We are grateful to Mr Thomas Goubeaux of Fayetteville Georgia, USA for permission to reproduce the WW1 Diary of his grandfather, Dr Albert Franklin Sarver who was born on September 3rd 1888 and died July 31 1976.
Dr Sarver served in France during WW1 as a First Lieutenant in the AEF and kept a diary of his experiences of his journey through Canada, America and England to France.
Dr M. G. Miller, Editor
Left Camp Funston May 21,1918 with first section of the First Battalion 355th Regiment 89th Division. Got away promptly at 3:30 without any hitch in loading our recruits. No tears were shed upon our departure. Everyone delighted to say goodbye to the famous Sand Storm Country. Over the Union Pacific we wheeled along in fine style. Going through the various cities and country everybody was raising their arms and saying farewell to us. If all the kisses landed where they were intended, every man would have had his share.
We arrived at Kansas City and then had a royal reception. We did not stop at Union Station as we expected to. Our officer who was in the midst of his toilet preparations was paged for one of the dearest and "the only girl in the world" (Hazel) was awaiting to greet him and say "Goodbye" until this great struggle is over. With both hearts bleeding we were compelled to part with the sweetest thought of a future time when we again could meet.
Our train left at 8:30 in the midst of hundreds of people saying "Goodbye" and asking a thousand questions, if so and so was on the train, where we were from etc. and all we could say was "Join the army and find out, we did not know".
Our "chow" was prepared in the Mess Car and distributed to the men in the cars from G.I. cans consisting of hot coffee, bread, cold tomatoes, beans, and corn beef. This we received three times a day and everybody enjoyed it too. We were very tired and retired about 9:30. After admiring the beautiful photo and sampling the Box of Morse Chocolates presented to me at Kansas City, I fell asleep.
This a.m. we arrived in St. Louis, stopping in the yards near Union Station troops detrained and upon the invitation of the "Y", everyone got a good shower bath, plenty of food, and a royal reception from the Red Cross and the Y.M.C.A. Here I also received 500 C.C. pills from the Red Cross for troop use. With rousing cheers we left St. Louis at 10:30 and had a fine and interesting trip across Illinois to Decatur. Here in the midst of a local shower we detrained and gave the troops a small hike. While on the hike the officers were entertained by an auto ride for thirty minutes. The men were again given plenty of Red Cross cards and hearty hand-shakes. Some of Company D. squads seemed to like the place and delayed our get-away fifteen minutes. Twice daily I pass through the cars and hold my sick call distributing O.Ds and Iodine.
So far the trip has been ideal, no dust and just cool enough to be comfortable. The country is beautiful. Tonight we will pass through Fort Wayne Ind going across the North West corner of my state, "Good Old Ohio". I will probably dispense my next C.C. in Michigan.
Thurs. May 23rd
A very pretty day, somewhat cooler. Slipped out of my pajamas at 8:00 o’clock, about 90 miles from Detroit Michigan. Dispensed the O.Ds as usual. Troop has shown no loss of pep ever the effects of a long ride. We landed on Detroit at 10:30, factory whistles blowing and flags floating. Here we detrained and to our surprise found a Red Cross Dining car awaiting with sandwiches, oranges, and a cup of Java for each man. We were at the Detroit river shore and could go no more. To assist us across the river, two big ferry boats were at dock. On these they placed the cars and troops and slowly we floated across to Windsor Canada. Here the men were hiked through the town a half hour amid cheers and hurrahs with "Old Glory" and the British flags afloat from every window. True hospitality and a feeling of security seemed to exist from the five year old child to the senile. Cameras were busy, everybody shaking hands, saying hello and goodbye, good luck to you.
Most every one of these people have someone of their family tree who has paid the supreme sacrifice as a result of service; hence our cordial reception.
Each and every one was handed post cards already stamped requesting that we mail them home, which we happily did.
Here we advanced our watches one hour. Over the main trunk (Wabash) we moved out at 12:30 for Buffalo a distance of 225 miles. As we passed through the country, people would wave both Old Glory and the British flag. One unusual scene happened as we were passing a farm house which was only a few hundred feet from the track; a middle aged woman was offering a prayer from her front porch. Our next stop was at St. Charles, 18000 population (before the war). Here we were entertained for 3/4 of an hour and had a visit with the Canadians. The greatest thing that attracted my attention here was the abundance of Fire Works on sale. According to my memory I could not associate them with our Independence Day, July 4th A well cultured lad who was clerking here informed Lieutenant Clear that the 24th of May was "Empire Day". We entrained and our next stop was at Simcoe; A very small but entirely patriotic place. We took several pictures here and some aboard the train from Windsor to Simcoe.
Had an unusual menu for supper and everybody is well. We pass through Buffalo and Niagra tonight about 12:30 and I will have to make a special trip to visit there.
May 24th Midnight
The most of we officers were desirous of seeing Buffalo at midnight which we did. Crossed the Niagra river and Erie canal on a swinging International Bridge and we were again on U.S. soil. We were taken to the Lehigh Station and while the train was being iced and watered the O.D., three corporals and myself found a place where we could get "Ham and". While eating a Canuck soldier under the influence of Old Crow said the wrong thing about our good old U.S.A. It gave us great pleasure in calling him; and letting him know that then he could go over the top again.
We left Buffalo over the Lehigh valley at 3:00a.m. However being in slumber land I did not know it.
From the rattle and clatter I was awakened at Sayre Pennsylvania. Here we had a short visit and left for the ride down the beautiful Shenandoah River to Wilkes-Barre. Here we detrained and the Red Cross again furnished the troops with cigarettes and cards. Remained here 3/4 of an hour and with a double header we pulled out amid cheers. The beautiful mountain and valley scenery is beyond description. If my pictures are o.k. they will verify my opinion.
I spent most of the trip through Pennsylvania on the rear coach taking pictures. After a splendid ride we came to the little mountain town of Mauch Chunk (views); the men were given calisthenics and drill here for 3/4 hour. The weather ideal and not dusty, everybody in good shape. We did not atop in Allentown; entered Jersey about 3 p.m. The country a little more level and more modern improvements. We are now at outskirts of Jersey City near a park where the cardiacs and the lemon pie boys are canoeing with their 'gals'. The cheers of our boys get as much response as they would at a country grave yard. My observations have been that the men of middle and younger age do not cheer us a great deal but possess a look of fear and afraid they are next.
The factory and rail road engines are giving us a few good blasts as we pass them here in Jersey City.
Had a pleasant trip through the marshes and ship building yards to the 23rd ferry. Here we spent the night aboard i.e. (enlisted personnel). We nine officers went over to New York City and after taking in Broadway and a feed at Rectars, we decided to go to Zigfield's midnight follies, this we enjoyed very much. We returned to Jersey City after the show and had a few minutes of hay, at 6 a.m. we entrained. All aboard on a ferry we sailed up East River to Long Island Station. Here again a Section was awaiting to take us to our final destination. Leaving at 10:00 a.m. we arrived at Camp Mills at 11 a.m. Very pretty country, fine homes near Hempstead. The Headquarters train was first on the scene and had the stage all set for us and we soon were at home again in tentage structures. Camp is twenty miles from New York. I have a tent 6x6 to myself. It makes a nice home, candle lights and board floors. Aireoplanes are flying above us by the dozens and attract as much attention as our chin straps do in the east.
The Second Battalion just landed and they are very busy distributing their barrack boys and getting ready for Bully-Beef.
A very fine day and to make it all the greater, I was a victim of a surprise attack caused by the presence of my Brother Earl and Uncle Harry. To say the least I was overwhelmingly surprised. We spent the day about camp and adjacent territory. Uncle Harry returned to N.Y. City via Inter-urban from Country Life Press and Earl returned with me.
That night we spent at Garden City Hotel, a Long Island Bon Ton Hotel.
Monday May 27th
The usual sick call at 7 a.m. and it looks like more of the army is on the sick call than effective. Diagnosis; sick of the army and trying to get before the "Benzem Board" but no chance.
Our daily work consists of daily inspection of the Regiment which takes about 3 hours of solid work for six officers.
Earl came out to camp about 10 a.m. and had army hash with me. We ate in my tent. He will spend the night with me in camp. Slight rain today but warm.
Nothing new or exciting. Earl seemed to like his bed o.k.
At 3:00 p.m. we went to N.Y. City and had dinner with Uncle Harry's and Mary. Uncle Earl and I went to the Casino Theater, Clifton Crawford in 'Fancy Free'. Very entertaining, returned at 12 flat and chatted until 2:00 then retired.
Bath the first thing in a real tub with real water. Earl did not need it but being in the City, he wanted to do something 'so different'. Had a fine breakfast. Uncle played and sang a few selections and Mary demonstrated her works of art etc. We then went down town where Earl and Uncle saw me off at the Long Island Station.
Returned to camp and had two Big letters from Hazel, one from Maude and one from Rosella. HAPPY DAY.
Earl stayed at city tonight; will come out tomorrow. It is much cooler and the Long Island mosquitoes are not so bad tonight.
Usual routine, nothing of any consequence happened.
The entire group of Division Officers shook hands with Major General Wood biding him goodbye. Weather Fine.
Sunday June 2nd
All the baggage is being transported to cars to be taken to pier, Hoboken New Jersey. Everything is ship shape. Camp is well visited by sweethearts and wives and mothers.
Aboard The Baltic
Monday June 3rd 1918
We left Camp Mills at 10:00a.m. with 2nd and 3rd Battalion moved over to tracks and there entrained in 16 coaches. Arrived at Long Island City (20 miles) at 11 a.m. There we detrained and were ferried down East river around the battery to 34th St. White Star Docks, Pier No. 59. There were several liners waiting and everybody was soon busy trying to guess the lucky boat. Debarked from the ferry and entered Pier 12 M. Here the Red Cross greeted us with sandwiches and hot coffee. After sailing orders were finally completed, we embarked at 1:30 p.m. aboard the S.S. Baltic. My orders called for Stateroom #50, Bed #3, Deck B. Passenger list included Headquarters 2nd and 3rd Battalion of 355th regiment and the Battalion Headquarters #26 and #29. Lieutenant Merideth Helm and Lieutenant John Ballinger and myself have the same Stateroom.
The Baltic is a sister ship to the Adriatic on which is our first Battalion and part of our convoy (650 ft. Long and during the war she goes by No.509. All camouflaged boats go by numbers. One year ago General Pershing sailed for France on the same Boat. About the time we went aboard the news reached New York City of the submarine scare-15 vessels had been sunk 75 miles out. Such news was unpleasant but no one weakened. We anxiously awaited a confirmation of the report. Later reports did not confirm the original one and everybody felt much more at ease. However this news caused President Wilson to close the port until further notice which was 24 hours. We spent the night aboard; at 12:00 o’clock the whistle blew and promptly we were tugged away from the pier to Mid-Hudson and then we were on our own. Passing down the Hudson through the narrows, waving our farewell salute to the famous Statue of Liberty and secretly harboring a thought as to how soon we would see her again.
After we were under sail for one hour, we joined our convoy which was awaiting us just outside the narrows.
Owing to the recent sub scare, we were well protected and constantly observed by a Man-of-War, 4 submarine chasers, 6 torpedo boat destroyers, hydroplanes, observation balloons and dirigibles. Positions in the convoy were as follows;
Freight Camouflaged man-of-war
Troop ship Troop ship Battle ship
Troop ship Adriatic
During the p.m. there was a meeting of the officers in the second class dining saloon deck.
To arrange for inspection of troops and sick call-To learn concerning life boat drill, position of boats and where each person was to go in the event of a raid.
The sea and weather could not be much more pleasant. Everybody is busy learning all about the ship and getting all out of life that he can. Breakfast is at 7 a.m. -Lunch at 12-Tea 4 p.m. and Dinner at 6 p.m. The food is excellent and the food could not be better. Our position in the convoy remains the same. No sea sickness - Average about 10 to 12 knots per hour. Retire about 11 p.m. after an agreeable evening in the smoking saloon.
