LETTERS HOME FROM WW1 - REAVIS

Copyright 1999 Janine M. Bork

These are letters published in the home newspapers that the boys sent home from WWI.

If you have letters from your loved ones, please send them to me at Janine M. Bork so that others may also enjoy them and also learn a little piece of history.

Claude H. REAVIS

Emerson REAVIS

Herbert REAVIS


Claude H. Reavis

An Atlantic Port, May 4, 1918: I just got back from a trip at sea and am writing to tell you I have taken and passed my exam for petty officer, 3rd class. My grade was 3.81 out of a possible 4.00. I am no longer an assistant in wireless but a regular operator. I have charge of the radio room one day out of four, taking turns with the other petty officers of which there are three besides myself. Over us all is the chief petty officer (radio). During the three days that I am not on duty I attend the flotilla radio class which lasts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every day.

Besides this all I have to do is to attend setting up or physical drill in the morning, which lasts about 20 minutes, and the rest of the time I have to myself. This is while we are at anchor. When we are at sea I stand shifts at the radio key with the phones on, four hours on and eight off, for 48 hours, and then 24 off and then start over again, four on and eight off, etc. There is no radio class while we are at sea. Every Saturday while in port we give the set a thoro overhauling, shining up all the brass work.

Now that I am rated I have it pretty soft, as far as physical labor is concerned, but believe me I have surely worked hard for it. Up until now, every since I came on this ship I staid up almost every night until 10:30 or 11 o'clock at night, copying press and weather reports. Besides this I had to attend all gun drills and work on the deck, besides getting up every morning at 4:45 o'clock. Now I get up at 6:45 except when we are at sea, when I stand my regular shift, four on and eight off, and over again, sleeping between shifts or doing anything I want to to occupy my time.

My pay is now $41 a month; pretty good considering that it was $18 when I joined the navy. But I don't been to stop at third class petty officer, but work on up. Our chief petty officer draws $150 per, besides rations and board. This is not the highest office in the radio branch. He expects to get the rate of radio gunner in a few months which draws $250 plunks per. Three and a half years he was working on the deck and striking for radio on the side, just as I was a few days ago. From striker he made third class petty officer, and on up, second, first class, and chief petty officer. He is still on his first enlistment, having about three years and eight months in the service, but he is a genius. I don't expect to do as well as he, but expect to make first class before my four years are up. The majority of those who join the navy never make third class petty officers on their first enlistment.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, May 23, 1918

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Emerson Reavis

Writing from France, to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reavis, Emerson Reavis said, June 15, that the weather was fine and everybody was in the best of spirits. His artillery regiment at the time was still merely under training and did not expect to go to the front for some time. There are five boys from the county in the regiment. Herbert Reavis has been accepted in the navy and is at the training station on San Francisco bay.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday July 25, 1918

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Emerson S. Reavis

Writing to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. F.A. Reavis, Emerson S. Reavis, Battery D., 65th Artillery, A.E.F. states in part:
When you write please let me know about Earl and Jess Warnock. I am still with Clyde Beatty. He told me to remember him to his friends in this letter.

Well 12 o'clock has rolled around so I will have to stop for dinner. Back again. We had steak, spuds, gravy, rice, bread, butter and coffee for the midday meal.

Now it is after supper and it is getting dark. Had to stop this afternoon to help put up a stove. It has been raining this afternoon. In fact it has been raining considerable for some time.

Our chief amusement during spare time is baseball, when the weather permits. I was surprised to see in the Chieftain that Cousin Gill had resigned his position as county judge. I didn't know he was ill.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, September 5, 1918

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Herbert Reavis

In a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Reavis, Herbert, their son in training in the navy at Mare Island writes of his first impressions in the service. The letter follows:
I received your dandy long letter with lots of news and I am afraid I couldn't think of that much at one time and if I did they would not let me write it as we are limited to two sheets of paper, which are supposed to be used on one side only.

We are having an easy time, but will soon start drilling as most of us are spending too much time loafing. I am on the sweepers detail and this work requires less than an hour's work a day. I was put on mess duty when we first landed here but got out of it.

I have received a letter and a card from Morris Knapp, stationed at Goat Island in San Francisco bay. The day I left here he came in and while we were waiting at the lower barracks he saw me and yelled, but I didn't hear him. Later he was called down for hollering while in the ranks. I inquired here for "Red Schroll and was informed that he was home on furlough to return September 1.

Those pies were sure great, altho they were mashed a bit. It makes a fellow happy to receive a package or a letter from home.

We have two canteens here. One is located in the marine barracks, but the sailors are permitted to go there and make purchases. They have a fine place.

They have a free night school and I am going to start and take penmanship and typewriting. Maybe I can get credit for my work here which will count as credits in high school when I get home.

I am writing this on a stationery box in the middle of the barracks floor so if you can't make out all the writing this is the cause. I don't know whether they are trying to make aviators of us recruits or not, but anyway they have us sleep in the air. Our beds are hammacks slung up from the floor about seven feet. When you go to bed you have to lie flat on your back and hold your breath. Someone is always bumping the floor, not being able to maintain himself in bed. I've fallen out twice.

There is a big shipyard here and in it they are constructing the largest super-dreadnaught in the world, the California. I saw the old Oregon, the transport Logan and several other ships of the merchant marines while at Goat Island.

Enterprise Record Chieftain
Thursday, September 5, 1918

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