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Letters Home From WWI

 

Ward Daggett

Several Wallowa county boys are stationed at Fort McDowell, Angel Island, California. One of them, Ward Daggett, writes to the Record Chieftain as follows:
     Our camp equipments here are of the best in every way. Uncle Sam takes the best of care of his boys. Everything to eat, and no one wants for anything-except to get transferred to our regular camp so we can get to work to help fight the Huns. This being a recruiting station there is nothing to do except kitchen police and fatigue; such as keeping the streets in repair and handling supplies.
     The Red Cross is a fine organized companion of the boys here. Much more so than that of Enterprise. The first thing we were asked upon our arrival was, "Where are your sweaters and kitty bags?" All the other boys from other counties had them,  I think it is time Enterprise people were waking up to find their organization far behind the rest.
     All the boys who left October 2 are still with us with the exception of two rejects. The names of the ones who are here are: Lonnie Loyd, William Schultz, Harold Whitman, Arley Murrill, William Bork, and myself, Ward Daggett. We will appreciate mail from home.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, November 14, 1918

Wilfred E. Davies

     Continuous work is required in hospital service at the army camps, particularly during periods when sickness is as prevalent as of late. Wilfred E. Davies writes his mother, Mrs. A. B. Davies of Troy, telling of the strenuous routine he must follow as wardmaster at a base hospital at Camp Lewis:
     Iso War h., Base Hospital, Camp Lewis, Oct. 28 - I suppose you will be wondering why I have not written for so long, but if I get this written without being interrupted I'll be doing well. Have started to write several times in the lat few weeks, but have always been interrupted. There is so much sickness in camp that the hospital is filled to more than its capacity and we've been short-handed most of the time, so that when I get thru with my own work, I have to help the other boys. We rustled two more helpers today however, so it will probably be a little easier from now on.
     There is lots of flu here. So many cases of it develop into pneumonia that there have been many deaths. About one-third of the nurses and wardmen got sick themselves and it made it harder on the rest of us.
     Business boomed in Hard H. Our patients increased from ten to forty. Room was so scarce we only kept them during the worst stage of the disease, then transferred them to convalescent wards. This continual admitting and transferring makes much more work, as there is so much red tape, sterilizing and changing bed clothes. * * Was interrupted just now as the ambulance came and I had to rustle round and get three patients ready for the measles convalescent ward. Then the laundry came and I had it to county. Then the telephone rang and I had to answer it. That is the way it goes here from morning till night, so its hard to get any writing done.
     You asked about this ward, etc. When I came here I was put in the erysipelas ward. I had to clean the ward and help wait on the patients. At present I am wardmaster and have reached the top of the ladder in Ward H. will give you a brief sketch of my duties, so you will know something of the kind of life I am leading.
     The truck coming with breakfast for the ward at 6:30 is the signal to get up. I must get the morning reports made out so that the orderly can get them in by 7:30. I report the number of patients received by direct transmission form the receiving ward, and the number received by transfer from other wards. There is also a list of the different diseases and the names of patients suffering with each.
     I also report the number of vacant rooms, vacant beds in the ward and vacant beds on the porch. About the middle of the forenoon I make another bed report, and in the afternoon still another. The laundry must be sorted and counted every morning. The wardmaster also looks after the laboratory work-fills out and sends in the slips, and gets the reports and records them.
     There are many other things but these will be enough to let you see I have plenty to keep me busy. I got into hot water several times during the rush and still new to the work, but have the red tape pretty well straightened out now, so get on better, but still have all I can do and never a moment but what there is something I ought to be doing.
     Today's papers state that Turkey has given in and the Austrian and even the German governments are weakening. The majority of the soldiers here think the war is about over and that they may be home by Christmas, but even tho the fighting stops we are liable to be here some time yet. Must stop now. Will try and be more prompt next time.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, November 14, 1918

Edd and Arch Dumas

     Mrs. C.H. Herman has received the following letter from her brothers, Edd and Arch Dumas, written somewhere in France, Sept. 1:
     We landed in France O.K. Had a dandy trip except a few days of rain. We are all glad to get in port, as we were tired of so many watches.
     We were ashore yesterday and took in a French town. The ways would make you laugh. Lots of people wear wooden shoes on account of the war. There are lots of sad sights with the funny ones.
     We met some soldier boys from Portland, Oregon, and you can bet they were glad to see us. They knew the town and the French ways so we got by real well for the first time out in a French port. One of the boys was just back from the front. He had been wounded in the trenches.
     We were paid in French money. It is funny money. One thinks he is rich when he has twenty dollars in French money. I bought a small book yesterday. I handed the lady one franc (which is about 20 cents in U.S. money) and she gave me so much change that I thought she had made a mistake.
     Don't expect much mail from us, as we can't tell you much. I wish I could sit down and write as things happened on our trip. I know it would interest you. I know you are anxious to hear of our life, but we will have that to talk about later.
     This leaves us both well.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
September 26, 1918

Frank Dunn

     Vancouver Barracks, May 7: Record Chieftain: Just a few lines to let you know I am good for something other than a common laundry driver. I have been here at the barracks only a day so I don't know it all yet, but so far it is all right. Some of the boys say they don't like the food, but as for its being nourishing, it can't be beat. The Y.M.C.A. have something doing every evening to entertain the boys. I will write more about army life when I get better acquainted.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, May 16, 1918

Grover C. Eckley

     Grover C. Eckley, Co. C. 261 Inft. American Expeditionary Force in a letter to his mother, Mrs. O.O. Eckley, says:
     Yes, after so long a time-it hasn't seemed very long to me, though, for we sure have been on the move since we left home.
     This is somewhere in France, in an old, yes, old French village. We haven't got any buildings put up yet so we are living around among the French. They are queer people, but seem anxious to help us out.
     I tell you we had some trip. The sea voyage was fine; good weather, but, oh my, I sure did heave up. Am O.K. and hope everything at home is the same. I can't tell you much about our trip. We saw so much country-beautiful country, too. The Scottish people are rather queer, but say, they have some beautiful country. The English are-well, I will tell you about them when I come home. One thing, we were sure glad to get back to our own "beans." "Tea" don't do one much good.
     This town has cows, sheep and kids, all in the same buildings; yes, the horses, too. Their living rooms are clean though. They are having a hard time getting their crops taken care of. The boys, yes and girls, are gone; nothing left but the old people; they drafted the girls, too.
     They are in the year of 1875, yet in every way; very poor people, wooden shoes. The railroads we have seen and come over have little cars and engines. Two men could turn one of their box cars upside down; just four wheels on them; two in front and two in the rear.
     We have been awful cramped up ever since we left home.
     But I tell you the Yanks are making the Germans sing. They are taking lots of prisoners. We will be home one of these days-will eat Christmas dinner at home anyway, because the boys give it to them in a way that they can't take it and stand up.
     It's hard to learn these French names. We try to pick it up. It is good sport to see a bunch of the boys standing around some French person trying to talk or rather make signs.
     You can't send anything now, because traffic is too crowded. We need all the space for eats to be shipped over. We are getting filled up at last. We sure eat and things are not so we can go to a restaurant and get the things we want. I hope I'll get some mail soon. Just think we have traveled about 10,000 miles since we left home. I must close as it is almost dark and we use no lights.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, August 29, 1918

(This young man died on the battle fields of France on September 28th - Janine)

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