Somewhere in Verdun, 10/29/1918

Dear Em.


I have answered all your letters that have been received to date but having a few spare minutes I thought I could spend them in no better way than to scratch off a few lines to you which will let you know that Im still alive, well and kicking.


I am pretty comfortable right now for although the outfit is still at the front I am back aways for military reasons. We are still on the sector from which I last wrote and as there is talk around that we are soon to be releaved we may leave here any time and take up front line positions some where else.


Ran into some of the old bunch the other day and it seemed like old times while our conversation lasted. I learned quite a lot about where and how most of the old company is now and beleive me it was interesting. Of coarse it is too bad about some but on the whole I think the boys are pretty well accounted for. Perhaps you get news now and then about some of the bunch and if you get any please shoot it along, for it will be appreciated.


There may be a lot of peace talk going around but take it from me we are not getting or giving any (far from giving) I tell you. Outside of what Ive said everything is the same. There should be mail along any day now and Im looking forward to some news from you.


I hope this finds every one as well as your last letter did and stay clear of that Spanish stuff. I will close regards to all



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


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

Somewhere in Verdun, 10/26/1918

Dear Em.



Received a letter from you tonight dated Oct 1, and on my first glance at the envelope could not dope out who it was from, for I knew it was not your handwriting. I failed to look on the back or I would have known. You can appreciate how I felt when on openning it all inquisitiveness ceased for your handwriting greeted me. A letter from home. This letter and one from a chap that I met in the hospital was my quota this trip, and I am answering both right away, for Ive not only got the time but also as conveinient a place to write as Ive had for months.



If only I could say some thing now, I would probably repay you for all the mail you have sent me. I can appreciate the fact that you are buisy alright when you say that you leave the house at day break and don’t return until sun down. Ive got no kick coming in regard to mail and although I receive none too much you are writing as often as you can I know.



Glad to hear every one has got over their colds and, listen Em. Keep off that Spanish Influ stuff won’t you? Some kitten Ill say. I wonder whose kissing her now? So it looks just like a girl I used to know. I hope I see it some day any way. You say the weather is getting chilly now. Same here. Hope you get your coal before it gets much colder. They sure are long enough getting it to you.



Glad to hear you got in on the Liberty Loan which was such a success. Yes this is the next letter and it is stating that we are at the front, and some front believe me. I guess you read in the paper about the Yanks. We are in it. You say that the papers said “After a short rest.” Well there is a war on. Some of the boys you speak of as being home there in hospitals are the self same boys that left Westfield in August 1917 with me. Look them up, Im sure of at least five, that are back in God’s Country now although a little the worst for their experience. Elmer Lane of the Magoun Square Gang or the chap that our street at Lynnfield was named after (Cherry Lane) is there.



So you carry a cooked ration with you. So do we, all the time but its not like what Lena puts up. Its the darb at that though. I bet its tough getting up out of a bed at that in the morning. Im feeling great and am very lucky to be in good condition right now. A fellow has to. Have heard from this side that Batty, Jimmy and that bunch is on this side now. I wish them all the luck in the world. They will be used I beleive. It would sure be some news if I told you really where I was tonight, but mums the word you know. Don’t know how long I will be here nor will I kick while we are on this sector if I am here for some time.



I hope you can read enough of this letter to know what I am writing about. I guess two sheets is pretty good this time, so trusting this finds you all well Ill close. Regards to all





Samuel Ed. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf. Am. Ex. Forces.



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

Somewhere in the Neptune Sector, 10/18/1918

Dear Em


Taking every opportunity I can get to write to you, here is another right on the heels of one I wrote only a day or so ago. I received a letter this morning dated Sept 22 and it spoke of the change of weather from rain to sunshine. It struck me funny, for today was the first day of sunshine we’ve had for some time, and beleive me it sure did look good. It gave us a chance to dry up a little and we all feel better tonight.


