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Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

-- General Douglas MacArthur

War Stories: World War I

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War I It was on a cool, starlit evening, early in September, 1916, that I first met Drew of Massachusetts, and actually began my adventures as a prospective member of the Escadrille Americaine. We had sailed from New York by the same boat, had made our applications for enlistment in the Foreign Legion on the same day, without being aware of each other's existence; and in Paris, while waiting for our papers, we had gone, every evening, for dinner, to the same large and gloomy-looking restaurant in the neighborhood of the Seine.
Note: by James Hall, Lafayette Escadrille, 94th pursuit squadron  9256 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
Note: by Admiral Reinhard Scheer  9538 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Dearest Folks:
Still out thank Heaven, hope we get a good long rest, we need it. We have had many wonderful things said about us, by the Great General, by the Conventions of Mayors of the French towns we saved and by statesmen. Our own colonel, a distinguished soldier, said after our magnificent fight for nearly forty days, to command the ninth was the greatest honor he ever expected to have.
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World War I Dear Sister
I just received your letter of Nov. 27, and as I have time I will anser immeidatly. I have been on the front twice and as Joe Nugent wrote home and told his people I suppose I may as well tell you. He is in the 314 Inf. which is in the same Div. that I am in the 79th.
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World War I Jan. 26, 1917 My Dear Friends: Am taking the first opportunity of thanking you for the parcel you were so thoughtful to send me. It arrived in good condition about a week ago, having had the misfortune to be delayed in the mail, as have been a lot of the Xmas goods, but whether received on time or a month late, are always appreciated. I had several surprises in the way of parcels about Xmas time, as you know, folks in Canada as a rule have so many relatives to send things to, that it keeps them busy, and all I figured on was a couple from home, and instead of a couple, I got seven all told and had quite a busy time getting through them. Luckily they arrived when things were and I was thus able to do justice, and you know when eats are concerned, I certainly like to see justice done. Pleasant memories. The socks just hit me at the right time, as the next day I got in with wet feet and had to have a change, so you see your work was well rewarded as I didn't have to look around to get a dry pair. I suppose the winter has been fairly quiet as far as pleasure is concerned, owing to the cold weather, as I read in the papers that they were serving out the real thing in the weather line at times here, it felt like real winter. I remember about 3 weeks ago when out on a little trip we started home facing a blinding snow storm, and after facing about a mile in the open we all looked like snow men. The snow was very wet and stuck with us. I know it took sometime to get it off and dried out again. But the weather now is fine and excepting for the mud, not too bad for getting around. Well, news is scarce, (In the permissable zone) so of necessity can't say much, as I don't wish to look for trouble. I am doing a little correspondence tonight as it will likely be sometime before I can tear off much in the letter line; until then, whiz-bangs or "not dead yet" cards will be the style. If you have the time, would be pleased to hear from you with all the news. Give my best regards to all I used to know. Will have to close up now & get ready for the hay (minus hay). Yours Pte.R.P
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World War I

Preparation in England, 1915

Inspection by General Campbell.

Saturday March 15th on my birthday. Route march to Birmingham from Sutton. General inspection in Calthorpe Park at 2. General Campbell in passing lines asks me what I was before I joined. General salute at 3.30 pm Victoria Square, dismissed at 4pm near Corporation Street.

Note: by William Bernard Whitmore, 1st Birmingham Battalion  8744 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)  6335 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I Hut 11, Frensham Military Hosp., Nr. Farnham, Surrey, England September 15, 1916 Dear Lallie:- You will see by the above address that I am back again in England and in hospital. But am thankful to say I have no open wounds. Just a severely sprained back and my nerves are badly shaken up. I was buried in the trenches, and you may be sure I thought my last moment had come. My chum next to me was killed - instantly killed. Something seemed to tell me the day before that I was going to get it. I have been in the hospital two weeks now, counting the time I was in the Australian Hospital before I came to England. Yesterday was the first time I was out of bed for an hour or two. I am to shaky to walk yet, but am getting along nicely. On Wednesday who should visit me but Johnnie. I was so pleased to see him. He is near us at Whitley. We are 31 miles past London-rather a long way from home. I told dear Ettie not to come so far, as I may soon be moved to a Canadian hospital. The doctor in France also saw my toe, and he said I should not have been passed. One overlaps the other, the same as Johnnie got his discharge for. The doctor there was going to operate on them, but they won't allow him to. So I do not think I will have to go back to France. We were in the same place as Harold got his arm off. It was awful. Perhaps you read the report in the paper-the bombardment of Sunday the 3rd. I thank God he spared me to dear Ettie. This morning I had a letter from Harold, also one from Johnnie. Harold writes very good indeed with his left hand, and he is getting along fine, waiting for his new arm. Now Lallie, I hope you are quite well, and I think you had better come back to England and be with us all here. You know there is always a home waiting here for you with dear Ettie and I. Well, I have no news. When you write to me send it to Ettie and she will forward it on to me, unless I am home by then. Remember me to Mrs. Booty, also, Mrs. Northgraves when you see them. Take every care of your dear self. Heaps of love. God bless you. Your Loving Brother Fred
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World War I It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
Note: by Lance-Corporal Thomas A. Owen  6230 Reads  Printer-friendly page



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  17785 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I 15/8/14. War declared on August 4th. 1914, so went to depot and enlisted. Told them I had my parent's consent, so was passed to go into camp the following week. I then thought it was time I told Father and Mother. Father was very angry, and had me rejected, as I was only 19 years old. Also he thought I was not strong enough, having a weak shoulder. I waited until September 25th. 1915, and then enlisted again. Being of age, I did not need any consent, and all my pals were going way, so I signed on for duration, and four months after. - I got through the medical test O.K. and was told to report at Sturt St. on 2nd. October 1915.
Note: by Kenneth Sydney Day  12934 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 Somewhere in France Dear Mother; Just a line to let you know that I am still alive and well, hoping that this will find you in good health. Well mother, I told you last time about wining the Military Medal. Since then I have been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Not so bad for a Foxbrook lad, what do you think? Why don't you write oftener? I must have written five letters and no answer. Well, I must close, hoping to hear from you soon, love to all George.
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World War I Friday, January 1 1915
Old Drill dispensed with in place of platoon drill, adopted by the Imperial Army. Mail arrives from Australia dated 4.11.1914. Troops presented with chocolates and cigarettes from the Aust. War Contingent, London.
Note: Sam Weingott, born 1892, died on active service 5th June 1915.   11673 Reads  Printer-friendly page



World War I On April 30, 1918 I was drafted in the service of the U. S. Army and sent to Camp Dix N. J. For further use. We had a fine trip passing over the Erie R.R. To Binghamton (NY) where I saw Mrs. Oxford and Helen who were the last people I saw who I was any way acquainted with for nearly a year. From Binghamton to Stroudsburg (PA) over the DL & W RR stopping for half an hour at Scranton (PA) where we replenished our stock of joy water we stopped only for perhaps fifteen minutes at Stroudsburg where we owned the town during that stay.
Note: by Pvt. Robert L. Dwight, 148th Infantry, 37th Division.  7584 Reads  Printer-friendly page

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