Weather fine, sea calm, positions same. Everybody becoming acquainted. Very busy watching for subs (Boche) with our dirigibles and hydroplanes above us, very thrilling. Have lost trace of our torpedo boats, presume they have returned to their base. Our Man-of-War maneuvers all around the convoy.
Daily routine consists of breakfast at 7a.m., at our leisure until 10a.m. have life boat drill, inspection of troops for contagious diseases and vermin at 10:30. Lunch at 12:00, boat drill at 4 p.m, sick call at 4:30. There is a great deal of amusement aboard learning to play Shuffle Board, Quoits, medium ball, cards, chess, checkers and piano music.
The most interesting place for observations is on the sun deck. Here you can see as far as your vision will carry. It looks as though you were going over a hill and would never get to the crest. On deck A is where most amusements are, smoking saloon and lounge are on this deck. Deck A, Port side mid-ship is where my state room is located. Dining room and enlisted men are on the lower decks and steerage.
Weather and sea ideal, everybody anxious to arise and see the beautiful ocean early in the a.m.-Usual daily routine and sports. Men are all in good condition and enjoying the voyage very much. The food is very poor. The only person I know of former acquaintance is Maj. Jork which means Columbus, O. We are now being convoyed by one Man of War and are 900 knots at sea.
It is reasonably safe from subs in mid-ocean. Band concert, starboard deck A, this p.m. enjoyed by all.
Sea calm, usual boat drill and games. Nobody sea sick, good food. Regular million dollar voyage so far.
High winds, sea rather rough. Boats going through some fine maneuvers caused by the ground waves about 400 ft. Long. Several people are dizzy and feel slightly confused but not really sea sick. Surface waves are very interesting, rather rough full of white caps, average 5 to 8 ft. high. However they do not effect the Baltic.
After a rolling night several did not have breakfast. The sea still remains rough but interesting. So far I have not felt the slightest sea sickness. Wind rather cool, wearing my short overcoat. Several porpoises were visible today; following the other boats. Daily inspection, concert, games etc.
Sea rough all night. Kept me rolling about in my berth but I slept rather well just the same. The waves were high enough to clear Deck C. Our convoy looks as though they were going backwards due to the waves traveling forward faster than we are. We are not far from the European sub-district. Everybody jokes about them, however we may see them just the same. We carry life belts with us continuously. A heavy fog exists and it is a bit hard to keep our formation. The troops receive their calisthenics daily. Services were held by two YMCA men who are en route with us for duty in France. I played cards, shuffle-board and slept most of the day. We get wireless news about chief points of interest from both coasts.
Heavy fog exists. Sea more calm. Water about 42 degrees F, getting pretty well north. We are out of the Gulf stream. Have been going a zig-zag course all day. Ocean is very interesting. Full of mountains and white caps. I have felt a bit dizzy at times but never sea sick. Saw the crew tow in the Buoy from stern this a.m. this is used to splash water at night so the boat astern can easily see us. Meals are excellent and everybody seems happy.
Dense fog, sea choppy. Makes it difficult to operate subs. Our speed has checked to about 7 knots per hour. Rather chilly. Daily inspection, concert in dining saloon. Everything fine.
Rainy and sea high. About 30 degrees from North pole and not far from Iceland. Very cold. Now sailing in eastwardly direction. Everybody becoming on the alert for subs as we are not far from the most dangerous zone. Now 800 knots off coast of Ireland. Sleep with my trousers on and heavy wool. Ready to jump in the event of an attack. Boat lists a bit but not enough to make a person sea sick.
Going directly toward Ireland, a bit warmer. Sea high but extremely beautiful. Waves average from 10 to 40 feet high. White caps and bright sun. Have not met our U boat destroyers as yet. Slight anxiety exists.
The Union Jack was placed on the Man-of-War indicating we are on British waters. Orders came out today for everybody to wear life belts in proper position and have canteens filled with drinking water and keep them on all the time. Little sleep we will get tonight. Usual drill and activities aboard. Everybody is of good cheer and ready to debark when the proper time comes. Passed a convoy of vessels returning to the states. We have a six inch gun over our stern, 1 howitzer on port and another on starboard sides forward. Both fire depth bombs.
Did not take long to prepare for breakfast this morning for this day we are in the midst of waters infested with subs. About 200 knots from the narrows between Scotland and Ireland. Everybody slept with their clothes on and ready to jump if our boat is punctured but all are of good cheer and ready for excitement. The sea is a bit rough due to the fact that we are now where the gulf stream and Arctic waters come in contact. This p.m. at 2 o'clock 9 sub chasers met us and we were relieved of a great suspense. They are game little fellows and will put up a great scrap shows himself. They comb the waters continuously forward and astern. Nobody sleeps tonight and everybody at 3 a.m. The most dangerous place is in the narrows and Irish sea. Our baggage is on Deck C forward ready to debark tomorrow if we are to do so. I spent all p.m. and evening on the sun deck watching the beautiful sea and maneuvering of the vessels. A sight that is worth any man's life. We have sighted the Scotland shore and are now not far from where the Tuscania was plugged and can see numerous light houses on the Scotland shore. Our speed is about 8 knots. It does not get dark until about 9:30. This is due to the Northern Lights. Boat drill suspended today and probably will not have any more baring emergency. Horizon is very clear.
Sailing between northern Scotland and Ireland, very dangerous and sea is dotted with destroyers. The Irish Sea is very pretty, green water. To our right is the Isle of Mann where England has 130,000 Boche prisoners of war. It is about six hours ride until we get to Liverpool which is on the river Grace. At last we have sighted Liverpool. At the harbor we awaited a pilot to take us to the docks. We arrived at Liverpool at 5 p.m. anchored and the band played "Hail Hail the Gangs all Here' we even danced and the passing ferry boats all gave us a welcome cheer. Stayed in dock all night.
Debarked at Landing No. 39 in five sections. After the baggage was unloaded, the various sections debarked in formation and were ushered to the great western depot and started for somewhere in England. After being served by the Red Cross, everyone mailed his cards. At 11:30 my section debarked during a heavy shower and marched through Liverpool to the depot. Here I had lunch at the depot hotel and at 1:30 we entrained and our daylight trip through England from Liverpool to Romsey was very pretty except the accommodations stopping at Birmingham, Oxford, Winchester and many other smaller places. Before entraining at Liverpool a British Officer presented King Georges compliments. At 11:30 p.m. we landed at Romsey where we detrained and hiked one mile to Camp Woodley. Got to bed at 3 a.m. Days are fairly warm but nights are chilly. Our lockers and bed rolls go direct to France and all we have for our comfort is three issue blankets and straw sack. The camp is beautifully situated in the midst of a small grove of flowers. Have tentage structures with board floors. Rains frequently.
Visited Romsey, quaint old village. Romsey Abbey is the chief attraction, built about 907 A.D. by King Arthur. Visited Winchester, here is St. Mary's Abbey built a few years later and contains King Arthur's original Round Table. Just at the northern outskirts of the city is a steep hill where Caesar marched his troops when the Romans had possession. Winchester was England's former capitol.
The roads here are nearly all macadamized are narrow and have holly hedge fences. They are all in good state of preservation. Several British camps are in this vicinity. All conveyances, civilian are the one horse shay and bicycles.
We are not doing a great deal for this is a rest camp. Have a daily inspection of troops and sick call. Had a regimental review this a.m. for a Tommy Colonel. At present I am writing under an English Walnut tree lying upon my blankets. This is a country of gardens, hedges, flowers and colonial homes covered with vines. They never destroy a tree or shrub. They do very little farming. People are showing signs of wear and tear of four years of terrible war.
Reveille at 7 a.m. Inspection of men at 7:45. Sick call at 9 a.m. Censored letters for two hours then shaved. Officers and soldiers were reprimanded by Colonel Sills for not keeping their shoes in better condition. In the evening after retreat Lieutenant Delmel and myself took a hike down the lane and studied English homes and habits. Got two glasses of milk from a farmer for two pennies each. Local showers. Gathered some Fox Glove, this is the plant from which digitalis is obtained. Retired at 8:30.
Usual daily routine. I drilled the detachment and Major Draper lectured to them on first aid. We are sleeping on straw sacks and are free from cooties.[Lice]. Would give a good sized bill for a good box of cigars for these English brands are worse than rotten except in price.
At present I am in bed, 9 p.m. and it is daylight. Can see many of the boys shaving by natural daylight at 10 p.m. According to the papers the Italians are showing to the Austrians. The Sammies have just started and hope to finish before Christmas.
Inspection prevailed throughout the camp. Weather is a bit chilly. Two cases of scarlet fever developed and now quarantine prevails.
Got up at 5:30 to inspect regiment before breakfast. 1400 men leave for Southampton to embark for France, a twelve mile hike. They will cross channel tonight. At present I have a big tent and double bed for my personal use. This p.m. Lieutenant Doherty and myself went to Romsey and attended services at the Romsey abbey. Being the church of England they were very similar to the Episcopalian services. The Vicar was very interesting and during services a young lady kindly gave us a service book. Lieutenant Doherty and myself strolled about the village for a brief period and on our return to camp stopped at the farmers house and had some milk, very fine-beautiful home.
Today 1000 men start for Southampton to cross the channel. Leaving camp to do guard duty, three companies, Captain Baker, myself and four corps boys.
New troops from the 83rd division, 330 Infantry Camp Sherman arrived. Had my eyes peeled for Captain Clear because I knew he would be with them. Later in the day we found each other and to try to describe our behavior would seem rather silly on paper. Nevertheless we were glad to welcome each other and spent 48 happy hours together in camp and environs. Weather excellent.
Captain Clear and myself went to Romsey. Enjoyed the village together and enroute we were shown Lady Lewis' mansion. A typical English home. To attempt to describe it and do justice would consume too much time and paper. Picture a big colonial house situated in the midst of a well kept garden of roses in the middle of a small forest surrounded by a high wall of variegated holly and ferns. Two big gardens under glass growing all kinds of fruit, grapes, figs, oranges and vegetables; this one is called the kitchen garden. Close by is another one in which you will find all kinds of flowers. Particularly was impressed by the beautiful growth of Canterbury bells and Fuchsia. We spent about two hours here.
We received orders to leave for Southampton and at 9 a.m. we were on the march, 10 miles distant. Passed by Robin Hood Woods and at 1 p.m. we were at Southampton. I bummed a ride on a truck and consequently arrived before the troops did. I waited at the rest camp for the column and they arrived at 1 p.m. In the meantime I caught a train into the city and had lunch at the Savoy Tea Room, had a fine lobster salad, tea etc. Took in a few department stores and returned to camp at 4 p.m. we arrived at the dock and waited to go aboard our vessel, the 'St. George' which we did at 6 p.m. Had dinner aboard at 7 p.m. Troops as well as officers were packed like sardines in a can.
I slept in a smoker saloon as did other officers, men were on deck and lower decks. The channel was quiet and we were soon off. Passed out through the channel between England and Isle of Wight, the late Queen Victoria's home and Nestors mammoth hospital on the British land proper. After a desperate late in the night I went to sleep. We were kept awake by a mob of Kentucky artillery replacement troops who were on the Starboard side. Awakened at 5 a.m. and we had docked at La Havre France. Debarked at 7 a.m.
From here we went to an American Rest camp at the edge of La Havre, slept on the ground, had three blankets and the nights were extremely cold. Had a good mess which was conducted by the American YMCA. Everybody was almost exhausted from the night ride and hard march. French people were very courteous and presented with a big bouquet of flowers as a token of their appreciation. American flags were predominant.
