Full transcription of text follows:
Private J.E. Henschel. American Mission M.T.D. Am.E.F. Convois Autos- Par B.C.M. France- 6/23/ Dearest Mother- Everything going with a rush - in fact this is promising to be about the busiest school I have ever attended. Sundays will be our only days off - and unless we attend altogether to business Sunday will not be as completely off as could be desired. We have six weeks in which to work a most complete course in Automobile engineering and learn as well the complete organization of the French army in detail. It certainly is interesting work and I believe will be very valuable, both in military service and after the war. As regards everything but the school, we live in luxury. There are waiters to fill our wants at mess, "dit done" to shine our shoes and made our beds. Even our dishes are washed! The one drop is aluminum dishes. It seems the dinner plates and cups have been slightly damaged in transit - and while excellent for repairing roads, are not of much service as table ware - and also - it seems a rather unkind cut to be charged for dish breakage while using unbreakable equipment. We are certainly treated fine. It has been interesting to watch this school literally grow from the ground. Two weeks ago there was nothing here but a field and today there is a complete institution a great many buildings, private roads, and even a well to supply water. The school is designed so that it - like the overworked [ms illegible: 1 wd] can fold its bar-
barracks and skip away. Such things are sometimes necessary. By the way - I note from a card in a store that I am now something different again - one of the "Monsieur les Etudiant Officier Reserve" - or for short E.O.R. quite a long name. Also - do not send mail to a address an envelope. I shall not be here long enough to receive it. Send it to the American Mission address as before. The ecole des enfants here has started to teach English. The result is amusing - for of course the first lesson includes instructions as to the proper way of saying "Howdy". It must be rather confusing to them - for the French use a pleasant "Bon jour" for anytime between daylight and supper. Hence one walks along the street at any hour and is greeted (almost [ms illegible: 1 wd] at times) by eight and ten years with "Good-by", "Good-morning" and "Goodnight". And yet I will wager that there kiddies speak English before I speak French. We are rather fortunate in our instructors. The man in charge of technique certainly knows his end of the game. I have never been in touch with a man who was as capable and well informed on motor principles. (We have had but little of this as yet - but I saw other note-books before coming to M- myself). So far his lectures have been almost entirely physics. This surprising the amount of plupies we have forgotten and never knew. He has given us more in a week of lectures that would be covered in a semester at a high school - which will give some idea of the ground covered. The officer in charge of organization seems to be equally as capable. He was an engineer for a good many years in the States before the war; and so has American efficiency down pat.
Have I mentioned that the school is a French one? Yet there are more Americans attending than French. We have separate living quarters - kitchens and study halls. The same lecture and mechanical halls are used for both but at different hours, and we drill apart. So in reality - we have two schools with the faculty and equipment. For historical information and accuracy - it is worthy of mention that my usual spring grippe follows me around - only here it seems to be called Flemmish fever. Recovered in a few days and am all O.K. again. Nothing further to mention. The paymaster had better find me soon or I'll stop having laundry done. All the love in the world. Ned. June 23/1918-
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||June 23, 1918|
|Year Range from||1918|
|Year Range to||1918|
Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
World War I