More letters fromthe 'Great War'
Supplement to 'Lettersfrom Boys' story
November 11, 2009
Editor's note: In commemoration of Veterans Day, we've reprinted the following letters sent by Imlay City natives and published in the Imlay City Times after the end of the Great War, World War I. This is an online exclusive companion piece to 'Imlay treasures its 'Letters from Boys' in the Nov. 11, 2009 print edition.
Clio Sheppard, a private with the medical department 328 F.A., American Expeditionary Forces, writes to his grandmother from France on Nov. 19, 1918.
I received your most welcome letter of Oct. 9 and sure was pleased to hear from you. All is well with us and planning on coming home soon. That's the topic of conversation at present. We expect to move again either towards Germany or the coast in a couple of days. It's hard to tell which way we will go but I hope it is the latter and I know everyone else wishes the same.
We are at what was a few days ago the front line and we are in a town that used to be German territory. It is a large city with a population made up of different kinds of soldiers. There are Italians billeted next to us, some French soldiers across the road and down the street are a bunch of English soldiers.
But we have a roof over us anyway. It used to be a wine shop but no wine now. It seems funny to wake up in the morning and see paper on the walls. I sleep on the floor but am quite used to having a hard bed now. I suppose I won't be able to sleep in a real bed when I do get home. I'll be looking for stone and when I don't find any I'll get out and sleep on the floor.
It seems funny not to hear the big guns talking in the night but it is a good feeling. The night before the noise stopped the whole earth around here shook every time they spoke. We sure gave those dogs a good farewell and they knew if war lasted a few days longer that hell would have been heaven for most of them for we would have been farther in Germany than they ever were into France along this end of the line.
Thirty-one divisions are going to march in Washington on January 1 and I have an idea we will be there.
Your loving Clio.
• • • • •
Alfred Chrysler writes his mother, on May 6, 1919.
I couldn't be in better health and would feel great only that it is so lonely here. Our boat, the Black Hawk, is at Kirkwall, Scotland, away up in the Orkney Islands. We are about ten miles from where a German fleet is interned at a place called Seapaflow. There is an old church here and I climbed to the top of the tower and from there I could see the German warships. This old church, by the way, was built in 1411.
This would be a pretty place if the sun would only shine once in a while. We get a glimpse of it about once a week and you know how I hate cloudy weather. I sure would like to get into Germany. I came near it once when we were at Cardiff but the powers that be got my name on the wrong piece of paper and I was sent up here. I think I will have a chance to see something of Norway and the Shetland Island. I have seen the sights in France, Spain, Portugal, England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland and hope to see a lot more before I get home. It surely has been a wonderful trip and I have never regretted a moment of the time. How else could a fellow see so much and get paid for it?
Secretary of the Navy Daniels visited our boat last week and praised us highly. We expect to be back in the States for Christmas. That will be fine, for while I like to see the world it is nicer to be where people can understand us and like us. Of course, we are foreigners over here and you can imagine how people treat us; the same as we treat foreigners when we are home. The girls like to get acquainted with us though for a Yank has more pep than the fellows here. But the men don't like to lose their girls and we have lots of fights on our hands while on shore leave.