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The Western Front10020 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Enlisted in regular army April 24th 1917. Left Jackson barricks for Brownsville Texas in the same month, arrive at Gettysburg the latter part of June, and was from 4th transferred to 59th Infantry when it was organized in July. I was Mess Sgt, made Sept. 24 1917 arrived in Charlotte N.C. in Nov 8th 1917. And was transferred to 12 M. G. Bn in Nov 1917.

As Mess Sgt of Co. C. took a (French leave) at X Mas time, and was home for Xmas, & had a splendid time, and was married to Miss Zelma Bermond of Bay St Louis Miss, [Was Married Dec 27/17 and had a great time for three day's, left home 11.30 on No. 2 and when I was seated in the car tear's came into my eyes and was, very much downhearted, to leave my love ones as I knew it would be a long time before I would see them again, if at all Zelma Mother Dad "Sis" "Lil & Bro H seen me off. Laura & Mae Rene] I returned to my Company and was reduced as Sgt and made Act Cpl. Train departed from Camp Greene N.C. 1.30 PM April 26 "C" & "D" CO & 9th Brigade HQ's arrived at Washington 5 A.M. arrived at Camp Mill's April 26th 1918. [Enjoyed, the sights of N.Y. New Jersey, the Brooklyn bridge, and many other sights on the Hudson, I was put in charge of a "Whop"" squad and didn't like that much We visited all of the close by towns, and had a good time, they had a big aviation field near by, which interested us].

May 6th Left Camp Mills at 6.45 A.M. boarded Aquitania 11.30 A.M.

May 7th 1918 Sailed from N.Y. harbor at 8. A.M.

May 9th Target practice by crew on ship.

May 11th Began "Zig Zig" going course.

May 12th all troops wearing life belts until Port is reached.

May 13th Escort of 5 U.S. destroyers joined us at 6. AM.

May 14th arrived at Liverpool harbor at 10.45 A.M. Docked at 4 P.M. Left on train at 5.15. PM. Passed London at 11. P.M.

May 15th arrivd at Dover 11.40 A.M. had a good look at Dover Castle and could hear big guns in Flanders.

May 16th Left Dover 9. AM. Crossed the English channel and arrived in Calais France 11.A.M. quarter at rest camp No 6 and witnessed a big air raid that night & thought the world was coming to an end.

May 19th 1918 left Calais 9. A.M. Via Boulogne to Samar by R.R. Marched to Leturne and pitched shelter tents. [I suffered from a sprained arch, 3 days after we Steamed from N.Y. sprained it going down to F. deck where my bunk was, and suffered intense pain, I would hardly put my left foot on the ground, and had to hike with a full pack I had it for two weeks.] were bombed by German air raiders Sgt of Co. B. killed. First casualty of 4th Div.

May 23rd Hostile air raid on Etaples, three Hospitals bombed 50 casualties.

May 24th Hostile air raid on Etaples Hospitals bombed one badly damaged, 200 Casualties.

May 30th same thing hap- as on May 31st. [We witnessed several air battles here, and it looked to us as if it was great sport, and we were all wishing that we were aviators, went to Rifle school, we had English "instructors," the told us, that we, the Bloody Yank's were all experts and that "Jerry" was going to catch hell"].

June 1st 1918. Went to English Channel on a 12 mile hike to take a bath, we were well heated up, & the water was good & cold. [It was some sight to see the whole Battalion (800 men) on the beach "Naked as a new born Jay bird" on our hike we seen big chalk & stone quarries & mountains and met plenty of English Soldiers].

June 9th Left Latern by "Hobnail" transportation" and hiked 3 day's to a R.R. station.

June 14th Boarded train for Paris.

June 15th arrived in Paris 9 A.M. left 11.A.M. and arrived at Meaux France 4 P.M. and Billited there.

June 17th Left Meaux 8.30 A.M. hiked to Armentiers and went into Stables and Barnes.

June 20th 1918 Started training on Hotchkiss guns with "frog" instructors [When we first received the Hotchkiss M. Gun we thought they were no good but they proved themselves to be the best Gun on the lines an accurate firing gun, and one that stood abuseing, and after the armistice was signed we got the Browning & didn't like them as good as the Hotchkiss].

July 4th Had a big field meet.

July 8th Company left Armentiers, & went into camp along canal at Maif.

July 17th. Left Maif 5 A.M. and hiked, with full packs to the Chateau-Thierry front. Encourtented heavy rain that night, & could not see where we were going, when we reached the battle-grounds a heavy barrage was going on. 20 men killed in woods by air raiders.

