L.D. Geller
AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE ARCHIVES
of World War I, 1914-1917

Series Descriptions
Record Group #1
The American Field Service Archives of World War
1914-1917

 

Leslie Buswell, Ambulance Number 10 (Boston, 1916), with a foreword by A. P. Andrew.

This account by Buswell, S.S.U. 2, gives his very human reflections on the dread of war, how long it takes to become accustomed to the sound of the guns and the love of the French soldier for the American ambulance drivers. He describes the gallantry, sincerity, the good nature and the generosity of the French, as well as their bravery. The letters show more clearly than any history could, the unseen enemy, that is, the artillery shell, that claimed so many lives. Buswell writes of the gallantry of the French in treating wounded German soldiers before aiding less seriously wounded French. Lest one think that these accounts are propaganda, it might be noted that these were letters sent home to the driver's family. There was no original intent to publish on the part of the author if the preface of the book can be believed.

Buswell later went on to become a wealthy businessman owning a nationwide chain of hotels in the United States. After his service, in speaking tours that took him around the country he did much to encourage other men to join the AFS.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Joshua Campbell, S.S.U. 1 and S.S.U. 623, Collection, April 27,1915-May 11, 1928.

This collection complements the S.S.U. 1 Field Correspondence found in Box #9 and the Section Histories and Historical Reports found in Box #17.

Most of the documents found in the Campbell Collection are citations given by the French Army to Campbell or to his sections for heroic work done in evacuating wounded under hostile fire.

A citation exists from the French Aide-Major and Head of Ambulance Sections at Elverdinghe to the Medical Director of the 45th French Division citing English and American ambulance sections for evacuation of wounded under bombardment at Elverdinghe and Poperinghe in Flanders. The document is dated 5 May, 1915, and is signed by General Putz, Army of Belgium. There is a citation from the Corps d'Armée Colonial, citing Campbell for evacuating wounded for three French divisions in particularly dangerous circumstances including toxic gas fumes, signed by General Mangin for work done in July, September and November 1916.

There is a citation from Colonel Launet, Director of Medical Services, French Colonial Army Corps, citing Campbell and Victor White of Section 1, for evacuating postes de secours at Eclusier under heavy bombardment taking extreme care for the safety and comfort of the wounded. This document is dated May 1916. There is citation for Lt. Joshua Campbell, S.S.U. 623, U.S. Army Ambulance Service, dating from the period after militarization of the American Field Service, for extreme courage during the offensive of 27 May, 1918, under heavy bombardment and machine gun fire, saving wounded of the 61st French Division, Infantry. The document is signed by General Pétain, Commander-in-Chief.

Among other documents in this collection are recognitions of foreign decoration from G.H.Q. A.E.F., signed by the Adjutant General to General Pershing. The collection holds Campbell's certificate of completion of the officer's course at Meaux in March 1918, and a citation by Order of the Army for S.S.U. 623 for work during the Offensive of May 27, 1918, for courage and lack of regard for danger in evacuating wounded during the Campagne action from September to October 1918. There is a document from General Blondin, 61st D.I. to his troops thanking them for valiant efforts in various campaigns, dated in 1919. There is also an award to Joshua Campbell of the American Field Service Medal, the Verdun Medal, and in May 1928, the Legion d'Honneur from the Republic of France.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. J. W. Craig, two notebooks from the Officers' Training School at Meaux, unpublished manuscript, August 28, 1917- September 15, 1917.

These notebooks by J. W. Craig, T.M.U. 133-184, and later, a first Lt. U.S.M.T.C., are most valuable as accounts of the kind of officers' training offered to the men of the AFS by the French Army. The first notebook is on the subject of physical topography and the organization of the French Army in general, as well as detailed material on the organization of the French Army Automobile Service.

The notebook contains material on French road signs and topographical symbols. There is material on ranks and insignia in the French Army and Medical Corps, etiquette among officers, the variety of citations given, as well as leaves and punishments. There is a section on the organization of the Automobile Service, a description of a Transport Material Section in terms of officers, equipment, convoy rules, duties of the Chef de Section, cantonments, as well as repair and upkeep of cars and equipment. There is material on the function and composition of a Section Sanitaire, a Transport Matériel Section, and a Mess Section. The notebook also contains course problems of a hypothetical nature and explanations as presented at Meaux.

The second notebook deals with the technical aspects of camion parts and functions and contains exceptionally fine diagrams and pencil drawings of such things as Pierce-Arrow, Packard and Ford carburetors, electrical pattern diagrams, water cooling systems, lubricating systems, pressure systems and springs and the clutch.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Edward R. Coyle, Ambulancing on the French Front (New York, 1918)

Although Coyle did not serve in the American Field Service, and strictly speaking, his work should not be included in the AFS Archives, the fact that he did serve in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance, which had close relations with the AFS, makes his work important. Although the AFS was by far the largest ambulance outfit serving in France, and in the Balkans, there were other volunteer ambulance groups, all of which should have their story preserved if possible.

It seems as if Coyle's decision to serve in France came on the spur of the moment in a conversation with a friend over dinner in New York. Coyle apparently was a successful businessman at the time of his enlistment. His account is important for it illustrated the workings of the Norton-Harjes Ambulance.

Apparently Coyle visited with Eliot Norton in New York, who reviewed all applications for the Norton-Harjes Ambulance, and passed on qualifications of men wishing to enter the Red Cross Service in France. By the time of Coyle's enlistment in January 1917, the Norton-Harjes was being financed largely by the American Red Cross.

The French Headquarters of the American Red Cross in Paris was on Rue Francis Premier, No. 7. It was there that Coyle went for his introduction to the Service before he was sent out to the Norton-Harjes training camp at Sandricourt and was afterwards attached to the 8th Army, 9th Corps, 17th Division of the Armies of France working mostly in the Verdun Sector.

Coyle explained that in the early years of the Ambulance, when the sanitary sections of the French Army proved inefficient, Herman Harjes, of the Morgan-Harjes banking firm of Paris equipped an ambulance section and went out to the Front with it, where he spent time improving the Service and making it the standard for all of the other Norton-Harjes units that were to follow. Richard Norton, the brother of Eliot, resident in Paris, equipped an ambulance and went out to the Front living with the men of S.S.U. 7. The early history of the Norton-Harjes Ambulance given here by Coyle augments what can be found concerning the unit in the AFS collections, as well as that found in the Luther Nelson Collection in this series.

Coyle's account is organized by topics that are most interesting to a scholar of World War I. He deals with such topics as: Medical Care, the Front, Massing Before Verdun, The Siege of Verdun and others. His work is an important source on volunteer efforts in France before 1917.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Lawrence B. Cummings, S.S.U. 3 diaries written in the field, 2 volumes, MS., August 6,1916-February 6, 1917. Indexed by archives staff

This diary written by Lawrence Cummings, S.S.U. 3, indicates that his group was the first to be enlisted for the six-month field stint which was to become policy for the American Field Service. The diary contains a fine description of the AFS headquarters at 21 Rue Raynouard, and the life of the drivers there, either newly recruited, or on permission from the Front.

There are rich descriptions of work in Section 3 under its outstanding Section Head, Lovering Hill. There are also descriptions of relaxation at the Front, singing by the old piano in the cantonment at Dieulouard with the field guns nearby roaring as accompaniment. His accounts of the destroyed countryside in and around the Bois le Prêtre and Montauville Fronts, are unparalleled in contemporary writing on World War I battle action.

Cummings discusses the section's receiving the thanks of the French divisional commander who thought of the American drivers as his friends not his allies, or his men, the return from Verdun of the Section which was then destined to go to Salonika and the Macedonian Front, and his reasons for not going with Section 3 when it departed. He returned to Verdun with Section 4 and recorded its history in his diary. His descriptions are literary, forming a continuous narrative which is more like a most readable book than a diary. His battlefield descriptions are only such as one might expect from a participant whose every sense was attuned to his surroundings. His pen is that of a master writer.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Mahlon Davis, MS. Diary, March 6, 1915 - July, 16, 1915

Mahlon Davis, S.S.U. 2, writes of the early days of the Field Ambulance Service of the American Hospital at Neuilly. There are allusions in the diary to the politics of that organization which is seen from another point of view in A. P. Andrew correspondence in the Headquarters Correspondence Series, and in the Andrew-Sleeper correspondence. The unpopularity of Captain Kipling of the Transportation Committee was apparently not confined to Andrew alone. There is good material on Edward V. "Ned" Salisbury as Section Chief and the respect in which he was held by his men.

Davis' being in France in the first place clearly reveals idealistic motivations. He indicates that there is even greater opportunity to do humanitarian service in Serbia than in France in that the Serbians were lacking in medical supplies and doctors. He also describes the Section's move from Beauvais to the Pont-à-Mousson, Dieulouard, Toul, Nancy area, equipping the Section for full three months in the field without a return. He indicates that his section was the first to work in tandem with a French division, a significant fact which is elaborated upon in Andrew correspondence, as well as the fact that French wounded asked to be carried in American ambulances.

 

Robert Donaldson and Lansing Warren, En Repos and Elsewhere Over There; Verses Written in France, 1917-1918 (Boston, 1918)

These poems, many of them written in the meter of Rudyard Kipling, were composed for, and published in the American Field Service Bulletin originally. The authors, both of S.S.U. 70, write of things and people dear to the drivers themselves. "Post Mortems" is about topics the drivers spoke of, "The big attack, Boche souvenirs, the insipid taste of all French beers .... The same old stuff in a different way." Did the drivers think of themselves as humanitarians? In "Song of the Messengers of Mercy," they write, "We are a humanitarian bunch of bums, and it certainly seems a crime, that ambulance noncombatants, should be always killing time." No better source exists to describe what the drivers as a group thought, and what their concerns were.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Archibald Dudgeon, S.S.U. 14, Collection, November 19, 1917- March 6, 1929

Correspondence exists in this collection on the subject of Colonel T. L. Ormiston's search for former graduates of Dulwich College, England, and asking if William Miller Dudgeon was an Old Boy of that institution. There is a funeral notice sent to Lt. Dudgeon on the death of Mme. Laura Clara Bailleux, February 1919. There are also letters of condolence sent to the Dudgeon family on the death of William Miller Dudgeon in 1929. The collection contains a reunion dinner program in the 1920's for the American Field Service at which time Archibald Dudgeon served as chairman of the reunion. The program contains the poem by James S. Montgomery, "Après La Guerre."

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Ralph Ellingwood, Diary, June 9, 1917- February 4, 1919

Ralph Ellingwood, T.M.U. 537 and S.S.U. 68, was a member of the Amherst College Unit. Clearly a Francophile, his motive for serving as a volunteer in France, "was to share in her struggle for freedom, liberty and equality." Ellingwood joined the Field Service shortly before it was taken over by the U.S. Army and went with the camion sections. His diary is filled with thoughts on the need for the United States to intervene in the War. His observation was that France was losing men fast, in fact, he comments that Europe was bleeding to death, and that the French themselves had lost over 2 million men by that time. His fear was, and it was a prescient one, that if America did not come in soon, there would be no clear-cut victory. He had hopes that the United States would be in the War in time to save the situation.

Ellingwood served with the Réserve Mallet from June 1917, until militarization in October. He then joined the U.S.A.A.S. Not one of the original Field Service men, and joining only at the end of its work in France, Ellingwood seemed to have little affection for AFS, but neither did he dislike it. It was a vehicle for service to him. He clearly did not appreciate A. Piatt Andrew.

Besides the usually fine descriptions of the Front and the scenes of war that can be found in many of the Field Service diaries, Ellingwood's is set off from the others by his clear political acumen. "France is paying dearly for this war, and the price of victory is going to be greater." Commenting on the American Army then forming, "It is a citizen army that does the best fighting and it is only a citizen army that can win now." Incredibly, Ellingwood predicted the end of the War to the month and virtually to the day, and that, a full year before the end of hostilities.

On May 27, 1917, while picking up wounded in the vicinity of Braisne, in the Aisne area, he was captured by the Germans and then served in German hospitals, camps and on a German farm for seven months before his repatriation after the end of the War. His dislike for Germany and its ways, never concealed before his capture, becomes venomous afterwards. He was not poorly treated for a P.O.W., however, his observations on the German character at close range seem to have confirmed most of his preconceptions held before his capture.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Lt. Charles Judd Farley, S.S.U. 9-16, and T.M.U. 397 Collection, November 9, 1916 - October 31, 1921

Included within this grouping is Farley's American Hospital of Paris I.D. card dated November 9, 1916, an ambulance section dinner invitation for September 22, 1917, with the inscription, "Enter U.S.A., Exit A.F.S., Farley's application for a commission in the U.S. Quartermasters Corps." There are also T.M.U. orders of movement and orders for transport of materials. During the time of the great German offensive of March 1918, Marshall Pétain's famous Order No. 104 is found within these materials in English translation, as well as statements of congratulations to the T.M.U. units from Commandant Doumenc and Captain Mallet. There is a letter of appreciation in the postwar written to Farley from the French Minister of War thanking him for his service during the War. A letter to the AFS Association of October 31, 1921, asking men to march in the parade in Boston in honor of Marshall Foch is found within the Farley collection.

C. J. Farley Collection, Publications, September, 1916 - 1918.

Included in this grouping are: The American Field Service in France, September, 1916; La Guerre Actuelle et L'Idéal Chrétien by G. Boissonnais, January 8, 1917; La Quinzaine De Guerre, Poésies de Paul Ferrier, April, 1917; The Red Cross Magazine, September, 1917; Sporting Edition Spéciale Pendant La Guerre; Un Grande Sportif, Allen H. Muhr, July 11, 1917; and Bruce Bairnsfather, Fragments from France, 1918.

C. J. Farley Collection, Photographs.

Included are photographs of Lt. Farley looking on with the men of his section at a caterpillar car, Farley and a French soldier loading a camion, as well as miscellaneous unidentified pictures.

C. J. Farley Collection, Newspapers, May 20, 1917-July 12, 1918.

Newspapers with accounts collected by Farley exist here with stories about AFS ambulance sections as well as the Mallet Reserve.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. S. Prescott Fay, Diary, May 8, 1915-August 27, 1915

Fay was on duty in Paris with Section 1, and in Belgium attached to the French 45th Division. As with most of the drivers who commented upon their first days in Paris during the War, Fay was impressed with the seriousness of the crowds and the great number of people in mourning. On more than one occasion, he stated his belief that the women were the true heroes of the War.

In common with other drivers, Fay believed that the War was a fight of civilization against barbarism, and that the Germans had no regard for civilized treatment of civilians. He was a firm believer in the "Rape of Belgium," and although he himself never witnessed German atrocities committed against Belgian civilians, he knew many who did claim to have seen these actions.

His account is especially good in his descriptions of battlefield surgery. He must have had more than a passing interest in medicine and surgery in that his accounts of wounds and reconstructive surgery are more detailed than those of other drivers.

As with other American volunteers in France, he was a true Francophile. However, this was not without cause, in that Fay witnessed the many acts of heroism, self-sacrifice, patriotism and bravery that characterized the French population and the armies of World War I. He believed that the French were better fighters and more unified than the British. In that he served in Belgium in the fighting around Dunkirk, Arras, Ypres, Poperinghe and Coxyde, where both French and British fought side by side, his opinion must be taken seriously. Of course, it is still opinion.

Fay's account is also valuable in that it is another view of the early history of the Field Service when it was attached to the American Hospital. He had a very high opinion of the Hospital in terms of its actual work as apart from its politics. The latter aspect seems to have concerned A. P. Andrew far more than it did Fay, and there are too few writers on the American Hospital's actual work in World War I.

See S. Prescott Fay Photographic Archives Index, S.S.U.#1.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Powel Fenton Collection, July 23, 1915 - December 28, 1954. World War I Correspondence and Memorabilia, July, 1915 - April, 1919

There is correspondence from the American Hospital to Powel Fenton commending his work as mechanical officer of Section 3 in the Vosges in 1915. There is also correspondence with his parents in Philadelphia asking that he be allowed to continue in the Field Service. Correspondence also exists concerning the possibility of Fenton's going into the automobile business in Paris in 1916, or with Henry Ford in Detroit.

The World War I materials include Divisional Citations from the 66th French Division naming Powel Fenton and others of his section, for evacuation of wounded in the mountains of Alsace while under heavy enemy fire. There are instructions in French concerning protective measures during a gas attack.

The World War I memorabilia includes opera tickets from the 1918 season for the French National Opera, Fenton's passport, home addresses for members of the 105th Aero Squadron, Fenton's commission as a First Lt. in the U.S. Army Signal Corps Air Section, a program from the performance of the Comédie Française for the Benefit of the Refugees of Samson et Delila, as well as an American Hospital armband and a newspaper scrapbook detailing the events of the War.

World War II Journals, Letterbooks and Correspondence, 1941-1945

AFS Bulletins in the Fenton Collection are the Christmas and New Year issues, 1920-1921, and the May, 1922, issue with an article by A. P. Andrew entitled, "Fair Play for France."

Correspondence also exists from 1944, after Fenton's repatriation to the United States (against his will). Some of the correspondence is with fellow ex-prisoners-of-war then in the United States concerning jobs, conditions in the German camp, and also with friends in Paris concerning conditions there and with Fenton's wife, who remained in France after his repatriation. The collection also contains Red Cross Prisoner-of-War Bulletins for 1944.

Post-World War II Correspondence, August 3, 1949 -December 28, 1954

There is correspondence with old AFS friends of World War I days, as well as with ex-World War II P.O.W.s. Much of the latter concerns the unjust request by the U.S. Government to be repaid for money advanced to return P.O.W.s, even when many did not wish to return to the United States. There is also Fenton correspondence indicating that he was unable to find employment in the United States after his return, largely due to his age (He was then in his 60s.) The fact is that he had lost everything that he had built up in France in the pre-World War II years. A list of men liberated from Stalag 122 can be found here, as well as a letter from an ex-Section 3 friend of World War I, Waldo Peirce, with a small painting that Peirce made on the envelope. See Powel Fenton Photographic Archives Index.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. John Clifford Hanna, S.S.U. 1, Collection, December 8, 1916-September 1, 1942

Letter Abstracts, December 8, 1916-July 9, 1917. These materials are abstracts of Hanna's letters written home to his family. In them he comments on the 21 Rue Raynouard Headquarters of the Field Service from the standpoint of the building's long history, and the excellent work of the American Hospital in Paris in reconstructive surgery. His comments on the Front in these abstracts deal with life within an "Abri" (dugout), driving Ford ambulances in the dead of night in Verdun and its environs, S.S.U. I's citations by Order of the Army or Division, and "Doc" Andrew receiving the Legion d'Honneur. He further writes of the destruction of Rheims, as well as the heightened morale among the French after the entry of the United States in the War.

General Correspondence, April 25, 1917-May 8, 1922.

Within this correspondence are found communications from Ian Black of the 8th Right Squadron based in England to Hanna in France complaining that he, Black, was not getting into the action soon enough. General Order of the Division May 1, 1917, from General Herr cited Section 1 for devotion to duty under the most adverse of circumstances in Front of Verdun. There is also a citation for Hanna from the Médecin Divisionnaire on August 19, 1917. There is correspondence of social significance from a female admirer in the United States to Hanna, as well as communications between Henry Sleeper and Hanna concerning returning to France after the war to go into business there.

General Correspondence, September 27, 1935- September 1, 1942.

There is information and correspondence material on the subject of the AFS Reunion in New York in 1935. John Hanna's correspondence with Harry Fisher in 1942 concerns Fisher's World War I experience with the Norton-Harjes Ambulance and the object confronting them in 1942 of recruiting men for World War II service and raising money for ambulances. There is an S.S.U. 1 letter from the men of the old World War I Section to the men of S.S.U. 1 then serving in France in the spring of 1940, congratulating them on their magnificent achievement.

AFS Bulletins in the Hanna Collection are the Christmas and New Year issues, 1920-1921, and the May, 1922, issue with an article by A. P. Andrew entitled, "Fair Play for France."

Publications include, "La Guerre en Aout, 1917," which is an analysis of the war in 1917 complete with maps of the Western Front showing British and French sectors and offensive operations, as well as the Front in Italy and the Balkans.

Among the newspapers in the Hanna Collection is found the New York Herald edition of December 17, 1916, with the full page article, "Friends of France" abstracted from the American Field Service book by that title.

Photographic Prints S.S.U.1 are largely unidentified. Among those, however, can be found: the Section at Allainville, A. P. Andrew on the occasion of his receipt of the Legion d'Honneur, the Section in convoy, André Tardieu next to his section Indian Head design on an AFS Section I ambulance, awaiting King Albert of the Belgians at Bar-le-Duc, Annamites along a roadside, and numerous others.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Dunbar Maury Hinrichs, T.M.U. 526, WW I, and Headquarters Staff, AFS, Middle East Forces, WW II, We Met by the Way; An Account of a Life, privately printed by the author, 1975

Dunbar Hinrichs was a member of the Cornell University Unit put together by Edward Tinkham of that university, which was the first AFS unit to be recruited for the Réserve Mallet on May 2, 1917. His loyalty to the Reserve and his admiration for its work, its officers and men fill the pages of his book. He is also responsible for commemorating the work of Professor Martin B. Sampson of Cornell whose devotion to the Field Service resulted in the Cornell Unit, Sampson's editing of Letters From Camion Drivers, and the list of drivers that appears in the History of the American Field Service in France, Vol. 3. Hinrichs believed that young Americans volunteered to serve France out of a long disappeared sense of "Noblesse Oblige," doing something that a deep sense of inner feeling or sense of honor compels. As such, the Cornell Unit was the first American combatant unit on the Front in World War I. His statistics on the Réserve Mallet are very valuable for a knowledge of this famed unit's contribution. The fact that 800 AFS men served in 14 T.M.U. sections is just one of the many facts given, along with charts of organization, and a chapter on "Commandant Richard Mallet and his Camion Reserve." He represents the sense of competition that must have existed between the AFS ambulance sections and the Reserve, or perhaps it was that the men of the Reserve felt compelled to explain to the world their reasons for joining the Reserve, a combatant unit, over the humanitarian service of the ambulance. "Ambulance driving did not do a thing to win the war. The work of the Mallet Reserve did," he wrote. Yet, he did have good feelings toward the Ambulance Service. He wrote, "In 1915, ambulance work was tinged with a touch of, when Knighthood was in flower. As I have noted, all of these late Victorians had a touch of Romanticism about them. I certainly caught the disease, for I was part and parcel of the times."

His comments on the U.S. Army in World War I are very revealing concerning its state of unpreparedness, and lack of knowledge concerning conditions of war on the Western Front. Hinrichs served as an officer in the U.S. Motor Transport Corps attached to the French Army, but his affection was always for the Reserve. "We were a close knit, school tie group." Much of the later part of the book is a description of his unhappiness in the American Army as contrasted with his happy days in the AFS before militarization.

This is a very personal account. The description of his parents' complete lack of understanding of him and his financial difficulties, and his mother's probing and interference can only make the reader sympathetic with his predicament.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Dunbar Maury Hinrichs, T.M.U. 526, WW I, Headquarters AFS, Middle East Forces, WW II, 'Two Wars," Scrapbook, 1917-1945

World War I--- Hinrichs was an artist whose many sketches of World War I and World War II scenes can be found in his published work, We Met By The Way, and in the scrapbook. There are scenes of Paris 1917, 21 Rue Raynouard, various French officers, the S.S. Chicago upon which the Cornell Unit sailed for France in 1917, Pont Ste. Maxence, a Dugout, La Ferté Milon, March 1917, sketches and water colors and photo of Gibraltar, Montdidier, November 21, 1917, a battle action sketch of April 1918 and one of St. Marguerite, n.d. Other World War I materials include: a map of area of operations of the Réserve Mallet, Soissons to Chateau Thierry, a Cornell Unit newsprint photo, and a poster for the Cornell Ambulance Unit. There is also the History of Motor Transport School #1 by Lt. D. M. Hinrichs written at Décize, France, November 20, 1918.

World War II---There are inoculation certificates for June -August 1942, an ID card for DH, Personnel Officer, AFS, Temporary Duty Pass for Captain D. M. Hinrichs, Paris, 1945, Cape Town, South Africa picture postcards, photos of Harry Coster, D.H., Nelson Bridger, a D.H. sketch of a tow-truck and an AFS ambulance, 1942, photos of Tony Thompson, British OR, Cairo, Gerry Paine and his painting of Zahle, Syria hung in the AFS Club in Cairo, and George Barker, AFS Club, Cairo. There are telegrams from Major D.H. to the French Military Mission, Washington, D.C., September 1944, a newsprint photo of French women ambulance drivers from Tchad Regiment, French Equatorial Africa, on the way to France, 1944, a newsprint photo of territory occupied by the Axis, and a staff photo from the desert showing Andy Geer, Colonel Ralph Richmond and British officers inspecting AFS Unit 16, in Egypt, August 1942.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. John I. Kautz, T.M.U. 184 Trucking to the Trenches (Boston, 1918)

"It was a wonderful thing, this gathering in the spring of 1917 from the colleges all over our country for volunteer service under a foreign flag. Most of the boys were moved very little by the spirit of adventure. They were impelled by a high desire to do something, what they could in the world crisis ....

Here Kautz indicates his own motivation for going to France, as well as that of his generation. Kautz, like many others who were recruited by the American Field Service to drive ambulances, opted for the Réserve Mallet with certain ambivalent feelings. Concerning the Réserve Mallet, he wrote, "It is hard, grueling work, without honor or glory, but France needs us, and I am glad to do it for the little while at least .... I wish I could do more for these people. Even this little while has taught me that they have given of the best they have, that no sacrifice is too great, that the best men of France are being killed for the sake of great ideals. Only now does one begin to realize what the war is really like."

Although most wars begin with an idealistic spirit, and end in part with disillusionment, Hemingway's Lt. Henry driving ambulances on the Italian Front being a case in point, World War I was perhaps the last truly idealistic war. But, it was an idealism tempered with realism. As Kautz wrote, "America will have to give at least a part as much as France and do without and die and sorrow as the present generation never has. Many of us who are the young men of the day will have to give the best we have to pay. There is no glamour about it any more, no glory."

The American Field Service by 1917 gave the men the chance to choose the Ambulance Service or the Transport. Actually, as Kautz points out, the ambulance sections were usually filled, and the AFS had over-recruited, so that it was more difficult actually to get in an ambulance section. Kautz stayed with the Réserve Mallet for the balance of his service before he joined the United States Field Artillery in 1917.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Lt. Pierre Louis Marchal, S.S.U. 26-638, Diary, May 26, 1917January 31, 1919

This document is a rarity in that it was written by the French officer commanding S.S.U. 26, and is the only diary in the Field Service Archives written by a Frenchman.

S.S.U. 26 left Paris in May 1917. At the time of federalization, in October 1917, it became S.S.U. 638 of the United States Army Ambulance Service. The Section operated in the vicinity of Remy working under nightly bombardment, and in conjunction with an English division at first.

It is a rather straightforward diary, giving entries, but with no commentary discernible in the English translation, which is uneven at best. There are descriptions of working the segment of the line held by the 7th French Infantry Division, but because of the extraordinary casualties in other divisions and regiments, S.S.U. 638 carried the gassed and wounded of these units in addition to the soldiers of the 7th D.I. until instructed to cease in these efforts.

The Section served in the follow-up to the general German retreat in October 1918, carrying 1264 blesses for the month of October 1918, and traveling 21,727 kilometers.

After the Armistice in November 1918, the Section was involved in carrying civilians to hospitals until demobilization.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. John C. B. Moore, S.S.U. 9, MS. Diary, June - December, 1916. T.M.U. 526, MS. Diary, May - November, 1917

Moore's diary is best categorized as an introspective document describing the philosophical development of the man. The War was the stage for this development. The Diary, therefore, was one of the most important intellectual documents in the collection.

Paris, he says, was much the same as he had seen it in peacetime but a little less gay. There were interesting comments about how much the French hate their Allies, the British, even more so than the French colonials, whom they regard as offensive.

Moore comments upon a fellow driver's point of view that the French believe that the Americans are nothing more than sightseers. In the early stages of the Diary, while he is loafing in Paris with seemingly little to do, he develops a cynical attitude toward the French and the Field Service, as well as A. P. Andrew, whom he saw as a kind of opportunist. He said that the French simply don't understand why Americans are here. "Our coming is the following of a purely idealistic impulse in most cases, and the French do not appreciate that."

Moore did not think that American Ambulance sections were efficient, and he believed that the French would agree with him. His cynicism would appear to be keyed to periods of inactivity, and garrison duty, prolonged as it was for him, gave him ample time to sour. He believed that the Field Service was tolerated by the French, for the politics of possible American intervention far outweighed any inefficiency on the part of the Ambulance Service.

As far as the conduct of the War was concerned, the Germans were no worse than the French in terms of atrocities, in which cause, the French Moroccan and other colonial troops excelled. He questioned what moral gains would come from the War, and saw nothing but the fact that class lines would be even more severely drawn than in the past.

When Section 9 was sent to the Vosges under its Chef de Section, Carleton Burr, whom he admired greatly, he drove and philosophized over the moral values of the War, and whether or not he was serving A. P. Andrew's personal ends.

Moore seemed to feel more convinced about how the Field Service was helping France, as he did more work and saw more action in the Vosges.

There is an excellent description of Carleton Burr in the Diary. Moore's opinions of Burr, who was later killed in action in the U.S. Marine Corps, confirmed what other Field Service men wrote about him, and what is written in the Field Service Memorial Volume. Moore also described how he came under the influence of a French priest, who was also a Brancardier, who believed that the War was the result of man trusting all to science, but yet, he believed the Germans had to be beaten. This caused Moore to muse whether the priest was more French than Christian.

Moore ends by believing that the American Field Service was indeed playing a small but significant role in the War, and as a result, he appeared to think better about himself.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Edwin W. Morse, The Vanguard of American Volunteers (New York, 1918)

This account is a series of sketches of American volunteers who served in various branches of the Allied services before the United States entered the War in 1917. There are essays on Victor Chapman of the French Foreign Legion, Alan Seeger, poet of the Legion, Herbert Hoover's work in Belgium, James McConnell, formerly of the American Field Service, killed in action in the Lafayette Escadrille, as well as a section of the book devoted to the American Field Service. This section includes essays on A. Piatt Andrew, the death of Richard Hall, Section 10, Henry Suckley and his death in Salonika.

One of the best sketches in the volume is that on Richard Norton of the Norton-Harjes Ambulance. The material on Norton is important in that he had many dealings with A. P. Andrew in a companion service to the AFS Norton himself is worthy of note. Son of Professor Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard, Richard Norton graduated from Harvard in 1892, and in some few years had established a reputation as a noted archaeologist and Head of the American Classical School at Rome. It was from there that Norton went to London to organize an Ambulance Section which became affiliated with that of Herman Harjes of the Morgan-Harjes Bank of Paris in 1914. Norton spent considerable time with his men at the Front as leader and father figure to his younger college men. He was, as was Andrew, awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Cross of the Legion of Honor. By the time of the U.S. entry into the War, the Norton-Harjes Ambulance had about 60 ambulances operating on the French Front. He was offered a commission as a Major in the American Army Ambulance Service which he declined. He died suddenly in Paris of meningitis in 1918.

Morse's volume is useful in that it puts the American Field Service in the context of a much wider American volunteer effort encompassing many individuals and numerous groups devoted to aiding the Allies.

 

Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Luther Nelson Collection, American Ambulance Hospital Paris Section and S.S.U. 5, Norton-Harjes Ambulance, May 12, 1916- August 4, 1918

This collection contains Nelson correspondence concerning his original application to the American Red Cross in France and the response that the Red Cross was pulling out of Europe owing to lack of funds. The Red Cross intended to remain only in Belgium. There is a qualification sheet for the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris and letters of recommendation from U.S. Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota concerning Luther Nelson's qualifications to serve in the American Ambulance.

There are letters from Nelson to his family from France concerning the Paris service of the American Hospital's work in the Paris area, as well as correspondence concerning his leaving the Ambulance to join the Norton-Harjes sections in September of 1916. His opinion was that the Norton-Harjes was a superior outfit, and that he would have more opportunity to serve at the Front in that organization.

There is some discussion in the correspondence concerning how the Norton-Harjes sections worked, such as supplying free equipment to the drivers, and the fact that Harjes was himself kind as well as generous to his men. There is also some indication that Nelson thought that service in these sections might later lead to a position in the Morgan-Harjes Bank of Paris. Time proved him correct on this point. There is correspondence from Nelson to his father thanking him for his college education. Other correspondence with his family indicates his desire to work in Paris after his term of enlistment was up. He also states his view that the United States entered the War in order to repay its debt to the French.

The collection contains Nelson's manuscript diary of the time he spent with the American Hospital and the Norton-Harjes Ambulance. This account, like that of other drivers, shows the cordial feelings that existed between the French soldier and the American volunteer. This diary, like that of Robert Nourse, indicates that Nelson had numerous invitations to the mess of high ranking French regimental officers of the French division of infantry to which he was attached. Other interesting facts found in the Diary include the publication of the trench journal, Bombardia, by French soldiers, produced and sold in the trenches, the club room set up in a barn for the soldiers when they were pulled out of the trenches, and his comments on the slow response of some French doctors to treating the wounded.

Also found in this collection is the lithograph, "A Day in the American Ambulance," n.d., 1916, "A Tribute to Richard Norton" printed August 4, 1918, and "General Orders for Men of the American Field Service on their way to France."

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Dairies, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged Alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French And English. Robert L. Nourse, S.S.U. 67, With A Rooster On The Shoulder, June 2, 1917 -March 26, 1919

This is a unique diary because it was written by a unique man whose experience differed in many ways from most of the other individuals who left diaries.

Bob Nourse graduated from Princeton in the Class of 1917, joined the Field Service and was attached to S.S.U. 67 in which he quickly became Chef de Section. He differed from the others in that he always seemed to be close to people at the top of the AFS command structure, the French Army, and to those related to the Field Service, such as Mrs. Vanderbilt, La Comtesse Villestreux and others, without any unusual connections other than his Princeton background. The surprising thing is that it was recognized by Nourse himself. He states that, not too long before, he had been in the United States where he had been rejected by the U.S. Army for a vision defect, and then he was in France, commanding a Field Service Section with paths that brought him into intimate contact with the General of the 154th French Infantry Division, General Breton. Nourse tutored the General, and his associate divisional general, whose division was in place next to the 154th on the Chemin Des Dames, in the use of English. Through Breton, Nourse, by this time a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Ambulance Service, met General Pétain. His intimacy with high ranking French field officers is indeed very unusual for a junior officer in the American Army, but it is true nevertheless, and because of the connection, personal views of these people can be found within the pages of this 2-volume, six-hundred-page diary.

It was not unusual for an AFS man to love France, but Nourse's love for the French people and its history, of which he had an extraordinary grasp, was translated into the practical realm when he virtually adopted a French refugee family, and was adopted by them. The fact that he fell in love with the younger daughter of this family, and finally was separated from them by the press of events, makes the Diary all the more interesting, as well as poignant.

His accounts of battle action match those of the best of the AFS diarists, but with a difference. His account of the German breakthrough on the Chemin des Dames in March 1918 is not related anywhere else in this collection. The chaos, the liquidity of the troop movements, the melting away of the static lines of entrenchments is more like France, 1940, than France in the First World War, and its telling will interest military historians. So will his reaccounting of the militarization of the American Field Service and the coming of the American Army to France. There was no love lost for the new American Army Ambulance Service and its new American regular army officers, even if the old AFS was now a part of it.

This diary is valuable in so many ways that it is impossible to enumerate them within the scope of this brief descriptive note. It is an account filled with information written by a very human individual, and worth any reader's time.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, And Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged Alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French And English. Waldo Peirce, S.S.U. 3, "Captain Kipling and Dr. Gros," Poem, n.d., circa Spring or Summer, 1916

Waldo Peirce, S.S.U. 3, was best known for his ability as an artist, and it is Peirce's paintings of Colonel A. Piatt Andrew, and his AFS Memorial painting, his charcoals and watercolors of various aspects of the World War I Field Service that hang in the Archives and Museum of the American Field Service today. No doubt he was, moreover, one of the real characters of the AFS, a member of the literary and artistic circle that included Ernest Hemingway and Malcolm Cowley in the Paris of the 1920s. However, Peirce would occasionally turn his hand to writing. His sketch of the death of Richard N. Hall in Moosch, Alsace, in December 1915, is a moving remembrance, as is his poem on the same subject. But, for the most part, Peirce was a humorous "bon vivant." Nowhere is this illustrated better than in his poem, "Captain Kipling and Dr. Gros."

This spoof was probably referred to in the AFS S.S.U. 3 Diary in the American Field Service Archives, when the unknown author of the Diary stated on April 16, 1916, 'Peirce kept us all in roars of laughter this evening at the Cafe Douglass with his 'Contes Drolles', though most of them were not fit to print". This undated poem, probably originating in the spring or summer of 1916, before the break between the Field Service and the American Hospital, illustrates the extreme dislike of the men of the Field Service for the leaders of the Transportation Committee of the American Hospital. The Field Service was, at first, the Transportation Branch of the American Hospital of Paris, and as such was under the direction of the Transportation Committee of the Hospital in which Captain Kipling and Dr. Gros were most influential members. The poem, besides being another example of the character of Waldo Peirce, illustrates that the men of the Field Service, not just their leader, A. P. Andrew, thought rather poorly of their overlords.

More on the subject of the conflict between the Field Service and the Transportation Committee can be found in the A. P. Andrew-Robert Bacon Series, and in the Headquarters Correspondence Series, as well as in the Andrew-Sleeper Correspondence Series.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Regis Post, Letters To His Mother, November 22, 1914 -September 18, 1915

With the exception of A. Piatt Andrew's letters to his parents previously described, this collection of letters is the earliest account of the work of the Ambulance Department of the American Hospital in Paris before the creation of the American Field Service.

In that the early days of the Ambulance are not overly documented, Post's account is all the more valuable concerning some of the workers in the Hospital that are not mentioned elsewhere, including Andrew's account. He also gives some interesting sketches of the Transportation Committee of the Hospital and alludes to the politics of membership in this body. Post considered himself very fortunate, as the first American outside of the American colony in Paris of prewar years to be named to this Committee, and also to the post of Assistant Adjutant of the Motor Corps. In this capacity, he did office work, and was in charge of the dormitory and the garage of the Ambulance Department Curiously, he did not mention A. P. Andrew in any of his letters even though the two of them must have worked closely together.

Other interesting and important figures in the early history of the American Ambulance are mentioned in these letters, including: Lovering Hill, Richard Lawrence, Dr. Hays, and Dr. Potter of Harvard Dental School, then on the staff of the American Hospital. Although he did not know the operation of the Hospital intimately, owing to his position in the Transportation Department, he did indicate that it was a model hospital and one of great stature in wartime France. In fact, his removal from a position of close observation of the workings of the hospital was indeed one of the major reasons for the creation of an independent American Ambulance Field Service in 1916. What Post said on these matters largely is an explanation of A. P. Andrew's subsequent efforts to form an independent Field Service. Post wrote, "The Ambulance is the outgrowth of the efforts of the American Colony in Paris, using the American Hospital as a sort of starting point. But we are in quite a distinct building and operate entirely independently of the real American Hospital, which runs on, as usual, six blocks away."

Besides his descriptions of the workings of the Paris squads and the field squads, his description of the ambulances and the work that they hoped to do in the future, is, in fact, a preliminary statement on the later work of the AFS. "We have organized our field force made up of light ambulances designed to carry three stretchers with the idea of going out to the field and replacing the horse ambulances as soon as possible that our design of our car is better fitted to operate."

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Theodore Lunt Preble, T.M.U. 397, Notebook from Meaux, August 27, 1917

This notebook contains Theodore Preble's lecture notes taken in the course at Meaux that he attended to obtain a commission in the American Field Service. He was later a Captain in the United States Army Motor Transport Corps.

There are lectures on the physics of automobile engines complete with graphs and charts, as well as on materials used in automobile manufacture. There are various well executed technical sketches and section drawings found throughout the notebook on such subjects as engine chassis, carburetors, etc.

There are lectures on the Ford automobile and its various systems including: lubricating, cooling, pressure, lighting, braking, clutch, springs, and others.

The second half of the notebook is devoted to the structure and functions of the French Army and its various branches but most specifically, the Automobile Service. Material can be found on discipline, exterior marks of respect, ranks, and medals including the Croix de Guerre, the Médaille Militaire, Legion d'Honneur, and the Colonial Medals. There are materials on permissions and punishments.

There are organizational charts on the Automobile Service, the duties of the Chef de Section, the Auto Park, Section, Groupe, Reserve and Army.

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959 arranged alphabetically, 8 Linear Feet, French and English. Diary of Jerome Preston, 1916-1918 (privately printed)

This diary has unfortunately been edited, but does not contain the explanatory footnotes that one expects from a scholarly editing job. The Diary itself is, however, exceptionally well written and is one of the few really complete and detailed accounts of a Field Service section at the Battle of Verdun. In that 36 Field Service sections worked during the 10 long months of the Battle evacuating wounded for the 44 French divisions that served there, the Diary is all the more significant. Also, as Alistair Horne has indicated in his book, Verdun; The Price of Glory, virtually the whole French Army and most of its most important commanders served, at one time or another, at Verdun. This being the case, it is clear how so many American Field Service men working in those 36 ambulance sections came into close and continuous contact with the French at this one battle alone.

As with most of the Field Service diaries, the details found within are both useful and interesting. For example, Preston names Kelner Brothers as the builders of ambulance bodies for the Ford constructed chassis in Paris. There are descriptions of working at Verdun from the depot at Bar-le-Duc up the Voie Sacrée to the Front, among many other combat scenes that he pictures.

On leave in England, he notes that the English are very casual about the War. However, cripples and wounded are treated with great efficiency in England, he notes, in contrast to the situation in France. He remarks that there is no great confidence in the French as fighters among the English, which he finds surprising. He and his American comrades worked more closely with the French than did the English, who kept to their own sectors of the Front. The English, he notes, did not respect the Belgians as soldiers and had little use for the Australians. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Germans, as part of their propaganda campaign, dropped leaflets over the French lines exploiting the ancient antagonisms between the French and the English. However, Preston notes that these were of little psychological value.

From the diarist's point of view, the discipline in the French Army was near to perfect, and the relationship between officers and men nearly ideal. Full trust and confidence existed among the men for their officers.

The wider aspects of the Battle of Verdun and indeed, the War itself, were mentioned by Preston, that is, the attack on the Mort Homme, the advance on the Chemin des Dames with the capture of 10,000 enemy troops and over 200 canon, the collapse of the Italian campaign, various stages of the Russian Revolution, as well as some bungled French attacks and discontent among the troops.

In all, this is an outstanding account, especially the last half, where the editor lets the diarist speak for himself.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Arthur J. Putnam, S.S.U. 19-70, 636, Collection, April 18,1917-April 14, 1919

Correspondence exists in the Putnam collection from a number of Putnam's French comrades to him at the end of the War discussing demobilization, business prospects, etc.

Most of the documents in this collection date from Putnam's time in the United States Army Ambulance Service, however, there are newsprint photographs of the Cornell University American Field Service Unit ready to embark for France in April 1917, as well as a citation from the 38th French Division of Infantry dated October 1917, to Lt. Putnam, Commander of S.S.U. 70, for courage under fire in the evacuation of wounded in an area, "très exposé."

The collection includes administrative documents from the U.S.A.A.S., a citation by Order of the Division for Lt. Putnam's distinguished service as Commander of S.S.U. 636 in spite of danger and in the face of heavy enemy fire in evacuation of wounded, signed by General Pétain. There is a letter of thanks from Pétain to all of the men of the Automobile Service of the French Army for their outstanding efforts from March to July 1918. Captain Putnam's discharge order from the U.S.A.A.S. is found here dated April 14, 1919.

The Putnam Photograph Collection includes a number of pictures of Putnam with French friends and officers and men as well as men in the American Field Service and the U.S.A.A.S. There is a photo of Walter Winthrop Gores, Sous Chef of Section 70, of Philip Crawford, of Louis Sicard of S.S.U. 636, of A. P. Andrew speaking with a group of French officers, members of the Polish Legion in the French Army, recuperating poilus at a base hospital, as well as standard war photos of the Crown Prince of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm and General Von Hindenburg.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Philip S. Rice, S.S.U. 1, An American Crusader At Verdun (Princeton, 1918). Printed privately by the author

By way of introduction and in explanation for his own motivation as well as many other American Field Service volunteers, Rice writes, "Many young Americans in sympathy with the Allied cause, and particularly the cause of France, and many Americans anxious to uphold the honor of their own country, when others were holding back the flag, went over as 'crusaders,' in advance of the American Army."

He writes that those who went over on the boat with him were hoping to make the world a little better if they could. He explains that he had resented the invasion of Belgium, the murder of Edith Cavell, the sinking of the Lusitania, and the atrocities committed against fellow human beings. His participation in the War effort was obviously idealistically motivated.

Rice joined the oldest AFS Section to serve in France in World War I. There he served with some of the real stalwarts of the Field Service, Edward Townshend, and his section head, for whom he had the greatest confidence and affection, William Yorke Stevenson.

Early in his service, Rice befriended the explorer-naturalist Frederick Norton who became a driver in Section 1. His is a portrait of the man who accompanied Perry to the North Pole and served such a little time in France before he was killed at Ludes where he was posted with his ambulance.

Rice describes in great detail the ordeal of Verdun. He states that Section 1, which had been in action almost from the first days of the War in 1914, had never had it so badly as they did at Verdun, where they were in action for 45 days and nights without break under continuous and murderous shell fire. Many of the Section's cars were hit directly, or else raked by shrapnel. "Verdun," he wrote, "will go down in history as the slaughterhouse of the World". He was with Willian Pearl when the ex-Oxford Rhodes Scholar and the Section's mechanic were severely wounded when a shell landed next to their ambulance at Fort Houdremont. He himself had what would seem to have been a nervous breakdown after continuous runs with almost no sleep for days on end under conditions of great stress. It is virtually impossible for a third party to describe what the men of Verdun endured in terms of danger and physical exhaustion. For those who survived, the remembrance of that battle would remain with them for the rest of their lives as is clear from a reading of his account.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. George C. Brown, ed. "With The Ambulance Service In France; The Wartime Letters of William Gorham Rice, Jr., S.S.U. 1-66." Wisconsin Magazine Of History Vol. 65, No. 1, Autumn 1981; Vol. 65, No. 2, Winter 1981-1982 (magazines and microfilms)

Rice on his second tour of duty with Section I wrote on June 2, 1917, of the "mutiny" of fifty-six AFS volunteers who were recruited for the Ambulance Service but found that no more sections were leaving for the front for some time after their arrival. His account seems to corroborate that of John Kautz of T.M.U. 184 previously described in this inventory. Twenty- four of these men joined the Paris Ambulance Service of the American Hospital at Neuilly, by this time no longer connected with the Field Service. Thirty-six of the American Field Service recruits joined the Norton-Harjes Ambulance run by the American Red Cross. By mid-June 1917, according to Rice, all recruits were required to go into the Transport Service.

Rice's account is especially valuable for the period of American militarization of the Field Service, a period which is especially cloudy in terms of documentation. At best, it was a confusing period at the time due to politics in Washington and in Paris, and the inevitable disarray when one service is taken over by another. With the AFS now incorporated into the U.S.A.A.S., the French officers who had led the units were withdrawn from the sections. This happened although the former AFS sections were allowed to continue to serve with the French Army, which took an act of Congress to allow. Rice complains that the HQ staff was too much in the hands of medical men who knew little about how a field section ran. Rice, who was commissioned in the U.S.A.A.S., disliked the cocksure attitude of the American officers who now ran things, but admitted that although their attitude was obnoxious up close, it was also invigorating to a war-torn land and to France's tired military.

