The Scrapbook of an American Army Nurse in WWI: Part Two

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Many of the photographs in Army Nurse Edith MacDonald’s scrapbook (see The Scrapbook of an American Army Nurse in WWI: Part One), are of her colleagues (other nurses and medical officers) and her patients.  Fortunately, most of these are labeled with names but, unfortunately, with few additional details.  Moreover, many of the photos are in soft focus, making visual recognition difficult.

Nonetheless, publishing these pictures and names may prove worthwhile, if any of them are recognized by their families.  If anyone can shed light on any of these individuals, please do not hesitate to leave comments and information.  In this way, little by little, the history of Base Hospital 115, from the perspectives both of staff and patients, may be modestly expanded.

Edward Griffiths, rank unknown, 2d Infantry Division, AEF

Edward Griffiths, rank unknown, 2d Infantry Division, AEF

George P. Dickson, unit & rank unknown.  He writes on back of photo: "To Miss Edith E. MacDonald, from an Appreciative Doughboy"

George P. Dickson, unit & rank unknown. He writes on back of photo: “To Miss Edith E. MacDonald, from an Appreciative Doughboy”

Raymond R. Taylor, unit & rank unknown.

Raymond R. Taylor, unit & rank unknown.

 

Army Nurses Lottie M. Mumbauer (906 North 19th Street, Philadelphia) and Lorena S. Ingraham (107 Maple St, Lycoming, Colorado & Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania)

Army Nurses Lottie M. Mumbauer (906 North 19th Street, Philadelphia) and Lorena S. Ingraham (107 Maple St, Lycoming, Colorado & Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania)

Army Nurses Ella M. Williams (Graham, Tazewell County, Virginia) and Adelaide Campbell (106 Beaconsfield Ave, Toronto, Canada).

Army Nurses Ella M. Williams (Graham, Tazewell County, Virginia) and Adelaide Campbell (106 Beaconsfield Ave, Toronto, Canada).

Published in: on April 17, 2015 at 2:11 am  Leave a Comment  

First to Fall: the American Volunteers who Gave their Lives for France

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One hundred years ago, by the Spring of 1915, a full two years before America’s declaration of war against Germany, hundreds of young American men were already serving in or near the front lines— as infantrymen in the French Foreign Legion, as aviators in the Lafayette Flying Corps or Lafayette Escadrille, or as ambulance drivers with the American Field Service. These young men, many of them Ivy Leaguers from Harvard, Yale and Princeton, and other top universities, joined up of their own accord and at their own expense, putting their lives on hold for several years, for the privilege of defending someone else’s country. Their motives were both idealistic and personal, involving a love of French culture and the French generally, a hatred for what they saw as Teutonic militarism and aggression, and a degree of shame and impatience toward their own country, for failing to rise to what they saw as its moral responsibility to take its rightful place in the European War.

Though few in number, their influence on America’s decision finally to intervene in the war was significant. These young men were greatly admired in the United States and, because so many of them were from influential families and very well-connected, their letters home and articles in magazines, and the dashing figures they cut in the press, not only caught the popular imagination, but captured the attention of politicians and statesmen as well.

Yet today, a hundred years on, the American Volunteers are little remembered. I doubt that you will find even a passing mention of them in any American textbook.

For such reasons, it seems fitting to begin filling that void now, a hundred years on, one individual at a time. All the American Volunteers deserve to be remembered, but most of all those who died in the war, often before they could know that their sacrifice would prove instrumental in persuading their countrymen to rise to the occasion, and take up arms— or bandages— in the defense of France.

As often as time and opportunity permit, over the next three years, photographs and brief obituaries of individual Volunteers will appear here, beginning with three this evening, from the American Field Service, the French Service Aeronautique and the French Foreign Legion.

BJ Omanson

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SuckleyHENRY EGLINTON MONTGOMERY SUCKLEY II

Born February is 1887, in Orange New Jersey. Son of Robert Bowne and Elizabeth Montgomery Suckley. Home, Rhinebeck, New York. Educated abroad, Phillips Academy, Exeter, and Harvard University, Class of 1910. In business, New York City. joined American Field Service, February 12, 1915; attached Section Three; Sous-chef, May, 1915 to September, 1916. Recruited for Field Service, in America, September to November, Commandant Adjoint Section Ten, November, 1916. Croix de Guerre. To the Balkans. Wounded by avion bombs , March 18, at Zemlak. Died March 19, 1917, at Koritza, Albania. Buried in Koritza.

Speaking by his grave the senior French officer present said: “Henry Suckley always joined to the highest qualities of a leader the humble patience of a soldier, believing that the best way to obtain obedience was himself to set an example in everything.”

