(added note at top) No! I didn't have any trouble about baggage coming over & have not done any more of the fool tricks I did.
Mobile Hospital #1
Dec 10, 1918
My dear Edna:
I expect you think I am mean not to have written for so long but I expect Nell has kept you occasionally posted as in several of her letters she has said 'I have written to Edna'. I received your very interesting letter of Sept 22nd after I left Beauvais & joined this outfit & life has been as strenuous & such a rush since that I didn't even attempt to write any personal letters except to Nell.
I wish I could write you a long letter and tell you the many things I have seen & experiences I have been through but can only send a short one this time for while we are not busy just at this time yet conditions of living make it difficult to write. I am in my tent with one candle for light and my ever ready knee is my usual writing table. I saw much of interest around Montdidier when I had headquarters at Beauvais but it was quiet there compared to what it has been here. About Oct 1st I had a wire to report to Paris immediately & on arrival there was assigned to Mobile Hospital #1 & told to take train to Bar le Duc & find the outfit from there. I expected to be several days finding it as it was just back of the fighting front at Verdun but located it & arrived bag & baggage that night, a very fortunate & thankful man.
Mobile #1 is entirely in tents & moves with the battle front & receives only the worst wounded cases which cannot be moved back further. When there was a drive or there would be a constant stream day & night, we would operate & as soon as possible pass them on back to an evacuation hospital, the last month of the war we operated 1077 cases & I had 227 burials. This will give you some idea. We were & are yet constantly in wind & rain. We wade in mud, sleep in mud, eat in mud. There is no escape. We were always within range of the enemy guns & frequently shelled & bombed but our work went quietly and incessantly on regardless of days or inconvenience, our brave boys were coming back in need & the Drs & nurses stuck to their job as long as there was the need.
I was in Verdun one day while it was being shelled & one of the big fellows broke right over my head. I heard the whine but before I could think to duck it had exploded & the shrapnell was pattering down around me but my name wasn't on it & it didn't touch me. Two days after we moved from that location it was shelled & the outfit that followed us there had a number of their personnel killed & wounded, we were very fortunate to get through with out any casualties.
Mail was just brought in and I drew from your letters, two from Nell, Nov 10th the last & one from a poor little woman in Austin, Texas, the wife of a Capt. Moore whose husband I buried Oct 16th & I wrote her, it was her only notice & her letter is just heart breaking. We were at the foot of Dead Man's Hill & the famous Hill 304 when the end came. That is a desolate and God forsaken country. I never saw a place so torn up. We later moved up near Dun & as I went over the battle field we saw most awful sights, many of our own boys, as well as Coche(? illegible), were lying unburied where they had fallen two & three weeks before, some bodies only in part & no possible way of identification. I buried all we found.
We are now near what was the town of Varennes, a railhead, awaiting orders to entrain for Germany. It is raining hard. I just looked at my bed & found a nice puddle of water on my pillow & elsewhere & have moved to what I hope may be free from deluge.
I am well and feeling fine & notwithstanding inconveniences am glad to be at the front as long as I have to be over here. Did Tom get over? Love to all. Don't know when I'll get home. Hope to see you in NY when I come. Am delighted to hear if you can find time to write. Tell Val to work hard at school & see how much he will know when I see him next.
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