Examined troop and repaired feet. Rested most of the day, learned to say "Oui Oui" etc. Having been here thirty six hours we were permitted a pass from 4 to 10 p.m. Several of us visited the city. Here I met Dan Ryan who was with the 83rd artillery. His tent was only a few yards from mine. Also by this time I saw Frank Clear again, quite a remarkable coincidence.
At twelve noon our outfit was ordered to entrain for somewhere in the interior of France. We marched to the Railroad station and there awaited thirty box cars and two second class cars for officers. A box car can accommodate forty men or eight horses and as the colored soldier well put it, that was one time he wished he was a horse.
We put our rations aboard and at 6 p.m. our train pulled out heading for the south central part of France. Rode for two days and one night with no sleep, cold bully beef etc. Train stopped long enough for the real energetic and vain soldiers to shave at a watering tower.
At 4 a.m. arrived at Liffole Grand and under heavy pack over mountainous reads marched to our billets a distance of 8 kilo’s. Division Headquarters Chairmont Vosges.
Regimental Headquarters Grand Vosges.
1st Battalion Headquarters Company, billeted at Grand
2nd Battalion billeted at Breochenville
3rd Battalion billeted at Alienville
Captain Baker and myself are with the 1st Battalion at Grand, billeted in an ancient monastery now part of a public school and also used for an infirmary. It is very comfortable compared with what we have been having. My first real French bed.
This villa has about 1000 people, provincial and ancient, inhabitants are mostly peasants who live in the small town and cultivate their small farms during the day. The city square is used for a cow and sheep pen during the night. The people are very kind to us and seem to enjoy life in their antique ways. However it strikes a sammy as being very odd. The hun cavalry over ran this area two years ago and carried away with them several mademoiselles. All officers are billeted in the homes and men are in the hay-lofts and sheds. Lieutenant James and myself are in the old monastery.
Have been busy today reading seven letters from Hazel and home. My first mail for the past thirty days. I was sure glad to see my trunk and get clean clothes. Had not had my shoes off for five days.
Our National Holiday, France and Great Britain celebrated it with us for the first time. All military work was suspended. The day was memorialized by speeches, music, 355th Band and athletic exercises. Very fine day. The natives enjoyed it very much.
July 5th to 8th
Weather is fine. Troops have a very strenuous training program and they are all showing signs of hard work. This is our final training in preparation for a good punch at the Hun. On the 8th we had a regimental maneuver. I had the medical detachment and after the maneuver we followed the 3rd Battalion to Alienville and from there returned to Grand. No dinner, hiked all day and were very tired. We dine at Company B mess which is sustaining and that is about all. Captain Baker and myself are busy lecturing to the Division and Band about sanitation, cooties and first aid. We spent all four noon hours lecturing and have practice marching in the p.m. Sick call in the evening 4 p.m.
I have a good French bed and the nights are excellent for sleep. On Sundays I take a cycle ride.
Colonel Sills was relieved and sent to Headquarters A.E.F. and Lt. Colonel J. O. Taylor now commands the 355th Infantry. Over seas caps were issued today and must be worn at all times.
Received two letters from Hazel and one from Rosella, Happy days. Slight showers did not interfere with training. We are having quite a lot of influenza among the troops. Usual daily routine spent some moments in my room censoring mail, eating figs and English walnuts, also bulling the dentists Lieutenants. John Jumner and Tipton, Pine City Minnesota. And smoking real American cigars. The soldiers conduct has been A1.
There are only a few old men here. The population is mostly women and children. Every home has lost some of it’s male members sometime during the last four years.
When our Band plays the Marseillaise you can see mothers with their children about them, hearts bleeding tears flowing and the very scene brings tears to he hardest boiled Sammy. May God pity the most damnable creature living, the 'hun', when we finish with him.
July 12th to 20th
Daily routine of work. Inspection for cooties each p.m. at 4 oclock . Quite an epidemic of enteritis has developed among the 1st Battalion, due the water and hard work. Sick call of 200 men is very common.
Lieutenant Juner myself and three little French girls gathered flowers in a nearby field. They are Marcelle, Joan and La Jean. Very sweet little girls and they are lots of comfort.
Two days maneuver scheduled to practice trenches thirteen miles from here. We hiked the entire distance in a heavy rain, full pack, cold, slept in a woods and returned the 25th still raining and cold. This was one of our bitter pills. I slept leaning against a tree. Fine dope.
Took it rather quiet on account of the previous days hard work.
We have received our full medical combat equipment and are busy dividing for each Battalion. Orders are out that we soon go to occupy the front line. Separating my personal effect today, placing part in locker and rest in bedding roll. My locker will be sent somewhere and then stored, may never see it again but here's hoping. We take our bedding rolls with us.
July 28th and 29th
We spend most of the time getting ready to be transported to some front. On the evening of the 29th the truck trains arrived and we knew it was a sure go. I met a truck driver who hauled Lieutenant Mat Hunter to the Bauarat front, another coincidence.
July 30th and 31st
All loaded and were on our way to the front the 1st Battalion Headquarters, and supply Company pulled out first and bid 'au revoir' to Grand. Nearly one hundred trucks in our train.
We motored along at about ten miles per hour and arrived at Lucy at 8 p.m. We were billeted to remain here for forty eight hours.
All the officers went to the front lines on a reconnaissance mission. Details were completed to relieve the 82nd division. The 1st Battalion was to take the reserve position in Rahan Woods near Menie-a-Tour.
The 1st Battalion was loaded on a meter gauge railroad after a very tortuous ride on little flat cars. We arrived at Rahan woods about 10 p.m. dark raining and chilly, a very difficult job to billet the men. I found shelter for my men and later Lieutenant Juner, Helm and myself found a soft sandy spot in a small building.
I have been busy instructing my men concerning the duties and assignments to their Company. Two company's of the 1st Battalion will relieve two Company’s of the 82nd tonight. Lieutenant Beck M.C. and four of the boys will occupy P.C. Coude.
For the first time the 355th was starting forward to face the hun in platoon formation with connecting files. Not a whisper could be heard or the light of a cigarette be seen. They made the relief in excellent shape.