Rice complained that U.S.A.A.S. men, trained at Allentown, Pennsylvania, had not learned the two most important basics of working a field section: how to drive, and how to speak French. He obviously thought that the Service that he had known under the French was far superior in terms of efficiency. Under the French administration it had been left to non-medical administrative officers who knew nothing about medicine, but everything about transport, which, after all, was the business of the Ambulance Service.

Rice was compelled to remain in France after the Armistice, much against his wishes. While there he did manage to develop opinions that show how very disillusioned he had become with the French, their attitude toward Germany and their policy of a harsh peace. That he considered imperialism. His account is important in this regard in that it shows the shift from a strong pro-French attitude to that of dismay.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Alden Rodgers, T.M.U. 184, The Hard White Road; A Chronicle Of The Réserve Mallet (Buffalo, 1923). Printed privately by the author

This is the most complete account of the Réserve Mallet, named for its French commander, Commandant Richard Mallet. It was formed in April 1917 on demand of French Automobile Service Commander Doumenc to A. Piatt Andrew of the American Ambulance Field Service, in which the French asked the head of the AFS if men signed up to drive ambulances could instead serve the French Automobile Service as camion drivers carrying essential war materials and troops to the Front. Rodgers called the Reserve a paradox. It was the worst military outfit in the entire A.E.F., but yet, it was the best motor truck unit in the Army. The men, most of them being commanded by former American Field Service officers trained at the French Automobile Service Officer's School at Meaux, did not care for, or have to meet the exacting military discipline of the American Army, but yet had the personal motivation to accomplish incredible tasks in support of the French. Statistics given in this book are most valuable for an understanding of the feats of the Reserve which served in 11 major offensive and defensive operations between June 1917; and November 1918. For example, in the five-month period between June and October 1918 the Reserve hauled more ammunition for the French Armies than the entire U.S. Army used in its participation in the War. This is all the more striking when it is known that the Reserve was not more than the equivalent of a battalion in strength, no more than 1,100 men in all.

Of particular value is Rodgers' account of the structure of the Reserve, how it worked and what it did. Driving for 70 hours without sleep in a semiconscious state may have been the most that the drivers accomplished, and that in the Chalons trip of April 1918, but little less than that was not uncommon.

The book complements what is known of the establishment of the Réserve Mallet found in the Headquarters Correspondence Series, and in various notebooks from the Officers Training School at Meaux.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Edward M. Ross, S.S.U. And U.S.A.A.S. 623, 4 ms. Notebooks, June 2, 1917-July 23, 1919

In the four notebook diaries, giving a day account of his service with the American Field Service and later the United States Army Ambulance Service, nothing is more interesting than the comments that Ross made, in a humorous way, on "The American Ambulance Drivers."

An American Ambulance Driver is a fellow who comes to save humanity, but by the time he has been on the Western Front for a couple of weeks, his efforts in this pursuit have been concentrated on one integral portion of the whole in an animated endeavor to save himself.

An American Ambulance man begins his military education by learning the "Marseillaise," and "Vive La France," and he ends with an intimate mastery of such significant phrases as "Après Vous" and "Où est l'Abri." He comes uplifted by a generous enthusiasm for the welfare of mankind, and he lets himself down to an equally enthusiastic sense of intensified individualism.

In Paris, his earnest desire is to get out to the Front, and once there, he lives in expectation of a "Permission."

An ambulance driver arrives with ambitious energy which dwindles to a passive indifference before he has repaired two inner tubes. At first, he is on casual terms with the truth, but after he has been sitting around the Poste talking with the Brancardiers for a month or so, he becomes a regular panicking communiqué, you can't trust a word he tells you.

At home, his habits are fairly presentable. Out, he soon loses all taste in beer and tobacco, he looks on a bath as an indecent indulgence, and he sentimentally regards his fleas and his rats as inseparable companions.

This does not mean that he doesn't add to his knowledge a store of valuable information. He knows more about dugouts than the man who dug them. He is an authority on "Départs" and "Arrivées," and by personal research, he has handled more data than any psychologist on the old-fashioned instinct of self-preservation.

As an ambulance driver, he exchanges his dreamy delusions for materialistic maxims, and when he returns, he is thoroughly demoralized, and infinitely wiser!

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French And English. Martin W. Sampson, editor, Camion Letters From American College Men; Drivers Of The American Field Service In France, 1917 (N.Y., 1918)

Most of these letters were written by members of the Cornell Unit, which formed the larger part of the first section of drivers assigned to the Transport Service, or the Réserve Mallet, as it became known in May 1917. The decision of these men, who had originally volunteered for the Ambulance Service, to go into transport of war materials, was a most significant political issue facing the administration of the Field Service and a very important personal decision for the men. This book is therefore useful in complementing what is found in the Sleeper-Andrew Series on the subject, as well as other materials in the Headquarters Correspondence Series. It proved more difficult to convince donors at home, parents of boys who volunteered for the Ambulance, and others, that the new needs of the French for American volunteers lay not in humanitarian work as before had been the case, but in the critical area of transporting war materials to the Front in order to end the War in the fastest possible way.

The basic response of most of the drivers was, if France needs us in this capacity, how can we refuse? The letters show how very persuasive A. P. Andrew, Inspector General of the Field Service, was on the subject, and how the American drivers felt that it was their duty, not only to France but to America, to participate in this new direction. One driver wrote home, "Please do not criticize my actions. It would be unfair to me, for no one in America has the knowledge he must have before making any conclusions. It isn't what we came to do, but it is the right thing to do. America is absurdly ignorant of the part she is expected to play in this great war."

The whole question of the relative danger of this new service as opposed to the Ambulance is written about by the drivers. Some wrote that driving camions was completely safe, safer than a walk in New York City for example. Others wrote otherwise. "We go," one man said, "about as far up as the ambulances and take the same risks but there isn't the same opportunity for individual action." Then there were the reactions of the French to the American volunteer and the latter's feeling for the French that are illustrated in these letters. One driver wrote, "They love us, particularly because we are volunteers, and especially because we are Americans. They cannot do enough for us in every way." Further, one American wrote, "If I respected the French before I came over here, that respect is now multiplied many times."

There are some rather surprising statements in these pages, showing that during the War itself, and among those who served, the idea of a League of Nations had already been seen as the insurance policy for the "War to End All Wars." One driver wrote, "I long for the day when our first American troops land in France to fight, shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world against selfishness and greed, and when this war is over, as I pray it soon will be, may America, my country, take the initiative in the movement for an alliance of nations, a world federation, so organized that war will no longer be possible .... I despise war as such. We the United States, are fighting against war, not for it."

For scholars of World War I, the opinion of the average man who served is significant. Letters such as these should certainly be consulted by students of the period.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. William Yorke Stevenson, S.S.U. 1, At The Front In A Flivver (Boston and New York, 1917).

Stevenson's account of his service with Section 1 extends from March 1916, to the end of the War in November 1918. It is therefore a valuable addition to histories of the AFS' oldest section complementing those of Andrew, Rice, and what is found in the Section Field Correspondence, as well as in the Section Histories Series.

Stevenson believed that most men did not go to France for really altruistic reasons, although once there, France was able to "get a grip on you that is hard to explain." He certainly could be described as a Field Service "insider," a supporter of A. P. Andrew whom he called "A bully fellow." As Stevenson wrote of the Field Service leader, "He's the whole show out at Neuilly." Needless to say, Stevenson ended his Field Service career as Chef de Section of Section 1, replacing Herbert Townshend when the latter returned to the United States.

His description of the American Hospital is brief but informative. He shows it to be a large institution with an "immense staff of doctors, nurses and orderlies, and it had a high reputation with French officialdom." His portrait of the Section's French Lieutenant, Le Marquis Robert De Kersauson De Pennendreff, describes one of the leading French officers attached to the AFS during the course of the War; it illuminates the man and his service.

