Laigne-en-Belin, France 2/23/1919

Laigne-en-Belin, France

(We stayed in this town Damblain two days while on our way here.)

 

Dear Em,

 

Just to let you know that we are still here, that Im still O.K. and that Ive received no mail from you in the last batch that came in which was day before yesterday. Nothing yet to show we are going right home so continue. Saw some of the Boston Posts of Jan 26, 27, 28, 29 but here we are just the same. We made a very good showing before Gen. Pershing the other day and you no doubt have read of it.

 

Well so long

 

Sam.

Samuel E. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf. A.E.F.

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Laigne-en-Belin, France 2/17/1919

Laigne-en-Belin, France

 

Dear Em.

 

I received your much welcomed letter of Jan 26th today, and it pleased me to learn that the papers are taking no effect on you as they have on about every ones folks I talk with on this subject. There are fellows here that have not received mail for weeks, so don’t you lay off will you? I will let you know in time so that none will be sent that won’t be received. But even if you do send a few letters that will go astray, I know the chance will be worth it to me.

 

We have as yet, no idea when we are to go so we might just as well continue to write until I see you. Today was Sunday but it is far from our day of rest. Ive been washing and scrubbing all day on my equipment, self and cloths. It was just like an April day at home. The boys all thought I was very lucky in getting two letters, one of which was from S.B. the other from you. You say that the papers stated that we were to sail the first of this month, and here it is the seventeenth and nothing started yet. It will be a great thing for the boys to be able to stay in Boston two days, but I don’t think it will go through for they may think that this time will be too much for the boys, after being so long away from civilization.

 

So you’re going to do a little singing now. Good luck to you. Remember me to Zella and ask her for my forgiveness for forgetting to do this before. Yes Em five thirty is pretty early to arise but beleive me I’ll be glad to get up any time at all if I lose the sound of the bugle. The guy who wrote the song “Gee how I hate to get up in the morning” sure knew what he was talking about. Will say that Henry and Leonard are lucky blokes to be getting in on Lena’s grub. A loaf of her home made bread, Ow, la, la. I sent Madge a post card and by this time she must have received it. If I knew Molly’s address I’d send her a line also.

 

Im feeling great and I hope this will find you all the same. Im sending along the souviners that I spoke of and taking a chance that they will reach you O.K. Well Em this is all Im going to say this time for another will follow right away. Will try to send a picture soon.

 

Don’t forget to write. Best wishes to all

 

Sam.

Samuel E. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf.

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Laigne-en-Belin, France 2/14/1919

Am in perfect health...

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Laigne-en-Belin, France 2/5/1919

Laignes-en-Belin, Le Mans Area France

 

Dear Em.

 

Received your letter of Jan 10 this day and was very much pleased to know that you are taking little stock in what the papers say in regards to our return home soon. We have no idea as yet when we leave here nor where we will go when we do leave so keep right on writing for its getting to be a tiresome grind now believe me.

 

Your letter says that the papers state we will sail sometime in March. Im in earnest when I say that we will get a surprise if this proves to be the case. We’ve got a drill schedule now that takes care of the rest of this month and this I beleive is only a starter. True, this is the embarkation centre for troops on the homeward-bound list, but orders can be changed very quickly and as much as I dislike to think of it Russia is a big job on our hands just now and things there are getting worse. The boys of this division will not put it by them to shoot us up there if things get rough.

 

So here we are Em, for some reason or other still in France and just as some year and a half ago we were willing to meet whatever they had for us to meet, so is the 26th ready to meet whatever they now have in store for us. We won’t go home until after Peace has been signed anyway and as none of the divisions that took part in any of the fighting have as yet left for home, there must be some thing unforeseen by us in the wind. The brave heroes such as the 76th (“who saw some of the hardest fighting”) (ha-ha and a couple of hee-hees) have returned it is true but then (“They didn’t want to do it you know they made them do it.”) Say Em where does the papers get that stuff?

