Plattsmouth Journal, January 9, 1919
SPRINGFIELD BOY WRITES TO FATHER
REMEMBER "DAD" AND HOME WHILE SERVING UNCLE SAM FAR AWAY.
IS HOPEFUL OF THE FUTURE
And Expresses No Complaint Over Prospect of Not Getting to Return Home Right Away.
France, Nov. 24, 1918.
My Dear Father:Co. A. 58th R.T.C., A.P.O. 712, Am. Ex. Forces, in France.
I will drop you a few lines on this 24th day of November, which has been proclaimed Fathers Day, and a day long to be remembered by many a father and son.
While I allow my thoughts to concentrate solely on you for a few minutes, at least, shutting out all others, though we are thousands of miles apart and it has been many months since we met, and no doubt we have both gone through a good many hard knocks and experiences since that last meeting. It only tends to make us both stronger and better men.
I think of you many times a day and only wish we might be close enough together that we could convey our thoughts to each other by tongue instead of pen.
But, perhaps it will be many long months ere we can have this pleasure. We are living in a time that has been disturbed for the last four years by the greatest matching of steel and endurance that was ever known in the history of the world, and we have come through strong and victorious, which plainly shows that God is on the side of right and not might.
It would be heaven to be a small babe once again for a few hours at least, to be rocked on your knee and smothered with the love and kisses that a father always expresses for his baby.
To be led around by the hand and showed which way to go and which not. Oh, the joy of a mans childhood days, if he only had the wisdom to realize to the fullest extent those precious moments.
May our thoughts always run in harmony with one another and pray God that nothing but the tenderest thoughts of love and truth may always exist between us and when our work in this world is done, may we meet again in the great beyond. I am, as ever, always your loving son, Pvt. Alfred Carey,
P.S. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Plattsmouth Journal, Monday, June 16, 1919
TO MOTHERS DEVOTION
ALFRED C. CAREY PENS MOTHER LETTER FROM FRANCE ON MOTHERS DAY
IT CREATES SOLDIER MORALE
Among the Men, He Says, to Reflect Upon Ceaseless Love and Anxiety of their Mothers.
From Fridays Daily
Is-Sur-Telle, France, May 11.
My Darling Mother:
This being the greatest day in the year between a man and his mother, I will write you a few lines of love and gratitude. It certainly is with tender love and affection that I look over the years that have passed and think of the many blessings I have had at your hands, and words cannot express my devotion. A mans mother is the only person in this world who will never lose faith in him, although the rest of the world may turn a cold shoulder on him and he himself may fall into the gutter, he will always find a friend in his mother.
The most glorious days of ones life are spent in infancy, did we but know it when we are smothered on the loving breast of the one who loves us best.
When a child is out playing and something goes wrong, or it gets hurt, the first one to [illegible] it will go is its mother. If a man is out in the world and gets into trouble, the first one he seeks to tell his troubles to is his mother, for she will always listen and give him the benefit of the doubt, and will consider things in a different light from the rest of the world. And through it all she will never lose her faith and trust in him.
In time gone by, I may have sorely vexed you, mother dear, but never once have you scorned me, but instead always pleaded with me. And although I am thousands of miles from home today, my heart is with you.
This is one of the most lovely days I have seen in France and it certainly makes one long to be back home among the loved ones.
Well, mother dear, I hope this finds you in the best of health and enjoying life to the utmost. I am feeling fine and dandy and waiting patiently for Uncle Sam to say he is through with me and tell me to go home, which I will be glad to do when he no longer needs me.
Well, I will close with love and best wishes to you, mother dear. I am ever your loving son,
Pvt. ALFRED C. CAREY.
