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Transcribed and contributed by Joe Conroy.
[Coordinator's Note: Some of these transcriptions contain
Peter Bolke is Safe
Relatives of Peter Bolke, of Arcadia, who was reported as missing in action on October 26, have been advised that he is again with his company in France and in good health. Mr. Bolke left Carroll county about a year ago, and went to France in April, 1919. He saw some of the hardest fighting of the war, and it was during the big drive through the Argonne forest in October, the drive that really broke the German spirit and ended the war, that he was reported missing. His relatives have been very much worried concerning his probable fate, and are greatly relieved at the news that he is safe. Mr. Bolke is a member of Company 11(?), 325th Infantry.
Alfred Dohse, of West Side, who has been in camp at Camp Gordon, Georgia, since July 26, has been mustered out of service and returned home. He failed to get to France with the rest of the boys who left for camp when he did, as he was sick at the time of sailing. Mr. Dohse spent several days last week with Carroll friends.
Obituary Gerbrand Haase
Word reached Mr. and Mrs. Habbe Haase, living near Lidderdale, January 6, that their son, Gerbrand, was killed in action October 28. The knowledge that their boy was dead came as a great shock to the parents, who thought their boy had not been able to get into action in the short time he had been in France. Gerbrand was an industrious, hard working young man, who was born in Germany March 11, 1895. He came to this country with his parents when he was 11 years old, living with them in Illinois for two years before the family came to this county where they have since resided. He left with the boys for Camp Gordon, Georgia, July 26, and crossed for France during the middle of September. All his letters home, while he was in camp in this country, were full of enthusiasm and an eagerness on his part to get into action.
Besides his parents he leaves one brother, John, and four sisters, Marie, (Mrs. William Grade), Bernardine (Mrs. George Fleshner), Frieda and Wyola, at home.
Carroll Man Member of Cited Division
Joseph A. Egan Member of Fifth Division, Which Saw Heavy, Heavy Fighting
Mrs. Joseph A. Egan has received from her husband, who is serving with the Fifth Division in France, a copy of the citation for bravery which was conferred upon that division by Major General Ely, for especial bravery during some of the hardest fighting of the war.
The citation relates that the Fifth Division forced, against the enemy in position, a crossing of the river Meuse near Dun and Brieulles, building bridges and swimming the river in the face of enemy machine gun and artillery fire, and advancing some nine kilometers in the section. This move not only relieved the French from a perilous situation, but enabled them to advance and turn the position of the Germans on the east bank of the Meuse and forced a withdrawl of the enemy forces.
The Fifth Division alone forced the crossing and established the bridgehead, then held it for two days in the face of a galling fire before being relieved. It held a front of twenty kilometers during the time, and not only held it but went out of its way and captured towns which it turned over to other divisions later. In the thirty days preceding the armistice the division was seriously engaged under shell, rifle and machine gun fire for twenty-seven days, and when the armistice was signed was considerably in advance of divisions on both flanks. The division also made huge captures of enemy soldiers, guns and munitions, all of which are cited in detail in the citation.
Needless to say, Mrs. Egan is immensely proud of the citation, and is preserving it carefully for her husband against his return from service.
Harris Krensky to Come Home Soon
Carroll Boy, Once Wounded, Writes From Hospital in France of His Hopes
My dear Mother:
Am going to answer about half dozen of your October letters which just reached me. They had followed of the following dates: Oct. 2, 3, 11, 17, 18, and 26. Am glad Lou is well now after his tonsils pulled. It certainly was foolish of you folks to have worried about me. The only danger I was in was in the Argonne Forest Drive. Of course, I've laid in ambush on No Man's Land for several hours at night and was on several different fronts and in a dangerous position on the St. Meheil drive. However, no hard luck to amount to anything.
Now the reason I didn't write for the cootie suit was this: I couln't carry any more than 125 pounds much of the time and hike at night, pitch dark, and chances are in the rain. You must understand that the fighting dough boys have hiked practically all over France, carrying full equipment.
Glad you received the $75.00. Am sorry Fenn Cooney was wounded and would write him if I knew his address. Well, have done my bit and am glad I did it in the fighting branch of the service. The infantry is the lowest branch, yet every uniformed man will take off his hat to a dough boy. You know well I could have entered Officers' Training at Omaha or had Supply Sergeancy at Dodge, but neither appealed to me. Of course being in a new organization made it hard again. Now, I'll be glad to be on your tired pay roll list, but don't know exactly about those wild trips to the farm.
I haven't yet been in any city but Nancy and Toul, but not long enough to have any photos taken. However, I am going to apply for furlough to Paris before we leave for home. I was still in the hospital when our outfit got passes.
About my stay in the trenches, 38 days in the St. Miheil front was the longest on any sector.
Dear mother, you may take down the service flag now, as I am in the S. C. S. now.
Now let me tell you about souveniers. Casper Kelly is a G. M. C. Ambulance driver and never reaches the very front unless he drives a Ford, at which time they come up to a hundred or two hundred yards behind the hand to hand fighting, if there happens to be any. He can get souveniers from the wounded infantrymen, or on the ground, after the advance. I had a German lugger for a few hours myself while going "over the top" but I ever threw away my pack, so why keep a souvenir when your life is a souvenir or of less value. Now if you want to put things in the paper just put in that the Y. M. C. A. canteens are grafters, and the entire "Y" is about 99 per cent inefficient.
Am very sorry that Dad had the flu. Be sure he has the best of care. Thanks for the extra desk. I may call your bluff. Sorry about Duke being sick. Give him my best regards and tell him to get well soon. Also tell him the war is over no so there is no need of goldbricking.
Well Mother, if you'll start to prepare a meal you know what I want when I get home, I'd give my pay every month for one of your big meals.
Have received several letters from A. M. K. one from Uncle Dan and a few from Milt.
Let me say that we are scheduled to go home, so may be I'll make it in about four months.
Hope this letter finds you well and happy.
Boys Who Went To Forrest Are Back
Men Called by Draft on August 18 Last Return in a Body Last of the Week
The first considerable number of Carroll county boys to return home in a body arrived the latter part of last week, when twenty of the thirty-three men who were called to Camp Forrest, Ga., on August 13, pulled into Carroll. These boys were members of the 468th Engineers, Pontoon Train, and spent every minute of their time in service, from the hour they left Carroll until they returned together. With them there were a number of Crawford county boys, who also went and came home at the same time, so the Carroll county boys were never in strange company.
Two members of the original contingent who left here on August 13 will not return. They are Walter E. Davenport, of Lanesboro, and Arthur Henry Stang, of Halbur. These boys died in the service in France, having fallen victim to the influenza scourge. Several others are now in the 605th Engineers in France, while three or four did not get across at all.
After a stay of six weeks at Camp Forrest these boys were taken to New York, whence they sailed on September 29 for Brest. They spent most of their time in training at Bannes, France, and were scheduled for active service on November 15, at which time the French and American armies were to open a grand offensive against Metz. The surrender of the German armies in the meantime prevented their seeing active service by just four days. They left St. Nazaire February 23 and arrived in New York March 7.
Their passage to France was made on one of the ill-fated ships that carried the influenza with it, and they had the harrowing experience of having many of their shipmates die en route across. At one time they put back for American and sailed westward for a day, when they met another ship which relieved them of their dead and they then turned about.
The names of the boys who returned last week are:
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