130th Infantry US Doctor, British Ambulance Company WWI Letter

This letter was written by a U.S. Doctor, who was with the 130th Infantry, but at the time was assigned to a British Unit. The letter was written “Somewhere else in France, June 6, 1918. (this letter was one of six found in the same envelope) From the letter…..

Dearest Wife,

   Received orders to change my station temporarily so am with an English Field Ambulance Company. My address will be the same however for my mail. Gee but I will sure be glad to hear from my darling again, seems a long time dear. I wish I could have you here tonight and we would take a stroll down the shady lane of some of the most beautiful trees I have seen in France. They are back of a Chat5eau where we are at present. The grounds must have been wonderful once when they were kept up, because even now they ar that. I don’t know how long I am to stay here but think I will enjoy the change. I eat with the English officers and one MRC 1st Lt. I heard Capt. Yerkes? Is coming here too. They are or we are taking all the sick from the billets about and keeping the ones that will soon be back and evacuating the others sicker further back. It doesn’t look like we would have much to do so may get time to write more often to you dearest. This is a picturesque country all right but is so far behind the times. About all the roofs are slate or tile while the sides are ? or slatted and plastered with mud in the most of cases. Some are white-washed and look quite nice on the outside. A lot have a court, the most in fact, with a manure pile in the court, or a stagnant water hole which has about the odor of the former. At present I am billet about the same distance from the front as in my last letter and about he same direction with an old Padre (priest) who I understand is a refugee from somewhere. He can’t talk English, I guess but want to learn I am told, so we may soon be talking French for English, who knows.
   I understand we have breakfast at 9:30 AM and when I asked what I was to do before I was told to get up so I am going to spend part of the time to finish this letter as it is getting twilight now and I don’t want to light a candle as the officers said they do, and if they hear a plane put them out. But I won’t do that. Yet a while anyway. I may have something more to write tomorrow of interest to you. The English hospitality is certainly the best ever so far. I may not get to the front so quickly now since stationed here, so don‘t worry ever dear as God has always been on my side so far and will be in the future. Good night till tomorrow.

Nest day…..Well Dar I have been quiet busy in the meantime as will answer your letter now. Had a great talk with the C.O. last night we didn’t go to bed till quite early this AM, but don’t have to get up early so I am OK. Well I was initiated officer of the day today, and will be on duty tonight. Have been examining the patients that come in the ambulances and disposing of them. This AM was down to see if there was any sick companies without a doctor. Guess they will be moving soon so will not have to care for that much more now, I think. I heard a real Cuckoo bird a few times that clock imitation is good except it is more soft, the koo is prolonged or drawn out more. Well, dearest I don’t know what I would do if I got a letter from you. Seems ages. I wonder if you have heard from me. I suppose I will hear my wife has grown tired of her life of leisure and taken to herself a patient, the little darling, I do envy that patient or patients a whole lot. I think of you often dearest.
   These French people are a dirty lot the peasants but I guess that habits are just as one is used to. For instance they never have any latrines but just deposit their excretions in the garden and are not a bit choice in the time occasion or publicity of the process of so doing. The little boys wear in addition a shirt and pants stockings and shoes often wooden, in places about all that way, here leather with thick soles hobnails or wooden soles. They wear over the clothes mentioned above a black satin apron like little girls wear, long sleeves button up behind etc. almost same style as in America. The women peasants wear skirts about midway to their knees. But this is the land where the women do the work and not sing about it. Well, dear, I see it is about 7:40 and supper time had lunch at 4:45 so must take this and at the same time we censor mail so you see I am going to censor this letter myself. I am lonely without you darling and look forward to the time when we will be together never to be separated so long or far that I can’t at least hear from you for less than an age. The gate of this house of the Padre has a piece on it that strikes a bell to announce ones coming or going. I hear Capt. Yerk has just gone so  fear I may be left. I think I will close dear with love, 

No comments: