WWI Letters from France 1919

 

 
THE WAR IS OVER!  THE WAR IS OVER!

The fighting has stopped, and all that is left to do is get all of the troops back to the United States.  This is no small undertaking however, and will result in soldiers waiting months before returning to their loved ones. Rumors are rampant about troop movement and getting home. In December Walter's infantry is told they will be going to Germany for 4 months with the Army of Occupation, but a few weeks later the information changes again.

Walter accepts this waiting period, and uses the time to write home. Now that the fighting is over, he has more freedom in his letters to talk about where he is and the battles he has participated in over the last several months. It is also a time for reflection during the holidays, and his letters are full of his thoughts on the war and the changes in his life.  He mourns for his dear friend "Hump" in a letter written before Thanksgiving; and his Christmas Eve letter is one of soul-searching and revelation.  The number of friends that he references in his letters home that were killed in the war is overwhelming.

But as always with Walter, there are the good times as well.  He tells of constructing a raft using gasoline barrels so they could go fishing.  There are plays performed by the soldiers in his group, and ridiculous discussions/arguments during the long hours about any little thing.  But most of the talk is about HOME.

On April 19, 1919 Walter boarded the USS Pocahontas (originally a German ship named the SS Prinzess Irene) and arrived in Philadelphia on April 30, 1919.  (Four days after the Armistice Walter was promoted to a Sergeant Observer, so he came home sporting 3 new stripes!)

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