Neufchateau, France 10/31/1917

With the Colors


Dear Em.


Ive received two letters from you now since our arrival in France and you cant imagine how good they make me feel. I won’t tell you how many I got from Lil for if I did you’d probably think Im hinting for more. Your doing fine Em, please keep it up. The two letters I got from you were dated Sept. 30, and Oct. 9. I also got a post card from the shipper over the shop. My guess is that Ill get more mail from you than you will from me because all the ships coming over here are pretty well escorted with fighting ships, but those leaving this side are not so well protected and there are more of them sunk. I hope you have been getting some of them though.


They sure are keeping you buisy from what you say in your letters. I wont to advise you not to attempt to send any candy (although it would taste good.) for it will never stand the voyage. I got you mixed up with Lil all right in regards to that package. By the way I got that package which was a swell pair of wristers, and they will come in handy too for it is getting very cold here. OH, you (Roughan’s). I got your letter that you sent to Westfield OK. Im glad you called up Lil and wish you would continue to coraspond with her. OH you Brockton Fair. Im glad you all enjoyed your selves. It brings to mind the medal I won some years back. Ive still got the medal on, a forbe that is on that watch you, Lena, and Bert gave me a year ago. I guess the Home Gaurd took our place this year. Ill change places with them right now.


I hope Mr. Holland is well again and by the way give them my regards and tell them they can expect to hear from me soon. No danger of me getting indigestion now Im telling you some thing. Give my regards to Madge, Mollie, Mary and every body and if I have time and paper Ill write to them. Tell Sadie I thank her for her regards and that a card would be welcomed. I sure would like to climb into that bed in the room you speak of fixing up.


I appreceiate the P.S. in your letter of the 6th of Oct. and you won’t be disappointed in me if I can help it. Now Ive got to close and answer the shippers letter and also send one to South Boston. How is Henry. I look at that group picture very often and it does me good I think. See that all the folks take care of their health this winter and Ill promise you that Sam will take the best of care of his.


I will make an allotment as soon as we get some blanks. Keep that Insurance policy running if you can for I wouldnt like to drop it now. Tell Pa I wish him a Merry Xmas and that I expect that he will enjoy one. Hoping to here from you by the next mail I remain.


Yours truly



© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Neufchateau, France 10/28/1917

Somewhere in France


Dear Em,


Just a very few words to let you know Im alive and kicking. We are still in this little town in France and I expect we will stay here all winter. We have had just one day when the sun has shined, and even then it started to rain in the afternoon.


Im writing this in a Y.M.C.A. hut that is stuck up in one of the squares so called. I want you to understand that we are living right in the town, although not in houses but barns that ajoin all the houses.


It sure is some quaint old town. Gee I would like to get a word from home although, Im making myself as much at home as possible. That is going some for me what. About 3,000 miles from 297 B.H. St.


All it seems to do here is rain for it is now that rainy season we’ve heard so much about in France since this war started. We are not in tents though, and there is a stove in this Y.M.C.A. and it is very cosy believe me.


We are only allowed two letters a week and those to be short. I will write often though and let you know that Im keeping myself well and cheerful. I wish I could sit here now and write about a twelve page letter and I sure could find plenty to write about too but there is a reason.


How is every body? Here is hoping I hear from you soon.




© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Heading for Neufchateau, France 10/25/1917

Notes from Sam’s Pocket Diary:

“Left Hadsfield Camp, France at 7 pm Oct 23/17 and marched to the Havre R.R. station and intrained at 10 pm and left station at 11 pm Oct 23/17. Arrived at Liffol Le Grand at 7 am Oct 25/17. Left Liffol Le Grand 11 am…”

Hadsfield Camp, Le Havre France 10/23/1917

Somewhere in France


Dear Em,


To start with I want to say that while in London I put this sheet of paper and envelope in my pocket and it comes in handy right now believe me. I also want to say that Im many miles away from London now.


Im not going to say much but I do want to emphasise the fact that we’ve been pretty lucky and I for one am feeling fine. We are running pretty shy of smokes and if you can do any thing to get this kind of material to us you will be doing a lot for the boys.


I don’t doubt but that you’ve written often and in due time we might get some mail, but we’ve been traveling ever since we left Westfield, and that may account for us not recieving any mail as yet.


We have seen quite a few German prisiners of war and they seem to be pretty well satisfied to be where they are. We are getting closer and closer to the real thing every day, and may be by the time this reaches you we may be giving an account of ourselves. I hope that we will make good.


There is plenty of food where we are resting now, so that we are not going hungry by a long shot. I can say right here that I would like to be in that bath tub. Im not going to tell you how long it has been since I’ve had one.


I would like to get a letter from you saying you are all well. That is about all this letter consists of any way but it will let you rest well assured that Im taking very good care of myself and that I mean to continue. Im marked handle with care and Im doing all the handling.


