Somewhere near Royaumeix, 5/31/1918


Dear Em


I have stretched out around me now four letters from you and one from Lena, yours of April 29, May 4, 8, 11, Lena’s of May 11, and I tell you Em it is great. I suppose the first thing I should mention is that Im feeling just the same as ever. You say it is very warm there, and it is the same here and has been now for quite some time. Im never going to complain again though about this kind of weather for after the dampness, cold and all around hard winter we spent on our arrival in France, I want sun and plenty of it. France is the place for sun too and I don’t think it can be duplicated any where else on the globe.


With a continual buzz of Allied planes in the air and an occasional drum fire of our batteries up toward the lines we are beginning to class this little village as a very peaceful home. The regiment is resting now, and believe me Em it is rest. Plenty of eats, plenty of sleep, and very little drill constitutes the days activities. Don’t worry about getting any news from the 103rd, for news of an outfit nowadays means a long casualty list.


I want to give the 104th the credit for to date they have lost more men than any other regiment. Yesterday there was held a very impressive ceramony in a little grave yard just in the back of this town, where some of our dear fellows have been laid to rest. Old Glory was flown to the nice balmy breezes and it sure was a welcome sight sparkling in the sun. There was three bands present and a representation from as many regiments. It made me think of the Memorial Days gone by when we turned out for the G.A. of the R. only it was my own comrades now, with more to follow. It must have been quite a day back there.


In your letter of April 29, you open up by saying that in my letter of March 17 I wrote as though I was in high spirit. Yes Em Im still in high spirit as well as every one of the A.E.F. For it is going to win Em. Of coarse Ive been very fortunate for Ive felt tip top all the way, which is half any battle.


Glad to hear that the Morgie has got the services of Lena again and that she is back into that work for it is well. Ill bet that is some church and when I get around Boston way again Im going to give some of the ushers a chance to take me by hand. OH you Hotel. How’s a kid. Tell Lena to give her my regards, for you see I remember her motherly care very well. Bully for you Pa and for the Bond too. Tough though on the $10 per stuff, but just think of the boys “over here” when they get back “over there” there wont be any at any price. As the French say (Say le Guerre.) meaning (it’s the war.)


No Em I never did have much to say, but Id talk if I was sitting at the table with you this morning don’t forget it. Very pleased to hear you get so much dough on the start and no doubt there is more in it for you. If I was there Id probably kid you a little myself but Id never get off kidding you now. That’s it Em have a good time this summer and Im with you in every one of them. Say Em tell Batty Coyne that it is about time the 5th Pw were getting here will you. There is an awful lot of broken wires out in N.M. Land that neads fixing.


Id have wiped those dishes for you so you could have finish the letter had I been there what Em? You said that you would have the pleasure of getting dinner the next day. OO La La and maybe it wouldn’t be pleasure fo rme to see it all done and ! Good luck to Billie Rogers how about it Bert, was you as good as any man in the house or (well you know) “Steve ODonnell was a gentleman.” Look Em Im going to grab off some chow hoping that the check you get today will be enjoyed as much as I will enjoy this. See you after the mess.


Now that the dishes are put in the old kit bag where I keep all my troubles Ill continue. You see Em Im going to send as good a letter as I can for after receiving so many from I feel as though one is due you. Tell Katherine Id like to see her garden, for I bet it looks pretty classy at that. You ask if I am getting all your mail. I guess I must be Em, although Im far from bashful in this respect.


So Mikie is a petty officer. I wonder if he is always happy now. I never saw his wife so therefor cannot enjoy the full benefit of her sorrowful story in regards to Poor Connie. So there are a lot more left yet. Well Em I figure the war to last a while yet too, so there may be room for them yet. As for Lena ironing, makes me think that although I do every thing but iron this outfit on my back a little ironing with some wax in the seam (well why go into it). I don’t know how many times you’ve spoken of Batty getting a furlough, but every time you do it reminds me that I haven’t had more than twelve hours at a stretch that I could call my own since Westfield, and, it is well. Yes I guess he will find the fellows in the Old Eighth as fine as any of them.


If I hadnt stuck to Capt. Tobey and come “over here” I would be well off in this 5th P. now. But I agree with you. Id rather be a private in France than a commissioned officer in the states. Im not going to stay a private in France either. Im sorry he lost his ribbons for if he felt it the way I did it was sour apples.


That motion picture must be very interesting but give me an Elsie Janis with some real live stuff and “No Mans Land” will be like a ball field to us. Excuse you for not writing longer letters? Why say Em you’re writing one long continuous one where instead of waiting a month for news I get mail from you just as sure as there is mail for anybody in the regiment. You said that they say you’re getting fat, OH you kid, keep it up. It must be very pleasant out Jamaica Plain way and Im very glad you landed the berth.


Well Ive gone through all your letters up to May 11, and tried to answer all you asked and added a little cheap stuff here and there too I guess. Ive got to answer Lena’s and then get after the others. Every night since we hit this place American planes fly over and give the Boshe a belly full of the poison they have been handing the Allies, and they get away with it too. I don’t know any thing about the submarines but I do know that we have got the best of the air now.


We are not in the drive that is going on now although you never can tell what tomorrow brings. By the time you get this we may be miles from here and if so there sure will be some thing doing. News will begin to come in very fast soon now and when that starts why, Ill write as long and as often as I can. I thank the Hollands for their best wishes and send best regards in return. I havent heard much from Little Mary latly but I trust that both she and Mollie, also Mack are well. Thinking it over this ought to reach you just about the 17th. Good Luck to the Old Town.


Heres hoping that this letter finds you all well and that you will not find the hot weather that you must by this time be getting unindurable. Ill close


With love to all



Samuel E. Avery Hdq. Co. 103rd Inf. Am. Ex. Forces.


P.S. This is just to show you that I can write a letter without crouding to the very bottom of the sheet so that you cant read the last few sentences. Bon Jour.



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

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dear Readers:
    Sam’s remembrance of Memorial Days past honoring the G.A. of the R. refers to the Grand Army of the Republic which was the veteran’s organization of the Union Army following the American Civil War. Prior to the Great War, the Civil War had been the greatest military conflict in American history.

    Sam’s oblique mention of wishing he could iron wax into the seams of his uniform refers to a way that he could get the upper hand on the cooties if only he had the chance.

    Sam also refers to the irony that he would have been a commissioned officer by now if he had remained safely stateside with the State Guard rather than joining the AEF. The 5th Pw refers to the 5th Pioneer Infantry which was the old 8th Mass. Infantry’s re-designation as of early February, 1918. Although serving under Federal status until January, 1919 this unit remained in the United States for the duration of the war.


  2. Good to see you’re in good spirits Sam. I’ve been a bit busier of late, so hard to keep up with all the news.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: