The Upper Gate
In the Park
"When all is said and done, however, the ambulanciers themselves have gained the most from the work in which they have taken part. It is a privilege even in ordinary times to live in this "doux pays de France", to move about among its gentle and finished landscapes, in the presence of its beautiful architectural heritages and in daily contact with its generous, sensitive, gifted, and highly intelligent people. Life in France, even in ordinary times, means to those of almost any other country daily suggestions of courtesy, refinement, and thoughtful consideration for others. It means continual suggestions of an intelligent perspective in the art of living and in the things that give life dignity and worth.
"The opportunity of living in France, as these Americans have lived during the past two years of war, has meant all this and more. It has meant memories of human nature exalted by love of country, shorn of self, singing amidst hardships, smiling at pain, unmindful of death. It has meant contact with the most gentle and the most intelligent of modern peoples facing peril---facing it with silent and unshakable resolve, victoriously resisting it with modesty, and never a vaunting word. It has meant imperishable visions of intrepidity and of heroism as fine as any in the records of knight-errantry or in the annals of Homeric days.
"Nothing else, surely, can ever offer so much of noble inspiration as these glimpses of the moral grandeur of unconquerable France."
From The Friends of France, 1916.
I am the most powerful thing in the world
Robert A. DONALDSON,
The visible and outward body of the old Field Service is gone for ever. It exists today only in memory. The old Fords have been to their last posts, have carried their last freight of wounded poilus, have run on their last convoy and have passed to more banal purposes and to other hands. Their old drivers are home again or homeward bound. The Mallet Reserve is a thing of the past and its members also have been dispersed. Most of the old Field Service men who during the later months of the war did their part in aviation, artillery or infantry, or one or another branch of the American or French army have also left France. "Old 21", center of countless memories, from which section after section left for the front, in the old days, and which for three years has been more like home than any other place in France to hundreds of the Field Service volunteers is closing its shutters. Its doors will soon be locked, its halls empty and its park deserted.
Yet the Field Service still lives and will live as long as the memory of any of us survives. As the years go by, opportunities will be found to perpetuate the old associations born during the war. In place of "old 21", some other center will be found on the other side where we can meet in the midst of suggestions of France and the old days, where we can revive old friendships and relive old experiences. The history of the Field Service which is almost ready for the press will help to make permanent the record of our past. With mutual aid the "Bulletin", reappearing from time to time, will help to keep alive some sort of contact not only with our common past, but with our individual futures.
But more than that, let us try to make of the comradeship born of the last four years, not merely an association of veterans of the war that is past, but a living organisation with a vital purpose still to perform. The main object which the old Field Service tried to achieve was to interpret France to America and America, to France, to spread abroad through the States a knowledge of what France is and has done and means, to help other Americans to feel and appreciate what we have felt and appreciated during these past four years. This effort must not end with the war. The four or five thousand of us who volunteered for France during the war, can rededicate ourselves to the same ideal in the years to come.
With an organisation perfected throughout the length and breadth of America, we ought not merely to establish clubs and arrange reunions to perpetuate the past. There are many other things we can do looking to the future. It has been suggested that we might bring over to America from time to time representative men of France as American Field Service lecturers --- such men for instance as used to speak in old "21" at farewell section dinners --- and with our extensive affiliations we would be able to arrange for them hearings in all of the great American universities and cities. It has also been suggested that we establish in the universities and communities from which we came American Field Service scholarships for American students in France and for French students in America. In many such ways we can make the Old Field Service an active and important factor in promoting the same ends for which we have given ourselves in France, a factor which will continue to count in the world long after all of us are gone.
Let us look forward as well as backward. The king is dead, long live the king!
To the old Field Service volunteers of 1915, 1916 and 1917, hail and farewell! Life can offer no higher privilege and no greater satisfaction than to have been associated with you during these matchless years in France. But not merely hail and farewell!
May we still be associated in an effort for France in the unknown years to come!
A. P. A.
This final number of the Bulletin makes the ending of another page in our career as members of the American Field Service. We cannot, however, believe that it is the last page. The chapter might indeed have been closed when each went his different way in the Fall of 1917. But as the association formed in those volunteer days of service in the French armies has brought us so often together since that time, so it is certain that in America, although our paths again will lead us in many diverse directions, we shall continue our association as members of the American Field Service. What this membership may mean it is difficult now to foresee, but even if it leads to nothing more than the occasional renewing of our memories and friendships it will bring us at least many happy hours, for I know of no days which could have counted more in that way, and if too we continue to make the name of the American Field Service stand out as signifying the love and friendship for the country we then served, the perpetuation of its name and organization is worth every effort.
As the time arrives for the closing of No. 21, rue Raynouard, and the termination of the activities of the American Field Service in France, it seems fitting that tribute should be paid to the two men whose loyal and untiring efforts did more than anything else in helping to create and make the service successful --- Lieutenant-Colonel A. Piatt Andrew and Major Stephen Galatti.
To Colonel Andrew is due the conception of sending the ambulance sections to the front to serve with the French army --It was owing to him that the personnel, material and funds were collected to establish this Service. His tact and ability also established the relations with the French army and the French government without which the Service could not have existed. These same relations were also of enormous value later to the United States Army Ambulance Service with the French Army. Besides the Ambulance Service Colonel Andrew was the founder of the Reserve Mallet, formed at the request of Commandant Doumenc of the French Army Automobile Service. Last but not least the credit is due him of obtaining through the wonderful generosity of Mme la Comtesse de Villestreux the house and grounds at 21, rue Raynouard, where all members of the Field Service have had a home and associations that will never be forgotten and the closing of which will leave a void not easily filled.
As the founder and head of a voluntary American Ambulance Service which evacuated about 600,000 wounded French soldiers before the United States came into the war, as the founder of a volunteer American Camion Service which gave most valuable aid to the French army and which was taken over by the American Army although still serving the French, and as an active officer, first as Major and then Lieutenant-Colonel in the U.S.A.A.S , Colonel Andrew can well be proud of what he has done in the World War. The French Army has shown its appreciation of his efforts particularly in decorating him with the Croix de Guerre, and with the Légion d'honneur. The conferring of this last decoration was made the object of a special ceremony held at the front with old Section one where he originally served. The American Army has also shown its appreciation by recently giving him the Distinguished Service Medal.
To Major Galatti, known to most of the old members as "Steve", the Field Service owes much. Serving first at the front as a driver in old Section Three he was later called in to the Field Service headquarters as aide to Andrew both at rue Raynouard and in inspecting the work of the sections. Those of us who knew him first in his little office in the court of the hospital at Neuilly and all of us who knew him both there and, at 21, rue Raynouard will long remember his untiring devotion to the service, his just and tactful handling of the personnel, his patience and cheerfulness often under trying conditions. His trips to the front were always welcome at the sections and one felt welcome when visiting him, at headquarters. He was on hand when needed at the front, on hand when new sections started out, no matter how early in the morning, on their first hazardous convoy from rue Raynouard ; on hand at headquarters to welcome new men, or permissionnaires or to settle personal or section troubles. As a Captain and then as a Major in the U.S.A.A.S. "Steve" continued to give that service the same valuable and efficient aid that he gave to the old Field Service.
W. DE F. B.
When you walked into 21, rue Raynouard, in the spring of 1917 you saw that things were moving. Baggage, supplies, men --- innumerable men --- troops of them --- green young recruits in an endless procession were all over the place. The office force harried with overwork paid little attention to you. If you got one of them into a corner and told him what you wanted he passed the buck wearily to someone else. Fisher rounding up a squad for driving practice told you : "Yes I used to look out for that but Ewell's doing it now." Ewell handed you on to Denny. When you found Denny bossing a corvée unloading châssis from a truck in the grove he sent you back to Peter Kent. You saw Mr. Cartier, Miss Lough, Muhr, Mme Grimbert, Jeanne --- you just got a glimpse of Doc. Andrew jumping into his car on the way to wring concessions from some French official. Finally if you persisted in your quest someone steered you to a door marked Mr Galatti. You went in (he always managed time to see everyone) and noticed first the most disorderly desk in the world. That desk defies description. It has everything on it: letters, papers, books, scratch pads, pencils, cigarettes, more papers, more letters, more and more papers, more and more letters. You could just look over the top of it and see Galatti sitting on the other side. You stated your case and he listened to you. Very likely while you were talking he answered the phone, made illegible notes on a scratch pad about a couple of unrelated subjects, but that didn't matter: he heard you; understood you perfectly. Sometimes he told you that you couldn't have what you wanted, --- that was final : you felt that it couldn't be done, --- you knew that he didn't say it just to get rid of you and save himself trouble. Sometimes if he thought you were talking nonsense he didn't answer at all but just listened and listened until bye and bye you got tired and went away. He never called you a damned fool. He never called anyone a damned fool. When you think that men were going through the rue Raynouard at the rate of 50 a week and, that every one of them had his own little grievance you wondered, how he ever managed to keep his temper. But he did --- it wastes time to lose one's temper and he couldn't spare the time. But generally when you had rambled through your plea he said something brief and decisive: "The best train is 8 A. M. Gare de l'Est", or "Try 26 avenue des Ternes" or "Your cousin is in section 8. He'll be down on permission in a day or two" or I'll "see about it ". And he always did see about it. At first you didn't believe he would. You didn't believe he could possibly remember or possibly find time to do anything if he did remember, but he fooled you. No matter how preposterous your request if he said it would be all right it was all right; --- a day or two later he produced your missing trunk, or found a place for you in the section you had set your heart on.
Everybody was working harder that Spring than he had ever worked before but Galatti did as much as any four of the rest of us. He never took a holiday. Seven days a week he got to the office at least at 8 A. M. Sometimes he went away at seven in the evening, sometimes later. And such days as he put in: He wired the agent at Bordeaux, selected just the right man to fill a vacancy, sent off reassuring cablegrams to parents anxious about their sons, located missing livrets, dictated letters, ordered brass donor-plates and saw that they got put on the right ambulances, listened to kicks, organized new sections, and if as often happened a wire came in at five announcing that 50 men would be up from Bordeaux at 7.30 --- oh very well --- it was all in the days work. He hustled just a little harder than usual and at 7.30 he had enough cars at the Quai d'Orsay to carry them and their baggage, supper and beds were waiting for them. Then, if a convoy was leaving the next morning at six he would be on hand to see them start.
The most marvelous thing about it all was his memory. Down under the welter of papers on his desk there was a card catalogue, but it was buried too deep for reference. He didn't have to look at it: he knew where the cars were and where the men were. if Section 8 reported that they hadn't received a barrel of oil, he knew right out of his head what day it had been shipped, who had driven it to the rue Pinel and the name of the Maréchal des logis there who would do something about tracing it.
That was the life he led from the Spring of 1916 to late in the Fall of 1917. He stuck at the job not because he wanted it but because no one else could handle it. He never complained but I know perfectly well that it wasn't the job he would have chosen. Everyone was wild to get out to the front again --- to get into the fun and excitement. Once I remember I went into his office to tell him that if I couldn't go back to a section I was going home. But I didn't tell him that: I thought of the grind he'd been going through---was going through,--- was looking forward to--- with no fun --- no excitement --- no honors --- no publicity, and I was ashamed of myself.
I think we've all learned something from our experience with the Field Service, and if we go back to civilian life with more grit and staying power; if we're better able to shut our mouths, plough ahead and do the job that we've got to do the man who showed us how is Steve Galatti.
J. R. F.
Early sunlight on the cobbled court yard, the stones cool and fresh from the night's showers, a gurgle of gay water down the gutter of Rue Raynouard and the babble of many birds below in the green garden! Spring! Paris! The Field Service! And now we must say good-bye to it --- that was home to us for so long --- our center of the universe.
How alive life was then --- young --- full of anticipated unknowns --- zestful. Lord, we were rich then and did not know it half. ---We --- the little ones who barked pettily up the trees of our small discontents, yet not meaning a quarter of our noise --- as those who looked out for us were wise enough to know. We barked to hide the loneliness and fears of our hearts! And perhaps because we were ashamed to be as happy in such a moment as we really were. For we were in good hands --- we newcomers!
Who stood on the terrace and gazed up at the slim lines in grey of the Eiffel Tower and did not pinch himself to realize --- the reality of it all? Whose breath did not catch in his throat as his eyes saw the house tops, his ears heard the faint bustle of the city, and his soul reached out to comprehend?
O young days! O Service that for all our own blindness was a big part of our whole being! Service of friendships --and even a dim appreciation of France. We shall think often of you. All our little jobs were somehow haloed by it ---from pounding typewriters to digging rain ditches 'round the tents. The front has been sung in all its phases --- but after all we are going to remember almost as often the first days of the new existence in Paris in the ranks of the A. F. S.
Anyone who has passed but an hour within the glowing shadow of Rue Raynouard can for all his life conjure up a memory that helps him. And in that memory are warm handclasps, good cheer, and encouraging words, and kind faces. Perhaps we didn't realize it, but ever so slightly as they pressed upon the individual in the addled multitude of us the Chief and his Aide touched us every one --- and we were different --- were it even but a little. And we are grateful. Those two looked to as the supreme powers of life. We cursed them if we had a tummy-ache --- or if it rained. We sang their praises if sun and stars were bright. And only when we were shot out of the homeliness of 21 into the blare of the outside and The Front did we realize what they stood for in our lives. Then to come back to them for a day --- or a moment--- their smiles carried us over hard leagues without notice of the hummocks in our way. I think we'll not forget.
That life in the Spring of 1917! Breakfast in the cave! The big messy mess-kits --- the hot milk, coffee, sugar even and bread, --- to be arranged in various enchanting combinations. The wondrous breathlessness of those mornings before the day took fire and became hot. When the sky was aglow with pale colors --- when the tower cut clear as a sword held high and the tricolor stood out a'top, stiff and brilliant against the blue. ---And the Seine below there glittering through the green. The joy of being alive --- and ready, and busy a bit --- made even those moments of marking time precious.
Did you perhaps drive a staff car to Rue Pinel with packages all across Paris so early of a morning? The war-blue car pattering through the cool streets of the wakening world --- where one's heart was forever a' jump with the glory of exquisite quick-passing vistas. To return when the city was already warming dustily to its daily toiling and draw deep breaths of living! Perhaps you went to the gares to fetch back arriving Chefs, or baggage. And watched the swarm of poilus and dreamed of the front. There was little of khaki then.
Or perchance it was toil all morning in the store room, arranging blankets, canteens, and such, ---hot, back-stiffening--- but not dull because of the dream in the back of your head. And you could stop for a moment and lean out of the wide window, taste the air of Paris and look across the tree-green and river-blue to the shimmer of ivory buildings beyond with the tumbled bustling great clouds behind.
In the general office the bang of continuous typewriters as the fiches innumerable were wrung out. Room cards arranged, and all the room cards gone over and gone over again. Even shifting baggage in the cinema was possible ---and it underwent the same transformation as all the other detail dirty-work. Just because of the Service --- somehow it wasn't the Army grind ---no, nor the drabness of a "job". And one can't explain it quite---except that it was something inside that rested content not to be showy.
Then the hours afterward. To tread the streets of myriad dreamings --- to take pride in saluting French galons. How in their innards they must have been amused, those precious officers, at our youngness and importance. To wander about with a chum or two finding our pleasures in the simplest way --- of necessity --- since we were not even thirty dollar a month millionaires then. The long sweet dusks...
Old Service that mothered us --- days that petted us---and Chiefs that we came more and more to admire, to count upon, and to love. How silly we are! Our gratitude is not a thing to be put in words --- you could see it perhaps in our eyes... the quiver of our lips... Good bye.
J. W. D. S.
We all knew vaguely even before we reached Paris that 21, Rue Raynouard in which the Field Service headquarters was established had been given by someone ---we did not exactly remember whom. We had read of the wonderful garden with its memories of Franklin and the old royalist days but we vaguely pictured it as some conventional city garden with perhaps a bronze plaque here and there, and signs about keeping off the grass. But after the first few days when we had had time to adjust ourselves a bit, we came to know the old garden as a place to which we could take our little triumphs and disappointments and figure it all out under some old tree quite forgetful of the city around us. And then it was that we came to realize what such a place meant to us far from home and the value of what had been given us through someone's generosity.
Then came the day when we first saw the Comtesse de la Villestreux in her nurse's veil talking with Miss Lough in the hall and we loved her from that moment. And the never to be forgotten fourteenth of July when we met her at the Grande Revue at Vincennes, and cheered, standing by her side, the blue coats and tattered flags. Then she consented to ride back with us to Rue Raynouard on the market camionette. That morning it was an honor to give up ones seat and ride along through holiday Paris sitting in the back, on a sack of potatoes, beside Touraine the cook who was busily peeling onions as we bumped along.
She seemed so exactly what we thought a Countess ought to be with an added simplicity and charm which somehow we hadn't counted on, and it seemed so very fitting that it was she who had consented to be our neighbor and not only that but had given her whole-hearted interest in the boys who lived there. If any one was sick in the hospital she made it her special charge to visit him daily and see that everything was done for his comfort; one young American died in her arms who would otherwise have had none by his side to make the last moments a little easier.
Just as Rue Raynouard is in the background of our days over here, so the Countess and her family will always stand in the background of Rue Raynouard. Our gratitude is not of the sort that goes easily into words; nevertheless, as long as any of us are alive she may know that what we feel she has given to us is the precious heritage of a lifetime.
A J. P.
Since the war has gone into the annals of the past, the American Field Service Headquarters at 21, Rue Raynouard, has at last come into its own. On the short stays while passing thru Paris en permission, we came to know its value as a headquarters and as a home. Its easy living-rooms and parlors, its fine dining rooms, its comfortable quarters have offered us a touch of the homelike atmosphere we have missed so long. The comradeship and good-fellowship found there worked to bind all the more closely the ties which by a community of spirit and interest link together the old "conducteurs pour la France."
To those men who were demobilized in France, to those stationed here, and to those attending Paris universities, Rue Raynouard has come to mean even more. Members from every branch of service and of every rank were here gathered together in a spirit of fellowship, friendliness and equality. Rue Raynouard at last truly became "The Field Service Club."
In addition to the accommodations for men at "21" itself, and the Châlet, new accommodations were opened up in an apartment at 35 rue de la Tour. The living rooms were once more crowded. The dining room accommodated a hundred and fifty men each meal. After lunch in the sunshine of the wonderful April days you found them seated out on the terrace enjoying the view of the fine old garden, the silvery water of the Seine below, and, in the distance, the sweeping outlines of the Tour Eiffel; or at night watching the lights of Paris, seeming so strange after these long days of war, shimmer in long streaks across the dark water.
This is the effect. To find the cause of so much of this pleasure it was necessary to go inside ; and there, you were sure, sooner or later, to run into Mr. Sleeper. For, the past nine months Mr. Sleeper has made Rue Raynouard his life. He has in truth become almost an inseparable part of it. He has made the management of the place his personal business. The trials and tribulations of those who have come here he has made his own too. If difficulties could be straightened out, Mr. Sleeper was the man who could straighten them.
You might not, at first, guess this, for Mr. Sleeper was very idle. You might find him at most hours of the day moving around with in the clubrooms, apparently with nothing more to do than the men with whom he was talking. But somehow if you mentioned to him some difficulty that you couldn't untangle he would tell you he'd look into it ; and probably the next noon would casually tell you that he had fixed it up, and if you ran along down there here you wouldn't have any more trouble. Where he got the time for all these things, nobody knows. But he got it. That is Mr. Sleeper's secret.
Since the large number of men have been staying at Rue Raynouard, Mr. Sleeper has continued his series of ever-new surprises. Little did you expect when you wandered in one night from the theatre to find the dining room thrown open, and an after-the-theatre feed spread out upon the tables --- the like of which might not be found elsewhere in Paris for love or money. So great a success was this innovation that Mr. Sleeper has since made it almost a regular institution. On April fifth he again outdid himself by arranging a dance --- another immense success. Perhaps on this night you wondered, along about twelve o'clock, how you were ever going to get that lady home. If you went upstairs to scan the supposedly empty street in hopes of seeing some belated bandit come chugging along, you found yourself facing a street-full of taxis. They had been corralled by Mr. Sleeper --- and no one to this day knows how he did it!
The old headquarters at 21 Rue Raynouard closed on April 24, and among the pleasant memories that we will carry away will be the remembrance of the infallible friendship and unremitting and unselfish energy of Mr. Sleeper.
R. A. D.
The old Headquarters at 21 Rue Raynouard are closed; the courtyard is no longer crowded with staff cars, trucks and camionnettes ; all the old wrecks have been cleaned out of the garden; the extra barracks are down, and everything will soon return to pre-war conditions. It is a sad time for many of us as we see the breaking up of the companionships, friendships, and associations of more than four years of tremendous, tiring, worrying, but successful effort. It is a good time to look back and remember again some of our impressions of the old Field Service in the days when it was the only American organization in the war, so that we may carry away with, us --- vividly in our minds --- the joys and sorrows, struggles, and successes of those days.
Once again you have just joined the American Ambulance; your wild efforts to get a birth certificate only to find you had never been officially born, your horrible hours with the photographer, your trips to the French consul, to the passport bureau, to the steamship office, your sad farewells with family and friends are finished; you are on board the steamer, land has faded from sight and you are actually on your way to France. Do you remember the thrill of that thought? A week of uneventful shipboard life followed with nothing but lifeboat drills to break the monotony. Then one morning some French sailors in uniform appeared and the gun on the stern was uncovered, cleaned and tried out the naval officer who up to that day had spent all his time playing bridge in the smoking room mounted the bridge and took command of the ship. Two days and two nights of tense excitement followed as the ship steamed through the submarine zone and then one morning you went on deck to find yourself quietly sailing up the Gironde and a few hours later you were actually landed in Bordeaux, France! France itself, and the first step of your journey to take part in the war was accomplished.
Do you remember your trip across the city, and then your trip through the beautiful vineyard region around Bordeaux and the Garden of France around Tours up to Paris. At Paris you were met at the station by a man in khaki uniform who seemed to be most efficient, who knew his way about the dimly lit station, got your baggage, bundled it and you into the back of an ambulance and whizzed you around corners and through black streets for an interminable time until you were finally deposited in the courtyard of "21". You didn't sleep very well that night; things had been happening so fast that you hadn't had time to digest them and you lay awake there in bed and thought them out.
The next morning followed your introduction to the men who were to guide your destinies for the next six months: Doc, who greeted you cordially, told you how glad he was to welcome you to the Service, warned you of the --- ahem --- evils of Paris, made you feel you were the one man in all America he had been hoping would come over, and passed you over to Steve; Steve; the "adjoint" who as you later found was usual with all "adjoints" had to know everything and to do everything connected with the Service and was in general so busy that you wondered when he ever even had time to eat and sleep. Then there was Bud Fisher, who took the greatest delight in rushing you from one end of Paris to the other, from the Prefecture de Police to the Commissaire de Police, from the rue Pinel to Kellner's at Boulogne, and who made you sign your name to so many papers that you knew you would never again be a free and independent American. There was Bobby Gooch, who had to pronounce upon your ability or inability as a driver; there was Peter Kent who seemed to be always rushing to meet trains and who was always in such a hurry that he hardly had time for a "Hallo". Also there were Huffer and M. and Madame Grimbert, Mlle. Bétourné, Jeanne and Miss Lough, concerning whose duties you were never exactly clear except that the latter could scold you within an inch of your life if she found you doing anything to upset the household arrangements.
Were you fortunate and, were you rushed through in a week to join an old section in the field or did things break badly for you so that you were held in Paris for some time? Do you remember the nondescript costume yon went around in for the first few days --- a Service cap, a khaki flannel shirt and a civilian suit -- and do you, remember the perfect pride, you felt the day your uniform came home from Lloyd's and you first sallied forth in it? Then there were the blankets, the cot, and the field equipment to get, the "Permis de Sejour", the "Permis de Conduire ", the "Carnet d'Etranger", and all the other French papers to obtain. Your evenings you spent in the big living room listening to the stories of actual service told by the permissionnaires, those proud men with the soft, flappy caps, who had actually seen that mystic place , "the front", or else you sat on the terrace of the Cafe de la Paix drinking "portos", dined at the Café de Paris, went to the Alhambra or the Folies and walked all the way home to Passy through the inky black streets after the metro had stopped running. Finally, I however, your period of preparation, was finished by a call to Steve's office where you were then told you were to go out to Section Blank. Section Blank! Will you ever forget Section Blank ?
You remember your arrival at the section ; you remember that first night in cantonment ; you remember your first trip to a poste as orderly on another driver's car ; you remember the first arrivée you ever heard ; you remember the first soixante-quinze that unexpectedly went off rather close to you ; you remember the first time you ever took a car out at night by yourself; those things are indelibly impressed on your mind. But do you remember the first permission, when you came back to "21" and were welcomed by "Doc" and "Steve" as though you were the prodigal son returned. What tales you had to tell the new arrivals; how fine it felt to walk along the boulevards and know that you had actually been "in it" along with all these brothers in blue with whom you rubbed shoulders. They surely were wonderful days.
Each one of you has his own particular set of reminiscences which he will never forget, and which will form his contribution to the evening's entertainment in the years to come when this group gets comfortably settled in the club's big leather chairs --- there is no need to recall any of these to our minds.
And now it is over, and 21" is closed for good. We must say good-bye to the old days, but we will keep them in our memory among our finest possessions.
Capt. J. R. GREENWOOD.
Our lives are like strange ships that lie
Across the vast uncertain sea
Some of them no more to come,
So are our lives, with days that seem
Robert A. DONALDSON,
Ever since the U.S.A.A.S. service came along we have had trouble with Echelons. The Echelons refused to consider themselves only service stations for our convenience. Their C. Os. got into the habit of coming out to the section and bothering us with foolish questions.
There wasn't any limit to their curiosity:--- "Why were we wearing leather leggings ; why didn't we wash the cars occasionally; what did we do with all the spare parts we drew?" Some of them made a pretence of keeping records and took a mean pleasure in pointing out the number of rear axles we broke in a fortnight. For a while they really had us worried ; we didn't know how to act or what was coming next. However as the summer rolled along we began to size up the situation and find out that it could be handled. It called for new methods, that was all. We set ourselves to study the Echelons and find out their weak points --- what sort of a tale they would fall for; how much they would stand for. We got to know all the Echelon commanders and their pet hobbies and behaved accordingly.
One of them was a real sport. Whenever we saw him driving up, the Chef would slip on his tin hat and say that he was just starting out to look over the posts. That always ended inspection for the day. The officers would roll off, duck shells and dodge bullets in advanced boyaux and if only the Boche had been nasty enough the Echelon man would go home to his office and report that we were the peppiest little section in the service. Obviously with that Echelon, when we wanted anything the line to take was the heroic over-driven ambulancier pose. When they went for spare parts the mechanics never shaved, --- they rolled a bit in the dirt, spilled some oil and grease on their uniforms, shot a few rounds of rifle bullets through the body of the camionette, beat its mud-guards up with a hammer. If they did the job thoroughly and made the whole outfit look like a complete wreck the chances were bright of coming back with as many as three front springs, -- and front springs were as scarce as blood rubies in those days.
The next Echelon we went to called for different tactics. Here the mot d'ordre was elaborate paper work, and we humored them. We made out requisitions in quadruplicate using every possible sort of colored paper. A pump for the truck was listed all by itself on a pink sheet, transmission bands on green, miscellaneous supplies on letter paper with neat sub-paragraphs explaining why everything was needed. If the letter was written in a properly submissive tone as befits the correspondence between a mere lieutenant and a Captain we pretty generally got away with everything we wanted.
Another man was nuts on military bearing. It was hard to impress him properly for naturally we couldn't be bothered with such foolishness all the time, but once by chance we were tipped off that he was headed our way and then we made a killing. The sergeant got busy and was so absorbed in instructing the K. Ps in the "school of the soldier" that he didn't even seem to notice the staff car drive up.
When they began to worry us about painting we laid up our poorest car and detailed a new man (who wasn't much good to the section anyway) to be always fussing around it with a brush and a can of paint. He never got the job finished but he did get us through three inspections, the Chef letting it be understood that it was a different car every time.
There was one Echelon which always came across for a certificate of loss. The circumstances were never investigated. If the Chef certified that the range out of the kitchen trailer had been lost in action we could get a new one, but we could show them a car without a front wheel without getting any action unless we had a letter by the Chef pointing out the fact. In a neighboring Echelon certificates didn't go : it was exchange or nothing. Our method there was to take in the parts we wanted even if we had to rob them off another car. Then after getting credit for them and drawing new ones in exchange one of us would steal the old ones back from the salvage pile while an accomplice was filling the stock-room man up with tales of bullet biting at the front. This method could be kept up indefinitely.
We grew old in wisdom about repair possibilities too. Most of the Echelons were good enough and, if the spare cars they issued weren't world beaters, they were as good as the junks we turned in. One or two really had the goods to deliver; whenever we came into their territory we went in for general revision. They must have thought us a rotten section but the work we threw at them was really a compliment: we saved it up because we trusted them with anything from a rear end grind to a temperamental magneto. Conversely there were other Echelons who never got much of our patronage. We knew their reputation and having our own ideas about the efficacy of varnish in the crank case and paint in the differential housing we limped through their sector without reporting for repairs even if one half the section had to tow the other half.
It was amusing to see how they fell into ruts with their inspections of cars. One man seemed to care chiefly about order in the tool boxes ; another passed anything except dirt in the engine pans ; another used to waggle the coil box terminals ; another solemnly took off a grease cup or two and if there was grease in it (and there always is bound to be some if any has been put in during the month) everything was all right ; another poked his finger into the place where spring tie bolts ought to be ; another squatted before the car and rocked the front wheels like an enraged gorilla. We often wondered why none of them thought of taking short rides in the cars and thus assuring themselves about (what is really fundamental) whether they would run or not. But we didn't suggest this : it was no use putting ideas into their heads, and besides the result might have been embarrassing to the section.
So we got along month after month --- always with a first rate reputation. Success we believe is obtained mostly by adapting methods to conditions, and as a successful section we constantly varied our tactics. But some generalization is always possible and finally we drew up a sort of basic code that applied to every Echelon in the service. Perhaps it is too late to publish it now, but you never can tell, ---there may be another war some day,---here it is : ---
The time honored formula "Feed the brute" applies to Echelon officers. When they stay to meals, dig down in the cupboards, sacrifice that can of plum pudding, go the limit on sparkling pinard, force your last cigars on them. It's expensive but it pays. If you follow this rule, Headquarters will hear nothing but good of you.
An abandoned car is a gold mine. Never leave anything on it that call be pried off. Somebody else might steal it if you didn't. Never mind if the parts you pick up are broken, they can be lawfully exchanged at the next Echelon.
Some Echelon men are mean enough to rob a section of the excess spare parts it accumulates with so much trouble. A wise mechanic does not store these in the workshop but finds some secret cellar or garret; --- if nothing else offers he caches them in a neighboring wheat stack.
It never does any harm to tell an Echelon C. O. that you think his outfit has all the others beaten to a froth. The thicker you lay it on, the more respect he will have for your judgment.
When making motor exchanges at the section remember that the practice is forbidden and cover your tracks. Be especially careful if the new motor is one salvaged on a dark night. Don't file the old number off and leave a blank as this arouses suspicion. Put a new number on it --- anything up in the millions. If some day Headquarters inquires how two cars happen to have the same motor number, feign ignorance and say that the job was done at an Echelon. Headquarters believes the Echelons capable of any iniquity.
When he leaves you, notice the road an Echelon officer takes. If he seems to be starting for another section warn them by phone. This generosity may result in their making a better impression than you did; but only by individual self-abnegation can a strong esprit de corps be established and the sections united in a bond of mutual self help against their common enemy.
Memorandum 35 provides that a section shall have a lot of things which it couldn't possibly transport. Nevertheless it is good policy to include a number of these useless items in every requisition. The Echelon can't supply them, and will feet so apologetic about it that important items such as a dozen commutator cases will be O. Kd. unchallenged
Remember that Echelon men keep in close touch which the commissary. Cigarettes so useful in dealings with a French parc are of little use with them. But like other members of the S.O.S. their thirst for souvenirs is more comprehensive than discriminating. With them a rusty Boche helmet can be exchanged for a new radiator ; an anti-tank gun is generally good for a complete rear end.
When you know that you have been caught without the goods don't give up hope. Remember that the Echelon C.O. though now sentenced to confinement with a M.T.C. outfit, was once a man like you. Lead him on: tell him that they still talk about him in the old section. Encourage him to lean up against a blue painted ambulance and talk to you about the glorious time when he too was a driver. In the haze of golden reminiscences he will forget all about your dirty kitchen and your outrageous gasoline average. Thinking it over be will say to himself... "Well perhaps there's room for improvement but they're a Field Service outfit. I guess they must be all right. "Well
A Wise old Mec.
Moi --- I am to come for see the departure of my outfeet Americain, for they are the very good fellow. But first I must to stop for one hour in Paris for obtenir my papers of the demobilization and my cartes of identité, and for toucher the money for the demobilization. Because the life, oh, that is dear now! And, five years of the war it is too long, you comprehend. It is to be in the civils and in that old Panam.
But the section, it is gone Elsewhere. I find this camp is something bizarre. The fellow they are standing to the garde with one large empty ceinture about them. I ask, but I cannot know what he is guarding. The fellow they are guarding all night quand même. C'était rigolo, my old.
Some other fellow, they are put in the wire cage. That was not so rigolo. Ninety days of prison for the A.W.O.L. --- which is the visit to Paris. That is no good. Also I inform myself that they must truthfully stay in that cage. Ah, my old!
The fellow, they are toujours on the K.P. This K.P. that is the Corvée Américain, but more actif. This is to wash the bidons and the marmites, and to make the mess for the "Chow".
This "Chow" it is très amusant also. First there is very much bugling with bugles. A great mob of fellow they come to march vite in all direction. Each fellow has his "messkit". And he puts, his spoon in his puttees. Alors they make the guerre all about the cuisine. Then each is to progress alone for receiving his ration ensemble. They must to drink café without one lonely drop of la gniole, my old.
When the fellow has to receive one a large heap of haricots and of carottes and of bread mélangé! And some "slum" peut-être. Then he is going in the small salle à manger Américain, to install himself sérieusement at the table --- standing comme at the "free-lunch" Américain. There is not one bench, there is not one chaise. It was comique, you comprehend!
And they are working, my old ! They must to salute all officiers and they must to keep their overcoats all buttoned close. At the morning they make to awaken early! All folds his couvertures so slickly for being placed upon the bed. This was something to see, and so different from the section, my old. The fellow they have no more name. All are called "Buddy".
Now the fellow they must to submit to the process "delouse". That is a process to make the clothes look wrinkled. Perhaps that will to kill the "tôto". But I do not know.
If the fellow would to be démobilizé en France, they must to go to another grande centre. There after the "delouse" one must enter in a grande barraque which calls itself "Le Mill". This is an établissement all in fact Américain. It has the système, my old. It is like usine Henri Ford en. Amérique. Here are five soldats turned out per minute. One must to enter a gang-way to receive one chemise, very small. Then he must to progress quickly. He must not to stop ; he must not to argue; he must but to advance. They will hang on him one large pantalon, one képi, and les chaussures salvaged, and all the other vêtements. The fellow. he will to depart from the "Mill" with an équipe complet. Next morning they will recapture this clothing for give to some other. C'est intéressant, et c'est vite fait.
After "Le Mill" and, the "Delouse", the fellow they must go to the quarantine for avoiding to distribute fleas. Then they must to wait.
Finish, grande guerre. But the fellow who do not to rest en France they say that demobilization it has only commenced.
Quel système, my old!
In the Stars and Stripes of March 21, 1919, there was published, under the general headline of "Life Stirs Again in Ravished Countryside Once Bounded by Death-Swept. Valleys", a series of sketches dealing with the rehabilitation of the territory over which the Yanks fought during the German advance from the Aisne, and the subsequent Foch counter-attack on July 18th. Among these little sketches which deal so delightfully and picturesquely, and with such a strange mixture of war and peace, with this country, is one which should be of more or less interest to a number of the ambulance and camion sections. The old stamping ground of the camionneurs, during the days of 1917, when one would have laughed had he been told that these would ever be battlefields, is again described, as well as villages of the plateau country between Soissons and Pierrefonds, where the 1st and 2nd Divisions fought side by side with the Moroccans, and other French troops, along a front held a little later entirely by the French troops and the famous Scotch Division which included the Black Watch, Gordon Highlanders, the Coldstream Guards, and many others. To those many ambulance men who will retain among their most vivid memories of the war the battle along this picturesque front, this article should prove of interest.
"There are some sights, some shrines on the edge of battle, of which the official guides know nothing and which the tourists are unlikely to see. It seems improbable, for instance, that the tourists will ever find their way in such great numbers to the historic, but little known, heights south of Soissons, where, on the memorable July 18, 1918, one of the most potent offensive weapons ever forged was thrust forward by Marshal Foch to cut the Soissons-Château-Thierry road and thus catch the Germans in the salient that reached to the Marne. Standing on that highland area, which the 1st and 2nd American Divisions, with the Moroccans between them, overran in those sweltering days, the Pilgrim can say 'Here on July 18th the tide of the great war turned.'
"Yet, so incredibly swift was the blow there struck, and so swiftly did the tide of battle move far beyond that the famous highlands themselves are less scarred than many other areas farther east and south, and the villages and towns are less populous with American memories. Yet, Berzy-le-Sec, now all in ruins, and belabored Vierzy are American memorials of one of the most dashing and important engagements in history.
"Here is the land of quarries, from which the blinking Germans crawled forth to find the whole surface of the earth overrun with young gun-toting Americans in no mood for soft fighting. Here is Chavigny Farm, the utterly demolished 13th century farmhouse which marked the extreme right of the American jump-off, and which had been the training ground for the old American Field Service. Here is Longpont, with the fine de Montesquiou chateau laid low in the dust. Longpont, at whose gates the Lafayette Escadrille encamped.
"Here a short distance back through the wonder-forest of Villers-Cotterets is Pierrefonds, whose towering chateau looked down on the remnants of the 2nd division gathered wearily there on July 21 after its naked rush of 26 hours. That chateau, visible for miles and miles, has scars from bomb and cannon to show. It shows, too, long halls that were built to house the men-at-arms of the Duc-d'Orléans, but which housed instead Yankee troops all last summer. The old caretaker is still rosy with recollections of their Fourth of July dinner, at which he was an honored guest.
"The tourist, for instance, is never likely, to find that damp, far-reaching cave which burrows into the hill just outside of Cuvres on the road to Mortfontaine. Only some still dangling telephone wires are left to tell the passerby that it was once the Headquarters of the First Division, when prisoners choked the ravine outside and the roads were gay with Scotch troops coming up fresh and hearty to relieve the dog-tired Yanks."
Section 2 was serving with the Moroccan division mentioned in this article, a division which here added another laurel to its already splendid list of victories. The section was working out of Longpont and Verte-Feuilles; in the edge of the Villers-Cotterets forest, and had, among other places, Vierzy, an old evacuation center in the days of 1917, for a front line poste. The section carried large numbers of American wounded who were unable to locate their own dressing stations.
Section 1 also worked on this front, their division being to the left of the Scotch and, just above Soissons. Missy-aux-Bois, remembered by some of the old Chemin des Dames sections for repos spent there, was one of their front line postes. The wounded were evacuated to the old and half-ruined chateau at Cuvres.
Section 18 was located for thirty-eight days in the Forest of Villers-Cotterets when the Germans first broke thru the Aisne front. On the 19th of July their division again came back into line in front of Villemontoire, and Buzancy, on the Soissons-Château-Thierry road, relieving part, and later all of the 1st American division. The headquarters, and those of the Scotch division here mentioned, were in the "damp far-reaching cave" above Cuvres. They evacuated to Pierrefonds. After the German retreat of August 5 in this sector the division moved up past Chaudun, Septmonts, and Villemontoire, thru country where the section had been on repos in 1917, to a front along the Aisne.
It was after the retreat from the Chemin des Dames beginning the 27th of May, that Section 17, working with a division of French dismounted cavalry, went back across this same territory until the lines stabilized, and the section worked Montgobert, a few kilometers to the south-east of Cuvres, as a front line poste. It was at this poste that "Nip" Nasel was shot twice through the leg by machine gun bullets, and, a few minutes afterward, Sherman Conklin was struck in the head by a fragment of shell and instantly killed. Later the poste at Montgobert was worked by Section 18.
A two part article by James Hopper in Colliers' for the last part of November 1918 also describes the battle along this front and the places so well known by so many ambulanciers. Mr. Hopper went into line here with the doughboys of the 1st Division.
This short length of front, so picturesquely described by the Stars and Stripes, holds for many an ambulancier in its hills and valleys the thrill of those precarious hours when the genius of Marechal Foch turned the tide of battle.
R. A. D.
What if the wind-kissed flower there
Today, when ends the most momentous chapter in all the world's history, let us as Americans, while happy because of what we have been able to contribute to the winning of the war, be not too proud of the part we have played. Let us humbly remember that we have only been in the war for one year and seven months, while France has given all of her energies, all of her resources in men and material, for more than four and a quarter years. Let us remember that this little country of France which would be almost lost in one corner of the single state of Texas, has during the greater part of this prodigious period held in check the most powerful, the most highly organized, the most dangerous enemy that the world has ever known. Let us not forget that to France, primarily, the world owes its future freedom and the satisfaction of today's triumph.
It is the particular and inestimable privilege of our service that we have been able to serve in intimate relations with these soldiers of France, and as long as any of the men of the Service survive, the memory of these days will be cherished when we lived and worked among the "Overcoats of Blue" in this gentle, gallant, and indomitable, country of France.
A. PIATT ANDREW,
Lt.-Col. U. S. A. A. S.
November 11, 1918.
What does the poilu think as he sits back in the corner of his little old smelly café listening to the occasional group of Yanks dining at the center table and keeping silent when the speaker of the moment proclaims to all within a kilometer's range that America saved the world and Americans won the war? The poilu smiles and borrows a light and, saluting in his friendly fashion goes his way. But what does he think?
Perhaps, as he jogs along to his barracks, his thoughts run something like this :
"They tell us we are all one great Army under a supreme commander --- all soldiers together in the Army of Democratic Civilization. Then why do we not share and share alike? Why are we paid but a few sous while these Americans throw francs around as though they were centimes? And the cigarettes! Zut! Who ever saw so many cigarettes? I noticed that the crowd there tonight had plenty of sugar and great slabs of butter, brought from their own stores. We have none. Why?
"God knows it is not because we have not done our part. Time has shown that America was as vitally concerned in this war as France, and yet, for three most terrible years, we had to hold the bridge while Americans, slow to move and all unprepared, came to our assistance. They were wonderful when they did come. Never did troops throw themselves more gallantly into a fight. How freely they spent their young blood in the Argonne, and yet --- what were their losses compared to ours on the acres before Verdun? Count their dead, and count ours. There are more than a million French graves to tell who saved the world."
We wonder, sometimes, if his thoughts ever run like that. But none of us ever knows for sure what the poilu thinks. He never tells.
Editorial from the Stars and Stripes,
Feb. 14, 1919
In Fismes, the Vesle city where many young Americans fought and died through the hot weeks of last August, the havoc wrought by the guns was so complete that there are only heaps of crumbled stone left to welcome those hardy families that are creeping back to forge amid these ruins, a new existence.
The people of Juvigny must needs set up housekeeping in our old dug-outs, for there were no roofs or walls left when the battle swept on toward the frontier.
Coblenz is so different ---Coblenz, with its fine houses, its smart cafés, its crowded opera, its fair boulevards, untouched by war. Only in matters of spirit is Coblenz poorer:
But it is the spiritual thing which will still be the rich possession of the ruined French towns long after time and toil and, the friendship of the world have effaced all the marks of the purely physical loss they have suffered.
It is that spiritual thing which would decide your answer to the question :
"Which would you rather be to day --- a citizen of Coblenz, or a citizen of Fismes?"
The Stars and Stripes
March 21, 1919.
Section 633, originally) section 15 of the American Field Service, was formed at 21, rue Raynouard, April 10th, 1917. Upon leaving Paris the section was first located in the Argonne having postes opposite Mort-Homme and Cote 304. Later moved to the Champagne remaining in the region of the Mounts from the 28th of October 1917 until the first of October 1918. Section 633 took part in the final advance on the Aisne River between Vouziers and Attigny and at the time the armistice was declared was on the point of going on repos at Neuflize, a small town in this secteur.
Since coming into the field the section has had the following commanders : Alec I. Henderson of New-York City, Earle Osborne of New-York City, Robert C. Paradise of Durham, New Hampshire, David Van Alstyne of New-York City, 1st lieut. Joseph R. Greenwood, U.S.A.A.S., 1st Lieut. Raymond C. Coan, U.S.A.A.S., 1st Lieut. Walter Ives, U.S.A.A.S. 1st Lieut. Robert R. Jewett, U.S.A.A.S., and 1st Lieut. William L. Peebles, U.S.A.A.S.
Since starting to work the 12th of April 1917 there have been fifty-seven Croix de Guerre awarded members of the section, one Médaille Militaire and one Distinguished Service Cross. In addition to the individual citations, the section has been cited once to the Order of the 4th Army (August 11, 1918), and twice to the Order of the 124th Division of Infantry, (April 15 and December 18, 1918 respectively).
At the, present time, while the section is awaiting demobilization to the United States, twenty-one of the thirty-one men carried on the rolls are old Field Service members. Of this twenty-one, five are all that remain of the original section that left Paris April 10th, 1917.
R. G. Y.
"Finitch la guerre" and "finitch la paix" for S.S.U. 18. After closing the terrible battle von Elsass by a final victorious siege of Mulhausen, section 18 was finally ordered in on the 9th of March, to Paris, en route to Base Camp.
For this, the final convoy, the trusty conducteurs disposed of the large part of the ton of personal baggage allowed under "Equipment C" and "System D". Those iron spring beds, heretofore so carefully camouflaged in the bottoms of the cars, now lay exposed to the vulgar view. Those huge spring mattresses, gleaned from officers' barracks after the German retreat were now cast aside and left as a heritage to the next invaders of Alsace. The proprietor of the buvette where we were cantoned suddenly found himself the possessor of seven large stoves and some half a kilometer of stove pipe. He was also donated the section chandeliers and electric equipment, and the five sections of the sectional bookcase. The voitures Ford now had to be contented with only "A can of gas, two duffle bags, and Thou."
Promptly at noon we started off, via Altkirk, for Belfort. That evening the convoy made Lure, spending the night à la brancard in the caserne there. Off we went again the next day for Langres. Then on thru Chaumont --- with the throttles wide open --- you know us, Al. The old voitures Ford never ran better. It was the old, story of the horse heading back to the stable. We made Bar-sur-Aube, the center of the U.S. Army Officers Training School for the Care of Animals, where we appropriately put up for the night. The next day we knocked off the kilometers or "kilos" as we say when we "spick" American, to Corbeil, and the next morning came into Versailles to be checked off by the French Bureau de Paperasse, thus ending our career as conducteurs pour la France at the same place at which we began it some twenty months before, when we first took out a section of Fiats.
The section, with its usual sang-froid and méfiance de danger negotiated the highways and byways of Paris safely, and at last arrived, twenty strong, at the Garage St-Ouen. The camionette and camion and kitchen trailer were on the dot, and even the staff car arrived without mishap. True enough, just as we turned in the gate of the garage, Dick Goss's car gave its final gasp and refused to run any further. But no matter. We were there.
At Paris the Immortal Weller, the Great Nash, Tub Bruns and Pop Chase left to go to the University in Dijon, and Mr. F. Philander Phelps went to the University of Lyon. Mr. Weller left word that he could be reached thru the Dijon Country Club.
At Base Camp the section experienced guard-duty, delousing, chow, and "other horrors of war". It also had the pleasure of seeing our sous-officiers, famous for their "popote," standing in line with "mess kit and cup" to be served their slum.
Six of the men decided to be demobilized, and were consequently detached and sent as casuals to St-Aignan Camp. They were Ken. Harvey, Geo. Hall, H. B. Warren, Lansing Warren, Edward Samuel Jr. and Robert Donaldson. Those who remained in the section left a few days later for a Base Port, and have since sailed it is hoped for the shores of "Amérique."
Section 18 came out on May 8, 1917 to Glorieux and Thorrence-le-Moulin. It worked in the French attack at Verdun in August, where the section received a divisional citation. From Verdun it went to Dolancourt, and then to the hospital at La Veuve in October. On the first of November the old men of the section who signed up were transferred to old Section 30. The section was taken over by twenty-four Field Service men from old Section 70, a Fiat section, and which had worked on the Chemin des Dames, notably through the attack on the Fort Malmaison on October, 23rd. Section 18 remained at La Veuve until the 20th of January, when it moved to Mourmelon-le-Grand, was attached to the 87th division, and worked the front in the region of the "Monts". On April 1st, owing to the German attack on Amiens, the division moved to the Somme near Amiens awaiting the expected second German drive on Amiens. When the German surprise attack on the Chemin des Dames came, the whole division embarked in camions, and was rushed to the forest of Villers-Cotterets, where it prevented the Germans from gaining a foothold in the wood. After thirty-eight days in line here, it moved o Pont-St-Maxence for a week's repos, to the country below Soissons for the Foch counter-attack coming back. The section here received a divisional citation for its work.
After leaving the front here on the 6th of August, the section convoyed to Alsace, in the St-Dié sector, where the division aided in breaking in an American division of negro troops. On the 1st of September it moved to Luneville, in Lorraine, staying in this sector until the 18th of October, when it moved down into the Champagne to Sechault near Vouziers. The division was to have been used as follow-up troops for the final Argonne-Champagne attack, but owing to the shortening of the line during the first advance, and the unexpectedly rapid progress, it was not needed. The division was consequently moved to Mourmelon-le-Grand, the old sector from which it had departed in April, where it was when the armistice was signed.
The division was then sent into Alsace, near Colmar and Neuf-Brisach, where it remained until the 20th of January, when it was disbanded, and the regiments sent to other Corps d'Armée. The section then worked in Mulhouse under the direction of the D. S. A. until the 9th of March, when, it was called in to Paris to go home.
R. A. D.
Every Field Service Section has a great deal to be proud of but some call attention to the fact less than others. It is chiefly because section 67 will do nothing to boom themselves that I an outsider am glad to do the job for them. Really I am hardly an outsider at all, I have never been a member of the section but Bob Nourse ran the third floor and Garstin the fourth for me through several tranquil weeks at May en Multien. The section went out from that camp almost two years ago, and much of the past year it has been attached to my parc. I have watched their work, inspected their cars. They have fed me, repaired my staff car when I broke down on the road --- indeed they have done fully as much repair work for the parc as the parc has ever done for them --- , and month after month I have reported to Headquarters "Section 624 --- entirely satisfactory."
Early in the morning of March 20th they started from Claremont on their last convoy to Versailles, --- Base Camp : U.S.A. As I watched the convoy roll by I said to myself : "There goes a section that has always done their work and something more; that went through two retreats, convoyed from the Oise to the Vosges and back, and still has every car issued to them a year and a half ago. They kept their camp clean without flub-dub; they had discipline without a single court martial ; they never lost their college team spirit of friendliness between officers and men. The Field Service turned out a lot of good sections but none of them had anything on 67." And just then there came into my mind a dictum of Colonel Jones: "A section always reflects the spirit of the Lieutenant commanding it."
CAPT. JOHN FISHER.
Most members of the Field Service will remember with a great deal of pleasure the collection of sketches, letters, and diaries which appeared under the title of "The Friends of France, " and which formed the first chapters of a history, as told principally by the men themselves, of the American Field Service in France.
We are now undertaking to enlarge the scope of this work, reorganizing the old "Friends of France" volume and making, in two volumes, a complete history of the service. The breadth of view of the ambulance men, the fact that they were with the French army and have worked in practically every sector of the front, and the unparalleled opportunities of ambulance men to get a comprehensive picture of the struggle, should make, this history an extremely important contribution to the Literature of the War. Under the present plans the first volume is to be entirely devoted to the thirty-three Ambulance sections. In addition to the formal history, data, etc., connected with the sections, the principal feature will, as in the "Friends of France", be the narration of experiences and impressions by means of letters, extracts from diaries, and articles or notes of interest by the ambulance men themselves. In the case of many of the sections, much of this material has already been forwarded to the editor, and is complete. There are, however, a number of sections in which the diary and letter side is noticeably lacking, and for Sections 9, 16, 27, 67, and 72 there is practically nothing of this kind.
The only way that this work can be made complete is thru the cooperation of the members of these sections themselves, and it is urgently requested, therefore, that members or former members of sections, of those sections particularly which are more or less incomplete in material, send in to the Editor of the History extracts, chosen by themselves, from home letters or diaries, or confide such letters or diaries to the Editor, who will himself make the selections, and later submit them for approval to the owners.
If members of the sections seeing this notice will make it their personal business to do something of this sort, the work on this History, of such deep personal interest to every Field Service man, will be greatly facilitated.
Editor, Field Service History.
Care of Houghton Mifflin & Co. Boston, Mass.
"Camion Letters." Edited by Professor Martin W. Sampson, of Cornell University. New-York : Henry Holt. 1918.
"An Ambulance Driver in France." By Philip Sidney Rice. Wilkes Barre, Penn. 1918.
"Trucking to 'the Trenches." By John Iden Kautz. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1917
"Ambulance 464."By Julien H. Bryan.. New-York: The Macmillan Co. 1918.
"At the Front in a Flivver." By William Yorke Stevenson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1917.
"From Poilu to Yank." By William Yorke Stevenson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1918.
"En Repos and Elsewhere Over There." By Lansing Warren and Robert A. Donaldson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
"Behind the Wheel of a War Ambulance." By Robert W. Imbrie. New York : McBride and Company.
"Friends of France." Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1916.
"A Volunteer Poilu." By Henry Sheahan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1916.
"The White Road of Mystery." By Philip Dana Orcutt. New-York: John Lane Company. 1918.
"Ambulance No. 10." By Leslie Buswell. Boston Houghton Mifflin Company.
"Camion cartoons," By Kirkland H. Day. Boston: Marshall Jones Company. 1919.
My dear Ed.
Since my discharge from the army I feel as though I should write some one and thank them for something or other --- a sort of a "bread and butter letter". So, you will do me good if you will let me write you and say that I had a very pleasant visit "over there". Don't for a minute think that I had any idea or inclination to write such a letter to Uncle Sam, but, to the American Ambulance, and its giant offspring the Field Service, I wish to say that I would rather be a veteran of that service than a Colonel in the Army --- for what Colonel has such a store of memories as we fellows have --- and it is all rapidly becoming nothing but a memory.
I have already thrown my U. S. uniform into the discard, but I would not part with my F. S. coat for millions.
I am sure we all feel this way about it. As one of the oldest men in the Service for I signed up in February 1915, may I go on record as favoring an organization of some kind (call it a club if you like) that will hold us together and bring us together in reunions.