Plattsmouth Journal, July 3, 1919, volume XXXVII
TWO PLATTSMOUTH BOYS ARRIVE HOME
LAST EVENING SERGEANT ALFRED CO. CAREY ARRIVED HOME, AND TODAY
HERB THACKER ALSO COMES
Message From New York Tells Of Arrival at That Port of Sgt. Frank York
From Wednesdays Daily
These three boys went from three different places though all from this city. Sergeant Alfred C. Carey enlisted in April, 1917, among the first from this city, and with the watch at the big Burlington bridge over the Missouri was stationed here for a while and later taken to Omaha, where he was stationed for some time. He went to Camp Cody in September, 1917, and the following spring was sent east, and sailed from New York one year ago yesterday just the same date that he arrived home. He returned to the United States June 18th, and was discharge[d] from service at Garden City, N.Y., a few days ago arriving home last evening over the Burlington. Cassius, as we all know him was looking fine, and was glad to greet his folks and friends and especially his mother who has been in ill health for some time.
This noon Herbert Thacker who in May last year went to Camp Dodge and was in less than two months in France, stepped from the train, looking the picture of health, although he has been in the hospital for some time recovering from illness which he had while in France. He returns a great big fellow, as to what he was when he went away. He was in some of the hardest of the fighting having arrived at the fighting front in less than three months after departing from here. Herbert looks like a great big real soldier, which he is, and while willing to do his portion, is very well pleased to return home after the matter is all over. He will make his home here and will rest for a short time before taking up some occupation.
Arrived At New York Today.
A message from Frank York to his parents O.L. York and wife of this city tells of his arrival at New York, where he is now and hopes in the near future to be discharged and be allowed to return home. Frank went from Chicago, and is a member of the engineer corps, being an operator and while there served as a station agent of the American operated French railway. His parents are overjoyed at the news of his arrival on this side of the water.
Plattsmouth Journal, Monday, April 7, 1919
DIED LEADING SQUAD AGAINST THE GERMANS
LETTER TO RELATIVES TELLS OF TRAGIC DEATH OF CORPORAL HENRY HIRZ
WAS BURIED ON HILL NO. 204
And the Writer Sketched a Map Showing Location of the grave of Plattsmouth Hero.
From Fridays Daily
Midst the inevitable grief caused by the loss of loved ones in the war, no greater consolation can come to the relatives and friends of those who "paid the price" than that derived from the knowledge that their loved one died in the performance of his heroic duty. To lead a squad forward up the slope of a hotly contested hill in the face of enemy machine gun fire that was terrific and "carry on" until literally shot to death is indeed an honor and the fact that a Plattsmouth boy made this supreme effort as his "bit" to the cause of world freedom, should make our hearts swell with pride in his glorious deeds.
We refer to Henry Hirz, who fell in battle on October 5th. His cousin, Miss Lena Hirz, now at Kirksville, Mo. recently received a letter from Sergeant Glen Thorp, now of Hq. Co. 43rd Inf. Camp Travis, San Antonio, Texas, but who was well acquainted with Hirz before the two left the states for overseas and who remained his good friend to the end, in which he tells of Hirz heroic action, being an eye-witness of his tragic death.
Accompanying the letter is a map sketched by Mr. Thorp, showing the location of the grave of the Plattsmouth boy on Hill 204, near where he fell in battle.
The letter and map have been forwarded by Miss Hirz to her mother, Mrs. John Hirz, aunt of the deceased young man, and through courtesy of Mrs. Hirz we are privileged to publish the account of how he met death out there in "no Mans Land."
The letter follows:
Camp Logan, Houston, Texas,
March 16, 1919
Miss Lena Hirz, A.S.O. Hospital, Kirksville, Mo.
Dear Miss Hirz:
It was a very pleasant surprise for me to receive your letter of inquiry. Mr. Henry Hirz was one of my very close friends and I had known him for some time before we went overseas. I first met him in Camp Hancock, Ga., in February, 1918 and from that time on until we went into battle on October 5, we were fast friends.
We fought together with the Marines at Belleau Woods. He was a larson man under me at the Battle of Chateau Thierry and served most gallantly, carrying messages under heavy fire regardless of danger. At the battle of St. Mihiel he was in the foremost of those to follow the tanks "Over the Top."