It was news to me to learn that Lena has had such a cold and Im glad to know she is over it. Tonight finds me and eight more of us in a dug out that one of the boys happened to find and although we are not in the lines, a fellow likes to get out of the way of those big long range ones that come over once in a while and that are liable to drop anywhere (if not handier). Besides these dug outs are warmer and drier than out on the ground, and we can light a candle (if we have the candle) that the Boshe airoplanes can not see, which would be a good excuse for him to drop a few iron foundries. OH we try to get into the ground when it is possible. Empey wrote (over the top). There ought to be a new story out with some such title as (digging in).


Not having seen a paper for at least four days now we know little of events. We do know that it is livily enough here, and it might get more so any minute. We are getting plenty to eat which more than ofsets the lodging and weather conditions. We had doughnuts for supper, and they were good too. I don’t suppose I should go into family affairs, but there is a fellow here who is looking for those things we didnt bring with us from the States. The meanest animal that crawls. Im scratching in two places myself. On this paper and, /.


So you are not dancing much latly. Well it will soon be cool enough to enjoy this past time I guess. What do you think of the paper. It was some one of the boys here had. Well Em when I put this in an envelope we will strike up a song, blow out the candles, listen to the exchange of iron back and forth which will finally coo us to sleep.


So good night Em and the rest, hoping this finds you all well



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


P.S. Keep away from that new Spanish rage won’t you? I haven’t seen any of it here yet.



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

Somewhere in the Neptune Sector, 10/16/1918

Dear Em,


First of all please excuse the condition of this letter. If you could see me now you would wonder how in world I could write. There is no time like the present, and it pleased me so to get a letter from you yesterday dated Sept 17 that I just can’t help begging this paper and starting an answer to it. This old trusty mess pan again does its duty as a desk.


We hit this place yesterday after moving from the place I last wrote. It has been raining now for two or three days, and considering the fact that we are living in these pop tents I can honestly say that Im fairly dry and comfortable, and above all feeling great. Im writing now for one can never tell when he may get another chance for we are on the move and expect to go into action again very soon. The drive continues regardless of the rain but it will only tend to bring about the end sooner.


Yes my rest in the hospital did me the world of good and I hope I can go through the rest of this jam all right. I supose the old veterans that have returned are pretty well thought of and they deserve it let me tell you. They are pretty fortunate to enjoy a taste of civilization again expecially the home brand. I supose it is getting kind of cold over there now and let me tell you Im not welcoming the coming winter any too much. Last year we were billeted in Towns but this year it will be out under the stars in any old hole and glad to get that.


Glad to here that Pa still enjoys his night out once in a while as your letter states. I guess it was kind of tough on Tom to have to return to his ship after his furlough. What you never had you never miss you know. I hear the boys all speak of receiving word from home about that new disease that is spreading around. One fellow said that they have closed up all places of public amusement to try and check it. I hope that none of you folks come in contact with it for I understand it is very disagreeable for a few days.


I received a letter from Mrs Holland some time ago which I have since answered. She wrote a very nice letter and said that of late I haden’t been writing very often. I tried to tell her, as I will tell you here that it is almost imposible at times to write much, and when I do write it is home, which is leaving it to you to tell the news.


Saw some Boston American and Posts latly and they sure do print some big headlines on the battles. We are all waiting to get a glance of a Boston Paper bearing the date of Sept. 13-14. The latest news we have is that the President is leaving it to Gen. Foch to deside the new peace offer. At the rate he is going now he will too. From here we can hear some of our peace answers to the Boshe going over now in steel and powder. They’re getting peace alright. The peace that he had all maped out for us.


Well Em I hope this finds you all well. Walter Davis is O.K. if you should happen to see Emma, and tell her he is as jolly as ever. Lufkin is in the hospital. Batty Coyne’s bunch is near here some where now and Im looking up some of the old timers all the time but can’t seem to connect. Best regards to Aunt Madge and the rest. Heard from the boss the other day and learned that three of the fellows have been wounded but out of thirteen that left the shop none are yet represented by a gold star. Blue is good enough for me. Closing the same



S. E. Avery #69762, Hdq Co. 103rd Inf. Am. Ex. Forces.



[Ed. Note: Pictured above is the very “Blue Star” or Service Banner which Sam here refers to being displayed at the “shop” (Bristol Patent Leather Co.). This is a rare version of the Banner in the form of a full-sized flag which honors the group of employees who answered the call to arms. The final number of stars was actually 15, each one representing a specific man. Sam’s star is believed to be the first one which is furthest to the left or top (depending on which way the banner was displayed) as he was “first to the colors” having been in the service since 1912. Ultimately 5 of the stars were altered into white, indicating those who eventually died in war service.]