And one of the directors of the Field Service wrote when he heard of his death: “Of the many hundreds of Americans who have come and gone in this organization, he was one of the three or four on whom we depended the most and who was the most liked and trusted by those who worked with him or for him.”

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dowdMEREDITH LOVELAND DOWD

Born July 23, 1895, in Orange, New Jersey. Son of Heman and Mary Loveland Dowd. Educated Asheville School, North Carolina, and Princeton University, Class of 1918. Plattsburg Camp, 1916. Joined American Field Service, November 11, 1916; attached Section One to May 3, 1917. Enlisted French Aviation, May 14th. Trained Avord and Pau. Attached French Escadrille guarding Paris, Sergent. Spad Escadrilles 152 and 162 to February 17, 1918. Transferred U. S. Aviation. Commissioned Second Lieutenant, April, 1918; attached 147th Aero Squadron. Killed in combat, October 26, 1918, near Dannevoux, north of Verdun. Distinguished Service Cross. Buried Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse. Remains later removed to the Lafayette Flying Corps Memorial near St. Cloud.

On October 26th, 1918, Dowd and three others of 147th Squadron were ordered to patrol the lines, but he was delayed on account of engine trouble and his companions got off without him. He decided to follow and continued alone to the adventure that was to be his last. His commanding officer, Captain James A. Meissner, filed the following official report which was later used as a basis for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross:

DSC“Lieutenant Meredith L. Dowd, A. S., U. S. A. went on patrol over the lines on the afternoon of October 26, 1918, at about two o’clock. Over the Bois de Dannevoux he observed four German planes. According to the statement of Private M. M. Buckland, 305th Trench Mortar Battery, 80th Division, who saw the combat, Lieutenant Dowd first showed his markings to the planes as if they were Allied planes. As they did not answer his signal be attacked them immediately. The second time he attacked, one plane left the formation and headed for Germany. Lieutenant Dowd attacked the remaining planes three times, but the last time he drove on the formation, the plane which he had first driven off returned above him and shot him down. He fell in a steep dive and was dead when found by the French.”

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HENRY WESTON FARNSWORTH

“… One young American volunteer in the Foreign Legion was killed in the battle for the Fortin de Navarin at the end of September, 1915. He was Henry Weston Farnsworth, of Dedham, Massachusetts, a graduate of Groton and of Harvard, of the class of 1912. His tastes were bookish, musical and artistic. Burton, Dostoievski, Tolstoi, Gogol, Ibsen and Balzac were favorites with him, although his studies in literature covered a much wider field—the English classics as well as the modern continental writers. After he was graduated he spent the summer in Europe; visiting Vienna, Budapesth, Constantinople, Odessa, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, revelling in the historical associations, the art collections and the music of these cities, and making odd friends here and there, as was his wont, and studying the people.

When the European War broke out Farnsworth was in the city of Mexico, whither he had gone when the United States Government sent troops to Vera Cruz. In the meantime he had had some experience as a newspaper correspondent and reporter for the Providence Journal and had published a book, “The Log of a Would-be War Correspondent,” describing his experiences and observations in the Balkan War in the autumn of 1912, the fascination of which he could not resist. Returning home from Mexico, he sailed for England in October, 1914, with no intention of taking active part in the war, but with the desire to become an onlooker, in the hope that he might write something about the great conflict that would be worth while. The air of London and Paris was full of military projects, and he was tempted in various directions. Finally, after a period of hesitation and uncertainty, he entered the Foreign Legion early in January.

In course of time Farnsworth’s regiment was moved to the front in northern France, and early in March he was writing from the trenches. The sector was quiet and little of importance happened except an occasional bombardment or some desultory rifle firing. He was often on night patrol in No Man’s Land.  In one of these night expeditions Farnsworth and his companions succeeded in sticking some French newspapers announcing Italy’s declaration of war on the barbed wire in front of the German trenches. Pleased with their enterprise, their captain gave seven of them twenty francs for a fête.

In August Farnsworth’s regiment was in Alsace. In September, however, it was on the march and took part in the bloody battle in Champagne toward the end of the month. His last letter was dated September 16, 1915. He was killed in the charge that his battalion made on the 28th, before the Fortin de Navarin.

The Farnsworth Room in the Widener Memorial Library at Harvard, a large room for the leisurely reading of such standard books as Henry Farnsworth loved, was handsomely supplied with books, pictures and furniture by Mr. and Mrs. William Farnsworth, in memory of their son.”

~~ Edwin W. Morse

 ~~~~~~~~~~

SOURCES:

Gordon, Dennis.  The Lafayette Flying Corps: The American Volunteers in the French Air Service in World War One. (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Military History, 2000).

Morse, Edwin W.  The Vanguard of American Volunteers (NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1918).

Seymour, James William Davenport, ed. Memorial Volume of the American Field Service in France, “Friends of France,” 1914-1917 (Boston: American Field Service, 1921).

The Poilu in postcards

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The British historian and WWII veteran, John Laffin, in his valuable compilation, World War I in Postcards, finds these French carte postales from 1914-1918, compared to their more conservative British counterparts, frequently “overdone” and in “atrocious bad taste”. Personally I find them unexpected, playful and charming, even if occasionally verging on the absurd (how very French, after all).

Either way, our present-day reactions are hardly the point.  What is significant is how popular the cards were at the time with the soldiers themselves, who bought them and sent them home by the hundreds of thousands— not only French soldiers, but soldiers of all the allied armies serving in France.

My grandfather, a corporal with the US Marines in France in 1918, sent home several of them to his wife and niece back on the homeplace in Illinois when he was billeted in the tiny farming village of Germainvilliers in the Vosges foothills— and that was how, 35 years later when I was still a boy and he showed them to me, I first became acquainted with such cards.

Each county had its own distinctive postcards, of course, including the Germans, but the French postcards stand out from all the others, and were especially popular.  Given the miserable and unrelenting drabness of life at the front, these inexpensive trifles of charm and color, easily available in estaminets and stationary shops behind the lines, may well have seemed irresistible to soldiers just out of the trenches.

It is hardly necessary to point out the immeasurable distance between the fantasized image of the poilus in these cards— with their scrubbed male models wearing immaculately laundered and pressed uniforms against picturesque battlefield backdrops in pleasing pastels— and the actual mud-encrusted, lice-infested poilus they supposedly portrayed.  These cards were fantasy, pure and simple.  No one mistook them for any sort of reality, certainly not the soldiers themselves.  From our distant perspective, after a century of unspeakable warfare and atrocity following the end of the Great War, we might very well find such postcards inexcusably trite, or even mildly offensive. But the soldiers at the time seemed genuinely fond of them.  They certainly bought enough of them.

BJ Omanson

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Published in: on March 30, 2015 at 12:54 am  Comments (3)  

Christmas greetings from the old front line

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Princess Mary’s Christmas Box for the British soldiers, 1914

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from a Scottish Regiment

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from the Chasseurs Alpins

from the 7th Division, BEF, 1917


from the 7th Division, BEF, 1917

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from the Cameron Highlanders 1918


from the Cameron Highlanders 1918

One Doughboy’s bitter reminiscence of the Armistice on the Western Front, November 11, 1918

Detail from F.C. Yohn’s painting, “Last Night of the War”, depicting the 5th Marines crossing the Meuse on the night of November 10-11, 1918.

Detail from F.C. Yohn’s painting, “Last Night of the War”, depicting the 5th Marines crossing the Meuse on the night of November 10-11, 1918.

This reminiscence of the Armistice as experienced by soldiers and marines of the 2d Division AEF is excerpted from the book Trifling with War, by Ray DeWitt Herring (Boston: Meador Publishing Company, 1934).  Herring was a member of the 5th Machine Gun Company, 3rd Brigade, 2d Division, AEF.

BJ Omanson

~ ~ ~ ~

“When it became assured the war was to end, the dread uncertainty of the last few hours held anew the terrors of the unknown. To be bumped off on the last day, what devilish luck! And yet such was the fate of many of our own boys, pawns in the hands of ambitious military chiefs.

Note the order:

  1. On the night of November 10th (actually the early morning of Nov 11th), “heroic deeds were done by heroic men. In the face of a heavy artillery and withering machine gun fire, the 2nd Engineers threw two foot bridges across the Meuse, and the first and second battalions of the 5th Marines crossed resolutely and unflinchingly to the east bank and carried out their mission.
  2. In the last battle of the war, as in all others in which this Division has participated, it enforced its will on the enemy.

‘It enforced its will on the enemy’.   It is a heart-shaking question whether this one time gallant boys, hardly daring to breathe the hope of a promised armistice, wanted to force their will on the enemy. Perhaps that will had fashioned another concept in which “enemy” was now a meaningless abstraction, ‘war’ an ugly, fitful dream. Perhaps their will was only to live and let live.

It may have been a military necessity for one American Division to gain the right bank of the Meuse, and it may have been splendid strategy for another to race out of bounds into historic Sedan before 11.00 A.M. November 11, 1918 to stage a fitting finale to the melodrama that showed arrogant democracy the hero in the closing role; but it was not necessary to kill those boys at 4.00 A.M. on the day which was bringing life anew before the blessed sun should have reached his zenith. So it appears, and so our Major said, who cried bitterly over the uncalled-for slaughter. His consolation was that the death of the boys, who had been twice crucified, could not be laid upon him who would not have had it so.

The morning of that day passed by with leaden feet the living who almost forgot the sin of death done at daybreak. Intermittent shelling was noted with feelings that must e pardoned if there was shame in them. When about 11 o’clock the last hostile shell in this sector crashed harmlessly near the brook bordering foret de Dieulet, then we knew enchained humanity had broken the latest shackles fastened on the race by its nemesis, war.

. . . . .   ‘A peace that passeth understanding’  came within partial comprehension in the evening of that soldiers’ day of promise. A great heaviness was borne away. New men, strangely moved with new visions unbelievably true, gathered in wondering groups. There was no hilarity, no singing of paeans of victory. Too rapid had been the change from the threshold of death on this broken battlefield now promising life to the fortunate buddies of the unrequited slain. An aloofness was upon all, and a silence as of the great unaccustomed shadows thrown by the first campfires known to this generation of soldiers. The pageantry of the storied camping ground was lacking. The camaraderie about the beacons flaring fitfully along the horizon was of the fellowship of the disconsolate and lonely. Nothing could be so empty as victory. Many days must pass before life could be cherished. Never again could it be embraced with rapture. For the mark of the beast trails thru dreams of Christians who prevailed mightily over their brethren.

On the next day with the help of Sergeant Long, a roster of our original company was drawn up. Killed, wounded, missing, shell-shocked, sick, accounted for many missing names. Minor changes in the company itself took on dramatic significance to we who knew the men intimately and realized the relentless shuffling of their fortunes and hopes. This roll calling was not the glorious recital official records would make of numbers slain and percentage of valor registered by volume of casualties.

How does the damned human idiot figure another man’s death as his glory? — or a regiment decimated as his coronet? Our record showed us how truly unfortunate so many in one small company had been. When we multiplied the misery centered in our own group by thousands of like units in a dozen armies, we began to realize the world of woe encompassed in that tragic quadrennium beginning in 1914.”

—Ray DeWitt Herring

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Published in: on November 10, 2014 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Paris in the early days of the war: August 16, 1914 — (Charles Inman Barnard)

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(see previous post in this series: August 15 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Sunday, August 16, 1914.  Fourteenth day of mobilization. Heavy thunder storms set in at three A.M. Showers followed until one o’clock; cloudy afternoon with variable wind. Thermometer at five P.M. 22 degrees centigrade.

Huge crowds lined the streets leading from the Gare du Nord to the British Embassy, to welcome Field-marshal Sir John French, Commander of the British expeditionary force, who came to visit President Poincaré before taking command of his army. At quarter to one, three motor-cars rapidly approached the Embassy. In the second I could get a glimpse of Sir John in his gray-brown khaki uniform. His firm, trim appearance and his clear blue eyes, genial smile, and sunburnt face made an excellent impression, and he was greeted with loud cheers. He had a long talk with M. Messimy, Minister of War.

I am having a very busy time trying to obtain permission for American war correspondents to accompany the French armies in the field. Mr. Richard Harding Davis and Mr. D. Gerald Morgan have arrived in London on the Lusitania from New York to act as war correspondents in the field with the French forces. As president of the Association of the Foreign Press, and as Paris correspondent of the New York Tribune, I made special applications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the War Office for authority for them to act as war correspondents for the New York Tribune. These applications were endorsed by Ambassador Herrick, who also did everything possible to secure permission for them to take the field.

The official regulations for war correspondents are much more severe, however, than those enforced during the Japanese and Turkish wars. In the first place, only Frenchmen and correspondents of one of the belligerent nationalities, that is to say French, British, Russian, Belgian, or Servian, are allowed to act as war correspondents. Frenchmen may represent foreign papers. All despatches must be written in the French language and must be sent by the military post, and only after having been formally approved by the military censor. No despatches can be sent by wire or by wireless telegraphy. No correspondent can circulate in the zone of operations unless accompanied by an officer especially designated for that purpose. All private as well as professional correspondence must pass through the hands of the censor. War correspondents of whatever nationality will, during their sojourn with the army, be subject to martial law, and if they infringe regulations by trying to communicate news not especially authorized by the official censors, will be dealt with by the laws of espionage in war time. These are merely a few among the many rigid prescriptions governing war correspondents.

I talked with several editors of Paris papers on the subject, notably with M. Arthur Meyer of the Gaulois, Marquis Robert de Flers of the Figaro, and M. Georges Clemenceau of the Homme Libre. They one and all expressed the opinion that war correspondents would enjoy exceptional opportunities, enabling them to get mental snap-shots of picturesque events and to acquire valuable first-hand information for writing magazine articles or books, but that from a newspaper standpoint there would be insurmountable difficulties preventing them from getting their “news to market,” that is to say, in getting their despatches on the wires for their respective papers. However, Mr. Herrick is doing everything he can to obtain all possible facilities for Mr. Davis and for Mr. Morgan.

