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It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory.

-- General George Patton Jr

War Stories: World War I

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War I January 21, 1917: Dear Sister: Just a few lines in answer to your letter of Dec. 5th which I received a short time ago & was glad to hear from you & that you are all well. I was in hospital & rest camp here from December 28th to January 7th with a touch of Grippe but am feeling fine again now, that is as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The weather is a little bad on the front where we are, quite a bit of snow & rain so it makes the trenches bad. But I guess we must expect that this time of year. I was lucky last Tuesday, they sent me away on a machine gun course & expect to be away till a week from tomorrow, so I will miss a trip into the trenches. It is fine here at the school. We have a Y.M. & a church Hut, both fine places. Also a good canteen where we can buy anything we want. We sleep in tents but have plenty of blankets & sleep close together so we are quite comfortable. Of course the weather is not so very cold here. It freezes at nights but is not too bad in the days. Do you know a man in Stratford, Mr. Lowe. I think he used to run a drug store. He is a Lieut. in the 46th--was in command of the Co. that I am in. He is certainly a fine man & all the boys think a lot of him. He is away from us now, though. He was operated on for appendicitis, & I think went back to England. I may have his name spelled wrong, but it is something like that. I had a letter from Selina a short time ago. Things seem about the same as ever in Brantford. I hear from Herb & Lottie regular. Also from Cranstons whom I used to live with in Edmonton. I expect a bunch of mail when I get back to the battalion after this course. How is Wayman getting along, still punching the dough? I would like to be back there for a few weeks to help him. It would be a rest for me, but I don't think it will be so very long before we will be able to beat it back. Only a few months I think, but we are liable to have some hard work before the finish. Well, I must close, be sure & write soon & I will try to drop you a letter or field card often. It is sometimes hard for us to get mail written especially when we are in the line. So long. Alex #437536 I Co 46 Can. BEF Army PO London.
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World War I 6th May, 1916, signed the enlistment papers after having been previously rejected in 1915. 20th June, left Byron Bay by train to Lismore for the medical examination. This time, Dr Bignell passed me, without even examining me, because he could see that I was eager to enlist and men were badly needed.
Note: by Private Verdi George Schwinghammer  20793 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Base Hospital 27, located at Angers, France, received the first official order dated July 14, 1917, to supply Army nurses for this service. Until this time, the Medical Corps attached to hospital trains were caring for the wounded. Through Miss Blanche Rulon, chief nurse of Base Hospital 27, Edna Cooper, Grace O'Donnell and I were detailed to Hospital Train 57.
Note: Helen T. Burrey, reserve nurse, Army Nurse Corps, a graduate of St. Francis Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the nursing staff of U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 27, was one of the first three nurses to be assigned to hospital trains of The American Expeditionary Forces.   8914 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Nov 28/1915 My Dear Wife, Just a few lines to let you know that i am still alive and kicking and am keeping quite well, hoping this will find you and our dear chidren enjoying the best of health and strength also your dear mother and all at home. Well dear Wife the General in charge of our camp has just picked out 4 Battalions to form the first Brigade for the front, and the 44th Battalion is one of them. But i don't think we are going to the front for awhile yet as we have quite alot of training and shooting practice to go through yet. Well it is Sunday today and instead of having a church parade we had to move ourlodgings about 1 mile further to the west side of the camp, and you never saw such fun in your life as we had flitting with all our beds and pots & pans, kit bags and hand bags as alot of the boys have small hand bags like mine, and didn't we just have a laugh. Well you can just imagine 1000 men carrying all their beds and belongings, well some fell by the wayside,others kept dropping their pots & pans, and the road was completley littered with all kinds of things you would have thought a shell had burst and blown everything to bits. Well dear wife we are about all settled down again now, so me and my pal Pte. T Charman retired to the Y.M.C.A. writing room out of all the comotion and noise to write letters. My pal is writing to his mother in England and i am writing this letter to you dear wife (the dearest of all my companions.) well i must close for now as i haven't much news to tell you this time so ta-ta my love. My dearest love & wishes to my own darling wife & children from your ever fond loving husband Till death, Arthur
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World War I I should have mentioned that it was Lieut. A.S.Miller whose company caught most of the bombs, and from what I learned later, Sandy Miller behaved like the little gentleman he was.
Note: by Robert Lindsay Mackay, 11th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  8903 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I July 18th 1918 Dear Mother, Well there has been great activity in the line of warfare since my last letter. I never realized before that destruction of material things as well as human life could possibly occur in a few hours. Just a few days ago we witnessed the greatest artillery fire, and also its effect, since the war began.