Last two companies repeated same this night as did the first two on the 6th. I went to Beaumont aid station, a very frightful and dangerous looking thing at that time. Modesty will not permit me to describe my exact feelings. These two Company's were to occupy the right of out section where Lieutenant Beck is located. We - Doyl, Cape and Fredrickson left the troops at Mandres and hiked up the road to Beaumont. Relieved the 82nd Division Medical Doctors and began to make ourselves at home. It was an excellent concrete dugout. The Boches were very kind this night for they did not shell dead man's curve or the road. I heard my first shell explode at 2 p.m. on August 8th at Beaumont. It was a 77m.m. It did not concern me a great deal, however I saw they were a bit dangerous. This sector was supposed to be a quiet one but we started the fire works.
'Jerry'; in retaliation to about 18 tons of gas put over by 82nd engineers a few days before we took over this sector, sends over into Bois de Jury and low areas a projectile gas barrage and H.E. We evacuated 300 from our battalion 700 in division, 60 died. From this event on our determination was to get the Boche.
The 2nd Battalion was at Hammondville and Mandres; 3rd Battalion at Rahan woods. Regiment Headquarters at Amiceville.
Gas still remains in Bois de Jury and low areas. P.C. Conde and low dug outs must be vacated. Lieutenant Beck and 8 corps men are gassed and evacuated. Captain Durnell comes to Beaumont and I take an advanced aid position under the Metz road. Accommodates 8 men and 14 rats.
Jerry shells our battery positions and puts over a hair-raising barrage. With every one he puts over we return our compliments with five times as many. Air battles are numerous. Was on the much spoken of 'No Man's Land' for the first time.
2nd Battalion relieves 1st, 3rd goes to support and 1st reserves. I remained at Amiceville, Regiment Headquarters. Outside of our gas casualties we did not have very many. Frequently an air burst would damage a few. Our night patrols are very active and frequently encounter a Bache patrol. At Amiceville I met Dr. Patton of Los Angeles who formerly was associated with late Washington Gladden, Colombus. Dr. Patton had charge of the Y.M.C.A. Enjoyed my rest here very much. Received a good bed and bath the first time for fifteen days.
1st Battalion moved into support, occupying Madres and Hammondville. I was at Mandres with Company C and had an excellent dugout for an infirmary. The town is very dirty and will require quite a bit of effort to put in a good condition. Boche 77 and Austrian 88 play on us quite a bit. Gas alarms are as numerous as fleas. Will stay here for seven.
Relieve 2nd Battalion at front position. Ban is lifted on gassed area and again we occupy the P.C. Conde aid station. Work is not heavy except now and then when Jerry shells come too close. Our patrols always shoot up the Boche patrol. They have lost their pep, have never succeeded in getting a prisoner from the 355th infantry. We have captured several Boche, Prussian Guard and N.C.O. oppose us. Airplane fights are daily happenings, frequently see an observation balloon come down in flames. Very difficult to decide who has control of the air. No rain, nights are cool.
My birthday, quietly spent.
We are relieved by the 2nd Battalion. We go to reserve. I am at Amiceville.
Received several letters from Hazel and home, very happy. New divisions are pulling in and artillery is almost hub to hub.
Evidently something doing soon, have recognized 42nd, 1st, 2nd, 82nd, and 26th divisions in our immediate area.
Sept. 5th, 6th
Movement and influx of troops makes this a lively area. All roads are congested each night.
Sept. 7th, 8th
355th division get orders to move to Fliery. Quite a bit of commotion at present. Five divisions now occupy where one formerly did. All regimental aid supplies are loaded on the medical carts awaiting orders to pull out Sept. 9th at 9 p.m. Raining, dark, nearly every inch of road space taken. Myself, Lieutenant Helm and six of the Corps men started for Fliery with the two medical carts. The Boche were shelling the road which we had to travel. The 'frogs' were changing position of their 'heavies' and American artillery was getting ready to swing into position. Supply trucks running at wild speed no lights and marching columns. Passed through gassed areas, several thing to contend with, several times it looked as though we would not make it. We were hubbed several times and thrown into the ditch. 'Jerry' would drop a few near us just to make it all the more thrilling. About 3 a.m. we found the regimental dump near Fliery. Mud knee deep but that gave us little concern. We unloaded our supplies and after a little reconnoitering we found re. P.C. in a concrete dugout. There wes not enough space for the troops and they billeted on the hillside. Lieutenant Helm and myself slept on the floor of the old dugout with a million others?--Rainy, dark, cold and muddy--'Jerry' still shelling.
Sept. 7th is also memorable because this is when I had my last bath.
Busy all day arranging regiment aid station for a drive to take place soon but we do not know the day or hour. Big movement of troops at night. Company sectors are now occupied by regiments.
Rainy, muddy - 'Jerry' pretty lively. This a.m. gossip circulated that we are to attack in the morning at 5 o’clock. However there is nothing official as to the hour. Everybody anxious to jump over at Jerry. Combat orders were received this p.m. Zero hour at 5 a.m. preceded by a destructive barrage to begin at 1 a.m. cease at 4:45 a.m. 'over' at 5 a.m. precede by a creeping rolling barrage. At 10 p.m. myself and Private Luke Stats went to the front trench to become thoroughly familiar with the situation. Every thing was ghastly quiet. The trenches being knee deep with mud and water made it impossible for us not to make some noise. Jerry snipers evidently heard us, anyhow it caused us to hug the trench wall close. However we accomplished our mission. At 12 o'clock complete details had reached our outfit. Myself and ten corps were scheduled to accompany the 2nd wave. We got our packs, reserve, rations and litters all set for the show. I had my medical belt, one blanket, and shelter half plenty of morphine and A.T.S. Each of the men carried two bamboo litters. At 1 a.m. hell tore loose and the bombardment was on. The skies were lighted for miles by the continuous fire of cannons. It was one continuous roar. It no doubt caused Jerry a bit of torture and he will from now on know that Sammy is after him. He frequently would send a few shells over but not enough to worry us. At 3 a.m. we began to wind our way through the communicating trenches to get in proper position while awaiting the zero hour. A couple of air bursts came close to us and shrapnel hit one of my men but he stayed with us just the same.