Almost every day brings some fresh measure in the interest of the public. Yesterday the Prefect of Police issued an order forbidding the sale of absinthe in the cafés under pain of immediate closure, and again called the attention of motorists to the regulations which they are daily breaking.

The sanitary authorities, too, have their hands full. So far, however, the present circumstances have had no influence on the state of health in Paris. The weekly bulletin published by the municipality shows that the death and disease figures are quite normal.

Mr. Bernard J. Schoninger, chairman of the committee which has recently been formed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris with the object of settling difficult questions which may arise in Franco-American commercial relations, states that his committee is collaborating with the ladies’ committee founded by the wife of the American Ambassador to assist wounded soldiers. In a few days this committee collected one hundred and seventy-five thousand francs. His own committee has issued an appeal to all Chambers of Commerce in the United States, and he trusts that considerable funds will be forthcoming for the ambulance corps created under the auspices of the American Hospital in Paris. The Minister for War has granted the use of the Lycée Pasteur, where it is hoped to establish an ambulance of two hundred beds, which may later be increased to one thousand.

The committee has also taken up the question of the payment of customs duties on American imports into France, and Mr. Schoninger states that he has met with the greatest kindness and that the French customs authorities have agreed to accept guarantees from various commercial syndicates instead of actual immediate cash payments. This will obviate difficulties occasioned by the refusal of French banking establishments, acting under the terms of the moratorium, in handing over funds which they have on deposit.

~ ~ ~ Charles Inman Barnard, from his book Paris War Days: the Diary of an American (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1914).

(see next post in this series: August 17 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Published in: on August 16, 2014 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Paris in the early days of the war: August 15, 1914 — (Charles Inman Barnard)

arisatWar

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(see previous post in this series: August 14 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Saturday, August 15, 1914.  Fourteenth day of mobilization. Heavy thunder storms set in at three A.M. Showers followed until one o’clock; cloudy afternoon with variable wind. Thermometer at five P.M. 22 degrees centigrade.

Huge crowds lined the streets leading from the Gare du Nord to the British Embassy, to welcome Field-marshal Sir John French, Commander of the British expeditionary force, who came to visit President Poincaré before taking command of his army. At quarter to one, three motor-cars rapidly approached the Embassy. In the second I could get a glimpse of Sir John in his gray-brown khaki uniform. His firm, trim appearance and his clear blue eyes, genial smile, and sunburnt face made an excellent impression, and he was greeted with loud cheers. He had a long talk with M. Messimy, Minister of War.

I am having a very busy time trying to obtain permission for American war correspondents to accompany the French armies in the field. Mr. Richard Harding Davis and Mr. D. Gerald Morgan have arrived in London on the Lusitania from New York to act as war correspondents in the field with the French forces. As president of the Association of the Foreign Press, and as Paris correspondent of the New York Tribune, I made special applications at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the War Office for authority for them to act as war correspondents for the New York Tribune. These applications were endorsed by Ambassador Herrick, who also did everything possible to secure permission for them to take the field.

The official regulations for war correspondents are much more severe, however, than those enforced during the Japanese and Turkish wars. In the first place, only Frenchmen and correspondents of one of the belligerent nationalities, that is to say French, British, Russian, Belgian, or Servian, are allowed to act as war correspondents. Frenchmen may represent foreign papers. All despatches must be written in the French language and must be sent by the military post, and only after having been formally approved by the military censor. No despatches can be sent by wire or by wireless telegraphy. No correspondent can circulate in the zone of operations unless accompanied by an officer especially designated for that purpose. All private as well as professional correspondence must pass through the hands of the censor. War correspondents of whatever nationality will, during their sojourn with the army, be subject to martial law, and if they infringe regulations by trying to communicate news not especially authorized by the official censors, will be dealt with by the laws of espionage in war time. These are merely a few among the many rigid prescriptions governing war correspondents.

I talked with several editors of Paris papers on the subject, notably with M. Arthur Meyer of the Gaulois, Marquis Robert de Flers of the Figaro, and M. Georges Clemenceau of the Homme Libre. They one and all expressed the opinion that war correspondents would enjoy exceptional opportunities, enabling them to get mental snap-shots of picturesque events and to acquire valuable first-hand information for writing magazine articles or books, but that from a newspaper standpoint there would be insurmountable difficulties preventing them from getting their “news to market,” that is to say, in getting their despatches on the wires for their respective papers. However, Mr. Herrick is doing everything he can to obtain all possible facilities for Mr. Davis and for Mr. Morgan.

Almost every day brings some fresh measure in the interest of the public. Yesterday the Prefect of Police issued an order forbidding the sale of absinthe in the cafés under pain of immediate closure, and again called the attention of motorists to the regulations which they are daily breaking.

The sanitary authorities, too, have their hands full. So far, however, the present circumstances have had no influence on the state of health in Paris. The weekly bulletin published by the municipality shows that the death and disease figures are quite normal.

Mr. Bernard J. Schoninger, chairman of the committee which has recently been formed by the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris with the object of settling difficult questions which may arise in Franco-American commercial relations, states that his committee is collaborating with the ladies’ committee founded by the wife of the American Ambassador to assist wounded soldiers. In a few days this committee collected one hundred and seventy-five thousand francs. His own committee has issued an appeal to all Chambers of Commerce in the United States, and he trusts that considerable funds will be forthcoming for the ambulance corps created under the auspices of the American Hospital in Paris. The Minister for War has granted the use of the Lycée Pasteur, where it is hoped to establish an ambulance of two hundred beds, which may later be increased to one thousand.

The committee has also taken up the question of the payment of customs duties on American imports into France, and Mr. Schoninger states that he has met with the greatest kindness and that the French customs authorities have agreed to accept guarantees from various commercial syndicates instead of actual immediate cash payments. This will obviate difficulties occasioned by the refusal of French banking establishments, acting under the terms of the moratorium, in handing over funds which they have on deposit.

~ ~ ~ Charles Inman Barnard, from his book Paris War Days: the Diary of an American (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1914).

(see the next post in this series: August 16 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Published in: on August 15, 2014 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Paris in the early days of the war: August 14, 1914 — (Charles Inman Barnard)

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(see previous post in this series: August 13 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Friday, August 14, 1914.  Thirteenth day of mobilization. Another hot, stifling day with thermometer (centigrade) 31 degrees at five P.M.

Lunched at the Cercle Artistique et Litteraire, Rue Volney. Only the old servants remain. The club is no longer open to non-member dinner guests. The price of meals is reduced to three and a half francs for lunch, and to four francs for dinner, including wine, mineral water, beer, or cider. There is great scarcity of small change. To alleviate this, ivory bridge or poker counters, marked fifty centimes, and one franc, are given in change and circulate for payment of meals, drinks, etc.

Greater military activity is noticed in the streets than for some days past. Many movements of troops took place all day, and long convoys of the ambulance corps, including several complete field hospital staffs, were seen driving and marching through the city.

This was due to the fact that within the last few days large bodies of the territorial forces had concentrated in the environs, notably at Versailles, from whence they left for the front.

Early this morning certain districts of Paris literally swarmed with soldiers of the territorial reserve.

Although most of them are married men and fathers, they display as fine a spirit as their younger comrades. They may, perhaps, show less enthusiasm, but that they are quite as calm is shown by the fact that a number of them spent the last hours before their departure fishing in the Ourcq Canal.

A detachment of naval reserves has been brought to Paris to assist the police and the Municipal Guards in assuring order in the capital. The men wear the uniform of fusiliers marins, and correspond to the marines in the British navy. They will be placed under the orders of the Prefect of Police.

Mr. A. Beaumont of the Daily Telegraph has had a very narrow escape from being shot as a spy. He is a naturalized American citizen, but was born in Alsace. When the present war broke out, he started in a motor-car to the front without the necessary passes and permits. He circulated about and obtained good and useful news for his paper. The other day, however, he was brought to a standstill in Belgium and was arrested. The Belgian authorities asked at the French headquarters: “What shall we do with him?” The reply was: “Send him on here to headquarters, and if he proves to be a spy he will be court-martialed and shot.” This arose from the confusion of names. It seems that the doings of a German spy named Bremont, of Alsatian birth, had become known to the military authorities in France and Belgium. Beaumont stoutly asserted that he was the victim of mistaken identity, and only after very great difficulty, and with the exceptional efforts of Mr. Herrick and of Sir Francis Bertie, the British Ambassador, was he able to establish his true identity, when he was released by the French Headquarter Staff, and handed over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Arrivals of detachments of German prisoners continue to be reported from various parts of France. A Prussian officer, speaking French fluently, was among a convoy of prisoners at Versailles yesterday. The officer, on seeing some French territorials march past, singing the “Marseillaise,” remarked to his guard: “What a disillusion awaits us!”