July 18th Went over the top, I was special runner for Capt Hoopes, who got mangled by a direct hit in front of me, about 10 yards. [Capt Hoopes was a very brave man, he exposed himself too much, & showed too much personal bravery. We fought in wheat fields, and on hills, and we, were good and shot up, at the time I was done up we had only one officer left. I was shelled-shocked, for 2 hours a high explosive burst 10 ft right by me].

July 18th 19th 20th we were doing heavy fighting, when I was Gassed two or three times, but stuck to my post until I ran into a gass shell, and dont know how I left the battle field, was taken to Base Hospital 46 and was so weak could not stand up but ragained strength, and was back with my Company in two weeks, they were preparing for St Mihiel sector Verdon front.

Aug 17th arrived at Chalvarenes went in billets. We were replaced with N.A men and got new Officers [August 17th Witnessed a hard fought air battle and we had to keep well under cover, as they had "Boo Coo" enemy Scouting planes, in the battle the French & American planes brought down the "Boch" planes one came down right by us, but we could not go & see it].

Sept 2nd Left Chalvarines in "Frog" trucks & rode 80 Klms unloaded in woods & had to keep under cover, and if you would get caught lighting a match after dark, you would run a chance of getting shot.

Sept 5th Loaded on Trucks rode in trucks "and rod in trucks" all night and unloaded in St Mihiel sector Verdon front [When we unloaded from the trucks in woods, we slept in, rain & mud, a friend of mine & myself went down in a dug out, we lit a match, and the French had Burrows in there, which was used for carrying large shells on top of a high hill they scared the hell out of us, so we had to lay in the mud & rain].

Sept 7th layed quite for 5 days.

Sept 12th Started drive 1.30 A.M. and drove the "Hun's" and made them hit the high spots "until they hit Metz.

Sept 15th 1918 was relieved and went back into woods, was sleeping in a French dug-out in a high bunk, in there was 2 Frenchmen with a telephone communication for the Artillery a high explosive, hit by the little window of the dug-out, and blew me out of bed, they all thought I was killed, when I came to myself, I was laughing, the Frenchmen Said you surely have some nerve, you are a good Soldier, another dug-out was hit the same night but just knocked a part of the top off, no body hurt. [In this dug-out we were teaching the "Frog's" how to speak english, and they were teaching us, French, I was carrying a message through a barrage, and passed, by a battery of 75's and the "Frogs" thought I was afraid to fire one of them but, I showed them different, and fired one of them twice, and asked them How many ""Boches" they thought I killed].

Sept 22nd Started hiking to Verdun front.

Sept 25th Took up position on Toul sector.

Sept 26th Over the top support 58th Infantry thousands of prisoners taken.

Sept 30th Took over front lines in woods, and met plenty of resistence, by Machine-gun nest's.

Oct 4th Over the top in Argonne forest, and took Dead man's hill [Hill No. 234 known as Dead mans hill, looked like the top of a pepper box, full of shell holes, This was the hill that the "Frog's" said that we never would take, but we took it and advanced many more miles, when the Germans made a stand it was on the Meuse river We suffered great losses from Austrian 88ths & tear gas & heavy shell fire].

Oct 5th were relieved, and went back, by the artillery, and the enemy put over plenty of gas attacks.

Oct 9th Went up to front lines to put over M.G.barrage for 39th Infantry at 6 A.M. Sgt Stone killed and five men. [I had just left the spot where Sgt Stone and others were killed, in this particular position, we were attacked, by heavy shell-fire & all kinds of Gas and we were very hungry thirsty & tired out, plenty of mud & we were wet for about 20 days, and we were just loaded with German "Cooties," we had to fight the "cooties" & "Gerry's" too.] We were in the Meuse-Argonne from Sept 25 to Oct 22nd we were going through tortures of hell, where the bloodiest battle of them all that I was in, men were getting torn to, piecies by, direct fire from Austrian 88ths & one pounders, I was hit on the "bean" by a head of a three inch shell, I don't think it had full speed, it bent my helmet, and dazed me for about five minutes, my head stopped the helmet from bending more, had a hickey on my head].

Oct23 relieved from Meuse-Argonne, and started, on a hike for 7 days 150 miles, arrived in woods all worn out, and feet swollen, I was signal Corporal in the Meuse-Argonne battle, having 19 runners in charge, which was the back-bone of the Company, when the Argonne battle was over, 2 runners and myself were the only ones left in Co headquarters, three of my runners, got hit right in the back of me when we were going over the top in the Argonne battle, the Hun's walked right up on our M. Gun's the Infantry being dug in, in the back of us we put a pistol barrage on them, 2 were killed and 3 taken prisoners. [When the "Huns" walked up on our M Guns, they killed Sgt Norton & wounded Sgt Platt, our Packs & Iron rashing's were hit by a direct hit & blowed to hell Capt Williams of West Virginia, moved from that spot, and I had to stay there, in charge of our company P.C. and was wishing for a shell to tear me up, so as to put me out of my suffering] I was granted a furlough Oct 26 to aix Les Baines France, & stopped at a big hotel, and it was the first bed I hit in months, the rest did me a world of good [When my furlough was granted, I never did enjoy, a rest like I did that one, being right off the lines we were slipping all around the Oiled floors of the Hotels, and didn't know how to handle, a fork & knife, and was very nervous, more than once I thought my nerves were going to fail me, after being shell-shocked on C-Thierry front.] I seen the 2,000 year old Roman Remains and took a trip on top of the Alps, I arrived back to my Company Oct 8th and we were going to make an attack on Metz the following night the Armistice was signed.

Nov 20th 1918 we started our march to the Rhine, we left Bouco France at 8.30 hiked until 4 C.L. pitched pup tents in "no-mans" land in Toul front [In this Toul front, when we woke up next morning the frost was, on the ground like snow, and we were all stoved up, but we had to continue our march].

Nov 21st hiked 42 kilometers arrifd in Rumbach Alsace Lorraine at mid-night [The thing tickled us the most, on our march was to see the Home made American flags hanging out of windows all through Lorraine they made us feel good, the Lorraine people were cheering us, a great deal. They were saying "Vive La' American" and never seen so many small children in all of my life].

Nov 22nd My Birthday 33 yrs hiked all day and that night billeted in large school house in a big town. [I curshed all-day on my Birth day, but had to hike 20 miles, we had feet inspections as plenty of the men were falling out they told us to wash our feet].

Nov 23rd Hiked all day and arrived at Hofferman stayed there several days.

Nov 28th Thanksgiving-day had beans for dinner and "army chicken" for supper (corned Willie) all the boy's were curshing like hell including myself.

Dec 1st started hikeing again hiked 6 day's, and hit Luxemburg.

Dec 10th have been hideing all of the time sleeping in barnes stables, and such place, as we could find, Men & animals all in [We had a hard time getting places to sleep & was getting very little to eat, we would eat the Germans Stock beats at night in the barnes, the Germans treated us pretty good, as they were afraid of us at first, but they found us to be the best Soldiers they had went up against].

Dec 15th 1918 Crossed the Mosel river at Zell [when we crossed the Mosel river at Zell it made me think of my Wife as her name is Zelma, and I call her "Zell" for short. "ha ha"].

Dec 18th Rained all day Batn moved 5 miles to get room to sleep.

Dec 25th Had a bum Dinner, I took part in a black face show given by the Co (8 of us) and tried to occupy my mind, but was thinking of home like "hell" the show was a success, my name was Mr. Boten.

Jan 1st 1919 "The fatal blow" I fired my 45 at 12.00 thinking I was at home and was put in the guard house for one, month and was fined 30 dollars and reduced to private from Cpl. [When I was relieved from the guard-house I found out that I was recommended for a D.S.C. and was made Co Mechanic & received the D.S.C. later].

Feb 18th Left Sehl and moved on top of the highest mountain in sight to a burg called Faid "some dump."

March 18th The big day a riview by General Pershing and the Decoration of H.J.T. and 21 others of the Division of D.S.C.'s the day was very cold, we hiked about 4 miles to the review grounds, the snow was hitting us hard in the faces [In General Pershings speech he praised us highly, and said that we were an unexcelled Division, and the only Division in the A.E.F. that gained ints objective in the time given I took in the review with General Pershing on the review stand, and the rest of the decorated men, I was some proud] and on our way back I rec'd from the Y.M.C.A. a pack of cookies, being the first time I rec'd anything from them free with the exception of stationary, I was very proud of my Cross [Rec'd a long letter from Mother March 29th which cheered me up We could not write many letters on the lines].

March 31st we are billeted in an old Germans work shop, we have a room on top of the work shop [The place where we are billeted here, we are scattered all around, and have got to walk about a mile for "chow" The snow falls most of the time on this mountain, we can plainly see a Castle that Napolian wrecked 200 years ago & we five the Fraulines hell with snow balls, the whole Co has snow ball fights.] Saddler J. H Boyce, Mechanic A. N. Nelson of Chi and Mech H.J. Tudury we have formed an "Jazz" band amoung ourselves and pass the time away that way, we call it the "Yukalale Jazz" we made one of the pieces out of wood 50 years old. And one is made from a "Frog" canteen, and we have a German 77 shell for a symbol, and "etc" [We are now waiting with patience for the time to go home, we get the "long lonesome blues" often Nothing to do much but hang around and I 'am tired looking at this Country].