Give my best regard to all and I remain


© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

On to France, 10/22/1917

The 103rd Infantry continued its journey to France, leaving Bordon, England by train for Southampton, where the men crossed the English Channel and finally landed at Le Havre. They briefly billeted at Camp Hadsfield before continuing on to Neufchateau in the Vosges region of northeastern France. Following are notes from Sam’s Pocket Diary:

“This company… Left Camp Bordon at 9.20 on Oct 20, arrived in Southampton at 1 pm same day… Left Southampton at 4.30 same day. PM marched in river until 4.15 pm Oct 21 and then got underway for France. Arrived at Havre France at 3 am Oct 22, disembarked at 3 pm and hiked to Camp Hudsfield…”

Arrival at Camp Bordon, England 10/18/1917

Notes from Sam’s Pocket Diary:

“This company… Arrived at Borden at 11 am Oct 18 and left train marching to Camp Borden, arrived at 1 pm same day…”

On the Train to Bordon, England 10/15/1917

Somewhere in England


Dear Em.


The sun is out today, and is drying things up a little. And maybe it doesnt feel good. So do I, for Sam is as usual. Gee but I would like to get a letter from you stating that all is well with you Lena, Pa, Bert, Mary, and Aunt Mollie and Madge yes and all the rest. I suppose you have got as many letters on the way as I have. I guess the governments will do all they can to deliver them though, and here is hoping a few of them reach their destination.


Did you get the other letter I sent from London? I really havent got any news to send you, that is, news that would reach you. I figure that if this much gets to you Im lucky. Yes Im feeling fine. Not a worry in the world only about you folks at home.


This is a piece of paper I picked up on the floor of the tent and I thought as long as I had time, Id scratch a few lines home. We had a good trip on the boat up to the last two days of the voyage. I wasn’t sea sick at all which is going some what?


I wish I could wash out some cloths, but it is so damp here all the time and not knowing what minute we might move some where I dare not chance it. We are getting well treated. We get beef about every meal. Sugar is scarce but we can do with out that all right.


We sure do appreciate the warmth in the sun. All the boys express how good it feels. There is some thing I wish you would do and that is to keep that insurance policy running. I am going to allot some of my pay to you so until you begin to hear from this, please keep my policy up.


I hope you folks won’t feel the pinch of this war, and if you do, just do what they are doing here. A song that goes Smile, Smile, Smile. Im getting pretty well on to shillings “ha”pennies, half crowns and the rest of the currency now and when Im lucky enough to get some it will come in handy. As I said before Im going to make over some of my pay to you. Has the state made good yet? I hope they are.


Give my regards to all and tell them that Im still there. Tell Lil you’ve heard from me, for she might not get the letter I sent. Tell the Hollands I was asking for them.


Hoping this reaches you by at least Christmas I remain




© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

London, England 10/12/1917

Somewhere in England


Dear Em.


Well here we are; I suppose you will say where? Im sorry but Im afraid it will be going against orders to mention it in this letter. I can say one thing though and I mean every word of it. Im feeling great. In fact I never felt better in my life. Ever since I last saw you Ive been feeling the same. All the boys are in the best of spirits.


I hope this reaches you, but if it doesn’t the one that holds it up knows what is best. How is Pa, Aunt Madge, and the rest. Send me a line if it is posible. If I had any thing worth saying I couldn’t say it anyway so I will have to close with out saying any more.


Wishing for the best of luck I close from all of you.




© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Ashore in England, 10/9/1917

First Sergeant Sam Avery and his men arrived safely at Liverpool, England on this date in 1917 after successfully crossing the U-boat infested North Atlantic Ocean aboard the S.S. Saxonia. As written in notes from Sam’s Pocket Diary:

“This company… Left Halifax Harbor at 4.15 Sept 29, arrived at Liverpool and disembarked at 12 midnight Oct 9/17 and boarded train at 2 am oct 10/17…”

More letters and postcards home are now soon to follow. Going forward they will be published here on the date they were originally written. In this way we will continue to march along with Sam and the 103rd Infantry, 26th “Yankee” Division in “real time” as they fight in what was then called “Our Greatest Battle.”

Sailing for Halifax, Nova Scotia 9/27/1917

Somewhere at Sea


Dear Em, and the rest of you


Im feeling fine and that is about all I think Id better say in this letter, for I want you to hear this much any way. Gee I would like to get a letter from you. Write and they will forward it Im pretty sure. As to where we are and where we are going you know as much as I do or at least dare to tell you.


Did you get the postal I sent the 25th. This is the first letter I’ve written since then and I guess you can imagine why. All the boys are happy. I wish I could say more but this is an envelope at least. I wish I could get that.


Well here is hopeing that you get this, and that I get one from you soon.


Yours truly


© Copyright 2008 by Richard Landers, All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without permission.


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