Beneath the barrage we awaited the zero hour when at 4:55 the destructive barrage ceased and at 5 a.m. the boy's 1st wave started, at the same time the rolling barrage and clattering machine guns played of the retreating Boche. Our 1st wave closely pursued. At 5:20 the 2nd wave followed, over we went with them. By this time the Boche heavies were playing amongst us. The tank corps preceded the infantry and smashed the Boche barbed wire and assisted in silencing machine gun nests. Most of our casualties occurred within the first two kilos. Machine gun fire caused a greater number of them. Here we were busy until 11 a.m. evacuating and rendering first aid. At 8 a.m. the Boche P.W.'s could be seen coming to the rear almost in company formation under guard. We use them as litter bearers etc. It seemed great to boss a bunch of Boche, they were a poor looking bunch of men, physically. Snipers were numerous. After the first two kilos the resistance was reduced to practically nothing. We now started to join the 355th which had gained considerable territory. After a few trying experiences, we joined them at 4 p.m. ½ kilo south of Xammes. Snipers were playing on us but there were no casualties. Our tanks entered Xammes and soon silenced them, we now had possession of Xammes. After filtering forward for half another kilo thus straightening our line of defense we received orders to 'dig in'. Had gained about 13 kilos, raining, very chilly had not had anything to eat this day for we were to busy. As we pressed forward it was interesting to note the effect of our barrage on the hun. There were dead huns everywhere our objectives had been reached. Everybody tired but mighty well pleased with the day's results. We dug small holes in the ground and there we slept for the night.
Busy straightening our line for a defense. Artillery fire was fierce at Beney and Xammes.
Captain Baker came up and I saw him the first for a few days. We established a collecting station at a cross road south of Xammes but on account of shelling we were forced to vacate. Captain McCarthy came up and we established Regiment Headquarters. At Beney.
The Bache are doing a good job toward the shelling of Xammes, Beney, Bouillionville, Theicourt, St. Benoit etc. also in the fields where the troops are.
I was with the 3rd Battalion to left of Beney. Our casualties are quite high in the towns, Austrian 88 the most dreaded of them all. This day was rather perilous for myself but after all was over it was not so bad. Was in this position for five days, have lost several officers and men. Under these conditions. Warm food is rather difficult to obtain.
First Battalion relieves us and we take up support position just to south of Beney. Artillery fire quite frequent. Captains Durmine, Delmel, and Doherty have been evacuated. Captain Baker going good and strong. Regiment Headquarters at Beney, held this position for ten days.
Our regiment is relieved by the 356th. My battalion is billeted on reverse slope of a hill to right of Bouillionville. We were in Brigade reserve. Everybody had his fox-hole and when Jerry wold send over his greetings, everybody knows his own home and consequently plenty of shelling. 1st and 2nd Battalion are billeted in Bois de Euvasin. Regiment and Infantry. Headquarters is there.
Rather busy evacuating some days. Had chance here to get warm meals. Received replacements and checked up on equipment preparatory for front line duty again.
Received orders to relieve 3rd Battalion north of Xammes. Marched all night in heavy rain, finally made the complete relief at 3 a.m. Kept us busy dodging Jerry for we passed through Xammes and Jerry shelled us continually. Raining, muddy and dark.
Our Battalion has the most advanced position north of Xammes. Shells-shells everywhere and frequent barrages of gas. Our only outlet was exposed to Boche northern gun fire and 77's. Patrols are successful and usually get prisoners. Buried three Bache in front of my aid station, graves are awaiting others. Sargent. Hoatson sent me a nice big steak. 40 of the boys and myself enjoyed it. Casualties are not so great. I evacuate about 8 or 10 a day, mostly shrapnel And M.G. cases. Rumors are that we are to be relieved soon and another sector for us.
Captain Baker evacuated. We are relieved by the 37th . The hike from Xammes to Boullionville was very unpleasant. Continuous artillery fire, rainy water and mud. Hiked to Mandres the next day.
Billeted at Mandres awaiting comeons to transport us somewhere.
All loaded into the new sector, 8hr ride, very tiresome. Unloaded at Racecourt at 6 p.m. Hiked about 2 kilos south and then we were billeted for 48hrs. More rain, were not permitted to use shelter half on account of ariel observation. Captain McCarthy and myself are the only physicians with the regiment. However today Captain Baker and Durnell return for duty which will relieve me of quite a bit of work. Mr. Spicer serves hot chocolate before we start.
Resume march from Racecourt at 6 p.m. to Argonne, 15 kilos, billeted in woods for the night in German dugouts. Mr. Spicer Y.M.C.A. and myself billeted together as we have been for past three weeks. Mud galore, very exhaustive march. Troops look it too. This is not a virgin battle field by any means. Nearly all the trees are dead. The country is one continuous chain of shell holes.
Resume march, very chippy, at 5 p.m. halt and billeted just to left of Epinonville 14 kilos march. More rain and mud, found shelter under some bushes for the night. Next day established an infirmary in a Boche dugout. Boche long range artillery was playing on us but not very disastrous.
Had sick call, Bronchitis and Enteritis very prevalent, had officers meeting General Wright outlined our duty stating that we would soon take up the fight and continue it until each company could be returned in a truck. No relief until the Armistice is signed.
Reconnaissances are made, 1st Battalion goes in front, 2nd support, 3rd reserve locates just north of Epionoiville. Influenza weakens our strength some. Several companies in 1st Battalion have been reduced to 100 men as result of machine rear guard fighting but we carry on just the same. Found my bedding roll.
My own physical condition is threatening on account of exhaustion and influenza. All insist that I be evacuated but I can't see it. I have prevailed strong enough to await results until tomorrow.