Many men have told me that it is the one great regret of their lives that they did not go over in 1915 and 1916 with the Ambulance. Our Service is the Prize Package of the War, and lets hold together. And I find that we have the correct idea of France, for we know the French.
I am not writing this for publication, but to make myself feel better. I have written my "bread and butter" letter.
Regards to all, Sincerely.
James W. HARLE, Jr. (S.S.U. 2 and 10).
American Field Service Bulletin.
The Bulletin has also been a great source of interest to me for the news of old friends, and because the old Field Service served as a first introduction to army life of any sort, for so many of us. I came over in 1917, after having been refused admittance to Plattsburg because of over-application to the extent of nearly 3,000. I looked at it as a wonderful opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the great A. E. F. and, then when October came, and our chance to become full fledged members of the American Army and be already in the field, I saw my old pals, Art. Ralston, Toni Carothers, Jim Craig, etc. sail through the physical examination and I was thrown out with Frank Carey, Don. Carey, and Russel Davis, later a Fontainebleau graduate I believe, rejected for a supposed bad heart.
Once back in the States I found they would accept me and after several weeks of vain effort to be sent back to the old service in France, I enlisted and was sent to the 3rd Training Camp in Texas. Here the first of April as a candidate, already recommended for a commission, in company with others, we were sent across, to our joy, and to study at Saumur. From there to the Heavy Artillery School in Angers and then to the 58th C. A. C. and October found me at last back in the advanced zone and our Battery of British 8 inch howitzers pounding away between Thiaucourt and Pont-à-Mousson with Metz as our objective and November eleventh found us still blasting our way forward.
Almost a year passed from my rejection by U. S. Doctors in Jouaignes, October 1915, for even a humble camion driver, and I had returned from the U. S. and as an artillery officer wait with my Battery and firing, but it was a long slow pull, and many is the time I was feeling blue and longed for my dirty clothes, the feel of that old Pierce Arrow motor, the throb of the barrage on the Chemin des Dames, (even way back, in our old crazy barracks the vibration was considerable), and the sure feeling as you lay and heard it "now I know it will roll at 3 A.M." and, would drop off to sleep, free from all care , but-a few moments hard cranking of a stiff motor with a cranky magneto, in the darkness, a few hours later.
It was as a wonderful, carefree, and yet vital existence in many ways and I think none of us fortunate enough to be among the first to be in the field with the French will forget the courtesy and kindness we were shown by the French officers.
This has been a much longer scrawl than I intended, but it seemed to help me to scratch it out on paper and let you know the feeling of one old Field Service man on the "olden Days".
Geo. C. Seeley, 2nd Lt. F.A.
(Formerly T.M.U. 526).
We left Paris on February 28th at half past seven. The next morning I woke up in Switzerland, and what a change from rainy Paris. There, everything was beautiful and the country impressed me as being of the neatest I had ever seen. The little farms we saw front the train were immaculate.
All that day we travelled across that delightful country. Late in the afternoon we reached the Austrian frontier, at a town named Buchs. Everyone got out and sent post-cards home and took snap-shots of, and was photographed with the Swiss guards. Passports were inspected and the sun was setting as we started again.
The next morning after breakfast, about ten o'clock I believe it was, we arrived in Vienna at the Ostbanhoff, where we spent about 20 minutes. We then to the Gare du Nord and spent about half an hour walking about the station.
At half past seven that same evening we reached Budapest. We spent the night there, going in the city for dinner. We found the Ritz Hotel to be the most "Amerikanish" and of course interesting. The dinner and music were very good, but what really impressed me was that we were dining among those who were our enemies. "Were", I say, because now they fell on our necks and showered us with propaganda about the coming land settlement and with requests not to split up Hungary. Everyone bowed and scraped his utmost while we were there.
The rest of the journey was uneventful. We arrived at Zemlin, across the river from Belgrade, on the second day following.
I send my best regards to everyone at "21 ", and remain.
Most sincerely yours,
Harry B. HARTER.
c/o Military Attache.
On Saturday evening, April 6, a farewell reception was given at the Paris Headquarters. Some three hundred guests were present, and the music for dancing was furnished by the Orchestra from the U.S.A.A.S. Base Camp; under the direction of Edward Fox.
The records up to date, although incomplete, show that the American Field Service furnished to the American and Allied armies eight hundred and three commissioned officers and two hundred and eighty five non-commissioned officers.
On the 16th of April, at the moment of closing Rue Raynouard, a farewell dinner was offered to Col. Andrew by the old-time members of the Service. Men from practically every section were present, as well as nearly all branches of American and French Service. Maj. Galatti was the toastmaster for the evening. Among the speakers were Capt. Bigelow, Waldo Pierce, Capt. Fisher, Capt. Greenwood, Maj. Potter, R. T. Scully, Lt. Lockwood, Capt. Webster, and Henry D. Sleeper.
The final speech was made by Col. Andrew who expressed his gratitude toward the members of the Service for what they had done to make it a success. He closed by expressing the hope that, in the future, the Service might remain a living institution, and outlined in general some of the plans which are being considered for organization in the days when we are all "over there".
An artistic design testifying appreciation of his services, drawn by Waldo Peirce, was signed and presented to the Colonel.
At the beginning of this month a pleasing little ceremony took place one afternoon in the large drawing-room. at "21", when the younger men of the old Field Service presented Mr. Henry D. Sleeper with an artistic desk blotter. Mr. Cyril B. Smith, who organized the Syracuse Unit, in presenting the gift thanked Mr. Sleeper in the name of "the Volunteers of the earlier days of the War" for all that he had done for them during the past year to make pleasant their frequent sojourns at the Passy Headquarters.
Charles Jatho (S.S.U. 19) arrived home via the Finland on February 14th. Went to Camp Merritt, thence to Camp Upton for discharge. Immediately following discharge he went to Boston and on March first he was married at Cambridge to Miss Margaret Dresden, New York, by Rev. Dr. E. S. Drown, at the Episcopal Theological School, of which he is a member of the senior class. Mr. Jatho was for several months in a prison camp at Rastatt. After his release, following the armistice, he was taken ill en route to Paris and was obliged to spend some time in a Red Cross hospital at Vichy.
We are indebted, for this issue's cover and tailpiece to George W. Hall, of Section 18, whose previous drawings for the Bulletin so many enjoyed.
The sub-sub-editor feels that only the words of the greatest poet can express, in any adequate manner the present occasion and would say : "Farewell to all my greatness!" Greatness not achieved by special fitness but simply by being on the spot when an opening occurred and just falling in. While great poets may have been able to express with more of majesty and grace their sentiments, yet they could not have had a deeper sense of gratitude and delight than the writer has had in the privilege of serving, even in a subdued capacity, in the preparation and distribution of the A.F.S. Bulletin.
The first and highest credit is due to the founder and beginner of the Bulletin, John H. McFadden, Jr., who on July 4, 1917 commenced it with a hundred copies printed on the mimeographe and the sub-editor so little appreciated the greatness of the idea that it was with deep though unuttered protests that the cliché was made on the typewriter. The idea of a periodical that would give and exchange news between sections was so popular from the start that when, with the tenth number, Mr. McFadden was obliged to go away for his health, the publication continued regularly until March 22, 1919.
Thanks are due to all those who with patience and without criticism have aided in every way the task of getting out the Bulletins and assisted in the more difficult problem of getting in the material. This has been a unique publication and a law unto itself, unhampered by those journalistic traditions that "it can't be done." "Doing what can not be done is the joy of living" and it has been a source of inspiration for the sub-sub-editor, whose only qualification for the position has been unfailing goodwillingness.
To all who have been accomplices in this work, to all who have aided or abetted in any way, be assured that to each one of you sincere appreciation will always be recorded in the memory of the soi-disant
Gone are the years that came with fevered strife
As now our former course seems distant, far,
We scarce believe these episodes are thru,
Robert A. DONALDSON.
at 21, Rue Raynouard
at 21, Rue Raynouard
at 21, Rue Raynouard