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

Somewhere near Fromereville, 10/7/1918

Dear Em.


Last night while down in this deep dug out, and when I was just getting set for a little pound one of the boys that had gone back to Regimental returned and said he had two letters for me. He started hunting for them in his pockets and every second it took him to find them just added to my disappointment in that he was kidding. But no. Finally he drew forth the two letters and sure enough they were for me. You can realize how much I appreciated them when I say that it was the first bit of news Id received since about the middle of July. I think I can honestly say that it was the first time that my sleep was interupted and I could thank the one that was the cause (and I sure did thank this chap).


Letter From Her by Joseph Chase

Neadless to say, I wasn’t long openning one of them (of coarse I openned the other shortly after finishing the said first one) which was from you dated Sept 10. I supposed as you said, that my being in the hospital would surprise you some what, but then it was the first time I ever was in one you know, so I think I have been very fortunate especially the last year. Your hope, in this letter has been granted for I am back with the bunch again and altho we are in, it seems more like natural.


Things are very quiet at present and the boys are not kicking any over this after the race they just had, and that I didn’t take part in having just returned from the hospital a day or so ago. Yes I did enjoy the rest part of it but I think I enjoyed the baths and changes of cloths better than any thing else.


Talking of Tom’s being gone just a year from the day he got a look at home again reminds me that we will have been in France a year the day after tomorrow Oct 9. I hope we can wind it up before another year has gone by. So Jimmy and Frank are in France. I guess I will have to send my regards to them via U.S. and through you. Also to Harry. Batty is lucky if he can spend the winter down south beleive me. I was glad to hear that Pa enjoyed his vacation and that every one else is O.K. That must be some kitten you speak of. I wonder if it would play around me like that when I was in one of my pleasant moods.


All this talk of what we were going to do with the Hun, has sure turned to action now. Will have to agree with you Em, the boys are doing great work. Cant do too much though nor do it too soon, so keep rooting for the boys in France. Don’t forget, we have some boys in Russia and Italy too. In looking over this letter it looks as though I did pretty well considering the position Im writing in and the light we’ve got to use. It is raining now which of coarse means mud and chills, but then we are used to that.


Well Em I was very glad to hear from you and in hopes that mail will be received oftener. How is Henry and Leonard? Glad to hear that every one else is all right and wish to be remembered to them. Having nothing more to say naturally Ill close



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


P.S. An order just issued requires the soldier’s number to be added to his address. My number being 69762 the envelope should read Samuel E. Avery #69762 Hdq. Co. 103rd Inf. Am. Ex. Forces.


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

Somewhere in the Troyon Sector, 10/4/1918

Dear Folks,


I have just arrived at the company, and was very much disappointed to learn that all my mail has been sent to the hospital which I left about a week ago. I have not received as much as a postal card from anyone since the later part of July and now Ive got to wait until the mail that has been sent me goes all the way back to the hospital and then return to the company. But then Ill get it some time and will sure have plenty of reading matter I bet.


It has been two months and more since I left the outfit and it does seem good to get back to the boys and to a place (no matter how humble) you can call your home. I know I havent been writing very often but there was really nothing to say or write about. You see I keep sending my mail to Mrs. Holland for I do not know the new address yet. As soon as I get word from you, you will get mail direct.


By the way, Im feeling O.K. now, and hope this finds everybody the same. Tell them the reason Ive not been writing and that I hope to get started again soon. Ive stil got the watch and chain which is going some.


Things are getting very damp of late and I guess the sight of the sun is going to be a rare sight from now on. Well my regards to all and now I am going to look for some mail.



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



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