Note: letter by Corp. Roy Bainbridge, 117 Am. Train Co C.  8016 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I September 6, 1916 Dear Miss Dorothy:- Taking certain liberties and presuming much, I address you as an old friend, altho' I regret to say I have never had the unquestionable pleasure of meeting you. My reason for writing is to compliment you on your excellent work in compiling the "News from Home" or "News Summary" which are perused with much gusto in this "Never to be forgotten" part of the world. Basing my opinion on the several editions of yours which I have read, I must say that excellent judgement is used in the selection of articles. Personally, and I think I express the general opinion when I say that articles most in demand are "General News from Home", "Humurous sections and Cartoons." "Sporting Pages and anything that portrays the bright side of life. We have enough drama out here to satisfy all. Thanking you for the pleasure you have afforded me in my spare moments, I am. Sincerely Yours, R. C. McKELLAR 487262, P. P. C. L.-I., No.1 Co'y., France September 6, 1916
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World War I Dear Mr. Hunter:- I write these few lines to you in answer to your letter. I received it on July 11th, so it was 36 days in coming over. I am very thankful for the trouble you are taking in looking after my wife, and glad to hear she is some better, but I think she will improve when the warm weather comes. Well, Mr. Hunter, we are in the thick of it now. I am lying in the dugout with the shells and shrapnel flying all around. You can hardly hear one another speakfor the noise is something awful. At night, to put it in strong language it looks like hell up on earth. Some of my pals are wounded and are in England again. You should see the boys when they mount the parapet to go have a look at Fritz. The machine gun is the worst we have to put up with. I think all the boys will be glad when it is over. They are never so happy as when they are running after Fritz. I can tell you one thing, it is different soldiering out here to what it is in Canada and if they could just see the ruins about here which are most shameful, there be a lot more enlist than what there is at the present. But thank God, I am glad I came to do my little bit. The sights sometimes are awful-enough to send one crazy, but I have pulled through safe so far. You should have seen the advance the boys made awhile back. It was something grand. But I am sorry to say there are lots who will never come back to Canada, but they died for a just cause. We will never give in. The Germans call the Canadians the "White Gurghkas." That is, they don't show them any mercy at all with the bayonet, which they don't like to see in the hands of our boys. I have seen some sights which I hope never to see again but you never think about that when you are in the thick of it, for you are simply crazy with excitement. The only thing you want to keep is a cool head, a clear mind and a quick hand, for if you don't get Fritz he is going to get you, so the best one still lives. I have had some near shaves but pulled through somehow which I am hoping to do till the end of the war. Just remember me to the boys and give my kind regards to them and tell them I am hoping to be back with them by Christmas, that is, if I am spared to see it through. France is a fine country in the summer--the most beautiful scenery. The main roads have a beautiful avenue of trees along them. The crops look fairly good in the country. Most of the work is done by women for you hardly see a man about out of uniform. I have been transferred to the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. I left England in less than 36 hours notice. That was quick work but we got over safe. Remember me to Gordon when you write to him. I guess he will soon be coming over to England. I have not heard from Bill Near at all. Don't know whether he is over here or not for the 33rd were all broken up, too. I think this is all this time so give my kind regards to all enquiring friends and to Mrs. Hunter and Hally, also Mrs. Richardson. So I conclude with best wishes to all. So Good-bye, From Your Friend, ED. E. PERRELL No. 126608, A. Company, 1st C. M. R. Batt., 8th Inf. Brig. 3rd Can. Div., B. E. F., France
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World War I On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
Note: by Frank Wilfrid Watts, 15th Battalion, The London Regt.  7470 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 1915 AUSTRALIA
BROADMEADOWS -- AT SEA
March 17 Left MILDURA for BROADMEADOWS camp. Was in P1 Coy. for 5 weeks thence in signallers of the newly formed 24th Bn. Spent Easter at Wrays GEELONG.
Note: by Thomas Reginald Part, H.Q.D. 24th Bn. 6th Inf. Bn. 2nd Div., AIF  24348 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Note: by Thomas Edward Shirley  10499 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.
