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Was looking for a good way to share my great grandfather's story with you all and decided on a simple approach. I skipped through a very good portion of the journal to todays date in 1918. I thought it would be a neat idea to post snippets of the journal in relation to todays date. If people are interested in the storry Pre- 4/8/18 I can post those as well. But todays entry happens to be a convenient place to start as he has already arrived in France and is just getting "settled".


From the Journal of: C.P. Strickland (Charles, Percy)


Date: April 07, 1918 - "added for historical references"


"We are running along the Seine River. The sun is shinning brightly and after our miserable night is a welcome change. We opened the sides of the car for light.

The country is very beautiful and reminds me so much of So. Calif. All the fruit trees are beginning to bloom and the grass is green. Every few Kilometeres is a group of houses,

in the centre of well kept farms.

We passed thru several cities Rouen, Versailles, Et~(illegible)~per, Orleans, and several times were served hot coffee or broth. Every where are soldiers--few men are not in uniform.

Arrived at St. Aignan about 9:00pm and were quartered in barns and houses for the night. Twenty of us were in our barn--it was a dandy hay loft and we had our first good sleep since leaving Camp Merritt. Had to climb a ladder to get into the loft!"



Date: April 08, 1918


"After breakfast we were marched to the Headquarters offices and our personal history and qualification cards again filled out.

Our barrack bags were given to us afterwards. They surely looked good too for all of us were sorely in need of a change of clothing.

I was pleasantly surprised to meet Willie Bagg and R. Dunham here at St. Aignan. They are in the 116 Engineer Detach. located here at camp. We had a lot of news to exchange.

Our company was split up this afternoon--part of the men going to the Infantry and part to the Ammunition trains. All of our little crowd drew the infantry except Jimmie Mann and

Chas.Ward. Our bags and packs were loaded on trucks and at 2:30pm we started out again for "someplace" . No one ever knows where he is going or how far it is. Almost every town

is a military camp. Every house is marked with the number of men it can accomodate.

It is an unusual sight to us to see so many little cafes and wine shops but ofcourse no one thinks anything of it here. I have yet to see the first drunk Frenchman.

Our hike was 20 Kilometers long (amlost 14miles). We didn't lose any time on the way either. All our men had blistered feet and sore shins. Mine were no exception.

Finally arrived at Montrichard on the Chere River (tributary to the Loire). Here we were again split up and placed in different companies of the 163rd Inf. N. S. of Montana.

Fourtunately, Elmer Ranker, S. Proodian and myself all went to "B" Co. John Adams went to "A" Co.

Had "chow", got our bags and packs and were again assigned houses or barns to sleep in. We drew a little room, second floor, in a house facing on an alley barely four feet wide.

Had to climb a little winding stairs to get into the room. These old houses surely are wierd."




I have been pleasantly suprised at how easy the journal is to read, even though many of the pages are very worn. I am writting the entire journal down on a pdf file to have a backup of the original. I hope you enjoy the read. I will post more of tomorrow's entry tomorrow.

Edited by Macklroy

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Wonderful stuff...looking forward to more!...really brings the past to life!...thanks for sharing

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Maybe I have too much phantasy - or his writing is just so, that you can imagine

the scenes very well: I was right there with him.

And it gave me an uncomfy feeling in the stomach, cause I know pretty much about

what he couldn't know then: what may be waiting for him at the front.


I can only bear to read on, when I know this one answer: did he survive the war?

Edited by Olham

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This is wonderful Macklroy! Please share all of your great grandfather's entries with us as time allows. I live for this kind of firsthand account of Great War experiences. BTW, the town name you have noted as "illegible" is likely Étampes, which lies about midway between Paris and Orléans.







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This is great reading! Thanks for posting it, and please keep them coming, if you want. This is the closest you can get to what ordinary people were experiencing back then in the war. Such memories are always more interesting reading for me than the self-serving explanations and excuses of politicians and generals. :good:

Edited by Hasse Wind

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Olham: To a ripe age into his 90's. I even have a picture of me as a mere toddler, sitting on his knee outside his ranch home in southern california!

Lou: I believe you are correct sir. I can see Etampes in that illegible bit. Even the ` over the E is vissable. Thank you as that will help in my PDF copy!


I am glad you all enjoy the entries. I get a lot more out of them the second and third times I read over them, and do enjoy sharing the history. What doesn't translate so well from text to type is the 'style' in which he wrote. Even leaving blank __________ underlines in between the text when he might have thought to go back and re-enter information he was unsure about at the present. (The city of 'Rouen' in the last entry was an example of a space left ______ and then entered at a later time. As noted by the fact that the entire entry was in pencil with 'Rouen' being entered later in pen.)


Todays entry:


April 9th, 1918


"We are settled once more (for a while anyway) in a permanent outfit _______ even tho it is a Nat. Gaurd outfit. Hope we can get into the regulars or someplace else.

Anyway we are here only for training ______ ten days at the most they tell us. Wish we would get settled for a month or two so we could get our pay.

Montrichard is a typical little French village. It is ideally located on the Gher River, and Broad green meadows entirely surround it. Low, rolling hills are not far away.

In the center of the village is a high spot upon which is located the old castle of Richard Couir de Lion, from which the town gets its name.

The castle is constructed of heavy rock blocks, with massive towers and walls. The chapel is just below it. Of course the castle is more or less tumbled down now

but still maintains its majestic view over the surrounding country. It costs 50 centimes to go thru it (10cents) but none of us are that rich. Can you immagine it!?

Reveille is at 5:45a.m. From then on to 6:00p.m. we're hard at work. This is no joke. Our time is short and what we get here is all before we go to the trenches for

our final instructions. Great stress is laid on our proficiency in the use of the rifle, bayonet and gas masks. We have two masks_____British and French styles.

During the drills, we play games for a rest and change. The drill ground is about a mile and a half from camp.

There is to be a big field meet soon so we have an hour each day to practice our respective stunts. We also have a ball team."




Spaces were left blank ______ that were not filled in on this entry. I can only immagine that the name of the National Gaurd unit and maybe the full extent of the training stay were to be entered later but never filled in. I especially enjoyed this entry as I could only immagine a young man from a small farming town in california seeing such sights as French castles and churches, and how magnificent it must have all been.

There is not another entry until the 13th so I may go back and post some entries pre Atlantic crossing that I found rather interesting. The ammount of detail that my grandfather puts into describing the American landscape from west coast to east was of special note to me.


Hope you enjoy it.

Edited by Macklroy

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Missed a few days of journal entries (mainly due to family in town for a visit over the Rodeo weekend). Some of the entries are more entertaining than others. I try to hand pick specific entries of interest that others might enjoy.


Date: April 17th, 1918


"Got off the train early this a.m. at Gondrecourt. This is to be our home for some time they tell us. We now belong to the 164th inf. ----Co. "A".

gondrecourt is one of the huge schools for officers and enlisted N.C.O.'s. We are now in the advance war zone and everything is strictly military.

Men of many services swarm thru the streets. At night the guns at the front can be heard plainly. Aeroplanes dot the sky at all times.

There are 5,000 Russion troops here----men who have volunteered to fight for France. They are a husky lot of men-------well dressed.

Italians, British, African troops and ofcourse our own and the French mingle as one people. Ths place has been raided by Boche planes several times.

I have met lots of fellows from Ventura here in Gondrecourt. Harry Peck, Victor Weldon and several otheres. Walter Argabrite is here to but I haven't

seen him.

The boys all in the --(-illegible-)--- have been here three months. "Heince" Sanchez and most of the others are at the front.

We are in portable barracks here and they are not the warmest house in the world. The bunks are double deckers. The first day in camp we three

-"vets"- went down town in quest of hay to fill our bed sacks. Finally found a French "poilus" who directed us to a place we could get some. Didn't

have any money tho so Proodian gave the woman his ring as a guarantee that we would pay. Can you see me walking up Broadway with a bed sack

full of hay over my shoulders? Anyway we three were the only ones who slept in comfort that night!"



Edited by Macklroy

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