~ ~ ~ Charles Inman Barnard, from his book Paris War Days: the Diary of an American (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1914).

(see the next post in this series: August 15 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Published in: on August 14, 2014 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment  

Paris in the early days of the war: August 13, 1914 — (Charles Inman Barnard)

arisatWar

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(see previous post in this series: August 12 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Thursday, August 13, 1914.  Twelfth day of mobilization. Hot, sultry weather with faint northeasterly wind. Thermometer at five P.M. 30 degrees centigrade.

Breakfasted to-day at the restaurant Paillard and met there M. Arthur Meyer, M. Max-Lyon, Maitre Charles Philippe of the French Bar, and Mr. Slade, manager of the Paris branch of the Equitable Trust Company. War! War! War! was the subject of the conversation, but no real news from the front except of outpost fighting, with success for the French and the Belgians. Gabriele d’Annunzio’s flaming “Ode for the Latin Resurrection,” published to-day in the Figaro, is evidently intended to excite Italians to seize an opportunity to abandon neutrality and join France and the Allied Powers against Austria, and thereby win back the “Italia Irredenta.” D’Annunzio invokes the Austrian oppression of bygone days in Mantua and Verona, calls Austria the “double-headed Vulture,” and summons all true Italians to take the war-path of revenge. “Italy! Thine hour has struck for Barbarians call thee to arms! Vae Victis! Remember Mantua!”

After lunch I met Mrs. Edith Wharton, who had made some valuable mental and written notes of what she has seen in Paris. She is about to leave for England.

So sure were the Germans of advancing rapidly into France that they had decided to complete their mobilization on French territory. According to the Figaro, an Alsatian doctor, who came to France on the outbreak of hostilities, had been ordered to join the German army at Verdun on the third day of mobilization. A German tailor, living in Paris, had instructions to join at Rheims on the thirteenth day.

Although the early closing hour of all cafés and restaurants causes some inconvenience, it is being taken in good part by Parisians. It has not the slightest effect on the habits of the city as far as keeping late hours is concerned–no power on earth could make the Parisian go to bed at nine o’clock.

People cannot spend their evenings in the cafés, so they spend them either strolling or sitting about in the streets, smoking and chatting for hours. But the new closing hour has had the effect expected by the authorities. It has made Paris the most orderly city in the world. The police are, however, kept very busy, for the regulation as to carrying papers is being rigorously enforced, and the belated pedestrian is invariably challenged by a cavalry patrol or by the ordinary police. If his answers are unsatisfactory, he undergoes a more searching examination at the police station.

Paris has become a paradise for cyclists. Owing to the lack of transportation facilities, hundreds of Parisians have taken to using bicycles as a practical mode of locomotion, and the city now swarms with them. This state of things is not, however, likely to last very long, for every day brings more vehicles back to the capital, and every day brings a further step towards a more normal situation.

Some cars requisitioned will hardly be returned,—as is evidenced by the experience of Mrs. Julia Newell and her sister, Miss Josephine Pomeroy, two Americans just returned to Paris.

Before the war broke out, Miss Pomeroy left Frankfort by automobile, but in passing through Metz her $5,000 Delaunay-Belleville machine was confiscated by the Germans, and her footman and chauffeur, who were Frenchmen, were put into prison. All her luggage was lost. No attention was paid to her protests that she was an American citizen.

~ ~ ~ Charles Inman Barnard, from his book Paris War Days: the Diary of an American (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1914).

(see the next post in this series: August 14 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Published in: on August 13, 2014 at 11:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Paris in the early days of the war: August 12, 1914 — (Charles Inman Barnard)

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(see previous post in this series: August 11 — Charles Inman Barnard)

(see also the post by ME Clarke for August 12)

Wednesday, August 12, 1914. Eleventh day of mobilization. Hot weather, with light northerly breeze. Temperature at five P.M. 29 degrees centigrade.

Breakfasted with M. Galtier at the Cercle Artistique et Litteraire, Rue Volney. Several members of the club had just arrived from various watering-places. One of them, who came from Evian-les-Bains, said that he was sixty-two hours en route. The trains stop at every station so that they have uniform speed, thus rendering accidents almost out of the question. Only third-class tickets are sold, but these admit to all places.

It seems certain that the first part of the German plan—namely to come with a lightning-like, overwhelming crash through Belgium, via Liege and Namur—has failed. But the battle of millions along the vast front of two hundred and fifty miles between Liège and Verdun has opened, and the opposing armies are in touch with each other. Every one in Paris has confidence in the final result.

There is news of stupendous importance in the official announcement that Germany is employing the bulk of her twenty-six army corps against France and Belgium between Liège and Luxemburg. The disappearance of the German first line troops from the Russian frontier is now explained. By flinging this immense force upon France, Germany gains an advantage of numbers. How will she use it?

