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Catalog Number 1996.51.136EK
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:

jhenschel_0111_0001

Motor Section, Advance PC, GHQ, APO 930, A.E.F. March 23rd, 1919. Dear Dad: A lot of news this week, as the week has been well taken up. Last night I returned from a trip to Cologne, where I acquired spare parts for a number of German passenger cars, and a severe cold. I drove almost three hundred miles in an open Cadillac, and the weather turned out to be a lot colder than I expected. Cologne is certainly a good looking town. The streets are all wide and well taken care of, and the business houses look more like American places than any that I have seen elsewhere. The cathedral is wonderful; the stone carvings are as delicate as lace. This is in sharp contrast to the usual run of work of that sort in Germany; most of it is very heavy, and cold as ice. Save for the cathedral, there was nothing that I had time to take in carefully. I was only there for a few hours, and those few hours were certainly busy ones. As it was, I had to make the return trip to Trier - an even hundred miles - in three hours and a half. Last night I visited the first Masonic lodge that I have had an opportunity to enter since leaving home - and it was a German one. I was not at all certain at first whether I would be able to pass the examination or not, but the slight differences in the work worked all to my advantage. I know that you would be interested in hearing of it, for the complicated circumstances were peculiar to say the least. Here we are, strictly speaking still at war with Germany, and yet there is open to us the opportunity of entering and taking part in the work of the Trier lodge. It is all unofficial, of course, and there has been given to the Master a typewritten sheet, emanating from GHQ, but the work of the lodge, but may not take part in any social affairs. I enjoyed it all immensely, and was very much interested in noting the differences. There are a good ma many, but none of any great matter. The lodge itself is interesting, dating back from 1802; a very beautiful place, and although originally constructed for a Catholic cloister, wonderfully adapted to Masonic work. I wish that I could have a photograph of the place to send you -----------. My hyphenating cars, as they are called by the office (I notice that they are mighty glad to get hold of one of them, none the less) are all coming along fine, and keep my pretty busy most of the days. Talk about military problems - they aren't in it with the difficulties encountered in removing a 20 ton trailer, or tractor, from the middle of a marsh. I have a permanent detail of some ten men from the engineers to operate two enormous tractors that I use, and let me tell you, those boys turn out some might fine work. The best part of the whole job is that I can tell them just what I want done and how I want it done and know what it will be accomplished just that way. There fore I can take them to a bit of work, leave them alone, and know perfectly well that things will go along as well as th though I stayed on the ground myself. There are now a very many more vehicles.

jhenschel_0111_0002

in my park, but before I am finished, the number will be about double; I expect to have in all more than a thousand cars of all sorts before I am through with the job. And then - what to do with them! Am enclosing with this a copy of the last issue of our Field Service bulletin. This has appeared every week, but until this issue there was not a great deal in it that would be of interest to you all at home. Now however, in a sort of summary form, with the usual amount of "bull" to be allowed of course, it tells a fairly accurate story of the work of the Reserve. In doing so, it tells pretty completely the work that I did before I was assigned to Decize - where I did nothing. It may be all wrong, but you know I feel stuck up just a little when reading the bulletin. There is no organization (now that the show is over and one can think more or less sanely about the business) that I would rather have been in. Yes, I feel rather proud when asked what my organization was, and I can answer "the Reserve Mallet". The Reserve never fell down on a single order, no matter when or where it was given. If any one tells me that the automobile end of the game was an easy one, why I just grin a little to myself. I know one outfit that came through with the goods and does n't want any columns of praise. Mind, I don't mean that other outfits weren't as good - but then, I guess that most every one will admit if pressed that his own organization ought to head the list. And so on. As I feel pretty rotten, think that I shall "hit the hay". My love to all at home. Acknowledging letters from Mother and Elizabeth. Also, a letter from Uncle Frank. Ned

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 March 23, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Cold
Weather
Cathedrals
Freemasonry
Automobile driving
Search Terms American Field Service (AFS)