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Catalog Number 2013.58.4
Object Name Diary
Accession number 2013.58
Description Personal diary kept by Thomas R. Shook May 9, 1918- July 1, 1918

Stayed up getting supplies over to the supply tent; Had barrack bags packed by nine this morning; Took bags to freight cars and loaded them on; Policed up the street from Officers tents to the latrine; Large triple propeller airship flying overhead all day; Received last letter from home before sail; Packed and ready to leave Camp Mills by 8:30

May 10: Taking Long Island train for harbor; Went into the Cunard Line freight house then aboard the troop ship Elpenor; Ascania ship opposite on other dock; Y.M.C.A. gave cards to send home telling of arrival on other side; Ship up in the dock so far cannot see tug boats

Pulled up anchor at 12:45 and steamed up with rest of our group of ships; Over 1300 men aboard this ship; Have a dizzy headache; Ships blowing fog whistles for signals; Given sanitary instructions in the morning; Ships zig-zagged for sometime in the morning; Unable to eat anything all day-drank one bottle of pop; Y.M.C.A. man aboard got a good boxing match staged; Some men slept on deck last night-so much disinfectant used in the sleeping hold could hardly get fresh air; Struck rough water; No water fit to drink-tanks had been used to hold oil and make water taste; Water rougher today; Still rough, unable to eat; Miss water to drink

May 19: Mother's day

Y. secretary gave small chunk of ice-helped wonderfully; Joe and Price got a cup of prune juice; Convoy has turned back-wear our life belts all the time and have rafts along ship's railing; Boys got milk and water-canteen full; Got four good drinks and a canteen full of iced tea-cost 50 cents-sure worth it

May 22: Eight months ago since joined the Army

Sub chasers active all the time; First glimpse of land at six o'clock in the evening; Anchored in the harbor of Liverpool some time during the night

May 23: Everything green and fresh; Went into the ship to dock at ten o'clock; Left the ship at 2:30 marching to Riverside Station

Have drawn rations for three meals; Liverpool to Folkstone; Passed through most picturesque country ever seen; Had breakfast; Sewed buttons on coats and strolled through town; Listening to boys telling of getting money changed and drinking malted milk and eating crackers; Had eggs with butter and a cup of coffee; Got 2' worth of chocolate candy but was such a bad taste could hardly eat it; Went to library and Natural Museum-some fine mounted specimens of animals from English Empire; Rained but they take no notice of it here; Like the tea it is not as strong as ours; Packed and ready to move

May 25: One of our boats in the convoy that had to turn back was reported sunk with 56 Americans lost

Took a long hike this morning; Went out around edge of town and back through the main part and along peer; Went with four fellows and Dick to public bath; Chased over town and back to museum and at another meal before return to quarters; Squad ordered on guard over the prisoners; Received an invitation to tea with two elderly ladies for tomorrow afternoon; Some men had too much to drink-one put in guard house; Today is Flag Day; Spent morning in writing letters back to the States; Spent afternoon until tea time strolling along the pier; Some boys continue to get well stewed

May 27: Getting on ship Avondale, New Haven

Left the dock to cross the Channel at 12:15; Ship not very large; Brought baked beans and fish, meat, cheese, bread and sardines; Marched about two miles to reach camp #6; On the way saw first German prisoners in a stockade

May 27: Hostile airplane went over and the anti-aircraft fired several shots at it but it was so high you could hardly distinguish it

Everyone expects a raid tonight; Turned in most clothing in the evening; Barrack bag has not showed up; 16 men had to sleep in a tent-could not get much sleep; In rest camp #6 Calais, France

May 28: Troops in camp went out to the anti-gas school in the morning; Had to move to other tents in the afternoon to make room for new arrivals; 16 of us slept in a tent again; Policed everything in the morning; Left camp for station; After entering received meal tickets for supper; All are glad to have left camp #6; Took train east for a distance of forty miles; Marched south-east with only a little rest; Some boys had a time to get beds made