March 1919 Reported to - Major Almond and was highly, congratulated in regards to the decoration of the D.S.C. and he also told me that the Batallion was very proud of me, not only for the good work & bravery on one frot but all of them the 4th Div. was on.

April 10th 1919 Left Faid Germany at 8:00 P.M. Via "hobnail" express, and hiked three day's, arrived at a "disease" by the name of Krepp on the Rhine near Cologne, on the 12th of april 3 .A.M. I'am billted where I can see the Rhine in full view [I took a long trip on the Rhine, and seen many Historical places the Ex Kaisers Castle a big fort, with old Glory floating on top of it, at the Mosel-Rhine rivers stands the Kaiser Willhelm the first monument, we were taken all through the City of Coblenez].

April 28 - 1919 Grand decoration of the 12th M.G. Bat Colors, by Gen. Hershey.

April 17th Left Kripp 17th turned in all of our 'stuff' & Billited in barracks on the Rhine in a town named Remagen the same day.

May 26th We had orders to go home, but they were changed, until peace is signed, nothing else doing.

June 10th Left Remagen & arrived in Bordendorf the same day, the whole Company doing fatigue duty, painting trucks and etc.

June 14th Big Field meet of the whole 4th Div 59th "Inf" takes the honors, held at Neureneam Germany (they had a big circus, rough riders, bucking horses & mules, plenty of music & refreshments all free. Oh Boy" (The happy Day) Bodendorf Germany 6/28/19 Peace signed by Mueller and Dr. Bell for Germany, for U.S. Lansing White & House (President Will Bliss & Staff leaves for U.S Sunday June 29th on board U.S.S.S. George Washington.

July 12th Left Bodendorf hiked to Sinzin Gmy entrained for Brest France passed through Cologne Gmy at 4 O C passed the coal regions of France passed through Belgium & witnessed the great Destruction in Belgium arrived in Brest France on the 15th July.

July 15th 1919 It made us feel real good to see, the harbor at Brest France, we rode in box cars, and we were jammed together like sardines in a box We rode 68 hours, we were glad to arrive We are not allowed to go out of camp. I have no money & that accounts for no Sounirs from France On my trip to Brest I allso seen the Battle ground of Brebiers, Douai, Arras, Amiens (on the Flanders front) Destruction that the eyes could hardly believe, the French people greeted us back from the A of O with plesent smiles which was quite noticable, after being with the Dutch 6 months.

July 18th 1919 One year ago I was on the Battle Field) I was Decorated by General Petain to-day with the Cross de Guerre for extraordinary bravery while fighting with the French, in the 2nd battle of the Marne, it was held at the continental hotel Brest Champagne & good wine & fine cakes were served to us, while the 58ths Band Played had a good time.

July 21st 1919 left Brest at 12.30 AM and boarded Steamer Von Steuben at 2 O C A.M. and Steamed away 7.30 A.M. we seen a large school whales, I allso fell down the E. deck ladder, & like to broke my left arm first accident, first day out, plenty seasickness.

July 22nd 1919 Second day out, we had boat drill, we are packed & jammed, I'am sleeping, in the top bunk, which is four high, my head being 2 feet from upper deck, I have a hell of a time getting in my bunk, which is about a foot over my head the space between bunks being 2 feet we kick each other in the face.

July 29th 1919 Arrived O.K. at Hoboken N.J. it made us feel good, to see the statue of Liberty. We entrained to camp Merrit, we were given all kinds of good things, from different Societies the weather good & hot. It took us 7 days & a half to cross the Ocean, 3139 miles.

July 30th 1919 Waiting in barracks a camp Merrit N.J. to be shipped to our home camp, nothing to do but hang around.

August 3 1919 Entrained for Camp Shelby.

August 6th 1919 arrived at Camp Shelby (hot as hell).

August 7th 1919 all papers made out, & allso signed my discharge papers.

9th of August Discharged and arrived home this night, & was given a grand reception.

Note: Diary of Henry J. Tudury, Sgt. CO B. 59 INF 4 Div, DSC-PH.


Display Order
Meuse Argonne battle
by Ridgeway
on May 24, 2009

The diary of Sgt. Henry J. Tudbury, Co B, 59th Inf., 4th Division describes the fighting in the Argonne Forest by the 4th Division. There is no question but that the 59th Inf. 4th Div fought one of the bloodiest battles of any war. Sgt. Tudbury's diary parallels the letters written by my father Lt. Howard Randall with the same description of the batlle conditions. It's a wonder that any of them survived. Beryl R. Johnson (daughter).

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