Paris seems to have seen very little, after all, of the mobilization. Most people may have seen an odd regiment pass, or perhaps numbers of horses obviously requisitioned. But they realize none of the feverish bustle of the mobilization centers.

Versailles relieves Paris of all this, and Versailles, since the first day of August, has been amazing. The broad avenues of the sleepy old town have been packed from side to side with men in uniform, men only partly in uniform, or men carrying their uniforms under their arm. At the first glance there seemed nothing but confusion, but the appearance was misleading, for at the Chantiers Station trainload after trainload of troops–men, guns, horses, material—have been despatched, taking the route of the Grande Ceinture Railway around Paris to Noisy-le-Sec, and on to the Est system.

At Versailles one realizes very fully that France is at war. For there are lines and lines of guns awaiting teams and drivers, hundreds upon hundreds of provision wagons, rows and rows of light draught-horses, many being shod in the street, while out along the road to Saint-Cyr, in a broad pasturage stretching perhaps half a mile, are thousands of magnificent cattle tightly packed together. They are to feed some of France’s fighting force.

And at Saint-Cyr there is unheard-of activity. The second army flying corps is being organized. It consists of nearly eighty certificated volunteer pilots, including Garros, Chevillard, Verrier, Champel, Audemars, and many more well-known names. There are others than French airmen in the corps. Audemars is Swiss, while there are also an Englishman, a Peruvian, and a Dane. These men are all waiting eagerly the order to move.

Those at the American Embassy who are in charge of advancing funds to Americans in need of them had their busiest day since the work began, on Monday. Forty-six persons received a total of 3,514 francs.

The total amount of money distributed for the three days has been 8,869 francs. This has gone to 105 persons, which gives an average of the modest sum of 84 francs apiece, or less than seventeen dollars.

At least nine out of ten of the applicants are virtually without bankable credit of any kind. One man gave as security—because the money is advanced as a loan, not as a gift—a cheque on a Chicago bank, but he admitted that the cheque was not negotiable, as it was drawn on one of the Lorrimer banks of Chicago, which had gone into the hands of receivers since he left for Europe.

Callers included a number of negro song and dance artists who had come to the end of their resources.

The work of distributing money is entirely in the hands of American army officers, and they investigate every case which has not already been investigated by the relief committee appointed by the Ambassador. Major Spencer Cosby, the military attaché at the Embassy, is the treasurer of the fund. Investigations are made by Captain Frank Parker, assisted by Lieutenants William H. Jouett and H. F. Loomis. The cashier is Captain Francis H. Pope, with Lieutenants Francis W. Honeycutt and B.B. Somervell as assistants.

When the history of the great war is written, a very honorable place will have to be reserved for the women of Paris. In the work of caring for the destitute and unemployed of their own sex, and anticipating the needs of great numbers of wounded men, they are showing extraordinary energy. Every day new and special philanthropic institutions are started and carried on by women in Paris.

Comtesse Greffulhe has taken in hand the provision of food and lodging for convalescent soldiers, so as to relieve the pressure on public and private hospitals and ambulances. Mme. Couyba, wife of the Minister of Labor, is arranging for the supply of free food to girls and women out of work. Marquise de Dion, Mme. Le Menuet and other ladies are opening temporary workshops where women can obtain employment at rates that will enable them to tide over the hard times before them.

The Union des Femmes de France is doing wonderful work in the organization of hospitals and in sending out nurses to wherever they are most likely to be needed.

One of the finest examples of energy and devotion is being set by the wife of the Military Governor of Paris, Mme. Michel. She has identified herself specially with what may be briefly described as “saving the babies.” Her idea is to see that the coming generation shall not be sacrificed and that expectant mothers whose natural defenders have gone to the war shall not feel themselves forsaken.

Mme. Michel is the president of a committee of ladies who have undertaken, each in her own district, to seek out needy mothers, to see that they and their children receive assistance, and to give them all possible moral support.

Mme. Michel is putting in about eighteen hours’ work a day in the discharge of her duties. She is up at daylight, and after dealing with a mass of correspondence, is out in her motor-car before seven o’clock, on a round of the various mairies, to see that the permanent maternity office, which it has been found necessary to start in every one of these municipal centers, is doing its work properly.

At eleven o’clock she is back at the big house which is the official residence of her husband, close to the Invalides, and is presiding over a committee meeting. She lunches in about a quarter of an hour, and plunges into more committee work, which usually lasts until well after four o’clock.

The latter part of the afternoon is taken up in another tour of inspection, dinner is a movable feast to be observed if there happens to be time for it, and then there is another pile of letters and telegrams a foot high to be gone through and answered; and so to bed, very late.

~ ~ ~ Charles Inman Barnard, from his book Paris War Days: the Diary of an American (Boston: Little Brown & Co, 1914).

(see the next post in this series: August 13 — Charles Inman Barnard)

Published in: on August 12, 2014 at 12:36 am  Leave a Comment