Note: by Captain von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  8430 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Bramshott 2/7/16 Dear Folks-- Received your letter OK on Friday & was glad to hear from you, also to get the picture of Norine. She is getting to be a big girl now, isn't she. You didn't say who the other girl in the picture was; were you afraid I might write to her? Well, we didn't get tangled with any Hun subs on the way over. Of course, we were pretty well protected. A battleship came with us until we were within 2 days of land & then 2 submarine destroyers came out to meet us & escorted us into Liverpool. They are some little boats, only about 200 ft long but they can certainly travel--about 50 miles an hour & they can turn around in about their own length. We are having some good weather now, a little rainy but not so bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. We are celebrating the 1st of July here today, all kinds of sports. I expect there will be some crowd here this p.m. The King was down near here yesterday inspecting the troops. It was about 8 miles from here so I didn't go. Our Battalion is all broke up now. We sent 750 men to France on the 8th of June & then about 150 to another Batt. here in camp. They kept nearly all the Headquarter staff here & we are still here & they have made the 51st Batt a base Batt & are filling it up with all the medically unfits in the camp. We have some here from about a dozen different outfits. It is certainly some outfit. We have some here from the 71st. I think some of them were in Stratford last winter. I don't know what they will do with us, but I expect we will stay here for some time. The Pioneers have an easy time now. We have done nothing since 2 weeks ago. Our boys that went to France were put in the front line of trenches about 24 hours after they landed & had a charge to make about midnight. We have not heard the official casualties yet but there are 8 killed that we know of & about 30 wounded. I suppose the list will swell when we hear the official. I only hope it is reduced though, for we certainly had a good bunch of fellows, & good soldiers. They made a record at the ranges, they beat all the troops that have been there including the imperials (British). They seem to be putting the Canadians in the toughest places & saving the Englishmen. I was up to London for 5 days & had a good time. It is quite a city. There are a lot of historical places there, but as a city it is years behind Canadian cities. It is very dark there at nights. Nearly all the lights are out & those that are burning are painted black on top so as to throw the light down. They have about a dozen search lights playing over the city every night looking for zepps. I didn't get any souvenirs, but I am going up again in a short time & will send you some then. I will also send you a 51st badge. I intended sending one before but forgot about it. I got a letter from one of our fellows in France & he said it was certainly hell over there & I guess from all reports it is, but it looks to be going in our favor now. I think they must intend making a drive at Verdun soon, as they are sending troops over there by the thousand. I don't care how soon it ends, as I am fed up with this country. Of course I am having a good enough time but I don't like these damned blokes. They are a poor bunch. Canada is good enough for me & as soon as I get free I will be back there in a hurry. Got a letter from Jack Hassard last week. He has been sick again but is getting better now. I hear from Lottie & Herb regular. Lottie is going to Edmonton for a month in holidays. I just got a letter from Mrs. Cranston where I boarded in Edmonton today, so it keeps me busy writing letters, but it is good pasttime. Well, I guess I will close & go out to the sports. Be sure & write soon. Love to all, Alex.
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World War I Davenport Barracks, England Oct. 18, 1914 Just landed from Franconia and we are now staying at the Davenport barracks. As soon as our cars are ashore we will assemble them and then move on to Salisbury Plains to train. Am well and also enjoying the trip. Hope you got the mail I sent from the boat.
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World War I September 20, 1916 Dear-, In answer to your kind letter dated Aug. 27th. I was very pleased to hear you are keeping well through these war times. I came to this Hospital about a month ago and it is a far better place than Camberwell. It seems to take a long time for my wound to heal up and as I still have to walk around with a tube in it. I won't be sorry when it does. The doctor here thinks there is still a piece of something in there yet. Very deep down, and as they can't trace it he won't take a chance of operating. When it does get better I expect to be sent back to France, by the way they are sending some of the poor fellows back. Some are not really better yet. I had a letter from Harry a few days ago and he says he is quite well. Yes, I am very much alive and I sure did think my time had come when I was buried for twenty minutes or more, for it seemed like hours. I am pleased the boys are keeping well and I hope they have good luck too. It must make your mother feel a lot better when she hears from them often. I hope she is well, also the rest of the family. We are getting some cold, windy weather here now. I hope you are getting it good out in St. Marys. How are things there now? They are not very good in London at present-everything is so dear. It is over two years since I was in St. Marys. My! how the time flies. I go home two or three times a week as it takes half an hour to get there. My Brother George is still out in France and was quite well the last I heard. I think this is all, so will close with best wishes to all. Your Friend Billy Serg't W. Hobson, Military Hospital, Brondesbury, N. W., England September 20, 1916
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1758: In the French and Indian War, the British captured Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh.

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