My battalion moves from here and 55 ca. moves in. I am unable to go any farther and Major Durnell evacuates me. A medical major of the Anti Air Craft Gun Company loads me in an ambulance and kindly takes me to an evacuating ambulance station, 15 kilos. Here we get some hot coffee and rolls and at 8 p.m. we were loaded into an omnibus and taken to an evacuating hospital #9. Here had my first bath since Sept 8th or 9th. Lieutenant Carey whom I knew at Fort Riley was evacuating officer. We received hot chocolate and cakes from the Red Cross. Slept between white sheets in a real bed.
The next morning about 200 hiking patients were loaded on a hospital train and evacuated to Allery Base Hospital Center. Arrived at 8 p.m. Examined and disposition made. I was at Base Hospital #49 Ward #2. Here I met Lieutenant Wilson of 42nd. Was in bed for five days. Base Hospital #26 and #25 who came over on same boat we did were located here. Had quite a nice visit with Lieutenant Reid.
Lieutenant Wilson and myself went
to Verdun and had a real steak dinner, first real food we have had for ages.
Got orders to convalescent hospital #1 located at Cannes. From now on Lieutenant Wilson and myself are together. Got our little earthly possessions together and took train to Dijon, here we spent 48 hours, good food at Red Cross hotel, formerly Hotel de Jury. Go to Lyons, visit here for 24 hours stop at Hotel Beaux Arts, next stop at Marseilles, spend 48 hours here. Had good dinner at famous Basso Restaurant. Stop at the Grand Hotel one night and next night at Poncin a very interesting city.
Report at Connes Hospital Center not opened. We are ordered to Hyeres Var San Salvador. Arrived here Nov. 8th report to Major Mac Calman and are transported to San Salvador 6 kilos from Hyeres on the Mediterranean shore, 15,000,000 Franc Hotel. Assigned to room 15th floor, twin french beds, private bath not a care in the world. Good food, excellent weather. Spend the days along the Mediterranean playing tennis and other games. Hike over the hills almost daily, splendid view of the Toulon and Hyere valley. All vegetation is tropical, palms, mimosa, aloes, eucalyptus, oranges, arbutus, pine, olive and date trees. Narcissus grows by the acre. Violets are beautiful. Made the Riviers from Hyeres to Nice by automobile. An iceland ride threw mountains to St. Raphael and from there to Cannes it is all a Carniche ride, considered the most beautiful ride in the world. Stopped several times for observation and to see the large cork tree woods. Made several visits to Toulon and Marseilles.
There are very fine French families living in this vicinity. They were very kind to the American officers. We attend church every Sunday at Hyeres (English church of England) Reverand Emery, pastor, had tea with the family several afternoons.
French families which I always wish to remember are M. et Madam Rauneau an Charlotte, M. and Madame Guidon, Madalar and Rosette. (They have beautiful villas.) Linet, Laleux, and Mlle Michel, and Madame Peyren, owner of the Castabelle, the hotel where Queen Victoria spent her time on the Cote D’Ozine, M. Rousel with whom I had many interesting walks and games of tennis.
The Red Cross activities superintended by Miss Lucile Scott kept
the fires burning for the 126th
sick and wounded officers here at San Salvador. M. Loveta, proprietor gave us several entertainments. On
New Years day had Marine Band from Toulon also the celebrated French Cellist M. Hollman. There were numerous
receptions in honor of the French officers who were living at the Hotel Mt. De Aiseaux. Base Hospital #99
takes charge of the Hospital Center consisting of the following hotels, Isle Dare, Palnuers, Chauteaubrian Golf,
and Castabelle for enlisted men, San Salvador officers.
Armistice signed and everybody happy. I have gained about 19 lbs. And am feeling fine. Weighed 130 lbs. at Alleray, now I weigh 149 lbs. Received my official orders to return to good old U.S.A on Dec. 26th. On account of having put in my voucher I can't get away.
Received my pay check. Lieutenant Wilson and myself leave San Salvador for Bordeaux via Paris on January 7th. Ride in a big Cadillac to Marseilles for 24hrs. Left for Paris next a.m. Arrived on the 8th. Registered at the American University Union Hotel. Went sight in a.m. and shopping in p.m. and show at night. 1. Applo 2. Follies Bergere 3. Casino de Paris. Saw Maximes, Henry's Cape de Paris, Cape de Paix.
Took stroll down Champ Elysees to Arc de Triomphe. Saw the Tuilliries, Invalides, Louvre, Madelon and Notre Dame. Had our luncheon at Louvre Hotel operated by Red Cross and Dinner at Hotel Richmond operated by Y.M.C.A. Good service and food. Spent three very interesting days.
On the 11th we left Paris for Tours and from there to Greives and there luckily and happily found my locker. Stayed all night at Greives and came to Tours next day.
Met several officers from the 37th division. Knew most of them for they were from Columbus also heard that Lieutenant Mat Hunter was O.K.
At Tours saw Lieutenant Joe Marts January 12th, had a very pleasant evening together. Late that night left for Bordeaux.
Reported to Embarkation Camp, Colonel Spike Hennessey commanding. Rain and mud once more. Remained here awaiting sailing date. Visited Bordeaux one afternoon.
Received my sailing notice to sail on S.S. Zacapa, January 21st. Left for French docks at Bordeaux after luncheon, went aboard this p.m. Sailed at 8 a.m. the 22nd. It took 4 hours up the river and at 12 midnight crossed the bar and put at sea.
The Bay of Biscay is very rough. 60% were sea sick. For first four sea was fine then until we sighted the Azores 800 m. off. From Azores to the Gulf Stream the sea was 'Bow on' and made it very difficult. Averaging about 150 to 200 miles a day. The Zacapa is a small boat 400 ft. bow to stern, a United Fruit Liner.
We have spent about 15 days at sea. Expect to dock at Hoboken February 8th. The southern route is about 3600 miles.
Docked in New York City February 8th . Visited Uncle Harry Webor and Aunt Ida and was informed by Aunt Ida that my mother had died December 1918. Another sad greeting.
Sent to Camp Dix - New Jersey and there was discharged, February 12 1919.
So ends a great experience.
"For What Price Glory" A. F. Sarver
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