May 30: Decoration day at home; Have a cold from not having a good place to sleep last three nights; Can hear the guns quite plain on the front; Germans made an advance of 5 miles on a 20 mile front yesterday capturing 15,000 men but losses were heavy; Paraded in the street this morning expecting review by General Pershing but he failed to come; Said to be 27 miles from the front; Feet so tender can hardly walk

Good night's rest on straw bed; 305th Machine Gun Co. N.Y left camp-we take their place in training; Got another pair of shoes in place of ones lost; Too large-wearing a pair of Price's; Detrained at Audrica and marched to this village; Drill formation; Corporals reported to English sergeants for machine gun instructions; Corporals attended machine gun school in afternoon while rest of company listened to lectures on field work and gas; Sergeant Phillips made 2nd Sergeant today; Tasted first champagne this evening; Non-commanding officers still attending machine gun school; Hike and physical exams; Semaphore signal practice

June 5: One year ago today registered for military service

Received English rifles this morning; part of the rifles have seen service; Took a short hike; Allies seem to be checking the Germans although they have several fresh divisions in reserve

June 6: Another local air raid during the night; Spent morning in arms and gas mask instruction; A Fritz airplane came over in the afternoon and was fired on several times

June 7: Another local air raid last night; Quite a lot of M.G. fire; Had an hour of manual of arms drill and gas mask instruction

In the evening heated water, took a bath, and washed clothes along with Joe and Pew; Plane flying overhead again; Went to the village church which is Catholic and everything spoken in French; Church was packed full; Letters from home-one from Uncle Winfred; Spent forenoon cleaning oil from machine guns; Carried part of the outfit back from drill ground that officers had been using; Went to bath house in afternoon for bath; Had tobacco issue this morning; Germans have started another drive; Guns booming continually day and night; Went to H.Q-got papers and cards to send home; Had three hours instruction with the rifle and an hour of machine gun drill; Had machine gun instruction in afternoon-also inspection; Guns booming all day; Farmer's two dogs raised Cain last night; Pew got up and ran them in their kennels; Took first drink of coffee with breakfast in years; Machine gun and gas instruction; Had rifle care and drill-machine gun and gas instruction; Animals came in and men have been detailed for corral work; Pew replaced in corral-back in squad; Went to town and got more articles to send home; More drunks last night than ever saw at one time-some put in a vacant stable and shut in so rest could sleep; Some fellows look pretty tough from spree last night; Changed places with Jenkins who did not care to go to artillery barrage school; Marched with rest of Division to range where canvas houses were put up for target practice

June 16: Under shell fire for about three hours, shrapnel 3" and longer and some gas shells being used; Some burst quite close-Price was hit by a small piece of shrapnel; Told on two different occasions that soldiers were killed in this barrage school one time 47 and at another time 7 by shrapnel

Saw a flight of 15 planes during breakfast; Assigned to platoons this morning; In third squad with Pew; Joe and Price in H.Q. Co; Took weekly bath and had an hour to make up in M.G. drill; Changed around in billets again but Pew and I managed to hold places in stable; Slept with Joe and Pew on two bed sacks with Joe in the middle-had two blankets under, four over plus overcoats and raincoats and could not keep warm; Put in 4th squad 2nd Platoon in charge of Corp. Brown; Received first ammo today; Lots of planes flying overhead-saw first steel frame one; Took gas masks, trench hats and rifles and marched to the trench motor training ground where the 118th Regiment had assembled; Barrage put over by the trench motors; Imaginary shrapnel and aeroplanes; Had instructions before and after firing; Having good eats-beefsteak and potatoes nearly every day; Saw first Co. of English mounted on bicycles this morning; Slight cold with sore throat; Last night 2nd anniversary that this Co. was formed-some of the old men celebrated too much

June 22: Nine months ago today at four o'clock, entered the service

Went out on sham battle hike carrying a full pack, gas masks and rifles; Assigned permanent places; Each squad received its full gun equipment; Policed in front of billets in the morning; Scrambled 14 eggs and ate them; Had a talk with a French farmer; Met a young man who lost his right leg and one eye in war by a bomb; Farmer's girl knew enough English we could carry on a conversation with her; Machine gun drill in three parts-time in stripping and reassembling-advanced gun mounting with cover, and loading drill; Spent rest of afternoon getting M.G. ready for range tomorrow; Fired fifty shots liked it fine; Issued S.O.S. caps this evening; Letters from home

