Armistice Day / Veterans Day / Remembrance Day

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“One of the guns of Battery D, 105th Field Artillery, showing American flag which was hoisted after the last shot had been fired when the armistice took effect. Etraye, France., 11/11/1918”.
Sergeant First Class Morris Fineberg, Photographer.

My grand-uncle was stationed in France in the U.S. Signal Corps in WWI, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew some of the men in the photo above. On 10 November 1918, he sent this letter home:

“Mom and Dad. Well, nothing much new, only today we got the news of the peace plenipotentiaries arriving for a conference with General Foch. It sounds good to me. There is something here now that I would like to tell you but can’t, so when I return you mustn’t forget to ask me about the civilian refugees in the church. It will be some story. Not much excitement lately. We had our balloon burned by a boche plane with American insignia on it.”

Then on 14 November, this:

Dear Mom and Dad:

Well, of all the wonderful things that could ever happen. The war is “won”. As the French say, “Fini la Guerre.” Every Frenchman we meet hollers, “Fini la Guere, Merci! Beaucoup.” It means – The war is over, thank you many times. We are sure some glad bunch. I sure will have a lot of stuff to tell you when I return. And that won’t be long. We are now away from the front for the first time. I just got rid of a bunch of cooties yesterday. I hope that they will be the last, too. They are sure the cause of one hell of a feeling.

Well, this is all for the present. So long and hoping to see you soon.

Soldier Bill

May God Bless All Veterans, both past and present.

[Image from here. Related posts here and here.]

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6 Responses to “Armistice Day / Veterans Day / Remembrance Day”

  1. nursemyra Says:

    A great piece of history

  2. theliteraryhorse Says:

    Brings it home, makes it personal.

  3. kdub Says:

    Cooties!

  4. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Nursem & thelit– There are other letters, but I don’t have them all. I asked the daughter of “Soldier Bill” for permission to post them in real time over the course of a year or so, and for some reason she declined.

    kdub– From Wiki: The lice of the First World War trenches nicknamed “cooties” were also known as “arithmetic bugs” because “they added to our troubles, subtracted from our pleasures, divided our attention, and multiplied like hell.”

  5. G Eagle Esq Says:

    Soldier B’s daughter is of course entitled to her views and to be respected for them

    ….. but her father was quite a Hero ….. and perhaps she might allow them to be published if she were to realize how interesting they are

    G E

  6. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Hon. Eagle–

    My intention was to set up a separate website, with a donation bucket to benefit veterans. I may go ahead with the project anyway. The letters date from 5 February 1918 through 5 May 1919. I also have some diary entries dated 22 April – 30 November 1918.

    “Soldier Bill” was a nic given to U.S. soldiers in WWI; I think it came from a comic strip, not unlike “Sad Sack” or Bill Mauldin’s “Willie and Joe” from WWII. Bill was not my grand-uncle’s name.

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