Full transcription of text follows:
Motor Section, Advance PC, GHQ, A P O 930, A E F April 20th, 1919 Dearest of Families: Easter Sunday, a beautiful day, a fine dinner - and a letter home. All in all, a pretty fair combination. Gee, but a feel good today. Yesterday being just as wonderful, I called it a day off, locked the door on the room known as my office, roped in a friendly major and took a long auto drive, "over the hills and far away". Did not come back until supper time, and had a wonderful time. Therefore, today, I feel fit and able to whip all the rest of the world, and Mars and Jupiter thrown in. Two or three days ago "our Major", (the same one mentioned above) made a trip to [Coblenz] to be decorated. He didn't tell us a thing about it until he had gone and come back again the left side of his coat all covered with the British war cross. We all felt quite proud, for he is OUR own particular li'l Major, and a grand old daddy, too. Also, because the British war cross ranks next to the Victoria cross in the list of awards, and is given to very few Americans; in fact to very few people of any sort. I have only seen three of them all of the time that I have been over here. Of course it was necessary to give a party at once in honour of both the Major and the cross, and so it was. That That night the German folk owning the house where one of the mess is billeted were treated to sounds of revelry, and American ragtime, four a few house. In the midst of the part we were rather surprised to hear a rap at the door, and who should be there but the Chief of Staff, G-4. As we were at the time ten shavetails and the Major it was rather disconcerting for the instant, but the Chief was a good fellow, saluted before any of us could rise, announced his intentions of staying the rest of the evening to pay his respects to the major - and so he did. And played the piano and the youkalaylee and sang songs and generally behaved himself in a manner that endeared himself to the assembled shavetails. As the party broke up, just about midnight, the Colonel rose to give a toast, which though decidedly not refined, tells the whole story as well and as shortly as I could possible do. "Gentlemen," he said, "I give you the health of our friend the Major. Of course he didn't tell you what he did to earn the cross he wears tonight, and as I am sworn to secrecy, I can't tell. All that I can say is, that while he was wounded, the Major helped out some old folks who were in one hell of a fix." Then the evening was over.
These days my time is my own. As I said in last week's, my work is finished, and except for the routine of company administration, and the enlisted mess, there isn't a thing that I have to do. Right now that is a pleasant sort of situation, but I hope that it doesn't last too long. For the first time in a long time, I am taking things easy and doing nothing whatsoever except enjoy myself to the fullest capacity. And, most interesting of all, on the 2nd day of May, I start in on three days of leave in that dear Paree. It certainly is a hard life. My goodness! I almost forgot my baseball team. That's a lot of fun too, for I don't know the first thing about running or organizing or other producing results as regards matters baseball - yet my team is going to be a world beater. Right off the bat they handicapped my boys by wishing off the number "13" on us. Who e ever hears of a team with a jinz number like that could ever recover itself? Our first game comes on the twenty-sixth, and I told the boys that I wanted them to whip the frazzles or something like that out of the honourable opponants, just for a birthday present. They promised that the games was already "sewed up un a sack". Business. Did my Liberty Bonds show up? I made the last deduction from my pay for that purpose on the January voucher, so they are now past due. Please let me know if they have no arrived for then I can start chasing them home; judging by the great piles of letters that I have written in regards to the bonds purchased by ambitious members of the one and only Co. "U", I should say that a conservative estimate of the date on which they will come knocking at the door looking for a home would be about the 31st of July, 1926. Also, did money orders amounting to $150.00 arrive through the mail? I sent them in March, so that they should be now be home too. Our mess has received additions. There are now seated around the festive and unruly board just ten 2nd lieutenants, two captains, and one major. You can see that the souslieutenants are by far in the majority, and they certainly run the mess. Among this number are five Masons. A more enjoyable, thoroughly congenial, groupe, I have never been with - at an officer's mess. This morning being Easter, Frau Sabel came in and presented Charley and myself with an egg apiece. Which was all the more nice of her as eggs are not exactly to be found on every corner around here.
About going home. That is now a days the chief interesting thought to dwell; also one of the most discouraging. The betting all depends on where one is, and on to whom he talks. For instance, the big bugs (two capital "B"'s) rave on about next October and the first of November, but if we don't start packing our locker trucks by the end of June, I have one very fine shirt to eat. And I am not figuring on a diet of wool, NET YET. The only sure thing about the whole business is that we are all about as eager for that day of wonderful departure to come around as can be. It's all right so long as there is work to be done, but the good Lord bear with those units that have nothing on the daily program but eat drill wait - and wait some more. That's why I am thankful at the end of every day that my company is a working outfit. The Army of No Occupation is a horrible thing to dwell on - and in. Sh-h--h---h, secret stuff. A certain unnamed German confided in me that the Americans are going to leave here on May sixth. It's all wrong but I did not crack a smile, and I am sadly afraid that the Butchman is doomed to be disappointed. My typewriter is a little overheated, so I think I'd better call a halt on this until next time. I'd like mighty well to be home this Sunday.
From the service of James E. (Ned) Henschel, Co. B Reserve Mallet--French Army, American Field Service, Quartermaster Corps, General Hdgts., and Motor Transport Co. 831.
|Date||April 20, 1919|
|Year Range from||1919|
|Year Range to||1919|
Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
World War I
War bonds & funds