Stevenson's account covers the history of Section 1 from its participation in the Somme Offensive of 1916, to its long and honorable participation in the Battle of Verdun, where it was decorated by Order of Le Corps D'Armée with the Croix de Guerre, finally ending its service in the Argonne. Along the way, his accounts of Field Service personalities light up his pages: Waldo Peirce, Andre Tardieu, who designed the Indian Head symbol of S.S.U. 1, Victor White, all driver-artists of the American Field Service, and the French and colonial soldiers who played soccer-football with, and fought and died near their American comrades.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Henry Burling Thompson, Jr., T.M.U. 133, Letters, June 4, 1917 - January 16, 1919

Thompson joined the Réserve Mallet when he landed in France because he felt that he was needed more there than in the Ambulance sections. Although he does not say it, no doubt this decision was attributed to the high powered sales pitch for the camion service that A. P. Andrew gave all newly arrived AFS volunteer drivers after

April of 1917. As Thompson said at the time, "I hear that the whole service is favorably looked upon by Pershing. There is no doubt about it, Andrew has done wonderfully. He must possess the most wonderful powers of speech." He indicated that back in the United States few people realized the importance of the Automobile Service, and that in France, there are over 80,000 people serving in this branch.

Thompson did not drive camions very long before the United States took over the Field Service in September 1917. Wanting a more active branch of the Service, he opted for the Aviation Signal Corps with the hopes of becoming a pilot. Not long after this decision, and while still in the relatively calm life of a camion driver, Thompson and Thomas Lamont were seriously injured by shell fire which wounded Thompson in the back and resulted in Lamont's loss of a hand. Thompson spent a considerable time in the American Hospital at Neuilly recovering before he went on to flight training. Once there, however, he seemed to spend much more time on the ground than in the air. However, he ate well, as his letters show, demonstrating the difference between the food in the Air Service where they even had a pastry chef from a noted Parisian hotel, and the standard fare of the French divisions of infantry to which Field Service sections were attached. Thompson finished his lengthy flight training course in time for the Armistice, and never flew combat missions. His letters are useful for their social context more than for military or political comment. He shows the rather carefree life of the American soldier in France during the War. He describes his trips, his many friends that he always seemed to run into somewhere and everywhere. Yet for all of this, something seems missing from this collection in the realm of insights that are often found in other collections.

 

World War I Drivers' Journals, Diaries, and Personal Collections Series, 1914-1959, arranged alphabetically, 8 linear feet, French and English. Diary and Letters of Avery Royce Wolfe, S.S.U. 31 and Section #15. Written during his service with the American Field Service, June 27, 1917-April 26, 1919

Avery Wolfe's account is valuable for a number of reasons. First is the detail of the Battle of Verdun in which he explains the topography of the Battle in more detail than most other contemporary accounts. Second is such useful information as the rumors that A. P. Andrew was awarded the Legion d'Honneur for promising to provide 5,000 drivers for the camion service, a service that Wolfe did not appreciate himself. His comments are interesting on racial relations between the French troops of metropolitan France and the black troops of France's colonial dependencies, relations that he thought were excellent, and his reporting of opinions in the French Army that the Americans had waited so long to enter the War in order to reap profits from the sale of munitions to its Allies.

Wolfe's opinions concerning how long the War would last were especially interesting in that he felt that the French were completely played out by 1917, and had the United States not declared war at that time, the French would have sought a separate peace. Although he loathed the "Boche," he appreciated their efficiency and thoroughness in such things as their entrenchments and aircraft engines, which he believed to be far superior to anything the Allies had of a similar nature. These things he believed would make it extremely difficult to defeat the Germans. In fact, he stated that he believed a revolution within Germany alone would be the only thing to defeat them, in that a major victory of Allied arms could not be conceived.

He is especially good at documenting the excellent relations existing among the French soldiers and the American volunteers, something mentioned by many other diarists in this series. Soccer matches between S.S.U. 31 and the 44th French Division are recounted, as well as the average French soldier's opinions about America which Wolfe thought were derived directly from films concerning the American West. His relating how the AFS worked administratively and in terms of evacuating wounded is concise and valuable, in addition to the maps and drawings on these subjects which are found throughout his Diary.

 

American Field Service Bulletins Series, July 4, 1917- April 26, 1919, arranged chronologically, 3 inches, French and English

The Bulletin, edited by John H. McFadden, Jr., contained this statement of purpose in its first issue: "It has been found advisable by the authorities at 21 Rue Raynouard, to get out periodically, probably at intervals of a week, a short bulletin which may be sent to the different sections at the Front, in order to acquaint the men with what is transpiring in the Service to which they belong."

The Bulletins contain news of movement of sections, citations for valor, notices of men killed or wounded in the Service, replacement of section heads returning to the United States or joining other branches of the armed services, etc. Issue #4 contains a request for contributions from men at the Front in the form of poetry, essays, news notices from the sections, and other submissions. "Section Notes," begins in issue #8, while the poem, "En Repos," by Robert Donaldson, S.S.U. 70, was first published in this issue. Issue #8 also contains two poems by Malcolm Cowley, T.M.U. 526, entitled "Poilus," and "Ballad of the French Service." The Field Service Bulletin #12 was reserved for prize poetry submissions. Number 13 contains Malcolm Cowley's "We Had Great Argument." Captain Richard Mallet's remarks to the men of the Mallet Reserve are found in Bulletin #16, and were originally delivered on October 6, 1917 with the aim of retaining men in the Reserve. Number 19 contains a list of AFS Sections militarized by the U.S. Army on November 1, 1917, and #22 carried a list of men enlisted in the U.S.A.A.S., and in the United States Motor Transport Corps.

The last number of the American Field Service Bulletin for the World War I years appeared under the title of the "Rue Raynouard Number," in April 1919. (The American Field Service Bulletin continued publication until after World War II.) In this last number A. P. Andrew writes his valedictory for the American Field Service in France, entitled "Ave Et Vale." In it he writes, "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 years to come." With this, Andrew then expounds his idea of the American Field Service Scholarships, which provides the basis for the modern AFS.

 

AFS-United States Army Ambulance Service Militarization Series, April 9, 1916 -December 3, 1917, arranged chronologically, Rare Document Binder. Copies provided by Andrew Grey of Washington, D.C.

This series contains A. P. Andrew correspondence with Henry Sleeper concerning the inept, boastful and sometimes drunken conduct of regular U.S. Army officers who came to recruit AFS men for the U.S. Army Ambulance Service or the Motor Transport Corps. Andrew writes of his efforts, and those of Stephen Galatti to recruit men for the U.S. Army and to turn over the AFS to United States Army jurisdiction. There are descriptions of Colonel Kean, Commander of the United States Army Ambulance Service in France, as an incompetent, and statements that the Colonel was unloaded by the U.S. Army on the Ambulance Service to get him out of the way, so to speak. Andrew writes of the way Colonel Kean turned down excellent AFS section heads for commissions, while offering commissions instead to inexperienced and often incompetent men from the U.S. Army with no experience at the front.

There is correspondence from Major Andrew to Colonel Kean for the month of November 1917, advising action in various areas of transport. Other letters to Sleeper paint a picture of great disorder within the U.S.A.A.S. Correspondence indicates that Kean had repeatedly done the wrong thing and antagonized the French. There is also correspondence indicating that Richard Norton of the Norton-Harjes Ambulance had turned down a commission in the U.S.A.A.S., not wishing to sacrifice his independence to work under those sent from the U.S. Andrew correspondence indicates that the AFS Section #3 in the Balkans had been turned over to the Army of the Orient rather than wait indefinitely for word from Washington as to its militarization. Andrew felt it was not fair to the men of this section who wished to have some word concerning their futures in the Service or with other branches of the Army.

There is correspondence concerning the lack of spare parts, functioning auto parks and many other administrative problems, and that Colonel Kean continually bypassed Andrew, whose memos of advice were ignored. There is an indication that only when things did completely break down to the point that the U.S.A.A.S. was not functioning at all, was Andrew brought in to set things straight.


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