June 27: Germans were overhead last night and today; Saw one plane downed said to be a Bocke

Had action drill in the morning; Each platoon put out fastest gun train and put them up against each other in a Co. test-Officers giving a cash prize of a few francs; Studied stoppage and mechanism until recall; On Division hike this morning; Three sargents from Camp Sevier have come back; Fighting has been going on all along the northern part of the Western front; In the kitchen today; Much activity in the air last night-fellows on guard saw one plane fall-several bombs dropped in vicinity; Takes from half an hour to an hour to clean guns each day; Pew had a tooth pulled and feels tough this evening

July 1: Bocke planes seemed to be coming and going from a raid on Calais-the "antes" were firing at and searching them out-several of our men were badly scared

Instead of drill, loaded limbers and got ready for action; Turned in all but one pair of shoes, bed sacks and blanket-afterwards allowed to have blanket again; Received rations after dinner; Packed and ready to move any time;Left with full outfit about 2 miles outside Tourneheim; Made a dive for straw pile-got enough for a good bed for three; Many fellows pitching tents and sleeping outside; Packed a mule with a M.G. this afternoon and he ran away throwing the gun off

July 4: Drilled and no one took any interest in it; British troops are coming; Calais road full of them going to the Front

Laid on bunk and tried to sleep-thoughts kept going back to S.D. and what was happening this time last year; Had more fried eggs in the evening; Aeroplanes very active again last night-could hear their M.G. often; Started early in the morning for the rifle range; Shooting again during the night; Getting ready for the range again tomorrow; Pew and Joe went to church in the morning; Had a few cherries to eat in the afternoon; Stayed at the large M.G. range all morning; Saw Dick yesterday evening and again today-first since leaving Calais; Got ready to leave in the morning; German plane chased by an Allied plane; lots of shrapnel fired at him

July 10: Left at nine o'clock starting for the Front

Made a hike of 11 miles to about two and a half miles from the Belgian border; In Flanders all day; Crossed the French frontier at 10:00; Towns and villages shelled very heavily here; Cleaned rifles and machine guns this morning; Officers and sergeants went to look sectors over

July 13: Non-commanding officers and #1 men went up to trenches

France's National Holiday guns began fire at three this morning; Saw first soldier's graves yesterday and then today saw a military cemetery; Non-coms and #1 men went to school while rest of Co. policed the camp; Had first examination for lice; Saw first shell hole where a captain was killed riding behind another offficer on a motorcycle; Air raid and lots of fighting going on; Left camp two miles S.W of Dirty Bucket; Jerry shot shrapnel made several come down; Paid this morning

July 18: 1st and 2nd platoons went back to trenches; Jerry was dropping shells all around; Shot at and brought one down and one burned up; Saw an aeroplane fight but did not get to see the finish

July 19: Part of Co. went back to finish machine gun placements; Jerry shelled all round killing five horses and one man first to the left front

News of the great successes of the French drive near Rheims; Co. took baths this morning; Jerrys and our guns have been active since ten o'clock yesterday evening; Moved into another tent with Pew-had no floor and almost froze by morning; Mentions a plane hit by a shell or struck by lightning-ablaze in a minute-man in the basket had no chance to jump in a parachute

From the service of Corporal Thomas R. Shook, Company D, 340 Machine Gun Battalion at Camp Funston, Kansas; then Machine Gun Company, 119th Regiment, 30th Division, AEF.
Date May 9, 1918 - July 1, 1918
Year Range from 1918
Year Range to 1918
People Shook, Thomas R.
Subjects World War I
Eating & drinking
Prisoners of war
Gas warfare
Champagne (Wine)
Air raid drills
Military life
Military maneuvers
Gas masks
Wounds & injuries
Gas masks
Trench warfare