 

"Cleaning for Inspection" by Baldridge, 1918

Well, I guess Im getting too sarcastic now so Ill switch off and tell you what we are doing in our spare time. We have been here six days. We’ve already been inspected twice and reviewed once which means more work than one outside of this game can realize. For instance a review and we had one today. Hike out to a large field surly five miles away with pack, stand at atention for at least an hour then parade and hike back. We started out this morning at half past eight with said pack on our backs said pack consisting of two blankets, shelter-half, rain coat, gass mask slung around one shoulder, rifle over same, and of coarse all the junk that goes with it such as field belt, bayonet, aid packet, canteen and helmet. All this on for a review. We returned to our humble billets at twelve oclock, the pack not having once been shifted and every thing wet. Cold and rainy, but out again this afternoon, every thing wet to complete the day. All this might be well if we were a bunch of recruits, but after going through and doing what we have it gets our goats. Our equipment gets so dirty and this so quick that really the most of our spare time is spent scrubing up for inspection which as Ive said we had two and we haven’t been here a week yet.

 

When they are not reviewing us and parading us and inspecting us they are drilling us. Six oclock roll out, seven grab your eats, wash up, police quarters, better shave if you’re the least bit in doubt, leave your billet as spick and span as an experienced house wife and fall in for drill at eight. Drill (and say Em it is sure some drill for us) until eleven thirty, grab your kit and get to the chow line, for scoff for the sooner you get yours the sooner you will be ready for the afternoon degree, after having a smoke, cleaning some of the mud off your shoes, and reading a few lines in the daily paper that gets in about this time. Get back from this at three, and until four oclock our time is our own after cleaning our rifles, bayonets, shoes and a general dressing up for retreat. Dont worry though we just have about time to buckle on our belt, shouldering our toys and fall in again. Then its chow time again after which it is dark, no place to go but to the Y.M.C.A. which is so small that Ive never been lucky enough to crowd in to any performance yet.

 

Its the same thing and will be now day after day except Sunday and then its time to take a bath which is done by setting a dish of water up next to an open fire and with a few shivers do your duty. Cloths have to be washed, equipment cleaned and striaghtened out, buttons sewed on, well there is plenty to do. Don’t you think they are keeping us from being lazy, and trying to keep our minds off home going. (Im using the back of one of the other sheets)

 

Im feeling great and glad to know that you are all in the same class. More speed to Pa at 66. At the present rate Ill be older than him at 40. Id like to have a piece of that fudge tonight. Dont forget to give my regards to Henry and Leonard.

 

Well Em as all I feel like doing tonight is kick I think Ill lay off, put this in an envelope and join the boys in their every evening discusion. They have all got through writing and are bunched up around the small fire talking of why when and if we are going to cross the pond before Summer sets in. I dont want you to think I want to leave this just to horn in with them but don’t you think Ive said plenty?

 

Best wishes to all and love to you

 

Sam.

Samuel E. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf.

 

P.S. Notice I got the sheets all mixed up so watch out!

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Laigne-en-Belin, France 2/2/1919

Laignes-en-Belin, France

 

Dear Em.

 

Well we have taken our first step toward the coast but from the way things look now the next one is a long way off or from four to six weeks away. This town we are now in is in the area for homeward-bound Combat troops and about 375 miles from Sarrey or the town from which I sent my last letter. It has been some time I know since I last wrote due to our late move, but from now on for a while at least Ill be able to write and keep you posted as to my whereabouts and health.

 

We buried our colonel the day we left Sarrey and it was not only a very impressive but also buisy day. The escort group of which I was one were driven 50 miles in trucks for this ceremony after which we boarded trains in a snow storm. It was a tough trip taking three days and two nights.

 

It was some long time since I heared from you until your letter of Jan 1 arrived and must say I was glad to get it. Must be more somewhere. Must not forget to say that I never felt better and although we are roughing it of late it is nothing to what we would have to put up with if the war was still on. Its Homeward bound too so we should worry.

 

It is trying to snow now, and I don’t know if I will ever get fully thawed out. Ill stand it until I get back and don’t forget it. It will be at least two months from this date before we will hit America so please continue writing and take that chance that I may never get your letters. Some of the boy’s folks have stopped writing, thinking they are on their way home. You don’t know how bad they feel. So write, write and continue to write until I tell you to stop which will be time enough.

 

Love best wishes and kisses to all

 

Sam.

Samuel E. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf. U.S. Army

 

P.S. Excuse this short letter, for it is cold and so am I.

 

© Copyright 2009 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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