allowed here to give any casualties.

Two faces that we are always glad to see appeared during the middle of the month. Lieut. Lory paid the section a visit. Ralph Cousins returned from hospital.

We are busy these days. There are many sick to be taken to the various hospitals.

The shelling has increased. Two civilians were killed close by.

The day before Christmas. A melancholy day for most of us.

I know we were all thinking that there is no place like home. It is raining out but seems to be getting colder.

X mas day.

The men under Serg. Bigelow spent the day at R.

At S. thru the generosity of Lieut. Mac Pherson a X mas tree and decorations adorned the dining Room.

"Shorty" Longhlin said to Serg. Shaw,

What do you say about asking the fellows of the Section to chip in and give the kids of the village a Real American Christmas.

All thought the idea a good one. Lieut. Mac Pherson and Serg. Rie were solicited. Both responded generously. The men of the section were next appealed to. Down in their pockets they went and when Shorty got thru there was enough money to choke a cow. Then a purchasing committee started forth. They bought soldiers, horses, horns, mechanical toys, dolls, sewing sets, furniture for doll houses, candy, bonbons. An auto was needed to carry the spoils. Christmas afternoon seventy nine children. gathered around a lighted Christmas Tree --- piled high with toys. One hundred and fifty eight eyes bulged from half that number of happy boys and girls.

Then as each was handed a toy they passed thru a phalanx of ambulance boys passing out candy. Well-every kid in the village was happy and I guess the boys of the section forgot some of their blues.

In the evening a sumptuous feast of turkey and many other goodies was set before the men. Some of the good things were also sent to the men at duty at R...

Lieut. Mac Pherson during the course of the evening presented each of the men with a silver identification tag as a Christmas Gift.