I was made Chief of the Scouts at the same time Henry was made a corporal. On September 26 we went over the top at Montfacon and by October 4th we had advanced and taken Bois de Beuge, the Valley of the Andon, Clergos and Hill 204.
On October 5th the "Seventh" tried five times to take Hill 253, but were checked each time by terrible slaughter from machine gun fire. At last the scouts were ordered over to find these machine gun nests. I led them over as their chief and we were forced to dig in behind the hedge between 204 and 252. We were under a terrible fire from all sides when "K" Co. was ordered to our support.
They came down over the crest of Hill 204 in half a dozen waves and charged past us. As they started up Hill 253, the Boches machine guns broke loose and then fell by the dozen. The waves split into plunging groups with Hirz leading one. Then I saw him stumble and fall forward, his squad fell back and then we were all ordered to the rear.
Hill 253 was put under terrible artillery fire all the rest of that day and at midnight we crept over in the dark and after a hand to hand fight, took it.
I sent some men to find Hirz. They reported him dead from machine gun fire. They buried him on Hill 204 near a fork of the River Andon.
Six days later I was ordered to the U.S. as a scout instructor and I left the terrible field of Verdun with its thousands of dead agape at the drenching sky.
I left one man behind under the green sod on Hill 204, but I know that the French peasants will not tread on the grave and the crude wooden cross that marks it will be replaced by a better one and when I cheer the home coming troops I will also cheer for one "over there," and I hope that people will not forget the dead.
His children are probably too small to realize anything but a vague sorrow, but when they grow up perhaps some one will tell them of their father of whom they will always be proud.
I will inclose [sic] a map I drew if it will be of any use to you.
In conclusion, I will say that I am a Canadian and a volunteer. I have been in the army since February 1st, 1918, quitting college at that time to enlist. Should you care to hear from me again a letter will reach me at the address on the back of this page.
Plattsmouth Journal, February 24, 1919
Dagonville, France, Nov. 28
As this is Thanksgiving, and it being a holiday, I have nothing particular to do, so thought I would improve the time by writing you a few lines.
I dont know whether to think every one has forgotten me or if I have just had my letters "ditched," as I have not heard from any one since the last of September, so you will kind of have to excuse me if I dont write as often as I used to. Anyway there is not much to write about these old French towns. As far as our work now is concerned, it is simply waiting. I dont know what for, though either we go into Germany or back to America. No one ever knows where he is going until he gets there.
Well, I guess I will tell you that I was on the western front from October 14th to November 10th, or the day before the Armistice was signed. Will say that the Dutch gave me a couple of good scares in one night. Four of us were laying outside when the Fritzies started shelling and in a short time the timber was full of flying shrapnel. The gas came over in waves and I happened to get a little of the (smell) gas, which made me pretty sick for several days and a large number were sent to the hospitals. They have not come back as yet so I do not know how bad they were.
I hear they are sending them all home from the hospitals. I wish I would have gone now but anyhow hope it will be soon. One day this week I saw a guy that was transferred to this company and he said he was in Camp Cody with the boys from Plattsmouth and came over with them. He said that Art Sampson was in this division and that he also helped to bury Matt Jirousek at sea. I could scarcely believe it, as this is the first I have heard of any Plattsmouth boy paying the price, but I guess it might happen to any of us, no one knows.
Well, I guess I will close for this time. Wishing I could be with you all. Best regards to everyone.
P.S. Say, Frances, tell mother that it is no use for me to try to send a picture as you wouldnt know me, and as far a church, I have been to several French churches and if a man was at the front very long he never would forget his prayers.
I might be a little early, but you cant tell how long this will be on the way, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Give my best regards to all my friends.
PVT. JAMES LEPERT
138th Inf. Hdq. Co.,
35th Div., A.E.F.